Credo in Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, Creatorem caeli et terrae
(I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth).
THE Christian Faith is the direct heir
of the old Roman faith.
the Greco-Roman mythology, and draws thence all its rites, doctrines, ceremonies, sacraments, and festivals. Hence the exposition to be given of Esoteric Christianity would deal more especially with the mysteries of the West, their ideas and terminology being more attractive and congenial to us than the inartistic conceptions, the unfamiliar metaphysics, the melancholy spiritualism, and the unsuggestive language of the East. Drawing its life-blood directly from the pagan faith of the old Occidental world, Christianity more nearly resembles its immediate father and mother than its remote ancestors, and will, therefore, be better expounded by reference to Greek and Roman sources than to their Brahminical and Vedic parallels.
The Christian Church is Catholic, or it is nothing worthy the name of Church at all. For Catholic signifies universal, all-embracing: – the faith everywhere and always received. (1) The prevalent limited view of the term is wrong and mischievous. The Christian Church was first called Catholic because she enfolded, comprehended, and made her own all the religious past of the whole world, gathering up into and around her central figure of the Christ all the characteristics, legends, and symbols hitherto appertaining to the central figures of preceding dispensations, proclaiming the unity of all human aspiration, and formulating in one grand ecumenical system the doctrines of East and West.
Thus the Catholic Church is Vedic, Buddhist, Zend, and Semitic. She is Egyptian, Hermetic, Pythagorean, and Platonic.
She is Scandinavian, Mexican, and Druidic. She is Grecian and Roman. She is
scientific, philosophic, and spiritual. We find in her teachings the Pantheism
of the East, and the individualism of the West. She speaks the language and
thinks the thoughts of all the children of men; and in her temple all the gods
are shrined. I am Vedantist,
Buddhist, Hellenist, Hermetic, and Christian, because I am Catholic. For in that
one word all Past, Present, and Future are enfolded. And, as
Et in Jesum Christum, Filium ejus unicum, Dominum nostrum; qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria Virgine
(And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; who is conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary).
This rendering of the Creed into the present is necessary to its esoteric and proper understanding. For there is no past tense in Divine things, since all sacred events denote processes and all sacred persons denote principles, having no relation to time and matter, but eternally present and operative in the soul. Did religion, indeed, depend upon history, the permanence of any faith would be hopeless, seeing how little dependence can be placed upon records of events even near to the time of their occurrence, and that with the lapse of time the evidence for them must become dimmed and at length effaced. Religion, however, is by its very nature spiritual, and addressed to the soul, and therefore bears no congruous relation to the physical and historical.
Besides, all the events so called historical of the Christian story
are equally claimed by other religions as occurring to their respective heroes, a fact which shews that those events were generally regarded but as allegories, types, or dramatic presentations of the various stages in the spiritual history of all men. Add to this the manifold irreconcilable discrepancies in the accounts themselves, and the utterly incredible nature of many of the narratives if regarded as physical, and we find ourselves reduced to despair if still forced to depend upon history for our religion. Even were it not so, it would still be the fact that nothing occurring on the physical plane and external to the man will effect his salvation, since the change to be made must be in himself and due to the operation of his own indwelling spirit. Physical events and spiritual processes can never be cognates to each other.
In insisting upon the esoteric signification as alone true and of value, so far from proposing something new, we are but reverting to the ancient and original usage. It is the acceptance of the Creed in its exoteric and historical sense which is really modern. For all sacred mysteries were originally regarded as spiritual, and only when they passed from the hands of properly instructed initiates into those of the ignorant and vulgar, did they become materialised and degraded to their present level. The esoteric truth of the second article of the Creed can be understood only through a previous knowledge, first, of the constitution of man, and next, of the meaning of the terms employed in the formulation of religious doctrine. For this doctrine represents perfect knowledge of human nature, and the terms in which it is expressed – “Adam,” “Eve,” “Christ,” “Mary,” and the rest – denote the various spiritual elements constituting the individual, the states through which he passes, and the goal he finally attains in the course of his spiritual evolution. For, as St Paul says, “these things are an allegory”; and in order to understand them it is necessary to know the facts to which they refer. Knowing these, we have no difficulty in recognising the origin of such portraiture, and applying it to oneself. Thus “Adam” is man external and mundane merely, yet in due time developing the consciousness of “Eve” or the Soul – for the soul is always the “Woman” – and becoming a dual being consisting of matter and spirit. As “Eve,” the soul falls under the power of this “Adam,” and becoming impure through subjection to matter, brings forth Cain, who, as representing the lower nature, is said to cultivate the fruits of the ground.
But as “Mary,” the soul regains her purity, being said to be virgin as regards matter, and polarising to God becomes mother of the Christ or Man regenerate, who alone is the begotten Son of God and Saviour of the man in whom he is engendered. Wherefore Christ is both process and the result of process. Being thus, he is not, as commonly supposed, “the Lord,” but “our Lord.” The Lord is Adonai, the Word, subsisting eternally in the Heavens; and Christ is His counterpart in man. And no Christ on earth is possible for him for whom there is no Adonai in the Heavens.
The entire spiritual history of man is thus comprised in the Church’s two dogmas, that of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, and that of her Assumption. For they have no physical reference, but denote precisely that triumph and apotheosis of the soul, that glorification and perpetuation of the individual human Ego, which is the object and result of cosmic evolution, and consummation of the scheme of creation. (1)
Passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus; descendit ad inferos; tertia die resurrexit a mortuis; ascendit ad caelos, sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris omnipotentis; inde venturus est judicare vivos et mortuos
(Suffereth under Pontius Pilate, is crucified, dead, and buried; He descendeth into Hell; the third day He riseth again from the dead; He ascendeth into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He cometh to judge the living and the dead).
The devotion of the “Rosary of the Blessed Virgin” consists of fifteen decades, each of which formulates and celebrates a Mystery of the Christian faith. These Mysteries are divided into three categories, of which the first is called the Five Joyful Mysteries; the second, the Five Sorrowful Mysteries; and the third, the Five Glorious Mysteries. (3) The Annunciation, the
Incarnation, and the Birth of the Christ, are subjects of the Five Joyful Mysteries. These were treated of in the last discourse. The Five Sorrowful and Five Glorious Mysteries are summed up in the articles which form the text of the present one. They epitomise the three chief characteristic events in the spiritual history of the “Son of Mary” – the Christ, or Man Perfected through at-one-ment with God – the Passion, the Oblation, and the Victory.
This history is the history of the soul both universal and individual. For, just as the creation and redemption of the universe at large came about by a “fall,” or descent of soul-substance into the condition of matter, and its subsequent return to the condition of pure spirit, so do the creation and redemption of the individual. The entire process was represented by the wise of old in the Hermetic and Kabalistic symbol called the “Seal of Solomon,” which consists of two triangles interlaced, one extending above the other and pointing upwards, and the other extending below this and pointing downwards, to denote respectively the unmanifest and primary world of emanation, and the manifest and secondary, or derived, world of creation. Both triangles are traversed vertically from top to bottom, and horizontally from side to side, by two lines which, crossing each other, form at once the Tree of Life and of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the Cross of Christ.
Of this Cross, the vertical beam, or Tree of Life, has its summit in God unmanifest, and its foot in Matter, the under-world or Hades, the “Hell” of the Creed. The upper section of the
hexagon made by the triangles represents the spiritual world of Emanation; the lower section represents the terrestrial world of Evolution. Wherefore the head of the crucified Christ is in the heavenly spheres, and His feet in Hades; His right hand indicates the point of the soul’s descent into the world of Generation; His left, the point of her emergence into life eternal. Christ crucified is, thus, the Hypostasis of Adonai, the Lord, and His Cross is the ensign of the spiritual Phoebus, or “sign of the Son of Man in Heaven,” and covenant of the Divine with the human. Its foot is in the world of Actuality, which is that of Ordeal. For Ordeal is the preliminary and condition of initiation into the spiritual consciousness. The Way of Life and the Way of the Cross are one. The crucifixion of Christ is the act of supreme surrender, which must precede the union of the human and Divine; and, similarly, the death and burial imply the entire dissolution of the old Adam, or lower self.
The Pontius Pilate, or crowned pontiff, of the Creed is a figure of a corrupt and materialistic sacerdocy, temporising with the crowd, allied with Herod, or the “dragon”; friendly with Caesar, the typical genius of the world, and claiming to be sole “bridge-maker” between God and man. Such an order never fails to misconstrue, reject, condemn, and “crucify” the Christ and Christ-idea. When the Gospels describe Pilate as mingling the blood of the Galileans with the sacrifices, and refusing to heed his wife’s remonstrances, they really refer to the inveterate addiction of priesthoods to the vicarious principle and sanguinary offerings, and their rejection of the teachings of the Intuition.
The mightiest blow ever dealt at the Church of “Pontius Pilate” was the promulgation of the astronomical discoveries of Copernicus and Galileo. The old mythologies depicted the career of the God-Man as corresponding with the course of the sun in the visible heavens; and taught that the acts and procession of the physical sun in regard to the planet are identical with those of the Spiritual Saviour in regard to humanity. The disclosure of the true state of the case in regard to the sun – namely, that while seeming to go through all the changes observed of it, it remains fixed and immutable in the centre of the system – had the world been acute enough to recognise the spiritual analogy, would have revealed the verity that the Godhead is untouched by time and vehicle, and that the illusion of the physical universe constitutes no interruption or mutation in the Divine consciousness itself; but that the accidents of time
and place belong to the earthly, and occur only in the secondary human consciousness. The sun has no such path in the heavens as to us appears, which is an illusion arising from our own revolutions of place and condition. And so the birth, passion, and other acts of the Son of God in this world of generation, are processes due to the conditions of this world, and to the operations of time, which cause us to apprehend Ideas as States, in chronological sequence and spacial extension. The Son of God in Heaven is immutable in regard to us. He neither descends nor ascends, neither is buried nor rises, neither suffers nor triumphs. All these changes are the result of the procession of perception in the planetary consciousness. (1) The state of Christ is the transcript into the sphere of extensions, of that which, as Principle, is always and absolutely. Had the world been able to apprehend this truth – the metaphysical contingent and corollary of the discovery of the nature of the solar system, – it would have comprehended the esoteric distinction between Christ and Adonai, between, that is, the “Son of Mary” and the Only Begotten Wisdom, and escaped the fatal error of identifying any one human personality, however perfect a representative of the process, with the Divine principle itself. The natural truth would have enabled men to distinguish between the sun as it is in itself in its own sphere, and the sun as it appears to us in our sphere. The idea of the first is that of the Noumenon, Adonai; the idea of the second is that of his human aspect and counterpart, the Christ. They are not two suns, but one sun; yet, though immutable, it appears to us as mutable; though deathless, it appears to us to die. The whole enigma is solved by the right understanding of the fact that the image of the immutable and eternal light – the centre of radiation – projected into our mutable and progressive sphere, intercepted, as it were, in a conditioned medium, becomes subject to conditions, and causes the centre of radiation itself to appear mutable and progressive, so that, without leaving the heavens, or undergoing the least change or interruption of his immutability, Adonai appears on earth as Christ, enacting the drama of the Redemption. Christ completes the evolutionary process of planetary generation,
as Adonai completes the logical procession of Heavenly emanation. The Divine potentiality implicit in the En-soph, culminates and polarises in Adonai. The spirit and soul formulate and manifest their conjunction in Christ, who thus represents the transmutation of principle into state: – the rays of the Noumenon entering and extending and expressing its image through the lens of time.
Not only do the death, burial, and descent of Christ into Hades, renew on an interior and personal plane the immergence of the soul into existence; but they also repeat, in a higher and subtler sense, the drama of the forty days’ fast and exile in the wilderness. For this period of forty days epitomises the ordeals of initiation as practised in the Greek mysteries; (1) and the dissolution, burial, and three days’ abode in Hades, epitomise the heroic and saving oblation of the Man-God.
Regeneration, in the Hebrew mysteries, is symbolised
by the flight from Egypt, the body, and, therefore, land of bondage for the
soul, across the Red Sea into the Wilderness of Sin, the scene of ordeal where
the mystical forty days are expressed in a like term of years. The Redemption is
typified by the passage of the
that is, the Redemption of Spirit from matter, allegorically termed the conversion of the baser metals into gold.
It is not the soul only of the Christ that rises from the Hades of materiality and ascends into Heaven. It is also His glorified body, His rational mind, His regenerate affections. The risen body of Christ Jesus is that reconciled and enlightened human nature which is figured by the outermost of the three measures of meal leavened by Divine grace; and by the third head of the Hadean dog, Cerberus, drawn upward into the light of day by the Solar hero, Herakles. The risen mind and affections of “our Lord” consist in those pure sciences, loves and memories which have been strong and durable enough to reach from earth into Heaven and to become part of the inward man. The merely earthly affections and knowledges of the anima bruta, or exterior selfhood, pass away; its lower passions and memories disintegrate, and with their disintegrating vehicles revert into the all-dissolving crucible of “Hecate” or Chaos. But all true loves abide in the celestial, within the risen and ascended Ego.
Christ Jesus rising and ascending to His Father; Christ Jesus pouring out His virtue and saving grace over all the worlds; Christ Jesus assuming into Heaven His Divine Mother and crowning her beside Him on His throne above the angels, – these are the “Five Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin,” or purified soul of man, which complete its cadence of hopes and griefs and triumphs. For now is the union of Divine and human made absolute. The “Son of Man stands at the right hand of God,” whence, perpetually, “He cometh to judge the living and the dead,” and to discern between the just and the unjust.
In this perfect realised ideal of humanity is man’s supreme standard of right and wrong, of spiritual vitality, of deadness to virtue and grace. The Divine Logos within the human soul is the voice of God searching the “garden” of the human microcosm, and summoning the mind and the affections to judgment.
And not only in the secret place of each man’s consciousness, but in his collective reason and aspiration from age to age throughout all the worlds of ordeal, this Divine voice is heard – at once the earnest of spiritual progress, the immutable censor of human action, and the promise of salvation. And this “day of judgment” will not cease until the worlds of form again return into the bosom of spirit, until states revert to principles, phenomena to Noumena, and the dawn of the eternal Sabbath dissolves into splendour the night of matter and of time.
Credo in Spiritum Sanctum, sanctum Ecclesiam Catholicam
(I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic Church).
Of the two triangles which compose the “Seal of Solomon,” the upper represents
the unmanifest world of pure spirit, and the knowledge
of it was reserved for initiates of a high grade, the elect, or illuminated, and
is the subject of Mysticism; the lower, which represents the manifest universe,
shewing the seven successive Worlds, Stations, or Abodes of the Mundane Soul; and representing the manifest and secondary or derived world of creation or generation.
respectively the Tree of Life and the Tree of
Knowledge. The lower portion of the hexagon, which corresponds to the lower
triangle, is called the “
The Upper Triangle
shewing the nine Fixed Spheres or Abodes of the Gods (Principles or Potencies); and representing the unmanifest and primary world of emanation. Including Malkuth (Actuality), the Figure represents the Sephirotic Tree of Life.
himself up, then woe to the world. In those days murderers and tormentors are born into the world, and the just are taken away from it. Why? Because the man is separated from the woman.”
It is the recognition of this dual character of Nature, and of the spiritual womanhood as the complement and crown of the spiritual manhood, that constitutes the best wisdom and supreme glory of the Catholic Church, and explains her uncompromising hostility to the Order of Freemasonry; for this system represents a perpetuation of the exoteric Judaism, in that it concerns itself exclusively with the lower triangle, and the building of the “Temple of Solomon,” to the exclusion of the upper, the sphere of “the woman,” and the “city which cometh down from Heaven,” the New Jerusalem, or city of God. The whole, from top to bottom, is united by the vertical beam of the cross, called the Tree of Life. The horizontal beam is called the Tree of Knowledge, and the Measuring-rod of Adonai, wherewith the holy city of the Apocalypse is measured.
To the lower triangle belong the lesser mysteries, those of natural evolution. These were set forth in the Eleusinian Mysteries, under the parable of the Rape of Persephone, who represents the world-soul lapsing from the celestial abodes into materiality, and becoming subject to Karma or Fate, personified by Hecate. The abodes of the soul which are in this triangle are seven in number. (See Fig. p. 104.) The abodes of the Gods, which are in the upper, are nine. (See Fig. p. 105.) The lower represents the world of generation; the upper, the world of emanation. Each triangle has a macrocosmic and a microcosmic signification; for all that is in nature is equally in man. So that the “Seal of Solomon” is the epitome and key alike of the universal and of the individual.
It has twelve gates, or meanings, varying according to the plane on which it is
examined. In its broadest signification the upper triangle represents spirit;
the lower, matter. The upper is eternity; the lower, time. The upper is God; the
lower, Nature. The upper is the unmanifest, the
abstract, the uncreate, the
absolute, the primary, the real. The lower is the manifest, the concrete, the create, the relative, the derivative, the reflect. The
upper is Heaven,
has its ultimate source. This Spirit is Intelligence. And it is through it that the signs of the Divine Thought repeat themselves anew in all the successive worlds, so that all that is, whether in Heaven or upon earth, shews itself as the expression of one design.”
In the Divine Intelligence, Binah, are comprehended the seven Elohim, or Spirits of God. These form two processions of principles, respectively masculine and feminine, which, with the three Persons of the First Trinity [Kether, Chokhmah, and Binah], constitute the ten Sephiroth or Divine emanations of the En-Soph or Original Being. The right-hand side of the upper triangle represents the masculine principle, Kabalistically called Jachin, and the left the feminine, called Boaz, the entire triangle constituting the Adam Kadmon, or archetypal man, and in the lower triangle becoming Adam and Eve.
The Kabalistic name of the tenth Sephirah, which is represented by the base of the upper triangle, is Malkuth, which, in its highest aspect, implies the Church as Bride or Spouse of the Holy Spirit, and from its reflection of the Divine, on the upper side, is called the Moon, and also the Mirror. On the lower side Malkuth represents the Hadean sphere, the sphere of souls who, being still bound by the lower elements, are said to be “in prison,” and “beneath the altar of God.” Thus the upper portion of the hexagon denotes the Church celestial and triumphant; the lower portion denotes the Church militant; and the part of the triangle subtending this, the Church suffering or “in purgatory.”
This tenth Sephirah, or Malkuth,
is called also the Kingdom. It really means the soul, in all her aspects,
universal and individual. As the ideal Kingdom, or
To this “Queen” the Holy Spirit is “King.” Both are comprehended in, and emanate from, the En-Soph, or original Being – the Spirit as thinking, the soul as the thought.
The Hermetic or Egyptian, and the Greek presentations of
these Arcana are so
completely in accord with the Hebrew that it is impossible to give the
preference to either as that from which Catholic mystic theology has been drawn.
The Greek mysteries are twofold, the greater and the lesser, and represent
respectively the secrets of the upper triangle with the distribution of spirit
into psychic life, and the passage of the soul throughout the Hadean spheres, or
worlds of generation and evolution. And the catacombs of
The story of Noah or Noe, a term identical with Nous, mind, is a Dionysian or Bacchic myth. The wine of which Noah is represented as the first maker corresponds with the “new wine of Dionysus” who, as the God of the planet, sheds his spirit, or “blood” for mankind, and is called the “Saviour of Men” the “Only Begotten,” the “Twice-born.” His nativity corresponded with that of the sun, and hence with that of Christ. And it was in His honour as the “Wine-God” or Supreme Spirit of Earth, that the berry and the ivy were first used in celebration of the birth of the new year. Bacchus means berry.
In short, in the “Orgies” of this God, whose mystic name is Iacchos, is revealed, in a series of figures, the entire arcanum relating to the clauses of the creed under consideration, namely, the emanation of the Holy Spirit into the lower worlds, and the distribution throughout existence of the higher Reason, represented by Noah, as the planter of the Vine, or holy life within the soul. And these mysteries are complemented and completed by those of Demeter, which rehearse the descent into Matter of Persephone, the Psyche or Soul, by which mysteries are exhibited the evolution and progression throughout the various planes and modes of existence, of the individual conscious Ego, until, perfected through suffering or experience, it is finally released from matter, and returns to its celestial abode.
The lower triangle is divided by the cross-lines of the trees of Life and Knowledge, and by the base of the upper triangle, into seven stations or worlds, denoting the abodes of the soul in the mundane or objective universe. These abodes are distributed on two lines, the first descending, the second ascending, the whole series constituting the Kabalistic “Ladder of Jacob.” The out-going or descending line is centrifugal, the in-coming or ascending line is centripetal. The whole of the right section of the triangle – that on the beholder’s left – is the station of the masculine element, or “Adam”; the left is that of the feminine, or “Eve.”
As the upper triangle, synthetically considered, represents the Holy Spirit, or light of the celestial sun – the Divine
Intelligence, “Binah” – so the lower, similarly
considered, is the Catholic Church, which reflects this sun, and hence is
denominated the moon, and Malkuth, the Kingdom. But in
this, its plural form, Malkuth has a dual
signification. In the upper triangle it is the last of the ten Sephiroth, and
Kabalah accords a prominent place to what are called
the seven kings of
or planetary worlds through which the soul must
pass in order to attain perfection, and so become “
These kings of
The Bible says that Esau is
At its base this ladder touches the ground, and the angels
on it denote souls descending into incarnation, even, as the Kabalah says, to the lowest degree of the universe – matter at its nethermost point – and ascending again to Heaven. At the foot of this ladder at night Jacob, the pilgrim-soul, lies asleep, having for pillar a stone, symbol of matter at the point reached. As the place of the greatest darkness and division from God, the spot is called Luza, or separation. Nevertheless, the soul knows that it is the turning-point of her pilgrimage, and that henceforth her journey is upwards and “eastwards.” She perceives that even in the lowest abyss of matter there is no real separation from the Divine presence and life; and in the very Valley of the Shadow of Death the “Rod and the Staff” – the Trees of Life and of Knowledge, which are the Cross of Christ – comfort and support her. Hence the exclamation of Jacob on awaking, “Indeed, the Lord is in this place. It is none other than the house of God and the gate of Heaven. And he called its name Beth-El, which before was Luza.”
The secret doctrine which alone can glorify and transfigure this gloomy abode – the material world – and convert Luza into Beth-El, is that of which the whole Bible is an exposition, and upon which, from the beginning, all the great religions of East and West have been built – the doctrine of the Gilgal Neschamoth, or the transmigration and progression of souls.
The name Jacob is the same as Iacchos, the mystic name
of Bacchus. And Iacchos is the god of Ordeal or Trial,
the leader of fugitive and pilgrim hosts, and genius of the planetary sphere.
Also the term Jacob has an occult reference to the sole of the foot, the organ
of locomotion, and the foot-bone was a prominent symbol in the
mysteries. In many of the ancient mysteries a ladder, having seven steps or
gates, was used to denote the seven stages of the soul’s progress through the
world of materiality. Both the Egyptian and Hebrew mysteries
shew an eighth and final gate above these belonging to the celestial triangle.
This, in Genesis, is called “Phanuel,” which signifies
the vision of God face to face. Attaining to this, Jacob becomes
The Greek mysteries represent existence by the river Styx, the “daughter” of
Oceanus, or water of eternity, and by some called “mother” of Persephone, or the
soul, as the vehicle whereby she is borne down into the under-world and carried
from mansion to mansion of the dark abodes. In representing the
which derives existence from the tenth Sephirah, Malkuth. Seven circuits
are made by the
The seven stages of existence constitute a planetary chain, the term planetary signifying wandering. The abodes of the gods, which belong to the upper triangle, are nine in number, and are called the Fixed Spheres, being Divine and immutable. Of the planetary stations or worlds, four are subtle and three are gross. Of the subtle, three are on the descending stream, one on the ascending. The seven are, respectively, the ethereal, the elemental, the gaseous, the mineral, the vegetable, the animal, and the human. They are not localities but conditions, and in the soul’s passage none is left behind, but all are taken up with her into man, one being put on, as it were, after another, and the whole being comprised in the perfected individual. For all have part in the evolution of the consciousness. This is single until the lowest or mineral is reached, which lies at the foot of the tree or ladder of life. Here occurs the “deep sleep” of “Adam,” as also of Jacob; the consciousness, still single and therefore not involving self-consciousness, having in this grossest mode of matter attained its minimum. From this point commences that reduplication or reflection of the consciousness by which it gradually passes into the consciousness of Self and of God.
This commencement occurs in the fifth station, the world of vegetable nature. Here, first, the soul becomes gathered up and formulated into a distinct individuality. For here the influence of the upper triangle, the intersection of which with the lower constitutes the station, first makes itself felt. Hence the idea of the family begins to be evolved; birth, marriage, and death occur, through the awakening of a sympathetic consciousness, responsive to the elements, but not as yet to thought or sensation, and their various modes, such as love and sorrow. These attributes dawn only in the sixth world, that of animal existence, and in this world it is that the capacity for “sin”
originates, and “sin” first becomes possible.
For so long as the individual has only the simple consciousness of rudimentary
nature, he knows no will but the Divine Will expressed in natural law, and there
is for him no better or worse, but all is good. “Adam,” while yet alone, cannot
be tempted, cannot sin, for mere mind cannot sin; only the soul can sin. It is
by the advent or manifestation of “Eve” that is the knowledge of good and evil;
and it is to her, not to Adam, that the tempter, when at length he makes his
appearance, addresses his beguilements. The sin of Eve is not in the “eating of
the apple” herself, but in the giving of it to Adam, since this constitutes a
retrogression on the path of evolution, in that it refers the polaric point, or One Life, which is
in the soul, backward and downward, to the lower reason. For sin consists in a
voluntary retrogression from the higher to the lower. The “serpent” which tempts
to this is the astral or magnetic self, which, recognising
matter only, mistakes the illusory for the substantial. Yielding to this, the
soul falls under the power of the lower nature, or Adam; “her desire is unto
him, and he rules over her.” Like
Even in the sixth station, the last of the gross and concrete worlds, and which corresponds to the sixth creative “day” of Genesis, man is still but man in the making. To attain to the “measure and stature of Christ,” and from man potential become man actual and perfect, he must enter upon the seventh and last world of Kabalistic evolution, the topmost round of the Ladder of Jacob, which is the very threshold of the Divine. As in the primordial world are found the initial duad, Prakriti and Purusha, matter and force, irresponsible, undifferentiate, possessed of only the simple consciousness of law-abiding nature, so in this seventh round of perfected humanity are found the ultimate duad, man and woman, or renewed Adam and Eve, mind and soul. This is the world of the demigods and heroes of Greek myth, of the saints of Christendom, of the Buddhas of the Orient. Here man
is no more merely a superior animal; the nature of the beast is expunged; new and more subtle senses replace the old; Divine illumination and transcendent knowledge have closed the avenues of passion and sin. And beneath lies the head of the deceiving serpent, crushed under the foot of the rehabilitated soul, the new Eve. This is the first Nirvana, or Resurrection.
But one step more, and the second Nirvana is reached. “Phanuel”
is attained, and “
In the previous discourse have been described the sevenfold cycles of the Stygian River, and the nature of the worlds which the tide of existence successively involves in its current. Step by step has been followed Persephone, the Mundane Soul, from the point of her descent into material generation, until she has finally emerged from the dark abodes of Hades, a crowned queen, into the upper day. But the lower triangle of the Seal of Solomon, wherein all these processes are symbolised, has a microcosmic as well as a macrocosmic interpretation. Thus far has been traced the evolution of the world-soul on the nature-plane, passing from kingdom to kingdom, constantly gathering enhanced power, faculties, and individuality. A grand system is that which has been thus unfolded – a system replete with order and reason, opening up vistas of splendid possibility, and widening indefinitely the scope of the soul’s past and future; but, withal, only a brilliant panorama of Nature’s progress; only a system of occult philosophy; not a religion made for the spirit of man; not a Divine message speaking to his inmost heart.
In the interpretation of the microcosmic aspect of the lower triangle we leave the plane of Nature and sphere of Occultism, and enter the universe of the Human Soul – the region with which
the mystic is chiefly concerned. For the
Like the worlds of the macrocosmic aspect of the lower triangle, the stations of the microcosmic are seven in number. These represent so many successive states of the interior evolution of the human soul; and are connected with each other by six intermediaries, representing the soul’s transitions from one station to another. Each station is a specific act of the soul, marking a stage definitively attained and achieved. The intermediaries are links, denoting the passage from one to another of these acts. And all are aspects of the life “of Christ Jesus” which life is the summary of the interior life of the saintly soul.
To the phenomenal and historical elements of religion Mysticism is altogether indifferent, since it regards these as but the vehicle and formulae of spiritual truths. Mysticism is thus wholly unaffected by historical or scientific criticism. Hence its divergence from conventional orthodoxy. The conventionalist adores the material bread and wine of the Sacrament. The mystic regards these as but symbols, and worships the true, because spiritual, Body and Blood of “the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.”
But though thus raised above the necessity of paying heed to the historical and externals of Christian doctrine, Mysticism holds that doctrine in itself to be absolutely necessary, immutable, and true, and essential to the interpretation of the spiritual history of man, and constituting an unimpeachable testimony to the perfect reasonableness and beauty of the religious life. For, the evolution of the universe in man, which it is the province of Mysticism to interpret, is a precise parallel to the evolution of the universe in Nature, which it is the province of Occultism to interpret; because, as according to the Hermetic axiom, “Great and small, lower and upper, outer and inner, have but one law.”
As, then, we have hitherto followed the footsteps of Persephone, the Mundane Soul, and seen her evolving consciousness after consciousness in the seven successive abodes of the lower world;
so now we follow the footsteps of Mary, the Human Soul, associated with the Acts – which are by intention and participation hers also – of her Divine Offspring and Lord, the Christ. For Christ is the Child of the Soul, conceived through the co-operation of her obedient free-will with the Divine Spirit. Every sacrifice made by the Christ is likewise hers; and in and through her He labours and suffers and gives Himself to God for man. Therefore every station of the office called the “Way of the Cross” is, by the Church, accompanied by an invocation to her whose gift He is to mankind. Every grace and profit which we receive from Christ comes to us through this mystical Virgin; and therefore it is that in contemplating the Acts of Christ, the Church always represents His Mother as present, and in every one of the Mysteries of the Divine life invokes and glorifies her. Not to do this, but to omit or ignore “Mary” would be to treat the man apart from his soul.
The first and last of the Nine Gates or Abodes of the macrocosm correspond, in
the microcosm, to the Rex and
“Behold, thou shalt conceive and bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus.
“He shall be great, and shall be the Son of the Most High: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David His father.
“And He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.”
We come to the Seven Stations of the human soul. The first, which corresponds to the first world or birth of the mundane soul on the natural plane, is that of the Nativity of Christ, or kindling of the Divine spark within the soul. This is represented as occurring at midnight, in a cave; for the period is that of the soul’s silence and abstraction, and withdrawal from the external world; and the place is the inmost recess of her selfhood, hidden beneath the intellectual plane and its operations. He is “wrapped in swaddling clothes,” like the soul herself in matter, because enclosed and held fast in her, and veiled in symbols and
types, being in Himself unutterable; and He is “laid in a manger in token of the deep humility of the saintly heart.
The intermediary succeeding this first station is called the “Flight into
The second station, that of the Baptism, is the second degree of initiation, and occurs at the mystical age of thirty years – a period having no reference to time, but depending on attainments – the age of spiritual manhood. Not the heart only but the mind also now is divinely illuminated. The intellect, personified by John the Baptist, apprehends the Son of God, consecrates Him, and hails Him as Redeemer and Christ. The intellect is not the Light, but bears witness to the Light. And the Light is before all things, being in the Principium with God. But in the world the intellect is first manifested, and by it the Christ is recognised. It is the “voice crying in the wilderness” of the mere mind of man. “He that shall be manifest after me is preferred before me.” For though the mind is not the highest and inmost principle of the regenerate nature, it is by means of it that the Divine is apprehended. Evolution is from lower to higher, wherefore it is necessary to be developed intellectually before we can comprehend and intelligently receive spiritual truth. The faith of the mystic must be according to knowledge, and not the product of mechanical assent or ignorant fervour, which can give no rational and well-grounded account of themselves. The place of this second station in the Seal of Solomon is, therefore, on the right arm of the Tree of Knowledge.
But the spiritual manhood, when thus achieved, must be put to the test. Hence, the next intermediary represents the Temptation, or ordeal, in the wilderness, wherein the appetites, desires, and will, or sense, mind, and heart, are in turn tried. For the initiate, to be regenerate and entitled to the rank and name of “Jesus” must be proof against temptation in all parts of his nature.
The third station, which occurs at the intersection of the base of the upper triangle with the descending or right side of the lower, is that of the “Crucifixion.” By this is symbolised the complete surrender to God of the whole personality of the postulant.
It marks the attainment of the third degree of initiation, when, as well as the mind and heart, the body also is penetrated by grace and “bears the marks of the Lord.”
The Christ is now “lifted up from the earth,” or corporeal nature. For the Crucifixion is the Great Renunciation, and hence is called the Oblation of Christ Jesus. The “Five Wounds of the Cross” are the stigmata which denote the victory over and regeneration of the five senses, which now become polarised to a higher and more interior plane, enabling the man to have cognisance of Divine things. This act is the consummation of initiation as regards the rational humanity. Hence the exclamation “Consummatum est” ascribed to Jesus at this point. The “Death,” which follows, signifies the total dissolution indispensable to reconstitution on the higher plane, or transmutation into the Divine state. This complete dissolution and disintegration of the natural man liberates the Divine in him, and sets him free to manifest his Godhead. This is the nethermost station, the downward pointing apex of the lower triangle, the foot of the Tree of Life. The side descending on the right to this point is the line of sorrow and suffering. The side which ascends from it on the left is the line of joy and triumph. The Greeks represented the Styx, or River of Existence, on attaining this turning point, as bringing forth four children, which are respectively Zeal, Victory, Fortitude, and Power; which, united with the heavenly powers, overcome the Titans, or elemental forces of Nature, who, until thus subdued, are themselves the gods of man unregenerate, the rivals and foes of the Divine. The conqueror of these “giants” is Pallas Athene, the “Queen of the Air,” who represents the counterpart in the superior human reason of the Divine Logos. She is the virgin or pure reason of things mundane.
The portion of the lower triangle which lies altogether below the upper
represents the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and to it belong the three stages
of the soul’s death, burial, and sojourn in Hades. Passing upwards from this
valley on her way to “
junction of the two natures invests the manhood with Godhead, and demonstrates man, when regenerate, to be the son of God; as Paul says again, “God raising up Jesus from the dead fulfils the saying in the second Psalm, Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee” (Acts xiii. 33).
This act of the Resurrection is thus the seal of the spiritual initiation, the manifestation of the fourth and Divine element of the human system. The reintegration and reconstitution of the human selfhood according to the heavenly pattern is now complete. The Alchemic gold issues purged and resplendent from the fiery furnace, in which its constituent elements have been dissolved, segregated, sublimed, and repolarised. “And the form of the fourth is as the Son of God.” The day on which this resurrection occurs is the “Lord’s day,” a day of triumphant rejoicing, as distinguished from the Sabbath, or day of rest.
The intermediary which follows is the forty days’ sojourn on earth, a transition period corresponding to the forty days’ fast in the wilderness, its counterpart on the descending line of the triangle. But though the accord between the Divine and human wills is complete, and the Skekinah within the man is unveiled and all his tabernacle filled with the glory of God, he is still “upon earth”; he has not yet “ascended to his Father.” By this is to be understood that though the final degree of initiation is attained, and the man is perfected in his own interior selfhood, and at one with the God within, he has yet to rise into union with the God without – the universal God, the macrocosmic, omnipresent Divinity – and blend his individual light with the pure white light of the Supreme. Thus, as in the Mystery of the Resurrection God is glorified in the Son of Man, so in the Mystery of the Ascension the Son of Man is glorified in God. “For the Father is greater than the Son.”
Between the sixth and seventh mansions of the Perfect Life is the intermediary of glorification in Heaven, a state of perfect repose rather than of transition, when having transcended the condition of knowing, the soul has passed into being, and is all that which she formerly knew she had it in her to become. Then is the Seventh Gate, or station, manifested, the “Descent of the Holy Ghost,” or the outflow of the effectual merits of the saintly soul into the “world of causes.” For, in a mystical manner the ascended soul becomes herself creative, and renews the face of the earth. And, in their degree, the merits of the saint are
efficacious for the redemption of the world, his will being united to the Divine will, so that the spirit poured out from the perfected soul is no other than the very Spirit of God.
Therefore, in the seventh mansion of the holy life is beheld the ascended man, become, as it were, a point of radiate grace, renovating the worlds by the effulgence of the One Life abiding in him. Released himself from the bonds of Form and Time, he now appears as the cause of release to others. The Spirit which proceeds, through and from him, breathes renewal upon the desolate places of earth; and so the merits of the just made perfect become to the world moral destinies and determinative energies, working its purification and deliverance. Thus is completed the Apotheosis of the human Ego, with its four degrees of initiation and its sevenfold gates of grace, dramatised in the Acts of our Lord on earth.
Finally, quitting altogether the plane of the lower triangle, we reach the second of the Divine Abodes, the supreme and ultimate Act of the Christ in the heavenly kingdom. It is the Mystery of the Last Judgment. In the first of these Abodes, the Annunciation, we beheld the Divine intention projecting the drama of the great work, the work of Redemption. In the second, the Last Judgment, the work consummated is reviewed and weighed in the Celestial Balance, the Idea and the Realisation are poised face to face, having on one side the Angel Gabriel, with his lily; on the other Michael, with his trumpet and sword. Here the Virgin kneels in humility and obedient expectation; there her Son appears upon His throne, victorious and glorified, judging the living and the dead.
Through this Gate of Judgment all the acts and works of the saint must pass.
Nothing can abide in the Principium which is not wholly Divine.
The Idea of God in the Annunciation is the Alpha, of which the Realisation in the Judgment and consequent Assumption is the
Omega. They are the Kabalistic Rex and
EXPOSITION VII (1)
(The Communion of Saints).
The series of papers on the Creed read before the Society last year expounded on an interior and mystical plane the dogmas of the Christian faith, shewing that a right belief in them is necessary to salvation, and that only by realising in the acts of the soul the acts of the Christ can theology be made an applied science and a means of grace. Step by step has been followed the nine great events of Christ’s office as Redeemer and Lord, beginning with the Annunciation and ending with the Last Judgment, all these Stations and their Intermediaries being shewn to represent so many stages of inward progress and evolution in the saintly life.
This spiritual method of interpretation has always been adopted by the mystics of the Church, with the result that faith became to them knowledge, that tradition was converted into experience, and that, apprehending Christ according to the spirit, they themselves were baptized with His baptism, drank of His cup, and ascended with Him in heart and mind into the Heavenly Kingdom of the inner life.
The ninth article of the Apostles’ Creed, the Communion of Saints, interpreted on the same lines, is one of the highest importance and interest, constituting the bond subsisting between the Church visible and invisible, and implied in the interunion and inseparability of the upper and lower triangles of the sacred Hexagram, or, “Seal of Solomon” which – referred to this plane – symbolises the eternal abiding of the Holy Ghost within and upon the Church, the indissoluble union of the Divine and human natures, and, hence, the complement and perfectionment of earthly and material existence by the immanence of the world eternal and effulgent.
The Church, as thus symbolised, has three divisions, the celestial, the terrestrial, and the purgatorial; or souls in beatitude, souls in conflict, and souls in penance, or “in prison.” The upper or celestial Church comprises, first, all just men made perfect, the spirits and souls of the righteous, who have attained the Ascension of Christ and passed into the rest of the Lord;
and next above this part, all angels, thrones, principalities, dominions, and powers, belonging to the generation of the Gods or emanations, the cherubim, seraphim, and sephiroth; and, lastly, at the very apex, the Godhead itself. These are the three divisions of the upper triangle.
The lower triangle, which represents the Church terrestrial, comprises, reckoning from above downwards, first, the whole body of the elect upon earth who are instructed in the mysteries of Christ, and included in the dispensation of the Cross; next, all those who, being of any nation or creed whatsoever, have attained to the knowledge of these mysteries by inward initiation, but are not in open communion with the visible Church. Lastly, in the region, or condition, denoted by the nethermost section of the lower triangle, are the souls in prison, those who, not having yet attained to the consciousness of things spiritual, are in a state, not of grace, but of sin, and are undergoing the experience and purgation necessary for their salvation.
The Communion of Saints is the bond of solidarity by which all these divisions of the Church universal are held together and sustain each other by mutual charity. Christian doctrine insists that no man liveth or dieth to himself alone. The merits of the saintly are so many prayers applicable to the souls of all who desire aid and liberation. The oblation of Christ extends to all who exemplify and participate in Christ; and every such soul, according to its degree, becomes a fountain of grace flowing forth upon the world in benign spiritual effluences, a vehicle for the transmission of the Divine light and life which are of Christ. The just are thus fitly compared to the moon and the planets in the firmament of heaven, enlightening the earth by virtue of the reflected and duplicated glory which they derive from the central sun; and every holy and wise man is a distinct gain to the world.
These Divine occult influences are attracted especially to souls in affinity with them, the set of whose tendency is in the same direction, and who are united in intention with the particular energy which they dispense. The merits of a St Francis of Assisi may peculiarly encourage one; the victory of a St Mary Magdalene, or a St Agnes, another; one may gather strength and light through the influence of some quiet and humble type of holiness; and another through the overshadowing of a St George, a St Michael, or the bold prophet who was a voice crying in the wilderness. Not that the grace thus conveyed is
necessarily derived through those who have been recognised and canonised by the Church. Even these are themselves but representative groups of valiant and victorious spirits forming as many constellations in the mystical firmament as there are phases of virtue and of grace, and focal points of heavenly effulgence, to the formation of which all ages and religions have contributed. A Hermes, a Buddha, a Pythagoras, a Socrates, a Daniel, a Hypatia, a Joan of Arc, each in his place and degree, not merely leaves a trail of glittering radiance across our heaven as he passes on his way to join the host triumphant, but continues evermore as a positive, actual, energising potency to reinforce and sustain the stream of his influence.
There is no force but will force, and prayer is the most potent, subtle, and concentrated form of will force, and when exercised by souls whose whole energy is polarised and focussed upon its employment, attains its highest efficacy. The fervent prayer of the saint, therefore, avails much. His intention, united to the Divine will, becomes a miracle-working power. Not that natural law is arrested or suspended by it, but that it constitutes a higher activity of natural law, precisely as magnetic attraction constitutes a higher activity than that manifested in gravitation. To exercise such a force in its supremest mode, the mental and psychic energies must be restrained from being dissipated in the world, and assiduously cultivated and enhanced by means of seclusion and religious contemplation. Where the active energy of the individual is concentrated in a polaric cumulus, this becomes, as it were, a radiant point, emitting light and force of a peculiar and miraculous order. Such is the saint, who, whether dwelling on earth or departed from it, is a fountain of grace, and centre of vitalising power, dispensing Divine energy to mankind.
The commonwealth of the Church is a commonwealth of prayers, of good works, of sacramental grace, of meritorious acts. The members of Christ’s body can do nothing alone. All pray and act for others and in the name of all, not vicariously, as substitutes one for another, for that would be subversive of justice; but eucharistically, by a communication of blessing and grace. In this manner souls profit one another, and give and receive benediction and help, both among the living and the departed. Not with lamentations and bewailings, then, should we celebrate our dead, for these detain and disturb; but with prayers and oblations and acts of Divine union performed on their behalf,
earnestly desiring for them consolation and at-one-ment with God. For the death of the body is no barrier between soul and soul. Love does not die of death.
Such is one aspect of the Communion of Saints, in its relation to the threefold Church in the worlds of time and of eternity. But the saint has also special relations to God and to other saints. These are phases of the doctrine which are familiar to mystics both of East and West. The Communion of Saints with God consists in the relation held by the holy soul to heavenly environment. The status of any particular soul is determined by the capacity it develops for correspondence with its environment. The more circumscribed this correspondence, the lower the rank of the soul in the economy of the universe; the fuller this correspondence, the higher is that rank. The unspiritual man corresponds to the limited environment of the outer and lower world only, and is unable to recognise aught beyond this. In relation to all wider and higher environment he is dead. As for a creature without eyes light and beauty exist not, so for a man without spiritual perception the spiritual world and the revelation of the Divine are not. “To be carnally minded is death.” But when the soul rises into spiritual correspondence and develops a cognition and experience of Divine environment, it attains the communion which relates it immediately to God, – the Communion of Saints. In this holy condition all forms and modes of knowing are lost in actual union with the Divine. The highest of all attainments is to transcend knowing by being; to exchange the consciousness of outer things for that of the inner essence, and so to merge the finite selfhood of the man in the infinite selfhood of Deity, as to realise experientially the words of the Athanasian Creed, “One by the taking of the manhood into God.” For the Communion of Saints and their conversation are in Heaven; the environment to which they respond is the Infinite Pleroma; the bonds of the limited selfhood are broken, and emancipation and apotheosis attained. God is the environment of the saint.
The communion of the saints with one another follows from their communion with God. They have all things in common because all that they have is God. At the topmost pinnacle of the pyramid of the religious life there is a single stone only, and that stone is Divine Love. This is the central point of the universe towards which all paths converge. Holy souls journey thither by many roads, but all are pilgrims to the self-same shrine. The last utterance of the saintly life, the final aspiration
of the saintly heart, is always one whether we seek it in Vedanta, in Islam, in Hermetic
illumination, or in Catholic mysticism. The Alexandrian
It is through the Poverty of spirit spoken of in the Beatitudes that this union is attained. As says a mystic of the Sufis, “Poverty is the treasure of the saints. For, until a man has stripped himself absolutely of all externals, of all sensory and illusory feelings and knowledges, he cannot possess the wealth of the interior and hidden excellence. Union with God is impossible in its completeness, so long as anything remains to the aspirant that hinders the immergence of the soul in the Divine Selfhood.” “The secret of the mystic,” says St Dionysius, “is the secret of taking away; the path of the holy soul is the via negativa.” And in the Upanishads we read: “Thrice let the saint say, ‘I have renounced all.’“
It was a Moslem Sufi who wrote the following exquisite apologue: “One knocked at
the door of the Beloved’s house, and a voice from within said, ‘Who is there?’
The lover answered, ‘It is
Truth, as the Saint knows it, is wholly spiritual. For he perceives the primary where others behold only the secondary. He recognises the supreme verity that the real and absolute knows no past, and that salvation is independent of catastrophes. The primary in the Divine Intention is ever the spiritual, and of this the phenomenal and temporary is but the vehicle or
dispensational mode. The first in time must be taken away that the last may be established. The reality of God cannot be confined or expressed within any definite personae or series of events. It transcends all presentations, whether of thought or life. For the soul, her ideal is equally true, whether yet realised or not. The Divine Incarnation, to be a manifestation of the Infinite, must consist in an endless progression. When man has wearied himself to despair in futile endeavours to seize and fix truth on the plane of sense and fact, if he be worthy and faithful God reveals to him the higher plane of the noumenal and Divine, where alone truth eternally abides. Then he perceives the things he had formerly regarded as essential to be sacramental only, an elemental veil, preserving and concealing from vulgar touch and taste the true and adorable Body and Blood of the Lord. For, indeed, all religious formulas and functions are sacramental; all theologic knowledges, relative. The Church on earth is the great Mystagogue, unfolding in images the wisdom that is hidden. And only when the inward and spiritual grace is attained is the outward and visible sign known for what it is worth. According to the Moslem mystics, all the religions of the world are the selfsame wine in different glasses. Poured by God into one mighty chalice, they then become indistinguishable.
To find this interior and only truth, to realise Christ in the soul, to crucify the human will, to burn up all earthly passion in the fire of Divine love, to rise into newness of life, to ascend up beyond all heavens, and to abide in the secret place of God, – these Divine operations are indispensable for the mystic and the saint; this process the sole means to the goal of all aspiration – union with God. In this transcendent love for God the love of the brethren is enfolded and embosomed. The saint has communion with the Church in Heaven and on earth, because he has communion with God.
(94:1) Abstract, by Edward Maitland, of the Lecture given by Anna Kingsford, on the 12th June 1884, to the Hermetic Society, and published in Light, 21st June 1884, p. 254, where it is stated that “The discourse, which occupied an hour in delivery, dealt with the origin, symbolisation, and interpretation, of religious doctrine in general, and the esoteric significance of the opening clause of the Creed in particular, shewing in a profoundly metaphysical disquisition the fallacy involved in the conventional anthropomorphic conception of Deity, and the necessity to a rational system of thought of a substratum to the universe which is at once intelligent and personal, though in a sense differing from that which is ordinarily implied by the term; the Divine personality being that, not of outward form, but of essential consciousness; and creation, which is manifestation, being due, not to action from without, but to the perpetual Divine presence and operation from within: ‘God the Father’ being, in the esoteric and true sense, the original, undifferentiated Life and Substance of the universe, but not limited by the universe, and Himself the potentiality of all things.” The Report also states that at the close of the Lecture Anna Kingsford “gave some account of the method of illumination whereby Divine knowledges are obtained, and said that recent conversations with properly instructed initiates from the East had convinced her of the identity of the religious systems of the East and the West.” – S.H.H.
(95:1) Thus, speaking of the Greek Trismegistic literature, Mr. G.R.S. Mead says: “The theory of plagiarism from Christianity must for ever be abandoned.” “The Church Fathers appealed to the authority of antiquity and to a tradition that had never been called in question, in order to shew that they taught nothing fundamentally new – that, in brief, they taught on main points what Hermes had taught. They lived in days too proximate to that tradition to have ventured on bringing any charge of plagiarism and forgery against it without exposing themselves to a crushing rejoinder from men who were still the hearers of its ‘living voice’ and possessors of its ‘written word.’
“The scholars of the Renaissance naturally followed the unvarying tradition of antiquity, confirmed by the Fathers of the Church.
“Gradually, however, it was perceived that, if the old tradition were accepted, the fundamental originality of general Christian doctrines – that is to say, the philosophical basis of the Faith, as apart from the historical dogmas peculiar to it – could no longer be maintained. It, therefore, became necessary to discredit the ancient tradition by every possible means.” (Hermes Trismegistus, Vol. I. pp. 43 and 45-46.) – S.H.H.
(96:1) Abstract, by Edward Maitland, of the Lecture given by Anna Kingsford, on the 19th June 1884, to the Hermetic Society, and published in Light, 28th June 1884, p. 265, where it is stated that “the paper was followed by a conversation of unusual interest, in which a large number of Fellows and visitors took part, the chief point of discussion being the extent to which the Gospel narratives represent an actual personal history, and the degree of importance belonging to an historical personality, if one existed.” – S.H.H.
(98:1) See further on this subject Anna Kingsford’s Illumination “Concerning the Christian Mysteries” (Clothed with the Sun, Pt. I, No. XLVIII.). – S.H.H.
(98:2) Abstract, by Edward Maitland, of the Lecture given by Anna Kingsford, on the 10th July 1884, to the Hermetic Society, and published in Light, 19th July 1884, pp. 294-295. – S.H.H.
(98:3) The Fifteen Mysteries of the Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary are as follows: –
(a) The Five Joyful Mysteries:
1. The Annunciation or Angelical Salutation.
2. The Visitation.
3. The Birth of our Saviour
Jesus Christ in
4. The Presentation of our Blessed Lord in the
5. The Finding of the Child Jesus in the
(b) The Five Dolorous or Sorrowful Mysteries:
1. The Prayer and Bloody Sweat of our Blessed Saviour in the Garden.
2. The Scourging of our Blessed Lord at the Pillar.
3. The Crowning of our Blessed Saviour with Thorns.
4. Jesus Carrying his Cross.
5. The Crucifixion and Death of our Lord.
(c) The Five Glorious Mysteries:
1. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
2. The Ascension of Jesus Christ into Heaven.
3. The Descent of the Holy Ghost on the Blessed Virgin and the Apostles.
4. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven.
5. The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Heaven and the Glory of all the Saints. – S.H.H.
(99:1) See Frontispiece.
(101:1) The word “Planet” signifies “Wanderer.” “All the worlds of Generation,” says Anna Kingsford, “are scenes of Pilgrimage or of Wandering. (...) A Planet, in occult phrase, is, therefore, nothing more nor less than a Station. The Soul passes from one to the other through the whole chain of seven Worlds (or Stations) in order” (Life of A.K., Vol. II, p. 182, and see Illustration opposite p. 104, post.). – S.H.H.
(102:1) The report states that “Numerous Instances were
given in proof of the identity subsisting between the Hebrew and Greek modes of
thought in regard to the occult side of existence, demonstrating their common
origin in an universal gnosis, and correcting, therefore, the mistake made
hitherto by scholars in regarding the Greek and Jewish systems as distinct from,
and incompatible with, each other. And the New Testament was shewn as applying
to the individual, spiritual processes represented in the Old as occurring to
(104:1) Abstract, by Edward Maitland, of the Lecture given by Anna Kingsford, on the 17th July 1884, to the Hermetic Society, and published in Light, 26th July 1884, pp. 302-303. The Chapter in The Life of Anna Kingsford giving some of Anna Kingsford’s “Meditations on the Mysteries” throws considerable further light on the very profound subjects dealt with in this and the two following Lectures. (See Life of Anna Kingsford, Vol. II, pp. 173-184.) – S.H.H.
(109:1) Abstract, by Edward Maitland, of the Lecture given by Anna Kingsford, on the 24th July 1884, to the Hermetic Society (in continuation of the last Lecture), and published in Light, 2nd August 1884, pp. 313-314.
(114:1) Abstract, by Edward Maitland, of the Lecture given by Anna Kingsford, on the 31st July 1884, to the Hermetic Society (in continuation of the last Lecture), and published in Light, 16th August 1884, pp. 333-334.
(121:1) Abstract, by Edward Maitland, of the Lecture given by Anna Kingsford, on the 1st July 1885, to the Hermetic Society, and published in Light, 11th July 1885, pp. 330-331.