THE FIRST AND LAST OF THE GODS
A VISIT paid by Lady
The use made of these books was also curious. It was not so much that we obtained occult knowledge directly from them, but that they served to open fresh avenues in our minds, by
which fresh knowledges came to us, some of which, indeed, proved to be by no means in accordance with them, but seemed rather to have been suggested by them. Thus, on our dissenting from Boehme’s view of the Christ as differing in kind from other men, and not in degree only and stage of unfoldment, Mary received a momentary waking vision of the process of the gradual perfectionment of the Christ through suffering or experience, accompanied by the words, spoken audibly to her, “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into His glory?” This was a new reading to us, but on searching we found it to be that of the Douay Version. The clue having been given, the vision and the voice departed, and we sought out the parallel and confirmatory passages, the chief of which are Ps. IIII; Heb. II, 10 and V, 7-9; I Pet. IV, 1; 2 Cor. XIII, 4, and the parable of the Prodigal Son, which we were constrained to regard as an epitome of the history of every soul whatever which finally attains to perfection, not excepting Him who becomes a Christ.
The reading of Eliphas Levi, as already stated, was the first disclosure to me of the supreme importance attached to our especial illuminator, Hermes, by all students of spiritual science of the past. And my delight was unbounded when, on the morning of September 26, I found that he had taken advantage of the opening of my mind concerning him to give Mary the following account of himself and his office, which proved to be preliminary to the fuller and more profound revelation of his part in the “Mosaic Week,” subsequently given us as the presiding divinity of the second day of Creation. We further learnt from Eliphas Levi that the time at which Hermes and his fellow-divinities came to us accorded exactly with the ancient prophecies to that effect, the “Return of the Gods” at that period having repeatedly been predicted under one or another mode of expression. The following is the hymn received on this occasion under illumination occurring in sleep. Mary remembered it so perfectly that she wrote it on waking in her usual exquisite style, without hesitation or error. Representing knowledges long lost, by no amount of mere scholarship could it have been reproduced. It was one of those interpretive compositions which, like so many similarly vouchsafed to us, served to open the Bible from beginning to end – to say nothing of the sacred mysteries of antiquity to which it belonged: –
Hymn to Hermes
1. As a moving light between heaven and earth; as a white cloud assuming many shapes;
2. He descends and rises, he guides and illumines, he transmutes himself from small to great, from bright to shadowy, from the opaque image to the diaphanous mist.
3. Star of the East conducting the Magi: cloud from whose midst the holy voice speaketh: by day a pillar of vapour, by night a shining flame.
4. I behold thee, Hermes, Son of God, slayer of Argus, archangel, who bearest the rod of knowledge, by which all things in heaven or on earth are measured.
5. Double serpents entwine it, because as serpents they must be wise who desire God.
6. And upon thy feet are living wings, bearing thee fearless through space and over the abyss of darkness; because they must be without dread to dare the void and the deep who desire to attain and to achieve.
7. Upon thy side thou wearest a sword of a single stone, two-edged, whose temper resisteth all things.
8. For they who would slay or save must be armed with a strong and perfect will, defying and penetrating with no uncertain force.
9. This is Herpe, the sword which destroyeth demons; by whose aid the hero overcometh and the saviour is able to deliver.
10. Except thou bind it upon thy thigh thou shalt be overborne, and blades of mortal making shall prevail against thee.
11. Nor is this all thine equipment, Son of God; the covering of darkness is upon Thine head, and none is able to strike Thee.
12. This is the magic hat, brought from Hades, the region of silence, where they are who speak not.
13. He who bears the world on his shoulders shall give it to thee, lest the world fall on thee and thou be ground into powder.
14. For he who has perfect wisdom and knowledge, he whose steps are without fear, and whose will is single and all-pervading;
15. Even he must also know how to keep the divine secret, and not to expose the holy mysteries of God to the senses of the wicked.
16. Keep a bridle upon thy lips, and cover thy head in the day of battle.
17. These are the four excellent things – the rod, the wings, the sword, and the hat.
18. Knowledge, which thou must gain with labour; the spirit of holy boldness, which cometh by faith in God; a mighty will, and a complete discretion.
19. He who discovers the holy mysteries is lost.
20. Go thy way in silence and see thou tell no man.
The letter which elicited the following is unfortunately not obtainable: –
“My very, very dear and highly inspired friend, I have left your truly beautiful letter so long without even acknowledgment that by this time you will begin to think it has fallen upon stony ground
and not been appreciated. But if you so think you will very much misjudge me. I cannot tell you how I prize it; how rare and beautiful a jewel I consider it; for it shines and sparkles with the most pure and radiant light of truth. Would that I could write anything worthy for you to receive in return! But, as I have often told you, to my sorrow, I feel, although so very receptive, that I have nothing to give in return, and just now I am so sorely tried in so many ways that, although truly thankful for all the lovely spiritual truths that are brought to me from time to time, as if to keep me alive, and help me to live on, and look for a brighter atmosphere some time in the future, I find that the very thought of having to write a letter a little above the ordinary average level completely unnerves me. I will not therefore attempt to do so; only I do want you to understand and to believe that the rich treat of spiritual, or rather of divine, truth you have sent me has been most truly and thankfully received by me. I do think that you and our dear friend, E.M., are the beings I most envy on earth, could I envy anyone, which I really do not. But I feel that your present existence is indeed an enviable one; so truly in holy and pure sympathy with each other and with all things noble, pure, and true; and the true is the Divine!
“Do you know in what I have found my
greatest comfort and happiness to consist since I came to
This experience set Mary to read La Haute Magie for herself; and she had hardly begun to do so when she received, in connection with what she was reading, the illumination printed as No. VIII of Part I, in Clothed with the Sun, which gives the prophetic and spiritual meaning of the story of the Deluge. It was a writing presented to her interior vision. The idea of such a
meaning was entirely new to us; nor was it contained in the book she was reading. Indeed, we soon learnt to regard Eliphas Levi as being much more of an occultist than of a mystic, and therein of an intellectualist than of an intuitionalist, and in such degree disqualified for discerning the inmost sense of Scripture.
The following is from my diary of September 29: –
“Since yesterday M. has been suffering terribly through failure of the heart’s action, the effect no doubt of her recent illness. She has been struggling with her work in order to pass the examen for which she was rejected, but we have doubted whether she will be able to hold out so long. This morning she had a dreadful access of inability to breathe owing to the constriction of the muscles of the heart, and thought her last moment had come. In this extremity she was startled by hearing a loud voice utter within her, in an imperative tone, the exclamation ‘LIVE!’ This was instantly followed by a complete relaxation of the whole system, and an outburst of perspiration so sudden and profuse that she compared it to an explosion. The relief which followed was instantaneous and complete. It seemed, she says, to proceed from the region of the ‘solar plexus,’ and to radiate thence throughout her whole system, entirely dispelling her malady.”
On the following morning she received the nucleus comprising about one-half of the Illumination entitled in our books, “Concerning the ‘Great Work,’ the Redemption, and the Share of Christ Jesus therein.” This was given for our own immediate instruction, its completion being reserved until 1881, while preparing The Perfect Way lectures for printing, when the rest of it was given expressly for inclusion in the book. Our satisfaction on receiving this first instalment was beyond expression. More than all that had preceded it, it convinced us that the revelation to be made through us was to be without reserve, and “there is nothing hidden that shall not be made known,” but the axe is indeed laid to the tree of ignorance and falsehood which so long has overshadowed the earth, and the appeal once more made to the understanding; and we felt that, holding a commission of import so stupendous, well might Hermes address to us the injunction, “Boast not, and be not lifted up; for all things are God’s, and ye are in God, and God in you.” And when, as sometimes happened on bringing to me some fresh marvel, the product of her faculty, Mary would relapse into her child-mood and exclaim, “There! am not I a clever little woman?” it was a relief to me to gather from her look and tone that she had not the smallest idea of really taking the credit to herself. For nothing,
I felt, would so effectually shut off the revelation as such a feeling on our part.
Two points in this chapter on the Redemption especially struck us. It presented Jesus as an actual historical character, and no mere imagined type – a point on which we ourselves were in suspense; for we recognised the possibility of His being but a fictitious personality devised to represent a certain system of doctrine; though we had been somewhat staggered in this view by His presence as an actual living figure in the scenes in which we seemed to have beheld Him in vision. But of the nature and value of these we had yet to be informed. And it represented the things ascribed to Him on the outer and physical plane as denoting and corresponding to processes and states which were interior and spiritual.
The instalment given us on this
occasion contained certain sentences which in the second and completing draft
were replaced by others. Thus, Ver.
“Jesus had attained this secret, and by means of it He made Himself invisible at will, and was able to pass through phenomenal appearances.
“Nevertheless He failed to teach others His secret; and whereas He had intended to redeem all men, He, through a single weakness, slipped for an hour from His centre-pivot, and could not withdraw His body from death.”
It was no doubt to this that
Ver. 52. “He therefore was raised and became perfect; having the power of the Dissolvant and of Transmutation,” was in the first draft followed by –
“But the law which He had once transgressed of necessity forbade Him then to establish the Divine kingdom.
“God therefore re-absorbed Him into His Spirit, but the devil is yet undissipated.
“The Christs have indeed bruised his head, but he has stung their heel.
“He, the Christ who is yet to come, shall destroy him altogether and shall receive no injury.”
These sentences, we were told, were intended as an ad interim instruction for ourselves, to be replaced by others in the chapters which were to serve as the Scriptures of the future.
The revelations now come in rapid succession, the next being the typically Hermetic chapter on Sin and Death, printed as No. IV, Part II, of Clothed with the Sun, which was received October 3. No. XXXVII of Part I of the same book, “Concerning the Aeon of the Christ,” was received October 12 (and not, as there dated, in 1881, with the exception of a paragraph then added to it). It was thus prefaced by Mary: –
“It was shown me this morning that we should have before long a full revelation and understanding of the meaning and office of Christ, which should come to me in its due order, but that meanwhile we were to understand this, that the Christ were above all things Media,” etc. (see Clothed with the Sun, above cited).
And it ended with this direction –
“Do not interpolate this into the Writings now; it shall fall in its due order into them. It is for your own immediate guidance.”
This utterance was brought to me by Mary in distress and misgiving, owing to her understanding it as depriving the Christ of His own proper divinity, and reducing Him to the level of the ordinary medium who is controlled by some extraneous spirit regardless of any special quality or unfoldment of his own spiritual nature. She was, however, speedily reassured by my suggestion that the very fact that the Christ is describable as “a Medium for the Highest” must imply and involve the perfectionment of His own indwelling spirit, since it is only through the identity in condition of the God within Him and the God without Him that the two could unite and blend.
“October 13. – Since September 29, when the Spirit commanded her to ‘live,’ M. has been marvellously better, having had no return of her heart trouble or difficulty in breathing. She has taken no drugs, and has lived as simply and moderately as possible – mainly on bread and fruit, avoiding hot foods and drinks. I, too, have done likewise, with manifest advantage to health, comfort, and lucidity.”
On October 19 Mary received the chapter which forms No. III of Part II of Clothed with the Sun, entitled “Concerning Holy Writ,” which not only confirmed what had already been told us of a hidden and manifold interpretation, but threw a light altogether new to us on the first chapter of Genesis and the method generally of the Bible. As not infrequently happened, it transcended our ability to follow it in all respects at once, and only after considerable pondering were we able to recognise each of the fourfold aspects of the “Mosaic Week” disclosed in it. The following is the instruction in question: –
“All Scriptures which are the true Word of God have a dual interpretation, the intellectual and the intuitional, the apparent and the hidden.
“For nothing can come forth from God save that which is fruitful.
“As is the nature of God, so is the Word of God’s mouth.
“The letter alone is barren; the spirit and the letter give life.
“But that Scripture is the more excellent which is exceeding fruitful and brings forth abundant signification.
“For God is able to say many things in one, as the perfect ovary contains many seeds in its chalice.
“Therefore there are in the Scriptures of God’s Word certain writings which, as richly-yielding trees, bear more abundantly than others in the self-same holy garden.
“And one of the most excellent is the history of the generation of the heavens and the earth.
“For therein is contained in order a genealogy, which has four heads, as a stream divided into four branches, a word exceeding rich.
“And the first of these generations is that of the Gods;
“The second is that of the kingdom of heaven;
“The third is that of the visible world;
“And the fourth is that of the
This was followed, October 24, by what is the real “proem to Genesis” – to borrow an expression since applied by Mr. Gladstone to the first chapter of Genesis – the noble utterance commencing “Before the Beginning of Things,” which stands as No. VI, Part II, of Clothed with the Sun. And then, in rapid succession, during the next three weeks came the chapters headed each by a letter of the Greek alphabet, setting forth in order the “Generation of the Gods” and their respective parts in the elaboration of the kosmos. These chapters dealt with the profoundest subjects of cognition, the procession of Deity, or Original Being, from static to dynamic, from passive to active, from unmanifest to manifest, from abstract to concrete, from universal to individual; and disclosed the method at once of creation and of redemption, showing the method to be one, and the direction only to be different, being as centrifugal and centripetal, evolutional and involutional, generation and regeneration, the result of the former of which is the physical and phenomenal world, or man, and of the latter, the spiritual and substantial. In these wondrous chapters we found, moreover, a synthesis and an analysis combined of the sacred mysteries of all the great religions of antiquity, and the true origines of Christianity as originally and divinely intended, together with the secret and method of its corruption and perversion into that which now bears its name. And while we thus learnt
to see in the Bible the most occult and mystical of books, comprising in its true sense all the mysteries of existence, we learnt also to recognise in those who were enabling us to recover the interpretation of it personal demonstrations of its truth; inasmuch as they were themselves souls who, by the steadfast pursuit of the way, the truth, and the life prescribed in it, had attained to the rank of the celestial, and, realising man’s divine potentialities, had become vehicles for and individuations of Divinity.
Sublime as was the substance of these revelations, the form was entirely worthy of it, being unapproachable alike for simplicity, lucidity, dignity, and grace, and satisfying absolutely the supremest demands of mind, soul, and spirit. We were at no loss to recognise in them the destined Scriptures of the future, so long promised and at length vouchsafed in interpretation of the Scriptures of the past; and in the fact that they were couched in our own glorious English tongue, we saw an augury of a loftier destiny for our race than any hitherto contemplated. Their very beauty would ensure their permanence, and the people in whose tongue they were expressed would hereafter be regarded, in virtue of them, as the Messiah of the nations.
We wondered much whether anywhere in the world these writings already are or have been. That they were the sources from which the Bible-writers drew both their doctrine and their diction was indubitable. But our questionings were as to whether they had derived them from previous revelations, written or oral, such as might be in the custody of the sanctuaries of the sacred mysteries, or, as we had obtained them, directly from the hierarchy of the Church invisible and celestial. For, as we reasoned, while yet uninformed as to their source, even granting an original and primitive revelation, that would prove only the possibility of revelation, and in no way preclude a repetition or an extension.
Once, and once only, in our subsequent reading did we come upon a token of the pre-existence on earth of writings identical with those received by us. The chapter entitled “Gamma,” by which we learnt for the first time the existence of that “higher alchemy” which has for its subject the regeneration of man, contains a sentence which, save for the language, is identical with one which we subsequently found quoted as from Paracelsus,
being there given in Latin. We were unable, however, to verify the quotation. The words are, “To make gold, the alchemist must have gold.” By which we inferred that he had quoted from some ancient formula the rest of which was lost. But without any knowledge of these matters on our part Mary recovered the chapter in its integrity, and a noble and suggestive chapter it is, exhibiting God as the Supreme Alchemist, and man as the subject of transmutation into spiritual gold. “To make gold,” it ran, “the Alchemist must have gold; but He knows that to be gold which others take to be dross.”
But were all to be written down that we said and thought, as well as that which we did and suffered, the record would become as those of which it is said, “the world would not contain them,” and this history would never find its completion.
The following notes were made by her at this time in record of instructions received chiefly in sleep: –
“Isis, the goddess of initiation, of
night, and of secrecy. She is virgin and is associated with white, the colour
of the robe worn by the hierophants of her mysteries. Her name is a
reduplication of Is, the Egyptian for light, and signifies light reflected, for
which reason the moon is sacred to her. Virginity – a compound of the roots of
the Latin vir and Greek gyne – implies
twofold being in one undefiled body, and is the symbol of full initiation, or
the condition of unity of the man’s will with the Divine Will. Hence it is by
“Mary, the symbol of
“Joseph, the symbol of
“Jesus, which signifies Liberator or Saviour, is the name given to the perfected candidate on the day of His initiation or ‘new birth.’ His mother’s name, which signifies sea or bitterness, indicates – in this aspect – the trials and ordeals through which He had passed to attain His order of initiation. For this reason, and because the ‘waters,’ or fluidic substance of existence, contain and reflect the Divine Being, and constitute the soul and intuition, Esdras sees the ‘Son of Man rising out of the sea’; and Moses and all other initiates are said to be born of water or to have passed through
the sea. When it is said – as in the Apocalypse – that ‘there shall be no more sea,’ it is implied that those who have overcome all material limitations and become Adepts and Hierophants of the mysteries, have no more trials to undergo. There is for them no more ‘sea of troubles,’ as Shakespeare calls it. The ‘sea’ of the Apocalypse is really the astral.”
“October 4. – M. bids me write that she saw Apollo last night. He was young, strong, and exceedingly beautiful, and nearly resembled Adonai as beheld by her last year. He spoke for some time to her, but she remembered only two things which he said. One was, ‘Hermes is a thief.’ Alarmed at this imputation on her revered instructor, she looked wistfully at him, when he relaxed into a smile, and said it was an enigma of which she was to seek the solution.
“His other remembered remark was
about Io. She was the same, he said, with Sara in the book of Tobit; and the latter’s demon, Asmodeus,
was the same as Argus, who was slain by Hermes; and Hermes is identical with
Raphael, each having a dog for his symbol. This, too, was an enigma of which
she was to seek the solution. [Both solutions were found, and are given in The
Perfect Way, IX, 13, 16.] She was then taken into a large room filled
with Jews clad in the costumes of many different nations, and told that mankind
are indebted to the Jews for the preservation of the secret of initiation,
which they had transmitted from
She says that the Gods always appear to her in their Greek forms, nude, and white as shining silver, excepting Pallas, who is always clad, and Hermes, who sometimes wears a garb expressive of the message to be delivered. She is inclined to believe that their forms were not invented by the Greeks, but were derived by the Greeks from them, and that they are beings who once were human, but have become divinised by the process called regeneration and transmutation, and vary according to their several characteristics, each order representing one of the “Seven Spirits of God,” for whom they serve as vehicles to communicate of divine knowledges to men. They are unlimited in number and constitute the celestial hierarchy, and their ranks are constantly being swelled by the addition of newly perfected souls. The “Seven Spirits of God” themselves are by direct emanation, but those whom we call the Gods are by evolution, having ascended from the lowest upwards and become united each with such aspect of divinity as comports with his own individual “tincture” or temperament. What perplexed her was the absence at times of the solemnity which she was accustomed to associate with such beings; and we held conversation on this subject in this wise: –
“But would real divinities be humorous and playful, as they have been with me? Think of Hermes, in that vision which you call ‘The Wonderful Spectacles,’ when, in his quality of messenger of the Gods, he appeared in the guise of a modern letter-carrier; and at other times his eyes have fairly twinkled with amusement at my perplexity at his changes of aspect. And then the riddles Apollo put to me, and his arch look the while It is all so different from what one is accustomed to think about such beings. Daniel and the other Hebrew prophets were almost beside themselves with fright when they had their visitations. The last thing with me would be to be frightened by mine.”
I suggested in reply that it might be owing to the difference between the Greek and the Semitic temperaments; so that had she been of Jewish extraction her visitants would have manifested themselves in accordance with Hebrew traditions; but being evidently more Greek than Hebrew, they had appeared to her in the guise of the former. To judge by such experience as I myself had, the Gods do not change the nature of the person to whom they come, but rather enhance that which he is. And they certainly show by their demeanour that they do not identify piety with Puritanism, or solemnity with sanctimoniousness. Why, one of the most essential elements of sound judgment in things religious is a sense of humour. Unable to appreciate the incongruous, how shall a man appreciate the congruous? The inference is, that the faith of the future is to be as joyous as that of the past has been morose. The truth will make men free of all such limitations. The Church of the Fall will be replaced by the Church of the Regeneration, and the Gods will associate with men as they are doing now with you, the time with us being in advance of the rest. It may well be, too, that they themselves rejoice and are cheerful in the prospect of the world’s imminent redemption, and take a personal delight in their intercourse with you as their minister in that work, and, if only because you are a woman, do all they can to reassure you.
“‘The Return of the Gods’!” she here exclaimed. “Whose poem was it with that title which you once showed me and I liked so much?”
“Charles Leland’s, the American, and author of Hans Breitmann. But his Gods were only the blind forces of Nature, and no true Olympians. He had no notion of their representing divine principles, and being actual living beings and able to manifest themselves as such, and so he spoke of them as ‘mythical,’ when, had he known what we know, he would have said ‘mystical.’ I told him of his mistake; that mythical means fabulous and unreal, and mystical means spiritual and real; but he only said that for him the distinction was without a difference.”
“And a very common mistake, too,” she replied, “and one that it took me some time to think my way out of. And since we have got where we are, I see more and more that what is called Christianity has caused people so utterly to misconceive the real nature of religion that we shall have immense difficulty in getting them to comprehend the simplest and most obvious truths, and the so-called ‘learned’ will be the hardest of all to teach, just because they have the most to unlearn. That must be what is meant by being as ‘little children,’ without prejudice of foregone conclusion.”
“Just so; and not that only, for there are two things which ‘the letter kills’: the sense of the Word itself, and the faculty of perception of those who rest in it. Our task will be to educate the next generation, rather than convert the present one. But be that as it may, we have but to do our best and leave results to the Gods. Let the Christ-doctrine be but properly lifted up, and it will draw all men to it.”
“October 26. – M. remarked yesterday that hitherto all her illuminations seemed to come in reference to my work and according to my need, and asked me why they did not come for herself also. I suggested that it might be because, owing to her engrossment by her medical work, she had not desired them with the requisite intentness; and I advised her to fix her mind on some special subject on which she wished for light, and then to ask for light. It so happened that in the course of the day she read in the Spiritualist a story of a girl who, finding herself impelled to jump out of a window on receiving an assurance from an unseen source that she would be sustained from falling, accordingly jumped out, but fell to the ground, Whereupon she exclaimed, ‘Devil, devil, you have deceived me!’
“Assuming this to be a case of ‘diabolical temptation’ and comparing it with the statement made to us by Hermes that there is no personal devil, but what is so called is simply the opposite and negation of God, she was at a loss to reconcile the two accounts. In the night following, however, she woke and received the following elucidation of the problem, which she found perfectly satisfactory. It was to this effect. There is no original supreme, universal, positive evil existence, such as the devil is ordinarily supposed to be. There is only the negation and opposite of God, which is to God what darkness is to light, namely, its privation and no real entity. But there are evil spirits, the souls of bad men on the downward way towards extinction. And these are wont to associate themselves with persons in the flesh with whom they have affinity, partly in order to gratify their own evil propensities by inciting them to wickedness and mischief, and partly to obtain from them the vitality necessary to prolong their own existence; for they are absolutely selfish, and their most sustaining nutriment consists of the fumes of blood newly shed. Sometimes they are so low in vitality that a sentence of expulsion from the person in whom they have taken refuge involves their immediate extinction, unless they can find other location, though it be only in an animal. This was the case with the devils whom, on expelling them, Jesus suffered to enter into the herd of swine. In this illumination it was clearly impressed on her that men’s disorders do in some cases result from their possession by distinct personal entities, namely, evil spirits extraneous to the individual concerned, and are not merely disorders of their own physical constitution. Evil spirits, she was further told, have no chief, no organisation or solidarity; nothing, in short, that corresponds to God. The worse they are, the lower they are and the nearer to extinction. And the conditions which attract them are made by men themselves, and depend upon the tendencies which they voluntarily encourage.”
During the closing weeks of the year the revelation flowed in upon Mary with accelerated rapidity, and quite irrespective of her own intense preoccupation with her medical studies. Even in the crowded tram-cars, while passing to and fro between home and the schools, she would be compelled to jot down on the fly-leaves of her books, or any scrap of paper handy, the sentences shot into her mind. Waking or sleeping, all was one to the inspiring influences; and the organism seemed to be of no account, save as an implement to record the results. And the stream did not intermit until she had received the chapters entitled “The Greater Mysteries,” down to “Epsilon,” the Hymn to Phoibos – which we regarded as the sublimest composition in all literature – and an initial instalment of the “Secret of Satan.”
The circumstances of the communication of the last-named revelation were in this wise. We had been discussing the contradictory accounts given in the Bible concerning Satan, which at one time invested him with beneficent functions, as when it described him as the sifter and trier of souls, and therein as their purifier, and at another as altogether maleficent and identical with the devil, which last description – if, as we had lately been shown, the devil was no actual entity – was tantamount to saying that Satan is no actual entity, and she was so eager for the solution that, on retiring for the night, she made it a matter of special request to her illuminators.
What that solution would be,
supposing it to be vouchsafed, we were wholly without preconception. The night
passed and no response came; and in the morning – it was November 12 – I went
out to keep an engagement to breakfast with some friends from the Colonial
Office who were visiting
necessary for us to know it. But a portion only would be given us at present; the remainder would follow in due time. It proved to be a portion, consisting of twenty-eight verses, of the first part of the “Secret of Satan” as published in Clothed with the Sun, but not the first twenty-eight verses as they there stand. The remainder was reserved until several years later, and was the last of the revelations belonging to this category. The portion received now was perfectly comprehensible by us; as also was the remainder when it came. But the latter would not have been understood by us had we received it at this time, so profoundly mystical was it. As it was, the present instalment was given in advance of its proper order in the revelation – since, as the “last of the Gods,” the account of Satan thus preceded that of some of the earlier of the Gods – and her request for it, which had doubtless been prompted for the purpose, had been made the occasion. It will readily be imagined how great were our joy and thankfulness at this fresh token of the loftiness of the mission entrusted to us and the confidence placed in us. Meanwhile, the addition thus made to our knowledge served more than ever to exhibit the totality of the eclipse which has come upon the Church in respect of the meaning of its own Scriptures and religion.
That Apollo, and not Hermes, was the inspirer of this wondrous utterance was understood by us as being because only by the first of the Gods might the mystery of the last of the Gods be revealed. There is, of course, no really first and last in the Divine Nature itself; the terms apply only to the order of their emanation and manifestation in respect of the kosmos concerned. So that when it is said that Satan, or Saturn, is the “eldest” of the Gods, and “bears all the others on his shoulders,” the reference is to the order of their manifestation in time, which is the reverse of that of their emanation.
The Hymn of the First of the Gods was for us, as I have said, the culmination of sublimity. And it was no less surpassing for its interpretative power. For, while forming a link hitherto unrecognised as subsisting between the first and last chapters of the Bible, it solved the problem of the Christs in the one manner conceivable and rational, showing them to constitute an order, and this the highest attainable by man, to the correction of the current orthodoxy in its most essential respect. It,
demonstrated the fact that, great as was the diversity between the real
interior doctrine of the Greek mysteries and the popular presentation of them,
the diversity is no less great between the real interior doctrine of
Christianity and the current orthodoxy. In this wondrous restoration we saw a
further proof of the extent to which the Bible writers had derived both their
doctrine and their diction from the sacred mysteries of the pre-Christian
Churches, as well as of the ignorance of the Fathers generally of the Church,
most of whom were so little aware of the real source and the antiquity of their
religion that they regarded the coincidences between the two as due to a
“Satanic parody” devised in advance in order to discredit Christianity when it
should come! A few of them, however, knew better, and had the courage and
candour to acknowledge the fact.
EPSILON, OR THE FIRST OF THE GODS
1. Many are the thrones which the Holy Spirit of Elohim hath vivified.
2. They are centres of systems, bonds of graces, trees of life, suns of many worlds.
3. And the colour of them is the colour of the ruby and of the fire; and their name is, in the Hebrew, Uriel, and in the Greek, Phoibos, the Bright One of God.
4. To whom are committed the dominion of the highest sphere, and the demonstration of the reason of all things which are manifest.
5. The Spirit of whose being is the Spirit of Wisdom, which is the first of the holy Seven.
6. Now, He – the angel of the sun – is not the Spirit of Wisdom, but the brightness of the glory thereof, and the express image of the self-same spirit.
7. He is the first of the Gods, and his praise is great, and his works are wonderful, and his throne is in the midst of heaven.
8. He is that light which Adonai created on the first day.
9. And before his face Python the mighty serpent fell from heaven, to make his dwelling in the caverns and in the secret places of earth.
Hymn to Phoibos
1. Strong art thou and adorable, Phoibos Apollo, who bearest life and healing on thy wings, who crownest the year with thy bounty, and givest the spirit of thy divinity to the fruits and precious things of all the worlds.
2. Where were the bread of the initiation of the Sons of God, except thou bring the corn to ear; or the wine of their mystical chalice, except thou bless the vintage?
3. Many are the angels who serve in the courts of the spheres of heaven; but thou, Master of Light and of Life, art followed by the Christs of God.
4. And thy sign is the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, and of the Just made perfect;
5. Whose path is as a shining light, shining more and more unto the innermost glory of the day of the Lord God.
6. Thy banner is blood-red, and thy symbol is a milk-white lamb, and thy crown is of pure gold.
7. They who reign with thee are the Hierophants of the celestial mysteries; for their will is the will of God, and they know as they are known.
8. These are the sons of the innermost sphere; the Saviours of men, the Anointed of God.
9. And their name is Christ Jesus, in the day of their initiation.
10. And before them every knee shall bow, of things in heaven and of things on earth.
11. They are come out of great tribulation, and are set down for ever at the right hand of God.
12. And the Lamb, which is in the midst of the seven spheres, shall give them to drink of the river of living water.
13. And they shall eat of the tree
of life, which is in the centre of the garden of the
14. These are thine, O Mighty Master of Light; and this is the dominion which the Word of God appointed thee in the beginning:
16. And God called the light Phoibos, and the darkness God called Python.
17. Now the darkness was before the light, as the night forerunneth the dawn.
18. These are the evening and the morning of the first cycle of the Mysteries.
19. And the glory of that cycle is as the glory of seven days; and they who dwell therein are seven times refined;
20. Who nave purged the garment of the flesh in the living waters;
21. And have transmuted both body and soul into spirit, and are become pure virgins.
22. For they were constrained by love to abandon the outer elements, and to seek the innermost which is undivided, even the Wisdom of God.
23. And Wisdom and Love are One.
Absorbing as was the interest of the spiritual side of our work, and great as the demands made on us by our respective studies, they were in no wise allowed to interfere with our practical work on behalf of the rescue of the animals [from vivisection], but rather did they stimulate us to fresh endeavour; as also did the perpetually increasing knowledge we were enabled to obtain of the awful nature of the practice, whether as concerned its immediate victims, the animals, or as concerned its perpetrators, by reason of the utter degradation in them of the idea of humanity. Our personal intercourse with them fully confirmed the conviction forced on us by the study of their writings, that the medical science of the day, as represented by the experimental physiologists, constitutes a deliberate conspiracy to demonise the race. During the year we had utilised our knowledge of the subject by writing and publishing numerous articles, letters, and pamphlets, both at home and abroad, among which was the tract entitled Notes by a Medical Student, which consisted of instances of wanton barbarity culled from the text-books of the schools, and has gone through several editions; and another, the leaflet containing an appeal “to the people of Paris,” which is given below, and was printed and circulated far and wide by the International Anti-Vivisection Society of London, in conjunction with the then recently formed Paris Society for the same object. And when the time came for our Christmas visit home, we had in the press a pamphlet in French of eighty large pages, entitled De Ia Ligue contre les Vivisections, ou La Nouvelle Croisade, par un Anglais, dédié et adressé, en toute bonne volanté, au peuple Française. This was a joint production, the chief portion of the writing of which fell to me, and the entire cost of printing to her; M. Ernest Leroux being the publisher, and the revision of the proofs our holiday task. Meanwhile Mary had passed with high credit and perfect ease the examen for which she had been so unjustly and cruelly refusé.
“CITOYENS ET CITOYENNES DE PARIS!
“Un crime abominable se commet chaque jour parmi vous.
“Votre magnifique ville, qui doit être le soutien de Ia civilisation, est aujourd’hui le centre des pratiques les plus barbares. Sous pretexte d’étudier Ia physiologie, des hommes livrent aux plus cruelles tortures des créatures inoffensives qui travaillent pour vous et qui vous aiment; ils leur infligent les souffrances d’une lente et
douloureuse agonie, afin d’obtenir ainsi, disentils, des connaissances utiles à l’humanité. Nous déclarons hautement que cette prétention est erronée; les vivisecteurs eux-mêmes sont obligés d’avouer que, jusqu’ici, ils n’ont obtenu aucun résultat sérieux. Un des plus éminents d’entre eux, feu le professeur Claude Bernard, a déclaré que ses esperances n’avaient été nullement réalisées. Le professeur Ferrier avoue que le résultat des expériences faites par Ia vivisection n’est pas confirme par les observations pathologiques. De nombreux médecins et chirurgiens très renommés, s’accordent à reconnaltre que Ia vivisection ne peut que démoraliser ceux qui s’y livrent sans faire aucun progrès à Ia science.
“Connaissez-vous bien ce que signifie ce mot vivisection? Ils’agit de pauvres êtres créés par Dieu, dans une forme différente de Ia nôtre, incapables de se proteger eux-mêmes, puisqu’ils sont muets et sans défense devant nous, leurs protecteurs naturels.
“Des animaux tels que: chevaux, chiens, chats, ânes, lapins, cochons d’Inde et pigeons, sont soumis aux traitementr, les plus atroces et les plus barbares que puisse inventer le génie humain. Ainsi, on les écorche vivants, on leur crève les yeux avec des fers rouges, on les crucifie, on les empoisonne lentement, on leur brise les os et les nerfs, on leur enlève Ia cervelle, on leur fait avaler des acides corrosifs, on les fait cuire à petit feu, on leur arrache le coeur et les entrailles, on développe sur eux Ia gangrène, Ia tumeur blanche, les arthrites suppurées, l’entorse et autres maladies; on les enduit de térébenthine que l’on enflamme ensuite; enfin, on prolonge de toutes manières ces cruelles agonies qui durent, selon le degré de vitalité, des heures, des jours ou des semaines!
“Tels sont, citoyens de Paris, les cruautés qui se commettent chez vous, à l’abri de vos lois et avec Ia sanction de vos autorités; cela se fait, non pas pour acquérir une connaissance utile au bien de l’homme (ce qui n’excuserait rien), mais simplement pour satisfaire une vaine curiosité et par trafic. Nous réclamons avec force contre de si horribles abus, bien convaincus que vous ignorez ces faits et que votre religion n’est pas faite en pareille matière.
“Cette question de Ia vivisection, s’imposant à Ia conscience publique des nations, ne peut pas être laissée aux caprices des hommes de science et surtout à Ia classe de spécialistes qui professe le materialisme, qui se vante de supprimer Ia conscience, d’être indépendante de ce que Ia moralité humaine préconise.
“On vous dira peut-être: ‘C’est une question dont Ia science seule peut juger, elle seule peut en déterminer Ia portée; Ia conscience publique n’est pour rien dans cet ordre d’investigations.’
“Nous affirmons que Ia vérité est contraire à cette proposition, et que, lorsque Ia science oublie ce qu’elle doit à Ia civilisation, Ia conscience publique doit intervenir pour le lui rappeler.
“Ce n’est pas du tout que le public n’a pas acquis l’esprit scientifique; c’est, au contraire, que les savants ont perdu l’esprit de Ia moralité.
“Nous sommes bien persuadés que vous vous joindrez à nous pour faire cesser un état de choses qui porte atteinte à Ia moralité publique, et qui será Ia honte de notre siècle. – L’Association Internationale de Ia Grande-Bretagne pour Ia Suppression Totale de Ia Vivisection, 25 Cockspur Street, London.”