THEOSOPHY, Vol. 11, No. 4, February, 1923
(Pages 173-175; Size: 11K)

INITIATES AND INITIATION(1)

III

[Part 3 of an 8-part series]

THE Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is but a series of historical records of the great struggle between White and Black Magic, between the Adepts of the Right Path, the Prophets, and those of the Left, the Levites, the clergy of the brutal masses. Even the students of Occultism, though some of them have more archaic Mss. and direct teaching to rely upon, find it difficult to draw a line of demarcation between the Sodales of the Right Path and those of the Left. The great Schism that arose between the sons of the Fourth Race, as soon as the first Temples and Halls of Initiation had been erected under the guidance of the "Sons of God" is allegorized in the Sons of Jacob. That there were two schools of Magic, and that the orthodox Levites did not belong to the holy one, is shown in the words pronounced by the dying Jacob. And here it may be well to quote a few sentences from Isis Unveiled (I, 555). The dying Jacob thus describes his sons: "Dan," he says, "shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse-heels, so that his rider shall fall backward (i.e., he will teach candidates Black Magic). I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord." Of Simeon and Levi the patriarch remarks that "they" are brethren: instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. "O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly." (Genesis xlix 17, 18, and 5 & 6.) Now in the original, the words "their secret" read "their Sod." And Sod was the name for the great Mysteries of Baal, Adonis and Bacchus, who were all Sun-Gods and had serpents for symbols. The Kabalists explain the allegory of the fiery serpents by saying that this was the name given to the tribe of Levi, to all the Levites, in short, and that Moses was the chief of the Sodales. "The members of the Priest Colleges were called Sodales," says Freund's Latin Lexicon (IV, 448).

It follows that, if Moses was the Chief of the Mysteries, he was the Hierophant thereof; and further, if, at the same time, we find the Prophets thundering against the "abominations" of the people of Israel, that there were two Schools. "Fiery Serpents" was, then, simply the epithet given to the Levites of the priestly caste, after they had departed from the Good Law, the traditional teachings of Moses, and to all those who followed Black Magic. Isaiah, when referring to the "rebellious children" who will have to carry their riches into the lands whence came "the viper and fiery flying serpent," or Chaldea and Egypt, meant the sorcerers of those lands.

The "war in heaven" is shown, in one of its significations, to have referred to those terrible struggles in store for the Candidate for Adeptship -- struggles between himself and his (by Magic) personified human passions, when the enlightened Inner Man had to either slay them or fall. In the former case he became the "Dragon-Slayer," as having happily overcome all the temptations, and a "Son of the Serpent" and a Serpent himself, having cast off his old skin and being born in a new body, becoming a Son of Wisdom and Immortality, in Eternity.

Truly says Rabbi Simeon Ben Iochai that to understand the meaning of the Dragon is not given to the "companions" (students, or Chelas), but only to the "little ones," i.e. --the perfect Initiates. Such was the name given in ancient Judea to the Initiates, called the "Innocents" and the "Infants," i.e., once more "reborn." This key opens a vista into one of the New Testament mysteries; the slaughter by Herod of the 40,000 "Innocents." There is a legend to this effect, and the event, which took place almost a century B.C., shows the origin of the tradition blended at the same time with that of Krishna and his uncle Kansa. In the case of the New Testament, Herod stands for Alexander Jannaeus (of Lyda) whose persecution and murder of hundreds and thousands of Initiates led to the adoption of the Bible story.

"The work of the beginning the companions understand; but it is only the little ones who understand the parable on the work in the Principium by the Mystery of the Serpent of the Great Sea." (Zohar ii. 34.) And those Christians who may happen to read this, will also understand by the light of the above sentence who their "Christ" was. For Jesus states repeatedly that he who "shall not receive the Kingdom of Heaven as a little child, he shall not enter therein"; and if some of his sayings have been meant to apply to children without any metaphor, most of the references to the "little ones" in the Gospels relate to the Initiates, of whom Jesus was one. Paul (Saul) is referred to in the Talmud as the "little one."

The seer, as well as the initiates, notwithstanding their veiled phraseology, clearly show that the first chapters of Genesis relate to the regeneration, or a new birth of man, not to the creation of our universe and its crown work -- MAN.

Says Manu: "The Sovereign Master who exists through himself, divides his body into two halves, male and female, and from the union of these two principles is born Viradj, the Son." ("Manu," book I., sloka 32: Sir W. Jones, translating from the Northern "Manu," renders this sloka as follows: "Having divided his own substance, the mighty Power became half male, half female, or nature active and passive; and from that female he produced VIRAJ.") There was not a Christian Father who could have been ignorant of these symbols in their physical meaning; for it is in this latter aspect that they were abandoned to the ignorant rabble. Moreover, they all had as good reasons to suspect the occult symbolism contained in these images; although as none of them -- Paul excepted, perhaps, -- had been initiated, they could know nothing about the nature of the final rites. Any person revealing these mysteries was put to death, regardless of sex, nationality, or creed. A Christian father would no more be proof against an accident than a Pagan Mysta.

It was usual then, as it is now, among the intolerant clergy of opposing religions, as well as among the lower classes of society, and even among those patricians who for various reasons had been excluded from participation in the Mysteries to accuse, sometimes, the highest hierophants and adepts of sorcery and black magic. So Apuleius, who had been initiated, was likewise accused of witchcraft, and of carrying about him the figure of a skeleton -- a potent agent, as it is asserted, in the operations of the black art.

Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, was brave, outspoken, sincere, and very learned; that he had been, partially, at least, if not completely, initiated into the theurgic mysteries, admits of little doubt. His language, the phraseology so peculiar to the Greek philosophers, certain expressions used but by the initiates, are so many sure ear-marks to that supposition. Another proof lies in the following fact: The apostle had his head shorn at Cenchrea (where Lucius, Apuleius, was initiated,) because "he had a vow." The nazars -- or set apart -- as we see in the Jewish Scriptures, had to cut their hair which they wore long, and which "no razor touched" at any other time, and sacrifice it on the altar of initiation. And the nazars were a class of Chaldean theurgists. Jesus belonged to this class.

Munk says that the "Nazireate was an institution established before the laws of Musah." This is evident; as we find this sect not only mentioned but minutely described in Numbers (chap. vi.). In the commandment given in this chapter to Moses by the "Lord" it is easy to recognize the rites and laws of the Priests of Adonis. The abstinence and purity strictly prescribed in both sects are identical. Both allowed their hair to grow long as the Hindu coenobites and fakirs do to this day, while other castes shave their hair and abstain on certain days from wine. The prophet Elijah, a Nazarene, is described in 2 Kings, and by Josephus as "a hairy man girt with a girdle of leather." And John the Baptist and Jesus are both represented as wearing very long hair. John is "clothed with camel's hair" and wearing a girdle of hide, and Jesus in a long garment "without any seams" ... "and very white, like snow," says Mark; the very dress worn by the Nazarene Priests and the Pythagorean and Buddhist Essenes, as described by Josephus.

(To be Continued)


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INITIATES AND INITIATION
IV
[Part 4 of an 8-part series]

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ONE (1) FOOTNOTE LISTED BELOW:

(1) Collated from Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine.
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