Who is this King of Glory? – A Critical Study of the Christos-Messiah Tradition 5
Alvin Boyd Kuhn
TWELVE LAMPS OF DEITY
It is time now to note the play in ancient days of this Avataric formula and tradition in secular history outside the Bible purview. There is not space to touch upon its incidence in the field of epic poetry, save to hint at its evident usages by Virgil in his great Aeneid. It is obvious that he wrote this epic of Roman “history” as a complimentary tribute to the Roman nation generally and the Emperor Augustus in particular. In doing this he did nothing that was in the least degree unique or exceptional in the ancient domain. It was the custom in all countries of the Orient to attempt to graft the divine epic of the soul onto both the geography and the history of each particular land, representing its named places as the scenes of the epical incidents, and identifying its leading king with the divine hero. This practice was no doubt at the start pure and legitimate allegorism, with no attempt to falsify or deceive. But when allegorical intent and purport were forgotten, the results proved a deception to all later dullness.
It is worth the space to quote the great Virgilian aeonial prophecy in Eclogue IV, as it is the chief prototype doubtless of all the Sibylline and other pagan predictions of Messiah.
“The last era of Cumaean song is now arrived, and the grand series of ages begins afresh. Now the Virgin Astraea returns and the reign of Saturn recommences. Now a new progeny descends from the celestial realms. Do thou, chaste Lucina, smile propitious to the infant Boy, who will bring to a close the present Age of Iron and introduce throughout the whole world the Age of Gold. . . . He shall share the life of Gods and shall see heroes mingled in society with Gods, himself be seen by them and all the peaceful world. . . . Then shall the herds no longer dread the huge lion, the serpent also shall die; and the poison’s deceptive plant shall perish. Come, O dear child of the Gods, great descendant of Jupiter! . . . the time is near. See, the world is shaken with its globe saluting thee! The earth, the regions of the sea, and the heavens sublime.”
This was called the Sibylline prophecy about the coming of Christ, lauded and extolled by the Christians until it became safe and polite to denounce everything pagan. In the aura of Virgilian heroics, however, the prophecy was dressed up to indicate Augustus as the scion of the Gods and to hint at the divine origin of the Roman nation. The legend would probably be in the background of Italian world politics today.
Irenaeus and the first Christian Fathers said that during this new Age of Gold the lion should lie down with the lamb, and the grapes were to cry out to the faithful to come and eat them!
Beside the Caesars, Cyrus the Great of Persia was one of those monarchs who was heralded as the aeonial child and the tenth Avatar. But nothing in all Biblical interpretation is more doltishly fatuous than the reading of the name of this earthly sovereign into the Greek word Kurios (Eng. Cyrius), meaning “Lord.” It is generally equivalent to Christos itself, and is often used with it, as in “Lord Christ” or “Christ the Lord.” It is often a generic term for God himself. To take it anywhere as referring to Cyrus of Persia in the historic sense is obviously an unwarranted translation. It often renders the meaning of its passage nonsensical.
So thoroughly did the Avataric theorization permeate the ancient world, both religious and secular, that it became impossible for the Christian movement, no matter with what vehemence it later wished to repudiate pagan influences and usages, to escape the general power of the conception. Not only at the earlier stage of its inception, but far on into the later centuries it continued to exert its strategic determination upon Christian theory and polity. Indeed, if Higgins’ data are to be accepted (and he was a scholar of intellectual probity and sincerity), the tradition exercised such persuasions upon the Christian masses up to the opening of the thirteenth century that the Church powers have found it politic to hide in oblivion a most remarkable chapter of events which Higgins has chronicled. They are brought to light here out of their obscurity, not for the purpose of sensational disclosure, but to support the correctness and cogency of the general argument of the work.
At the time of Richard the First, Higgins sets forth, about 1189 – the end of a cycle of twelve hundred years, or two Neroses, approaching – a general belief prevailed that the end of the world drew near, a belief which, in a great measure, caused the Crusades to Palestine, where the devotees expected the Savior to appear. This is attested by St. Bernard of Clairvaux and was forecast by Joachim, abbot of Curacio in Calabria, a most renowned interpreter of prophecy in those days. Antichrist was to appear at Antioch, and the Crusade was the gathering together of the kings of the earth to the battle of the great day of God Almighty. (Rev. 16:12, 14; Nimrod, III, p. 393.) It appears from the accounts that the possession of Antioch was made a great point, almost as much as that of Jerusalem. It was among the first cities taken by the Crusaders.
It is surprising enough to most Christians to be informed that the ancient theory of Messianic cycles had anything to do with the timing of the Crusades and indeed their motivating purpose. It will doubtless come as an even greater surprise to be informed that those within and outside the Church who held to the cyclical program of Messiahs regarded Mohammed as the Avatar of the six-hundred-year-cycle running from six hundred to twelve hundred A.D., and the tenth Avatar of the ancient Great Cycle. Higgins says that Mohammed was accredited as the Avatar succeeding Jesus, and that he was expressly foretold by Haggai, the Prophet, under the Hebrew name of H M D. Of this prophecy, says Higgins, Parkhurst (Christian apologist) was an unwilling witness. The Crusaders flocked into Jerusalem in twelve hundred, the end of the Mohammed cycle, which, he affirms, began in the year six hundred and eight, and cites Faber as authority for this date. According to Higgins Mohammedans have made the claim that a passage has been expunged from the Romish Gospels which ran as follows:
“And when Jesus, the Son of Mary, said, O children of Israel, verily I am the apostle of God sent unto you, confirming the law which was delivered before me, and bringing good tidings of an apostle who shall come after me, and whose name shall be AHMED.”
This is cited as the burden of the Haggaian prophecy.
But the crowning act in this run of serio-comics – which must ever ensue when the outer framework of spiritual allegory is taken for objective history – is yet to be recorded.
The Crusades expended their fanatical zeal and filled nearly two centuries with the history of one of the most shocking exhibitions of religious infatuation of all time (involving even the children in its frenzied insanity). But as the year twelve hundred drew nearer, the Messianic expectancy increased in fervor. In the great ferment of half-demented pietism, the year twelve came and went, with no miraculous appearance of the Messiah of the Age. Then – so relates Higgins – after the devotees and followers of the new Gospel, or Gospel of the new Avatar, had in vain looked for the holy one who was to come, they at last pitched upon St. Francis of Assisi as having been the divine Messenger; and of course the most surprising and absurd miracles were conjured up to match the character. (It could be asked if this was the basis of the cycle of miracle-sagas that came down with his name to later days.) Some of the fanatics, having an indistinct idea of the secret doctrine of renewed incarnations, or letting their knowledge of the principle of recurrent incarnations escape in the heat of controversy, maintained that St. Francis was “wholly and entirely transformed or transfigured into the person of Christ – totum Christo configuratum.” (Vide Litera Magistrorum de Postilla Fratris, P. Joh. Olivi in Baluzii Miscellan. Tom., I, p. 213; Waddingi Annal, Minor Tom., V, p. 51; Mosheim, Hist. Cent., XIII, Pt. ii, Sect. XXXVI). Mosheim says (Higgins) that by some of them the Gospel of Joachim was expressly preferred to the Gospel of Christ.
It appears that this Joachim, abbot of Curacio and renowned interpreter of prophecy, had published a book called Evangelium Eternum (The Everlasting Gospel), in which, presumptively, he had set forth the theory of Avataric cyclical reincarnation, and declared another Messiah due in the year twelve hundred, end of another Neros cycle. This work, which circulated throughout the European Church and stirred a great ferment, was never censured or suppressed by any act of the Pope, but only the introduction to it was placed under the ban. John of Parma preferred the Gospel of Joachim above the canonical Gospels.
Higgins tells us that a Rev. Dr. Maclaine said the the Evangelium Eternum consisted, as productions of that nature generally do, of ambiguous predictions and intricate riddles. This, says Higgins, is what we might expect. After it had been published some time and had received the greatest support possible from the Popes and all the orders of monks, the Franciscan fanatic Gerhard published a work called an Introduction to this Gospel, in which he censured the vices of the Church of Rome and in set terms prophesied, or deduced from the Evangelium Eternum, the destruction of the Roman See. This appeared in the year twelve hundred and fifty, close upon the last period to which the millennium could be delayed, viz., twelve hundred and sixty A.D. (Here obviously the numerology of another than the Neros cycle came into play. This was the cycle of twelve hundred and sixty years, based on the three and a half years, or twelve hundred and sixty “days,” taken from the eleventh and twelfth chapters of Revelation, as before noted. The days were now figured as years, following the method as prescribed in Exodus, where the forty years in the wilderness were expressed in the formula “forty days, for every day a year.”) As the fateful and climactic moment of the end of the year twelve hundred and sixty approached, the passions of the different orders of monks were excited to the greatest pitch and tension. Gerhard’s book was burned and its author persecuted, though his followers among the Franciscans claim for him the gift of prophecy and place him among the saints. The followers of St. Francis generally – the strong supporters of the new Gospel – and Gerhard maintained that he, St. Francis, who was the angel mentioned in Revelation XIV:6, had promulgated to the world the true and everlasting Gospel of God: that the Gospel of Christ was to be abrogated in the year twelve hundred and sixty, and was to give place to this new and everlasting Gospel, which was to be substituted in its room: and that the ministers of this great reformation were to be humble and barefoot friars, destitute of all worldly emoluments. This was stripping off the veil and showing the meaning of the eternal Gospel without disguise. It excited the most lively feelings of surprise, of hope, or of indignation, according as it met favor or disfavor from the opinions of the different fanatical partisans. The Pope did not, according to the usual plan, burn the author; the book only was burned, and its author mildly censured and banished to his house in the country. This took place in the year twelve hundred fifty-five when the parties, expectant of the millennium, must have been in the highest state of fear and anxiety, suggests Higgins.
The year twelve hundred and sixty arrived and passed away; but, mirable dictu, the sun did not cease to give its light, the moon and the stars did not fall from heaven; nothing in particular happened; the pious fools stared at one another and impious rogues chuckled. The Popes and Cardinals at Rome, half fools (Higgins), and the dupes everywhere else, finding themselves all in the wrong, soon began to charge folly upon one another; and as they had quarreled before as to who should display the most zeal for the new glad tidings, they now began to quarrel about who should bear the blame, each shuffling the odium on to some other. Dr. Maclaine and Mosheim have clearly established the great – and Higgins ventures to add, almost universal – reception of the Evangelium Eternum. After some time, the fanatics having by degrees ceased to preach, and the Pope to support, the new Gospel, the old Gospels recovered their credit and vogue, and the friends and promulgators of the new Gospel died away, or were burned as they came to be considered heretics. The court of Rome endeavored to guard against whatever might arise.
Lest the reader may conceive from this recital the feeling that so preposterous a miscarriage of sane balance could not occur in modern days, let the reminder come that the mistranslated Bible phrase, “end of the world,” has worked an almost equally flagrant debacle of reason in a very similar ferment as late as the year 1843, in the Millerite delusion that swept over New England and all northeastern United States. And but a few years back of the present writing (1943) the world was taken aback by the proclamation of the aeonial Messiahship of the great Lord of the spiritual worlds, Maitreya, who was to come in the body of the Hindu youth, Jiddu Krishnamurti. A number of sects still preach the imminent coming of Christ and the dissolution of the world.
It seems certain that the increase in the monastic orders about the fifth and sixth centuries and again in the late eleventh and twelfth, arose from the expectation of the millennial denouement.
The aftermath of the twelfth century hallucination is interesting. After the expectation of the extraordinary manifestations had died away and the power of the Saracens seemed to increase, the Popes, says Higgins, became more than ever embittered against the Mohammedans and equally furious against all who supported anything relating to the now obsolescent Gnostic or cyclic doctrines of millennial expectation. This accounts, says Higgins, in a very satisfactory manner for the zeal of the Popes up to a certain time for the new Gospel, and their bitterness afterwards towards the Templars and Albigenses, among whom some remnants of these superstitions remained. The ecclesiastical hierarchy in the Church had had a severe lesson in the resurgent sweep of erratic esotericism, projected or prolonged from ancient pagan sources into its own history, and became cool to all things savoring of the Messianic idea ever since. And again it is the prerogative of this study to announce that the egregious predicament of error came simply because an ancient allegorical structure clothed in astronomical typology was misread in a literal and objective sense instead of a spiritual one. It would certainly seem within our warrant to say that a hypothesis which can be supported and illustrated by such positive evidences direct from world history must be regarded as solidly established.
There is now to be considered, following a look at the cycle of Neros, that other still greater period known as the Phoenix cycle. This possesses elements very germane to the entire theory of Messiah, and yields most interesting data and correlations. Lundy (Mon. Chris., p. 422) says that when Herodotus was in Egypt he was told that the Phoenix was a bird of great rarity, only coming there once in five hundred years, when it dies and another arises from its ashes. It is reported to be like the eagle and of a red and golden plumage. But Herodotus never saw one, except in pictures. Then there is Pliny, who says:
“It surpasses all other birds; but I do not know if it be fable that there is only one in the whole world and that seldom seen. . . . It is sacred to the sun; lives six hundred and sixty years; when old it dies in its aromatic nest (frankincense and myrrh) and produces a worm out of which the young phoenix arises; and it carries its nest to the altar of the temple at Heliopolis in Egypt. The revolution of the year corresponds to the life of this bird, in which the seasons and stars return to their first places.” (Bk. X; 2.)
And Tacitus says “that the opinions vary as to the number of the years, the most common one being this, that it is five hundred years, though some make it 1461 years.” (Annals, VI:28.)
Lundy directly asserts that no such bird as the Phoenix ever existed; that it was only one of the constellations in the old Egyptian zodiac. It had been identified by the laborious researches of Mr. R. S. Poole, as the bird of Osiris, or Osir, so often invoked by the souls in Hades for their deliverance, as the Book of the Dead shows us. The Phoenix is elsewhere the Bennu (Benno), the Swan of the Greeks, the Eagle of the Romans, and, he adds, the Peacock of the Hindus, as the symbol of ever-renewing immortality in the heavens. In the Egyptian constellation of the Phoenix or Bennu, the dog-star Sothis (Sirius) was the most conspicuous, the brightest star in the whole heaven, even brighter than the sun by three hundred times, and greater in bulk by two thousand times, according to Proctor, though from its great distance it does not appear so. When this Dog-Star marked the summer solstice, it was the period of the new year, i.e., the great year or cycle of 1461 years, when the stars and planets return to the same position. Also it was then, or about the time of the summer solstice, that the Nile began to rise, which is the very life of Egypt. This Phoenix cycle of 1461 years was discovered not long since on the ceiling of the Memnonium at Thebes, and was identified there as the Bennu or Osir of Osiris. It signified, like the great Sothiac and other lesser periods and cycles, the beginning and the ending of all things, or the end of one cycle to be followed by the birth of another. Mr. Poole says (Horae Aegyptiacae, p. 35):
“Sothis, the Dog-star, was considered as sacred to both powers of nature, Osiris with Isis as the Good Power, and Typhon as the Evil Power; since at the time of its rising they were considered as conflicting; for the Nile then begins to show the first symptoms of rising, and at the same time the great heat was parching up the cultivated soil.”
The Bennu, Nycticorax or Phoenix, was then the sign of the constellation in which the Dog-star rose to mark a new era and a new year together; just as when the star or conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation of the Fishes marked the advent of Christ. “There can be no doubt,” continues Mr. Poole, “that the Bennu is the Phoenix, or the constellation partly or wholly corresponding with the Cygnus, and perhaps also with the Aquila.” (Horae Aegyp., p. 42.) “And the period of its appearance was ascertained and its manifestation was celebrated on the first day of Thoth, the beginning of the Egyptian year.” (Ibid., p. 46-7.) “This constellation was one of the principal festivals of the Egyptians. It took place at the summer solstice when the Nile began to rise.”
Nearly a century before either Mr. Wilkinson or Mr. Poole wrote of the Phoenix and its cycle, concludes Lundy, the great French astronomer Mr. Bailly thus spoke of it:
“It is impossible to doubt that the Phoenix is the emblem of a solar revolution, which revives in the moment it expires. If any one question the truth of this, he will find the proof of it in those authors who assign to the Phoenix a life of 1461 years, i.e., the time of the Sothis period, or of a revolution of a great solar year of the Egyptians.” (Hist. of Astr., 214.)
Fourteen hundred and sixty and a fraction years is the period of time in which the calendar would correct itself if leap year’s extra day each four years was omitted, or, as it was put, the stars would return to their first places according to months.
Higgins states that the six hundred or six hundred and eight years is the period between two conjunctions of the sun and moon. He does not indicate how this is to be understood, as there are solar eclipses by the moon oftener than six hundred years and at irregular intervals. He says that the Phoenix was a portion of the universal principle of Divine Love, or Eros, which eternally moved over the waters (the inchoate matter of space) and which in the form of a dove was incarnated every six hundred or six hundred and eight years. Eros was the Greek Phanes, one of the deific hierarchy, so luminously analyzed in Proclus’ great dissertation on the theology of Plato. The similarity between Phanes and Phoenix must be an evidence of common origin of both names. Bennu is likewise of cognate derivation. Higgins gives us more of the hypothetical description of the bird. It was the bird of the morning, he says, and also the bird of Paradise; its dwelling was in the East at the gate of heaven, in the land of spring and in the forest of the sun, in a plain of unalloyed delights lying twelve cubits higher than the highest mountains. Phoenix was also a tree; and upon the highest convexity or umbo of Achilles’ shield stood a palm or Phoenix tree. (Nimrod, III, p. 395.) Another name for palm tree is Tamar, which is the name of one of the Old Testament mothers of divine sons. Then there was the tamarand, tamarack or tamarisk, one of the sacred trees of Egypt. Grethenbach tells us that one equivalent of tamarisk is Asar in the Egyptian. The cycle is complete when we reflect that Asar is the original name of Osiris.
Naturally the great astronomical cycle of 1461 years would not be overlooked by symbologists seeking cyclical periodicities in the stellar revolutions. It was therefore made the date of the end and new beginning of the Avataric cycle. The fact that it was set at five hundred years, at six hundred and sixty and finally at fourteen hundred and sixty-one makes its reference to the lifetime of a “bird” – of which there was but one in existence at a time! – quite fabulous. Massey, with considerable chance of being correct, traces the word “Phoenix” to p-h-ankh, the Egyptian combination meaning “the joining for life,” or in a living relation (of male and female life-powers, or spirit and matter), which took place at the end or beginning of such a cycle, symbolically. Nature achieved each new cycle of on-going life through the union of her two polarized opposite energies, so that the union of male and female potencies periodically would typify the beginning of a new birth or a new era. Ankh means “life-tie” in Egyptian. The word Sphinx Massey derives from this p-h-ankh with the “s” of causative or initiative action prefixed, – s-p-h-ank. The Sphinx would be the universal power of nature which causes male and female forces to unite for the reproduction of a new generation of life. It is the human in front and female animal behind.
Further mention must be made of the Nile inundation, which the Egyptians wove into the annual succession of stellar phases. One must read Massey’s Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, to gain any adequate conception of the remarkable harmony and coincidence of the water stages of the great river with the star movements and positions throughout the year. It is a source of never-ending wonder that earthly phenomena and heavenly economy work together with such articulation and appropriateness. Or it is a testimony to the shrewd mythicizing instinct of ancient sages that they named a star in Virgo constellation, for instance, Vindemeatrix, the grape-gatherer, a star which rose when the grapes were ripened. And this is made to stand for the Virgin who rises on the world, as matter in evolution, to bring forth in the mature season the fruit of the vine, from which the wine of divine spiritual intoxication will be available to raise men, symbolically, in ecstasy to the gods! Thus did the Christs and the Horuses and the Krishnas and Bacchuses come as winebibbers, or to turn “water” of the natural life into “wine” of spiritual consciousness. Only through this transformation of lower element into the symbol of the higher mind could man’s ability to partake freely of his divine fruitage be aptly portrayed.
Egyptian analogical – and anagogical – genius traced the correspondence in physical nature between the cosmological data on which the structure of their heaven-taught theology was based and the yearly phenomena of the overflow of their mighty river. It may seem to us a mere poetization to assume that the rising of the fresh waters of the river in the growing heat of summer could be an interpretation by nature, or her fulfillment, of the great religious conception of the coming of the divine life to mankind. Yet the rising waters, bringing coolness and renewed fertility to the land, were the coming of the “savior” in every practical sense. The waters began to rise in the lowlands of northern Egypt in June. The Egyptian name of the June month was Mesore. Massey traces this name to Mes-Hor. Mes is the root of the word Messiah, as we have seen, and means “to be born.” Hor is “Horus,” free of its Latin “us” masculine termination. So Mesore is “the re-born Horus.” June was the month Dazu in the Assyrian calendar, and it was the month of Tammuz in the Aramaic calendar. Horus, says Massey, was the great Father deity Tum, reborn, like the beetle, as his own renewal, or his own son. So the name of the month was Tum-mes, which worked over into Tammuz, and which became the later Thomas of the Bible! The spiritual water of life was reborn under the symbolism of the physical waters that came to revive a land parched to death with solar heat. All through the period of July and August the waters swelled to bless and fructify the land; and they stood at their highest even level at the very time of the autumn equinox. Then they began to fall and went to their lowest at the time of the death of the solar deity in the winter solstice.
As the moon was the type of the material mother bringing the solar god to his birth once a month symbolically in the new moon and to his perfection in the full moon glory, the full moon typified the coming of divinity in its fullness in humanity. The full moon must be seen to yield the full glory of the Father’s light on the body of the mother-matter. Translated, this stands as type of the mightiest of all truths for man, – that the light of the Father or spiritual Mind, long buried in the bosom of mother matter, at last comes to its birth with the full release of its shining power, in the body composed of the elements of the natural world, its mother. This revelation of divinity in the world of nature is the birth of God as his own Son, or himself in a new birth. If it had ever been once known that the lunar phenomena carried to the ancient mind all this splendid typology, the ancient scriptures could have been read with fine appreciation of their luminous meaning. So both Horus and Khunsu, a cognate deity in the same character, were placed in the disk of the full moon in the zodiac at Denderah, when the moon was at its full in the sign of Pisces, the house of bread, or, in Hebrew, Bethlehem! As the night symbolized incarnation, when the light of spirit was submerged in the darkness of matter, the child in the full moon was the type of the divine solar light, hidden and buried, yet shining in and through matter, as the light of the world by night, or the light of the spirit shining even in the darkness of fleshly embodiment. Now, when the Nile deluge began with the sun in the sign of the beetle or crab, and in the month of Tammuz or Mesore, the moon rose at full in the sign of the Sea-Goat (Capricorn), and the divine child was therefore born of the full moon at the winder solstice.
An interesting sidelight is thrown on all this when it is known that the Akkadian name of the June month is Su-Kul-Na, “seizer of seed,” to explain which we must go back to the sign of the beetle set above by the Egyptians, and consider the fact that the beetle (symbol of the God Kheper, the Creator) began to roll up his seed in a ball of earth at that time to preserve it from the rising flood. This is only a portion of the story, and the list of correspondences between the astrological data and the river’s stations is quite astonishing. Modern scholastic religion professes vast contempt, impatience and irritation over this business of ancient fancy-work, and protests that if religion has to rest upon such idle speculation and “superstition,” it must remain childishly inconsequential. Not so with the ancients, and not so with any modern that will live with these symbols long enough to catch the terrific power of their suggestiveness and their educational lucidity. The endless correspondences between cosmic truth and the very nature of the living world were of old, and can be today, the positive demonstrations of the ubiquitous presence of deific principle in every natural phenomenon. Surely the high truths of a divine wisdom would stand doubly accredited in the human mind if their principles were found to be matched and corroborated in the actual world outside man. The ancient thinkers lived close to nature and watched her processes; the moderns have cut the link between man and nature.
Most definite, perhaps, of all the cycles was that of the precession of the equinoxes, the period of 2160 years during which the sun at the vernal equinox continues to fall in one of the twelve zodiacal signs, or passes through one-twelfth of its entire circuit that is completed in about 25,900 years. It will be found that the symbolic implications of this cycle, with the sun’s successive occupancy of each of the twelve signs, constitute nothing less than the most recondite of keys to a large segment of all scriptural exegesis. It can be unfolded here in the merest outline.
With the Neros, the Phoenix, the 1260 and the 1461 cycles denoted, the road is open to pursue the astronomical basis of the Messianic theory to still farther reaches. These will be discerned through the instrumentality of the intimations of the features of the grand cycle of equinoctial precession. It is here that will be found the full and final purport of the great tradition, or more at any rate of its particular detail. That it was wholly an astronomically based periodicity, to serve, however, as the analogue for the greatest of all meanings in spiritual evolution, there can be little doubt when the evidence has been examined.
It seems incomprehensible that a thing as large and significant as that which is now to be disclosed could have been lost out of general knowledge and so far consigned to oblivion that its restoration will be greeted with opposition and scorn in those quarters where its loss has wrought the direst mischief. Sixteen centuries of mental beguilement of the most atrocious character is a pretty dear price to pay for the suppression of the school of astronomical allegorism in the make-up of the scriptures which still hold sway over communal acceptances. The item thus heralded with so much unction is the method employed by the sagacious formulators of the religious typologies in representing the successive cyclical incarnations or “comings” of the Messiah under the name and character of the twelve signs of the zodiac in turn.
So evidently did astronomical and astrological presuppositions underlie theological doctrinism that the very name and function of the Avatar “coming” in each precessional period of 2160 years was assigned to him in reference to the zodiacal sign. He bore the designation and was vested with the characteristic qualities of the sign. As the Messiahs were incarnations “of the sun,” the “personality” of the incarnated power was assumed to embody and manifest during the cycle those special differentiations of universal deity which were severally the distinguishing characteristics of the signs themselves, or that one of the twelve aspects of completed deific nature which each sign was figured to express. Ancient astrology assigned to each of the twelve signs, and indeed to each decanate of a sign, a particular ray of influence, as one might say, each one had its proper color, tone, virtue, radiation or vibration. Hence, being the presiding genius of the sign, its expressive revelator, it must needs bear its name and number and manifest under every phase of its typical character. Hence the Messianic personage changed his name and the whole scheme of portraiture under which he was represented at the beginning of each new period of precessional advance. And not only were the distinctive sign characteristics attributed to him, but the seasonal types and the monthly traits in the annual solar round were wrought into his “life and history.” With nature, he died in the autumn, was quickened at the winter solstice, and rose again “from the dead” at the vernal passing over the boundary line between heaven and earth. At one season he was the ingloriously defeated victim of his “enemies” and persecutors; at another he strode forth in triumph over all his foes. A hundred minor characterizations are germane to his office and mission, as well as to his essential nature, at the different stations in the yearly cycle. Only in the large is it possible to trace these many aspects of his astrological representation.
A large portion of the confusion that has crept into the exegetical problem has arisen from the fact that a number of designations and picturizations of Messiah in the many past cycles have survived and overlapped, and so have introduced complexity through the very abundance and variety of descriptive data of the Savior. It proved hard to absorb and assort twelve whole sets of divine characterizations in the person of deity in manifestation, when it was long forgotten that deity was given a twelvefold catalogue of changing attributes, in accordance with the phenomena of precession. We have here, then, a new-old formula which should enable us to introduce great clarification into a situation wherein miscomprehension has so long prevailed.
It must further be prefaced that every one of the twelve signs is a dual or double representation of its particular facet of divinity. Every sign is said to be “double.” This is accounted for by the consideration that the sages endeavored to portray the divine nature as expressing itself in both its positive and negative phases in conflict or interplay in each day of manifestation. Indeed it is so in actuality. Manifestation can come only through the tension of forces set in between the positive and the negative ends of life’s polarity. Also it was the intent to present each aspect of deity indicated by the sign in its two opposite phases of dying and being reborn which each annual circulation of the sun was made to portray. Such phases of opposition or reversal always fell just six months apart at stations directly opposite each other on the zodiacal chart.
When the two forces of life are not polarized in relation to each other, life is not in manifestation. We shall see, then, how each sign presents the Messianic character and epic in the dual aspects suggested by its name and distinctive features.
Following Massey, a beginning can be made – for no particular reason – at the station of Leo in the zodiac. Under this sign, in which the vernal equinox fell some fourteen thousand years ago, the Savior manifested in his twin aspects in the character of what the Egyptians called “the Lion of the Double Force,” or the twin lions, the old and dying lion, adult of the previous generation or cycle, and the reborn young lion, the “lion’s whelp” of the Old Testament. They were also called the two Cherubim, and the word “cherubim” derives from the Egyptian name of the two lion figures, which was Kherufu. These two lions were represented as guarding, the one the western and the other the eastern gates of life at the two equinoctial points of September and March. On its visit to earth the soul, in the Egyptian Ritual, cries, “I come that I may see the processes of Maat (the Goddess of Truth) and the lion-forms.” The Hebrew so far carried original Egyptian typism over into their own constructions as to denominate the divine Avatar as “the lion of Judah,” or “the lion of the house of Judah,” – the title still retained by the monarchs of Ethiopia. The Old Testament references to the lion and the lion’s whelp attest the continued use of the symbol over a long period. What the soul means by saying it comes to earth to see the “processes of Maat” is that its life in the flesh will bring under its conscious experience and scrutiny the concrete manifestations of Truth in living situations. Here it will see Truth in actual operation, coming to light in the acts and fates of men. Also in seeing the two “lion-forms” it will gain cognizance of the reality of its own selfhood under the two aspects or phases through which its experience in every cycle of descent and return, its death and resurrection, takes it. It will come to know itself as in the one phase, represented by its image standing at the gate of the western equinox of September, the dying old one of the past generation; and in the other phase, represented by the image or Kherub standing at the eastern gate of March, as itself reborn out of its own “death” into its youth of the new generation. It is the fruit of one cycle of growth going to its death
in the autumn, and the germ springing forth out of that fruit to inaugurate the new cycle in the following spring. Maat is commonly known to Egyptologists merely as the Goddess of Truth or Justice. She is that, but in a very comprehensive sense. She is really the Goddess of the balanced relation between the cosmic forces of spirit and matter, wheresoever manifested, and her prerogative is to mete out the justice that is invoked by the disturbance of the just balance between the two eternal forces. All the issues of life are determined by the soul’s adeptness in maintaining that due balance, which alone is the condition of life’s orderly evolution. Maat is “Lord of the Balance,” and each soul, as it rises to mastery of the elements of life, becomes its own “Goddess Maat” and must maintain its control of the even balance. It comes to earth time and again to become ever more expert in the science of maintaining the balance, or manifesting truth and righteousness. As the soul is the embryonic Christ, the Messiah coming in its Leonine phase was dramatized as the Lion of the Double Force, or as the lions of the two horizons, east and west.
As the precession moves apparently backwards, the next sign is Cancer. This is the sign of the Crab, but more anciently of the Beetle. Under its nomenclature the Coming One was designated as the Good Scarabaeus. He was dual in the two aspects of the old beetle dying as he went into the ground along the Nile’s edge, and the young beetle reborn, like the Phoenix, out of its parent’s death. It would be difficult to find a symbol or phenomenon in nature more faithfully matching the ideology of the incarnational “death” and the following resurrection of the soul in its periodical shuttling between heaven and earth, than the living economy of the beetle. It makes a perfect analogue with the experience of the Ego, which “dies” and is reborn with each embodiment in matter on earth. The crab offers a cognate symbolism, as it spends its life alternating constantly between the elements of water – companion symbol with earth for matter – and air. Its frequent climbing up out of the water onto the land is a type of the soul’s rising out of the lower material realm into the light and air of intellectual and spiritual being.
The beetle was the emblematic key to one of the greatest of all theological conceptions of ancient cosmology or creation, and the lost answer to the greatest of all religious controversies that ensued in the early Christian Church, one which eventually divided the Church into Roman and Greek Catholic factions. This was the Arian-Athanasian controversy and the so-called “filioque dispute.” This was over the question whether the third person of the Trinity was produced from the Father alone or from the Father “and from the Son,” – “filioque” in Latin. Had not Egyptian allegorism been held in scorn and contempt and already forgotten, the beetle symbolism held the answer for the disputants all the time. For the Egyptians declared that the beetle or scarabaeus produced its young through the Father alone, without union with the female. This was simply a nature-type of the great cosmic fact of the Divine Mind, or the Father, projecting from his own intellectual being those children of his thought creation which became the mind-born Sons of God. They are born of mind alone, not of mind and matter in conjunction. The beetle presented a type of this unilinear begetting in its life habit.
The ass, another Biblical zootype closely associated with the Christ, is found in this house.
Next comes Gemini and its dual aspecting is readily seen in the Twins. Here the name is simply the Two Brothers or the Twin Brothers. These figure in many Biblical and ancient scriptural allegories, such as the Tale of Kamuas, the stories of Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, and Pharez and Zarah, Tamar’s twins; but more definitely in the Egyptian Sut-Horus and the Persian Ormazd-Ahriman pairs. The Romulus-Remus legend of Rome’s founding is a variant of it. The two brothers are pictured as in direct opposition to each other, as they battle for alternate victory and suffer alternate defeat in their successive and never-ending conflict in the sphere of manifestation. As spirit descends under the power of sluggish matter the material brother, or power of darkness, is hailed as victor; when spirit overcomes the flesh to put all things under its feet, hell is vanquished and the Christ is triumphant. The one brother can be taken as the spiritual aspect of life, the other as the material, and the two are ever in combat during a cycle of manifestation. As the one increases the other must decrease, and most remarkably this is precisely what John the Baptist declares to be the case as touching him and the Christ. The names of two mythical brothers in a Roman classic fable, Castor and Pollux, have been given to the two twin-stars in the constellation of Gemini. Astronomically it is said that one of them is decreasing in magnitude, the other increasing.
Passing to Taurus, we have the Egyptian typing of the Messiah, Iusa, the second Atum, as born of Hathor, the “cow-goddess” in the sign of the Bull. According to Massey this period ran from 6465 B.C. to 4310 B.C. Under bovine typology the Messiah was born in the stable, and the Greek Hercules, also a Christos figure, had to clean the filth of the animal nature out of the Augean stables. Duality is shown by his turning the streams of two rivers into the stables, meaning of course the streams of spirit on the one side and matter on the other, carrying for us the instructive moral that the lower nature is purified by the admixture of soul and sense in our lives. Again in dual character the Christos under Taurian symbolism was the adult bull of the past generation, dying to be reborn as his own son, the golden calf of Old Testament figurism. In the Assyrian version he became the winged bull so commonly found in the temples and architecture of that land. Candidates for initiation in the cult of Mithraism were baptized in the dripping blood of a slain bull. It was called the taurobolium or bull-bath. The initiated man was thus “washed in the blood of the Bull.” The much-condemned worship of the Golden Calf in the alleged backslidings of the children of Israel into idolatry was no more reprehensible or an offense against the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob than the later adoration of Christos under the signature of the Lamb of God. So far as can be seen the only sin in the matter was their holding on to the emblem of the previous cycle after a new cycle with its changed figure had dawned. It was in no sense, even if historically true, a bald worship of the physical image of a Golden Calf, instead of the spiritual being of Deity. Any nation that had been esteemed worthy to be chosen by Almighty God as his favorite human group, yet proved to be so weak as to turn from the worship of the spiritual Lord of the worlds and bow down to a metal calf as the embodiment of an actual divine power preferable to God, must be thought a freakish genus of humanity indeed. It would have been as unaccountable and bizarre an occurrence as, for instance, it would be for a modern nation of high intelligence to give up suddenly its trust in moral and natural law and turn to expect better providence from ivory elephants or bronze dachshunds. And the children of Israel, overwhelmed time and again with the signal evidences of their God’s miraculous preservation of them, yet turned from his worship to bow down to the Golden Calf of Baal not only once, but as often as one turns the pages in Exodus and following books. And yet learned theological pundits descant on this assumed historical occurrence with undisguised gravity.
Following Taurus comes Aries. As Taurus had extended from 4310 B.C. to 2155 B.C., Aries began at the latter date and ran to about 155 B.C., close to the time of the Christian Messiah. This is indeed a notable datum, as it alone would account for the almost equal use of Arian and Piscean symbology in connection with Jesus in the Gospels. The old forms and symbols of Aries had not had time to be discarded and replaced by those of Pisces, the next sign, and were kept along with the new ones adopted from Pisces just coming in. For Jesus was introduced as Aries was going out and the sun entering Pisces.
As Aries was the sign of the Ram, the adult dying phase was balanced by the renewed youthful phase in the Lamb of God. Here is found the warrant for the angelic announcement of the Avatar’s advent to a company of “shepherds” in the fields; the parables of the Good Shepherd and the sheepfold; Jesus’ figurative title of the Shepherd of Souls (and the Church “pastor”); the shepherd’s crook as an ecclesiastical symbol; and the congregational “flock.” The sacrificial lamb on the altar was again an emblem of the immolation or oblation of God-life for man. “Other sheep I have” would be a sentence put into the mouth of the Messiah figure in a Mystery-drama when the typing was molded on Arian lines. Likewise such an utterance as “I am the door of the sheepfold” and “The sheep know me when they hear my voice” would have this astrological origin.
Pisces follows Aries and blends its sign-types with those of Aries in Christian allegorism. It is the true sign of the Galilean Savior, and this dramatic character lived up to its proper emblemism with full fidelity. Tertullian and Augustine and other early Fathers exalted Jesus as the Great Fish in the mortal sea and designated his followers as “little fishes.” The Christians dubbed themselves Pisciculi, the Latin for “little fishes.” The Greeks named the Piscean Avatar Ichthys, the Greek for “fish”! We have noticed the famous sentence whose initial letters spelled Ichthus. The twelve “disciples” were “fishermen.” The gold for the taxes was found in the fish’s mouth and the last miracle was the overwhelming draught of fish. The Roman catacombs were replete with images of the two fishes everywhere with the Christ figure. One of the two typical articles of divine food with which the Messiah fed the multitude was fish, and fish was also constellated in the heavens as a type of divine sustenance. Jesus offered himself as sacrifice for humanity not only as the lamb led to the slaughter, but also as fish to be eaten along with bread for mortal salvation. Duality is seen in the two fishes of the sign. Pisces is the plural form, as Piscis would be the singular.
The roll of the cycle brings us now to Aquarius, into which sign the new age or dispensation is entering about the present time. But where are the hierophants of old who watched the time-table of the cycles and were alert to introduce the new typology and hail the new-born Avatar and adorn him with his new panoply of characterization? Alas! for the first time in world history there are no Magi, no Council of Sages, no Demi-gods to change the nomenclature and salute the incoming Genius of the Cycle with his proper figuration. Nor is there a populace reverent or intelligent enough to do aught save jeer at it if it were announced.
Pisces was the “house of bread” as well as of fish, and this in Hebrew reads “Bethlehem.” As being just six signs distant from and therefore directly opposite Virgo, in which the first or natural man was born, Pisces was the inevitable symbolic birth-place of the Christ or divine man.
Aquarius is the Waterman, pouring out the ichor of divinity from his urn in two streams, again representing the division of the life-stream into spirit and matter, both equally beneficent. Nu is the watery fount of primordial origins, elemental source, and holds the waters of the abyss. From it emanates that water which is to generate life for all the universes, as the sea water generates life on our planet. Aquarius is the only man in the zodiac of animal signs; so in man the two streams of living water flow together to purify the nature for the generation of the Christ consciousness. Jesus proclaimed himself as the bringer of that water of life which all men must drink to be immortalized.
Capricorn, beginning at the winter solstice, is the Sea-goat. Matter’s most consistent symbol in the ancient type-language is water. Spiritual consciousness is most deeply buried in matter at the point in evolution symbolized by the winter solstice. But as the Sea-goat is an animal mythically combining the forefront of a land animal with the body and tail of a sea creature, the representation is that of man, who is a god immersed in a body composed of combined earthly and watery elements, though seven-eighths water. “Capricorn” means “goat-horn,” and the horn was an emblem of intellect and spirit, probably as growing from the head. Christ is described as “the horn of our salvation.” But also he is, as sacrifice for mortals, the “Scape-Goat” of ancient dramatism. His death for man spells tragedy, which, oddly enough, in Greek means “goat song.”
Sagittarius yields duality in the half-man, half-horse constitution of the Archer. Man is a god in the body of an animal, according to the pronouncement of ancient philosophy which must be seen to be the key to the meaning of this Centaur figure of Sagittarius. He is the Bowman drawing his bow. What is he aiming at? The answer to this has been found in only one place in archaic literature. A verse from the Book of the Dead in the mouth of Shu, a high spiritual God, says: “I am the lion-god, who cometh forth with a bow; what I have shot at is the Eye of Horus.” Coming in the late autumn with shortening days and waning sun-power, the shooting out of the Eye of Horus, great Egyptian symbol of divine sight, was a typing of spirit’s loss of intellectual and intuitive spiritual vision as it descended into the darkness of material embodiment. So here the God Shu is figured as the mighty hunter, a title carried by Orion, Nimrod, Hercules, and other deific characters in the mythic annals.
The same autumnal loss of divine genius, but under a quite different allegorical guise, is portrayed in Scorpio. Instead of the loss of his spiritual eye, the deity, plunging into matter and coming under its spell of inertia, here is typed as suffering the scorpion sting of matter’s inhibitions, represented as poisoning the divine soul and throwing it into a lethal sleep or “death.” It is not the god himself who is personated by the scorpion, but the power which the god must overcome and transmute into the agent of his own resurrection on the other side of the zodiac. Or it may be thought of as the beneficent influence that inducts spirit from above into the lower realms where its victory over material opposition will exalt it to higher status through the regeneration of powers sown in weakness and raised in strength. An intimation of this is shown in a singular statement in the Egyptian texts otherwise incomprehensible, that Serkh, the Scorpion goddess “stings on behalf of gods and men.” This is a clear assertion, badly needed in general understanding, that the “sting” of incarnation, the temporary submersion of spiritual powers “under the law” of flesh and sense, is wholly salutary and beneficent for the purposes of evolution. For eventually the risen Christ in the heart imparts to all his followers as they grow to spiritual adulthood the power “to tread on serpents and scorpions.” Students of astrology are well aware that the sign was represented by the eagle in very remote times. As the eagle above and the stinging poisonous insect below, it is again dual. Indeed it is possible to see in this double aspecting the basis of the Phoenix myth, the bird as the one phase and the worm which is to renew its dying life as the other. Job says that he shall die in his nest and renew his life like the eagle. Christ is the swift eagle, renewing himself periodically from the worm.
Standing on the great “horizon” line that divides spirit from matter, and so indicating the point of equilibration between the two evolutionary forces is Libra, the Scales of the Balance. Duality is seen here in the two, positive and negative, scales of the balance. This is one of the most philosophically instructive of all the signs, as it connotes one of the greatest of all principles of human understanding of the basic meaning of all life in the flesh. The great truth carried by the sign is that while in the body man is standing directly on a horizon line separating the two kingdoms of life, spirit and matter; that he lives in both regions, heaven and earth, at the same time; and that consequently his whole experience is an ordeal of “being weighed in the Balance.” The mighty significance of this fact is that it is the substance of the doctrine of the Judgment, which is thus incontrovertibly demonstrated to take place on earth during the life in body, and not in heaven after death! One of the greatest of theological discernments is thus brought to light after centuries of groping error in the misconception of a great cardinal doctrine. The Messiah’s title under this symbolism was “Lord of the Balance” in Egypt. He was addressed as “thou who weighest all souls in the Balance.” Human history might well be made to run in happier courses if it was general knowledge that souls are being weighed in the Balance of the Judgment here on earth.
It was practically inevitable that a sign denoting matter should stand in immediate juxtaposition to Libra, and facing it across the boundary line. This is Virgo, Mother Nature, matter in its primordial “virgin” state. It is an “earth sign”! This “virginity” of primal matter is shown by the position of the sign in the (symbolic) zodiac, which is just above the border line between spirit and matter, still, so to say, in the heavenly or spiritual world and not yet substantialized or concretized into physical substance, but preparing to become the mother of the forms of creation that would eventually bring the body of man as the birth-house of the Christos. The Christ of this sign is of course not the Virgin, but her Son. He is in the sign in his Mother’s arms. Just under her feet is the head of the great serpent, Hydra, whose elongated body stretches across seven signs of the zodiac below the horizon line, with open jaws ready to devour the Christ-child if she should let him fall. Two great truths are adumbrated by this relationship. The first is that the Christ principle in its incarnational experience must pass through a cycle of seven stages in the realms of matter, figured as the devouring serpent which swallows the eggs of the bird of spirit. The second is meaningful in reference to the Genesis promise that the heel of the woman and her seed (the Christ) should bruise the head of the serpent. The Christly power to tread on serpents and scorpions is immediately cognate also. The ancient zodiacs and planispheres placed the universal Mother, Eve, where she could crush the serpent with her heel.
In Virgo is the constellation cluster called the Grapes. Rising in the autumn as the sign emerges above the horizon, this signalizes the coming of the Christos into the flesh and suggests the potent meaning that he will give mankind the higher “intoxication” of the Wine of Life, an uplift of consciousness which Plato calls “a divine mania.” It is something more than a chance play on words, really full of the sublimest sense, when one says that the Christ comes to intoxicate man with divine “spirituous liquors.” We have here the ground of all the wine symbolism in ancient Bibles, and the origin of such an ancient festival as the Hakera of old Egypt, at which Har-Tema (Horus) came “full of wine,” and was styled “the Jocund.” This is matched, somewhat at a distance, in the Gospels in the person of Jesus, who came “eating and drinking,” the copying of an Egyptian allegorism, which represents him as making merry with the lowly of earth. This is the closest the Gospels come to representing the man of sorrows as “jocund.” The scene is the counterpart of a similar dramatization found in the Noah allegory, where Noah, the “no-etic” or divine intellectual principle, on his return to earth after the flood that washes away all forms, plants a vineyard and shortly becomes intoxicated, so that his sons have to go in backward to cover his nakedness. The Father principle of spirit, descending to earth, loses its divine vesture, becomes “naked” and must be reclothed by the renewal of its heavenly garments by its own sons. All this is pure Egyptian typism, matched in every feature in the Kamite texts. The elevation of mortal mind by the buoyant afflatus of divine thought quality, which, to speak in the figure, goes to the head and induces ecstasies and raptures, is what the ancients symbolized by the ideogram of intoxication resulting from man’s imbibing the Wine of Immortality poured out for him by the gods. As all such symbolizations are dual, there is also an intoxication of another sort, that undergone by the god himself when he, like Noah, lands again on earth and becomes intoxicated with the wine of sense, reveling in it like a drunkard, forgetting his divine nature. The carousal and buffoonery of the Hallowe’en festival are survivals of the original representation of this typology. The god-man and the animal-man in us mutually intoxicate each other, until in the end the higher intoxication neutralizes the lower and man becomes soberly wise.
As each one of the twelve months in the annual round brings its distinctive characteristics and types of weather, so the zodiac was designed in ancient sagacity to intimate that in the whole round of the aeonial cycle the passage of the sun through each of twelve signs, symbolizing the peregrination of the soul through twelve stages of expanding growth, brought out in manifestation the final twelvefold perfection of its power. As the Christ unfolds successively each new aspect of his developing faculty, he “comes” to that further extent. So he “comes” in every new and full moon; in every morning sunrise; in every springtime; in every month of the year; in every precessional thousand years; and in every Great Year of twenty five thousand years. He “comes” in every cycle large or small. Each age and aeon brings a particular segment of his nature to manifestation. He “comes” regularly and periodically because each throb of life’s pulse pushes the living stream of divine energization farther out to the remotest periphery of being. Nothing less can accrue to knowledge from the perusal of our brief sketch of zodiacal typology than the summary realization that the various scriptural accounts of Messiah’s coming were all grounded on astrological figurism, and had nothing whatever to do with history. All people have been mildly aware of the use of a few touches of Arian, Piscean and perhaps Taurian symbolism in connection with Christly religionism. The Lamb, the Bull and the Fish seem to be interwoven for some reason into the story. The Virgin is there, too; but as long as she is assumed to be a mortal young woman in history, her astrological connotations have not been evident. Perhaps this work announces for the first time since ancient days that the Christ was figured as coming in each sign and under each sign’s particular symbolic characterization and significance. It is therefore an epochal revelation for all religion.
ORION AND HIS DOG
One must ask, in the wake of this disclosure of the astronomical and astrological character of ancient Messianism, how it is that the birth of the Christian Messiah, claimed to be a purely historical event at a given hour about the year 4 B.C., still carries with it so many of the marks and vestiges of the non-historical astrological depiction. The fixing of the Christmas date on December 25, three days after the winter solstice, was done confessedly to match Bacchic and Mithraic cult practice; and the dating of Easter on the first Sun-day following the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox equally has not a single shred of linkage with history. Both these great festival dates speak purely of solar mythicism. Likewise, if scrutinized closely, nearly every major and minor incident in the career of the Gospel Jesus is interlaced with one or more features of cyclical or constellational typism. It would take another book to present this body of correlative material. One instance may serve to give substance to the claim.
Take the lowly figure of the animal type (zoötype Massey calls it) so definitely interwoven with the Gospel Messiah, – the ass. It was present, along with the ox, at his birth; along with its foal it bore him in triumph into the celestial city at the end; again with its foal it was brought in to help him toward his crucifixion. The Christ as the Good Samaritan was mounted on it. Out of his life-long study of astrological types, what has Massey to give us about this animal symbol?
“The ass has been obscured by the lion and other sacred animals, but it was at one time great in glory, particularly in the cult of Atum-Iu, the ass-headed or ass-eared divinity. The ass has been badly abused and evily treated as a type of Sut-Typhon, whereas it was expressly a figure of the solar god, the swift goer, who was Iu the Sa (Iusa) or Atum; and Iu-sa is the coming son, or the Egyptian Jesus on the ass.” (Sa is the Egyptian suffix meaning “Son,” “Heir,” “Prince,” “Successor.”)
“The Ass in ancient mythology was a symbol of great importance,” says E. Valentia Straiton, in The Celestial Ship of the North (p. 47). The ass originally typified the deity of the Dog-Star, then known as Sut, son of the Typhonian Mother, who had the honor of rearing the first child in the heavens. The Book of the Dead says: “The Great Words are spoken by the Ass.” (Baalam’s ass speaks in the Old Testament.) In original Egyptian the Hebrew Jah, Iah, Iao or Ieu (Iu) mean an ass, the type of the Sabaean Sut, who was the earliest El, the Son or Sun. An ideograph of an ass’s head was the equivalent of a period of time and a cycle. Oddly enough, says Miss Straiton, the ass was an ideographical hieroglyph of the number 30, symbol of a luni-solar month, which was divided into three weeks of ten days each in the twelve-month year. The twenty-eight days of a lunar month belonged to Sut-Typhon. What is called Sut’s resurrection – perhaps better his transformation into spiritual being – was symboled by the shift from the lunar cycle of twenty-eight days to the solar thirty-days cycle, and from Sut’s day, Saturday, to the solar Sun-day. A three-legged ass found in Persian scriptures, says Miss Straiton, typified a month of three ten-day weeks.
Even the Christian St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, calls Jesus “the Good Scarabaeus, who rolled up before him the hitherto unshaken mud of our bodies.” (Egyptian Mythology and Egyptian Christianity, Samuel Sharpe, London, 1863, p. 3.) And St. Epiphanius has been quoted as saying of Christ, “He is the Scarabaeus of God.” Christian forms of the scarab yet exist, used as an emblem of the Savior.
In his introduction to the Nubian Grammar, the noted German savant Lepsius says: “At every step we meet in Babylonia with the traces of the Egyptian models.” And it is surely unlikely that if Babylonia absorbed Egyptian prototypes, it could have done so without transfusion through Hebrew, Syrian and Greek channels.
Bailly is quoted by Miss Straiton as saying, “All the classics support Herodotus in the knowledge of the three Divine Dynasties preceding the coming of the human race.” It is also noted by De Rouge in The Turin Papyrus: “Most remarkable of all, Champollion, struck with amazement, found that he had under his eyes the whole truth. . . . It was the remains of a list of Dynasties embracing the furthest mythoic times, or the reign of the gods and heroes.” Citing Pandoros he continues: “It was during this period that those benefactors of humanity descended on earth and taught men to calculate the course of the Sun, Moon and Stars by the twelve signs of the Ecliptic.” Creuzer writes that it is “from the spheres of the stars wherein dwell the Gods of Light that Wisdom descends to the inferior spheres. . . . In the system of the ancient Priests, all things without exception – the gods, the genii, manes (souls), the whole world, are conjointly developed in Space and Duration. . . . The Pyramid may be considered as a symbol of the magnificent hierarchy of Spirits.”
Miss Straiton (p. 36, op. cit.) verifies what has here been affirmed as to Egyptian city-naming and typing:
“The Egyptians expressed the place of birth and rebirth of the Sun and its burial below by saying, ‘The tomb of one life was ever the womb of another.’ They built their cities accordingly, as places of Resurrection.”
Abydos, Annu (On, Heliopolis), Thebes, Sais, Luxor, Memphis and others were particular examples of this usage.
“When the vernal equinox receded from the sign Aries, the Lamb, into Pisces, the Fishes, and the Sun-gods were born under this sign, the Gnostics or early Christians, who were versed in ancient wisdom, typified the Sun-gods as Fishes.”
Venus, who was the same as the Norse Freia, and whose day is Friday, is exalted in Pisces; so fish is eaten on Friday. Well does Miss Straiton observe that “all the falsities found in the interpretation of the myths are due to their having become literalized.”
Each movement of the sun into a new sign in the precession brought about the fixing of a new birth-place in the heavens. A significant basis of meaning is attached to the rising of one sign as its opposite sign went to its death. The Bull, Taurus, dies with Scorpio opposite rising. “Scorpio is the sign of night, darkness, death, while Taurus is the sign of life, physical generation.” In the eternal conflict between spirit and matter, the one waxes as the other wanes. The “death” of the one is the increased “life” of the other.
Our attention is called to the fact that one of the calendars in use among the Hebrews shows all the remarkable events of the Old Testament occurring on the days of the equinoxes and the solstices. Likewise on the same calendar days the most outstanding events of the New Testament happened, as for instance the Annunciation, the Birth, the resurrection, the birth of John the Baptist. Such a fact goes far to prove that the founders of the Christian religion, so far from being under the driving persuasion that they were giving to the world the first light of a true revelation, quite obviously were trying to adjust whatever they felt was unique in their message to the time-honored forms and programs of ancient pagan usage.
The Dog-Star, Sirius, rising in the south to announce the beginning of the year, on the imagery of the farmer’s dog barking to announce the dawn of day, may be a poetization that has nothing to commend it but its prettiness. Yet when it is taken along with a hundred other such constructions in a system of uranographic depiction, all of which go to make the most lucid portrayal of the entire meaning of the basic religion and philosophy of the world, it becomes far more than merely playful fancy. In limning the history of man’s soul in relation to its body in the imagery of the celestial movements and cycles, the sages of antiquity took the most eligible method open to man to perpetuate in one great universal language of nature-myth the sublime meaning of this cosmos and man’s life in it. They wrote their unforgettable advertisement on the one signboard that would forever command man’s view, – the open face of the sky. God obliged by writing the exact counterpart of it on the surface of Mother Earth. So that whether man looked below or looked above, he found the heavens telling and the earth making reply. The one shouted God’s eternal message and meaning, and the other echoed it. With its daily voice in his ears, how could man ever lose or forget it? The allegedly silly childish myths of the stars were intended to be the most vivid mnemonics to all the human race of its own cosmic being and destiny.
Another lucid sketch of constructive fancy is seen in the myth that is linked with the origin of the “dog days” that fall in August. Astrological theory places the beginning of the “dog days” at the time when the sun rises simultaneously with the Dog-Star. The common tradition that a mad dog shuns water or will die if he drinks water, almost certainly had its origin in remote astrological symbolism. For the constellation of the Dog, Canis Major, has his back turned toward Cancer, a water sign. The great Dog-Star, Sirius (the name based on the root of the word “Osiris”), typified the divine nature, as Anup, the Dog, Jackal, Fox in the Egyptian mythology, represented the keen-scented Deity that could guide man through the darkness of incarnational night. The great Sirius, that blazed brilliantly in the dark night of winter, fitted and filled this conception. Water, as always, represented the body of man in whose humid confines the soul descended for its incarnation. The body is seven-eighths water. Along with and exactly akin to the representation of the soul’s falling into an intoxication by the strong wine of sense in its fleshly experience, was the analogue of its going mad when it bathed in or imbibed of the waters of incarnation. The great Dog of soul went “mad” when it dipped into the waters of the bodily life. It therefore turned away from the water, and no doubt is turned toward an air or fire sign. The twelve zodiacal and the thirty-six other constellations have been designed to depict the several aspects of general truth under a varied but always deeply enlightening allegorical modus.
Then there is the legend of the “three Kings of Orient” who came on Christmas to adore the new-born God. Who shall say that the term or title, Three Kings of Orient, as the Christmas hymn phrases it, is not some early zealous and jealous scribe’s work of shunting out of sight a bit of too evident and open pagan astrological symbolism from the Christian material? For from of old the Three Kings were the three conspicuous stars in the belt of Orion, the mighty Hunter, that so easily distinguish this notable constellation, making it next in prominence in all the heavens to the Great Bear itself. And their title was for long centuries the Three Kings of Orion. The three King-Stars in Orion, himself the personification of the Horus or Christos power, rise in the east on Christmas Eve and ascend to the mid-heavens on the celestial equator. Sirius, the Dog of Divinity, rises right after Orion, being the Hunter’s dog, lesser deity following in the wake of higher deity everywhere in nature. And man in evolution, the thinker, is followed on the upward path by the animal, who will at a later day stand where he now does. Some thousands of years ago, when on Christmas Eve the Dog-Star stood at the height of the sky, on the horizon of the east rose in its turn the constellation of the Virgin, bearing in her one arm the Christ-child himself, and in the other hand gripping the great star Spica, the head of wheat, for that divine bread which cometh down from heaven, the eating of which will sate man’s everlasting hunger for God.
The births of Abraham, Moses, Caesar and many other great figures were all foretold by the appearance of a star, according to Higgins.
“I flatter myself,” he says, “that I shall convince my reader that this story of a star was no fiction, but only a mythological or allegorical method of representing the conjunction of the sun and moon, and the conclusion of the cycle at the end of every six hundred years, and the periodical restoration of some star or planet to its old place, or to its periodical rising in a place relative to the sun and moon at the end of the time. Thus whenever the star arrived at its proper place they knew that a new cycle commenced, a new savior would be born; and for every Avatar a star was said to have appeared.”
How a conjunction of the sun and moon, or of some six of the planets, as some modern guessers have predicated, could guide three Magi slowly across the Arabian desert and stand still a few feet above a stable in Bethlehem, deponent sayeth not. Otherwise Higgins’ delineation of the cyclical basis of the Avatar tradition is both clear and sound.
It is worth noting the concession to ancient allegorical custom made by Bishop Laurence in the preface to his translation of the Enoch:
“That singular and to those, perhaps, who penetrate its exterior surface, fascinating system of allegorical subtleties, has no doubt a brighter as well as its darker parts; its true as well as its false allusions; but instead of reducing its wild combinations of opinion to the standard of Scripture, we shall, I am persuaded, be less likely to err if we refer them to the ancient and predominant philosophy of the East; from which they seem to have originally sprung, and from which they are inseparable as the shadow is from its substance.”
Obviously we are likely to catch the hidden meaning of the allegorical subtlety only if we refer the constructions embodying it to the philosophy of the ancient East, since they are the positive expressions of that philosophy. Once their true significance is seen, they prove to be not only fascinating but illuminative of all our darkness.
Higgins asks how the French and Italians came to dye their own god Cristna black before they sent icons of him to India. And how came his mother to be black? – the black Venus, or Isis the Mother of Divine Love, the Aur or Horus, the Lux of St. John, the Regina Coeli (Queen of Heaven), treading in the sphere on the head of the serpent – all marks of Jesus of Bethlehem, of the temple of the sun, or Cris, but not marks of Jesus of Nazareth? Summing up much of the material Higgins declares that there can be no dispute about the prevalence of a common doctrine both east and west of the Indies, purveying the same elements; and the only question will be whether the East copied from the West before the birth of Christ, since the same doctrines were there before his birth, or the West copied from the East at a later time.
In Egypt, Massey tells us, the ordinary year was timed largely by the inundation of the river and the heliacal rising of Sirius. In the cycle of the Great Year of precession, the time was marked by the retrogression of the equinoxes and the changing position of the pole. This time was kept by double entry. And when the birthplace of the Messianic child was made zodiacal it traveled around the backward circuit of precession. The birthplace of Horus, the divine babe, born of the Virgin of the zodiac, was made coincident with the vernal equinox, and the “date” thus became subject to the change of precession. It parted company with the lesser year and the inundation to travel from sign to sign round the circuit, staying in each sign 2160 years. Fourteen thousand years ago, the calculations reveal, the vernal equinox coincided with the sign of Virgo, and the autumn equinox with the sign of Pisces. So Eratosthenes (276 B.C.) testifies to the fact that the festival of Isis, which was celebrated in his time at the autumn equinox, had been celebrated when the Easter equinox was in Virgo. Higgins claims that a great part of Moses’ object was to make the shift of the festival of the equinox from Taurus to Aries, thus throwing the onus of sin upon the worship of the Golden Calf (Taurus) when the proper emblem should have been the Lamb of God (Aries).
Modern religious ritualism has only the fragments and tatters, so to say, of the majestic fabric of the ancient Sun-worship. And in the main even those remnants stand without any competent appreciation of their original moving significance. In the distant past every festival of the religious year was replete with a meaning of great moment, since every phase and position of the sun in the annual zodiac carried a corresponding meaning with reference to the pilgrimage of the soul round the cycle of outgoing into matter and return to spirit. The (apparent) progress of the sun through the four seasons, the two equinoxes and solstices, and the twelve solar and thirteen lunar months, as well as the sun’s position at critical or meaningful points in the circuit, were made the basis of a correspondent movement, progress and position of the divine Ego or Self in man in its aeonial round. How perfect this correspondence is and how graphically the meaning of the soul’s experience in its cyclical evolution could be represented or dramatized by these features of the solar year, can not be realized until one scrutinizes this material with a bit more than lackadaisical interest. One must take the time and pains to see the remarkable exactness with which the transactions of the solar, lunar and stellar movements re-enact the eternal drama of the soul and the body, in their alternate phases of union and dissolution. The great commemorative or ritualistic festivals were of course those dated at the two solstitial and the two equinoctial points, fixing the Christmas festival in December, Easter in March (or April), the ancient Fire-festival in June and the Michaelmas or Hallowe’en festival in September (or October). But astronomical configurations and conjunctions brought significance to other periods in the year. There is, for instance, the beautiful but little-known festival of the Assumption of the Virgin. Some pretense is made at keeping it by ritual observance in a few churches, but it is doubtful if any unction can go with its perfunctory celebration, since the depth of its real meaning is no longer plumbed by the celebrants. Dupuis gives us the background for understanding:
“About the eighth month, when the sun is in his greatest strength and enters into the eighth sign, the celestial virgin appears to be absorbed in his fires, and she disappears in the midst of the rays and glory of her son.”
This, comments Higgins, represents the death or disappearance of the virgin. The sun passes into the Virgin the thirteenth before the Kalends of September. The Christians consider this as the reunion of the Virgin and her Son. The feast commemorates the passage of the virgin. At the end of three weeks the birth of the Virgin Mary is fixed. In the ancient Roman calendar the assumption of the virgin Astrea, or her reunion with her son, took place at the same time as the assumption of the Virgin Mary; and her re-birth, or her disengagement from the solar rays, occurred at the same time with the birth of Mary. This was the eighth of September in our calendar.
One has to go back to the most recondite view of cosmic operations to divine the hidden meaning of this Assumption of the Virgin in the rays of the Solar Lord. With the Virgin and the Sun personalized in the characters of Mary and her son Jesus, in the Gospel legendary form, it is not easy to work out the reference. An alleged historical man and his mother are hardly dimensional enough to carry the burden of the vast cosmic representation in their tiny personalities. Resort must be had to the language of symbolism, which was the current coin for the transmission of such profound meanings in the olden time.
Now, to begin with, the Virgin represents matter in its pure primordial form. It is engendered in the bosom of Absolute Being by the first fiat of Divine Creative Will. The first act of this Creative Will is the division of itself into the two elements of the eternal bipolarity, the interaction of which two forces is the condition necessary for its own manifestation or creation. The separation thus entails the detachment of matter and of spirit severally out of each other’s arms, the abstraction of the one soul of life from the polar opposite and the setting of the two in mutual tension with each other.
The next point to be noted, with symbolic language as our guide, is that matter was invariably personalized by the great Mother or Mother-Goddess character, and represented by the symbol of water. Water was the element out of whose womb all life was to come to birth, and, with the magical consistency with which this symbolic language spells a thrilling meaning, it is water that is the first mother of all life! All first life on the planet emanated from sea water. The human birth issues out of a sack of water. This water, or matter, was the “water of the firmament,” which Genesis notes as the very first creation, divided into its two segments or forms of the upper and the lower firmament. The upper firmament of water is matter in its super-atomic, ethereal or invisible state, that is “above” the substantial creation; the lower firmament is matter in its visible, concrete, substantial or atomic construction.
So Being detaches its watery (material) part from its fiery (spiritual, solar) part and sends both forth upon the creative business of the Divine Mind. On the material side the work begins with the formation of the atom and proceeds to the evolution of all the forms which it is designed to provide for the organic expression of life in all its creative fancy. It builds up the visible universe which gives Life its manifold play throughout the cycle. But when the cycle has run its long course and the day of dissolution arrives, matter, the Virgin of the world, is drawn back into union with the fiery principle from which it was separated in the beginning, and is once more absorbed into the enveloping rays of Infinite Being.
Each new expression of life in and through matter – each new birth from the Virgin Mother – generates a new type of advanced realization of its fiery spiritual principle. Yet this is always achieved through a course of experience of the germ of mind in a body of matter, and is therefore the Virgin’s own Son. Matter is the mother of the Suns, which are her Sons. Hence the fiery power of life on its spiritual side reabsorbs into its bosom at the end of each cycle the masses of matter which entered into the form-structure of spirit’s ideation. And see how astonishingly earthly Nature carries out the symbolism! In the period of the summer’s greatest solar power the fiery energies have barometric capacity to absorb more water than at any other time of the year! It is commonly the period of drought; the air moisture is absorbed and not precipitated. It is the season when the watery element is absorbed by the fiery. Ancient philosophical poetic fancy must needs seize upon the natural fact and use it to give body to cosmic truth.
Each new generation of life produced by a cycle of manifestation and growth is the Son of Virgin matter. But the material creations inevitably must dissolve away and be reabsorbed back into the bosom of the primordial and eternal Infinite. In each cycle of manifestation, which by definition in the symbolic language is Matter’s or the Virgin’s Son, it is this newest release or formulation of spirit’s fiery energy that absorbs matter’s potencies at the period of dissolution. Hence it is said that the Virgin is taken up or assumed by her own Son and lost in his fiery rays. So the Assumption of the Virgin is the climactic act in the aeonial round. And after three weeks in the tomb of non-being, the new year begins with the rebirth, i.e., the reappearance of the Virgin as the drought ends with the equinoctial rains! Matter’s reappearance on the creative scene is intimated by the reappearance of the water, its symbol, on the earthly scene. The Virgin is absorbed in the glowing bosom of her own Son, the Sun, but emerges again to become mother of the next generation of being. The New Year’s festival that is dated in mid-September is indeed well placed.
Another interesting item of ancient symbolical and astrological reference is the legend of the “Halcyon Days.” Ordinary dictionary or encyclopedia sources explain the name as referring to a period of about fourteen days during the winter solstice, when the kingfisher, otherwise called the halcyon bird, nests on the waters, supposedly bringing them to a tranquil smoothness. Halcyon has therefore come to mean tranquil and peaceful. The supposed origin of the legend is the Greek myth of Halcyone, daughter of Aeolus, God of the winds, who in grief over the loss of her husband Ceyx, cast herself into the sea, which became calm.
It would seem, however, that the etymology of the word – halcyon – points to some more recondite reference in relation to the Dog-Star, Sirius. The “hal” is obviously the Hebrew form of the Egyptian “har,” – Hebrew “l” and Egyptian “r” being equivalent, as the Egyptian has no “l” – and “har” is the equivalent of the “Hor” of “Horus.” It therefore means “God” or “deity.” The cyon is unmistakably the Greek Kuon, meaning “dog.” “Halcyon” thus comes to mean “the divine Dog,” or “God (as) the Dog(star).” As the coming of the Day-Star from on high was to bring “peace” to earth, the birth of the God at the winter solstice would fittingly be thought of as the basis of a legend that placed the “Halcyon” days at the winter solstice.
Another solar date in the year, of early significance now forgotten, is the second of February, Candlemas Day, or the holy day of the Purification of the Virgin. It marks the termination of another period of forty days length, of which there are at least five in the year’s course. The Christ was born symbolically on the night of December twenty-fourth, and February second ends a stretch of forty days from that date. As forty days was the ancient cryptogram in number for the period of the seed’s incubation in the ground or matter before germinating, therefore a glyph for the general fact of incarnation, the end of all the forty-day periods would signalize the perfection of the product of the incarnational experience. Hallowe’en ends the forty days from the autumn equinox, and May-Day ends forty days from the vernal equinox, as Easter ends the forty days of Lent. So Candlemas ends forty days from Christmas. The conclusion of the period of soul’s tenancy of the body is presumed to have raised the constituent matter of the body in which it was housed to final purification. The candle flame, drawing up and transmuting into its own glorious essence of fire the lowly elements of the animal body of the candle (animal tallow), is the grand symbol of this transfiguration of essence which soul works upon lower body. And this is the Purification of the Virgin.
Albert the Great (Lib. de Univers.) says that the sign of the celestial Virgin rises above the horizon at the moment in which we fix the birth of Christ, that is, at midnight of December twenty-fourth. He adds that all the mysteries of his divine incarnation and all the secrets of his miraculous life, from his conception even to his ascension, are traced in the constellations and figured in the stars which announced them. (See Dupuis: Histoire de Tous Les Cultes, Vol. 3, pp. 47, 318). This symbolic allegorism was the true and high employment of ancient astrology. Higgins (Anac., p. 314) strengthens this assertion in remarking that “the trifling but still striking coincidences between the worship of the god Sol and the stories of Jesus are innumerable.” It should be noted that if the resemblances are sometimes apparently “trifling,” this is the fault of the ignorant copying of earlier definite constructions, due to the loss of esoteric insight, and is not attributable to any want of exact correspondence or identity in the material originally.
OUR DAY-STAR RISES
In Lundy’s Monumental Christianity (p. 120) there is a paragraph of some length which it would be a crime of the deepest dye not to mention here. It stands as such a choice morsel of that combined arrogance and sad ignorance and misjudgment which the host of Christian writers has exhibited for centuries in their treatment of the religions of “paganism,” that not to serve it up to the reader in this feast of clarification would be gross niggardliness. Comment must be restrained until the end. (The most egregious statements are emphasized by (our) italics.)
“It is a marvelous thing that Paganism has these Avatars or appearances of God on earth, whether as copies or as independent types or prophecies of Christ’s manifestation of God to men it matters not; and so we have the Bel of the Assyrians and Babylonians; the Mithra of the Persians; the Agni of the Hindus; the Horus of the Egyptians; and the Apollo of the Greeks and Romans, all bearing a striking analogy to the Real Son of God, being all of them sun gods themselves. Because the sun was the great creator and restorer in nature, he was adored or made the medium of the adoration paid to the Creative, Preserving and Restoring Power of the universe by all these ancient peoples. They were seeking after God; for to the greater part of the Pagan world God was unknown. Their mistake was in identifying nature and God, and not retaining nature as a mere symbol. Their religion as a consequence became unreal; and their gods mere fictions – mere forces of nature deified – mere creatures of the imagination. If nature be God and made itself, then there is an end to all argument about religion. In that case religion becomes natural science or natural history. God as a Supreme Being or Person above and beyond and independent of nature there is none; and religion is an impossibility. But religion is a fact; and has been a fact ever since the existence of the human race. It stands, therefore, as a witness to the universal belief in Something or Some Being behind nature and beyond it; and when the sun was at first chosen as the most conspicuous symbol and the most fitting type of God’s unknown being and attributes, they were feeling their way after him and making their images of the material sun like the grace and beauty and fresh bloom of nature acted upon by his warmth and light. If Christianity and this Sun of Righteousness are but copies or adaptations of this old Paganism, then how did it take the place of Paganism? It would be a house divided against itself. Some real and not merely ideal Divine Personage had appeared among men, or Christianity is but a fiction like the rest. It was not afraid of the Pagan Apollo, when it adopted the beautiful ideal of this youthful sun-god to express the divinity of Jesus Christ as a fact.”
The passage deserves by way of comment and critique a whole extended essay instead of a few sentences. It is indeed an inviting pièce de résistance. The main puzzle, however, is to tell duck from turkey. Indeed it is a fact that the more of such underhand blows of Christian writers at paganism one reads, the more impressed one becomes with the realization that most of the presumed stones of slander and reproach they hurl at paganism turn out to be bouquets of the highest praise. The diatribes of intended abuse more often than not resolve themselves through an unguarded utterance into the highest encomiums.
Lundy begins by admitting that it is marvelous that the pagans had Avatars and Messiahs in their religions. But when he says it matters not whether they had them as copies, or as independent types and prophecies of the Gospel’s Christ’s manifestation, and that either way it proves the superior truth of Christian teachings, he gaily plunges right through a wall of impossible logic and contrary facts stout enough to stop any force but religious zealotry. It is the same fatal predicament that caught one Christian reviler of paganism after another in the net of its illogical absurdity. It being too confessedly humiliating to admit that the early Christians copied their unexampled true religion from the pagans, forsooth the copying had to be laid at the door of the pagans! But, horrors! The pagans were first, centuries ahead of them! A thing is not copied before it is in existence, but after. Later copies earlier, not vice versa. There was but one dodge to escape the dreadful onus of the logic of the situation, and peerless Christianity saw it and resorted to it. This was to charge that the pagans, instigated by the devil, copied the matchless Christian doctrines that were still to come with the birth of the true Messiah in the year one (or four, or twelve) A.D. Paganism was of the devil and the scheming serpent that whispered blandishing words in Eve’s ear came on the scene again to dictate artfully to the many pagan seers the “plagiarism by anticipation” of the faith to be. The pagans craftily copied the Christian religion centuries in advance.
Alternative to copying the items of Christian dogma ahead of their pronouncement, Lundy admits that the pagans may have preconceived the realities of Christ’s manifestation as “independent types and prophecies,” with or without Satan’s whispering aid. If so, all that any sane mind could think of their accomplishment is that it was a feat of wondrous genius. If Christianity be the transcendently lofty pure revelation it is claimed to be, the pagans soared high to match its conceptions in advance. Yet a Christian writer musts needs treat it with a slur.
Then Lundy calmly admits that Bel, Mithra, Agni, Horus and Apollo all “bear a striking analogy to the Real Son of God,” without the remotest suspicion that such an admission points with practical conclusiveness to the fact that Jesus was just another Sun-god figure with the others.
But the apex of both poor reasoning and bald untruth is reached in his statement that the mistake of the pagans was in identifying nature with God and not retaining nature as a mere symbol. He here charges pagan philosophy with making the enormous mistake that it took endless care never to make. The whole base of pagan religious systems is the explicit differentiation between nature and God, since nothing is more emphasized everywhere than the more exalted status of the Christ, second Adam or child of the spirit, over the first or natural man, of the earth, earthy, who comes first to prepare the way for the later and higher guest. The Christ comes in the fullness of time, in mother nature’s old age, to elevate and transform the child of nature. Paul states that the whole (natural) creation groaneth and travaileth in pain, waiting for its transformation by the power of manifested spirit. The great Egyptian religion is built on the conflict between Sut and Horus, who typify the natural forces and the spiritual. Horus’ victory over Sut is the symbolization of the highest aim and goal of all religious aspiration. The ancients expressly did not intrude the area of nature into the kingdom of spirit. To retain nature as mere symbol of higher values is precisely the thing they did do. And they did it so grandly that if Christianity does not turn back and adopt the same method of natural analogical representation and depiction of spiritual laws, it will continue to hobble along groping in semi-darkness, ignoring the natural correspondences that alone could eliminate its labyrinthine difficulties.
To assert that pagan religion was unreal, that its gods were mere fictions of the imagination, is simply to state what is not true and never was. Their gods were the real forces of both nature and mind, but personalized for the simple purposes of dramatism. To declare that Isis was a fiction, that Thoth was pure imagination, is to declare that Mother Nature is unreal, that Intelligence is not a true element.
God is a Supreme Being behind and beyond nature, though unquestionably in nature as well; but there is no body of evidence that the pagans ignored this knowledge. Any student who does not find that ancient religion is infinitely more than natural science or natural history has not read his books with eye to see what is there. Lundy simply reveals his total failure to grasp the profundities of archaic wisdom if he contends there is in it no Supreme Being above, beyond and independent of nature. This is sheer unwillingness or inability to see what is there for any mind to perceive. What Lundy has not seen, nor those who belong still to his party, is that the ancients discerned a relation subsisting between nature and nature’s God which they worked upon to achieve a greater lucidity in the formulation and exposition of the most recondite and cryptic truths of life. Though at a lower level than mind and soul, nature was known to be the analogue of cosmic truth, and as such provided the visible living types of that truth. It was the physical counterpart of all spiritual law, and its processes and phenomena were an unerring key to the mysteries of all subjective revelation. And the ancients never spurned nature or vilified it with the philosophical contempt which the Christians heaped upon it in virtue of its supposed inferior status. God was far more than it, to be sure; but it was a segment of his being, as much as a man’s body is a portion of his selfhood, and as such it had its own proper place in the sacredness of the whole.
The amount of charitable condescension Christian writers have lavished upon the poor pagans for their laudable seeking after God amid their prevailing spiritual darkness should certainly induce God to indulge them in his tender mercy. They were cut off from all true light, yet by some blind instinct they groped for what was vouchsafed in full panoply of glory a little later to the Christians. Heroically they struggled toward the light. So they chose the sun as the most conspicuous manifestation of the powers of light, life and creation, because, of course, they could go no higher toward a metaphysical idea. In dull blundering hazy fashion they could think far enough to see that the sun was the author of the beneficent provision that surrounded them on earth. With no power to see a Divine Mind working at a far higher level than that evidenced through the power in the physical sun, they were limited to their conception of the Creator in the garb and role of a sun-god. And if Christianity broke away from paganism and spurned it as a bundle of crude childish misconceptions, how, asks Lundy, can it be said that it was not infinitely higher than the system it so far transcended? How, he asks, as if it was a clinching argument of unanswerable force, how did Christianity take the place of paganism? How, indeed, we ask in turn. This volume contains the gist of the answer, and it is not the answer that Lundy assumed to be the only and the true one. Contrary to every element of his implied answer, Christianity is not only a copy or adaptation “of this old paganism,” with every single one of its doctrines rooted in an ancient item of symbolic portrayal of truth, but, sad to say, it is a vitiated and degraded copy of the shining original. This answer has never been given before. Christianity, grievously enough, took the place of paganism because it swept an overpowering wave of fanatical resentment against the aristocracy of the esoteric intellectual mysteries and drowned it out. This is the simple truth of the matter, so long submerged. The episode contends for the honor of being perhaps the direst tragedy of world history. The recrudescence of the esoteric movement widespread in the world today is the most general effort in sixteen centuries to regain what was then lost. And all the forces of the intervening centuries of obscurantism, reaching right up to the present and opposing the light now as then, are set to block the recovery.
The most fatal legend that clutches at the general mind today and stultifies all right exertion to regain what ancient pagan wisdom once held for humanity, is the legend that the Dark Ages are long past. On the intellectual side of religion and spirituality we are still dwelling in the lingering shadows of medieval night, hypnotized and victimized by superstition of the weirdest types flaunted from pulpit and seminary. This beclouded day of gloom must continue as long as we have not the acumen to dissociate sublime myth, allegory, drama and symbol from the dregs of history. For philosophical science has at last, in recent development, gone far enough toward the light that it now announces that the core and gist of all philosophy is summed up in the one word, meaning. And the transcendent meaning of the richest legacy of religious wisdom imparted to the race in all time has been lost for two millennia because it was preserved in an amber of allegory, which, mistaken for history, has yielded a farrago of clownish nonsense in place of the gold of truth. This is the biggest chapter in the cultural history of mankind.
Yet Lundy hits close indeed to the real truth of the matter in many other passages. He says, for instance, that Plato learned his theology in Egypt and the East and must have known of the crucifixion of the Buddha, Krishna, Mithra and others occurring long before the day of Christianity. He even argues that if the mythos has no spiritual meaning, all religion becomes mere idolatry. And he admits that the symbols of Oriental pagan religions do indicate a Supreme Power and Intelligence above matter. He says that the Greek and Persian Sun-gods were true types of the Sun of Righteousness. He even reaches the point of magnanimity at which he can say that surely the God and Father of all has not withheld a knowledge of the way of life and salvation from his pagan children and revealed it only to Israel, before the advent of his Son. Yet it is the Christian system which has not been at too strenuous pains to discourage a general belief that such had been the case. Indeed that very conclusion is practically enforced upon the mind as a necessary implication of all the Christian claims put forth as to the benightedness of the pre-Christian world. Lundy comes to the advanced point of admitting that the true Sun must have been somewhere close in the background to produce such shining types and anticipations of Christ as Agni, Krishna, Mithra, Horus, Apollo and Orpheus on the pagan horizon. But he, like all others standing in the same orthodox tradition, winks his mental eye at the obvious true implication of this admitted datum, which is that they and Jesus were alike representations of the one Christos who was never a person.
Lundy cites the “eagerness with which the pagans embraced Christianity” as evidence that it gave them in more comprehensible form what they had been imperfectly taught in their own systems. It explained the mystery of their own creeds. The entire religious world had long been looking for the birth of a “man-God,” he says. The Redeemer promised to fallen man had been announced uninterruptedly from age to age. He had been eagerly looked for at Rome, among the Goths and Scandinavians, in China, India, in High Asia especially, where all the religious systems were founded on the dogma of a Divine Incarnation. Zoroaster had foretold it, and Zoroaster’s disciples, the Magi of Persia, had followed the star to the birth-chamber. Pagan oracles and the Sibyls had foretold it. So, concludes Lundy, when at last the news broke upon the pagan world that Messiah had indeed come in Judea, the nations eagerly flocked to hail the babe who brought the consummation of their hopes.
To summarize a long argument in brief, not only is Lundy’s picture of the “eagerness” much overdrawn, if not an actual fiction, but, as has been shown herein at an earlier place, the mass support that accrued to Christianity in the early centuries was the result of far other causes than the belief that the Avatar of the new astronomical aeon had appeared in personal form on a given day in Bethlehem. Lundy’s brief can best be answered by noting that there is no evidence whatever of a general widespread flocking of the nations to the banner of the new cult. So far from this being the case, there was for nearly two centuries almost no notice taken of the event at all. And the rabble of the Roman Empire that did after two and a half centuries flock into the fold, did so through default and decay of esoteric understanding rather than from any true recognitions.
The eminent psychologist, C. G. Jung, says that the mind of man, before it is inundated and indoctrinated or conditioned with fictions and falsities, is a clean tablet, a virgin womb, and that if it is properly nourished with truth it can give birth to the Christos. This is a pretty tropism and true enough; but it is not quite the meaning of the virgin birth of the Christos in the ancient glyphs. The Virgin Mother is matter, not mind. Matter is to evolve an organism in which Mind and a Spiritual Soul would grow, bloom and bear fruit of the highest divine consciousness. The planting of this soul in matter’s garden, its germination, growth, cultivation, blooming and fruiting were the birth and the “coming” of that Messiah to which the sages of antiquity taught the human family to look with eager expectation. Any preachment which distracts the concentration of the entire world’s aspiration and striving away from this goal of our racial evolution and dissipates it in sentimental release upon an isolated historical event (that proves in the finale to be no event at all, but only garbled allegorism), by so much defeats the vital message of ancient truth and thwarts the direct purpose of the early divine guardianship of the race. The true and only true expectation of Messiah’s birth in the world must be watched for in the mantling spread of Christly graciousness among all peoples. When the watchman, peering from the mountain top through the night and fog of low human selfishness and animal brutishness at last proclaims the signs of the appearance of the Sun-god in the rising tide of good-fellowship among the nations and the brotherly congress of all peoples in mutual amity, then and in no other way will the world be able to join with the angels above in filling heaven and earth with choric halleluiahs. Till then all Yuletide gladsomeness is but token of that which is still to come. The mythic birth of a babe amid all the pageantry of beautiful emblemism is a moving drama of the grand reality. But, alas! If the mind have nothing to carry it beyond the pageant to the transcendent actuality, or, worse, if the mind has been taught to take the pageant for the whole body of the actuality, it becomes travesty and tragic abortion.
Lundy is long departed, but it is for his followers and successors to contemplate the implications of his and their own historic claims. We have noted the odd fact that whenever the Bible narrative is accepted as historic truth and its accounts of factual occurrence are transposed into realism, monstrosities of unnaturalness are the result. Even more prodigiously fatal is the consequence of accepting in full realism the great Christian claim that Messiah has come and gone and left the world wholly unredeemed. No more tragic reflection could afflict the mind of sincere humans than the assurance – if the Christian claim be true – that the world’s great Messianic hope has been fulfilled – and that it has meant so little! If the nineteen hundred years of historic record that have followed this supposedly crowning event of the human aeon are to be taken as the actual fulfillment of Messianic promise, then we have witnessed the supreme anticlimax and disillusionment of the ages. So crushing would this realization be to the natural sanguine spiritual instinct and the hope of the race that in the face of it the human heart would cry out to Deity for the assurance that it may indeed not have been so. It is little to be wondered at now why Paul urged the brethren to shun profane and vain babblings of such as Hymenaeus and Philetus, who, he says, concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already. Of similar urgency today is the message that we should shun the vain babblings which err in saying that the Messiah has come already. Human courage and constancy would fail if the world was assured that the great aeonial denouement of all fervent aspiration and age-long faith had actually taken place, and meant nothing more than the record since then. The mind refuses to accept the centuries of medieval darkness and the nearly equally futile centuries of modern confusion of tongues as the laurel crown of historic consummation, the golden fruits of the mundane effort. From present view it would be almost to suffocate the heart with the chill of terror to admit the thought that the great culminating event of human life has already taken place – and proved so futile. Mortal spirit must sink in despair if the history since Bethlehem and Golgotha is the upshot of Messiah’s coming. The only salvation of that spirit is the assurance that Messiah has not come, but is yet to come. For discomfiture and dismay seize the mind at the thought of the pitiable historical denouement of the alleged Messianic fulfillment. If what the world has seen in the actual since the angels chorused to the shepherds is the reign of Messiah, then the dream of faith must die in the morn of hard disillusionment. As far as anyone can see, the world could have been no worse off if it had not happened at all. Indeed it proves to have been largely the cause and beginning of an initial period of sixteen hundred years of such spiritual benightedness as the world had not known before. It inaugurated the Dark Ages and in just those lands over which its blessings of “light” were distributed. And now, after nineteen hundred years of the supposed benignant effects of the reign of the planetary Messiah, the most blatant denials of his influence and blastings of his teachings are rampant in the world, and in that portion of it predominantly to which he delivered his message. Blessed with the unction of his wondrous message for nineteen centuries, the nations today are plunged in the depths of horrid chaos and direst tribulation. If Messiah has come and world history is the upshot of it, the mountain of ancient hope and prophecy has indeed labored and brought forth a mouse of human defeat and disappointment.
The only escape from the fatality of this dismay is to know thankfully that Messiah did not come in personal embodiment in the year one, four or twelve, or in any year on the calendar, but that he has come in part in the spirit of good-will among men as far as it prevails, and is still to come in the fullness of his birthing in all human breasts. Thus only can faith, hope and sanity be saved, and the dignity and meaning of sage ancient scriptures be maintained.
The actual sequel over so many centuries if proof final and positive that the alleged and never authenticated birth of Jesus the man was not the fulfillment of ancient Messianic prophecy. It is proof unanswerable that this prophecy was never intended or expected to be fulfilled in and by the birth of any historical personage. Until the ignorant debacle of wisdom in the third century the Christos to come was a spiritual principle and never a man, though dramatized in human form, as it was to manifest in man. The Christ was to come in man. The ignorant were told that it was to come in a man, and the Dark Ages were born. Ignorance is told now that it has come, and the subconscious thought of its proven historical futility grips the world mind with chaos and despair. What is there to buoy the religious hope of mankind if Messiah has already come and all in vain? Having corrupted every high doctrine of archaic wisdom into rank nonsense, it has remained for Christianity in the end to wreck also the great Messianic tradition. Christianity has dashed the high hope of the world into the dust of two thousand years of ignominious history. By fixing a specific date for the Messiah’s coming in a single man, Christianity has made the following two thousand years of appalling record of brutal inhumanity stand as the crushing sequel of that advent. And the inglorious character of that sequel drags the spirit of man down into hopeless defeat.
There is but one way by which that pall of perpetual hopelessness can be lifted and the psychological boon of perpetual high expectation given back to man again, and that is by mental rejection of the entire Christian thesis of the Messianic coming in the year one. Chaos and despair can be escaped only by the denial of the basic claim of Christianity, through the assured knowledge that Christ did not come in the form of Jesus of Nazareth on any given day. The only way to gild the skies of the future with the roseate hues of high expectation and ever kindling rational hope is to dash to pieces the whole structure of historical Christianity and clear the mental ground of its littered rubbish. Only then can the true form of the Messianic doctrine grip mind and heart with perennial buoyancy and anoint mankind with the oil of gladness.
Nowhere in either general study or in so-styled “occult” investigation has the real reason for the cyclical representation of the Messianic coming ever appeared to have been perceived and stated. That cryptic reason not only gives a light by which to solve the riddle, but at the same time adds perhaps the final crowning argument for the untenability of the man-Messiah theory. It has been seen that by ancient sagacity the coming of Messiah was pictured as taking place regularly, cyclically and periodically, under the figure of a star rounding its orbit to reappear again and again. This portrayal brought the representation as close to an analogue with the actual method of the coming as it was possible for the human mind to bring it. The Avatar was depicted as coming to earth under the symbolism of a long sweep of lunar, solar and stellar cycles, for the reason that, precisely like these revolutions, his coming was not a single historical occurrence, falling in a line of other single events, but was the one grand event that summed the whole series, and progressed to its consummation through the endless repetition, like the stellar revolutions, of smaller cycles of advance. It took the multiple repetition of minor cycles to round out the major grand cycle, which was in itself and in its product the coming, though each minor cycle within it was not only the prefigured type of the whole movement, but an actual integral portion of the coming itself. Not being a person, but a quality or degree of consciousness, and coming not in one man but in the character of all men, it could come in no other way than by a graduated approach, advancing a little further toward full arrival at each step and in each cycle. In all the life of nature, progress or evolution invariably makes headway by an endless series of forward steps, each one bearing the development ahead a certain distance, and generally receding somewhat to be picked up and carried forward by the next surge a little farther than before. This is unquestionably the logic back of the ancient thesis of reincarnation for the soul of man. It is unthinkable that the soul, starting its human experience from just above the level of the brute, can crash the gates of heaven in one short life. From animal selfishness up to godlike graciousness there is a gap that evolution can bridge only in a long course of the slow development of conscious powers through mingled sorrow, joy and discipline. The soul being an entity that can hold its gains in its interior ark of the sanctuary of life, it circles down to earth again and again, adding an increment of experience and its fruitage of wisdom, as well as developed faculties, at each round of the wheel of birth and death. The ever accumulating capital of enhanced godliness in the whole body of individuals thus brings the Christly soul of the world periodically nearer its full epiphany. This envisagement of the fixed rationale of the evolutionary movement sets the determinative seal on the logic of the argument. To predicate the coming of the Christ consciousness in one man only, would be to deny it to the race in which it has its real coming. To predicate it as coming all at once at a given historical epoch would be to interdict nature and annul the rhythmic movement and the cyclical advance. The true image of the coming was the sun, or the star, or the season, that came in endless repetition. There is but one story that nature has to tell, and that is the story of the endless coming of ever new life, the eternal renewal through endless time. The claim of the historical coming of Messiah in the first century A.D. would be as anachronistic as it would be for a playwright to throw the climactic denouement of his drama into the middle of the second act. From the strategic view of evolution’s long course the incidence of the climactic event anywhere in mid-stream is premature and abortive. It has not been prepared for, the forces at work have not had time to flow into position for the consummative effect. It is untimely and out of setting. It would break in upon the organic growth of the movement, would destroy the rhythm of nature, disrupt sequences and wreck the plan. The birth of the aeonial Christ, as a man, in the year four or twelve B.C. would precipitate a miscarriage of all ancient scriptural meaning and structure and would engender, as it has done, a hybrid prodigy of mocking irrelevance. Instead of being the fulfillment of all sacred prophecy, it has proven to be the untimely abortion of that prophecy. There is no logical place for it in the scheme of ancient religion, and its injection into the scheme disconcerts and nullifies the whole splendid order. If the sublime portent of ancient Messianism is allowed to discharge its whole body of meaning upon one historic person at a given year in the course, the great ancient drama of majestic purposiveness in the whole run of history crashes into wreckage by the roadside two thousand years back. If the coming of Christos is already past, the rest of history will represent man’s blind staggering forward with no goal of grand allurement ahead. For that kingly attainment which was designed to be the aeonial loadstone to draw mankind on to the end of the human epoch will have been drained out into one single (alleged) historical event, leaving the race still unenlightened and without its guiding star of knowledge, and further demoralized by a stupendous hallucination from the fulfillment of a great prophecy without visible result. Paul warns that the words of those vain babblers who say that the resurrection is already past “eat as doth a canker.” The echoes and reverberations of those brave words of the Apostle have been rolling from age to age, as the centuries have brought the evidence of the canker corrosion of the Western mind by the vain babblings that Messiah has come already.
Sublimely sacred is the Nativity drama of the Yule. Let no heart reject its gripping import, let no mind disdain its reference. But it is the tragedy of twenty centuries that any soul should rejoice in it as the mere commemoration of an event that has happened and is not still to happen. If this tawdry notion can be lifted and expanded to the immensity of the conception that the drama prefigures the mighty reality of a cosmic event that is even now running its thrilling course in ever increasing grandeur of meaning, there is no power that will stop the voices of millions caroling joyous Noels unto the coming of the King of Love. Not until the Bethlehem stable scene is removed from mass consciousness as past history, and reintegrated in a wondrous new concept of heightened majesty and power on the understanding that it is sublime allegory of a racial denouement still in process and still awaiting consummation, will the song which set heaven’s arches ringing and filled earth’s temples with the echo at the solstice of winter sweep the human heart into abiding joy.
As it is no derogation of the greatness and dignity of the One God to cease to think of his power and intelligence and love as being confined within the personality of one grandiose Being isolated and detached from the universe, and instead to conceive of him as the life and mind manifesting in all creations, neither is it a derogation of the Christos to cease to think of him as one person and to pay homage to him as the irradiating charity transforming all human hearts. Surely to contract the religious idea of the Christ into the meager confines of one personality in history is to belittle that which we would magnify. To adore him as the King of Love ruling the immeasurable hosts of earth’s mortals and distributing his benignant influence out in million-fold streams to irrigate all lives, must be the conception that will mightily glorify itself through the infinite multiplication of its nature distributed out into countless creatures. Life never contracts into one except when it dissolves away all the forms of its multiple expression at the end of a cycle and retires back into unity. It is then retreating into dormancy in its condition of absoluteness – which to us is the negation of all our values, – nothing. Whenever its energies are pushing outward into manifestation in creation, its oneness is divided, then multiplied, into infinite diversification and modification. The creation would itself be both impossible and meaningless if it were not so. Oneness precludes all possibility of structure, or organism. It abolishes relationship among diverse elements, and with that goes meaning.
In the reflection of this great truth the coming of Christhood in one only character in history is meaningless. It lays no foundation for organic unity in humanity. Indeed by its unrelatedness to living mortals, by its isolation and exceptionality, it itself destroys the one link of unity that should bind the members of the race together in structural wholeness. No fitting place can be found or made for it in the beautiful system of ancient theology. And if it is forcibly thrust into it, the gleaming significance of the whole structure is blasted. The Christos in the heart of the race is adequate to carry with comeliness and consistency the magnificent meaning of the ancient scriptures. But no man-Christ in Judea or elsewhere is able to encompass in his tiny personality that range and sweep of significance. It is an anomaly, a lamentable malformation of ignorance dealing unwittingly and ruinously with the elements of cryptic beauty.
A priceless item of ancient knowledge was the recognition that each small cycle in nature is the type and analogue of the whole movement and design of life. The sages therefore read into certain of the most familiar cycles those epochs, stages, turning points which prefigured the momentous significance of ultimate reality, which itself comes to light little by little in an endless round of renewed cycles. Nature repeats endlessly in the small the analogue of that which is the reality of the large and the whole. Both the small and the large are the reality which alone is. That which in the day, month, year and precession appears over and over again and passes – and so has got the name of mere appearance as over against abiding reality – yet bears the stamp and image of that one omnipresent reality which does not pass. The returning star was the sign and harbinger of the Christos because it was the image and portent of that coming. The advent of Messiah was exactly prefigured by the features of every rolling cycle. The star in the east is that bright and morning star whose rising on the field of general human consciousness will deify humanity. It is the day-star from on high, but having plunged into earth and ocean “on the western side of heaven” in its descent into matter, it must rise again after its night of incarnation “in the east,” as token that deity that goes periodically to its “death” in body will just as often have its joyous resurrection.
A Christmas carol has the following lines:
And the sky was bright
With a holy light –
‘Twas the birthday of a King!
Christmas celebration extols the wondrous significance of the birth of humanity’s King. A fine Christian hymn begins with the line – The King of Love my shepherd is.
A common religious phrase is “Christ the King.” A Christmas hymn exhorts:
Let earth receive her King!
In a world in which the ideal of democracy is rampant the rule of a King has lost some of its idyllic glamor. This is in the political field of human interest. Children need kingly rule and naturally pay homage to kingship. So the race in its childhood honored regal position and power. But neither the adult individual nor the race in its maturity cherish kingship so unreservedly. The reason for the change is that as the individual and the world grow to their adulthood, they feel the divine instinct to discard outward rulership and set up the function of divine kingship within themselves. The ideal of kingship is not lost; it is simply shifted from outside to the inner courts of the Self. In the spiritual world, then, the divine right of the King to rule his domain of consciousness and conduct is still inalienable and inviolable. A sad day for humanity when the ideal of the spiritual rule of a principle of love and righteousness in the inner life of mortals falls into disrepute. Hail then with renewed acclaim the solstitial birth of the King of Love!
This King of Glory was named by the ancient Egyptians I U. This became later J U and Y U. As he was also God, the Hebrews added their word for Deity – E L. This gave Y U-E L, eventually YULE. The French form used the short root of the divine principle of intelligence, N O (cognate with our English know), the No-etic faculty, with the Hebrew E L and derived NOEL.
As fortune would have it, the study is completed in December, on the very fringe of the winter solstice. In ancient typism the period of the god’s incarnation in flesh and matter was dramatized as the midnight and the midwinter of its cycle. At midnight in midwinter the mighty constellation of Orion, followed by the great Dog-Star Sirius, takes its position in the central heavens south of the zenith. Orion prefigures the greater divinity; and as divinity endlessly seeks the thrill of life that accrues to it from becoming periodically incarnated in matter in its seven-period cycles, so the mighty hunter, Orion, with his Dog, is dramatized as pursuing the Seven Sisters, the Pleiades, ahead of him, – matter being eternally feminine.
But in the belt of Orion, the part of his dress that gives organic stability to his whole body, are the three stars known as the Three Kings. They point almost in a direct line to the following Dog.
Man is most philosophically described as “a God in the body of an animal.” The God is leading in evolution, but it is bringing the animal behind it along toward the same high goal. Within the animal is the God that, like the dog, can dower the mortal animal-man with the divine instinct to guide himself unerringly through the darkness of incarnational night. So Sirius was made the type of the Christ-soul in mankind. He is preceded by the Three Kings who anticipate his coming and hail and adore him on his arrival. The Three Kings of evolving consciousness are Mind-Soul-Spirit, the ineffable trinity of divine life. In man’s ordinary consciousness they manifest as Goodness, Truth and Beauty. When brought to glowing intensity in the field of conscious being in man, the three fuse into one grand power of divine Love. This is the three-starred, three-rayed King whose birth is hailed at midnight of December twenty-fourth.
When Yuletide carolers raise paeans of joyous song to greet the birth of humanity’s King at midnight of the winter solstice, it is all in token of the birth of the three kingly elements of consciousness that are destined to rule in the life of man on earth, – Goodness, Truth and Beauty. Fused in the white heat of Love, they become that Prince of Peace who can touch the animal in man with his wand of magic and transform him into the fairy spirit. And only then will begin that reign of Saturn, that Golden Age, when the “halcyon days” set in, and the King-fisher of the souls of men can build its nest in safety on the tranquil waters of the erstwhile stormy sea of mortal life, in the winter solstice of evolution.
We three kings of Orion are;
Bearing gifts we traverse afar;
Field and fountain,
Moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.
Oh! Star of wonder, Star of might,
Star with royal beauty bright!
Guide us to thy perfect Light!
HE IS THE KING OF GLORY