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The House of the Hidden Places, by W. Marsham Adams, [1895], at

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LIGHT is the first principle of created life. There is no life without growth; there is no growth without light. Colour, perfume, savour, every varied object of sense vanishes if light be absent. Each beam is a separate celestial gift, direct from the hand of the Creator; as in the bas-relief on the tomb at Thebes, discovered by Mr. Stuart, where the diverging rays form a pyramid of light, and to each ray is attached a hand of blessing.

Universal too, as is the necessity for light in living nature, equally extended is its manifestation in the form of motion. Wherever

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life exists, in man or bird, or beast or fish, there also is that power which is denied to inanimate matter—the power to originate motion. To live and move and have our being are three states inseparably connected with each other. Mathematician and poet alike acknowledge the universality of motion in living form. "Motion, fount of beauty," exclaims Pindar in one of his loftiest odes. "All nature is in motion," says Professor Price in his lucid treatise on infinitesimals. So too, the unfailing harmonies of the heavenly bodies express themselves in the periods of their orbits. And through the correlations of those luminous circuits, as through a veil of glory, the correlations of interior truth were shadowed forth by the Egyptian "Mystery-Teachers of the Depths." Depth beyond depth, space beyond space, height beyond height, from the company of planets around our sun, to where the "clusters of countless stars are but a faint nebulous gleam," Light is everywhere the

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[paragraph continues] Omnipotent Creator, the laws of Light the expression of infallible truth. *

But how to seize with material grasp the intellectual relations of the most ethereal element known to man? How imprison in stable form the flashes of the fiery spark as it darts with inconceivable speed from space to furthest space? How render palpable to the direct touch the distant courses of those flying orbs? In a word, how shall we build up the manifestation of Light, and find masonic expressions for the Mystery of the Depths? Light itself gives us a reply. For if, as in the bas-relief at Thebes, the diverging flood

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of rays be represented as it pours down at noon on the day of summer solstice, the opening day of the Egyptian year, we shall have one face of the Pyramid of Light. Suppose now that a quadrangular pyramid be erected with four such sides facing respectively the cardinal points of the heavens. Then since each revolution of the earth is completed by one quarter of a rotation later than the preceding, it follows that every fourth or grand year the same face will be turned towards the sun when the revolution of the earth is accomplished; and thus the Egyptian Grand Cycle (of four years) will be masonically expressed. Just such a form is found in the quadrangular Pyramid of Light, its sides so oriented as to have originally faced the cardinal points, and its summit so truncated as to permit the sun on one day in the year to rest upon it "with all its rays," so that the building "devours its own shadow."

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The general form determined, what proportions shall the dimensions assume, or in other words, at what angle shall the sides converge towards the invisible vertex? The earth in her orbit gives reply. For as that planet moves around the sun in an (approximately) circular path, while each ray travels towards it in a direct line, the relation between the illuminating force and the illuminated body may be expressed by the relation between the radius and the circumference of a circle. But this relation is such that the altitude of a pyramid when bearing the same ratio to its base-circuit subtends an angle of about 51° 50´. And that is the Angle of Elevation of the Grand Pyramid. Nor is this most important, and indeed dominating, measure due to accident; since the angle in question is the most marked, and almost the only feature, which the lesser and later Pyramids share with the Pyramid of Light, so that it forms the masonic sign whereby the inferior buildings

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tacitly asserted their kinship with the Great House.

Although however, these general aspects of the radiance suffice to determine the general aspect of the building, yet a closer investigation of the light will disclose a more intimate relation. For since our atmosphere may be conceived as divided into successive layers of air, increasing in density as they approach the earth, each ray as it travels will be slightly deflected, or refracted, as it passes from a finer to a denser ring, the refraction being greatest when the body is on the horizon, and imperceptible when it is near the zenith. Conversely, if on any given day the position of the sun be observed at equal intervals from rising to noon, and from noon to sunset, the apparent place of the sun will, owing to refraction, be slightly different from its true position at any

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observation; and a diagram representing their mutual relations will offer the appearance of a house having many stories, with a small platform at the summit, since near the zenith the true and apparent positions are identical (and the only motion is that of transit)—that is to say, we shall have the appearance of the Grand Pyramid when the casing-stones are removed.

If then, on the first day of the (Egyptian) new year—when the sun is about fourteen hours visible above the horizon at Memphis—an observation be taken every two minutes (four observations for the period occupied by any ray in reaching the earth from the sun) there will be altogether about four hundred and forty observations, making two hundred and twenty courses of ascent and descent, of which a certain number will be wanting at the top since at the zenith there is no refraction. But this is precisely the case in the Pyramid of Light; the number of existing courses being

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about two hundred, and the number required to complete it reckoned at about twenty more. Further, since the moon in every two minutes of time completes a (circular) minute of her circuit relatively to the sun, and since at the commencement of every Sothiac cycle she commences a new lunation and comes (invisibly) to the meridian at the same time with the sun at noon, it follows that these unit-intervals of observation correspond with the minute-intervals of her motion; and each course of the Grand Pyramid corresponds to the change in the altitude of the sun for one circular minute of the moon's motion relatively to that body.

The true and apparent forms of the Grand Pyramid being thus determined by the true and apparent motions of light, we have now to inquire with what scale we are to build up the chambers of the house. The rolling earth once more suggests the standard. The cosmic unit of space—the Sceptre of Anup, the Guide

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of the Horizon of Heaven—must be clearly defined, and incapable of confusion; it must be self-evolved, and yet immutable; it must be within man's power to compass, but not within his grasp to alter. Now these conditions are fulfilled by one line, and one only known to man, the polar axis of the earth—the line, that is to say, about which takes place the earth's daily rotation, while itself performs the annual circuit around the sun. Let that line be carried far as the eye can follow or thought can reach, the depths through which it pierces remain for us for ever at rest. That is the line which directs the axis of the Sacred Horizon of the Point of Equinox, and which indicated to the mind of Egypt the entrance path for the holy departed as they passed from the created to the Uncreated Light. A beautiful allusion is made in the Ritual to the illuminative action of the sun in reference to this double motion of the axis, as the earth, the vessel of God, performs her daily and

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annual course in the heavens. For we read there how the holy departed "has appeared in the Bark of Ra in the course of every day;" and how Thoth, the Divine Wisdom, "clothes the spirits of the justified a million times in a garment of true linen;" of that substance, that is to say, which by its purity and brilliancy reminds us of the mantle woven out of rays of light wherewith the sun enwraps the earth afresh each day she rotates before him, just as the soul of man is invested with new radiance each time that he turns to the presence of his Creator.

How then shall we avail ourselves of this mighty measure, this rule of light and standard of space? This time the building itself answers through its familiar title. According to Dr. Brugsch, the term Pir-am-us in Egyptian signifies the EDGE; and on examining the base-circuit of the building, we find it to be composed of casing-stones with a bevelled horizontal edge, so exquisitely finished that

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according to Mr. Flinders Petrie, it is equal "to the finest work of the optician." On the occasion of the visit of the Empress Eugénie to Egypt, in 1869, one of these casing-stones was measured in situ by Mr. W. Dixon, and found to contain just 25.025 British inches. But the relation of this length to the polar radius (or semi-axis) of the earth is of the very last importance in universal measurement. Several years ago Sir John Herschel pointed out that our inch is contained in the earth's polar radius just 250,250,000 times; so that if that unit be increased by its thousandth part (less than the fineness of the finest hair) it will be contained in the polar radius just two hundred and fifty million times. Since therefore this stone contains twenty-five inches so increased, it measures the earth's polar radius exactly ten million times; and as the Egyptians were certainly familiar with the decimal system, expressing units, tens, hundreds, thousands, and millions by distinct hieroglyphs, this stone

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in the base circuit of the Great House supplies a simple masonic unit of cosmic length, a standard of universal measurement.

Were this ratio an isolated instance, some question might not unnaturally arise as to the accidental nature of the connection; but the intention of the architect is strongly confirmed by the kindred discovery due to Mr. Flinders Petrie. That acute observer has pointed out that the length of the raised pavement was a simple measure (one-twentieth) of a geographical mile. And since a geographical mile is a measure of the earth's circumference at the Equator, a knowledge of it implies a knowledge of the measurement of the polar radius.

Striking however as is the ratio which this stone bears to the cosmic standard, its relation to the Pyramidal Edge, of which it forms a part, is no less prolific of universal results. For, taking as the length of that base-line, *

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the average of the results obtained by the principal surveys executed since the great Napoleon opened the dull eyes of Europe to the inexhaustible treasures of ancient Egypt, we find that the casing-stone is contained in the line so measured just 365.25 times, and consequently in the entire circuit (4 x 365¼) 1461 times. Hence, as the form suggests the

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[paragraph continues] Grand Cycle, so also does the measure of the base-circuit; the number of times the cosmic unit is repeated in that circuit, defining the number of solar days in the Grand Cycle, and consequently also the number of the solar years in the cycle of Sothis.

It seems, therefore, not unreasonable to conceive that before the casing-stones finally shut up the secret, the relations of the sun and moon to the position of Sothis and of the pole-star should have been correlated with the courses of the Pyramid in the manner above described; and thus a starting-point for all the motions of the earth, whether in relation to the moon, the sun, the equinox, or the stars, have been registered unalterably in the masonic light.

To measure the motions of the earth however is the commencement, but only the commencement, of the universal scale. That which we need for the Mystery of the Depths is nothing less than the span of solar or

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measurable space. In other words, we require to define the extreme limits on either hand within which no fount of original light is found except our own sun, since the distances of the stars are beyond accurate measurement. But the distance of the limiting point of solar or measurable space, or rather the radius of the limiting horizon (since the distance will be the same in every direction) is about twenty-five hundred million times the length of the earth's polar axis; so that that axis is contained in the radius of measurable space two hundred and fifty times as often as itself contains the edge of the casing-stone. Now, if that casing-stone be divided into twenty-five equal parts, each of such parts will, as we have seen, contain our own inch increased by its thousandth part. This unit, therefore, which we may call the polar inch, measures not only the axis of the earth, but of the depths of solar or measurable space, being contained in the former two hundred and fifty

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million times, and in the latter two hundred and fifty thousand billion times. But in that ancient chapter of the Ritual (lxiv.) which claims to have been revealed in the days of the IVth dynasty, we read that the Creator, when revealing Himself to the new-born soul as the Measurer of space, employs this very ratio as standard. "'I who know the Depths' is my Name," so runs the text of this sublime chapter;" I make the cycles of the shining millions of years; and billions are My measurement." *

The mention of these cycles of the shining years suggests a principle of singular beauty, as the key to the architectural measures of ancient Egypt. Among the many valuable results due to the industry of Mr. Flinders Petrie is a collection of cubits of various lengths, employed by the architects of the

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IVth and XIth dynasties. These architectural units are very numerous, and, unless referred to cosmic principles, quite miscellaneous, having no apparent co-ordination either among themselves or with anything else. When however taking as our unit the polar inch, * we compare them with the measures of light, as expressed in the shining circuits and radii of the celestial periods—remembering always that the radii and semi-radii of the cycles of years are both consonant with the angular construction of the Pyramid and are secretly involved in the analogy of Illumination—we find a most remarkable correspondence in measure after measure, not absolute indeed, but different only by decimals of an inch.

Take for example, the number of polar

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inches into which the casing-stone is divided, when considered as a measure of space, viz. twenty-five; a close approximation to which is found in two specimens * belonging to the IVth dynasty, which were discovered at Ghizeh—that is to say, which were employed in the neighbourhood of the Grand Pyramid about the time of its erection. Again, taking as unit the semi-radius of the cycle of Equinox, the radius of which cycle is about 4122 years, and expressing an inch to a century, the half of it gives us the cubit of 20.6 inches; and this measure is the more common form of the Egyptian cubit, the standard employed for the sacred "Tat," or Nilometer, which measured the waters of life, the symbol regarded as the

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highest expression of sanctity, and the final ornament placed upon the holy dead. From the moon also we (approximately) obtain two standards of Egyptian measure. For the number of days in a lunar month gives closely, at an inch for a day, the 29.3 inch cubit of the IVth dynasty. And, at an inch for a year, the number of years (about 18.6) in the cycle of the lunar nodes—(that is, the interval which elapses between two successive crossings of the equinoctial plane by the moon at precisely the same point of her orbit)—yields (very nearly) the 18.7 inch cubit of the XIIth dynasty. And, once more, since the orbit of the earth is not strictly a circle, but an ellipse with the sun in one focus, there will always be one point in the orbit which will be in "perihelion," that is, nearer the sun than any other. And this point is not stationary, but makes a circuit of the earth's orbit in about 114,000 years; whereof the half-circuit gives us the fifty-seven inch cubit

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of the XIth dynasty (at an inch to ten thousand years), and the quarter radius the forty-five inch cubit of the IVth dynasty (at an inch to a thousand years). It would seem therefore, that a table of the cubits employed by the architects of those early times would represent a general system of cosmic measures, the scale being marked off upon the axis of the earth, the sole standard of immutable space, and the ratios of the different cubits being proportional to the immutable time-periods of the heavenly bodies. And thus, when the film is brushed away which the dust of ages has cast over these relics of antique science, their aspect remains no longer lifeless and repulsive; but we recognize in them the glowing insignia of universal truth, the gems from the azure depths, sparkling with the lustre of intrinsic light.

No sooner do we apply this key to the Book of the Master, than a series of concealed significations begins to unclose. The famous

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[paragraph continues] Urœus, or symbol of the snake—connected in some not very definite manner with solar phenomena—has always been intimately associated with the royalty of Egypt. But it appears to have escaped attention that in the Ritual are to be found several serpentine forms of various lengths, and—what is most striking in itself but easily explained by the results already attained,—that when those several lengths are expressed in inches, they prove to be proportional to the measures of the various serpentine curves traced by the motions of the earth and moon. For instance, in chapter cxxx., we read of "a snake seventy cubits in his coil." But taking the well-known cubit of 20.6 inches and repeating it seventy times, we obtain one thousand four hundred and forty-two inches; which is proportional (within the seven hundredth part) to the number of minutes of time (24 × 60) in the average daily rotation of the Equator or coil of the snake; so that it expresses our own division of the heavens into

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twenty-four hour-circles, each divided again into sixty equal parts or minutes of time; both which measures, we have already seen, were familiar to the Egyptians. Moreover the number of the sun's rotations about his own axis is, approximately, one hundred and forty-four in a period of ten years, so that the snake expresses an axial motion common both to the sun and its satellite: and appears therefore to be "the chief Urœus, gleaming and guiding millions of years," of which we read in chapter xxxiv. On the other hand, in another passage of the chapter previously mentioned, an extent of seven cubits gives the length—not of the snake's coil but—of his back: and this length (one hundred and forty-four inches) just gives the back of the tropical snake, or spiral, that is, the distance of the sun at solstice from the Equator, at that epoch about twenty-four degrees, or one hundred and forty-four decades of circular minutes. Other examples of a more complex character might be adduced;

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but these may be sufficient to show that in the inch we possess a clue to the secret significance of numerous symbols; and that for very reason it was not openly set forth as the standard, but its place was supplied by the cubit, which betrays no meaning except to one already so far initiated in the Mysteries of the Depths.

Turning now to the Pyramid of Light, we find the same principle conspicuous throughout the building; the lengths of its various passages and chambers, when expressed in polar inches, being apparently proportional to the radii (or semi-radii) of the celestial periods corresponding respectively to the stages in the progress of the departed. And so strongly marked is the prevalence of this principle, that while a mere knowledge of the measures, however exact, suggests nothing of the spiritual meaning, the insight which we have already attained into the co-ordination of the building with the Ritual enables us to determine for

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ourselves the dimensions of many of the parts. For throughout the teaching of Egypt progress in Light is effected by increased instruction and experience in Truth; and in the Wisdom of that ancient country, the measures of Truth were the years of the Most High.

At the very point of entrance, indicating the sacred horizon of the pole-star (as the hieroglyph of the star signifies the invisible world), we find that a consideration of the particular position occupied by the star, when in conjunction, so to speak, with the Pyramid, widens and elevates our view from an earthly to a celestial plane. For though to a dweller on our globe the great plane of reference is the plane passing through the celestial poles and containing the horizon of the point of Equinox; yet when we proceed to regard our companion orbs, circling around the same parent luminary, and when we take into account the influence which those members of the same luminous family exert upon each

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other, we are compelled to recognize what is called the Invariable Plane of the Planetary System, the plane, that is to say, about which, as La Place demonstrates, certain highly important relations between the masses and the motions of the planets are always fulfilled. Now this plane has never a greater inclination than about 3° 6´ to the apparent ecliptic, that is, the plane of the orbit of the earth. But that arc (3° 6´) measures within a few minutes the distance of the pole from the pole-star when in conjunction, so to speak, with the Grand Pyramid. When therefore the pole-star shines down the entrance passage, its position in regard to the pole (due allowance being made for corrections), defines the limiting position of the invariable plane to the plane of the orbit.

Similarly in regard to the inconceivably slow variation * in the inclination of the axis

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to the ecliptic, a variation which, while never exceeding 2½° on either side, requires no less than thirty thousand years to accomplish. And from this majestic depression and elevation of the polar axis in its course around the sun—the inexpressibly stately obeisance made by the sceptre of Anup before the throne of Ra—we may determine relatively to each other the inclinations of the interior passages. The difference between the limits of the solstices (calculated at about 2° 22´) gives the difference between the inclination of the roof and of the floor-line of the Grand Gallery, or Chamber of the Orbit, while the inclination of that roof to the level passage leading to the Lunar Chamber of New Birth (28° 30´) defines, as we have already seen, the limiting inclination of the moon to the Equator. The variation during one Sothiac cycle corresponds with the difference between the floor-lines of the upper and lower galleries. And if we may place the completion of the building at B.C. 3732 (only

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a generation earlier than the estimate of Dr. Brugsch, which is not designed to be exact), then, since it occupied thirty years building, the number of years from the foundation of the Kalendar to foundation of Pyramid will be about four hundred and eighty-two; that is, will correspond with the number of inches between the entrance and the scored line which points to the foundation; while the interval between the foundation of the Kalendar and the co-ordination of the Pyramid with the pole-star (viz. about eight hundred years), the difference during the inclination (about 4´), corresponds closely with the difference between the inclinations of the Lower Ascending Gallery and the Passage of the Pole-star: so that to such as understood the meaning of that inclination, the periods of the star's co-ordination with the entrance would be foreknown. If this were the principle employed—and considering the difficulty of obtaining exact measures, the points of

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correspondence are surprisingly close—none could understand the relation of the star to the building without first understanding the masonic relation embodied in the edifice, between the standard of space, as represented in the entrance passage, and the solar throne at the head of the Grand Gallery or Chamber of the Orbit. Nor could any one be instructed in that secret by the Master without acquiring masonic evidence of its truth, in the Path of the Horizon of Heaven, and its orientation with the hidden interior—the beginning and the ending of the Ritual of Light.

Penetrating now to the innermost recesses of the Hidden Places, let us review the celestial significance which we have attached to the various chambers, and (remembering always that we are dealing with approximations) let us note the proportion of their measures to the corresponding celestial periods; the celestial unit varying in each case according to the nature of the celestial cycle (and demanding

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in each case therefore a knowledge of the connection of the Ritual with the particular chamber); while the masonic unit throughout is the polar inch, the twenty-fifth part of the Pir-am-us, or edge of the base-circuit casing-stone, the twenty-fifth ten-millionth part of the polar radius of the earth, and the twenty-fifth thousand-billionth part of the radius of solar space. For "millions and billions are the measure of things."

Commencing with the highest and most secret source of life and light, the Eternal and Self-Begotten Energy of the Hidden God, we find it illustrated in the never-ceasing rotation of the sun about its own axis, the energy of which we know not the origin, and to which we attribute the birth of the planets. Of such rotations about two thousand five hundred and twenty-five are performed by the sun, while the earth is performing one hundred thousand similar rotations, and that number gives the number of polar inches in the height

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of the extreme point of the huge granite triangle * which dominates the secret places of the interior. Descending thence to the King's Chamber, where the birth of the Eternal Day is celebrated in the open tomb of Osiris, we have recourse to the measure of light, not in its interior energy, but in its emission; and find that the cubit proportional to the radius of the cycle of equal Light and Darkness (20.6 inches) is a measure of that chamber, as it is also of the Chamber of the New Birth of the Soul.

As we proceed towards the outer portion, the manifestation of the splendour defines the proportions of the Chamber of the Orbit, the Upper Hall of Truth, where so many lunar and solar phenomena have already been noticed. At the head of that chamber is the great

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throne, "the stone of God," to use the expression of the Ritual, surrounded on every hand by masonified radiance. The seat of that throne (about 61.3 inches) measures the number of times the radius of the earth is contained in the radius of the orbit of the moon; while its height is proportioned to the number of decades in the orbit of the Egyptian year, the five divine birthdays being expressed in the Chamber of New Birth immediately beneath. Above that throne at the higher end of the chamber rises the seven-pointed arch of the planetary heavens, its boundary lines defining the flaming belt of the zodiac. And from its foot runs downward the floor-line ascended by the Illuminate, and measured by the radius of the cycle of perihelion, or Circle of Nearest Approach, formed by "the Assembly of Ministers of Truth," but along the midst of which none might pass save the Illuminate alone. And if we may estimate the distance of Sothis (whose chamber lies beyond) to be 1,374,000

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instead of 1,375,000 times the distance of the sun, the number of thousands of hours occupied by light in reaching us from that star (between 1881 and 1882), will be defined by the number of polar inches in the continuous floor-line of the Grand Gallery (1881-2) ascended by the Illuminate before passing to Sothis; while the integral years (21) in the same period gives the number of the Gates of Aahlu corresponding to the (21) Stages of Judgment traversed by him in ascending the same Chamber of the Splendour.

As we descend yet further towards the outer world, the Chamber of the Shadow, where Truth is manifested in darkness, with its Seven Halls of Death leading upwards from the Hidden Lintel, and its final projection into the Place of Light (1561 inches), is measured by the number of lunations in seven cycles of eclipse (7 × 223=1561). And finally, as the Horizon of the Point of Equinox determines the entrance for the departed to the path of

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light; so does the radius of the equinoctial cycle (about 4122 years) determine the descent of the entrance passage (about 4122 polar inches) on the side of the west, where "the sun sets from the land of life."

With this brief survey of the celestial periods and their masonic analogues, we take up once more the Book of the Master, and approach the House of the Hidden Places, wherein are concealed the Mystery of the Heavens and the Mystery of the Depths. In every standard, every unit, angle, ratio and multiple employed by the great Architect of the Masonic Light, we have seen reflected the proportions of the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, the house which the divine Horus built for his father Osiris; the "House of the Great God," to which, as the papyrus of Amen-Hotep tells us, Thoth, the Eternal Wisdom, conducts the Illuminate. And as we gaze around in silent contemplation, from every corner of the universe the profound words of

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the Ritual come echoing back to us: "Millions and billions are my measurements. 'I who know the Depths' is my name."


Since, supposing the views put forward in the f ore-going chapters to be correct, the Egyptian measures of time and space are certainly the oldest on record, it may not be amiss if, before passing to the inner mysteries, we compare with them two other famous systems of antiquity, and observe how certain anomalies which have hitherto been incapable of explanation, become simple and intelligible when regarded as misconceptions of the Egyptian reckoning. Take, for example, that of Chaldæa. That the Babylonian astronomers measured their time by periods of 60, of 600, and of 3600 years (the soss, the ner, and the sar) is well known, and that they also divided the circle into degrees, and again into sixty and sixty times sixty measures. But upon what principle they chose the sexagesimal measure, and whether they regarded the two sets of multiples as possessing any connection with each other, is not so clear. According to Lenormant, they calculated their periods "on the great astronomical cycle of 43,200 solar years, representing,

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according to their calculation, the total period of the precession of the Equinoxes" (!)—a theory which, if true, does not say much for their astronomical skill.

There is, however, another cycle, closely connected with that of precession, which, while suggesting the sexagesimal measure, will be found to yield a convenient unit for both divisions. For since the two points of perihelion and Equinox revolve gradually in opposite directions, they will increase their distance from each other every year by the sum of their annual movements, which is reckoned at about 61.9″, and is called the Anomaly. Hence, neglecting the decimal of the second, and remembering that 61″ = 1´ 1″, and 61´ = 1° 1´, we have the following table:—

Now, as the cycles of precession and perihelion are involved in the construction of the Egyptian measures, so also would this cycle (which is a mere deduction from the other two) also be known; and, in fact, we find standards of lengths in Egypt corresponding to this cycle as to the others. Suppose then, that some visitor

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or half-educated native should acquire a smattering of the astronomy, so far as to obtain the measure of one cycle and the name of another; then we should have the confusion between Anomaly and Equinox contained in the Babylonian measures. And suppose again, that the same ingenious inquirer should hear, without understanding, of the double reckoning involved in the Sothiac cycle; and in order to make things quite correct, should apply it to the period he had devised for precession; then we should have the 43,200 years (2 × 21,600) above described. Whether or not this be the explanation, a remarkable example of a very similar misconception is supplied by the orientation of their buildings. For, as the late Professor De Lacouperie pointed out, their cardinal points, though relatively correct, are all shifted through one-eighth of a circle, their South really being South-West. And this, it will be easily seen, is precisely what would be done by any one who, having obtained his notion of the cardinal points in Egypt without understanding the principle, should imagine them to be fixed, and should use the Egyptian points while dwelling in Babylonia.

Such an origin is quite in agreement with other points connected with Babylonian civilization. That certain of their principal measures, such as the standard of Telloh, were derived from Egypt is undoubted. And their tradition that the elements of their civilization were imparted by Oannes, half man and half fish, who retired every night into the sea, just answers the description of an immigrant sailing up the Persian Gulf from the Eastern coast of Egypt, and retiring to his ship each night; while

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such a course itself would be a natural continuation of the course pursued by the ancestors of the Egyptians in their emigration from Poont in the South.


Far to the Eastward again, a problem, or rather a whole set of problems, given up for many centuries by the native archæologists, receive simple solution when we apply the same principle to the ancient Kalendar of China. From a highly interesting paper read in the Victoria Institute by the Rev. Dr. Legge, University Professor of Chinese at Oxford, and prince of Sinologists, we find that after the ninth century before the Christian era, the Chinese year was divided into periods of sixty days. These days were expressed in writing by means of two classes of characters, called respectively the ten heavenly stems and the twelve earthly branches, which were taken together in pairs, each branch being taken with each stem, but the stem always preceding, never following, the branch; whereby each day of the cycle was represented by a different pair. And he observes that the sexagesimal cycle was of extreme antiquity, and that "how it arose is a mystery; but that he would make little account of that if he could tell from whence the inventors got the component parts, the ten stems and the twelve branches." But a reference to the far more ancient Egyptian Kalendar naturally suggests the sexagesimal measure; while the sixty alternations of light and darkness which constituted the Egyptian month easily resolve themselves in foreign hands into a period of sixty days. Again, the two hieroglyphs which express the year, the stem ("Se") for its totality, and the

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branch (Apu-ter) for its commencement, supply the titles of the characters; while the number of days in the sacred decade give the ten heavenly stems, and the number of months in the civil year the twelve earthly branches. There seems therefore little difficulty in conceiving that the elements of the Eastern calculations may have been obtained from that more central and far more ancient civilization, particularly if we consider, as many now admit, that the elements of religion and of science were first imported into China from the head of the Persian Gulf (the direct route from Egypt) * by the famous tribe which bore the name of Bak; which in the hieroglyphic signifies the land of Egypt.

Turning now for a while from Professor Legge's valuable paper to the oldest of the religious books of China, the Shu King, of which he has himself given a translation to the world, we are met by more than one passage referring unmistakably to a superior condition of culture formerly enjoyed and irrecoverably lost. At the end of

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the third Book the chiefs lament the loss of the "Standard Stone and the Equalizing Quarter, * formerly preserved in the treasury." A standard stone kept in the royal treasury as a reference for weights and measures is intelligible enough, and reminds us of the allusion in the Egyptian Ritual to "the Stone from the building of those who possess the Ark of Osiris." But an "Equalizing Quarter!" A quarter of what? And what did it equalize? We know indeed of one quarter—a quarter of a day by which in the older country the rotations of the earth were equalized or harmonized with its revolutions, and which served as a standard for all manner of periods and measures. And this very quarter suggests at once a connection with the Standard Stone, since that stone itself, the throne of Ra in the House of Osiris, crowning the Chamber of the five Divine Birthdays, and containing the measure of the thirty-six sacred decades, represented the "Hep-Tep" or sacred Festival of Completion-Beginning, involving the secret of the Grand Cycle, and the equalizing quarter of a day.

That such a quarter had been lost we have proof from another part of the same sacred books of China. About

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twenty-two or twenty-three centuries before the Christian era, and some fourteen or fifteen hundred years before the earliest extant trace of the Chinese Kalendar, the Emperor of China was seized with a fit of archæological fervour, and instituted the first historical records of that country of which any traces remain. One result of his researches had an unfortunate effect upon certain of his subjects. Filled as he felt himself to be with the ancient wisdom, he summoned his astronomers and laid down to them the broad and simple principle that every year consists of three hundred and sixty-six days—a statement which is, as we have seen, more strictly correct than three hundred and sixty-five days if understood properly and as the Egyptians understood it; but which, without the secret either of the sidereal day or of the Grand Cycle, inevitably leads to calculations which events would refuse to verify. Accordingly it is not surprising that the unlucky astronomers when next engaged in predicting an eclipse went altogether wide of the mark. But the Emperor rose to the occasion. He had been, he said, "searching into antiquity," and had no doubt what was due to so gross an ignorance of their office. Everything, he observed severely, "had been done which ought to have been done. The tom-toms were beaten; the petty officers galloped; the inhabitants ran about the streets." And yet when the sun took no notice of these proceedings, the astronomers sat like a log and did nothing! It was disgraceful. However, the law was clear on the matter. If the astronomers predicted the eclipse too soon, off with their heads; if too late, off with their heads. And as in this case it must have

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been either too soon or too late, their heads went off accordingly. No wonder the Chinese men of science lamented the loss of the Equalizing Quarter.

In these cases however, the suggestion of an Egyptian origin is only indirect, through that country supplying the clue which the later nation apparently lost. But there is another problem to which Professor Legge invites particular attention, observing that he looks forward to its solution with no slight interest; and that is the origin of certain "dissyllables and trissyllables," introduced in the place of the days of the month by the illustrious archæologist and reviser of the Chinese Kalendar, Szemâ Ch’ien, descended of a long line of imperial historiographers, who wrote towards the close of the second century B.C. Although all the terms which Ch’ien uses appear in a rudimentary dictionary of the time of the Han Dynasty, Professor Legge is strongly of opinion, or rather entertains no manner of doubt, that they are of foreign extraction; and he states that a famous Taoistic scholar, Kwo P’o, who died A.D. 324, put the terms on one side as incapable of explanation. "A discovery," the eminent scholar goes on to say, "may be in store for the explorers in Sanskrit or Assyriology, or some other Eastern mine. But let it be borne in mind that the use of the cycle of sixty for the measurement of days, and possibly for other periods, was long—very long—anterior to Szemâ Ch’ien." Now it is a most singular circumstance, and one which testifies strongly to the penetration of that eminent scholar, that these same names when referred to the Coptic or vulgar tongue of Egypt, not only possess an intelligible meaning, but

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that in almost every case they signify an Egyptian festival, as follows:—

Titles employed by Szemâ Ch’ien.

Egyptian Phonetic Equivalent.

Signification of Egyptian Equivalent.

Corresponding Egyptian Festival or Doctrine.

Yu Chao



Birth of Moon.

Chiang Wu



Separation (celebrated twice a month).



Abundant Rejoicing

Great Festival (Kalendar).



Altar of Life

Fire Altar (Ritual).



Altar of the Fields of God

Fields of Aahlu (Paradise).

Chao Yang


Separation of Day

Burial of Osiris.




One of the stages in the Path of Light.



Dart of Shu

Dart of Shu (turn of the year).

Ta Mang-Lo


Panegyric of the Sail

Sail of the Bark of Ra (Ritual).



Dart of Hairs of Moon

Locks of Athor.



Within the Wall

Festival of "Hidden Lintel" (Ritual).

Hsieh Hsiah

Hsiohe Hssa

Measure the Fields and Regions

Fields and Paths of the Dead.

The expression "Within the wall" is particularly

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notable, for its accordance with an Egyptian festival is in itself so extraordinary as to render it very difficult to regard it as a mere coincidence. Although therefore it is far from probable that a Chinese scholar should deliberately adopt foreign, in the place of native titles, yet, on the other hand, if the elements of the kalendar were imported into China by its first civilizers from the more primæval country, nothing is more likely than that a man so devoted to archæology as Professor Legge describes Szemâ Ch’ien to have been, should have hunted out these archaic titles from the earliest records of China, and should have endeavoured to bring them into use as more correct terms, although possibly he himself may have been unable to understand their meaning. In any case the table, wherein the strange titles employed by Ch’ien are paralleled with their phonetic equivalent in the Egyptian tongue, and the translation of those equivalents in the festival to which they seem to correspond, will enable the reader to judge for himself how far the Egyptian key avails to open the Chinese lock which for fifteen hundred years has been given up by the Chinese experts.


149:* In the same way Moses, who never claims for himself direct revelation in regard to any matter contained in Genesis (though in subsequent books that claim is repeated again and again), and whose fame as an expert in Egyptian science was quoted hundreds of years after his death by St. Stephen in his address to his countrymen, commences his exposition of the Mystery of the Depths by the initiation, of Light and Motion. "The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the deep. And God said, Let there be light: and there was Light."

158:* These results are as follows, expressed in our inches:—

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French Commission


Colonel Howard Vyse


Professor Smyth


Royal Engineers, 1st survey


          „        2nd  „


Mr. F. Petrie




[paragraph continues] This length differs therefore from that obtained by Mr. Flinders Petrie. But, as for some reason, which is not very clear, Mr. Petrie allows no less than 4½ inches for each socket to "play," a most extraordinary condition, surely, in the case of workmanship "equal to the finest work of the optician," it is difficult to place our usual reliance on his accuracy. The average here taken, it will be observed, of the whole results coincide precisely with one of the measurements, and also with the mean of the greatest and least.

162:* In the original: "Ari Kherti Khuu aha pu tefnut pu krastuf." The translation above given differs slightly both from the version of Dr. Birch and that of M. Pierret.

163:* This inch is of course the same as that adopted by Professor Smyth, and called by him the "Pyramid Inch;" but he has so inextricably associated that name with views directly opposed to Egyptological research, that I prefer to use an expression which denotes an undoubted relation, first pointed out by Sir John Herschel.

164:* Mr. Petrie maintains this cubit to be "evidently an Egyptian edition of the royal twenty-five inch cubit of Persia;" but why a Persian cubit should be employed at Ghizeh, or what we know of Persia some thousands of years before the time of Darius, he does not tell us. It is difficult to see why he might not with equal reason pronounce the Capitol of Romulus to be "evidently an Italian edition of the Capitol at Washington."

171:* See the table and memoir published by the Smithsonian Institute of Washington.

176:* This is the number given of British inches; and the correction for their conversion into polar inches will about be counter-balanced by the thickness of the granite apex.

184:* The late Professor De Lacouperie, to whose labours is chiefly due the tracing of a connection between the civilization of China and the Bak tribe (proceeding, not from Babylonia itself, but from the country immediately to the Eastward of it), has detected a certain resemblance, in a considerable number of instances, between the archaic characters employed by the two countries. But if a further comparison be made with the corresponding characters of Egypt, the Chinese will be found to resemble the latter with at least equal, if not greater closeness, a circumstance which seems to point to a common origin from the source more ancient than either. And an immigration, it is to be observed, from the country East of Babylonia into China would be a natural continuation of an emigration to the head of the Persian Gulf; just as the latter course would be a natural continuation of the original migration from Poont.

185:* Professor De Lacouperie, who favoured me with a discussion on this subject, pointed out that Midleton translates this expression simply by the general word "measure." To this I have no reply to make, except that Professor Legge is a very high authority, and that he can scarcely have been unacqainted with that translation. The expression, moreover, seems to speak for itself, for it is just of that peculiar character which no translator would be likely to assign gratuitously, while a very able scholar might fail to render it with precision.

Next: Chapter VI. The Initiation of the Postulant