THE letters of all languages are significant marks or symbols, which have the 'Twelve', or rather the original 'Ten Signs' of the 'Zodiac' for their beginning. Of these letters there is a certain group which has, in the characters of all languages, a secret hieroglyphical, hagiographical reference to the originally single, and afterwards double, sign 'Virgo-Scorpio', which is supposed to give the key to the secret or cabalistic 'Story of Creation'. These letters are S and Z, L and M; or rather a group, which is marked by Λ, Π, Μ, Σ, S, Z--L, M, V, W. The significant aspirates, or 'vowel-sounds', follow the same rule. The 'Snake-like Glyph', or 'mystery of the Serpent', or disguise, in which the 'Recusant Principle' is supposed to have invested himself, has coiled (so to say), and projects significant curves and inflections, through all this group of letters and sounds; which is perceivable, by a close examination and quick ear, in all languages, living and dead. The sigma presents itself to the eye (that recognizes) in the Hebrew, the Sanscrit, the Persian, the Arabic, the Coptic, the old Gothic, the Georgian or Iberian, the Ancient Armenian, the Ethiopic or Gheez, the Sclavonic, the Greek, the Latin, the Samaritan, the Irish, the Etruscan--of all which alphabets, and the symbols serving for their 'numerals', we had prepared a
comparative table, to prove the identity of the sign 'Virgo-Scorpio' and its ciphers; but we forbore in deference to our limits (and from other circumstances), which did not advisedly admit of the addition.
A comparative display of all marks or symbols which give occult expression to the 'female side of nature', and its astronomical and astrological signs, affords the same result of identity. The marks of the 'signs' ♍ and ♏, and their ciphers, are interchangeable, and reflect intimately from one to the other. It must be remembered that the sign Libra--our modern September--the 'hinge-point' or 'balance-centre' of the two wings of the celestial Zodiac--was an addition by the Greeks. Here, according to the Sabæan astrological tradition, the origin of 'Good and Evil', of the malific and the benevolent 'cabalistic investments of nature', the beginning of this 'two-sexed', intelligent sublunary world, were to be found--all contained in the profoundest mysteries of this double sign.
The cabalistic theory, and the Chaldæan reading is, that the problems of the production of the sensible world are not to be read naturally, but supernaturally. It was held that man’s interior natural law is contained in God’s exterior magical law. It followed from this that present nature is secondary nature: that man is living in the 'ruins' of the angelic world, and that man himself is a 'ruin'. Man fell into the degradation of 'nature' as the result of the seduction by the woman (to sexual sin), which produced the 'generations' according to Man’s ideas. The strange theories as to the history of the first world prevalent among the Cabalists imply that the appearance of 'woman' upon the scene was an 'obtrusion' in the sense of a thing unintended; even accidental and unexpected in a certain (non natural) sense. Thus
her advent upon the scheme of creation--to use one of their mysterious expressions--was at a late spoiled and evil period of the world, which had sunk from the 'supernatural' into the 'natural'. As woman had no part in the earliest world, and as her origin was altogether of another nature and from other sources than that of man, the traces of her introduction, and the hints as to her true character, are to be found mystically in the original sign 'Virgo-Scorpio', double-sided (yet identical) at first but afterwards divided. These divided 'personalities' were set thereafter in mythologic opposition. The reader is referred to the previous Zodiac, fig. 12, where will be found the diagram illustrative of this idea, which was originated amidst the magic of the Syro-Chaldæans; it yet remains the key to all the mythologies and to all the religions.
The sign 'Virgo-Scorpio' stands, in the present order of things, or in this non-angelic or mortal world, as a divided sign, because in the 'World of Man' as 'born of Woman'--enmity has been, placed between the 'Snake' and the 'Woman'. Thenceforth, from the 'Fall', and as a consequence of it, they are, in opposition. The sign of the 'Balances' is placed between, as the rescuing heavenly shield, miraculously interposed, separating, as the tremendous 'Ægis', the two originally conjoint signs, and simultaneously presented 'both ways' (to speak in figure), defending 'each from destruction by either'--'until the time shall be complete!'--which means the Apocalyptic 'New Heaven and New Earth'.
Marks, movements, or influence from the side of 'Scorpio', or from the sinister side, are malign, and mean danger; because they represent the 'Old Serpent', or, in other terms, the 'Great Deep', or 'Matter'. Of such magic character are the letters
[paragraph continues] 'S' and 'Z', and all their compounds; because this originally 'single' sound, or letter 'S-Z, Z-S', came into the world representing its sinful side. Man is pardoned through the 'Promise to the Woman', and 'Woman' is saved because through her the 'Saviour of the World', or the 'Rescuer of the World', or the 'Deified Man', or the 'Sacrifice', came into the world. Woman has the intermediate office of reconciling and consoling. In the abstract sense, as 'virgo intacta' (or holy unknowing means), woman is free and unconscious of that deadly 'Original Sin', which in the disobedience to the Divine Command (to refrain from that 'Fruit' with 'Eve', or with the 'Natural Woman'), lost 'Man' his place in the scheme of the 'Immortal World'. All this is part of the cabalistic view of the Mysteries of Creation. The Cabalists say that the 'Lost Man' Adam should not have yielded to those which he found the irresistible fascinations of Eve, but should have contented himself--to speak in parable--with 'his enjoined, other impersonated delights', whom he outraged in this preference, winning 'Death' as its punishment: We conceal, under this term, a great Rosicrucian mystery, which we determine to be excused explaining more particularly, and which must ever remain at its safest in the impossibility of belief of it. This is of course obscure, because it is a part of the secret, unwritten Cabala, never spoken of in direct words--never referred to except in parable.
In the views of the refining Gnostics, woman is the accidental unknowing 'obtrusion' upon the universal design. The ideal woman (as 'ideal virgin') is spiritually free (because of her nothingness except 'possessed') from the curse and corruption of things material. From these ideas came the powers superstitiously imagined to be possible in the virgin
Click to enlarge
ASTRO-THEOSOPHIC CHART (No. 1):
WESTERN OR ROMAN RITE
Click to enlarge
ASTRO-THEOSOPHIC CHART (No. 2)
EASTERN OR GREEK RITE
state, and capable of being exercised by virgin woman.
All the marks and forms connected with these proscribed letters 'S' and 'Z' have, on their material and worldly side, the character of charms, sigils and talismans, in the evil sense, or dark sense. They were supposed to be means of magic by the old soothsayers. The celebrated Lord Monboddo produced a very elaborate treatise--quite contrary to recognized ideas--to show that speech was not natural to Man, but that language was a result of the Primeval Fall, and that the punishment of Babel signified the acquisition of the tongues, and not the 'confusion of language'. This idea is sufficiently startling.
A general display of the 'Esses' (S.S.) and the 'Zeds' (Z.Z), and their involutions, combinations, and sounds in all languages, would result in a persuasion of their serpentine origin. The forms of these snake-like glyphs and their cursive lines in all the alphabets will, on examination, present the same suspicious undulation. These letters have an intimate refluent connexion with all the signs which mean the 'Sea', the 'Great Deep', 'Matter in the abstract', or the 'Personified Receptive Feminine Principle', which eventually is to be the Conqueror of the 'Dragon' or 'Enemy'. We thus desire to show the unity of the myths and the forms made use of, for the expression of religious ideas in the glory of 'Woman'. Woman, in fact, is the maker of Nature; as we know Nature.
We wish the reader particularly to take notice that the above singular notions are in no way shared by us, further than as occurring in our account of some of the strange reveries of the 'Illuminati.' or 'Gnostics'; due, therefore, in our comments.
'I will put enmity between thee and the woman,
and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel' (Genesis iii. 15).
A careful and critical inspection of all the alphabets or letter-forms, whether cursive or fluent, or rigid and rectangular--as in the Greek, and still more obviously in the Latin--will show that certain ideas are expressed pictorially in them. Two principal ideas seem to be furtively suggested. These are the upright or phallus, and the cross-line or 'snake', whether the horizontal be undulated or direct. In the Greek letters these ideas make the form. The first letters, according to the Cabalists, were the original 'Ten Signs of the Zodiac', which contained mythologically the history of the 'making of the world'. These 'Ten Signs' afterwards multiplied and produced other broods of letters (when the original magical knowledge was veiled); some of which were the cuneiform and early tree-like alphabets. There seems to be an 'event' symbolized or pictured, in the alphabets. This mystic idea, which is hidden in the hieroglyphics called letters, is supposed by the more profound of the Talmudists to be the introduction of 'Man' into the world, through the very fact and in the force of his 'Fall', or as arising through the 'Temptation', the chief agent or efficient in which is the 'Snake'. Thus every letter is an anagram of 'Man, Woman, and Snake', in various phases of the story. Each letter has embodied in it the 'Legend of the Temptation', and conceals it safely in a 'sign'.
'Ut omnia uno tenore currunt, redeamus ad mysticam serpentis significationem. Si igitur sub serpentis imagine Phallicum Signum intelligimus, quam plana sunt et concinna cuncta pictura lineamenta. Neque enim pro Phallo poneretur Serpens nisi res
significata cum typo accurate congrueret' (Jasher, editio secunda, p. 48).
The late Dr. Donaldson has a dissertation upon the word עקב, which is translated 'heel' in Genesis iii. 15. He adduces Jeremiah xiii. 22, and Nahum iii. 5, and, comparing the words made use of in the original, shows that the 'heel' is a euphemism, as are the 'feet' in Isaiah vii. 20. His exhaustive argument demonstrates that the part intended to be signified by the word is pudenda muliebria. The whole proves the extreme importance--in the mythical and magical sense--of this unexpected figure, and throws quite a new philosophical light on it. These views fortify completely our Rosicrucian explanation of the origin of the Order of the Garter, and other kindred subjects, fully heretofore discussed in our book. This significant connexion of the two figures--the phallus and the discus--explains the text in Genesis i. 27: 'Male and Female created He them', i.e., זָכָר gladius, sword'; נְקֵבָה, 'sheath'. In this latter word, the part which characterizes the female is used for the woman herself. Qy., in this connexion Kebah ('case', or 'container', or 'deep'), the Caaba at Mecca, and Keb or Cab, standing for Cabala, Kabbala, Gebala, Kebla, or 'Ark', or 'Mystery'--the grand central point of all religions?
A modern learned writer, Thomas Inman, M.D., gives the following as an interpretation of the passage: 'Thou shalt bruise his head, and he shall bruise thy heel': 'Gloriam fascini congressio tollit et caput ejus humile facit, sed infligit injuriam moritura mentula, quum impregnationem efficit et uteri per novas menses tumorem profert.' This may explain the reason why the cube of the Phrygian Cap, in the ancient sculptures of the 'armed female', is worn in reverse, or at the back of the head, as shown in figs. 207 and 208, p. 283.
The celebrated philosopher, Petrus Gassendus, assailed the system of Robertus de Fluctibus, or Robert Flood, and criticized it at great length, in his work entitled Examen in qua Principia Philosophiæ Roberti Fluddi, Medici, reteguntur, published at Paris in 1630. But he never really seized the spirit of Flood's system, and he wasted his force. He did not comprehend, .nor could he ever realize, the Rosicrucian views with. the largeness of insight of a man of great critical powers, which Gassendus otherwise undoubtedly possessed. Gassendes, however, was a prejudiced theologian, and was ill calculated. for a disquisition upon a secret philosophy so remote and subtle. Before an insight of greater depth, of more readiness, and less obstinacy, the difficulties presented by Flood melt away, even converting into brilliancy in new proofs. His exhaustive logical positions indeed, the necessity of his theorems--are soon recognized by an investigator, when he shakes off trammels and clears himself of prepossessions. But a rapid and complete philosophical grasp, extraordinary in its decision, is indispensable. Flood's system is profound, shadowy, difficult, and deep-lying. Short of consummate judgment, and clear, fine mind, in those to whom they are submitted, Flood’s ideas, in their very strangeness and apparent contradiction, startle and bewilder, because they contradict all the accepted philosophies, or at least all their conclusions, and stand alone. The ordinary recognized knowledge, hired from the current accumulation, opposes him. Flood’s deeper teaching, by its very nature, and through the character of those from whom it sprung, is secret, or at all events evading, where the knowledge is not wholly suppressed.
As an instance of the impossibility of accepting Flood's ideas, if these were such, Gassendus charges
him with a stupendous puzzle, that of passing the entire interpretation of Scripture over, not to the Mystics only, but to Alchemy. This is fully commented upon in the latter part of this work. Gassendus asserts, as the opinion of Flood, that the key of the Bible mysteries is really to be found in the processes of alchemy and of the hermetic science; that the mystical sense of Scripture is not otherwise explainable than by the 'Philosopher's Stone'; and that the attainment of the 'Great Art', or of the secrets which lie locked, is 'Heaven', in the Rosicrucian profundities. Old and New Testament, and their historical accounts, are alike hermetic in this respect. The 'Grand Magisterium', the 'Great Work' as the Alchemists call it, is mythed by Moses in Genesis, in the Deliverance from Egypt, in the Passage of the Red Sea, in the Jewish Ceremonial Law, in the Lives of the Patriarchs and Prophets, such as Abraham, David, Solomon, Jacob, Job. In this manner the true Cabalists are supposed to be Alchemists in common with the Magi, the Sages, Philosophers, and Priests, when these possessed the 'true and only knowledge'. The 'Just Man made Perfect' is the Alchemist who, having found the 'Philosopher's Stone', becomes glorified and immortal by the use of it. To be said to 'die' is when the material elements can no longer maintain or cohere. To 'rise' is when the immaterial life or spark is liberated out of its perishable temporary investment. To be 'glorified' is when the powers, or independence, are attained which properly appertain to the supernaturally perfect 'Light', into which, like Enoch or Elijah, the Rosicrucian is transfigured, and in which he knows 'all', can be 'all', and do 'all'. It is this 'draught of immortality' which enables him to assume what form he will, by passing through Nature as its master,
and renewing his body by means of his art projected by Nature through, to the other side of Nature.
The adept stands in the place of Nature, and does that with the obstruction of matter--separating by dissolution the pure from the impure--which it takes unassisted Nature ages, perhaps, to effect. The Alchemist is supposed to be superior to Nature to that extent, that he can pass through it (that is, through its appearances), and work on it, and in it, on the other side. It is here--in this true Anima Mundi, or 'Soul of the World'--that the Alchemist, or Rosicrucian, regathers the light dispersed or shaken out of its old broken forms. Gold is the flux of the sunbeams, or of light, suffused invisibly and magically into the body of the world. Light is sublimated gold rescued magically, by invisible stellar attraction, out of the material depths. Gold is thus the deposit of light, which of itself generates. Light in the celestial world is subtle, vaporous, magically exalted gold, or 'spirit of flame'. Gold draws and compels inferior natures in the metals, and, intensifying and multiplying, converts into itself. It is a part of the first-formed 'Glory' or 'Splendour', of which all objects and all souls are points or parts.
Gassendus asserts that when the Rosicrucians teach that the 'Divinity' is the 'Light' or the 'Realization of Creation', displayed from the beginning (Α) to the end (Ω) of the whole visible or comprehensible frame, they mean that the Divine Being is not possible or existent, according to human idea, unless 'He', or the 'Original Light', is manifested or expressed in some special 'comprehensible' other light or form. The 'Second' reflects the glory of the 'First Light', and is that in which the 'First' displays. This second light, or Anima Mundi, is 'Manifestation', or the 'Son as proceeding from the Father'. This synthesis
is the light, breath, life, aura, or Sacred Spirit. It is the solar or golden alchemical soul, which is the sustainment and perfection of everything.
The pendulum of the world beats between inspiration and expiration. This is the breath of the angels who 'burn and glow' (scriptural expression), in the pulsative access and re-inforcement of the 'soul of the world'. This 'breath of the angels' is made human in the mechanism of the heart, and is eternal; but becomes personal and limited in the 'world of man'--down, in inhalation, to a point, and up, in exhalation, from that point. So Jacob Bœhm. All lies between hermetic rarefaction and condensation--mortal and spiritual both.
'Is not the Devil the "Deep Darkness", or "Matter"? the "terra damnata et maledicta", which is left at the bottom of the process of the Supreme Distiller, who condenses and evokes the "Light" from out of it? Is not "Lucifer" the "Lord of the False Light", and the "Splendours of the Visible World"? Can the Prince and Ruler of this Relegate or Lower World soar with his imitations? Can the "Adversary" pass into the "Region of God’s Light"? Can he rise anew to combat in that Heaven where he has already encountered the "Mighty Ones" who have driven him down; and can he there spread again, like a cloud, his concentrate darkness?' The Cabalists and Talmudists aver that Scripture, history, fable, and Nature, are alike obscure and unintelligible without their interpretation. They aver that the Bible is the story of heavenly things put forward in a way that can be alone comprehensible by man, and that without their Cabala, and the parables in which they have chosen to invest its revelation, not religion only, but even familiar Nature--the Nature of Things and of Men--is unintelligible.
It has been a common opinion, and it so remains, that there is no such thing as the Philosopher's Stone, and that the whole history and accounts of it are a dream and a fable. A multitude of ancient and modern philosophers have thought otherwise. As to the possibility of metals transmuting from one into the other, and of the conversion of the whole material into gold, Libavius brings forward many, instances in his treatise De Natura Metallorum. He produces accounts to this effect out of Geberus, Hermes, Arnoldus, Guaccius, Thomas Aquinas (Ad Fratrem, c. i.), Bernardus Comes, Joannes Rungius, Baptista Porta, Rubeus, Dornesius, Vogelius, Penotus, Quercetanus, and others. Franciscus Picus, in his book De Auro, sec. 3, c. 2, gives eighteen instances in which he saw gold produced by alchemical transmutation. To those who allege the seeming impossibility, he rejoins, that difficult things always seem at first impossible, and that even easy things appear impracticable to the unskilled and unknowing.
The principles and grounds for concluding that there may be such an art possible as alchemy we shall sum up as follows. Firstly, it is assumed that every metal consists of mercury as a common versatile and flexible base, from which all metals spring, and into which they may be ultimately reduced by art. Secondly, the species of metals, and their specific and essential forms, are not subject to transmutation, but only the individuals; in other words, what is general is abstract and invisible, what is particular is concrete and visible, and therefore can be acted upon. Thirdly, all metals differ, not in their common nature and matter, but in their degree of perfection or purity towards that invisible 'light' within everything, or celestial 'glory' or base for objects, which has 'matter' as its mask. Fourthly, Art surmounteth
and transcendeth Nature; for Art, directed upon Nature, may in a short while perfect that which Nature by itself is a thousand Years in accomplishing. Fifthly, God hath created every metal of its own kind, and hath fixed in them a principle of' growth, especially in the perfect metal gold, which is the master of the material, and which in itself has magnetic seed, or magic light, an unseen and heavenly power, unknown in this world, but which can by Art be evoked, be made to inspire and multiply and take in all matter.
It is said of the alchemical philosophers, that no sooner did they attain this precious 'Stone' or 'Power', than the very knowledge of it, in the magic surprise, at its existence, delighted them more than aught that the world could give. They made greater use of it in its supernatural effects upon the human body than in turning it upon the base matter, to make 'gold' of this latter, which they treated with contempt. And in answer to those who would ask what was the reason that those supposed greatest of all philosophers did not render themselves and their friends rich by a process so speedy and thorough, it was rejoined, that they wanted not, that they were satisfied in the possession of the ability, that they lived in the mind, that they rested satisfied in theory and declined practice, that they were so overcome and astonished at the immensity of the power accorded by God’s grace to man, that they disdained to become gold-makers to the greedy, or suppliers to the possible idle and mischievous needy, and that they were afraid to be made the prey and sacrifice of avaricious, cruel tyrants; which would be but too surely their fate if they were, through vainglory, or temptation, or avoidable effects of force, to make known their wondrous gifts, or to disclose or betray the fact of the supernatural method of their
existence--clearly at the safest in being disbelieved, and being looked upon as lie or delusion.
Therefore these conclusive reasons, and others similar, impelled the Society to hide from the world, not only their stupendous art, but also themselves. They thus remained (and remain) the unknown, 'invisible', 'illuminated' Rosicrucians, or Brethren of the Rosy Cross; regarding whose presence and intentions no one knows anything, or ever did know anything, truly and in reality, although their power has been felt in the ages, and still remains unsuspectedly conspicuous: all which we think we have in some measure proved.
And shall still farther establish (we hope), before we arrive at the end of our book.