HENRIE STEPHEN, in A World of Wonders, published in 1607, mentions a monk of St. Anthony who declared that while in Jerusalem the patriarch of that city had shown him not only one of the ribs of the Word made flesh and some rays from the Star of Bethlehem, but also the snout of a seraph, a finger nail of a cherub, the horns of Moses, and a casket containing the breath of Christ! To a people believing implicitly in a seraph sufficiently tangible to have its proboscis preserved, the more profound issues of Judaistic philosophy must necessarily be incomprehensible. Nor is it difficult to imagine the reaction taking place in the mind of some ancient sage should he hear that a cherub--which, according to St. Augustine, signifies the Evangelists; according to Philo Judæus, the outermost circumference of the entire heavens, and according to several of the Church Fathers, the wisdom of God--had sprouted finger nails. The hopeless confusion of divine principles with the allegorical figures created to represent them to the limited faculties of the uninitiated has resulted in the most atrocious misconceptions of spiritual truths. Concepts well-nigh as preposterous as these, however, still stand as adamantine barriers to a true understanding of Old and New Testament symbolism; for, until man disentangles his reasoning powers from the web of venerated absurdities in which his mind has lain ensnared for centuries, how can Truth ever be discovered?
The Old Testament--especially the Pentateuch--contains not only the traditional account of the creation of the world and of man, but also, locked within it, the secrets of the Egyptian initiators of the Moses concerning the genesis of the god-man (the initiate) and the mystery of his rebirth through philosophy. While the Lawgiver of Israel is known to have compiled several works other than those generally attributed to him, the writings now commonly circulated as the purported sixth and seventh books of Moses are in reality spurious treatises on black magic foisted on the credulous during the Middle Ages. Out of the hundreds of millions of pious and thoughtful students of Holy Writ, it is almost inconceivable that but a mere handful have sensed the sublimity of the esoteric teachings of Sod (the Jewish Mysteries of Adonai). Yet familiarity with the three Qabbalistical processes termed Gematria, Notarikon, and Temurah makes possible the discovery of many of the profoundest truths of ancient Jewish superphysics.
By Gematria is meant not only the exchange of letters for their numerical equivalents but also the method of determining by an analysis of its measurements the mystic purpose for which a building or other object was constructed. S. L. MacGregor-Mathers, in The Kabbalah Unveiled, gives this example of the application of Gematria: "Thus also the passage, Gen. xviii. 2 VHNH SHLSHH, Vehenna Shalisha, 'And lo, three men,' equals in numerical value 'ALV MIKAL GBRIAL VRPAL, Elo Mikhael Gabriel Ve-Raphael,' These are Mikhael, Gabriel and Raphael; 'for each phrase = 701." Assuming the sides of a scalene to be 11, 9, and 6 inches, a triangle of such dimensions would then be an appropriate symbol of Jehovah, for the sum of its three sides would be 26, the numerical value of the Hebrew word IHVH. Gematria also includes the system of discovering the arcane meaning of a word by analyzing the size and arrangement of the strokes employed in the formation of its various letters. Gematria was employed by the Greeks as well as the Jews. The books of the New Testament--particularly those attributed to St. John--contain many examples of its use. Nicephorus Callistus declared the Gospel according to St. John to have been discovered in a cavern under the Temple at Jerusalem, the volume having been secreted "long anterior to the Christian æra." The existence of interpolated material in the fourth Gospel substantiates the belief that the work was originally written without any specific reference to the man Jesus, the statements therein accredited to Him being originally mystical discourses delivered by the personification of the Universal Mind. The remaining Johannine writings--the Epistles and the Apocalypse--are enshrouded by a similar veil of mystery.
By Notarikon each letter of a word may become the initial character of a new word. Thus from BRASHITH, first word in the book of Genesis, are extracted six words which mean that "in the beginning the Elohim saw that Israel would accept the law." Mr. MacGregor-Mathers also gives six additional examples of Notarikon formed from the above word by Solomon Meir Ben Moses, a mediæval Qabbalist. From the famous acrostic ascribed to the Erythræan Sibyl, St. Augustine derived the word ΙΧΘΥΣ, which by Notarikon was expanded into the phrase, "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior." By another use of Notarikon, directly the reverse of the first, the initial, last, or middle letters of the words of a sentence may be joined together to form a new word or words. For example, the name Amen, ἁμήν, maybe extracted from ארנימלרנאטז, "the Lord is the faithful King." Because they had embodied these cryptic devices in their sacred writings, the ancient priests admonished their disciples never to translate, edit, or rewrite the contents of the sacred books. .
Under the general heading of Temurah several systems may be grouped and explained in which various letters are substituted for other letters according to prearranged tables or certain mathematical arrangements of letters, regular or irregular. Thus the alphabet may be broken into two equal parts and written in horizontal lines so that the letters of the lower row can be exchanged for those of the upper row, or vice versa. By this procedure the letters of the word Kuzu may be exchanged for those of IHVH, the Tetragrammaton. In another form of Temurah the letters are merely rearranged., שתיה is the stone which is found in the center of the world, from which point the earth spread out on all sides.
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THE VISION OF EZEKIEL.
From The "Bear" Bible.
This plate, which is from the first Protestant Bible published in Spanish, shows the Mercavah, or chariot of Jehovah, which appeared to Ezekiel by the river Chebar. The prophet beheld four strange creatures (E), each having four heads, four wings, and brazen hoofs like those of a calf. And there were four wheels (F) filled with eyes. Where the cherubim went the wheels went also. The space between the cherubim and the wheels was filled with coals of fire. Upon the top of the chariot was a throne, upon which sat the likeness of a man (H). Ezekiel fell upon his knees when he beheld the Mercavah surrounded by a whirlwind of clouds and flames (A, B, C). A hand (K) reached out from the clouds and the prophet was ordered to eat of a scroll which the hand held forth.
According to the mystics, the wheels supporting the throne of God represent the orbits of the planets, and the entire solar system is properly the Mercavah, or chariot of God. One of the divisions of the Qabbalah--that dealing with the arts and sciences of those planes which are under the heavens--is called the Mercavah. In the Zohar it is written that the celestial throne or Ezekiel's vision signifies the traditional law; the appearance of a man sitting upon the throne represents the written law, Philo Judæus in describing the cherubim upon the Ark of the Covenant declares that the figures are an intimation of the revolutions of the whole heavens, one of the cherubim representing the outer circumference and the other the inner sphere. Facing each other, they represent the two hemispheres of the world. The flaming sword of the cherubim of Genesis is the central motion and agitation of the heavenly bodies. In all probability it also represents the solar ray.
[paragraph continues] When broken in two the stone is שת יה, which means "the placing of God."(See Pekudei Rakov, 71, 72.) Again, Temurah may consist of a simple anagram, as in the English word live, which reversed becomes evil. The various systems of Temurah are among the most complicated and profound devices of the ancient Rabbins.
Among theological scholars there is a growing conviction that the hitherto accepted translations of the Scriptural writings do not adequately express the spirit of the original documents.
"After the first copy of the Book of God," writes H. P. Blavatsky, "has been edited and launched on the world by Hilkiah, this copy disappears, and Ezra has to make a new Bible, which Judas Maccabeus finishes; * * * when it was copied from the horned letters into square letters, it was corrupted beyond recognition; * * * the Masorah completed the work of destruction; finally, we have a text, not 900 years old, abounding with omissions, interpolations, and premeditated perversions." (See Isis Unveiled.)
Prof. Crawford Howell Toy of Harvard notes: "Manuscripts were copied and recopied by scribes who not only sometimes made errors in letters and words, but permitted themselves to introduce new material into the text, or to combine in one manuscript, without mark of division, writings composed by different men; instances of these sorts of procedure are found especially in Micah and Jeremiah, and the groups of prophecies which go under the names of Isaiah and Zachariah." (See Judaism and Christianity.)
Does the mutilated condition of the Holy Bible--in part accidental--represent none the less a definite effort to confuse the uninitiated reader and thus better conceal the secrets of the Jewish Tannaim? Never has the Christian world been in possession of those hidden scrolls which contain the secret doctrine of Israel, and if the Qabbalists were correct in their assumption that the lost books of the Mosaic Mysteries have been woven into the fabric of the Torah, then the Scriptures are veritably books within books. In rabbinical circles the opinion is prevalent that Christendom never has understood the Old Testament and probably never will. In fact, the feeling exists--in some quarters, at least--that the Old Testament is the exclusive possession of the Jewish faith; also that Christianity, after its unrelenting persecution of the Jew, takes unwarranted liberties when it includes strictly Jewish writings in its sacred canon. But, as noted by one rabbi, if Christianity must use the Jewish Scriptures, it should at least strive to do so with some degree of intelligence!
In the opening chapter of Genesis it is stated that after creating light and separating it from darkness, the seven Elohim divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. Having thus established the inferior universe in perfect accord with the esoteric teachings of the Hindu, Egyptian, and Greek Mysteries, the Elohim next turned their attention to the production of flora and fauna and lastly man. "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. * * * So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, * * *."
Consider in thoughtful silence the startling use of pronouns in the above extract from "the most perfect example of English literature." When the plural and androgynous Hebrew word Elohim was translated into the singular and sexless word God, the opening chapters of Genesis were rendered comparatively meaningless. It may have been feared that had the word been correctly translated as "the male and female creative agencies," the Christians would have been justly accused of worshiping a plurality of gods in the face of their repeated claims to monotheism! The plural form of the pronouns us and our reveals unmistakably, however, the pantheistic nature of Divinity. Further, the androgynous constitution of the Elohim (God) is disclosed in the next verse, where he (referring to God) is said to have created man in his own image, male and female; or, more properly, as the division of the sexes had not yet taken place, male-female. This is a deathblow to the time-honored concept that God is a masculine potency as portrayed by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The Elohim then order these androgynous beings to be fruitful. Note that neither the masculine nor the feminine principle as yet existed in a separate state! And, lastly, note the word "replenish." The prefix re denotes "back to an original or former state or position," or "repetition or restoration." (See Webster's International Dictionary, 1926.) This definite reference to a humanity existing prior to the "creation of man" described in Genesis must be evident to the most casual reader of Scripture.
An examination of Bible dictionaries, encyclopedias, and commentaries discloses the plural form of the word Elohim to be beyond the comprehension of their respected authors and editors. The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge thus sums up the controversy over the plural form of the word Elohim: "Does it now or did it originally signify plurality of divine being?" A Dictionary of the Bible, edited by James Hastings, contains the following conclusion, which echoes the sentiments of more critical etymologists of the Bible: "The use of the plur. Elohim is also difficult to explain." Dr. Havernick considers the plural form Elohim to signify the abundance and super-richness existing in the Divine Being. His statement, which appears in The Popular and Critical Bible Encyclopædia, is representative of the efforts made to circumvent this extremely damaging word. The International Standard Bible Dictionary considers the explanations offered by modern theologians--of which Dr. Havernick's is a fair example--to be too ingenious to have been conceived by the early Hebrews and maintains that the word represents the survival of a polytheistic stage of Semitic thought. The Jewish Encyclopedia supports the latter assumption with the following concise statement: "As far as epigraphic material, traditions, and folk-lore throw light on the question, the Semites are shown to be of polytheistic leanings."
Various schools of philosophy, both Jewish and Gentile, have offered explanations erudite and otherwise of the identity of Adam. In this primordial man the Neo-Platonists recognized the Platonic Idea of humanity--the archetype or pattern of the genus homo. Philo Judæus considered Adam to represent the human mind, which could understand (and hence give names to) the creatures about it, but could not comprehend (and hence left nameless) the mystery of its own nature. Adam was also likened to the Pythagorean monad which by virtue of its state of perfect unity could dwell in the Edenic sphere. When through a process akin to fission the monad became the duad--the proper symbol of discord and delusion--the creature thus formed was exiled from its celestial home. Thus the twofold man was driven from the Paradise belonging to the undivided creation and cherubim and a flaming sword were placed on guard at the gates of the Causal World. Consequently, only after the reestablishment of unity within himself can man regain his primal spiritual state.
According to the Isarim, the secret doctrine of Israel taught the existence of four Adams, each dwelling in one of the four Qabbalistic worlds. The first, or heavenly, Adam dwelt alone in the Atziluthic sphere and within his nature existed all spiritual and material potentialities. The second Adam resided in the sphere of Briah. Like the first Adam, this being was androgynous and the tenth division of its body (its heel, Malchuth) corresponded to the church of Israel that shall bruise the serpent's head. The third Adam--likewise androgynous--was clothed in a body of light and abode in the sphere of Yetzirah. The fourth Adam was merely the third Adam after the fall into the sphere of Assiah, at which time the spiritual man took upon himself the animal shell or coat of skins. The fourth Adam was still considered as a single individual, though division had taken place within his nature and two shells or physical bodies existed, in one of which was incarnated the masculine and in the other the feminine potency. (For further details consult Isaac Myer.)
The universal nature of Adam is revealed in the various accounts concerning the substances of which he was formed. It was originally ordained that the "dirt" to be used in fashioning him was to be derived from the seven worlds. As these planes, however, refused to give of their substances, the Creator wrenched from them by force the elements to be employed in the Adamic constitution. St. Augustine discovered a Notarikon in the name of Adam. He showed that the four letters, A-D-A-M, are the first letters of the four words Anatole Dysis Arktos Mesembria, the Greek names for the four corners of the world. The same author also sees in Adam a prototype of Christ, for he writes: "Adam sleeps that Eve may be formed: Christ dies, that the Church may be formed. While Adam sleeps, Eve is formed from his side. When Christ is dead, His side is smitten with a spear, that there flow forth sacraments to form the church. * * * Adam himself was the figure of Him that was to come."
In his recent work, Judaism, George Foote Moore thus describes the proportions of the Adamic man: "He was a huge mass that filled the whole world to all the points of the compass. The dust of which his body was formed was gathered from every part of the world, or from the site of the future altar. Of greater interest is the notion that man was created androgynous, because it is probably a bit of foreign lore adapted to the first pair in Genesis. R. Samuel bar Nahman (third century), said, when God created Adam, He created him facing both ways (דיו פרעופים); then He sawed him in two and made two backs, one for each figure.
The Zohar holds the concept of two Adams: the first a divine being who, stepping forth from the highest original darkness, created the second, or earthly, Adam in His own image. The higher, or celestial, man was the Causal sphere With its divine potencies and potentialities considered as a gigantic personality; its members, according to the Gnostics, being the basic elements of existence. This Adam may have been symbolized as facing both ways to signify that with one face it looked upon the proximate Cause of itself and with the other face looked upon the vast sea of Cosmos into which it was to be immersed.
Philosophically, Adam may be regarded as representative of the full spiritual nature of man--androgynous and nor subject to decay.
[paragraph continues] Of this fuller nature the mortal man has little comprehension. Just as spirit contains matter within itself and is both the source and ultimate of the state denominated matter, so Eve represents the lower, or mortal, portion that is taken out of, or has temporal existence in the greater and fuller spiritual creation. Being representative of the inferior part of the individual, Eve is the temptress who, conspiring with the serpent of mortal knowledge, caused Adam to sink into a trancelike condition in which he was unconscious of his own higher Self. When Adam seemingly awoke, he actually sank into sleep, for he no longer was in the spirit but in the body; division having taken place within him, the true Adam rested in Paradise while his lesser part incarnated in a material organism (Eve) and wandered in the darkness of mortal existence.
The followers of Mohammed apparently sensed more accurately than the uninitiated of other sects the true mystic import of Paradise, for they realized that prior to his fall the dwelling place of man was not in a physical garden in any particular part of the earth but rather in a higher sphere (the angelic world) watered by four mystical streams of life. After his banishment from Paradise, Adam alighted on the Island of Ceylon, and this spot is sacred to certain Hindu sects who recognize the old Island of Lanka--once presumably connected with the mainland by a bridge--as the actual site of the Garden of Eden from which the human race migrated. According to the Arabian Nights (Sir Richard Burton's translation), Adam's footprint may still be seen on the top of a Ceylonese mountain. In the Islamic legends, Adam was later reunited with his wife and after his death his body was brought to Jerusalem subsequent to the Flood for burial by Melchizedek. (See the Koran.)
The word ADM signifies a species or race and only for lack of proper understanding has Adam been considered as an individual. As the Macrocosm, Adam is the gigantic Androgyne, even the Demiurgus; as the Microcosm, he is the chief production of the Demiurgus and within the nature of the Microcosm the Demiurgus established all the qualities and powers which He Himself possessed. The Demiurgus, however, did not possess immortality and, therefore, could not bestow it upon Adam. According to legend, the Demiurgus strove to keep man from learning the incompleteness of his Maker. The Adamic man consequently partook of the qualities and characteristics of the angels who were the ministers of the Demiurgus. It was affirmed by the Gnostic Christians that the redemption of humanity was assured through the descent of Nous (Universal Mind), who was a great spiritual being superior to the Demiurgus and who, entering into the constitution of man, conferred conscious immortality upon the Demiurgic fabrications.
That phallic symbolism occupies an important place in early Jewish mysticism is indisputable. Hargrave Jennings sees in the figure of Adam a type of the lingam of Shiva, which was a stone representative of the creative power of the World Generator. "In Gregorie's works * * *," writes Jennings, "is a passage to the effect that 'Noah daily prayed in the Ark before the Body of Adam,' i.e., before the Phallus--Adam being the primitive Phallus, great procreator of the human race. 'It may possibly seem strange,' he says, 'that this orison should be daily said before the body of Adam,' but 'it is a most confessed tradition among the eastern men that Adam was commanded by God that his dead body should be kept above ground till a fullness of time should come to commit it פדככאלאועto the middle of the earth by a priest of the Most High God.' This means Mount Moriah, the Meru of India. 'This body of Adam was embalmed and transmitted from father to son, till at last it was delivered up by Lamech into the hands of Noah.'" (See Phallicism.)
This interpretation somewhat clarifies the Qabbalistic assertion that in the first Adam were contained all the souls of the Israelites. (See Sod.) Though according to the Aurea Legenda Adam was buried with the three seeds of the Tree of Knowledge in his mouth, it should be borne in mind that apparently conflicting myths were often woven around a single individual. One of the profound mysteries of Qabbalism is that set forth in the Notarikon based upon the letters of the name Adam (ADM). These three letters form the initials of the names Adam, David, and the Messiah, and these three personalities were said to contain one soul. As this soul represents the World Soul of humanity, Adam signifies the involving soul, the Messiah the evolving soul, and David that condition of the soul termed epigenesis.
In common with certain philosophic institutions of Asia, the Jewish Mysteries contained a strange doctrine concerning the shadows of the Gods. Gazing down into the Abyss, the Elohim beheld their own shadows and from these shadows patterned the inferior creation. "In the dramatic representation of the creation of man in the Mysteries," writes the anonymous Master of Balliol College, "the Aleim [Elohim] were represented by men who, when sculpturing the form of an Adamite being, of a man, traced the outline of it on their own shadow, or modelled it on their own shadow traced on the wall. This is how the art of drawing originated in Egypt, and the hieroglyphic figures carved on the Egyptian monuments have so little relief that they still resemble a shadow."
In the ritualism of the early Jewish Mysteries the pageantry of creation was enacted, the various actors impersonating the Creative Agencies. The red dirt from which the Adamic man was fashioned may signify fire, particularly since Adam is related to the Yod, or fire flame, which is the first letter of the sacred name Jehovah. In John ii. 20 it is written that the Temple was forty and six years in the building, a statement in which St. Augustine sees a secret and sacred Gematria; for, according to the Greek philosophy of numbers, the numerical value of the name Adam is 46. Adam thus becomes the type of the Temple, for the House of God-like primitive man--was a microcosm or epitome of the universe.
In the Mysteries, Adam is accredited with having the peculiar power of spiritual generation. Instead of reproducing his kind by the physical generative processes, he caused to issue from himself--or, more correctly, to be reflected upon substance--a shadow of
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NOAH AND HIS ZODIACAL ARK.
From Myer's Qabbalah.
The early Church Father--notably Tertullian, Firmilian, St. Cyprian, St. Augustine, and St. Chrysostom--recognized in the ark a type or symbol of the Holy Catholic Church. Bede the Venerable, declared that Noah in all things typified Christ as Noah alone of his generation was just, so Christ alone was without sin. With Christ there was a sevenfold spirit of grace: with Noah seven righteous Persons. Noah by water and wood saved his own family Christ by baptism and the cross saves Christians. The ark was built of wood that did not decay. the church is composed of men who will live forever, for this ark means the church which floats upon the waves of the world.
The diagram shown above is also reproduced in The Rosicrucians, by Hargrave Jennings. This author adds to the original diagram appearing in Antiquitatum Judaicarum Libri IX the signs of the zodiac, placing Aries at the head and continuing in sequential order to Leo, which occupies the fifth cross section of the ark. Jennings assigns the panel containing the door to the undivided constellation of Virgo-Libra-Scorpio (which is continued into the first subdivision of the second section) and the remaining four cress sections to the constellations of Sagittarius to Pisces inclusive. A study of the plate discloses the ark to be divided into eleven main sections, and along the base and roof of each section are shown three subdivisions, thus making in all the sacred number 33. Occupying the position corresponding to the generative system of the human body will also be noted the cross upon the door of the central section. Two openings are shown in the ark: one--the main door representing the orifice through which the animal lives descend into physical existence; the other a small window proximate to the crown of the head through which the spirit gains liberty according to the ancient rites.
"When the androgenic Scorpio-Virgo was separated and the Balance or Harmony made from Scorpio, and placed between Scorpio, i.e., male, and Virgo, i.e., female, then appeared the 32 constellations or signs, as we now have them. The ark is three stories high (perhaps to symbolize Heaven, Man, Earth). In the figure of the Man, notice the parting of the hair in the middle of the forehead and the arrangement of the beard, whiskers, moustache and the hair, on the back of the neck and shoulders." (See The Qabbalah by Isaac Myer.)
himself. This shadow he then ensouled and it became a living creature. These shadows, however, remain only as long as the original figure of which they are the reflections endures, for with the removal of the original the host of likenesses vanish with it. Herein is the key to the allegorical creation of Eve out of the side of Adam; for Adam, representative of the idea or pattern, is reflected into the material universe as a multitude of ensouled images which collectively are designated Eve. According to another theory, the division of the sexes took place in the archetypal sphere; hence the shadows in the lower world were divided into two classes consistent with the orders established in the Archetype. In the apparently incomprehensible attraction of one sex for the other Plato recognized a cosmic urge toward reunion of the severed halves of this archetypal Being.
Exactly what is to be inferred by the division of the sexes as symbolically described in Genesis is a much-debated question. That man was primarily androgynous is quite universally conceded and it is a reasonable presumption that he will ultimately regain this bisexual state. As to the manner in which this will be accomplished two opinions are advanced. One school of thought affirms that the human soul was actually divided into two parts (male and female) and that man remains an unperfected creature until these parts are reunited through the emotion which man calls love. From this concept has grown the much-abused doctrine of "soul mates" who must quest through the ages until the complementary part of each severed soul is discovered. The modern concept of marriage is to a certain degree founded upon this ideal.
According to the other school, the so-called division of the sexes resulted from suppression of one pole of the androgynous being in order that the vital energies manifesting through it might be diverted to development of the rational faculties. From this point of view man is still actually androgynous and spiritually complete, but in the material world the feminine part of man's nature and the masculine part of woman's nature are quiescent. Through spiritual unfoldment and knowledge imparted by the Mysteries, however, the latent element in each nature is gradually brought into activity and ultimately the human being thus regains sexual equilibrium. By this theory woman is elevated from the position of being man's errant part to one of complete equality. From this point of view, marriage is regarded as a companionship in which two complete individualities manifesting opposite polarities are brought into association that each may thereby awaken the qualities latent in the other and thus assist in the attainment of individual completeness. The first theory may be said to regard marriage as an end; the second as a means to an end. The deeper schools of philosophy have leaned toward the latter as more adequately acknowledging the infinite potentialities of divine completeness in both aspects of creation.
The Christian Church is fundamentally opposed to the theory of marriage, claiming that the highest degree of spirituality is achievable only by those preserving the virginal state. This concept seemingly originated among certain sects of the early Gnostic Christians, who taught that to propagate the human species was to increase and perpetuate the power of the Demiurgus; for the lower world was looked upon as an evil fabrication created to ensnare the souls of all born into it--hence it was a crime to assist in bringing souls to earth. When, therefore, the unfortunate father or mother shall stand before the Final Tribunal, all their offspring will also appear and accuse them of being the cause of those miseries attendant upon physical existence. This view is strengthened by the allegory of Adam and Eve, whose sin through which humanity has been brought low is universally admitted to have been concerned with the mystery of generation. Mankind, owing to Father Adam its physical existence, regards its progenitor as the primary cause of its misery; and in the judgment Day, rising up as a mighty progeny, will accuse its common paternal ancestor.
Those Gnostic sects maintaining a more rational attitude on the subject declared the very existence of the lower worlds to signify that the Supreme Creator had a definite purpose in their creation; to doubt his judgment was, therefore, a grievous error. The church, however, seemingly arrogated to itself the astonishing prerogative of correcting God in this respect, for wherever possible it continued to impose celibacy, a practice resulting in an alarming number of neurotics. In the Mysteries, celibacy is reserved for those who have reached a certain degree of spiritual unfoldment. When advocated for the mass of unenlightened humanity, however, it becomes a dangerous heresy, fatal alike to both religion and philosophy. As Christendom in its fanaticism has blamed every individual Jew for the crucifixion of Jesus, so with equal consistency it has maligned every member of the feminine sex. In vindication of Eve philosophy claims that the allegory signifies merely that man is tempted by his emotions to depart from the sure path of reason.
Many of the early Church Fathers sought to establish a direct relationship between Adam and Christ, thereby obviously discounting the extremely sinful nature of man's common ancestor, since it is quite certain that when St. Augustine likens Adam to Christ and Eve to the church he does not intend to brand the latter institution as the direct cause of the fall of man. For some inexplicable reason, however, religion has ever regarded intellectualism--in fact every form of knowledge--as fatal to man's spiritual growth. The Ignaratitine Friars are an outstanding example of this attitude.
In this ritualistic drama--possibly derived from the Egyptians--Adam, banished from the Garden of Eden, represents man philosophically exiled from the sphere of Truth. Through ignorance man falls; through wisdom he redeems himself. The Garden of Eden represents the House of the Mysteries (see The Vision of Enoch) in the midst of which grew both the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Man, the banished Adam, seeks to pass from the outer court of the Sanctuary (the exterior universe) into the sanctum sanctorum, but before him rises a vast creature armed with a flashing sword that, moving slowly but continually, sweeps clear a wide circle, and through this "Ring Pass Not" the Adamic man cannot break.
The cherubim address the seeker thus: "Man, thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return. Thou wert fashioned by the Builder of Forms; thou belongest to the sphere of form, and the breath that was breathed into thy soul was the breath of form and like a flame it shall flicker out. More than thou art thou canst not be. Thou art a denizen of the outer world and it is forbidden thee to enter this inner place."
And the Adam replies: "Many times have I stood within this courtyard and begged admission to my Father's house and thou hast refused it me and sent me back to wander in darkness. True it is that I was fashioned out of the dirt and that my Maker could not confer upon me the boon of immortality. But no more shalt thou send me away; for, wandering in the darkness, I have discovered that the Almighty hath decreed my salvation because He hath sent out of the most hidden Mystery His Only Begotten who didst take upon Himself the world fashioned by the Demiurgus. Upon the elements of that world was He crucified and from Him hath poured forth the blood of my salvation. And God, entering into His creation, hath quickened it and established therein a road that leadeth to Himself. While my Maker could not give me immortality, immortality was inherent in the very dust of which I was composed, for before the world was fabricated and before the Demiurgus became the Regent of Nature the Eternal Life had impressed itself upon the face of Cosmos. This is its sign--the Cross. Do you now deny me entrance, I who have at last learned the mystery of myself?"
And the voice replies: "He who is aware, IS! Behold!"
Gazing about him, Adam finds himself in a radiant place, in the midst of which stands a tree with flashing jewels for fruit and entwined about its trunk a flaming, winged serpent crowned with a diadem of stars. It was the voice of the serpent that had spoken.
"Who art thou?" demands the Adam.
"I," the serpent answers, "am Satan who was stoned; I am the Adversary--the Lord who is against you, the one who pleads for your destruction before the Eternal Tribunal. I was your enemy upon the day that you were formed; I have led you into temptation; I have delivered you into the hands of evil; I have maligned you; I have striven ever to achieve your undoing. I am the guardian of the Tree of Knowledge and I have sworn that none whom I can lead astray shall partake of its fruits."
The Adam replies: "For uncounted ages have I been thy servant. In my ignorance I listened to thy words and they led me into paths of sorrow. Thou hast placed in my mind dreams of power, and when I struggled to realize those dreams they brought me naught but pain. Thou hast sowed in me the seeds of desire, and when I lusted after the things of the flesh agony was my only recompense. Thou hast sent me false prophets and false reasoning, and when I strove to grasp the magnitude of Truth I found thy laws were false and only dismay rewarded my strivings. I am done with thee forever, O artful Spirit! I have tired of thy world of illusions. No longer will I labor in thy vineyards of iniquity. Get thee behind me, rempter, and the host of thy temptations. There is no happiness, no peace, no good, no future in the doctrines of selfishness, hate, and passion preached by thee. All these things do I cast aside. Renounced is thy rule forever!"
And the serpent makes answer: "Behold, O Adam, the nature of thy Adversary!" The serpent disappears in a blinding sunburst of radiance and in its place stands an angel resplendent in shining, golden garments with great scarlet wings that spread from one corner of the heavens to the other. Dismayed and awestruck, the Adam falls before the divine creature.
"I am the Lord who is against thee and thus accomplishes thy salvation, " continues the voice. "Thou hast hated me, but through the ages yet to be thou shalt bless me, for I have led thee our of the sphere of the Demiurgus; I have turned thee against the illusion of worldliness; I have weaned thee of desire; I have awakened in thy soul the immortality of which I myself partake. Follow me, O Adam, for I am the Way, the Life, and the Truth!"