The Anointing Of Man

Chapter XVIII

No critical survey of the question of the Biblical Christ could be considered thorough unless it covered the entire theme of ancient Messianism, since the Gospel Jesus came in the aura and setting of this concept and his alleged mission and the movement founded on it derive most of their essential meaning from it. It will be found as the result of such a survey that a clear grasp on the features of this great ancient persuasion yields for us finally the substantial bases for determination of the main question of the historicity. In curt statement, when it is known fully and correctly what the conception of Messiahship really was, it will be seen that it never looked to its fulfillment through the birth or advent of a historical person, no matter how divine. If Jesus came as the fulfillment of all ancient Messianic expectation, and came as a human babe, his coming was not after all the true fulfillment, and the proclamation and belief of his Messiahship was a miscarriage of the true import of the tradition. No intelligent adherent of ancient religious systems ever dreamed of the Messiah’s coming as a man. It was clearly understood that that which was to come was a principle, or spirit, or rule of righteousness in all humanity. The Nativity, to be sure, under the sway of symbolic method, took on the aspect of the birth of a babe in the zodiacal house of bread, or Bethlehem, and of course from the kingly line of divine Davidic intellection. But esoteric intelligence knew where symbolism began and also where it ended. Symbolism can sweep in strong force over the human spirit, carrying it straight into the core of vital meaning as it presents to the mind the reality of that which it adumbrates. But it can not thus enlighten and empower the mind if it holds it down to its own level and insists on its own factuality. A symbol is not to engage the thought longer than to give it a vigorous push and send it away from itself as from a springboard into a realm of apprehension never glimpsed before. A symbol is only the initial energization of a thought, which is to proceed from it to more distant flight. With the literalist or exotericist thought ends with and at the symbol. The tragedy of this is that while the symbol is powerful enough to suggest the vital import of meaning symbolized, it can never contain that meaning within itself. But a strange phenomenon occurs in the psychological field if one dwells with symbols attentively for a long time. At the same time that the meaning passes beyond the symbol to the inner regions of mind and thought, it tends in the end to reflect back upon the symbol and transfuse it with the glow of the greater light which through it as lens has been thrown upon the screen of a subjective world lying beyond. So that while the symbol is overpassed, it is not discarded, but itself becomes more vividly irradiated with sublime pertinence. He who celebrates Christmas knowing that the Bethlehem babe is only a symbolic type of something remote from the physical and not an event at all, still will find the stable, the manger, the babe, ox, ass, and star all in themselves radiantly alight with transferred meaning poured down upon them from above. Though they are not the containers of the meaning, they will be freshly lighted up with meaning reflected from on high. Being the adjuncts and indicators of that high meaning, they will by repercussion come to share the meaning itself. The whole pageantry and accouterment of meaning can be heartily entertained and in no sense (save the historical) rejected, when a reference to reality beyond it is accepted and one that it can not carry is rejected. It becomes translucent with beauty through simply being the agency of the mind’s grasp of supernal beauty beyond it. The greater light that it helped the mind to discover flows back to bathe it in the hues of a mystical iridescence. It may be a paradox, yet it is thoroughly true that religious imagery and pageantry exercise a far stronger dynamism when they are known to be allegorical than if they are believed to be memorials of fact. The symbol helps the mind to grasp greater reality over in the subjective world; from that clearer vision the mind can swing back and embrace the symbol as an integral part of the great treasure of light caught by its aid. It will not be cast aside as worthless when the full gods of glorious meaning arrive. It can be carried along as the outer coin and mnemonic seal of the golden revelation. This is to refute the charge that if the events of religious ceremonial and festivity are thrown out as non-historical, the whole celebration of such festivals as Christmas and Easter will lose all their gripping impressiveness. On the contrary the symbols will exert a tenfold weightier significance when they are envisioned truly as symbols and not falsely as events.

The theme of the ancient Messianic conception is a majestic one. It seems clear that no true knowledge of it has been extant since remote antiquity. Every rendition of it, every view or exposition of it in the centuries down to the present has been a gross material caricature of it. The best effort to reinvest it with its pristine magnificence may not be adequate to the task. But the fuller glory of the mighty cosmic event it illustrates can not be sensed until at least the mental statement of its profound significance is attempted.

The name--Messiah--calls for examination, to begin with. It is of combined Egyptian and Hebrew etymology. The mess is from the Egyptian mes, meaning to give birth to, to be born. The -iah is the well-known Hebrew terminal, meaning in its broadest sense "God" or "divinity." In deeper connotation it is a hieroglyph for deity that has descended into matter to be born anew. (As such it is an abbreviated form of the seven-lettered Jehovah, denoting male-female deity in union.) The word Messiah then means "the born God," or "the born deity," in the fuller sense of the "reborn deity."

Another meaning of mess in Egyptian is "to sprinkle" or "anoint." Through this etymology the word comes to have the secondary meaning of "the anointed God." Anointing with oil was throughout ancient days a ritualistic typing of the more abstruse meaning of a baptism of the lower nature by the higher divine influence. It carried the idea of pouring on the head of a man a substance that could be set on fire. The key is to be found in John Baptist’s statement that while he, the preparer of the way for a higher influx, baptizes us with "water"--type of the life of the natural order--the more exalted one coming after him is to baptize us with "air" (Latin: spiritus) "and with fire." Oil symbolically is higher than water, for the reason that it always rises to the top of water and besides is the fuel for fire, which water is not. It is a substitute symbol for "fire" itself, being its fuel and giving a bright and shining appearance. So then the Messiah, as the "anointed God," was the Christos, come or coming to earth to be gradually reborn into his next stage of expanded life and consciousness through a baptism or anointing with the "oil of" divine "gladness."

The "anointing" facet of the meaning allies the term "Messiah" with the Greek name of "Christos." We have already traced this as a likely derivative from the Egyptian KaRaST, the name of the mummy, or the god "fleshed" (Greek: kreas, "flesh.") It is probable that all these are kindred to the Sanskrit kri, "to pour out," "to rub over," i.e., "to anoint." Messiah and Christos are therefore identical in meaning. The kri derivation of the word at once establishes Krishna as a Messiah of the first order.

The intellectual roots of the Messianic tradition lie away down in the ancient cosmogonic formula that the Logos was to become fleshed and dwell among the inhabitants of earth. The fleshing of the Logos, which was the condition and concomitant phenomenon of his earthly advent, was the coming of Messiah. Begotten before all the worlds in the bosom of the Father, dwelling in the inchoate depths of the "abyss" of matter before the creation swept into organic form, he was destined to come to the fullness of his manifestation in the flowering of the genius of his divinity in a race of human but potentially divine men on this planet. As much of his cosmic power as could function through the mechanism of fleshly body on such a planet was to be brought forth in full epiphany, or to full appearance in human fleshly embodiment. This segment or ray of its power was the Christos. The Logos is the unbounded Power that informs and ensouls the whole manifest creation. In no way could the totality of its energy be circumscribed and contained in a single solar system, a single planet, or a single race of beings on a given planet. How much less, then, could it be embodied in the tiny confines of the body of a single man? But that degree, measure and aspect of its universal vibration--that one note of its infinite gamut of tones and chords--which the brain and nervous system of a race of conscious beings on a globe could embody and express, or in the etymological sense of the word, per-sonal-ize (i.e., sound through, from sonum, "sound," and per, "through,") that form of the universal expression was the Christos. It would come to birth in the milieu of mortal strife, in the body of a biologically developed animal race wherein animal carnality would contend furiously with its incipient new order of gentleness until subdued by the all-conquering power of a higher order of intelligence. It would gradually grow into the fullness of its stature of conscious power and at last take over the rulership of all the motivations of action and end by seating himself on the throne in the kingdom of the world. The Christos was one ray of the energy of the Logos, that ray which could rule in the kingdom of man’s mind, heart, soul. Its gradual growth in the spirit and consciousness of the human race was the coming of Messiah.

Playing the role of the central event, and embracing indeed the entire inner significance of the whole process of human racial evolution, it was at once the dominant theme, the nub and focus, of all the schematism in religion and philosophy. The gist of all the meaning in scriptures and theology falls within its pale. The coming, that is, the birth, of the Son of God, his chain of experiences dramatized as his circumcision, baptism, temptation, trial, condemnation, crucifixion, death and resurrection, formed the ritualistic outline of his life on earth, his sojourn in the flesh.

But the first onset of the rush of perception that springs from this basic statement brings with it the vitally significant realization that the "coming" of Christos to humanity would be a process covering the whole life span of humanity itself. It would be a coming of such gradual movement that it would far better be described as a growth carried forward over the entire history of man. It would be a coming only in the sense in which we say that a child comes to be a man. There is seen to be no possible place in the conception for a "coming" in the sense of an arrival in objective manifestation at a given moment or year. It is to be seen as a coming that is always being forwarded, ever taking place from one end of the cycle to the other, from the beginning of a period of creation to the end of the aeon. The basic conception of Messiah thus rules out from the start the idea of its fulfillment in and through the birth of a man at any "date" in history, and reduces any such statement of it at once to the category of symbol.

The correctness of this view is found immediately at hand in the several titles prefixed to the Messianic figure in ancient Egypt. He is "the Ever-Coming One," "He Who Ever Comes Periodically." The idea is emphasized also in one of the many addresses uttered by Horus, who is the Messiah, when he announces himself in the words "I am Horus, who steppeth onward through eternity." Again it is the background of his declaration: "Eternity and everlastingness is my name." He says he is Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, and the name of his boat is Millions of Years." "I am the persistent traveler on the ways of heaven." A score of other appellations and descriptions would fortify the diuturnity of the conception. The "regular" and "periodical" nature of the coming will be dealt with more at large when the astronomical aspect of the typism is reviewed. Nothing is clearer than that the ancient tradition of Messiah connoted nothing whatever in the form of an event that could be dated in history. It definitely reads as the unfoldment of a power through a process that runs on continuously through the cycle of the race. It is a growth that takes place in the life and consciousness. It has its beginnings, its mid-course and its climactic denouement. But while all these stages are accomplished through an instrument that binds the operation to a scene in time and place, still no stage, aspect or crisis in the process is a local temporal event. The birth can be said to take place in "Bethlehem" or in "Abydos" or in "Annu." But these were names of subjective realities long before they were assigned to cities when the allegory was foisted on local geography. The birth would have taken place in "Bethlehem" and "Annu," and the crucifixion on "Golgotha," no matter what particular localities later received these names. The baptism took place in the Jordan, yes, if the Jordan is the river of life that runs on the borderline between the kingdom of the flesh and the Holy Land of spirit, and must be crossed by the peregrinating souls to reach the Promised Land of blessedness. The temptation took place on the Mount, if the "Mount" is the planet earth. And the resurrection took place in and from the tomb, if that "tomb" is the mortal body. The death took place on the cross, if that "cross" is the deadening inhibition of the sluggish vibration or inertia of the material corpus in which soul comes to be housed for a season. Yet in no soul’s experience can these "events" be organized into a series of historical occurrences as for an individual human being. Although they are in themselves the essence and meaning-gist of all historical event, they do not transpire in the realm of three-dimensional space, nor are they commensurable with the human sense of temporal happening. They do not occur "once upon a time." They are rather the final deposit of the whole historical stream upon the ocean bed of basic consciousness undergoing its initiation into reality. If, as Tennyson avers, life is ever going from more to more, the birth and transformation of the Christ nature is the cycle of cosmic event that gives a particular mode of life or type of consciousness its baptism into a larger sweep of sentient being. It was and is the event of human history; but still not an event in human history. It was the one event and not one of the events. None of the typologies by which ancient genius dramatized this chapter of evolutionary history could be detached and called an event in that history. The whole straggling line of linked events in world history make up this one cosmic event. We are all living now, individually and collectively, the baptism, the temptation and the transfiguration of the Christos, yet no single event of our lives is any of these transactions. The gradual upsurge of the spirit of charity and good-will in human hearts was the birth of the Christ on earth, and the continuous expansion and growing sway of that spirit among men was his ever-coming.

Massey’s unequivocal declaration is that the advent of Messiah was periodic, not once for all. His words are stirring:

"Once-for-all could have no meaning in relation to that which was ever-coming from age to age, from generation to generation, or for ever and ever. Eternity itself to the Egyptians of the Ritual was aeonian, or synonymous with millions of repetitions, therefore ever-coming in the likeness of perennial renewal, whether in the water-springs of earth or the day-spring from on high, the papyrus-shoot, the green branch, or as Horus the child, in whom a Savior was at length embodied as a figure of eternal source. At the foundation of all sacrifice we find the great Earth-Mother, following the human mother, giving herself for food and drink. Next the type of sacrifice is that of the ever-coming child. . . . Thenceforth the papyrus-plant was represented by the shoot; the tree by the branch; the sheep by the lamb; the Savior by the infant as an image of perpetual renewal in life by means of his own death and transformation in furnishing the elements of life."

The phrase of central importance in this passage is that which describes the life as unfolding its germinal potentiality into product through millions of repetitions. The first of all principia in the knowledge of life is that it eternally renews itself in periodic cycles of birth, growth, decay and death (of its forms), building its constructions each time anew out of the debris of the old, and unfolding a segment of its predetermined pattern in each renewal. That which becomes ever increasingly apparent to the student of Egyptian wisdom is the great fact of the eternal renewal. It is the hub of the universe and the nub of all discourse about it. The understanding that life endlessly renews itself, dying to be born again, turning the very wrack of death into the sustenance of new life, and so advancing to its purpose through the series, is the first fundament of knowledge, the ground of all wisdom.

And that which "comes," which manifests itself in increasing revelation at each successive wave of ongoing, is just the archetypal design, the ultimate as it was the primary goal, of the whole movement. This structural and organic whole is Logos, the "logical" form that the creation is to take. Obviously that which conforms to and harmonizes with the primordial cosmic mental design is "logical"; that which does not is "illogical."

We can not doubt that through the ages one increasing purpose runs, and that life is making its epiphany through the circling of the suns. In its minor cycle, too, the Christos, arm of the power of the Logos, ray from its larger cosmic fiery heart, manifests its developing beauty through its successive reincarnational expressions in material body on earth. Each descent to earth, where it dies as seed of former growth to be renewed as new shoot, brings to view a larger graciousness, a more resplendent loveliness of its nature. It makes many "comings" in order finally to be here in full. The endless repetition of cycle in the life movement makes the coming of deific power both periodic and regular, as the Egyptians have it.

If the fundamental truth about life is that it eternally renews itself, the human mind has not far to go to find the natural analogue of the principium. Two types of endless renewal confront the eye of man at all times. The one is the seasonal death and rebirth of nature; the other is the periodical cycles of the stars. The seasonal renewal of nature has an astronomical basis and background. It will readily be seen, then, how this determination operated to throw the whole delineation of Messianic advent into the forms of astronomical cycles. It was but a matter of looking at nature, which herself set the norms and figures of cyclical periodicity, to discern the types that would exemplify the ceaseless adventing of the Christos into the mundane sphere. Utilizing primarily the two most patent cycles of the day and the year, as well as the annual cycle of growth and death in the vegetable world, the fashion under the typism of the zodiacal precession and the great mythical and stellar-cycles. These will be elaborated presently.

In the Rubric directions to Chapter 149 of the Ritual (Birch) there are given the secret instructions "by which the soul of Osiris is perfected in the bosom of Ra." This perfecting of the soul of deity is the equivalent of the "coming" of the Christ on earth to establish the reign of good-will among men.

"By this book the soul of the deceased shall make its exodus with the living and prevail amongst, or as, the gods. By this book he shall know the secrets of that which happened in the beginning. No one else has ever known this mystical book or any part of it. It has not been spoken by men. . . . Carry it out in the judgment hall. This is a true Mystery, unknown anywhere to those who are uninitiated."

It is ever to be remembered that the "deceased" in the Egyptian Ritual is the living mortal, not the earthly defunct; and therefore its making its exodus among the living is a reference to its coming to full development in the life on earth. The great Mystery is of course the whole import and the reality of life in the cycles, the secret wisdom that the soul picks up throughout its whole peregrination through the kingdoms of organic existence. It unfolds in course as the cycling spiral of experience extends.

Massey’s further delineation of the Christos principle is enlightening:

"The Messu, or the Messianic prince of peace, was born into the world at Memphis in the cult of Ptah as the Egyptian Jesus, with the title of Iu-em-hetep, he who comes with peace or plenty and good fortune as the type of eternal youth. Here we may note in passing that this divine child, Iu-em-hetep, as the image of immortal youth, the little Hero of all later legend, the Kamite Heracles, had been one of the eight great gods of Egypt, who were in existence 20,000 years ago; (Herodotus, 2:43) known as Khepr, Horus, Aten, Tum or Nefer-Atum according to the cult. . . . His mother’s name at On was Iusaas, she who was great (as) with Iusa or Iusu, the ever-coming child, the Messiah of the inundation." [For even the periodicity of the Nile overflow was used to portray the rhythm of the coming.]

One of the most revealing of all ancient scriptural indices is this great Egyptian name of the Messianic Christ-figure that held in Egypt for some thousands of years B.C.--Iu-em-hetep. It is nearly the whole story in itself. Iu is the verb "to come" ; em is "with" or "in"; and hetep is, most significantly, both the noun "peace" and the number "seven." As all cycles are encompassed in seven stages or sub-cycles, the "peace" that is to be consummated in this seven-part cycle of human development is thus the equivalent or counterpart of the seventh and climactic tonal vibration which synthesizes the whole expression. When humanity shall have reached the apex of its seven-toned perfection, its "peace" will be the harmony of seven keynotes synchronized in one grand master-tone. Therefore "peace" and "seven" are identical, and the Egyptian expressed this profound knowledge in the one word "hetep." (It is our "seven" even now, as the hetep form shortened to "hept," the "h" roughened, as it has often done, into "s," and so the Latin has its "sept-em" and the English its "septenary" and "September.") Iu-em-hetep then reads: "(He who) comes with or in peace as number seven," or as the seventh or climactic stage of the cycle. This name is alone enough to negate all historical assumptions connected with the coming of Messiah. It declares that Messiah comes in his last and consummative stage only in the last round of the cycle. If Messiah came in person two thousand years ago, it was an untimely and futile advent. He came too soon and wholly out of relation to cyclical denouement. The Bible itself is loud in its proclamation of the aeonially cataclysmic accompaniments of the last days of the cycle, when the Son of Man (the product of the "man" cycle and therefore its Son) shall come in the clouds of heavenly consciousness to pronounce the final judgments on the results of the cycle’s effort. The "coming" in Judea in the year one A.D. is therefore like the entry of an actor into the play long before his cue and out of all pertinence to his part in the drama. In the premature appearance of the Christ in embodied form at a given date in world time the whole framework of the ancient theological structure would have been disorganized. In brief, a personal Messiah at any time is not necessary to the meaning or fulfillment of ancient theology. In fact the latter can not in any way accommodate in its essential structure a historical Messiah. The introduction of such an element into the system deranges the logic and upsets the meaning of the whole. Ancient theology had no place for a man-Savior.

The Jesus-legend, says Massey, was Egyptian, but, he adds, it was at first without the dogma of historic personality. The latter was a spurious addition made to it by misguided Christians.

In the Ritual Horus, the Egyptian Christ, says:

"I am Horus, the prince of eternity. Witness of eternity is my name." (Ch. 42.)

He steps onward through eternity without ever stopping or standing still. Or he sails in "the boat of Horus," the name of which is "Millions of Years."

It is significant that, according to Higgins in the Anacalypsis (p. 591), seven Zoroasters are recorded by different historians. The Avatars of Persia bore the name of Zoroaster, and thus it is to be inferred the Chaldean priests of Babylon and Persia simply designated one Messiah to each of the seven stages of the cycle. Again one reads that there were fourteen Zoroasters. As nearly every aspect of life force or intelligence was susceptible of a double or two-fold representation, or was the result of the interplay of two opposing energies, the twice-seven enumeration is understandable without change of essential connotation. But we have a very direct and likely correct hint as to the inner purport of the name Zoroaster in Higgins’ conjecture that, as he suspects, "he was merely the supposed genius of a cycle." It is hardly possible for us to light upon a more sententious true definition of a Messiah or Avatar than this phrase of Higgins: the genius of a cycle. Life runs its course through the kingdoms and the cycles, and it is more than poetry to say that it sounds out a given note in a scale of tones in the cosmic tone-poem in each cycle. The dominant note produced by the energic vibration in each cycle, understood in terms of conscious expression as sense, emotion, thought and intuition, would be the divine Messenger, the Messiah or Avatar of that cycle. As Heraclitus so well says, "man’s genius is a deity." In the light of this truth we have the links that form at last a chain to bind our thought fast to a stratum of all theology, namely, the enlightened meaning of Messianism. Higgins says (Anac., p. 616) that every cycle has its muse, its song and its Savior. Doubtless, too, if we were conversant with cosmic schematism, we should find it has its dominant vibration, its key rate or frequency, its color, its number, its proper name. We are yet, perhaps, too ignorant of cosmic graphology to evaluate the import of the fact that the color of earthly vegetation is green.

We find Democritus saying that "Deity is but a soul in an orbicular fire." There is in a pronouncement of this kind a fathomless well of profundity, which our minds must struggle to comprehend. The soul is a fragment--and a seed fragment, capable of reproducing its parent--of God, an embryonic child of his Mind; and the fragment is set whirling through the cycles under the force of a fiery creative energization. This energization sets up, as it were, a draught or a friction by the power of which the divine potencies slumbering in the seed are awakened to budding, growth and fruition. The universal direction of the movement engendered by the energy of creation produced by God’s thought is "orbicular." The helix or spiral is the ancient Greek symbol of all creative motion.

It may be noted in passing that, as Higgins narrates, Zoroaster was born in innocence and of an immaculate conception, of a ray of the Divine Reason. When he was born the glory arising from his body lighted up the room, and he laughed at his mother. He was called a splendid light from the tree of knowledge, and in the finale he or his soul was suspended a ligno (from the wood), or from the tree, the tree of knowledge. Here again we find the cross or tree of Calvary, the tree of the Christ, identified with the tree of knowledge of Genesis. It is in the imputations of such data as this, strewn prolifically over the field of comparative religion study, that the true significance of the literature of which the Gospels are but a fragment is found.

Iamblichus, the "divine doctor" of the Neo-Platonic school, writes that the sun was "the image of divine intelligence," and Plato speaks of the sun as "an immortal living Being." But no statement surpasses the mighty pronouncement of Proclus, as he discourses on Plato’s theology, that "the light of the sun is the pure energy of Intellect." The energy of thought in man’s tiny brain is found to be able to engender a glow of light, heat and power, electric in nature. Thought, divine from the start, was the first General Light and Power plant. The ineffable universal power that lights the suns is the energy generated by God’s Mind in process of thinking and willing! As man’s puny thought organizes his life and his world in his fragmentary sphere, so God’s thought organizes and controls the universe. Souls are seed-sparks of the mighty fiery glow and gleam that flash out in the darkness of the void to become the centers of light. Little wonder the Egyptians equated the two words "star" and "soul" in the same word, Seb, as they equated "peace" and "seven" in the word hetep. And even Seb likewise means "seven," since each soul is in reality the potentiality of seven souls, or a soul building itself up to perfection in seven cycles, unfolding a segment of itself in each. Most instructive is the promise found in the Sibylline books: "He will send his Son from the Sun."

The first seven emanations from the heart of Deity were called the "Sons of Fire" in the sacred scriptures of all great nations. They were the seven lights on the Tree, the seven archangelic "candles." The Jewish book of esoteric truth, the Kabalah, denominates them the seven Sephiroth upon the Sephirothal Tree. They are the seven Powers before the Throne. A word of seven letters in each different tongue is found carved in the architectural remains of every grand religious structure in the world, from the Cyclopean remains on Easter Island to the earliest Egyptian pyramids. The seven candles of the churches still mutely flaunt their ineffable cosmic meaning before the blind eyes of the flocks of modern worshippers, who are sublimely innocent of comprehension.

Quoting Clement of Alexandria, Thomas Aquinas says the candle "is a sign of the Christ, not only in shape, but because he sheds his light through the ministry of the seven spirits primarily created and who are the seven eyes of the Lord." Therefore the principal planets are to the seven primeval spirits, according to St. Clement, that which the candle-sun is to Christ himself, namely--their vessels, their phulachai, or guardians.

It has been proven more difficult to find the clear and explicit significance of the number fourteen, or twice seven, already glanced at, than that of most other forms of symbolism or numerology in the ancient formulations. That the number has real relation to cosmic or evolutionary fact, however, must be presumed on the strength of numerous occurrences of it in ancient lore. There is a possible base of meaning in the fact that, since life is the result of an interplay between spirit and matter, and each stage of growth is consummated in a cycle embracing seven steps, there would be a seven on the physical side and a corresponding seven on the spiritual. Every sign of the zodiac is dually aspected, presumably to indicate that the particular ray of potency expressed through it is the resultant of opposed spirit-matter energies. (Likely these are the four-and-twenty elders of Revelation.) Possibly the seven planes or stages of the physical creation are taken dually in the same way. At any rate we find Damascius saying:

"There are seven series of cosmocrators or cosmic forces, which are double; the higher ones commissioned to support and guide the superior world, the lower ones the inferior world (our own)."

We have significant allegorical treatment of the twice-seven in the Old Testament, when Jacob has to serve seven years for Leah and an additional seven for Rachel. But there is other use of it in Genesis, where it is said that from Adam to the Flood is fourteen generations, from the Flood to the going down into Egypt is fourteen generations, and from the going down into Egypt to the Exodus is fourteen generations. Every intimation seems to point to the genealogical lists of Patriarchs in the Old Testament as being type-names of the cycles, as one generates, or "begets" its successor. This is indeed the verdict of the best students in the field of esoteric and comparative religion. It turns out, on the basis of much clear evidence, that the "Patriarchs" of Jewish "history" are the names of what the Hindus have called "Manus." Capt. Wilford in Asiatic Researches (Vol. V, p. 243) says: "The Egyptians had fourteen dynasties, and the Hindus had fourteen dynasties, the rulers of which were called Menus." These "dynasties" are obviously not the dynasties of lines of historical monarchs. They are clearly evolutionary epochs, distinguished, at least in schematic diagram, by the predominant key-note of expression of the life or consciousness in each epoch. As "man" is the Sanskrit verb "to think," this term "Manu" seems to say with the utmost definiteness that these fourteen Manus or "genii of cycles" were actually the designations for fourteen (or seven taken doubly) types of progressive manifestations of the thinking principle in evolution. This clarification of otherwise meaningless and baffling Old Testament recondite narrative is an important gain in understanding.

The "rulers" of the dynasties just as clearly would not be men, certainly not men of the strictly human category, but rather the dominant key-type of mentality of the different stages.

Still another signification of the fourteen is advanced by Massey, who takes from the Egyptian phrase, "house of a thousand years,"--"house" being used in the sense of a zodiacal sign--the meaning that makes it equivalent to another phrase, "fourteen life-times," rated at seventy-one years each, or nine hundred and ninety four. Horus or Iusa, in the "house of a thousand years," was the bringer of the millennium. Sut, or Satan, released for "seven days"--the period of matter’s dominance over spirit, buried in its inertia--was then bound for a thousand years--the period when in turn spirit gains ascendancy over matter and turns it to its service--and religious typology worked this out as roughly fourteen life-times. What more typical example or instance of a true cycle than a human life-time?

If the title of address to deity by early Christians was "Our Lord, the Sun!" up to the fifth or sixth century (when it was altered into "Our Lord, the God!"), it is not difficult to see the profound and fundamentally true meaning of the most general statement that can be found in ancient literature to describe the nature of the Messiah or the Avatar, which was, "the Messiahs were all incarnations of the Sun." This is indeed a sentence which holds the pith and marrow of all theology. Yet it falls meaningless upon the mind of this age because the great Sun-myth in religion has been misconstrued by ignorance into rankly materialistic conception. Through this miscarriage spiritual ideology has been warped into physical sense. The mighty truth hidden behind all sun-symbolism in ancient thought escaped recognition when that great item of knowledge had been lost which revealed that the sun is the blazing effulgence of divine intellect. It is the ineffable light of Mind. If the light of this truth could be made once again to enter the mind of man, all the alleged material degradation of the conception of the Sun as God--the charge brought by shallow and uncomprehending Christianity against the wiser ancients--would be swallowed up in the magnificence of the truer conception. When will it be seen--as the ancients knew it--that the Christos, the deity in man, is a seed fragment of the deity that glows in insupportable grandeur in the sun, is in fact a little sun of divine intellect embodied in each man? Only when again that luminous truth is regained, will the full grand import of ancient "sun-worship" dawn to cognition in the modern brain, and the slur of arrogant modernity against pagan worshipers of the heavenly luminary be ended by reverent understanding.

We can now take a passage such as the following from Higgins (Anac., p. 588) and see its essential truth. Referring to the many Messianic figures as repeated incarnations of the solar deity, he says:

"Here we see the renewal of the incarnation just spoken of in the fact of identity in the history of most of the ancient hero-Gods, which has been fully demonstrated by Creuzer in his second volume. The case was that all the hero-Gods were incarnations--Genii of cycles, either several of the same cycle in different countries at the same time, or successive cycles--for the same series of adventures was supposed to occur again and again. This accounts for the striking similitudes in all their histories. Some persons will not easily believe that the ancients could be so weak as to suppose that the same things were renewed ever 600 years. Superstition never reasons."

If comment on Higgins’ concluding fling was seemly, perhaps it would be enough to observe that modern Christians may gather some stimulating reflections from the thought of their having for sixteen centuries accepted as literal history a long and involved series of such dramatic "adventures" of their own purported hero-God, which had been the twentieth or the fiftieth or the one-hundredth recorded repetition of the same adventures of solar deity in the flesh.

The truer view of the import of the saga, says Lord Raglan, was not confined to the Norse, but was, according to Prof. Hooke, general in the ancient world. That the ritual-drama and the hero-legend that grew out of it were dealing with elements of knowledge far higher and more meaningful than mere adventures of an ancestral hero in the flesh, is evidenced by what was behind the representation. Some of these features were: the cyclic movement of the seasons and of the heavenly bodies, together with the ritual system associated with them, which "inevitably tended to produce a view of Time as a vast circle in which the pattern of the individual life and the course of history was a recurring cyclic process." (The Labyrinth, p. 215.) Raglan comments that this view of time as a ritual circle seems to have been carried over into Christianity, since, according to Prof. James (Christian Myth and Ritual, p. 268) in the Eucharistic sacrament the redemptive work of Christ was celebrated not as a mere commemoration of an historic event; for in the liturgy the past becomes present, and the birth at Bethlehem and the death on Calvary were apprehended as ever-present realities independent of time and space. This is welcome light amid modern darkness.

A remark of Higgins may fall in appropriately here. He contends that it is philosophical to hold in suspicion all such histories (as the legendary recitals concerning Roger Bacon), but unphilosophical to receive them without suspicion. The mythos, he says, has corrupted all history. Who can doubt, he asks, that the Argonautic expedition is a recurring mythos? As Virgil has told us, new Argonauts would arise from time to time. But while one can sense the legitimate connotation of Higgins’ observation that the mythos has intruded on the ground of actual history and "corrupted" it, this is a great deal like saying that music and poetry have come in to corrupt real life. The mythos was designed to irradiate history with meaning, as music and poetry are adapted to halo life with deeper significance. The only mistake--and it is the invariable and unfailing one--was in reading the mythos for history, and not seeing it as the light of history. And if new Argonauts would arise from age to age, so new Christs would arise in future times and countries,--but in the recurring mythos, not in human embodiment. As a thousand adaptations of the love-lyric have arisen in every age to celebrate the great passion, so the equally vital theme of the soul’s incarnation in flesh was reissued in ever new mythical and allegorical dress.

Higgins adds:

"I suspect that new Troys were expected every six hundred years. In the case of the Romans this was a superstition, which could not be corrected by that kind of experience which we acquire from history. What we call their history, Mr. Niebuhr has shown, was mere mythos. This will account for a degree of superstition which would be otherwise scarcely credible among the higher ranks of the Romans. . . . An Englishman called Lumsden has asserted that many of the incidents in Roman history were identical with those in the heroical history of the Greeks, and therefore must have been copied from them. . . . They were not copies of one another, but were drawn from a common source; were in fact an example of remaining fragments of the almost lost, but constantly renewed, mythos which we have seen everywhere in the East and West--new Argonauts, new Trojan Wars"--and new Messiahs under changing names, though always a name indicating solar deific character.

This is well and truly discerned; and in connection with it Higgins sets forth his consistent thesis that all early histories were originally composed and written in verse for the sake of correct retention in memory, and further set to music for the same reason. The most ancient of the ancients had nothing of the nature of our real history. Real history was not the object or aim of their writing, any more than it was Virgil’s or Milton’s or Dante’s.

Cristna (Krishna), Moses, Cyrus, Romulus and others were all exposed, Higgins reminds us, but all were saved from the tyrant’s power. And, like Alfred the Great (whom Raglan shows to have been also a semi-mythical character), they were all preserved by a cowherd. The cowherd would have relevance under Taurian zodiacal symbolism, and the figure would have been changed to a shepherd at the incidence of the next sign in the precessional order, Aries, the Ram.

And very enlightening is Higgins’ comment on the deification of the Caesars:

"Much nonsense has been written concerning the heroes of antiquity being converted into Gods, but now in the Caesars I think we may see the real nature of the apotheosis. They were not supposed to be men converted into Gods, but were incarnations of a portion of Divine Spirit; at least this was the real and secret meaning of the apotheosis. They were men endowed with the Holy Ghost. They were nothing but men supposed to be filled with more than a usual portion of that Spirit.

"Like Christian saints they were not generally declared till after their deaths. . . . I am surprised that we have not a life of Octavius by a Latin Xenophon to match the heathen gospel called the Cyropaedia."

Higgins cites the ancient mythical figure known as "Nimrod" as interpreting "the Beast" of Revelation, which had seven heads and ten horns, as a glyph for the Great Cycle of Life in animal (beast) embodiment, during which the ten later spiritual powers were developed in the seven sub-cycles; or in Kabalistic language, the perfection of the ten (twelve) higher spiritual faculties or Sephirothal powers through the seven elementary cycles.