Twelve Lamps Of Deity

Chapter XX

It is time now to note the play in ancient days of this Avataric formula and tradition in secular history outside the Bible purview. There is not space to touch upon its incidence in the field of epic poetry, save to hint at its evident usages by Virgil in his great Aeneid. It is obvious that he wrote this epic of Roman "history" as a complimentary tribute to the Roman nation generally and the Emperor Augustus in particular. In doing this he did nothing that was in the least degree unique or exceptional in the ancient domain. It was the custom in all countries of the Orient to attempt to graft the divine epic of the soul onto both the geography and the history of each particular land, representing its named places as the scenes of the epical incidents, and identifying its leading king with the divine hero. This practice was no doubt at the start pure and legitimate allegorism, with no attempt to falsify or deceive. But when allegorical intent and purport were forgotten, the results proved a deception to all later dullness.

It is worth the space to quote the great Virgilian aeonial prophecy in Eclogue IV, as it is the chief prototype doubtless of all the Sibylline and other pagan predictions of Messiah.

"The last era of Cumaean song is now arrived, and the grand series of ages begins afresh. Now the Virgin Astraea returns and the reign of Saturn recommences. Now a new progeny descends from the celestial realms. Do thou, chaste Lucina, smile propitious to the infant Boy, who will bring to a close the present Age of Iron and introduce throughout the whole world the Age of Gold. . . . He shall share the life of Gods and shall see heroes mingled in society with Gods, himself be seen by them and all the peaceful world. . . . Then shall the herds no longer dread the huge lion, the serpent also shall die; and the poison’s deceptive plant shall perish. Come, O dear child of the Gods, great descendant of Jupiter! . . . the time is near. See, the world is shaken with its globe saluting thee! The earth, the regions of the sea, and the heavens sublime."

This was called the Sibylline prophecy about the coming of Christ, lauded and extolled by the Christians until it became safe and polite to denounce everything pagan. In the aura of Virgilian heroics, however, the prophecy was dressed up to indicate Augustus as the scion of the Gods and to hint at the divine origin of the Roman nation. The legend would probably be in the background of Italian world politics today.

Irenaeus and the first Christian Fathers said that during this new Age of Gold the lion should lie down with the lamb, and the grapes were to cry out to the faithful to come and eat them!

Beside the Caesars, Cyrus the Great of Persia was one of those monarchs who was heralded as the aeonial child and the tenth Avatar. But nothing in all Biblical interpretation is more doltishly fatuous than the reading of the name of this earthly sovereign into the Greek word Kurios (Eng. Cyrius), meaning "Lord." It is generally equivalent to Christos itself, and is often used with it, as in "Lord Christ" or "Christ the Lord." It is often a generic term for God himself. To take it anywhere as referring to Cyrus of Persia in the historic sense is obviously an unwarranted translation. It often renders the meaning of its passage nonsensical.

So thoroughly did the Avataric theorization permeate the ancient world, both religious and secular, that it became impossible for the Christian movement, no matter with what vehemence it later wished to repudiate pagan influences and usages, to escape the general power of the conception. Not only at the earlier stage of its inception, but far on into the later centuries it continued to exert its strategic determination upon Christian theory and polity. Indeed, if Higgins’ data are to be accepted (and he was a scholar of intellectual probity and sincerity), the tradition exercised such persuasions upon the Christian masses up to the opening of the thirteenth century that the Church powers have found it politic to hide in oblivion a most remarkable chapter of events which Higgins has chronicled. They are brought to light here out of their obscurity, not for the purpose of sensational disclosure, but to support the correctness and cogency of the general argument of the work.

At the time of Richard the First, Higgins sets forth, about 1189--the end of a cycle of twelve hundred years, or two Neroses, approaching--a general belief prevailed that the end of the world drew near, a belief which, in a great measure, caused the Crusades to Palestine, where the devotees expected the Savior to appear. This is attested by St. Bernard of Clairvaux and was forecast by Joachim, abbot of Curacio in Calabria, a most renowned interpreter of prophecy in those days. Antichrist was to appear at Antioch, and the Crusade was the gathering together of the kings of the earth to the battle of the great day of God Almighty. (Rev. 16:12, 14; Nimrod, III, p. 393.) It appears from the accounts that the possession of Antioch was made a great point, almost as much as that of Jerusalem. It was among the first cities taken by the Crusaders.

It is surprising enough to most Christians to be informed that the ancient theory of Messianic cycles had anything to do with the timing of the Crusades and indeed their motivating purpose. It will doubtless come as an even greater surprise to be informed that those within and outside the Church who held to the cyclical program of Messiahs regarded Mohammed as the Avatar of the six-hundred-year-cycle running from six hundred to twelve hundred A.D., and the tenth Avatar of the ancient Great Cycle. Higgins says that Mohammed was accredited as the Avatar succeeding Jesus, and that he was expressly foretold by Haggai, the Prophet, under the Hebrew name of H M D. Of this prophecy, says Higgins, Parkhurst (Christian apologist) was an unwilling witness. The Crusaders flocked into Jerusalem in twelve hundred, the end of the Mohammed cycle, which, he affirms, began in the year six hundred and eight, and cites Faber as authority for this date. According to Higgins Mohammedans have made the claim that a passage has been expunged from the Romish Gospels which ran as follows:

"And when Jesus, the Son of Mary, said, O children of Israel, verily I am the apostle of God sent unto you, confirming the law which was delivered before me, and bringing good tidings of an apostle who shall come after me, and whose name shall be AHMED."

This is cited as the burden of the Haggaian prophecy.

But the crowning act in this run of serio-comics--which must ever ensue when the outer framework of spiritual allegory is taken for objective history--is yet to be recorded.

The Crusades expended their fanatical zeal and filled nearly two centuries with the history of one of the most shocking exhibitions of religious infatuation of all time (involving even the children in its frenzied insanity). But as the year twelve hundred drew nearer, the Messianic expectancy increased in fervor. In the great ferment of half-demented pietism, the year twelve came and went, with no miraculous appearance of the Messiah of the Age. Then--so relates Higgins--after the devotees and followers of the new Gospel, or Gospel of the new Avatar, had in vain looked for the holy one who was to come, they at last pitched upon St. Francis of Assisi as having been the divine Messenger; and of course the most surprising and absurd miracles were conjured up to match the character. (It could be asked if this was the basis of the cycle of miracle-sagas that came down with his name to later days.) Some of the fanatics, having an indistinct idea of the secret doctrine of renewed incarnations, or letting their knowledge of the principle of recurrent incarnations escape in the heat of controversy, maintained that St. Francis was "wholly and entirely transformed or transfigured into the person of Christ--totum Christo configuratum." (Vide Litera Magistrorum de Postilla Fratris, P. Joh. Olivi in Baluzii Miscellan. Tom., I, p. 213; Waddingi Annal, Minor Tom., V, p. 51; Mosheim, Hist. Cent., XIII, Pt. ii, Sect. XXXVI). Mosheim says (Higgins) that by some of them the Gospel of Joachim was expressly preferred to the Gospel of Christ.

It appears that this Joachim, abbot of Curacio and renowned interpreter of prophecy, had published a book called Evangelium Eternum (The Everlasting Gospel), in which, presumptively, he had set forth the theory of Avataric cyclical reincarnation, and declared another Messiah due in the year twelve hundred, end of another Neros cycle. This work, which circulated throughout the European Church and stirred a great ferment, was never censured or suppressed by any act of the Pope, but only the introduction to it was placed under the ban. John of Parma preferred the Gospel of Joachim above the canonical Gospels.

Higgins tells us that a Rev. Dr. Maclaine said the the Evangelium Eternum consisted, as productions of that nature generally do, of ambiguous predictions and intricate riddles. This, says Higgins, is what we might expect. After it had been published some time and had received the greatest support possible from the Popes and all the orders of monks, the Franciscan fanatic Gerhard published a work called an Introduction to this Gospel, in which he censured the vices of the Church of Rome and in set terms prophesied, or deduced from the Evangelium Eternum, the destruction of the Roman See. This appeared in the year twelve hundred and fifty, close upon the last period to which the millennium could be delayed, viz., twelve hundred and sixty A.D. (Here obviously the numerology of another than the Neros cycle came into play. This was the cycle of twelve hundred and sixty years, based on the three and a half years, or twelve hundred and sixty "days," taken from the eleventh and twelfth chapters of Revelation, as before noted. The days were now figured as years, following the method as prescribed in Exodus, where the forty years in the wilderness were expressed in the formula "forty days, for every day a year.") As the fateful and climactic moment of the end of the year twelve hundred and sixty approached, the passions of the different orders of monks were excited to the greatest pitch and tension. Gerhard’s book was burned and its author persecuted, though his followers among the Franciscans claim for him the gift of prophecy and place him among the saints. The followers of St. Francis generally--the strong supporters of the new Gospel--and Gerhard maintained that he, St. Francis, who was the angel mentioned in Revelation XIV:6, had promulgated to the world the true and everlasting Gospel of God: that the Gospel of Christ was to be abrogated in the year twelve hundred and sixty, and was to give place to this new and everlasting Gospel, which was to be substituted in its room: and that the ministers of this great reformation were to be humble and barefoot friars, destitute of all worldly emoluments. This was stripping off the veil and showing the meaning of the eternal Gospel without disguise. It excited the most lively feelings of surprise, of hope, or of indignation, according as it met favor or disfavor from the opinions of the different fanatical partisans. The Pope did not, according to the usual plan, burn the author; the book only was burned, and its author mildly censured and banished to his house in the country. This took place in the year twelve hundred fifty-five when the parties, expectant of the millennium, must have been in the highest state of fear and anxiety, suggests Higgins.

The year twelve hundred and sixty arrived and passed away; but, mirable dictu, the sun did not cease to give its light, the moon and the stars did not fall from heaven; nothing in particular happened; the pious fools stared at one another and impious rogues chuckled. The Popes and Cardinals at Rome, half fools (Higgins), and the dupes everywhere else, finding themselves all in the wrong, soon began to charge folly upon one another; and as they had quarreled before as to who should display the most zeal for the new glad tidings, they now began to quarrel about who should bear the blame, each shuffling the odium on to some other. Dr. Maclaine and Mosheim have clearly established the great--and Higgins ventures to add, almost universal--reception of the Evangelium Eternum. After some time, the fanatics having by degrees ceased to preach, and the Pope to support, the new Gospel, the old Gospels recovered their credit and vogue, and the friends and promulgators of the new Gospel died away, or were burned as they came to be considered heretics. The court of Rome endeavored to guard against whatever might arise.

Lest the reader may conceive from this recital the feeling that so preposterous a miscarriage of sane balance could not occur in modern days, let the reminder come that the mistranslated Bible phrase, "end of the world," has worked an almost equally flagrant debacle of reason in a very similar ferment as late as the year 1843, in the Millerite delusion that swept over New England and all northeastern United States. And but a few years back of the present writing (1943) the world was taken aback by the proclamation of the aeonial Messiahship of the great Lord of the spiritual worlds, Maitreya, who was to come in the body of the Hindu youth, Jiddu Krishnamurti. A number of sects still preach the imminent coming of Christ and the dissolution of the world.

It seems certain that the increase in the monastic orders about the fifth and sixth centuries and again in the late eleventh and twelfth, arose from the expectation of the millennial denouement.

The aftermath of the twelfth century hallucination is interesting. After the expectation of the extraordinary manifestations had died away and the power of the Saracens seemed to increase, the Popes, says Higgins, became more than ever embittered against the Mohammedans and equally furious against all who supported anything relating to the now obsolescent Gnostic or cyclic doctrines of millennial expectation. This accounts, says Higgins, in a very satisfactory manner for the zeal of the Popes up to a certain time for the new Gospel, and their bitterness afterwards towards the Templars and Albigenses, among whom some remnants of these superstitions remained. The ecclesiastical hierarchy in the Church had had a severe lesson in the resurgent sweep of erratic esotericism, projected or prolonged from ancient pagan sources into its own history, and became cool to all things savoring of the Messianic idea ever since. And again it is the prerogative of this study to announce that the egregious predicament of error came simply because an ancient allegorical structure clothed in astronomical typology was misread in a literal and objective sense instead of a spiritual one. It would certainly seem within our warrant to say that a hypothesis which can be supported and illustrated by such positive evidences direct from world history must be regarded as solidly established.

There is now to be considered, following a look at the cycle of Neros, that other still greater period known as the Phoenix cycle. This possesses elements very germane to the entire theory of Messiah, and yields most interesting data and correlations. Lundy (Mon. Chris., p. 422) says that when Herodotus was in Egypt he was told that the Phoenix was a bird of great rarity, only coming there once in five hundred years, when it dies and another arises from its ashes. It is reported to be like the eagle and of a red and golden plumage. But Herodotus never saw one, except in pictures. Then there is Pliny, who says:

"It surpasses all other birds; but I do not know if it be fable that there is only one in the whole world and that seldom seen. . . . It is sacred to the sun; lives six hundred and sixty years; when old it dies in its aromatic nest (frankincense and myrrh) and produces a worm out of which the young phoenix arises; and it carries its nest to the altar of the temple at Heliopolis in Egypt. The revolution of the year corresponds to the life of this bird, in which the seasons and stars return to their first places." (Bk. X; 2.)

And Tacitus says "that the opinions vary as to the number of the years, the most common one being this, that it is five hundred years, though some make it 1461 years." (Annals, VI:28.)

Lundy directly asserts that no such bird as the Phoenix ever existed; that it was only one of the constellations in the old Egyptian zodiac. It had been identified by the laborious researches of Mr. R. S. Poole, as the bird of Osiris, or Osir, so often invoked by the souls in Hades for their deliverance, as the Book of the Dead shows us. The Phoenix is elsewhere the Bennu (Benno), the Swan of the Greeks, the Eagle of the Romans, and, he adds, the Peacock of the Hindus, as the symbol of ever-renewing immortality in the heavens. In the Egyptian constellation of the Phoenix or Bennu, the dog-star Sothis (Sirius) was the most conspicuous, the brightest star in the whole heaven, even brighter than the sun by three hundred times, and greater in bulk by two thousand times, according to Proctor, though from its great distance it does not appear so. When this Dog-Star marked the summer solstice, it was the period of the new year, i.e., the great year or cycle of 1461 years, when the stars and planets return to the same position. Also it was then, or about the time of the summer solstice, that the Nile began to rise, which is the very life of Egypt. This Phoenix cycle of 1461 years was discovered not long since on the ceiling of the Memnonium at Thebes, and was identified there as the Bennu or Osir of Osiris. It signified, like the great Sothiac and other lesser periods and cycles, the beginning and the ending of all things, or the end of one cycle to be followed by the birth of another. Mr. Poole says (Horae Aegyptiacae, p. 35):

"Sothis, the Dog-star, was considered as sacred to both powers of nature, Osiris with Isis as the Good Power, and Typhon as the Evil Power; since at the time of its rising they were considered as conflicting; for the Nile then begins to show the first symptoms of rising, and at the same time the great heat was parching up the cultivated soil."

The Bennu, Nycticorax or Phoenix, was then the sign of the constellation in which the Dog-star rose to mark a new era and a new year together; just as when the star or conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation of the Fishes marked the advent of Christ. "There can be no doubt," continues Mr. Poole, "that the Bennu is the Phoenix, or the constellation partly or wholly corresponding with the Cygnus, and perhaps also with the Aquila." (Horae Aegyp., p. 42.) "And the period of its appearance was ascertained and its manifestation was celebrated on the first day of Thoth, the beginning of the Egyptian year." (Ibid., p. 46-7.) "This constellation was one of the principal festivals of the Egyptians. It took place at the summer solstice when the Nile began to rise."

Nearly a century before either Mr. Wilkinson or Mr. Poole wrote of the Phoenix and its cycle, concludes Lundy, the great French astronomer Mr. Bailly thus spoke of it:

"It is impossible to doubt that the Phoenix is the emblem of a solar revolution, which revives in the moment it expires. If any one question the truth of this, he will find the proof of it in those authors who assign to the Phoenix a life of 1461 years, i.e., the time of the Sothis period, or of a revolution of a great solar year of the Egyptians." (Hist. of Astr., 214.)

Fourteen hundred and sixty and a fraction years is the period of time in which the calendar would correct itself if leap year’s extra day each four years was omitted, or, as it was put, the stars would return to their first places according to months.

Higgins states that the six hundred or six hundred and eight years is the period between two conjunctions of the sun and moon. He does not indicate how this is to be understood, as there are solar eclipses by the moon oftener than six hundred years and at irregular intervals. He says that the Phoenix was a portion of the universal principle of Divine Love, or Eros, which eternally moved over the waters (the inchoate matter of space) and which in the form of a dove was incarnated every six hundred or six hundred and eight years. Eros was the Greek Phanes, one of the deific hierarchy, so luminously analyzed in Proclus’ great dissertation on the theology of Plato. The similarity between Phanes and Phoenix must be an evidence of common origin of both names. Bennu is likewise of cognate derivation. Higgins gives us more of the hypothetical description of the bird. It was the bird of the morning, he says, and also the bird of Paradise; its dwelling was in the East at the gate of heaven, in the land of spring and in the forest of the sun, in a plain of unalloyed delights lying twelve cubits higher than the highest mountains. Phoenix was also a tree; and upon the highest convexity or umbo of Achilles’ shield stood a palm or Phoenix tree. (Nimrod, III, p. 395.) Another name for palm tree is Tamar, which is the name of one of the Old Testament mothers of divine sons. Then there was the tamarand, tamarack or tamarisk, one of the sacred trees of Egypt. Grethenbach tells us that one equivalent of tamarisk is Asar in the Egyptian. The cycle is complete when we reflect that Asar is the original name of Osiris.

Naturally the great astronomical cycle of 1461 years would not be overlooked by symbologists seeking cyclical periodicities in the stellar revolutions. It was therefore made the date of the end and new beginning of the Avataric cycle. The fact that it was set at five hundred years, at six hundred and sixty and finally at fourteen hundred and sixty-one makes its reference to the lifetime of a "bird"--of which there was but one in existence at a time!--quite fabulous. Massey, with considerable chance of being correct, traces the word "Phoenix" to p-h-ankh, the Egyptian combination meaning "the joining for life," or in a living relation (of male and female life-powers, or spirit and matter), which took place at the end or beginning of such a cycle, symbolically. Nature achieved each new cycle of on-going life through the union of her two polarized opposite energies, so that the union of male and female potencies periodically would typify the beginning of a new birth or a new era. Ankh means "life-tie" in Egyptian. The word Sphinx Massey derives from this p-h-ankh with the "s" of causative or initiative action prefixed,--s-p-h-ank. The Sphinx would be the universal power of nature which causes male and female forces to unite for the reproduction of a new generation of life. It is the human in front and female animal behind.

Further mention must be made of the Nile inundation, which the Egyptians wove into the annual succession of stellar phases. One must read Massey’s Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, to gain any adequate conception of the remarkable harmony and coincidence of the water stages of the great river with the star movements and positions throughout the year. It is a source of never-ending wonder that earthly phenomena and heavenly economy work together with such articulation and appropriateness. Or it is a testimony to the shrewd mythicizing instinct of ancient sages that they named a star in Virgo constellation, for instance, Vindemeatrix, the grape-gatherer, a star which rose when the grapes were ripened. And this is made to stand for the Virgin who rises on the world, as matter in evolution, to bring forth in the mature season the fruit of the vine, from which the wine of divine spiritual intoxication will be available to raise men, symbolically, in ecstasy to the gods! Thus did the Christs and the Horuses and the Krishnas and Bacchuses come as winebibbers, or to turn "water" of the natural life into "wine" of spiritual consciousness. Only through this transformation of lower element into the symbol of the higher mind could man’s ability to partake freely of his divine fruitage be aptly portrayed.

Egyptian analogical--and anagogical--genius traced the correspondence in physical nature between the cosmological data on which the structure of their heaven-taught theology was based and the yearly phenomena of the overflow of their mighty river. It may seem to us a mere poetization to assume that the rising of the fresh waters of the river in the growing heat of summer could be an interpretation by nature, or her fulfillment, of the great religious conception of the coming of the divine life to mankind. Yet the rising waters, bringing coolness and renewed fertility to the land, were the coming of the "savior" in every practical sense. The waters began to rise in the lowlands of northern Egypt in June. The Egyptian name of the June month was Mesore. Massey traces this name to Mes-Hor. Mes is the root of the word Messiah, as we have seen, and means "to be born." Hor is "Horus," free of its Latin "us" masculine termination. So Mesore is "the re-born Horus." June was the month Dazu in the Assyrian calendar, and it was the month of Tammuz in the Aramaic calendar. Horus, says Massey, was the great Father deity Tum, reborn, like the beetle, as his own renewal, or his own son. So the name of the month was Tum-mes, which worked over into Tammuz, and which became the later Thomas of the Bible! The spiritual water of life was reborn under the symbolism of the physical waters that came to revive a land parched to death with solar heat. All through the period of July and August the waters swelled to bless and fructify the land; and they stood at their highest even level at the very time of the autumn equinox. Then they began to fall and went to their lowest at the time of the death of the solar deity in the winter solstice.

As the moon was the type of the material mother bringing the solar god to his birth once a month symbolically in the new moon and to his perfection in the full moon glory, the full moon typified the coming of divinity in its fullness in humanity. The full moon must be seen to yield the full glory of the Father’s light on the body of the mother-matter. Translated, this stands as type of the mightiest of all truths for man,--that the light of the Father or spiritual Mind, long buried in the bosom of mother matter, at last comes to its birth with the full release of its shining power, in the body composed of the elements of the natural world, its mother. This revelation of divinity in the world of nature is the birth of God as his own Son, or himself in a new birth. If it had ever been once known that the lunar phenomena carried to the ancient mind all this splendid typology, the ancient scriptures could have been read with fine appreciation of their luminous meaning. So both Horus and Khunsu, a cognate deity in the same character, were placed in the disk of the full moon in the zodiac at Denderah, when the moon was at its full in the sign of Pisces, the house of bread, or, in Hebrew, Bethlehem! As the night symbolized incarnation, when the light of spirit was submerged in the darkness of matter, the child in the full moon was the type of the divine solar light, hidden and buried, yet shining in and through matter, as the light of the world by night, or the light of the spirit shining even in the darkness of fleshly embodiment. Now, when the Nile deluge began with the sun in the sign of the beetle or crab, and in the month of Tammuz or Mesore, the moon rose at full in the sign of the Sea-Goat (Capricorn), and the divine child was therefore born of the full moon at the winder solstice.

An interesting sidelight is thrown on all this when it is known that the Akkadian name of the June month is Su-Kul-Na, "seizer of seed," to explain which we must go back to the sign of the beetle set above by the Egyptians, and consider the fact that the beetle (symbol of the God Kheper, the Creator) began to roll up his seed in a ball of earth at that time to preserve it from the rising flood. This is only a portion of the story, and the list of correspondences between the astrological data and the river’s stations is quite astonishing. Modern scholastic religion professes vast contempt, impatience and irritation over this business of ancient fancy-work, and protests that if religion has to rest upon such idle speculation and "superstition," it must remain childishly inconsequential. Not so with the ancients, and not so with any modern that will live with these symbols long enough to catch the terrific power of their suggestiveness and their educational lucidity. The endless correspondences between cosmic truth and the very nature of the living world were of old, and can be today, the positive demonstrations of the ubiquitous presence of deific principle in every natural phenomenon. Surely the high truths of a divine wisdom would stand doubly accredited in the human mind if their principles were found to be matched and corroborated in the actual world outside man. The ancient thinkers lived close to nature and watched her processes; the moderns have cut the link between man and nature.

Most definite, perhaps, of all the cycles was that of the precession of the equinoxes, the period of 2160 years during which the sun at the vernal equinox continues to fall in one of the twelve zodiacal signs, or passes through one-twelfth of its entire circuit that is completed in about 25,900 years. It will be found that the symbolic implications of this cycle, with the sun’s successive occupancy of each of the twelve signs, constitute nothing less than the most recondite of keys to a large segment of all scriptural exegesis. It can be unfolded here in the merest outline.

With the Neros, the Phoenix, the 1260 and the 1461 cycles denoted, the road is open to pursue the astronomical basis of the Messianic theory to still farther reaches. These will be discerned through the instrumentality of the intimations of the features of the grand cycle of equinoctial precession. It is here that will be found the full and final purport of the great tradition, or more at any rate of its particular detail. That it was wholly an astronomically based periodicity, to serve, however, as the analogue for the greatest of all meanings in spiritual evolution, there can be little doubt when the evidence has been examined.

It seems incomprehensible that a thing as large and significant as that which is now to be disclosed could have been lost out of general knowledge and so far consigned to oblivion that its restoration will be greeted with opposition and scorn in those quarters where its loss has wrought the direst mischief. Sixteen centuries of mental beguilement of the most atrocious character is a pretty dear price to pay for the suppression of the school of astronomical allegorism in the make-up of the scriptures which still hold sway over communal acceptances. The item thus heralded with so much unction is the method employed by the sagacious formulators of the religious typologies in representing the successive cyclical incarnations or "comings" of the Messiah under the name and character of the twelve signs of the zodiac in turn.

So evidently did astronomical and astrological presuppositions underlie theological doctrinism that the very name and function of the Avatar "coming" in each precessional period of 2160 years was assigned to him in reference to the zodiacal sign. He bore the designation and was vested with the characteristic qualities of the sign. As the Messiahs were incarnations "of the sun," the "personality" of the incarnated power was assumed to embody and manifest during the cycle those special differentiations of universal deity which were severally the distinguishing characteristics of the signs themselves, or that one of the twelve aspects of completed deific nature which each sign was figured to express. Ancient astrology assigned to each of the twelve signs, and indeed to each decanate of a sign, a particular ray of influence, as one might say, each one had its proper color, tone, virtue, radiation or vibration. Hence, being the presiding genius of the sign, its expressive revelator, it must needs bear its name and number and manifest under every phase of its typical character. Hence the Messianic personage changed his name and the whole scheme of portraiture under which he was represented at the beginning of each new period of precessional advance. And not only were the distinctive sign characteristics attributed to him, but the seasonal types and the monthly traits in the annual solar round were wrought into his "life and history." With nature, he died in the autumn, was quickened at the winter solstice, and rose again "from the dead" at the vernal passing over the boundary line between heaven and earth. At one season he was the ingloriously defeated victim of his "enemies" and persecutors; at another he strode forth in triumph over all his foes. A hundred minor characterizations are germane to his office and mission, as well as to his essential nature, at the different stations in the yearly cycle. Only in the large is it possible to trace these many aspects of his astrological representation.

A large portion of the confusion that has crept into the exegetical problem has arisen from the fact that a number of designations and picturizations of Messiah in the many past cycles have survived and overlapped, and so have introduced complexity through the very abundance and variety of descriptive data of the Savior. It proved hard to absorb and assort twelve whole sets of divine characterizations in the person of deity in manifestation, when it was long forgotten that deity was given a twelvefold catalogue of changing attributes, in accordance with the phenomena of precession. We have here, then, a new-old formula which should enable us to introduce great clarification into a situation wherein miscomprehension has so long prevailed.

It must further be prefaced that every one of the twelve signs is a dual or double representation of its particular facet of divinity. Every sign is said to be "double." This is accounted for by the consideration that the sages endeavored to portray the divine nature as expressing itself in both its positive and negative phases in conflict or interplay in each day of manifestation. Indeed it is so in actuality. Manifestation can come only through the tension of forces set in between the positive and the negative ends of life’s polarity. Also it was the intent to present each aspect of deity indicated by the sign in its two opposite phases of dying and being reborn which each annual circulation of the sun was made to portray. Such phases of opposition or reversal always fell just six months apart at stations directly opposite each other on the zodiacal chart.

When the two forces of life are not polarized in relation to each other, life is not in manifestation. We shall see, then, how each sign presents the Messianic character and epic in the dual aspects suggested by its name and distinctive features.

Following Massey, a beginning can be made--for no particular reason--at the station of Leo in the zodiac. Under this sign, in which the vernal equinox fell some fourteen thousand years ago, the Savior manifested in his twin aspects in the character of what the Egyptians called "the Lion of the Double Force," or the twin lions, the old and dying lion, adult of the previous generation or cycle, and the reborn young lion, the "lion’s whelp" of the Old Testament. They were also called the two Cherubim, and the word "cherubim" derives from the Egyptian name of the two lion figures, which was Kherufu. These two lions were represented as guarding, the one the western and the other the eastern gates of life at the two equinoctial points of September and March. On its visit to earth the soul, in the Egyptian Ritual, cries, "I come that I may see the processes of Maat [the Goddess of Truth] and the lion-forms." The Hebrew so far carried original Egyptian typism over into their own constructions as to denominate the divine Avatar as "the lion of Judah," or "the lion of the house of Judah,"--the title still retained by the monarchs of Ethiopia. The Old Testament references to the lion and the lion’s whelp attest the continued use of the symbol over a long period. What the soul means by saying it comes to earth to see the "processes of Maat" is that its life in the flesh will bring under its conscious experience and scrutiny the concrete manifestations of Truth in living situations. Here it will see Truth in actual operation, coming to light in the acts and fates of men. Also in seeing the two "lion-forms" it will gain cognizance of the reality of its own selfhood under the two aspects or phases through which its experience in every cycle of descent and return, its death and resurrection, takes it. It will come to know itself as in the one phase, represented by its image standing at the gate of the western equinox of September, the dying old one of the past generation; and in the other phase, represented by the image or Kherub standing at the eastern gate of March, as itself reborn out of its own "death" into its youth of the new generation. It is the fruit of one cycle of growth going to its death in the autumn, and the germ springing forth out of that fruit to inaugurate the new cycle in the following spring. Maat is commonly known to Egyptologists merely as the Goddess of Truth or Justice. She is that, but in a very comprehensive sense. She is really the Goddess of the balanced relation between the cosmic forces of spirit and matter, wheresoever manifested, and her prerogative is to mete out the justice that is invoked by the disturbance of the just balance between the two eternal forces. All the issues of life are determined by the soul’s adeptness in maintaining that due balance, which alone is the condition of life’s orderly evolution. Maat is "Lord of the Balance," and each soul, as it rises to mastery of the elements of life, becomes its own "Goddess Maat" and must maintain its control of the even balance. It comes to earth time and again to become ever more expert in the science of maintaining the balance, or manifesting truth and righteousness. As the soul is the embryonic Christ, the Messiah coming in its Leonine phase was dramatized as the Lion of the Double Force, or as the lions of the two horizons, east and west.

As the precession moves apparently backwards, the next sign is Cancer. This is the sign of the Crab, but more anciently of the Beetle. Under its nomenclature the Coming One was designated as the Good Scarabaeus. He was dual in the two aspects of the old beetle dying as he went into the ground along the Nile’s edge, and the young beetle reborn, like the Phoenix, out of its parent’s death. It would be difficult to find a symbol or phenomenon in nature more faithfully matching the ideology of the incarnational "death" and the following resurrection of the soul in its periodical shuttling between heaven and earth, than the living economy of the beetle. It makes a perfect analogue with the experience of the Ego, which "dies" and is reborn with each embodiment in matter on earth. The crab offers a cognate symbolism, as it spends its life alternating constantly between the elements of water--companion symbol with earth for matter--and air. Its frequent climbing up out of the water onto the land is a type of the soul’s rising out of the lower material realm into the light and air of intellectual and spiritual being.

The beetle was the emblematic key to one of the greatest of all theological conceptions of ancient cosmology or creation, and the lost answer to the greatest of all religious controversies that ensued in the early Christian Church, one which eventually divided the Church into Roman and Greek Catholic factions. This was the Arian-Athanasian controversy and the so-called "filioque dispute." This was over the question whether the third person of the Trinity was produced from the Father alone or from the Father "and from the Son,"--"filioque" in Latin. Had not Egyptian allegorism been held in scorn and contempt and already forgotten, the beetle symbolism held the answer for the disputants all the time. For the Egyptians declared that the beetle or scarabaeus produced its young through the Father alone, without union with the female. This was simply a nature-type of the great cosmic fact of the Divine Mind, or the Father, projecting from his own intellectual being those children of his thought creation which became the mind-born Sons of God. They are born of mind alone, not of mind and matter in conjunction. The beetle presented a type of this unilinear begetting in its life habit.

The ass, another Biblical zootype closely associated with the Christ, is found in this house.

Next comes Gemini and its dual aspecting is readily seen in the Twins. Here the name is simply the Two Brothers or the Twin Brothers. These figure in many Biblical and ancient scriptural allegories, such as the Tale of Kamuas, the stories of Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, and Pharez and Zarah, Tamar’s twins; but more definitely in the Egyptian Sut-Horus and the Persian Ormazd-Ahriman pairs. The Romulus-Remus legend of Rome’s founding is a variant of it. The two brothers are pictured as in direct opposition to each other, as they battle for alternate victory and suffer alternate defeat in their successive and never-ending conflict in the sphere of manifestation. As spirit descends under the power of sluggish matter the material brother, or power of darkness, is hailed as victor; when spirit overcomes the flesh to put all things under its feet, hell is vanquished and the Christ is triumphant. The one brother can be taken as the spiritual aspect of life, the other as the material, and the two are ever in combat during a cycle of manifestation. As the one increases the other must decrease, and most remarkably this is precisely what John the Baptist declares to be the case as touching him and the Christ. The names of two mythical brothers in a Roman classic fable, Castor and Pollux, have been given to the two twin-stars in the constellation of Gemini. Astronomically it is said that one of them is decreasing in magnitude, the other increasing.

Passing to Taurus, we have the Egyptian typing of the Messiah, Iusa, the second Atum, as born of Hathor, the "cow-goddess" in the sign of the Bull. According to Massey this period ran from 6465 B.C. to 4310 B.C. Under bovine typology the Messiah was born in the stable, and the Greek Hercules, also a Christos figure, had to clean the filth of the animal nature out of the Augean stables. Duality is shown by his turning the streams of two rivers into the stables, meaning of course the streams of spirit on the one side and matter on the other, carrying for us the instructive moral that the lower nature is purified by the admixture of soul and sense in our lives. Again in dual character the Christos under Taurian symbolism was the adult bull of the past generation, dying to be reborn as his own son, the golden calf of Old Testament figurism. In the Assyrian version he became the winged bull so commonly found in the temples and architecture of that land. Candidates for initiation in the cult of Mithraism were baptized in the dripping blood of a slain bull. It was called the taurobolium or bull-bath. The initiated man was thus "washed in the blood of the Bull." The much-condemned worship of the Golden Calf in the alleged backslidings of the children of Israel into idolatry was no more reprehensible or an offense against the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob than the later adoration of Christos under the signature of the Lamb of God. So far as can be seen the only sin in the matter was their holding on to the emblem of the previous cycle after a new cycle with its changed figure had dawned. It was in no sense, even if historically true, a bald worship of the physical image of a Golden Calf, instead of the spiritual being of Deity. Any nation that had been esteemed worthy to be chosen by Almighty God as his favorite human group, yet proved to be so weak as to turn from the worship of the spiritual Lord of the worlds and bow down to a metal calf as the embodiment of an actual divine power preferable to God, must be thought a freakish genus of humanity indeed. It would have been as unaccountable and bizarre an occurrence as, for instance, it would be for a modern nation of high intelligence to give up suddenly its trust in moral and natural law and turn to expect better providence from ivory elephants or bronze dachshunds. And the children of Israel, overwhelmed time and again with the signal evidences of their God’s miraculous preservation of them, yet turned from his worship to bow down to the Golden Calf of Baal not only once, but as often as one turns the pages in Exodus and following books. And yet learned theological pundits descant on this assumed historical occurrence with undisguised gravity.

Following Taurus comes Aries. As Taurus had extended from 4310 B.C. to 2155 B.C., Aries began at the latter date and ran to about 155 B.C., close to the time of the Christian Messiah. This is indeed a notable datum, as it alone would account for the almost equal use of Arian and Piscean symbology in connection with Jesus in the Gospels. The old forms and symbols of Aries had not had time to be discarded and replaced by those of Pisces, the next sign, and were kept along with the new ones adopted from Pisces just coming in. For Jesus was introduced as Aries was going out and the sun entering Pisces.

As Aries was the sign of the Ram, the adult dying phase was balanced by the renewed youthful phase in the Lamb of God. Here is found the warrant for the angelic announcement of the Avatar’s advent to a company of "shepherds" in the fields; the parables of the Good Shepherd and the sheepfold; Jesus’ figurative title of the Shepherd of Souls (and the Church "pastor"); the shepherd’s crook as an ecclesiastical symbol; and the congregational "flock." The sacrificial lamb on the altar was again an emblem of the immolation or oblation of God-life for man. "Other sheep I have" would be a sentence put into the mouth of the Messiah figure in a Mystery-drama when the typing was molded on Arian lines. Likewise such an utterance as "I am the door of the sheepfold" and "The sheep know me when they hear my voice" would have this astrological origin.

Pisces follows Aries and blends its sign-types with those of Aries in Christian allegorism. It is the true sign of the Galilean Savior, and this dramatic character lived up to its proper emblemism with full fidelity. Tertullian and Augustine and other early Fathers exalted Jesus as the Great Fish in the mortal sea and designated his followers as "little fishes." The Christians dubbed themselves Pisciculi, the Latin for "little fishes." The Greeks named the Piscean Avatar Ichthys, the Greek for "fish"! We have noticed the famous sentence whose initial letters spelled Ichthus. The twelve "disciples" were "fishermen." The gold for the taxes was found in the fish’s mouth and the last miracle was the overwhelming draught of fish. The Roman catacombs were replete with images of the two fishes everywhere with the Christ figure. One of the two typical articles of divine food with which the Messiah fed the multitude was fish, and fish was also constellated in the heavens as a type of divine sustenance. Jesus offered himself as sacrifice for humanity not only as the lamb led to the slaughter, but also as fish to be eaten along with bread for mortal salvation. Duality is seen in the two fishes of the sign. Pisces is the plural form, as Piscis would be the singular.

The roll of the cycle brings us now to Aquarius, into which sign the new age or dispensation is entering about the present time. But where are the hierophants of old who watched the time-table of the cycles and were alert to introduce the new typology and hail the new-born Avatar and adorn him with his new panoply of characterization? Alas! for the first time in world history there are no Magi, no Council of Sages, no Demi-gods to change the nomenclature and salute the incoming Genius of the Cycle with his proper figuration. Nor is there a populace reverent or intelligent enough to do aught save jeer at it if it were announced.

Pisces was the "house of bread" as well as of fish, and this in Hebrew reads "Bethlehem." As being just six signs distant from and therefore directly opposite Virgo, in which the first or natural man was born, Pisces was the inevitable symbolic birth-place of the Christ or divine man.

Aquarius is the Waterman, pouring out the ichor of divinity from his urn in two streams, again representing the division of the life-stream into spirit and matter, both equally beneficent. Nu is the watery fount of primordial origins, elemental source, and holds the waters of the abyss. From it emanates that water which is to generate life for all the universes, as the sea water generates life on our planet. Aquarius is the only man in the zodiac of animal signs; so in man the two streams of living water flow together to purify the nature for the generation of the Christ consciousness. Jesus proclaimed himself as the bringer of that water of life which all men must drink to be immortalized.

Capricorn, beginning at the winter solstice, is the Sea-goat. Matter’s most consistent symbol in the ancient type-language is water. Spiritual consciousness is most deeply buried in matter at the point in evolution symbolized by the winter solstice. But as the Sea-goat is an animal mythically combining the forefront of a land animal with the body and tail of a sea creature, the representation is that of man, who is a god immersed in a body composed of combined earthly and watery elements, though seven-eighths water. "Capricorn" means "goat-horn," and the horn was an emblem of intellect and spirit, probably as growing from the head. Christ is described as "the horn of our salvation." But also he is, as sacrifice for mortals, the "Scape-Goat" of ancient dramatism. His death for man spells tragedy, which, oddly enough, in Greek means "goat song."

Sagittarius yields duality in the half-man, half-horse constitution of the Archer. Man is a god in the body of an animal, according to the pronouncement of ancient philosophy which must be seen to be the key to the meaning of this Centaur figure of Sagittarius. He is the Bowman drawing his bow. What is he aiming at? The answer to this has been found in only one place in archaic literature. A verse from the Book of the Dead in the mouth of Shu, a high spiritual God, says: "I am the lion-god, who cometh forth with a bow; what I have shot at is the Eye of Horus." Coming in the late autumn with shortening days and waning sun-power, the shooting out of the Eye of Horus, great Egyptian symbol of divine sight, was a typing of spirit’s loss of intellectual and intuitive spiritual vision as it descended into the darkness of material embodiment. So here the God Shu is figured as the mighty hunter, a title carried by Orion, Nimrod, Hercules, and other deific characters in the mythic annals.

The same autumnal loss of divine genius, but under a quite different allegorical guise, is portrayed in Scorpio. Instead of the loss of his spiritual eye, the deity, plunging into matter and coming under its spell of inertia, here is typed as suffering the scorpion sting of matter’s inhibitions, represented as poisoning the divine soul and throwing it into a lethal sleep or "death." It is not the god himself who is personated by the scorpion, but the power which the god must overcome and transmute into the agent of his own resurrection on the other side of the zodiac. Or it may be thought of as the beneficent influence that inducts spirit from above into the lower realms where its victory over material opposition will exalt it to higher status through the regeneration of powers sown in weakness and raised in strength. An intimation of this is shown in a singular statement in the Egyptian texts otherwise incomprehensible, that Serkh, the Scorpion goddess "stings on behalf of gods and men." This is a clear assertion, badly needed in general understanding, that the "sting" of incarnation, the temporary submersion of spiritual powers "under the law" of flesh and sense, is wholly salutary and beneficent for the purposes of evolution. For eventually the risen Christ in the heart imparts to all his followers as they grow to spiritual adulthood the power "to tread on serpents and scorpions." Students of astrology are well aware that the sign was represented by the eagle in very remote times. As the eagle above and the stinging poisonous insect below, it is again dual. Indeed it is possible to see in this double aspecting the basis of the Phoenix myth, the bird as the one phase and the worm which is to renew its dying life as the other. Job says that he shall die in his nest and renew his life like the eagle. Christ is the swift eagle, renewing himself periodically from the worm.

Standing on the great "horizon" line that divides spirit from matter, and so indicating the point of equilibration between the two evolutionary forces is Libra, the Scales of the Balance. Duality is seen here in the two, positive and negative, scales of the balance. This is one of the most philosophically instructive of all the signs, as it connotes one of the greatest of all principles of human understanding of the basic meaning of all life in the flesh. The great truth carried by the sign is that while in the body man is standing directly on a horizon line separating the two kingdoms of life, spirit and matter; that he lives in both regions, heaven and earth, at the same time; and that consequently his whole experience is an ordeal of "being weighed in the Balance." The mighty significance of this fact is that it is the substance of the doctrine of the Judgment, which is thus incontrovertibly demonstrated to take place on earth during the life in body, and not in heaven after death! One of the greatest of theological discernments is thus brought to light after centuries of groping error in the misconception of a great cardinal doctrine. The Messiah’s title under this symbolism was "Lord of the Balance" in Egypt. He was addressed as "thou who weighest all souls in the Balance." Human history might well be made to run in happier courses if it was general knowledge that souls are being weighed in the Balance of the Judgment here on earth.

It was practically inevitable that a sign denoting matter should stand in immediate juxtaposition to Libra, and facing it across the boundary line. This is Virgo, Mother Nature, matter in its primordial "virgin" state. It is an "earth sign"! This "virginity" of primal matter is shown by the position of the sign in the (symbolic) zodiac, which is just above the border line between spirit and matter, still, so to say, in the heavenly or spiritual world and not yet substantialized or concretized into physical substance, but preparing to become the mother of the forms of creation that would eventually bring the body of man as the birth-house of the Christos. The Christ of this sign is of course not the Virgin, but her Son. He is in the sign in his Mother’s arms. Just under her feet is the head of the great serpent, Hydra, whose elongated body stretches across seven signs of the zodiac below the horizon line, with open jaws ready to devour the Christ-child if she should let him fall. Two great truths are adumbrated by this relationship. The first is that the Christ principle in its incarnational experience must pass through a cycle of seven stages in the realms of matter, figured as the devouring serpent which swallows the eggs of the bird of spirit. The second is meaningful in reference to the Genesis promise that the heel of the woman and her seed (the Christ) should bruise the head of the serpent. The Christly power to tread on serpents and scorpions is immediately cognate also. The ancient zodiacs and planispheres placed the universal Mother, Eve, where she could crush the serpent with her heel.

In Virgo is the constellation cluster called the Grapes. Rising in the autumn as the sign emerges above the horizon, this signalizes the coming of the Christos into the flesh and suggests the potent meaning that he will give mankind the higher "intoxication" of the Wine of Life, an uplift of consciousness which Plato calls "a divine mania." It is something more than a chance play on words, really full of the sublimest sense, when one says that the Christ comes to intoxicate man with divine "spirituous liquors." We have here the ground of all the wine symbolism in ancient Bibles, and the origin of such an ancient festival as the Hakera of old Egypt, at which Har-Tema (Horus) came "full of wine," and was styled "the Jocund." This is matched, somewhat at a distance, in the Gospels in the person of Jesus, who came "eating and drinking," the copying of an Egyptian allegorism, which represents him as making merry with the lowly of earth. This is the closest the Gospels come to representing the man of sorrows as "jocund." The scene is the counterpart of a similar dramatization found in the Noah allegory, where Noah, the "no-etic" or divine intellectual principle, on his return to earth after the flood that washes away all forms, plants a vineyard and shortly becomes intoxicated, so that his sons have to go in backward to cover his nakedness. The Father principle of spirit, descending to earth, loses its divine vesture, becomes "naked" and must be reclothed by the renewal of its heavenly garments by its own sons. All this is pure Egyptian typism, matched in every feature in the Kamite texts. The elevation of mortal mind by the buoyant afflatus of divine thought quality, which, to speak in the figure, goes to the head and induces ecstasies and raptures, is what the ancients symbolized by the ideogram of intoxication resulting from man’s imbibing the Wine of Immortality poured out for him by the gods. As all such symbolizations are dual, there is also an intoxication of another sort, that undergone by the god himself when he, like Noah, lands again on earth and becomes intoxicated with the wine of sense, reveling in it like a drunkard, forgetting his divine nature. The carousal and buffoonery of the Hallowe’en festival are survivals of the original representation of this typology. The god-man and the animal-man in us mutually intoxicate each other, until in the end the higher intoxication neutralizes the lower and man becomes soberly wise.

As each one of the twelve months in the annual round brings its distinctive characteristics and types of weather, so the zodiac was designed in ancient sagacity to intimate that in the whole round of the aeonial cycle the passage of the sun through each of twelve signs, symbolizing the peregrination of the soul through twelve stages of expanding growth, brought out in manifestation the final twelvefold perfection of its power. As the Christ unfolds successively each new aspect of his developing faculty, he "comes" to that further extent. So he "comes" in every new and full moon; in every morning sunrise; in every springtime; in every month of the year; in every precessional thousand years; and in every Great Year of twenty five thousand years. He "comes" in every cycle large or small. Each age and aeon brings a particular segment of his nature to manifestation. He "comes" regularly and periodically because each throb of life’s pulse pushes the living stream of divine energization farther out to the remotest periphery of being. Nothing less can accrue to knowledge from the perusal of our brief sketch of zodiacal typology than the summary realization that the various scriptural accounts of Messiah’s coming were all grounded on astrological figurism, and had nothing whatever to do with history. All people have been mildly aware of the use of a few touches of Arian, Piscean and perhaps Taurian symbolism in connection with Christly religionism. The Lamb, the Bull and the Fish seem to be interwoven for some reason into the story. The Virgin is there, too; but as long as she is assumed to be a mortal young woman in history, her astrological connotations have not been evident. Perhaps this work announces for the first time since ancient days that the Christ was figured as coming in each sign and under each sign’s particular symbolic characterization and significance. It is therefore an epochal revelation for all religion.