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En:Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma 25c

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Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry , prepared for the Supreme Council of the Thirty Third Degree for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States: Charleston, 1871.

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XXV NIGHT OF THE BRAZEN SERPENT. ( Part 3 of 4 )DOGMA


( Part 1 of 4 )( Part 2 of 4 )PikeDM-25-c( Part 4 of 4 )
Such are the coincidences of astronomical phenomena with the legend of Osiris and Isis; sufficing to show the origin of the he legend, overloaded as it became at length with all the ornamentation natural to the poetical and figurative genius of the Orient. Not only into this legend, but into those of all the ancient nations, enter the Bull, the Lamb, the Lion, and the Scorpion or the Serpent; and traces of the worship of the Sun yet linger in all religions. Everywhere, even in our Order, survive the equinoctial and solstitial feasts. Our ceilings still glitter with the greater and lesser luminaries of the Heavens, and our lights, in their number and arrangement, have astronomical references. In all churches and chapels, as in all Pagan temples and pagodas, the altar is in the East; and the ivy over the east windows of old churches is the Hedera Helix of Bacchus. Even the cross had an astronomical origin; and our Lodges are full of the ancient symbols.
The learned author of the Sab�an Researches, Landseer, advances another theory in regard to the legend of Osiris; in which he makes the constellation Bo�tes play a leading part. He observes that, as none of the stars were visible at the same time with the Sun, his actual place in the Zodiac, at any given could only be ascertained by the Sab�an astronomers by their observations of the stars, and of their heliacal and achronical risings and is settings. There were many solar festivals among the Sab�ans, and part of them agricultural ones; and the concomitant signs of those festivals were the risings and settings of the stars of the Husbandman, Bear-driver, or Hunter, BO�TES. His stars were, among the Hierophants, the established nocturnal indices or signs of the Sun's place in the ecliptic at different seasons of the year, and the festivals were named, one, that of the Aphanism or disappearance; another, that of the Zetesis, or search, etc., of Osiris or Adonis, that is, of Bo�tes.
The returns of certain stars, as connected with their concomitant seasons of spring (or seed-time) and harvest, seemed to the ancients, who had not yet discovered that gradual change, resulting from the apparent movement of the stars in longitude, which bas been termed the precession of the equinoxes, to be eternal and immutable; and those periodical returns were to the initiated, even more than to the vulgar, celestial oracles, announcing the approach of those important changes, upon which the prosperity, and even the very existence of man must ever depend; and the oldest of the Sab�an constellations seem to have been, an astronomical Priest, a King, a Queen, a Husbandman, and a Warrior; and these more frequently recur on the Sab�an cylinders than any other constellations whatever. The King was Cepheus or Chepheus of Ethiopia: the Husbandman, Osiris, Bacchus, Sabazeus, Noah or Bo�tes. To the latter sign, the Egyptians were nationally, traditionally and habitually grateful; for they conceived that from Osiris all the greatest of terrestrial enjoyments were derived. The stars of the Husbandman were the signal for those successive agricultural labors on which the annual produce of the soil depended; and they came in consequence to be considered and hailed, in Egypt and Ethiopia, as the genial stars of terrestrial productiveness; to which the oblations, prayers, and vows of the pious Sab�an were regularly offered up. Landseer says that the stars in Bo�tes, reckoning down to those of the 5th magnitude inclusive, are twenty-six, which, seeming achronically to disappear in succession, produced the fable of the cutting of Osiris into twenty-six pieces by Typhon. There are more stars than this in the constellation; but no more that the ancient votaries of Osiris, even in the clear atmosphere of the Sab�an climates, could observe without telescopes.
Plutarch says Osiris was cut into fourteen pieces: Diodorus, into twentysix; in regard to which, and to the whole legend, Landseer's ideas, varying from those commonly entertained, are as follows: Typhon, Landseer thinks, was the ocean, which the ancients fabled or believed surrounded the Earth, and into which all the stars in their turn appear successively to sink; [perhaps it was DARKNESS personified, which the ancients called TYPHON. He was hunting by moonlight, says the old legend, when he met with Osiris]. The ancient Saba must have been near latitude 15�' north. Axoum is nearly in 14�, and the Western Saba or Mero� is to the north of that. Forty-eight centuries ago, Aldebaran the leading star of the year, had, at the Vernal Equinox, attained at daylight in the morning, an elevation of about 14 degrees, sufficient for him to have ceased to be combust, that is, to have emerged from the Sun's rays, so as to be visible. The ancients allowed twelve days for a star of the first magnitude to emerge from the solar rays and there is less twilight, the further South we go. At the same period, too, Cynosura was not the pole-star, but Alpha Draconis was; and the stars rose and set with very different degrees of obliquity from those of their present risings and settings. By having a globe constructed with circumvolving poles, capable of any adjustment with regard to the colures, Mr. Landseer ascertained that, at that remote period, in lat. 15� north, the 26 stars in Bo�tes, or 27, including Arcturus, did not set anchronically in succession; but several set simultaneously in couples, and six by threes simultaneously; so that, in all, there were but fourteen separate settings or disappearances, corresponding with the fourteen pieces into which Osiris was cut, according to Plutarch. Kappa, Iota, and Theta, in the uplifted western hand, disappeared together, and last of all. They really skirted the horizon; but were invisible in that low latitude, for the three or four days mentioned in some of the versions; while the Zetesis or search was proceeding, and the women of Ph�nicia and Jerusalem sat weeping for the Wonder, Thammuz; after which they immediately reappeared, below and to the eastward of a Draconis.
And, on the very morning after the achronical departure of the last star of the Husbandman, Aldebaran rose heliacally, and became visible in the East in the morning before day. And precisely at the moment of the heliacal rising of Arcturus, also rose Spica Virginis. One is near the middle of the Husbandman, and the other near that of the Virgin; and Arcturus may have been the part of Osiris which Isis did not recover with the other pieces of the body. At Dedan and Saba it was thirty-six days, from the beginning of the aphanism, i.e., the disappearances of these stars, to the heliacal rising of Aldebaran. During these days, or forty at Medina, or a few more at Babylon and Byblos, the stars of the Husbandman successively sank out of sight, during the crepusculum or short-lived morning twilight of those Southern climes. They disappear during the glancings of the dawn, the special season of ancient sidereal observation. Thus the forty days of mourning for Osiris were measured out by the period of the departure of his Stars. When the last had sunken out of sight, the vernal season was ushered in; and the Sun arose with the splendid Aldebaran, the Tauric leader of the whole Hosts of Heaven; and the whole East rejoiced and kept holiday.
With the exception of the Stars and , Bo�tes did not begin to reappear in the Eastern quarter of the Heavens till after the lapse of about four months. Then the Stars of Taurus had declined Westward, and Virgo was rising heliacally. In that latitude, also, the Stars of Ursa Major [termed anciently the Ark of Osiris] set; and Benetnasch, the last of them, returned to the Eastern horizon, with those in the head of Leo, a little before the Summer Solstice. In about a month, followed the Stars of the Husbandman; the chief of them, Ras, Mirach, and Arcturus being very nearly simultaneous in their heliacal rising. Thus the Stars of Bo�tes rose in the East immediately after Vindemiatrix, and as if under the genial influence of its rays; he had his annual career of prosperity; he revelled orientally for a quarter of a year, and attained his meridian altitude with Virgo; and then, as the Stars of the Water-Urn rose, and Aquarius began to pour forth his annual deluge, he declined Westward, preceded by the Ark of Osiris. In the East, he was the sign of that happiness in which Nature, the great Goddess of passive production, rejoiced. Now, in the West, as he declines toward the Northwestern horizon, his generative vigor gradually abates; the Solar year grows old; and as his Stars descend beneath the Western Wave, Osiris dies, and the world mourns. The Ancient Astronomers saw all the great Symbols of Masonry in the Stars. Sirius still glitters in our Lodges as the Blazing Star, (I'Etoile Flamboyante).
The Sun is still symbolized by the point within a Circle; and, with the Moon and Mercury or Anubis, in the three Great Lights of the Lodge. Not only to these, but to the figures and numbers exhibited by the Stars, were ascribed peculiar and divine powers. The veneration paid to numbers had its source there. The three Kings in Orion are in a straight line, and equidistant from each other, the two extreme Stars being 3� apart, and each of the three distant from the one nearest it 1� 30'. And as the number three is peculiar to apprentices, so the straight line is the first principle of Geometry, having length but no breadth, and being but the extension of a point, and an emblem of Unity, and thus of Good, as the divided or broken line is of Duality or Evil. Near these Stars are the Hyades, five in number, appropriate to the Fellow-Craft; and close to them the Pleiades, of the master's number, seven; and thus these three sacred numbers, consecrated in Masonry as they were in the Pythagorean philosophy, always appear together in the Heavens, when the Bull, emblem of fertility and production, glitters among the Stars, and Aldebaran leads the Hosts of Heaven (Tsbauth).
Algenib in Perseus and Almaach and Algol in Andromeda form a rightangled triangle, illustrate the 47th problem, and display the Grand Master's square upon the skies. Denebola in Leo, Arcturus in Bo�tes, and Spica in Virgo form an equilateral triangle, universal emblem of Perfection, and the Deity with His Trinity of Infinite Attributes, Wisdom, Power, and Harmony; and that other, the generative, preserving, and destroying Powers. The Three Kings form, with Rigel in Orion, two triangles included in one: and Capella and Menkalina in Auriga, with Bellatrix and Betelgueux in Orion, form two isosceles triangles with � Tauri, that is equidistant from each pair; while the first four make a right-angled parallelogram, - the oblong square so often mentioned in our Degrees.
Julius Firmicus, in his description of the Mysteries, says, "But in those funerals and lamentations which are annually celebrated in honor of Osiris, their defenders pretend a physical reason. They call the seeds of fruit, Osiris; the Earth, Isis; the natural heat, Typhon: and because the fruits are ripened by the natural heat, and collected for the life of man, and are separated from their marriage to the earth, and are sown again when Winter approaches, this they would have to be the death of Osiris: but when the fruits, by the genial fostering of the earth, begin again to be generated by a new procreation, this is the finding of Osiris."
No doubt the decay of vegetation and the falling of the leaves. emblems of dissolution and evidences of the action of that Power that changes Life into Death, in order to bring Life again out of Death, were regarded as signs of that Death that seemed coming upon all Nature; as the springing of leaves and buds and flowers in the spring was a sign of restoration to life: but these were all secondary, and referred to the Sun as first cause. It was his figurative death that was mourned, and not theirs; and that with that death, as with his return to life, many of the stars were connected.
We have already alluded to the relations which the twelve signs of the Zodiac bear to the legend of the Master's Degree. Some other coincidences may have sufficient interest to warrant mention.
Khir-Om was assailed at the East, West, and South Gates of the Temple. The two equinoxes were called, we have seen, by all the Ancients, the Gates of Heaven, and the Syrians and Egyptians considered the Fish (the Constellation near Aquarius, and one of the Stars whereof is Fomalhaut) to be indicative of violence and death.
Khir-Om lay several days in the grave; and, at the Winter Solstice, for five or six days, the length of the days did not perceptibly increase. Then, the Sun commencing again to climb Northward, as Osiris was said to arise from the dead, so Khir-Om was raised, by the powerful attraction of the Lion (Leo), who waited for him at the Summer Solstice, and drew him to himself. The names of the three assassins may have been adopted from three Stars that we have already named. We search in vain in the Hebrew or Arabic for the names Jubelo, Jubela, and Jubelum. They embody an utter absurdity, and are capable of no explanation in those languages. Nor are the names Gibs, Gravelot, Hobhen, and the like, in the Ancient and Accepted Rite, any more plausible, or better referable to any ancient language. But when, by the precession of the Equinoxes, the Sun was in Libra at the Autumnal Equinox, he met in that sign, where the reign of Typhon commenced, three Stars forming a triangle, - Zuben-es Chamali in the West, Zuben-Hak-Rabi in the East, and Zuben-EI-Gubi in the South, the latter immediately below the Tropic of Capricorn, and so within the realm of Darkness. From these names, those of the murderers have perhaps been corrupted. In Zuben- Hak-Rabi we may see the original of Jubelum Akirop; and in Zuben-WGubi, that of Jubelo Gibs: and time and ignorance may even have transmuted the words Es Chamali into one as little like them as Gravelot. Isis, the Moon personified, sorrowing sought for her husband. Nine or twelve Fellow-Crafts (the Rites vary as to the number), in white aprons, were sent to search for Khir-Om, in the Legend of the Master's Degree; or, in this Rite, the Nine Knights Elu. Along the path that the Moon travels are nine conspicuous Stars, by which nautical men determine their longitude at Sea; - Arietis, Aldebaran, Pollux, Regulus, Spica Virginis, Antares, Altair, Fomalhaut, and Markab. These might well be said to accompany Isis in her search.
In the York Rite, twelve Fellow-Crafts were sent to search for the body of Khir-Om and the murderers. Their number corresponds with that of the Pleiades and Hyades in Taurus, among which Stars the Sun was found when Light began to prevail over Darkness, and the Mysteries were held. These Stars, we have shown, received early and particular attention from the astronomers and poets. The Pleiades were the Stars of the ocean to the benighted mariner; the Virgins of Spring, heralding the season of blossoms. As six Pleiades only are now visible, the number twelve may have been obtained by them, with Aldebaran, and five far more brilliant Stars than any other of the Hyades, in the same region of the Heavens, and which were always spoken of in connection with the Pleiades; - the Three Kings in the belt of Orion. and Bellatrix and Betelgueux on his shoulders; brightest of the flashing starry hosts. "Canst thou," asks job, "bind the sweet influences of the Pleiades or loose the bands of Orion?" And in the book of Amos we find these Stars connected with the victory of Light over Darkness: "Seek Him," says that Seer, "that maketh the Seven Stars (the familiar name of the Pleiades), and Orion, AND TURNETH THE SHADOW OF DEATH INTO MORNING."
An old legend in Masonry says that a dog led the Nine Elus to the cavern where Abiram was hid. Bo�tes was anciently called Caleb Anubach, a Barking Dog; and was personified in Anubis, who bore the head of a dog, and aided Isis in her search. Arcturus, one of his Stars, fiery red, as if fervent and zealous, is also connected by job with the Pleiades and Orion. When Taurus opened the year, Arcturus rose after the Sun, at the time of the Winter Solstice, and seemed searching him through the darkness, until. sixty days afterward, he rose at the same hour. Orion then also, at the Winter Solstice, rose at noon, and at night seemed to be in search of the Sun. So, referring again to the time when the Sun entered the Autumnal Equinox, there are nine remarkable Stars that come to the meridian nearly at the same time, rising as Libra sets, and so seeming to chase that Constellation. They are Capella and Menkalina in the Charioteer, Aldebaran in Taurus, Bellatrix, Betelgueux, the Three Kings, and Rigel in Orion. Aldebaran passes the meridian first, indicating his right to his peculiar title of Leader. Nowhere in the heavens are there, near the same meridian, so many splendid Stars. And close behind them, but further South, follows Sirius, the Dog-Star, who showed the nine Elus the way to the murderer's cave.
Besides the division of the signs into the ascending and descending series (referring to the upward and downward progress of the soul), the latter from Cancer to Capricorn, and the former from Capricorn to Cancer, there was another division of them not less important; that of the six superior and six inferior signs; the former, 2455 years before our era, from Taurus to Scorpio, and 300 years before our era, from Aries to Libra; and the latter, 2455 years B.C. from Scorpio to Taurus, and 300 years B.C. from Libra to Aries; of which we have already spoken, as the two Hemispheres, or Kingdoms of Good and Evil, Light and Darkness; of Ormuzd and Ahriman among the Persians, and Osiris and Typhon among the Egyptians. With the Persians, the first six Genii, created by Ormuzd, presided over the first six signs, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, and Virgo: and the six evil Genii, or Devs, created by Ahriman, over the six others, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricornus, Aquarius, and Pisces. The soul was fortunate and happy under the Empire of the first six; and began to be sensible of evil, when it passed under the Balance or Libra, the seventh sign. Thus the soul entered the realm of Evil and Darkness when it passed into the Constellations that belong to and succeed the Autumnal Equinox; and it re-entered the realm of Good and Light, when it arrived, returning, at those of the Vernal Equinox. It lost its felicity by means of the Balance, and regained it by means of the Lamb. This is a necessary consequence of the premises; and it is confirmed by the authorities and by emblems still extant. Sallust the Philosopher, speaking of the Feasts of Rejoicing celebrated at the Vernal Equinox, and those of Mourning, in memory of the rape of Proserpine, at the Autumnal Equinox, says that the former were celebrated, because then is effected, as it were, the return of the soul toward the Gods; that the time when the principle of Light recovered its superiority over that of Darkness, or day over night, was the most favorable one for souls that tend to re-ascend to their Principle; and that when Darkness and the Night again become victors, was most favorable to the descent of souls toward the infernal regions. For that reason, the old astrologers, as Firmicus states, fixed the locality of the river Styx in the 8th degree of the Balance. And he thinks that by Styx was allegorically meant the earth.
The Emperor Julian gives the same explanation, but more fully developed. He states, as a reason why the august Mysteries of Ceres and Proserpine were celebrated at the Autumnal Equinox, that at that period of the year men feared lest the impious and dark power of the Evil Principle, then commencing to conquer, should do harm to their souls. They were a precaution and means of safety, thought to be necessary at the moment when the God of Light was passing into the opposite or adverse region of the world; while at the Vernal Equinox there was less to be feared, because then that God, present in one portion of the world, recalled souls to Him, he says, and showed Himself to be their Saviour. He had a little before developed that theological idea, of the attractive force which the Sun exercises over souls, drawing them to him and raising them to his luminous sphere. He attributes this effect to him at the feasts of Atys, dead and restored to life, or the feasts of Rejoicing, which at the end of three days succeeded the mourning for that death; and he inquires why those Mysteries were celebrated at the Vernal Equinox. The reason, he says, is evident. As the sun, arriving at the equinoctial point of Spring, drawing nearer to us, increases the length of the days, that period seems most appropriate for those ceremonies. For, besides that there is a great affinity between the substance of Light and the nature of the Gods, the Sun has that occult force of attraction, by which he draws matter toward himself, by means of his warmth, making plants to shoot and grow, etc.; and why can he not, by the same divine and pure action of his rays, attract and draw to him fortunate souls? Then, as light is analogous to the Divine Nature, and favorable to souls struggling to return to their First Principle, and as that light so increases at the Vernal Equinox, that the days prevail in duration over the nights, and as the Sun has an attractive force, besides the visible energy of his rays, it follows that souls are attracted toward the solar light. He does not further pursue the explanation; because, he says, it belongs to a mysterious doctrine, beyond the reach of the vulgar and known only to those who understand the mode of action of Deity, like the Chaldean author whom he cites, who had treated of the Mysteries of Light, or the God with seven rays.
Souls, the Ancients held, having emanated from the Principle of Light, partaking of its destiny here below, cannot be indifferent to nor unaffected by these revolutions of the Great Luminary, alternately victor and overcome during every Solar revolution. This will be found to be confirmed by an examination of some of the Symbols used in the Mysteries. One of the most famous of these was THE SERPENT, the peculiar Symbol also of this Degree. The Cosmogony of the Hebrews and that of the Gnostics designated this reptile as the author of the fate of Souls. It was consecrated in the Mysteries of Bacchus and in those of Eleusis. Pluto overcame the virtue of Proserpine under the form of a serpent; and, like the Egyptian God Serapis, was always pictured seated on a serpent, or with that reptile entwined about him. It is found on the Mithriac Monuments, and supplied with attributes of Typhon to the Egyptians. The sacred basilisc, in coil, with head and neck erect, was the royal ensign of the Pharaohs. Two of them were entwined around and hung suspended from the winged Globe on the Egyptian Monuments. On a tablet in one of the Tombs at Thebes, a God with a spear pierces a serpent's head. On a tablet from the Temple of Osiris at Phil� is a tree, with a man on one side, and a woman on the other, and in front of the woman an erect basilisc, with horns on its head and a disk between the horns. The head of Medusa was encircled by winged snakes, which, the head removed, left the Hierogram or Sacred Cypher of the Ophites or Serpent-worshippers. And the Serpent, in connection with the Globe or circle, is found upon the monuments of all the Ancient Nations. Over Libra, the sign through which souls were said to descend or fall, is found, on the Celestial Globe, the Serpent, grasped by Serpentarius, the Serpent-bearer. The head of the reptile is tinder Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown, called by Ovid, Libera, or Proserpine; and the two Constellations rise, with the Balance, after the Virgin (or Isis), whose feet rest on the eastern horizon at Sunrise on the day of the equinox. As the Serpent extends over both signs, Libra and Scorpio, it has been the gate through which souls descend, during the whole time that those two signs in succession marked the Autumnal Equinox. To this alluded the Serpent, which, in the Mysteries of Bacchus Saba-Zeus was flung into the bosom of the Initiate. And hence came the enigmatical expression, the Serpent engenders the Bull, and the Bull the Serpent; alluding to the two adverse constellations, answering to the two equinoxes, one of which rose as the other set, and which were at the two points of the heavens through which souls passed, ascending and descending. By the Serpent of Autumn, souls fell; and they were regenerated again by the Bull on which Mithras sate, and whose attributes Bacchus-Zagreus and the Egyptian Osiris assumed, in their Mysteries, wherein were represented the fall and regeneration of souls, by the Bull slain and restored to life. Afterward the regenerating Sun assumed the attributes of Aries or the Lamb; and in the Mysteries of Ammon, souls were regenerated by passing through that sign, after having fallen through the Serpent. The Serpent-bearer, or Ophicus, was �sculapius, God of Healing. In the Mysteries of Eleusis, that Constellation was placed in the eighth Heaven: and on the eighth day of those Mysteries, the feast of �sculapius was celebrated. It was also termed Epidaurus, or the feast of the Serpent of Epidaurus. The Serpent was sacred to �sculapius; and was connected in various ways with the mythological adventures of Ceres.
So the libations to Souls, by pouring wine on the ground, and looking toward the two gates of Heaven, those of day and night, referred to the ascent and descent of Souls. Ceres and the Serpent, Jupiter Ammon and the Bull, all figured in the Mysteries of Bacchus. Suppose Aries, or Jupiter Ammon occupied by the Sun setting in the West; - Virgo (Ceres) will be on the Eastern horizon, and in her train the Crown, or Proserpine. Suppose Taurus setting; - then the Serpent is in the East; and reciprocally; so that Jupiter Ammon, or the Sun of Aries, causes the Crown to rise after the Virgin, in the train of which comes the Serpent. Place reciprocally the Sun at the other equinox, with the balance in the West, in conjunction with the Serpent under the Crown; and we shall see the Bull and the Pleiades rise in the East. Thus are explained all the fables as to the generation of the Bull by the Serpent and of the Serpent by the Bull, the biting of the testicles of the Bull by the Scorpion, on the Mithriac Monuments; and that Jupiter made Ceres with child by tossing into her bosom the testicles of a Ram. In the Mysteries of the bull-horned Bacchus, the officers held serpents in their hands, raised them above their heads, and cried aloud "Eva!" the generic oriental name of the serpent, and the particular name of the constellation in which the Persians placed Eve and the serpent. The Arabians call it Hevan, Ophiucus himself, Hawa, and the brilliant star in his head, Ras-al-Hawa. The use of this word Eva or Evo� caused Clemens of Alexandria to say that the priests in the Mysteries invoked Eve, by whom evil was brought into the world.
The mystic winnowing-fan, encircled by serpents, was used in the feasts of Bacchus. In the Isiac Mysteries a basilisc twined round the handle of the mystic vase. The Ophites fed a serpent in a mysterious ark, from which they took him when they celebrated the Mysteries, and allowed him to glide among the sacred bread. The Romans kept serpents in the Temples of Bona Dea and �sculapius. In the Mysteries of Apollo, the pursuit of Latona by the serpent Python was represented. In the Egyptian Mysteries, the dragon Typhon pursued Isis. According to Sanchoniathon, TAAUT, the interpreter of Heaven to men, attributed something divine to the nature of the dragon and serpents, in which the Phoenicians and Egyptians followed him. They have more vitality, more spiritual force, than any other creature; of a fiery nature, shown by the rapidity of their motions, without the limbs of other animals. They assume many shapes and attitudes, and dart with extraordinary quickness and force. When they have reached old age, they throw off that age and are young again, and increase in size and strength, for a certain period of years. The Egyptian Priests fed the sacred serpents in the temple at Thebes. Taaut himself had in his writings discussed these mysteries in regard to the serpent. Sanchoniathon said in another work, that the serpent was immortal, and re-entered into himself; which, according to some ancient theosophists, particularly those of India, was an attribute of the Deity. And he also said that the e serpent never died, unless by a violent death.
The Phoenicians called the serpent Agathodemon [the good spirit]; and Kneph was the Serpent-God of the Egyptians. The Egyptians, Sanchoniathon said, represented the serpent with the head of a hawk, on account of the swift flight of that bird: and the chief Hierophant, the sacred interpreter, gave very mysterious explanations of that symbol; saying that such a serpent was a very divine creature, and that, opening his eyes, he lighted with their rays the whole of first-born space: when he closes them, it is darkness again. In reality, the hawk-headed serpent, genius of light, or good genius, was the symbol of the Sun.
In the hieroglyphic characters, a snake was the letter T or DJ. It occurs many times on the Rosetta stone. The horned serpent was the hieroglyphic for a God. According to Eusebius, the Egyptians represented the world by a blue circle, sprinkled with flames, within which was extended a serpent with the head of a hawk. Proclus says they represented the four quarters of the world by a cross, and the soul of the world, or Kneph, by a serpent surrounding it in the form of a circle. We read in Anaxagoras, that Orpheus said, that the water, and the vessel that produced it, were the primitive principles of things, and together gave existence to an animated being, which was a serpent, with two heads, one of a lion and the other of a bull, between a which was the figure of a God whose name was Hercules or Kronos: that from Hercules came the egg of the world, which produced Heaven and earth, by dividing itself into two hemispheres: and that the God Phanes, which issued from that egg, was in the shape of a serpent. The Egyptian Goddess Ken, represented standing naked on a lion, held two serpents in her hand. She is the same as the Astarte or Ashtaroth of the Assyrians. Hera, worshipped in the Great Temple at Babylon, held in her right hand a serpent by the head; and near Khea, also worshipped there, were two large silver serpents. In a sculpture from Kouyunjik, two serpents attached to poles are near a firealtar, at which two eunuchs are standing. Upon it is the sacred fire, and a bearded figure leads a wild goat to the sacrifice. The serpent of the Temple of Epidaurus was sacred to �sculapius, the God of Medicine, and 462 years after the building of the city, was taken to Rome after a pestilence.
The Phoenicians represented the God Nomu (Kneph or Amun-Kneph) by a serpent. In Egypt, a Sun supported by two asps was the emblem of Horhat the good genius; and the serpent with the winged globe was placed over the doors and windows of the Temples as a tutelary God. Antipater of Sidon calls Amun "the renowned Serpent," and the Cerastes is often found embalmed in the Thebaid. On ancient Tyrian coins and Indian medals, a serpent was represented, coiled round the trunk of a tree. Python, the Serpent Deity, was esteemed oracular; and the tripod at Delphi was a triple-headed serpent of gold. The portals of all the Egyptian Temples are decorated with the hierogram of the Circle and the Serpent. It is also found upon the Temple of Naki-Rustan in Persia; on the triumphal arch at Pechin, in China; over the gates of the great Temple of Chaundi Teeva, in Java; upon the walls of Athens; and in the Temple of Minerva at Tegea. The Mexican hierogram was formed by the intersecting of two great Serpents, which described the circle with their bodies, and had each a human head in its mouth. All the Buddhists crosses in Ireland had serpents carved upon them. Wreaths of snakes are on the columns of the ancient Hindu Temple at Burwah-Sangor. Among the Egyptians, it was a symbol of Divine Wisdom, when extended at length; and, with its tail in its mouth, of Eternity. In the ritual of Zoroaster, the Serpent was a symbol of the Universe. In China, the ring between two Serpents was the symbol of the world governed by the power and wisdom of the Creator. The Bacchanals carried serpents in their hands or round their heads.
The Serpent entwined round an Egg, was a symbol common to the Indians, the Egyptians, and the Druids. It referred to the creation of the Universe. A Serpent with an egg in his mouth was a symbol of the Universe containing within itself the germ of all things that the Sun develops. The property possessed by the Serpent, of casting its skin, and apparently renewing its youth, made it an emblem of eternity and immortality. The Syrian women still employ it as a charm against barrenness, as did the devotees of Mithras and Saba-Zeus. The Earthborn civilizers of the early world, Fohi, Cecrops, and Erechtheus, were half-man, half-serpent. The snake was the guardian of the Athenian Acropolis. NAKHUSTAN, the brazen serpent of the wilderness, became naturalized among the Hebrews as a token of healing power. "Be ye," said Christ, "wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." The Serpent was as often a symbol of malevolence and enmity. It appears among the emblems of Siva-Roudra, the power of desolation and death: it is the bane of A�pytus, Idom, Archemorus, and Philoctetes: it gnaws the roots of the tree of life in the Eddas, and bites the heel of unfortunate Eurydice. In Hebrew writers it is generally a type of evil; and is particularly so in the Indian and Persian Mythologies. When the Sea is churned by Mount Mandar rotating within the coils of the Cosmical Serpent Vasouki, to produce the Amrita or water of immortality, the serpent vomits a hideous poison, which spreads through and infects the Universe, but which Vishnu renders harmless by swallowing it. Ahriman in serpent-form invades the realm of Ormuzd; and the Bull, emblem of life, is wounded by him and dies. It was therefore a religious obligation with every devout follower of Zoroaster to exterminate reptiles, and other impure animals, especially serpents. The moral and astronomical significance of the Serpent were connected. It became a maxim of the Zend-Avesta, that Ahriman, the Principle of Evil, made the Great Serpent of Winter, who assaulted the creation of Ormuzd.
A serpent-ring was a well-known symbol of time: and to express dramatically how time preys upon itself, the Egyptian priests fed vipers in a subterranean chamber, as it were in the sun's Winter abode on the fat of bulls, or the year's plenteousness. The dragon of Winter pursues Ammon, the golden ram, to Mount Casius. The Virgin of the zodiac is bitten in the heel by Serpens, who, with Scorpio, rises immediately behind her; and as honey, the emblem of purity and salvation, was thought to be an antidote to the serpent's bite, so the bees of Arist�us, the emblems of nature's abundance, are destroyed through the agency of the serpent, and regenerated within the entrails of the Vernal Bull. The Sun-God is finally victorious. Chrishna crushes the head of the serpent Calyia; Apollo destroys Python, and Hercules that Lern�an monster whose poison festered in the foot of Philoctetes, of Mopsus, of Chiron, or of Sagittarius. The infant Hercules destroys the pernicious snakes detested of the gods, and ever, like St. George of England and Michael the Archangel, wars against hydras and dragons.
The eclipses of the sun and moon were believed by the Orientals to be caused by the assaults of a d�mon in dragon-form; and they endeavored to scare away the intruder by shouts and menaces. This was the original Leviathan or Crooked Serpent of old, transfixed in the olden time by the power of Jehovah, and suspended as a glittering trophy in the sky; yet also the Power of Darkness supposed to be ever in pursuit of the Sun and Moon. When it finally overtakes them, it will entwine them in its folds, and prevent their shining. In the last Indian Avatara, as in the Eddas, a serpent vomiting flames is expected to destroy the world. The serpent presides over the close of the year, where it guards the approach to the golden fleece of Aries, and the three apples or seasons of the Hesperides; presenting a formidable obstacle to the career of the Sun-God. The Great Destroyer of snakes is occasionally married to them; Hercules with the northern dragon begets the three ancestors of Scythia; for the Sun seems at one time to rise victorious from the contest with darkness, and at another to sink into its embraces. The northern constellation Draco, whose sinuosities wind like a river through the wintry bear, was made the astronomical cincture of the Universe, as the serpent encircles the mundane egg in Egyptian hieroglyphics.
The Persian Ahriman was called "The old serpent, the liar from the beginning, the Prince of Darkness, and the rover up and down." The Dragon was a well-known symbol of the waters and of great rivers; and it was natural that by the pastoral Asiatic Tribes, the powerful nations of the alluvial plains in their neighborhood who adored the dragon or Fish, should themselves be symbolized under the form of dragons; and overcome by the superior might of the Hebrew God, as monstrous Leviathans maimed and destroyed by him. Ophioneus, in the old Greek Theology, warred against Kronos, and was overcome and cast into his proper element, the sea. There he is installed as the Sea-God Oannes or Dragon, the Leviathan of the watery half of creation, the dragon who vomited a flood of water after the persecuted woman of the Apocalypse, the monster who threatened to devour Hesione and Andromeda, and who for a time became the grave of Hercules and Jonah; and he corresponds with the obscure name of Rahab, whom Jehovah is said in Job to have transfixed and overcome. In the Spring, the year or Sun-God appears as Mithras or Europa mounted on the Bull; but in the opposite half of the Zodiac he rides the emblem of the waters, the winged horse of Nestor or Poseidon: and the Serpent, rising heliacally at the Autumnal Equinox, besetting with poisonous influence the cold constellation Sagittarius, is explained as the reptile in the path who "bites the horse's heels, so that his rider falls backward." The same serpent, the Oannes Aphrenos or Musaros of Syncellus, was the Midgard Serpent which Odin sunk beneath the sea, but which grew to such a size as to encircle the whole earth. For these Asiatic symbols of the contest of the Sun-God with the Dragon of darkness and Winter were imported not only into the Zodiac, but into the more homely circle of European legend; and both Thor and Odin fight with dragons, as Apollo did with Python, the great scaly snake, Achilles with the Scamander, and Bellerophon with the Chim�ra. In the apocryphal book of Esther, dragons herald "a day of darkness and obscurity"; and St. George of England, a problematic Cappadocian Prince, was originally only a varying form of Mithras. Jehovah is said to have "cut Rahab and wounded the dragon." The latter is not only the type of earthly desolation, the dragon of the deep waters, but also the leader of the banded conspirators of the sky, of the rebellious stars, which, according to Enoch, "came not at the right time"; and his tail drew a third part of the Host of Heaven, and cast them to the earth. Jehovah "divided the sea by his strength, and broke the heads of the Dragons in the waters." And according to the Jewish and Persian belief, the Dragon would, in the latter days, the Winter of time, enjoy a short period of licensed impunity, which would be a season of the greatest suffering to the people of the earth; but he would finally be bound or destroyed in the great battle of Messiah; or, as it seems intimated by the Rabbinical figure of being eaten by the faithful, be, like Ahriman or Vasouki, ultimately absorbed by and united with the Principle of good.
Near the image of Rhea, in the Temple of Bel at Babylon, were two large serpents of silver, says Diodorus, each weighing thirty talents; and in the same temple was an image of Juno, holding in her right hand the head of a serpent. The Greeks called Bel Beliar; and Hesychius interprets that word to mean a dragon or great serpent. We learn from the book of Bel and the Dragon, that in Babylon was kept a great, live serpent, which the people worshipped. The Assyrians, the Emperors of Constantinople, the Parthians, Scythians, Saxons, Chinese, and Danes all bore the serpent as a standard, and among the spoils taken by Aurelian from Zenobia were such standards, Persici Dracones. The Persians represented Ormuzd and Ahriman by two serpents, contending for the mundane egg. Mithras is represented with a lion's head and human body, encircled by a serpent. In the Sadder is this precept: "When you kill serpents, you will repeat the Zend-Avesta, and thence you will obtain great merit; for it is the same as if you had killed so many devils." Serpents encircling rings and globes, and issuing from globes, are common in the Persian, Egyptian, Chinese, and Indian monuments. Vishnu is represented. reposing on a coiled serpent, whose folds form a canopy over him. Mahadeva is represented with a snake around his neck, one around his hair, and armlets of serpents on both arms. Bhairava sits on the coils of a serpent, whose head rises above his own. Parvati has snakes about her neck and waist. Vishnu is the Preserving Spirit, Mahadeva is Siva, the Evil Principle, Bhairava is his son, and Parvati his consort. The King of Evil Demons was called in Hindi! Mythology, Naga, the King of Serpents, in which name we trace the Hebrew Nachash, serpent.
In Cashmere were seven hundred places where carved images of serpents were worshipped; and in Thibet the great Chinese Dragon ornamented the Temples of the Grand Lama. In China, the dragon was the stamp and symbol of royalty, sculptured in all the Temples, blazoned on the furniture of the houses, and interwoven with the vestments of the chief nobility. The Emperor bears it as his armorial device; it is engraved on his sceptre and diadem, and on all the vases of the imperial palace. The Chinese believe that there is a dragon of extraordinary strength and sovereign power, in Heaven, in the air, on the waters, and on the mountains. The God Fohi is said to have had the form of a man, terminating in the tail of a snake, a combination to be more fully explained to you in a subsequent Degree. The dragon and serpent are the 5th and 6th signs of the Chinese Zodiac; and the Hindus and Chinese believe that, at every eclipse, the sun or moon is seized by a huge serpent or dragon, the serpent Asootee of the Hindus, which enfolds the globe and the constellation Draco; to which also refers "the War in Heaven, when Michael and his Angels fought against the dragon." Sanchoniathon says that Taaut was the author of the worship of serpents among the Phoenicians. He "consecrated," he says, "the species of dragons and serpents; and the Ph�nicians and Egyptians followed him in this superstition." He was "the first who made an image of C�lus"; that is, who represented the Heavenly Hosts of Stars by visible symbols; and was probably the same as the Egyptian Thoth. On the Tyrian coins of the age of Alexander, serpents are represented in many positions and attitudes, coiled around trees, erect in front of altars, and crushed by the Syrian Hercules.
The seventh letter of the Egyptian alphabet, called Zeuta or Life, was sacred to Thoth, and was expressed by a serpent standing on his tail; and that Deity, the God of healing, like �sculapius, to whom the serpent was consecrated, leans on a knotted stick around which coils a snake. The Isiac tablet, describing the Mysteries of Isis, is charged with serpents in every part, as her emblems. The Asp was specially dedicated to her, and is seen on the heads of her statues, on the bonnets of her priests, and on the tiaras of the Kings of Egypt. Serapis was sometimes represented with a human head and serpentine tail: and in one engraving two minor Gods are represented with him, one by a serpent with a bull's head, and the other by a serpent with the radiated head of a lion. On an ancient sacrificial vessel found in Denmark, having several compartments, a serpent is represented attacking a kneeling boy, pursuing him, retreating before him, appealed to beseechingly by him, and conversing with him. We are at once reminded of the Sun at the new year represented by a child sitting on a lotus, and of the relations of the Sun of Spring with the Autumnal Serpent, pursued by and pursuing him, and in conjunction with him. Other figures on this vessel belong to the Zodiac. The base of the tripod of the Pythian Priestess was a triple headed serpent of brass, whose body, folded in circles growing wider and wider toward the ground, formed a conical column, while the three heads, disposed triangularly, upheld the tripod of gold. A similar column was placed on a pillar in the Hippodroine at Constantinople, by the founder of that city; one of the heads of which is said to have been broken off by Mahomet the Second, by a blow with his iron mace. The British God Hu was called "The Dragon-Ruler of the World," and his car was drawn by serpents. His ministers were styled adders. A Druid in a poem of Taliessin says, "I am a Druid, I am an Architect, I am a Prophet, I am a Serpent (Gnadi)." The Car of the Goddess Ceridwen also was drawn by serpents. In the elegy of Uther Pendragon, this passage occurs in a description of the religious rites of the Druids: "While the Sanctuary is earnestly invoking The Gliding King, before whom the Fair One retreats, upon the evil that covers the huge stones; whilst the Dragon moves round over the places which contain vessels of drink-offering, whilst the drink-offering is in the Golden Horns;� in which we readily discover the mystic and obscure allusion to the Autumnal Serpent pursuing the Sun along the circle of the Zodiac, to the celestial cup or crater, and the Golden horns of Virgil's milk-white bull; and, a line or two further on, we find the Priest imploring the victorious Beli, the Sun-God of the Babylonians.
With the serpent, in the Ancient Monuments, is very often found associated the Cross. The Serpent upon a Cross was an Egyptian Standard. It occurs repeatedly upon the Grand Staircase of the Temple of Osiris at Phil�; and on the pyramid of Ghizeh are represented two kneeling figures erecting a Cross, on the top of which is a serpent erect. The Crux Ansata was a Cross with a coiled Serpent above it; and it is perhaps the most common of all emblems on the Egyptian Monuments, carried in the hand of almost every figure of a Deity or a Priest. It was, as we learn by the monuments, the form of the iron tether-pins, used for making fast to the ground the cords by which young animals were confined: and as used by shepherds, became a symbol of Royalty to the Shepherd Kings. A Cross like a Teutonic or Maltese one, formed by four curved lines within a circle, is also common on the Monuments, and represented the Tropics and the Colures. The Caduceus, borne by Hermes or Mercury, and also by Cybele, Minerva, Anubis, Hercules Oginius the God of the Celts, and the personified Constellation Virgo, was a winged wand, entwined by two serpents. It was originally a simple Cross, symbolizing the equator and equinoctial Colure, and the four elements proceeding from a common centre. This Cross, surmounted by a circle, and that by a crescent, became an emblem of the Supreme Deity - or of the active power of generation and the passive power of production conjoined, - and was appropriated to Thoth or Mercury. It then assumed an improved form, the arms of the Cross being changed into wings, and the circle and crescent being formed by two snakes, springing from the wand, forming a circle by crossing each other, and their heads making the horns of the crescent; in which form it is seen in the hands of Anubis.
The triple Tau, in the centre of a circle and a triangle, typifies the Sacred Name; and represents the Sacred Triad, the Creating, Preserving, and Destroying Powers; as well as the three great lights of Masonry. If to the Masonic point within a Circle, and the two parallel lines, we add the single Tau Cross, we have the Ancient Egyptian Triple Tau. A column in the form of a cross, with a circle over it, was used by the Egyptians to measure the increase of the inundations of the Nile. The Tau and Triple Tau are found in many Ancient Alphabets. With the Tau or the Triple Tau may be connected, within two circles, the double cube, or perfection; or the perfect ashlar. The Crux Ansata is found on the sculptures of Khorsabad; on the ivories from Nimroud, of the same age, carried by an Assyrian Monarch; and on cylinders of the later Assyrian period. As the single Tau represents the one God, so, no doubt, the Triple Tau, the origin of which cannot be traced, was meant to represent the Trinity of his attributes, the three Masonic pillars, WISDOM, STRENGTH, and HARMONY. The Prophet Ezekiel, in the 4th verse of the 9th chapter, says: "And the Lord said unto him, 'Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and mark the letter TAU upon the foreheads of those that sigh and mourn for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof." So the Latin Vulgate, and the probably most ancient copies of the Septuagint translate the passage. This Tau was in the form of the cross of this Degree, and it was the emblem of life and salvation. The Samaritan Tau and the Ethiopic Tavvi are the evident prototype of the Greek t; and we learn from Tertullian, Origen, and St. Jerome that the Hebrew Tau was anciently written in the form of a Cross.v In ancient times the mark Tau was set on those who had been acquitted by their judges, as a symbol of innocence. The military commanders placed it on soldiers who escaped unhurt from the field of battle, as a sign of their safety under the Divine Protection.
It was a sacred symbol among the Druids. Divesting a tree of part of its branches, they left it in the shape of a Tau Cross, preserved it carefully, and consecrated it with solemn ceremonies. On the tree they cut deeply the word THAU, by which they meant God. On the right arm of the Cross, they inscribed the word HESULS, on the left BELEN or BELENUS, and on the middle of the trunk THARAMIS. This represented the sacred Triad. It is certain that the Indians, Egyptians, and Arabians paid veneration to the sign of the Cross, thousands of years before the coming of Christ. Everywhere it was a sacred symbol. The Hindus and the Celtic Druids built many of their Temples in the form of a Cross, as the ruins still remaining clearly show, and particularly the ancient Druidical Temple at Classerniss in the Island of Lewis in Scotland. The Circle is of 12 Stones. On each of the sides, east, west, and south, are three. In the centre was the image of the Deity; and on the north an avenue of twice nineteen stones, and one at the entrance. The Supernal Pagoda at Benares is in the form of a Cross; and the Druidical subterranean grotto at New Grange in Ireland. The Statue of Osiris at Rome had the same emblem. Isis and Ceres also bore it; and the caverns of initiation were constructed in that shape with a pyramid over the Sacellum.
Crosses were cut in the stones of the Temple of Serapis in Alexandria; and many Tau Crosses are to be seen in the sculptures of Alabastion and Esn�, in Egypt. On coins, the symbol of the Egyptian God Kneph was a Cross within a Circle. The Crux Ansata was the particular emblem of Osiris, and his sceptre ended with that figure. It was also the emblem of Hermes, and was considered a Sublime Hieroglyphic, possessing mysterious powers and virtues, as a wonder-working amulet. The Sacred Tau occurs in the hands of the mummy-shaped figures between the forelegs of the row of Sphynxes, in the great avenue leading from Luxor to Karnac. By the Tau Cross the Cabalists expressed the number 10, a perfect number, denoting heaven, and the Pythagorean Tetractys, or incommunicable name of God. The Tau Cross is also found on the stones in front of the door, of the Temple of Amunoth III, at Thebes, who reigned about the time when the Israelites took possession of Canaan: and the Egyptian Priests carried it in all the sacred processions. Tertullian, who had been initiated, informs us that the Tau was inscribed on the forehead of every person who had been admitted into the Mysteries of Mithras. As the simple Tau represented Life, so, when the Circle, symbol of Eternity, was added, it represented Eternal Life. At the Initiation of a King, the Tau, as the emblem of life and key of the Mysteries, was impressed upon his lips. In the Indian Mysteries, the Tau Cross, under the name of Tiluk, was marked upon the body of the candidate, as a sign that he was set apart for the Sacred Mysteries. On the upright tablet of the King, discovered at Nimroud, are the names of thirteen Great Gods (among which are YAV and BEL); and the left-hand character of every one is a cross composed of two cuneiform characters.
The Cross appears upon an Ancient Ph�nician medal found in the ruins of Citium; on the very ancient Buddhist Obelisk near Ferns in Ross-shire; on the Buddhist Round Towers in Ireland, and upon the splendid obelisk of the same era at Forres in Scotland. Upon the fa�ade of a temple at Kalabche in Nubia are three regal figures, each holding a Crux Ansata. Like the Subterranean Mithriatic Temple at New Grange in Scotland, the Pagodas of Benares and Mathura were in the form of a Cross. Magnificent Buddhist Crosses were erected, and are still standing, at Clonmacnoise, Finglas, and Kilcullen in Ireland. Wherever the monuments of Buddhism are found, in India, CeyIon, or Ireland, we find the Cross: for Buddha or Boudh was represented to have been crucified. All the planets known to the Ancients were distinguished by the Mystic Cross, in conjunction with the solar or lunar symbols; Saturn by a cross over a crescent, Jupiter by a cross under a crescent, Mars by a cross resting obliquely on a circle, Venus by a cross under a circle, and Mercury by a cross surmounted by a circle and that by a crescent. The Solstices, Cancer and Capricorn, the two Gates of Heaven, are the two pillars of Hercules, beyond which he, the Sun, never journeyed: and they still appear in our Lodges, as the two great columns, MiniMini3zw.jpg and MiniMini3zw.jpg, and also as the two parallel lines that bound the circle, with a point in the centre, emblem of the Sun, between the two tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
end 3 of 4


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