Masonic Articles and Essays
Albert Pike, Mystic
By Bro... Henry R. Evans, Litt. D.
An article about Albert Pike's mystical education, experience, and legacy in Freemasonry, which appeared in The Master Mason - May 1925.
"I have completed a monument more lasting than brass, and more sublime than the regal elevation of pyramids, which neither the wasting shower, the unavailing north wind, nor an innumerable succession of years, and the flight of seasons, shall be able to demolish." - HORACE.
"Somehow, it seems to me that the spirit of a writer is in his books, and if they are not read, it is imprisoned there like the body of an old king of Egypt in its sarcophagus." - ALBERT PIKE: Official Bulletin IX, p. 22.
It is well known to all students of Masonry that the degrees of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States are, more or less, tinctured with the occult doctrines of Jewish Cabala and the Hermetic and Rosicrucian teachings, to say nothing of the principles of Neo-Platonism and other mystical schools of philosophy. The Rite ascribes this, to some extent, to its old French rituals, but more particularly to the genius of General Albert Pike, who was a deep student of the Cabala, and well versed in the religious and philosophical systems of the Orient. The Vedas and the Zend-Avesta were open books to him, and not the "iron-bound, melancholy volumes of the Magi." He was the reviser and transformer of the obscure old French rituals, which have come down to us from the Rite of Perfection and other Continental sources. In many instances be rewrote them. For all of them he prepared lectures which are distinguished for deep scholarship and beauty of expression. Speaking of this "Master of the Veils," Past Grand Commander Moore, 33d, in a eulogy delivered some years ago at the House of the Temple, in Washington D.C., said:
It was Albert Pike, the Mason, who, by the divine alchemy of the love of his fellow men, transmuted all his mental possessions into the pure gold of wisdom, poesy, patriotism, and law, and embodied them in our Scottish Rite Rituals as they were revised and spiritualized by him.
This was his Great work - his Magnum Opus - as he called it. In 1853, six years before he was elected Grand Commander, he began his work on the Rituals at his home in Little Rock. We have, in our archives, a letter from him to Dr. Albert G. Mackey, the famous Masonic scholar, and Secretary - General of the Supreme Council, in which he said clearly, that he was then at work on the Rituals, and was trying to spiritualize them. And this continued to be one of the chief objects in Freemasonry throughout his life. In his "address," delivered to the Supreme Council at its session in 1860, he said that four years before that time, a Ritual Committee had been appointed; that although he was then only a thirty-second, he was appointed on it; that the committee had never met and that he had, himself, revised the Rituals from the Fourth to the Thirty-second degree, and had printed his work for the benefit of the Supreme Council at a cost to himself of $1,200.
The rituals of the Scottish Rite are indeed lasting monuments to Pike's genius more lasting than brass, and more sublime than the regal elevation of pyramids. General Pike saw in Masonry what many have failed to see. In a letter to Robert Gould, the celebrated Masonic historian, January 28, 1888, he said that he had for some time been collecting the old Hermetic and alchemical works, in order to discover what relation their symbols bore to Freemasonry. He asserted that the Square and Compasses, the Triangle, the Oblong Square, the Three Grand Masters, the idea embodied in the Substitute Word, the Double- Headed Eagle of the Scottish Rite, the Sun, Moon, and Master of the Lodge were all derived from Hermetic and Rosicrucian sources. He wrote as follows:
I cannot conceive of anything that could have induced Ashmole, Mainwaring, and other men of their class to unite themselves with a lodge of working Masons, except this - that as the Alchemists, Hermeticists, and Rosicrucians had no association of [their] own in England or Scotland, they joined the Masonic lodges in order to meet one another without being suspected, and I am convinced that it was the men who inherited their doctrine who brought their symbols into Masonry, but kept the Hermetic meanings to themselves. To these men we owe, I believe, the Master's degree. The substitute word means "the Creative Energy from the Father" - the Demiurgos and Hiram, I think, was made the hero, because his name resembled Hermes, "The Master of the Lodge"; the Divine Word (the Egyptian Thoth), the Mercury of the Alchemists.
I do not think there can be much doubt about this, and I have written out in full my notions in regard to our symbolism, making a manuscript book of some 200 pages, and have deposited it where it will remain safe and secure; and believing that I have shown how Masonry became speculative, having at least satisfied myself, I rest content.
The manuscript book referred to above, which is the property of the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States, is entitled "The Symbolism of the Blue Degrees of Freemasonry,” copied and illustrated for the author by Bro. Edwin B. Macgrotty, 33d, who was an expert with pen and pencil. The book is bound in full blue Morocco and lettered on the back Esoterika. It bears the date, Washington, D.C., 1888. There are over thirty-eight Masonic manuscripts by Albert Pike in the library of the Supreme Council under lock and key, of course, and highly prized. Albert Pike's inquiry into the origins of Masonry is most interesting to the student of occultism, Neoplatonism, the Cabala, and Rosicrucianism. There is in the possession of the Supreme Council some interesting correspondence between General Pike and the heads of Rosicrucian movement in this country and England.
It is interesting to note that Pike was Chief Adept and Archimagus of the Societas Rosicruciana of America and wrote a ritual for the Order. He eventually withdrew from the organization, however, presumably for lack of time to give to its work. This ritual not long ago came into the possession of the library of the Supreme Council. The manuscript is entitled: Societas Rosicruciana. Rerum publicarum unitarum Americae. Regulations and Ritual. It is a volume of 114 pages, sixty-three pages of which are in Pike's hand, and the others In the handwriting of William Morton Ireland, 33d, at one time Secretary-General of the Supreme Council, Southern jurisdiction. At the end of the list of regulations is the following: "In Supreme College, May 29, 1880. The foregoing Regulae are adopted, Albert Pike, IX, Chief Adept and Archimagus; William Morton Ireland, IX, Magus and Junior Substitute."
Most of Albert Pike's, manuscripts are in the library of the Supreme Council, written with a quill pen. In addition to translations of the Rig-Veda, General Pike made the following Oriental studies: "Ancient Faith and Worship of the Aryans, as Embodied in the Vedic Hymns," 1872-73; "Commentaries on the Kabbala," 1873; "Irano-Aryan Theosophy as Contained in the Zend-Avesta," 1874; "Lectures on the Arya," 1873, and "Vocabularies of Sanskrit Words."
The "Irano-Aryan Theosophy," recently published by the Scottish Rite, under the editorial supervision of Bro. Marshall W. Wood, 33d, is a work of the highest importance to scholars. It is issued under the title of Irano-Aryan Faith and Doctrine as Contained in the Zend-Avestas, 1924.
Albert Pike, explorer, soldier, jurist, poet, philosopher, and Freemason, was born in Boston, Mass., December 29, 1809, He received his education in the grammar schools of Newburyport, Mass.; in an academy at Framingham, Mass., and at Harvard University, but he did not graduate from the university. He taught school for a while in Massachusetts, and then went as a pioneer into the Great West. He eventually settled in Little Rock, Ark., where he contributed a series of political articles to the Little Rock Advocate, under the nom de plume of "Casca." These papers attracted so much attention that he was offered and accepted an editorial position on the Advocate. In 1833, he was elected Assistant Secretary of the Council of the Territorial Legislature of Arkansas, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1834. In 1835, he purchased the Advocate but finding the editing and management of the journal interfered with his law practice, he sold it.
In 1846, he raised a squadron of cavalry which he commanded with the rank of captain and served gallantly in the Mexican War. He was admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States in 1849. He was regarded as an authority on Roman law and translated the Pandects into English. When the war between the States broke out in 1861, he was made a brigadier-general in the Confederate Army and placed in command of the Indian Territory. In 1864, he resigned his commission in the army to accept a place on the bench of the Supreme Court of Arkansas. After the close of the Civil War he went to Memphis, Tenn., where he practiced law and edited a morning paper. In 1868, he removed to Washington, D.C., where he lived for the remaining thirty-three years of his life. He died on April 22, 1891, at the age of 82 years, and was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Washington, D.C. A fine bronze statue, by the Italian sculptor, Trentanove, was erected to his memory in 1901 by the Supreme Council. It is located not far from the house; here, he lived for so many years in Washington, where he died. General Pike is depicted standing erect, with a book in his right hand. At the base of the granite pedestal is a second figure representing the genius of Freemasonry, holding aloft the banner of the Scottish Rite.
Albert Pike was made a Mason in Little Rock, Ark., in 1850. He held conspicuous posts in all of the York Rite bodies, but it was in the Scottish Rite that he made his greatest fame and left his most enduring monument. He received the Scottish Rite degrees, fourth to thirty-second, inclusive, in Charleston. S.C., March 20, 1853; was made Inspector General Honorary, April 25, 1857. at New Orleans, La., and an active member of the Supreme Council, Southern jurisdiction, March 20, 1858. General Pike was chosen Sovereign Grand Commander ad vitam, January 2, 1859, in which position he continued until his death. Judge Hallum, in his "Biographical and Pictorial History of Arkansas," 1887, Vol. 1, calls him "Albertus Magnus - Albert the Great!
Many years before his death General Pike uttered these significant words:
When I am dead, I wish my monument to be builded in the hearts and memories of my brethren of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.
Albert Pike is assuredly enshrined in the hearts and minds of the brethren. At every Scottish Rite banquet the participants arise and drink a silent toast to his memory. A memorial service in honor of Albert Pike is held at every meeting of the Supreme Council in Washington, the youngest active member of the body delivering the oration on that occasion.
Albert Pike was essentially a scholar. He was well versed in the classics, translated several modern languages, and in his old age acquired Hebrew, and Sanskrit. He appreciated fully the underlying philosophy of the Vedas and Zend-Avesta and sought to link the Orient with the Occident. The Scottish Rite degrees, as interpreted by him, may be called a study in comparative religions. His translations and commentaries of the Rig-Veda, the Cabala, etc., still await publication. Students may consult them, but not take them from the library of the Rite. Let us hope they may eventually become available to all the world, for as Pike said:
The spirit of a writer is in his books, and if they are not read, it is imprisoned there like the body of an old king of Egypt in its sarcophagus.
Some years ago, Bro. George Fleming Moore, 33d, published in the New Age Magazine, some portions of General Pike's extensive "Materials for the History of Freemasonry in France and Elsewhere on the Continent of Europe, from 1718 to 1859."
In the library left by Albert Pike are a number of books on the occult, by "Eliphas Levi" (Alphonse Louis Constant), which in the seventies were not translated into English. Levi was, perhaps, the greatest of French mystics and Cabalists. General Pike borrowed considerably from Levi in his degrees of "Knight of the Sun" and "Prince of the Royal Secret." The Doctrine of the Balance, which Pike elucidates in the latter degree, is obscurely hinted at in the Zohar. Levi, in his interpretation of the Cabala, says that "the science of equilibrium is the key of occult science. Unbalanced forces perish in the void." Albert Pike magnificently illustrates the Mystery of the Balance in his Morals and Dogma (pp. 838- 61). The Mystery of the Balance is the secret of the Universal Equilibrium which exists in the universe between conflicting energies and forces, whether they be mental or physical. Says Pike:
Sympathy and Antipathy, Attraction and Repulsion, are contraries in the souls of men and in the universe of spheres and worlds; and from the action and opposition of each against the other result Harmony and that movement which is the Life of the Universe and the Soul alike.
The Cabala - the symbols, sacred words and esoteric doctrine - which has so influenced the degrees of the Scottish Rite, represents the theosophy of the Jews. Says Joseph Jacobs in his Jewish Contributions to Civilization:
It contains in itself all the mystic elements of the cultures through which Judaism has passed - the ecstasies of the Bible Theophanes, the Neo-Platonism of Alexandria, and the Sufism of the Arabs.
The word Cabala means "to receive." it is a mystical and religious doctrine handed down by oral transmission or tradition. It has been described as a system of cosmogony illustrating the nexus between God and man; a system based to a large extent on numbers like the Pythagorean philosophy; a subtle metaphysics that treats of the nature of God and His emanations, veiled in symbols, often by a huge fig-tire of an emblematical character.
When Jerusalem was captured by Titus, the son of Vespasian, and the second temple was destroyed, many of the inhabitants of the Holy City fled from the victorious Romans and sought refuge in the neighboring mountains. Among them was the Rabbi Simon Ben Jochai, who had been condemned to death by the Roman general. According to tradition, he lived for twelve years in a cave, hermit-like, where he was visited by a faithful band of disciples. He had constant ecstatic visions like all mystics. He communicated the occult doctrines, orally transmitted from the Patriarchs of olden times, to his son Rabbi Eliezer, and his secretary, Rabbi Abba, who put them into writing for the first time. From this material was subsequently built up the famous Zohar, or splendor. This book, together with the Sepher Jetzirah and the Commentary of the Ten Sephiroth, constitutes the body and doctrine of the Cabalistic teachings.
The Zohar was probably put together in the thirteenth century, but contains traces of much earlier strains of mystical doctrine. It attracted the attention of men like Raymond Lully, Picus de Mirandula, and traces of it are even to be found in Dante. But its chief effect upon European thought was in the period of the Reformation when it served to supply to Protestantism that mystical element which had been the chief attraction in the older forms of faith. . . . In combination with a revival of Pythagoreanism, it appealed to Reuchlin and Cornelius Agrippa; in connection with the new study of Nature it affected Paracelsus, Carden, Van Helmont, and Robert Fludd, as well as, one may add, the rest of the Cambridge Platonists; so far as Luther was philosophical, he derived his philosophy from the Cabala, with a touch of Gnosticism and a coloring of Manichaeism, and in this he was followed by Melancthon. The great German mystics, like Weigel and Jacob Boehme, were also Cabalistic in general outline. Just as Catholicism had sought to temper the divine mysteries by the rationalism of Maimonides, so Protestantism, in its turn, modified its rationalistic tendencies by a resort to the mysticism of the Cabala.
The Cabala is divided into two parts:
- The practical;
- the theoretical.
The first treats of amulets and talismen, and possesses no value for the student of philosophy. The second is divided into the Dogmatic and the Literal. The Dogmatic Cabala is an exposition of the rabbinical theosophy and philosophy: the Literal Cabala is the science which teaches a mystical method of explaining sacred things by a peculair use of the letters of words, and a reference to their value. The Book of Zohar, which is the great exponent of the Dogmatic Cabala, begins by positing the First Cause as En Soph, the endless, the boundless, abiding in "the simplicity and undifferentiation of perfect unity." By act of the Supreme Will the universe flows forth from the divine essence in a series of emanations, which are called the sephiroth. Says Lewis Spence in his Encyclopedia of Occultism:
The doctrine of the sephiroth is undoubtedly the most important to be met with in the pages of the Cabala. To justify His existence, the Deity had to become active and creative; this, He achieved through the medium of the ten sephiroth or intelligences which emanated from Him like rays proceeding from a luminary. The first sephiroth or emanation was the wish to become manifest, and this contained nine other intelligences or sephiroth, which again emanate one from the other - the second from the first, the third from the second, and so forth. These are known as the Crown Wisdom, Intelligence, Love, Justice, Beauty: Firmness, Splendor, Foundation and Kingdom.
From the junction of pairs of sephiroth, other emanations were formed: thus, from Wisdom and Intelligence proceeded Love or Mercy, and from Mercy and Justice, Beauty. The sephiroth are also symbolical of primordial man and the heavenly man, of which earthly man is the shadow. They form three triads which respectively represent intellectual, moral and physical qualities:
- the first, Wisdom, Intelligence and Crown;
- the second, Love, Justice and Beauty;
- the third, Firmness, Splendor and Foundation.
The whole is circled or bound by Kingdom, the ninth sophiroth. Each of these triads symbolizes a portion of the human frame: the first, the head ; the second, the arms; the third, the legs. It must be understood that though those sephiroth are emanations from God, they remain a portion, and simply represent different aspects of the One Being.
Cabalistic cosmology posits four different worlds, each of which forms a sephiric system of a decade of emanations, which were verified in the following manner: the world of emanations or the heavenly man, a direct emanation from the En Soph. From it is produced the world of creation or the Briatic world of pure nature, but yet not so spiritual as the first. . . . From this is formed the world of formation or the Yetziratic world, still less refined, which is the abode of angels. Finally from these emanates the world of action or matter. . . . But the universe was incomplete without the creation of man: the heavenly Adam, that is the tenth sephiroth created the earthly Adam, each member of whose body corresponds to a part of the visible universe. The human form, we are told, is shaped after the four letters which constitute the Jewish tetragrammaton, Yod-he-vau-he. . . . The Cabala states that these esoteric doctrines are contained in the Hebrew scriptures, but cannot be perceived by the uninitiated; they are, however, plainly revealed to persons of spiritual mind.
The ten sephiroth, represented in the order of their ascent from the lowest to the highest, from the Foundation to the Crown, bear a certain resemblance to the symbolical ladders of the various systems, of initiation, for example, the Brahmanical Ladder of the Hindoo Mysteries; the Ladder of Mithras of the Persian Mysteries; and the Ladder of Kadosh and the Jacob's Ladder of the Masonic Mysteries.
The Zohar is not easy reading. it is full of obscurities. It was not intended for the hoi polloi1 but for Initiates. The language used is highly figurative and not to be taken literally. Albert Pike, in his Morals and Dogma, devotes considerable space to the Cabala. He says (page 764) :
In the view of the Cabalists, all individuals are contained in species, and all species in genera, and all particulars, in a Universal, which is an idea, abstracted from all consideration of individuals; not an aggregate of individuals; but, as it were, an Ens, Entity or Being, ideal or intellectual, but none the less real; prior to any individual, containing them all, and out of which they are all in succession evolved.
If this discontents you, reflect that, supposing the theory correct, that all was originally in the Deity, and that the Universe has proceeded forth from Him, and not been created by Him out of nothing, the idea of the Universe, existing in the Deity before its outflow, must have been as real as the Deity Himself. The whole human race, or humanity, for example, then existed in the Deity, not distinguished into individuals, but as a unit, out of which the manifold was to flow.
Everything actual must also first have been possible, before having actual existence; and this possibility or potentiality was to the Cabalists a real Ens. Before the evolvement of the Universe, it had to exist potentially, the whole of it, with all its individuals, included in a single Unity. This was the Idea or Plan of the Universe, and this had to be formed. It had to emanate from the Infinite Deity, and be of Himself, though not His Very Self.
As regards the sephiroths or emanations, General Pike writes as follows:
They were not only attributes of the Unmanifested Deity, not only Himself in limitation, but His actual manifestations, or His qualities made apparent as modes; and they were also qualities of the Universal Nature-Spiritual, Mental, and Material, produced and made existent by the outflow of Himself.
In the view of the Cabala, God and the Universe were One; and in the One General, as the type or source, were included and involved, and from it have been evolved and issued forth, the manifold and all particulars. Where, indeed, does individuality begin?...
The tree is one? but its leaves are a multitude, they drop with the frosts, and fall upon its roots, but the tree still continues to grow, and new leaves come again in the spring. Is the Human Race not the Tree, and are not individual men the leaves? How else explain the force of will and sympathy, and the dependence of one man at every instant of his life on others, except by the oneness of the race? The links that bind all created things together are the links of a single Unity, and the whole universe is One, developing itself into the manifold.
Some writers have declared that the Cabala assigns sexual characters to the very Deity, but Pike emphatically denies this assumption. He says:
There is no warrant for such an assertion, anywhere in the Zohar or in any commentary upon it. On the contrary, the whole doctrine of the Cabala is based on the fundamental proposition, that the Very Deity is Infinite, everywhere extended, without limitation or determination, and therefore without any conformation whatever. In order to commence the process of creation, it was necessary for Him, first of all, to effect a vacant space within Himself. To this end the Deity, whose Nature is approximately expressed by describing Him as Light filling all space, formless, limitless, contracts Himself on all sides from a point within Himself, and thus effects a quasi-vacant space, in which only a vestage of His Light remains; and into this circular or spherical space He immits His Emanations, portions of His Light or Nature; and to some of these, sexual characteristics are symbolically assigned.
The Infinite first limits Himself by flowing forth in the shape of Will, of determination to act. This Will of the Deity, or Deity as Will, is Kether, or the "Crown," the first sephira. In it are included all other Emanations. This is a philosophical necessity.
General Pike then proceeds to define and elaborate all the other sephiroths with their philosophical implications. The lecture on the "Knight of the Sun, or Prince Adept" (28d), as contained in the Morals and Dogma is the real Hermetic ritual of the Rite. The Supreme Council of Belgium lays particular emphasis on this abstruse. but beautiful degree, which goes to the bedrock of Gnosticism, Cabalism, and Hermeticism. For a scholarly exposition of the Cabalistic cosmogony the student is referred to the Jewish Encyclopedia.
An interesting feature of the Zohar is its theory of a prior creation and destruction of worlds, resembling somewhat the Hindu doctrine of the Out-breathing and In-breathing of Brahma. Everything, too, must return to the source whence it emanated. The Zohar says:
All things of which this world consists, spirit as well as body, will return to their principal, and the roots from which they proceeded.
The Zohar shows to what Sublime heights the human imagination can soar.
The Cabala posits the pre-existence of the soul and its repeated incarnations, but this particular doctrine forms no part of Masonic instruction. Freemasonry teaches the immortality of the soul, but does not dogmatize on the subject.
I should like to elaborate upon the Sepher Zetzirah, or "Book of the Creation," but space forbids. Suffice to say it deals with the philosophy of numbers and letters. Says the Royal Masonic Cyclopedia:
The design of this book is to exhibit a system whereby the universe may be methodically viewed, showing from the systematic development of creation, and from the harmony visible in its parts that it must have proceeded from the One and Only Creator. The order and correlative correspondence of these parts are proved by the analogy subsisting between visible things, and the signs of thought whereby men are able to denote, communicate, and perpetuate wisdom throughout time. From the fact that the unknown author also employed the letters of the Hebrew alphabet in a double sense, this book also received the name of The Letters, or Alphabet of the Patriarch Abraham. There being 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet, and 10 fundamental numbers, these are designated the thirty-two ways of secret wisdom - the alphabet being used in numerical sense.
The treatise opens by the declaration:
By 32 paths of secret wisdom, the Eternal, the Lord of Hosts . . . hath created the world by means of numbers. phonetic language, and writing.
The fundamental number ten is divided into a tetrade and hexade, and from these is shown the gradual evolution of the world from nothing. The Divine Substance alone at first subsisted, with the creative idea and the articulate Word as the Holy Spirit, identical with the Divine Substance. Hence the Spirit of the living God is at the head of all things, represented by the number one. From this Spirit emanated the whole Cosmos, etc.
Do the thirty-two degrees of the Rite, from Entered Apprentice to Prince of the Royal Secret, symbolize the "thirty-two paths of secret wisdom," with the 33d and Last Degree as the Grand Goal of Initiation? Who knows!
The Cabala is the efflorescence of the mystical schools of Alexandria, and as such was duly appreciated by General Pike, but he went further than this theosophical system of the Jews in his quest for the origin of the great religious symbols, when he formulated the Prince of the Royal Secret or Thirty-second Degree of the Rite. He turned to the Orient, to the uplands of Asia, where the Aryan race lived some 1400 years before Christ and afterwards descending to the plains, divided and conquered the world. One division of this Caucasian people migrated into what is now called Persia and are known as Irano-Aryans; the other division invaded India and are known as Indo-Aryans. From the Irano-Aryans sprang our modern Europeans. The ancient Aryans were a race of hardy warriors, but they had among them priests, prophets and philosophers, who sought to unravel the mysteries of the universe.
Says Bro. Frederick H. Bacon, 33d, in an interesting dissertation on Scottish Rite Masonry, (New Age, Oct. 1922, p. 589):
In their hymns or vedas they sought to declare their ideas of the divinities which ruled the world.... They early formed the idea that the divine powers were in the nature of a trinity. The first trinity was represented by the three divinities, Agni, Ushas, Mitra; the fire, the dawn, and the morning star which was the herald of the Sun. As time passed the second trinity succeeded it. The Divine Light, in which abided the Divine Wisdom flowed forth as the Divine Word. Here it is seen that the two latter are manifestations of the first. Ahura was the light. The divine attributes are the emanations or potencies of Ahura. These potencies or emanations, seven in all, being manifestations of the divine power, were divided into those from the sky - four - which were considered male because generative, and those from the earth - three - which were regarded as female, because productive.
The three-faced head is a symbol of tile triune Divinity of Zarathustra and Pythagoras; the five-pointed star represents Ahura. The various forms of the triangle and the mystic numbers 3, 5, 7 and 9 are represented by the lights and symbols. The Aryan faith was that the intellects of great and good men ascended at their death to the sky and became stars.... Life, light, and intellect were one to the Indo-Aryans, and the same idea remained with us. In God was life, and the life was the light of men. The Divine Light in the mind is intellect and knowledge, and is Masonic Light.
In the natural phenomena of the seasons, of birth, life and death, the ancients saw manifested all these divine powers. They represented darkness as the foe and enemy of light... The Hebrews follow the ancient Aryan doctrine of sacred numbers and figures, and many of the angels and forms of worship, of the Hebrew faith are but the natural successors to the persons of ancient Aryan worship.
We do not clearly understand the ancient Aryan doctrines nor what was meant by their mystic symbols and numbers, but Ahura-Mazda contained the two other persons, Mainyu (Divine Wisdom), and Vohumano (the Divine Word); thus, one is three and three are one. The trinity is symbolized by the sacred number nine or three times three.
The great interpreter of the Irano-Aryan faith was Zarathustra, high priest and prophet, whose powerful intellect was able to pierce the veil of matter that clouded the primitive mind (and clouds our own to a great extent), and behold the Divine Reason that lies back of all phenomena. His religious doctrines are embodied in the Zend-Avesta.
Says Albert Pike (Irano-Aryan Faith and Doctrine, etc.):
I think it will appear that while the Indo-Aryan mind was slowly attaining the conception of a higher nature than those of star worship ... Zarathustra advanced from the Fire-worship to that of an Infinite source of Light and Life, containing within itself an infinite intellect and infinite beneficence as weft as power; and to the philosophic conception of Divine action by Emanations, personifying His attributes and Potencies, and whereby only the infinite God was revealed.
"We see in the vedic hymns," says Max Muller, "the first revelation of Deity, the first expression of surprise and suspicion, the first discovery that behind this visible and perishable world there must be something invisible, imperishable, eternal or divine."
And then the philosophers no longer adored the sun as a Deity or the sacred flame as an incarnation of God; but Agni and Ahura-Mazda became symbols of the Eternal One. According to the ancient sages, God unfolded or revealed Himself in three ways. In Him was the intellect or Divine Wisdom, and the Word or Thought which when uttered flowed forth as the universe and became incarnated in humanity. According to Zarathustra the mind or Spirit of man is a ray from the great primal light and must, therefore, be immortal and indestructible. A portion of the Deity is incarnated or individuated in each one of us. We are the temples of the living God.
God, according to the Indo-Aryans, is the Creator, the Preserver, and the Destroyer or absorber of the universe. The Hindu sages declare that the cosmos is one of many. When Brahma outbreathes, so to speak, the worlds go forth, they are sustained for eons of time, and when the great breath is withdrawn the worlds are reabsorbed within the divine essence. Among the adepts of India, the symbol of the Deity is the mystic word Aum, sometimes spelled and pronounced Om. "A Brahmin," says Menu, "beginning and ending a chapter on the Vedas, must always repeat to himself the syllable "Om."
This sacred triliteral monosyllable is perhaps the oldest name of the Deity known to man. Its origin is unknown. Brahma, it is said, extracted from the Vedas the three letters which form the mysterious monosyllable. Among the Surfis of Persia the pronunciation of the word Aum represents the creative process: the outgoing and incoming of the great breath. Pronounce the letter A (ah); it is a sustained note indicative of being. Now pronounce the letter U (oo); and your breath goes out. Then utter the letter M (um), and the breath is cut short.
Here, you see, is a superb symbol of the creation idea of the mysteries of India and Persia. The sacred syllable Aum is concealed in the names of Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, and in the Irano- Aryan name of God, Ahura-Mazda. Its letters form the initials of Agni, Ushas, Mitra. It was perpetuated among the Egyptians by the word Amun, and is concealed in many of the Masonic sacred words.
1 i.e. the common people.
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