Initiates of the Flame

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Initiates of the Flame

By Manly P. Hall

Chapter IV - The Egyptian Initiate

Many ages have elapsed since the Egyptian Priest King passed through the pillars of Thebes. Ages before the sinking of Atlantis, thousands of years before the Christian Era, Egypt was a land of great truths. The hand of the Great White Brotherhood was held out to the Empire of the Nile, and the ancient pyramid passages resounded with the chants of the Initiates. It was then that the Pharaoh, now called half-human, half-divine, reigned in ancient Egypt. Pharaoh is the Egyptian word for king. Many of the later Pharaohs were degenerate and of little account. It is only the early Pharaohs we now list among the Priest Kings.

Try to picture for a moment the great Hall of Luxor—its inscriptive columns holding up domes of solid granite, each column carved with the histories of the gods. There at the upper end of the chamber sat the Pharaoh of the Nile in his robes of state; around him his counsellors, chief among them the priest of the temple. An imposing spectacle it was: the gigantic frame of the later Atlantean, robed in gold and priceless jewels; on his head the crown of the North and South, the double empire of the ancient; on his forehead the coiled serpent of the Initiate, the serpent which was raised in the wilderness that all who looked upon it might live; that sleeping serpent power in man, which coiled head downward around the tree of life, drove him from the garden of the Lord, but which raised upon the Cross, became the symbol of the Christ.

The Pharaoh was an Initiate of Scorpio, and the serpent is the transmuted Scorpio energy, which working upward in the regenerated individual is called the Kundalini. This serpent was the sign of Initiation. It meant that within him the serpent had been raised, for the true Pharaoh was a priest of God, as well as a master of men. There he sat upon the cube altar throne, indicating his mastery over the four elements of his physical body—a judge of the living and of the dead, who in spite of all his power and glory, having about him the grandeur of the world’s greatest empire, still bowed in humble supplication to the will of the gods. In his hands he carries the triple sceptre of the Nile, the Shepherd’s Crook, the Anubis-headed Staff and the Flail or Whip. These were the symbols of his work. They represent the powers which he had mastered. With the whip he had subjugated his physical body; with the Shepherd’s Crook he was the guardian and keeper of his emotional body; with the Anubis-headed Staff he was master of his mind and worthy to wield the powers of government over others, because, first of all, he obeyed the laws himself.

With all his robes of state and with the scarab upon his breast, and with the All-seeing Eye above his throne, there was still nothing as precious or as sacred to the ancient Egyptian Priest King as the triangular girdle or apron which was the symbol of his initiation. The apron of the ancient Egyptian carried with it the same symbolism as the Masonic apron of today. It symbolized the purification of the bodies, when the seat of the lower emotions, Scorpio, was covered by the white sheepskin of purification. This symbol of his purification was the most precious belonging of the ancient Pharaoh; and this plain insignia, worn by many others below him in rank and dignity, but equal to him in spiritual purification, was the most precious of all things to the Priest King. There he sat, written upon him in the words of the Initiate, the symbols of his purification and mastery, a wise king of a wise people. And it was through these Priest Kings that the Divine worked, for they were of the order of Melchisedec. Through them was formed that doctrine which degeneracy has not been able to entirely obliterate, which we know as the divine right of kings—divine because through spirituality and growth God was able to manifest through them. They were conscious instruments in the hands of a ready writer, willing and proud to do the work of those with whom through knowledge and truth they had attuned themselves.

But the time came, as in all nations, when selfishness and egotism entered the heart of king and people alike, and slowly the hand from the Great White Brotherhood that fed ancient Egypt was withdrawn, and the powers of darkness transformed the land of glory into one of ruins, and the names of mighty kings were buried beneath the oblivion of degeneracy. Mighty cataclysms shook the world, and out of the land of darkness the Great White Brotherhood carried the chosen people into the promised land; Egypt, the land of glory, disintegrated into dust.

The great temples of the Pharaohs are ruins, and the temples of Isis are but broken heaps of sandstone. But what of the priest kings who labored there in the days of its glory? They are still with us, for those who were leaders before are leaders now, if they have continued to walk the path. Although his sceptre is gone, and his priestly vestments have moulded away, the Priest King still walks the earth with the dignity and the power and the childish simplicity that before made him great. He no longer wears the robes of his order. Although he bears no credentials, he is as much a priest king now as then, for he still bears the true insignia of his rank. The coiled serpent has given place to knowledge and love. The hand that bestowed the riches of the past does little acts of kindness now. Although he no longer carries the sceptres of self-mastery, still he manifests that mastery in his daily life. Although the altar fires within the temple at Karnac have long been dead, the true fire within himself still burns, and before that he still bows as he bowed in the days of Egypt’s glory. Although the priest no longer is his counsellor, and the wise ones of his country no longer aid him in governmental problems, still he is never alone, for the priests in white and the counsellors in blue still march with him and whisper words of strength when he needs them.

Have you seen people that somehow you liked regardless of appearances? Have you seen other charming people whom you hated in spite of their charms? Have you seen learned people who were fools or impressed you as such, or people who knew little and yet you felt were wise? Those are the insignia of rank, which the loss of title or position cannot destroy. Kings with or without crowns they were—not puppets dressed in tawdry tinsel. And they still are kings and will be to the end of time, and they still manifest their rank, not by their superiority, and their high-headedness, but by the soul qualities which they radiate from themselves. The purity of their lives still radiates outward from those who wore the apron of the Initiate, for while that triangular apron with its serpent drawn upon it has long since rotted away, still the spiritual counterpart of that symbol radiates in their daily lives, proving beyond all dispute that they were Priest Kings and are today. We find them in every walk of life—in high places and down in the mire of life. But wherever we find them, they are still the mouthpieces of the gods, and through them comes the promise to all who strive. They are kings, not of the earth but of heaven, and in the life of our own Master we find one who joined himself to those who served, and was a true King even when his only crown was a wreath of thorns.

Still in the pyramid of Gizeh, the initiations continue; still the Initiate receives the insignia of his rank. Before that Fire within himself he makes his vows, and upon the burning altar of his own higher being he lays his crown and his sceptre, his robes and his diamonds, his hates and his fears, and sanctifies his life as a Priest King, and swears to serve none but his own higher self, the god within. His robes are his soul body; and his crown is his life, and in the streets of life he is enthroned. The dusky towers and factory chimneys around him fade into the templed pillars of Luxor, and with a lunch pail on his arm, his face brown with honest dirt, he is as much a king as when the crown of the double Nile rested upon his brow, and the priest of the temple made him one with his God and his fellowman.



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