World Enough in Time
The Two Faces of The Tempest
by Mather Walker
<<In ancient countries (Chaldea, Persia, Phoenicia, Syria, Egypt,
Greece, The Roman Empire, Etc.) side by side with the orthodox public
religion were religions whose rituals and ceremonies were cloaked
behind a veil of strictest secrecy. Only those were admitted who had
undergone special preparation, special screening, and who had sworn,
under penalty of the most terrible reprisal, to not reveal what
took place. The words currently in english usage of initiates
and initiation are names the Romans gave to these rites
and their participants.
In his book, "The Secrets of Ancient Geometry" Tons Brunes explains
that, "All knowledge and experience was assembled over thousands of
years in the Temples, and by permiting educated groups to share to a
greater or lesser extent in this pool of knowledge the Temple brethren
wielded-through these groups-infinite power." The more famous temples
all had their Mysteries. Simply put, the Mysteries were the
depositories of ALL ancient knowledge, although the main thrust
of their knowledge dealt with the origin and destiny of man.
Indeed, the Mysteries were well named. The very word, according to
Demetrius Phalereus, was a metaphorical expression that denoted the
secret awe which darkness and gloom inspired. The night was the
time fixed for their celebration; and they were ordinarily termed
nocturnal ceremonies. Everything connected with them was mysterious.
The major role played in the Mysteries by the doctrine of the Ancient
Astral Mysticism was most apparent in the Chaldean Mysteries of
Tammuz, and the Persian Mysteries of Mithra. The rites of Tammuz were
built around the events described in the story of Ishtar and Tammuz.
According to the story the great goddess Ishtar (mother of all living)
had as consort Tammuz. Tammuz died, however, and she descended to the
underworld in search of the sacred elixir which alone would bring him
back to life. In her descent she had to pass through seven gates which
led to the underworld. At the first gate she met the guardian of the
gate, and he let her pass, but only after removing the crown from her
head. At the second gate the earrings were removed from her ears. At
the third, the necklace from her neck. At the fourth, the ornaments
from her breasts. At the fifth, the girdle from her waist. At the
sixth, the bracelets from her hands and feet. And at the seventh,
the cloak from her body.
Ishtar remonstrated as each successive article of apparel was taken
from her. But the guardian told her this was the penalty paid by all
who entered the somber domain of the underworld. Finally, when she had
reached the domain of death, the Mistress of Hades, enraged by seeing
her there, inflicted all manner of disease upon her, and imprisoned
her there. It is apparent this story was an allegory of The Ancient
Astral Mysticism doctrine of the soul descending through the rings
of the seven planets in its descent to the underworld.
The Mysteries of Mithra came from ancient Persia, from the religion of
Zoroastrianism (the teaching of the Magi). The founder of the religion
was Zoroaster, and the principal religious book was The Zend Avesta.
According to the Zoroastrian doctrine eveything came from an
unknowable first principle called Zeroana Akerne. From this principle
came forth the eternally opposing pair: Ahura-Mazda, and Ahriman.
Ahura-Mazda, the Creator, was the God of Light and Good. His
adversary, Ahriman, also known as The Serpent, was the God of Darkness
and Evil. From each of these came forth six principles, or gods; from
Ahura-Mazda principles of Light and Good; from Ahriman principles of
Darkness and Evil. These opposing forces of Light and Darkness entered
into all of universal nature so that their strife created an eternal
war in nature, a war which would rage from the beginning until
the end of creation.
In "Isis and Osiris", Plutarch said this doctrine of the two opposing
principles was a basic tenet of the most secret mysteries, having been
handed down by the ancient theologians and law-givers. Numerous
testimonies showed that the Mithraic Mysteries dealt with the old
Astral Mysticism of the descent and reascent of the soul.
Porphry in his CAVE OF THE NYMPHS
said that the Mithraic Mysteries were celebrated in caves,
where gates were marked at the four equinoctial and solstitial points
of the zodiac; and the seven planetary spheres were represented,
which the souls had to traverse in descending from the heaven
of the fixed stars to the elements that envelop the earth; and
seven gates were marked, one for each planet, through which
they passed, in descending, or ascending.
Origen quoted Celsus as saying that the symbolic image of the passage
of the souls among the stars, used in the Mithraic Mysteries, was a
ladder reaching from earth to Heaven, and divided into seven steps or
stages, to each of which was a gate, and at the summit an eighth one,
that of the fixed stars.
In his book, "The Mysteries of Mithra", Cumont said:
"The heavens were divided into seven spheres, each of which was
conjoined with a planet. A sort of ladder, composed of eight
superimposed gates, the first seven of which were constructed of
different metals, was the symbolic suggestion in the temples, of the
road to be followed to reach the supreme region of the fixed stars. To
pass from one story to the next, each time the wayfarer had to enter
a gate guarded by an angel of Ormazd. The initiates alone, to whom
the appropriate formulas had been taught, knew how to appease these
inexorable guardians. As the soul traversed these different zones,
it rid itself, as one would of garments, of the passions and
faculties that it had received in its descent to the earth.
It abandoned to the Moon its vital and nutritive energy, to
Mercury its intellectual capacities, to Mars its love of war, to
Jupiter its ambitious dreams, to Saturn its inclinations. It was
naked, stripped of every vice and every sensibility, an essence
supreme, and in the eternal light that bathed the gods,
beautitude without end."