Tuesday, October 16, 2007



BY ELIZA BURT GAMBLE Author of "The Evolution of Woman"
Much of the material for this volume was collected during the
time that I was preparing for the press the Evolution of Woman,
or while searching for data bearing on the subject of
sex-specialization. While preparing that book for publication,
it was my intention to include within it this branch of my
investigation, but wishing to obtain certain facts relative to
the foundations of religious belief and worship which were not
accessible at that time, and knowing that considerable labor and
patience would be required in securing these facts, I decided to
publish the first part of the work, withholding for the time
being that portion of it pertaining especially to the development
of the God-idea.
As mankind construct their own gods, or as the prevailing ideas
of the unknowable reflect the inner consciousness of human
beings, a trustworthy history of the growth of religions must
correspond to the processes involved in the mental, moral, and
social development of the individual and the nation.
By means of data brought forward in these later times relative to
the growth of the God-idea, it is observed that an independent
chain of evidence has been produced in support of the facts
recently set forth bearing upon the development of the two
diverging lines of sexual demarcation. In other words, it has
been found that sex is the fundamental fact not only in the
operations of Nature but in the construction of a god.
In the Evolution of Woman it has been shown that the peculiar
inheritance of the two sexes, female and male, is the result of
the bias given to these separate lines of development during the
earliest periods of sex-differentiation; and, as this division of
labor was a necessary step in the evolutionary processes, the
rate of progress depended largely on the subsequent adjustment of
these two primary elements or forces. A comprehensive study of
prehistoric records shows that in an earlier age of existence
upon the earth, at a time when woman's influence was in the
ascendancy over that of man, human energy was directed by the
altruistic characters which originated in and have been
transmitted through the female; but after the decline of woman's
power, all human institutions, customs, forms, and habits of
thought are seen to reflect the egoistic qualities acquired by
the male.
Nowhere is the influence of sex more plainly manifested than in
the formulation of religious conceptions and creeds. With the
rise of male power and dominion, and the corresponding repression
of the natural female instincts, the principles which originally
constituted the God-idea gradually gave place to a Deity better
suited to the peculiar bias which had been given to the male
organism. An anthropomorphic god like that of the Jews--a god
whose chief attributes are power and virile might--could have had
its origin only under a system of masculine rule.
Religion is especially liable to reflect the vagaries and
weaknesses of human nature; and, as the forms and habits of
thought connected with worship take a firmer hold on the mental
constitution than do those belonging to any other department of
human experience, religious conceptions should be subjected to
frequent and careful examination in order to perceive, if
possible, the extent to which we are holding on to ideas which
are unsuited to existing conditions.
In an age when every branch of inquiry is being subjected to
reasonable criticism, it would seem that the origin and growth of
religion should be investigated from beneath the surface, and
that all the facts bearing upon it should be brought forward as a
contribution to our fund of general information. As well might
we hope to gain a complete knowledge of human history by studying
only the present aspect of society, as to expect to reach
reasonable conclusions respecting the prevailing God-idea by
investigating the various creeds and dogmas of existing faiths.
The object of this volume is not only to furnish a brief outline
of religious growth, but to show the effect which each of the two
forces, female and male, has had on the development of our
present God- idea, which investigation serves to accentuate the
conclusions arrived at in the Evolution of Woman relative to the
inheritance of each of the two lines of sexual demarcation.
Through a study of the primitive god-idea as manifested in
monumental records in various parts of the world; through
scientific investigation into the early religious conceptions of
mankind as expressed by symbols which appear in the architecture
and decorations of sacred edifices and shrines; by means of a
careful examination of ancient holy objects and places still
extant in every quarter of the globe, and through the study of
antique art, it is not unlikely that a line of investigation has
been marked out whereby a tolerably correct knowledge of the
processes involved in our present religious systems may be
obtained. The numberless figures and sacred emblems which appear
carved in imperishable stone in the earliest cave temples; the
huge towers, monoliths, and rocking stones found in nearly every
country of the globe, and which are known to be closely connected
with primitive belief and worship, and the records found on
tablets which are being unearthed in various parts of the world,
are, with the unravelling of extinct tongues, proving an almost
inexhaustible source for obtaining information bearing upon the
early history of the human race, and, together, furnish
indisputable evidence of the origin, development, and unity of
religious faiths.
By comparing the languages used by the earlier races to express
their religious conceptions; by observing the similarity in the
mythoses and sacred appellations among all tribe and nations, an
through the discovery of the fact that the legends extant in the
various countries of the globe are identical, or have the same
foundation, it is probable that a clue has already been obtained
whereby an outline of the religious history of the human family
from a period even as remote as the "first dispersion," or from a
time when one race comprehended the entire population of the
globe, maybe traced. Humboldt in his Researches observes: "In
every part of the globe, on the ridge of the Cordilleras as well
as in the Isle of Samothrace, in the Aegean Sea, fragments of
primitive languages are preserved in religious rites."
Regarding the identity of the fundamental ideas contained in the
various systems of religion, both past and present, Hargrave
Jennings, in referring to a parallel drawn by Sir William Jones,
between the deities of Meru and Olympus, observes:
"All our speculations tend to the same conclusions. One day it
is a discovery of cinerary vases, the next, it is etymological
research; yet again it is ethnological investigation, and the day
after, it is the publication of unsuspected tales from the Norse;
but all go to heap up proof of our consanguinity with the peoples
of history--and of an original general belief, we might add."
That the religious systems of India and Egypt were originally the
same, there can be at the present time no reasonable doubt. The
fact noted by various writers, of the British Sepoys, who, on
their overland route from India, upon beholding the ruins of
Dendera, prostrated themselves before the remains of the ancient
temples and offered adoration to them, proves the identity of
Indian and Egyptian deities. These foreign devotees, being asked
to explain the reason of their strange conduct declared that they
"saw sculptured before them the gods of their country."
Upon the subject of the identity of Eastern religions, Wilford
remarks that one and the same code both of theology and of
fabulous history, has been received through a range or belt about
forty degrees broad across the old continent, in a southeast and
northwest direction from the eastern shores of the Malaga
peninsula to the western extremity of the British Isles, that,
through this immense range the same religious notions reappear in
various places under various modifications, as might be expected;
and that there is not a greater difference between the tenets and
worship of the Hindoos and the Greeks than exists between the
churches of Home and Geneva.
Concerning the universality of certain religious beliefs and
opinions, Faber, commenting upon the above statement of Wilford,
observes that, immense as is this territorial range, it is by far
too limited to include the entire phenomenon, that the
"applies with equal propriety to the entire habitable globe; for
the arbitrary rites and opinions of every pagan nation bear so
close a resemblance to each other, that such a coincidence can
only have been produced by their having had a common origin.
Barbarism itself has not been able to efface the strong primeval
impression. Vestiges of the ancient general system may be traced
in the recently discovered islands in the Pacific Ocean; and,
when the American world was first opened to the hardy adventurers
of Europe, its inhabitants from north to south venerated, with
kindred ceremonies and kindred notions, the gods of Egypt and
Hindostan, of Greece and Italy, of Phoenicia and Britain."[1]
[1] Pagan Idolatry, book i., ch. i.
"Though each religion has its own peculiar growth, the seed from
which they spring is everywhere the same."[2]
[2] Max Muller, Origin and Growth of Religion, p. 48.
The question as to whether the identity of conception and the
similarity in detail observed in religious rites, ceremonies, and
symbols in the various countries of the globe are due to the
universal law of unity which governs human development, or
whether, through the dispersion of one original people, the early
conceptions of a Deity were spread broadcast over the entire
earth, is perhaps not settled; yet, from the facts which have
been brought forward during the last century, the latter theory
seems altogether probable, such divergence in religious ideas as
is observed among the various peoples of the earth being
attributable to variations in temperament caused by changed
conditions of life. In other words, the divergence in the course
of religious development has doubtless been due to environment.
In an attempt to understand the history of the growth of the
god-idea, the fact should be borne in mind that, from the
earliest conception of a creative force in the animal and
vegetable world to the latest development in theological
speculation, there has never been what might consistently be
termed a new religion. On the contrary, religion like everything
else is subject to the law of growth; therefore the faiths of
to-day are the legitimate result, or outcome, of the primary idea
of a Deity developed in accordance with the laws governing the
peculiar instincts which have been in the ascendancy during the
life of mankind on the earth.
The erroneous impression which under a belief in the unknown has
come to prevail, namely, that the moral law is the result of
religion; or, in other words, that the human conscience is in
some manner dependent on supernaturalism for its origin and
maintenance, is, with a better and clearer understanding of the
past history of the development of the human race, being
gradually dispelled. On one point we may reasonably rest assured
that the knowledge of right and wrong and our sense of justice
and right-living have been developed quite independently of all
religious beliefs. The moral law embodied in the golden rule is
not an outgrowth of mysticism, or of man's notions of the
unknowable; but, on the contrary, is the result of experience,
and was formulated in response to a recognized law of human
necessity,--a law which involves the fundamental principle of
progress. The history of human development shows conclusively
that mankind GREW into the recognition of the moral law, that
through sympathy, or a desire for the welfare of others,--a
character which had its root in maternal affection,--conscience
and the moral sense were evolved.
While the moral law and the conscience may not be accounted as in
any sense the result of man's ideas concerning the unknowable,
neither can the errors and weaknesses developed in human nature
be regarded as the result of religion. Although the sexual
excesses which during three or four thousand years were practiced
as sacred rites, and treated as part and parcel of religion in
various parts of the world, have had the effect to stimulate and
strengthen the animal nature in man, yet these rites may not be
accounted as the primary cause of the supremacy of the lower
nature over the higher faculties. On the contrary, the impulse
which has been termed religion, with all the vagaries which its
history presents, is to be regarded more as an effect than as a
cause. The stage of a nation's development regulates its
religion. Man creates his own gods; they are powerless to change
As written history records only those events in human experience
which belong to a comparatively recent period of man's existence,
and as the primitive conceptions of a Deity lie buried beneath
ages of corruption, glimpses of the earlier faiths of mankind, as
has already been stated, must be looked for in the traditions,
monuments, and languages of extinct races.
In reviewing this matter we shall doubtless observe the fact that
if the stage of a nation's growth is indicated by its religious
conceptions, and if remnants of religious beliefs are everywhere
present in the languages, traditions, and monuments of the past
through a careful study of these subjects we may expect to gain a
tolerably correct understanding not alone of the growth of the
god-idea but of the stage of development reached by the nations
which existed prior to the beginning of the historic age. We
shall be enabled also to perceive whether or not the course of
human development during the intervening ages has been
continuous, or whether, for some cause hitherto unexplained, true
progress throughout a portion of this time has been arrested,
thus producing a backward movement, or degeneracy.
If we would unravel the mysteries involved in present religious
faiths, we should begin not by attempting to analyze or explain
any existing system or systems of belief and worship. Such a
course is likely to end not only in confusion and in a subsequent
denial of the existence of the religious nature in mankind, but
is liable, also, to create an aversion for and a distrust of the
entire subject of religious experience. In view of this fact it
would appear to be not only useless but exceedingly unwise to
spend one's time in attempting to gain a knowledge of this
subject simply by studying the later developments in its history.
If we are really desirous of obtaining information regarding
present religious phenomena, it is plain that we should adopt the
scientific method and turn our attention to the remote past,
where, by careful and systematic investigation, we are enabled to
perceive the earliest conception of a creative force and the
fundamental basis of all religious systems, from which may be
traced the gradual development of the god-idea.
In the study of primitive religion, the analogy existing between
the growth of the god-idea and the development of the human race,
and especially of the two sex-principles, is everywhere clearly
"Religion is to be found alone with its justification and
explanation in the relations of the sexes. There and therein
[3] Hargrave Jennings, Phallicism.
As the conception of a deity originated in sex, or in the
creative agencies female and male which animate Nature, we may
reasonably expect to find, in the history of the development of
the two sex-principles and in the notions entertained concerning
them throughout past ages, a tolerably correct account of the
growth of the god-idea. We shall perceive that during an earlier
age of human existence, not only were the reproductive powers
throughout Nature, and especially in human beings and in animals,
venerated as the Creator, but we shall find also that the
prevailing ideas relative to the importance of either sex in the
office of reproduction decided the sex of this universal creative
force. We shall observe also that the ideas of a god have always
corresponded with the current opinions regarding the importance
of either sex in human society. In other words, so long as
female power and influence were in the ascendency, the creative
force was regarded as embodying the principles of the female
nature; later, however, when woman's power waned, and the
supremacy of man was gained, the god-idea began gradually to
assume the male characters and attributes.
Through scientific research the fact has been observed that, for
ages after life appeared on the earth, the male had no separate
existence; that the two sex-principles, the sperm and the germ,
were contained within one and the same individual. Through the
processes of differentiation, however, these elements became
detached, and with the separation of the male from the female,
the reproductive functions were henceforth confided to two
separate individuals.
As originally, throughout Nature, the female was the visible
organic unit within whom was contained the exclusive creative
power, and as throughout the earlier ages of life on the earth
she comprehended the male, it is not perhaps singular that, even
after the appearance of mankind on the earth, the greater
importance of the mother element in human society should have
been recognized; nor, as the power to bring forth coupled with
perceptive wisdom originally constituted the Creator, that the
god-idea should have been female instead of male.
From the facts to be observed in relation to this subject, it is
altogether probable that for ages the generating principle
throughout Nature was venerated as female; but with that increase
of knowledge which was the result of observation and experience,
juster or more correct ideas came to prevail, and subsequently
the great fructifying energy throughout the universe came to be
regarded as a dual indivisible force--female and male. This
force, or agency, constituted one God, which, as woman's
functions in those ages were accounted of more importance than
those of man, was oftener worshipped under the form of a female
Neith, Minerva, Athene, and Cybele, the most important deities of
their respective countries, were adored as Perceptive Wisdom, or
Light, while Ceres and others represented Fertility. With the
incoming of male dominion and supremacy, however, we observe the
desire to annul the importance of the female and to enthrone one
all-powerful male god whose chief attributes were power and
Notwithstanding the efforts which during the historic period have
been put forward to magnify the importance of the male both in
human affairs and in the god-idea, still, no one, I think, can
study the mythologies and traditions of the nations of antiquity
without being impressed with the prominence given to the female
element, and the deeper the study the stronger will this
impression grow.
During a certain stage of human development, religion was but a
recognition of and a reliance upon the vivifying or fructifying
forces throughout Nature, and in the earlier ages of man's
career, worship consisted for the most part in the celebration of
festivals at stated seasons of the year, notably during seed-time
and harvest, to commemorate the benefits derived from the grain
field and vineyard.
Doubtless the first deified object was Gaia, the Earth. As
within the bosom of the earth was supposed to reside the
fructifying, life-giving power, and as from it were received all
the bounties of life, it was female. It was the Universal
Mother, and to her as to no other divinity worshipped by mankind,
was offered a spontaneity of devotion and a willing
acknowledgment of dependence. Thus far in the history of mankind
no temples dedicated to an undefined and undefinable God had been
raised. The children of Mother Earth met in the open air,
without the precincts of any man-made shrine, and under the
aerial canopy of heaven, acknowledged the bounties of the great
Deity and their dependence upon her gifts. She was a beneficent
and all-wise God, a tender and loving parent--a mother, who
demanded no bleeding sacrifice to reconcile her to her children.
The ceremonies observed at these festive seasons consisted for
the most part in merry-making and in general thanksgiving, in
which the gratitude of the worshippers found expression in song
and dance, and in invocations to their Deity for a return or
continuance of her gifts.
Subsequently, through the awe and reverence inspired by the
mysteries involved in birth and life, the adoration of the
creative principles in vegetable existence became supplemented by
the worship of the creative functions in human beings and in
animals. The earth, including the power inherent in it by which
the continuity of existence is maintained, and by which new forms
are continuously called into life, embodied the idea of God; and,
as this inner force was regarded as inherent in matter, or as a
manifestation of it, in process of time earth and the heavens,
body and spirit, came to be worshipped under the form of a mother
and her child, this figure being the highest expression of a
Creator which the human mind was able to conceive. Not only did
this emblem represent fertility, or the fecundating energies of
Nature, but with the power to create were combined or correlated
all the mental qualities and attributes of the two sexes. In
fact the whole universe was contained in the Mother idea--the
child, which was sometimes female, sometimes male, being a scion
or offshoot from the eternal or universal unit.
Underlying all ancient mythologies may be observed the idea that
the earth, from which all things proceed, is female. Even in the
mythology of the Finns, Lapps, and Esths, Mother Earth is the
divinity adored. Tylor calls attention to the same idea in the
mythology of England,
"from the days when the Anglo-Saxon called upon the Earth, 'Hal
wes thu folde fira modor' (Hail, thou Earth, men's mother), to
the time when mediaeval Englishmen made a riddle of her asking
'Who is Adam's mother?' and poetry continued what mythology was
letting fall, when Milton's Archangel promised Adam a life to
'. . . till like ripe fruit thou drop
Into thy Mother's lap.' "[4]
[4] Primitive Culture, vol. i., p. 295.
In the old religion the sky was the husband of the earth and the
earth was mother of all the gods.[5] In the traditions of past
ages the fact is clearly perceived that there was a time when the
mother was not only the one recognized parent on earth, but that
the female principle was worshipped as the more important
creative force throughout Nature.
[5] Max Muller, Origin and Growth of Religion, p. 279.
Doubtless the worship of the female energy prevailed under the
matriarchal system, and was practised at a time when women were
the recognized heads of families and when they were regarded as
the more important factors in human society. The fact has been
shown in a previous work that after women began to leave their
homes at marriage, and after property, especially land, had
fallen under the supervision and control of men, the latter, as
they manipulated all the necessaries of life and the means of
supplying them, began to regard themselves as superior beings,
and later, to claim that as a factor in reproduction, or
creation, the male was the more important. With this change the
ideas of a Deity also began to undergo a modification. The dual
principle necessary to creation, and which had hitherto been
worshipped as an indivisible unity, began gradually to separate
into its individual elements, the male representing spirit, the
moving or forming force in the generative processes, the female
being matter--the instrument through which spirit works. Spirit
which is eternal had produced matter which is destructible. The
fact will be observed that this doctrine prevails to a greater or
less extent in the theologies of the present time.
A little observation and reflection will show us that during this
change in the ideas relative to a creative principle, or God,
descent and the rights of succession which had hitherto been
reckoned through the mother were changed from the female to the
male line, the father having in the meantime become the only
recognized parent. In the Eumenides of Aeschylus, the plea of
Orestes in extenuation of his crime is that he is not of kin to
his mother. Euripides, also, puts into the mouth of Apollo the
same physiological notion, that she who bears the child is only
its nurse. The Hindoo Code of Menu, which, however, since its
earliest conception, has undergone numberless mutilations to suit
the purposes of the priests, declares that "the mother is but the
field which brings forth the plant according to whatsoever seed
is sown."
Although, through the accumulation of property in masses and the
capture of women for wives, men had succeeded in gaining the
ascendancy, and although the doctrine had been propounded that
the father is the only parent, thereby reversing the established
manner of reckoning descent, still, as we shall hereafter
observe, thousands of years were required to eliminate the female
element from the god-idea.
We must not lose sight of the fact that human society was first
organized and held together by means of the gens, at the head of
which was a woman. The several members of this organization were
but parts of one body cemented together by the pure principle of
maternity, the chief duty of these members being to defend and
protect each other if needs be with their life blood. The fact
has been observed, in an earlier work, that only through the gens
was the organization of society possible. Without it mankind
could have accomplished nothing toward its own advancement.
Thus, throughout the earlier ages of human existence, at a time
when mankind lived nearer to Nature and before individual wealth
and the stimulation of evil passions had engendered superstition,
selfishness, and distrust, the maternal element constituted not
only the binding and preserving principle in human society, but,
together with the power to bring forth, constituted also the
god-idea, which idea, as has already been observed, at a certain
stage in the history of the race was portrayed by a female figure
with a child in her arms.
From all sources of information at hand are to be derived
evidences of the fact that the earliest religion of which we have
any account was pure Nature-worship, that whatever at any given
time might have been the object adored, whether it were the
earth, a tree, water, or the sun, it was simply as an emblem of
the great energizing agency in Nature. The moving or forming
force in the universe constituted the god-idea. The figure of a
mother with her child signified not only the power to bring
forth, but Perceptive Wisdom, or Light, as well.
As through a study of Comparative Ethnology, or through an
investigation into the customs, traditions, and mythoses of
extant races in the various stages of development, have been
discovered the beginnings of the religious idea and the mental
qualities which among primitive races prompted worship, so, also,
through extinct tongues and the symbolism used in religious rites
and ceremonies, many of the processes have been unearthed whereby
the original and beautiful conceptions of the Deity, and the
worship inspired by the operations of Nature, and especially the
creative functions in human beings gradually became obscured by
the grossest ideas and the vilest practices. The symbols which
appear in connection with early religious rites and ceremonies,
and under which are veiled the conceptions of a still earlier and
purer age, when compared with subsequently developed notions
relative to the same objects, indicate plainly the change which
has been wrought in the original ideas relative to the creative
functions, and furnish an index to the direction which human
development, or growth, has taken.
As the human race constructs its own gods, and as by the
conceptions involved in the deities worshipped at any given time
in the history of mankind we are able to form a correct estimate
of the character, temperament, and aspirations of the
worshippers, so the history of the gods of the race, as revealed
to us through the means of symbols, monumental records, and the
investigation of extinct tongues, proves that from a stage of
Nature worship and a pure and rational conception of the creative
forces in the universe, mankind, in course of time, degenerated
into mere devotees of sensual pleasure. With the corruption of
human nature and the decline of mental power which followed the
supremacy of the animal instincts, the earlier abstract idea of
God was gradually lost sight of, and man himself in the form of a
potentate or ruler, together with the various emblems of
virility, came to be worshipped as the Creator. From adorers of
an abstract creative principle, mankind had lapsed into
worshippers of the symbols under which this principle had been
Although at certain stages in the history of the human race the
evils, which as a result of the supremacy of the ruder elements
developed in mankind had befallen the race were lamented and
bewailed, they could not be suppressed. Man had become a lost
and ruined creature. The golden age had passed away.
When mankind first began to perceive the fact of an all-pervading
agency throughout Nature, by or through which everything is
produced, and when they began to speculate on the origin of life
and the final cause and destiny of things, it is not in the least
remarkable that various objects and elements, such as fire, air,
water, trees, etc., should in their turn have been venerated as
in some special manner embodying the divine essence. Neither is
it surprising although this universal agency was regarded as one,
or as a dual entity, they should have recognized its manifold
expressions or manifestations.
To primitive man, the visible sources whence proceeded his daily
sustenance doubtless constituted the first objects of his regard
and adoration. Hence, in addition to the homage paid to the
earth, in due course of time would be added the worship of trees,
upon which the early race was directly dependent for food. At a
time when the art of agriculture had not been attained, all such
trees as yielded their fruit for the support of the human race,
and which afforded to mankind pleasant beverages or cooling
shade, would come to be regarded as embodying the universal
beneficent principle--the great creating and preserving agency of
Nature, and therefore as proper objects of veneration.
According to the Phoenician theogony, "the first gods which were
worshipped by oblations and sacrifices were the fruits of the
earth, on which they and their descendants lived as their
forefathers had done."
Although, after the art of agriculture had been developed,
mankind was gradually relieved from its past dependence on the
tree as a means of support, it nevertheless continued to be
regarded with veneration as an emblem of creative power or of
productive energy.
Among the traditions and monuments of nearly every country of the
globe are to be found traces of a sacred tree--a Tree of Life.
In various countries there appear two traditional trees, the one
typical of the continuation of physical life, the other
representing spiritual life, or the life of the soul. After the
age of pure Nature-worship had passed, however, and serpent,
fire, and phallic faiths had been introduced, the original
signification of the tree, like that of all other religious
emblems, became considerably changed. Through its energies, or
life-giving properties, existence had long been maintained, and
for this reason, as has already been observed, it became an
object of veneration; but, after the reproductive power in man
had risen to the dignity of a supreme God, the tree, to the
masses of the people, became a symbol of the physical,
life-giving energy in mortals and in animals. In other words, it
became a phallic emblem representing the continuation of
existence, or the power to reproduce or continue life on the
earth. As a religious symbol it became the traditional Tree of
The tree, like nearly every other object in nature, was and still
is, in various parts of the world, either female or male, and all
ideas connected with it are sacred and closely interwoven with
The extent to which trees have been venerated in past ages seems
to be little understood, and there are doubtless few persons, at
the present time, who would willingly believe that all along the
religious stream, from its source to its latest developed
branches, are to be observed traces of this ancient worship,
which, in its earliest stages, was simply a recognition of
Nature's bounties.
Barlow, in his work on Symbolism, says that "the most generally
received symbol of life is a tree--as also the most appropriate."
Again the same writer observes: "Besides the monumental evidence
thus furnished of a sacred tree, or Tree of Life, there is an
historical and traditional evidence of the same thing, found in
the early literature of various nations, in the customs, and
popular usages."[6] As tree- and sun-worship, or the adoration of
Nature's processes, finally became interwoven with phallic
faiths, its history can be understood only after these later
developments in the religious stream have been examined, or after
the true significance of the serpent as a religious emblem, and
the various ideas connected with the traditional Tree of Life,
have been exposed.
[6] Essays on Symbolism, p. 84.
The palm, the pine, the oak, the banian, or bo, and many other
species of trees, have, at different times, and by various
nations, been invested with divine honors; but, in oriental
countries, by far the most sacred among them is the Ficus
Religiosa, or the holy bo tree of India. Something of the true
significance of the traditional Tree of Life may be observed in
the ideas connected with the worship of this emblem. The fig,
when planted with the palm, as it frequently is in the East, near
temples and holy shrines, is regarded as a peculiarly sacred
object. When entwining the palm, which is male, it is always
female; from their embrace Kalpia, or passion, is developed.
This union causes the continuation of existence and the
"revolutions of time." The whole constitutes the Tree of Life.
In Ceylon, there stands at the present time a tree which we are
told is still worshipped by every follower of Buddha. It is a
sacred bo, or Ficus Religiosa, which stands adjacent to an
ancient holy shrine known as the Brazen Monastery, now in ruins.
Of this tree Forlong remarks:
"Though now amidst ruins and wild forests, and although having
stood thus in solitary desolation for some 1500 years, yet there
it still grows, and is worshipped and deeply revered by more
millions of our race than any other god, prophet, or idol, which
the world has ever seen."[7]
[7] Rivers of Life, vol. i., p. 35.
This tree is sacred to Sakyu Mooni, is 2200 years old, and is
said to be a slip from a tree planted by Bood Gaya, one of the
three former Buddhas who, like Sakyu Mooni, visited Ceylon.
Under the parent of this tree the great prophet reposed after he
had attained perfect rest, or after he had overcome the flesh and
become Buddha. It was under a bo tree that Mai, Queen of Heaven,
brought him forth, and, in fact, very many of the most important
incidents of his life are closely connected with this sacred
In an allusion to the bo tree of Ceylon, a slip of which is said
to have been carried from India to that island by a certain
priestess in the year 307 B.C., Forlong observes:
"This wonderful idol has furnished shoots to half Asia, and every
shoot is trained as much as possible like the parent, and like
it, also, enclosed and tended. Men watch and listen for signs
and sounds from this holy tree just as the priests of Dodona did
beneath their rustling oaks, and, as many people, even of these
somewhat sceptical days, still do, beneath the pulpits of their
pope, priest, or other oracle."[8]
[8] Rivers of Life, vol. i., p, 36.
The sacred Ficus is worshipped in India and in many of the
Polynesian islands.
Regarding the palm, Inman assures us that it is emblematical of
the active male energy, or the continuation of existence.[9]
[9] Ancient Faiths Embodied in Ancient Names, vol. ii., p. 448.
Within the legends underlying the Jewish religion, it will be
remembered that the tree appears mysteriously connected with the
beginning of life and is interwoven with the first ideas of human
action and experience. The literal sense, however, of the
allegory in Genesis concerning the woman, the tree, and the
serpent, and its meaning as generally accepted by laymen and the
uneducated among the priesthood, has little in common with its
true significance as understood by the initiated.
In Vedic times, the home tree was worshipped as a god, and to the
exhilarating properties in its juice was ascribed that subtle
quality which was regarded as the life-giving, or creative,
energy supposed to reside in heat, and which was closely
connected with passion or procreative energy. This quality was
their Bacchus, Dionysos, or god-idea--the creator not alone of
physical existence, but of good and evil as well. It was the
Destroyer, yet the Regenerator, of life.
Of the Zoroastrian home, or sacred tree, which by the Persians
was worshipped for thousands of years, Layard remarks: "The plant
or its product was called the mystical body of God, the living
water or food of eternal life, when duly consecrated and
administered according to Zoroastrian rites." It has been
suggested, and not without reason, that to this idea of the
ancients, respecting the sacred character of the properties of
the home juice, may be traced the "origin of the celebration of
Jewish holy or paschal suppers and other eucharistic rites."
Although by the ancients water was sometimes regarded as the
original principle, later, wine, or the intoxicating quality
within it, came to constitute the god-idea. It was spirit, while
water was matter; hence, in the sacraments, water and wine were
commingled, wine representing the essence or blood of God; water,
at the same time, standing for the people. Cyprian, the bishop
martyr, while contending for the use of wine in the Sacrament of
the Lord's Supper, makes use of the following argument:
"The Holy Spirit also is not silent in the Psalms on the
sacrament of this thing, when He makes mention of the Lord's Cup,
and says 'Thy intoxicating cup how excellent it is!' Now the cup
which intoxicates is assuredly mingled with wine, for water
cannot intoxicate anybody. And the Cup of the Lord in such wise
inebriates, as Noe also was intoxicated drinking wine in Genesis.
. . . For because Christ bore us all, in that he also bore our
sins, we see that in the water is understood the people, but in
the wine is showed the blood of Christ. . . . Thus,
therefore, in consecrating the Cup of the Lord, water alone
cannot be offered, even as wine alone cannot be offered. For if
anyone offer wine only, the blood of Christ is dissociated from
us; but if the water be alone, the people are dissociated from
[10] Epistles of Cyprian, vol. i., pp. 215-217.
The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, at which wine is mysteriously
converted into the essence of Deity, or into the blood of Christ,
is without doubt a relic of the idea once entertained regarding
the homa tree. Certain writers entertain the opinion that from
the use of the sacred homa juice have arisen various religious
practices and rites, such for instance as offering oblations to
the gods, anointing holy stones, and pouring wine on sacred
hills, also the custom of pledging oaths over glasses of wine.
The May pole, a decidedly phallic emblem, whose festivals until a
very recent time were celebrated in England by the old as well as
the young, was usually if not always sprinkled with wine. From
the accounts which we have of this sacred emblem and its
festival, it seems that no royal edict nor priestly denunciation
was sufficient to expel it from the country.
According to Dr. Stevenson, the festival of Holi or the worship
of Holika Devata, in the island of Ceylon, "has a close
resemblance to the English festival of the May-pole, which
originated in a religious ceremony or festival of the Cushites
(called Phoenicians) who anciently occupied Western Europe."[11]
[11] Quoted by Baldwin, Prehistoric Nations, p. 223.
The ash is the Scandinavian Tree of Life, and, like the sacred
trees of all nations, is emblematical of the continuation of
existence. This tree has a triple root, which peculiarity
doubtless accounts for its sacred character. It is both female
and male, and is said to be regarded as a "sort of Logos or
Wisdom." It is the first emanation from the Deity, and yet a
Trinity in Unity. To insult or injure this tree was sacrilege,
to cut it down was an offense punishable with death.
In the old Egyptian and Zoroastrian story, appear the
descriptions of two Trees of Life, also a Tree of Knowledge. In
the accounts given of these trees, the Ficus, the female Tree of
Life, represents the life of the soul, while the palm, the male
Tree of Life, is that which gives physical life, which also is
the true significance of the word "lord." When, however, either
of these trees stood alone, or unaccompanied by its counterpart,
by it both of the creative principles were understood. By these
ideas is suggested the thought which among a certain school of
psychologists of the present century seems to be gaining ground,
namely: that man is a dual entity, or, in other words, that he
has a subjective mind and an objective self, which so long as
this life endures must co-operate or work together.
In the following descriptions of Egyptian emblems, will be
perceived some of the changes which finally took place relative
to the idea of sex in the god-idea.
In the museum of Egyptian antiquities in Berlin is a sepulchral
tablet representing the Tree of Life. This emblem figures the
trunk of a tree, from the top of which emerges the bust of a
woman--Netpe. She is the goddess of heavenly existence, and is
administering to the deceased the water and the bread of life,
the latter of which is represented by a substance in the form of
cakes or rolls. The time at which this tablet was found is not
known, but it is supposed to belong to the period of the XIXth
dynasty, or about the time of Rameses II., 1400 years B.C.
There is also in the Berlin museum another representation of the
Egyptian Tree of Life, in which the trunk has given place to the
entire body of a woman. This, also, is Netpe, who is still
spiritual wisdom or the maternal principle. We are informed by
Forlong that Diana was worshipped by the Amazons under a sacred
tree.[12] From this symbol the tree, which grew first into the
figure of a divine woman, and later assumed the form of a divine
man, arose the emblem of the cross.
[12] Rivers of Life, vol. i., p. 70.
On the Nineveh tablets is pictured a Tree of Life which is
surrounded by winged spirits, bearing in their hands the pine
cone, a symbol indicating life, and which is said to have the
same significance as the crux-ansata, or cross, among the
In later ages, the Tree of Life, i. e., the divine man, or
cross, or both together, furnish immortal food to those who lay
hold upon them, exactly in the same manner as did Netpe, the
goddess of wisdom, or spiritual life, in former times. According
to the testimony of Barlow, this is the subject "most frequently
symbolized on early Christian sepulchral tablets and
monuments."[13] Christ's body was the "bread of life," and his
blood was the "wine from the Tree of Life," of which to partake
was life eternal. The cross, as in earlier religions,
represented completeness of life. The jambu tree, the Buddhist
god-tree, is in the shape of a cross.[14]
[13] Essays on Symbolism, p. 74.
[14] Wilford, Asiatic Researches.
Among the Kelti a tall oak was not only a symbol of the Deity,
but it was Jupiter himself, while the earth from which it sprang
was the Great Mother. Throughout Europe, in all ages, the oak
has received divine honors. The fact that under its branches
Jew, Pagan, and Christian alike swore their most solemn oaths,
shows that its veneration was not confined to any particular
nation or locality.
The sacredness of the oak among the Druids is well attested by
all writers who have dealt with this interesting people. In Rome
its branches formed the badge of victory worn by conquering
heroes, this emblem being the highest mark of distinction which
could be conferred upon them.
Forlong assures us that the oak was even more worshipped at the
West than was the sacred Ficus at the East. Like it, the wood of
the oak must be used
"to call down the sacred fire from Heaven and gladden in the yule
(Suiel or Seul) log of Christmas-tide even Christian fires, as
well as annually renew with fire direct from Ba-al, on Beltine
day, the sacred flame on every public and private hearth, and
this from the temples of Meroe on the Nile, to the farthest icy
forests and mountains of the Sklavonian."[15]
[15] Faiths of Man in All Lands, vol. i., p. 68.
Among the Druids, the mistletoe was also sacred especially when
entwining the oak. Together they represented the Tree of Life,
or the two generating agencies throughout Nature. Of the species
of it which grows on the oak, Borlaise says that they deified the
mistletoe and were not to look upon it but in the most devout and
reverential manner: "When the end of the year approached, they
marched with great solemnity to gather the mistletoe of the oak
in order to present it to Jupiter, inviting all the world to
assist in the ceremony."[16]
[16] Borlaise.
According to the Latin writer Pliny, the "Druids have nothing
more sacred than the mistletoe and the tree on which it grows,
provided it be an oak." This plant, which is called All Heal,
although sought after with the greatest religious ardor, is
seldom found, but should the people who go forth at Christmas
time in large numbers succeed in finding it they immediately set
about preparing feasts under the tree upon which it grows; at the
same time, in the most solemn manner, two white bulls are brought
forth to be sacrificed. After the feast has been prepared and
the sacrifice made ready, the priest ascends the tree and with a
golden pruning-knife cuts the sacred branches of the mistletoe,
dropping them into a white cloth prepared for the occasion. The
bulls are then sacrificed and a prayer offered that "God would
render his own gift prosperous to those on whom he has bestowed
it." They believed that administered in a potion it would impart
fecundity to any barren animal, and that it was a remedy against
all kinds of poison. The branches of the mistletoe were then
distributed among the faithful, each cherishing the token as the
most sacred emblem of his faith. It is thought that the
Christmas tree is a remnant of this custom.
Although the Christbaum of the Germans, the Yggdrasill of the
Scandinavians, and the Christmas tree of the English speaking
nations are still regarded as belonging exclusively to
Christianity, their birthplace was the far East, and their origin
long anterior to our present era. This subject will be referred
to later in these pages. The palm, which in course of time
became the most sacred tree of Egypt, is said to have put forth a
shoot every month during the year. At Christmas tide, or at the
winter solstice, a branch from this tree was used as a symbol of
the renewal of time or of the birth of the New Year.
On the Zodiac of Dendera, preserved in the National Library at
Paris, are two trees, the one representing the East, or India and
China, the other, the West, or Egypt. The former of these trees
is putting forth a pair of leaves and is topped by the emblems of
Siva, emblems which indicate the fructifying powers of Nature,
whilst the Egyptian sacred tree, which is surmounted by the
ostrich plume, the emblem of truth, is indicative of Light,
Intelligence, or the life of the soul. In a discourse delivered
by Dr. Stukeley in 1760, attention was directed to the grove of
Abraham as "that famous oak grove of Beersheba, planted by the
illustrious prophet and first Druid--Abraham; and from whom our
celebrated British Druids came, who were of the same patriarchal
reformed religion, and brought the use of sacred groves to
[17] Barlow, Symbolism, p. 98.
The fact has been ascertained that in Arabia, in very ancient
times, there was a goddess named Azra who was worshipped under
the form of a tree called Samurch, and that in Yemen tree-worship
still prevails. To the date is ascribed divine honors. This
tree is said to have its regular priests, services, rites, and
festivals, and is as zealously worshipped as are the gods of any
other country. We are not informed as to whether the Jewish Tree
of Life was borrowed from the Chaldeans or the Egyptians, but, as
the significance is the same in all countries, it is of little
consequence which furnished a copy for the writer in Genesis.
In Dr. Inman's Ancient Faiths, is a drawing from the original,
by Colonel Coombs, of the "Temptation," or of the ancient
tree-and-serpent myth in Genesis. This drawing, in which it is
observed that the Jewish idea of woman as tempter is reversed,
was copied from the inner walls of a cave in Southern India. The
picture is said to be a faithful representation of the version of
the story as accepted in the East.
Of the myrtle, Payne Knight says that it "was a symbol both of
Venus and Neptune, the male and female personifications of the
productive powers of the waters, which appear to have been
occasionally employed in the same sense as the fig and fig leaf."
The same writer refers to the fact that instead of beads, wreaths
of foliage, generally of laurel, olive, myrtle, ivy, or oak,
appear upon coins; sometimes encircling the symbolical figures,
and sometimes as chaplets on their heads. According to Strabo,
each of these is sacred to some particular personification of the
Deity, and "significant of some particular attribute, and in
general, all evergreens were Dionysiac plants, that is, symbols
of the generative power, signifying perpetuity of youth and
vigor." The crowns of laurel, olive, etc., with which the
victors in the Roman triumphs and Grecian games were honored,
were emblems of immortality, and not merely transitory marks of
occasional distinction.[18]
[18] Payne Knight, Symbolism of Ancient Art. We are informed
that this book was never sold, but only given away. Although a
copy of it was formerly in the British Museum, care was taken by
the trustees to keep it out of the catalogues.
The tree and serpent, according to Ferguson, are symbolized in
all religious systems which the world has ever known. The two
together are typical of the processes of reproduction or
generation. They also symbolize good and evil and the cause
which underlies the decline of virtue.
Among the numberless fruits which from time to time have been
regarded as divine emblems, the principal are perhaps the fig,
the pomegranate, the mandrake, the almond, and the olive. The
peculiarly sacred character which we find attached to the fig
ceases to be a mystery so soon as we remember that the organs of
generation, male and female, had, in process of time, come to be
objects of worship and that the fig was the emblem of the latter.
A basket of this fruit is said to have been the most acceptable
offering to the god Bacchus, and therefore, by his devotees, was
regarded as the most sacred symbol. The favorite material for
phallic devices was the wood of the sacred fig, for it was by
rubbing together pieces of it that holy fire was supposed to be
drawn from heaven. By holy fire, however, was meant not so much
the natural visible element which was kindled, as that subtle
substance contained in fire or heat which was supposed to contain
the life principle, and which was sent in response to the
cravings of pious devotees for procreative energy, which
blessing, among various peoples, notably the Jews, was indicative
of special divine favor.
By pagans, Jews, and Christians, the pomegranate has long been
regarded as a sacred emblem. It is a symbol of reproductive
energy. Representations of it were embroidered on the Ephod, and
Solomon's Temple is reported as having been literally covered
with decorations, in which, among the devices noticed, this
particular fruit appears the most conspicuous. Its significance,
as revealed by Inman and other writers, is too gross to be set
forth in these pages.
Among the most sacred plants or flowers were the lotus and the
fleur de lis, both of which were venerated because of some real
or fancied organic sexual peculiarity. The lotus is adored as
the female principle throughout Nature, or as the "womb of all
creation," and is sacred throughout oriental countries. It is
said to be androgynous or hermaphrodite--hence its peculiarly
sacred character.
It has long been thought that this lily is produced without the
aid of the male pollen, hence it would seem to be an appropriate
emblem for that ancient sect which worshipped the female as the
more important creative energy.
Of the lotus, Inman remarks: "Amongst fourteen kinds of food and
flowers presented to the Sanskrit God Anata, the lotus only is
indispensable." This emblem, as we have seen, was the symbol of
the Great Mother, and we are assured that it was "little less
sacred than the Queen of Heaven herself."
Regarding the lotus and its universal significance as a religious
emblem, Payne Knight says:
"The lotus is the Nelumbo of Linnaeus. This plant grows in the
water, and amongst its broad leaves puts forth a flower, in the
center of which is formed the seed vessel, shaped like a bell or
inverted cone, and punctured on the top with little cavities or
cells, in which the seeds grow. The orifices of these cells
being too small to let the seeds drop out when ripe, they shoot
forth into new plants, in the places where they were formed, the
bulb of the vessel serving as a matrix to nourish them until they
acquire such a degree of magnitude as to burst it open and
release themselves, after which, like other aquatic weeds, they
take root wherever the current deposits them. This plant,
therefore, being thus productive of itself, and vegetating from
its own matrix, without being fostered in the earth, was
naturally adopted as the symbol of the productive power of the
waters, upon which the creative spirit of the Creator operated in
giving life and vegetation to matter. We accordingly find it
employed in every part of the Northern hemisphere, where the
symbolical religion improperly called idolatry does or did
prevail. The sacred images of the Tartars, Japanese, and Indians
are almost all placed upon it, of which numerous instances occur
in the publication of Kaempfer, Sonnerat, etc: The Brama of India
is represented sitting upon a lotus throne, and the figures upon
the Isaic table hold the stem of this plant, surmounted by the
seed vessel in one hand, and the cross representing the male
organs in the other: thus signifying the universal power, both
active and passive, attributed to that goddess."[19]
[19] Symbolism of Ancient Art.
The lotus is the most sacred and the most significant symbol
connected with the sacred mysteries of the East. Upon this
subject, Maurice observes that there is no plant which has
received such a degree of honor as has the lotus. It was the
consecrated symbol of the Great Mother who had brought forth the
fecundative energies, female and male. Not only throughout the
Northern hemisphere was it everywhere held in profound
veneration, but among the modern Egyptians it is still worshipped
as symbolical of the Great First Cause. The lotus was the emblem
venerated in the solemn celebration of the Mysteries of Eleusis
in Greece and the Phiditia in Carthage.
In referring to the degree of homage paid to the lotus by the
ancients, Higgins says: "And we shall find in the sequel that it
still continues to receive the respect, if not the adoration, of
a great part of the Christian world, unconscious, perhaps, of the
original reason of their conduct." It is a significant fact that
in nearly all the sacred paintings of the Christians in the
galleries throughout Europe, especially those of the
Annunciation, a lily is always to be observed. In later ages as
the original significance of the lotus was lost, any lily came to
be substituted. Godfrey Higgins is sure that although the
priests of the Romish Church are at the present time ignorant of
the true meaning of the lotus, or lily, "it is, like many other
very odd things, probably understood at the Vatican, or the Crypt
of St. Peter's."[20]
[20] Anacalypsis, book vii., ch. xi.
Of the lotus of the Hindoos Nimrod says:
"The lotus is a well-known allegory, of which the expanse calyx
represents the ships of the gods floating on the surface of the
water, and the erect flower arising out of it, the mast thereof .
. . but as the ship was Isis or Magna Mater, the female
principle, and the mast in it the male deity, these parts of the
flower came to have certain other significations, which seem to
have been as well known at Samosata as at Benares."[21]
[21] Quoted in Anacalypsis.
In other words it was a phallic emblem and represented the
creative processes throughout Nature. Susa, the name of the
capital of the Cushites, or ancient Ethiopians, meant "the City
of Lilies." In India the lotus frequently appears among phallic
devices in place of the sacred Yoni. From the foregoing pages
the fact will be observed that the God of the ancients embodied
the two creative agencies throughout the universe, but as nothing
could exist without a mother, the great Om who was the
indivisible God and the Creator of the sun was the mother of
these two principles, while the Tree of Life was the original
life-giving energy upon the earth, represented in the creation
myths of the first man Adam, and the first woman Eve or Adama.
Throughout the ages, this force, or creative agency has been
symbolized in various ways, many of which have been noted in the
foregoing pages. We have observed that notwithstanding the fact
that the supremacy of the male had been established, the sacred
Yoni and the lotus were still reverenced as symbols of the most
exalted God. Finally, when the masculine energy began to be
worshipped as the more important agency in reproduction, the
female, although still necessary to complete the god-idea, was
Among the sect known as Lingaites, those who adored the male
creative power, Man, Phallus, and Creator in religious symbolism
signified one and the same thing in the minds of the people.
Each represented a Tree of Life, the beginning and end of all
Tree-worship was condemned by the councils of Tours, Nantes, and
Auxerre, and in the XIth century it was forbidden in England by
the laws of Canute, but these edicts seem to have had little
effect. In referring to this subject, Barlow says: "In the
XVIIIth century it existed in Livonia, and traces of it may still
be found in the British Isles."[22] The vast area over which
tree- and plant-worship once extended, and the tenacity with
which it still clings to the human race, indicate the hold which,
at an earlier age in the history of mankind, it had taken upon
the religious feelings of mankind.
[22] Essays on Symbolism, p. 118.
So closely has this worship become entwined with that of serpent
and phallic faiths, that it is impossible to consider it, even in
a brief manner, without anticipating these later developments;
yet linked with earth- and sun-worship, it doubtless prevailed
for many ages absolutely unconnected with the grosser ideas with
which it subsequently became associated.
"When we inquire into the worship of nations in the earliest
periods to which we have access by writing or tradition, we find
that the adoration of one God, without temples or images,
universally prevailed."[23]
[23] Godfrey Higgins, Celtic Druids.
Underlying all the ancient religions of which we have any
account, may be observed the great energizing force throughout
Nature recognized and reverenced as the Deity. This force
embraces not only the creative energies in human beings, in
animals, and in plants, but in the earlier ages of human history
it included also Wisdom, or Law--that "power by which all things
are discriminated or defined and held in their proper places."
The most renowned writers who have dealt with this subject agree
in the conclusion that, during thousands of years among all the
nations of the earth, only one God was worshipped. This God was
Light and Life, both of which proceeded from the sun, or more
properly speaking were symbolized by the sun.
In Egyptian hymns the Creator is invoked as the being who "dwells
concealed in the sun"; and Greek writers speak of this luminary
as the "generator and nourisher of all things, the ruler of the
world." It is thought, however, that neither of these nations
worshipped the corporeal sun. It was the "centre or body from
which the pervading spirit, the original producer of order,
fertility, and organization, continued to emanate to preserve the
mighty structure which it had formed."
It is evident that at an early age, both in Egypt and in India,
spiritualized conceptions of sun-worship had already been formed.
We have seen that Netpe, the Goddess of Light, or Heavenly
Wisdom, conferred spiritual life on all who would accept it. The
Great Mother of the Gods in India was not only the source whence
all blessings flow, but she was the Beginning and the End of all
Of "Aditi, the boundless, the yonder, the beyond all and
everything," Max Muller says that in later times she "may have
become identified with the sky, also with the earth, but
originally she was far beyond the sky and the earth."[24] The
same writer quotes the following, also from a hymn of the
[24] Origin and Growth of Religion, p. 221.
"O Mitra and Varuna, you mount your chariot which, at the dawning
of the dawn is golden-colored and has iron poles at the setting
of the sun; from thence you see Aditi and Diti--that is, what is
yonder and what is here, what is infinite and what is finite,
what is mortal and what is immortal."[25]
[25] Ibid.
Aditi is the Great She that Is, the Everlasting. Muller refers
to the fact that another Hindoo poet "speaks of the dawn as the
face of Aditi; thus indicating that Aditi is here not the dawn
itself, but something beyond the dawn." This Goddess, who is
designated as the "Oldest," is implored "not only to drive away
darkness and enemies that lurk in the dark, but likewise to
deliver man from any sin which he may have committed." "May
Aditi by day protect our cattle, may she, who never deceives,
protect us from evil."
In the Egyptian as in the Indian and Hebrew religions, the two
generating principles throughout Nature represent the Infinite,
the Holy of Holies, the Elohim or Aleim--the Ieue. Within the
records of the earliest religions of Ethiopia or Arabia, Chaldea,
Assyria, and Babylonia, is revealed the same monad principle in
the Deity. This monad conception, or dual unity, this God of
Light and Life, or of Wisdom and generative force, is the same
source whence all mythologies have sprung, and, as has been
stated, among all peoples the fact is observed that the religious
idea has followed substantially the same course of development,
or growth. Within the sacred writings of the Hindoos there is
but one Almighty Power, usually denominated as Brahm or Brahme--
Om or Aum. This word in India was regarded with the same degree
of veneration as was the sacred Ieue of the Jews. In later ages,
the fact is being proved that this God, into whom all the deities
worshipped at a certain period in human history resolve
themselves, is the sun, or if not the actual corporeal sun, then
the supreme agency within it which was acknowledged as the great
creative or life-force-- that dual principle which by the early
races was recognized as Elohim, Om, Ormuzd, etc., and from which
the productive power in human beings, in plants, and in animals
was thought to emanate.
Prior to the development of either tree or phallic worship, the
sun as an emblem of the Deity had doubtless become the principal
object of veneration. Ages would probably elapse before
primitive man would observe that all life is dependent on the
warmth of the sun's rays, or before from experience he would
perceive the fact that to its agency as well as to that of the
earth he was indebted both for food and the power of motion.
However, as soon as this knowledge had been gained, the great orb
of day would assume the most prominent place among the objects of
his regard and adoration. That such has been the case, that the
sun, either as the actual Creator, or as an emblem of the great
energizing force in Nature, has been worshipped by every nation
of the globe, there is no lack of evidence to prove; neither do
we lack proof to establish the fact that, since the adoption of
the sun as a divine object, or perhaps I should say as the emblem
of Wisdom and creative power, it has never been wholly eliminated
from the god-idea of mankind.
Bryant produces numberless etymological proofs to establish the
fact that all the early names of the Deity were derived or
compounded from some word which originally meant the sun.
Max Muller says that Surya was the sun as shining in the sky.
Savitri was the sun as bringing light and life. Vishnu was the
sun as striding with three steps across the sky, etc.
Inman, whose etymological researches have given him considerable
prominence as a Sanskrit and Hebrew scholar, says that Ra, Ilos,
Helos, Bil, Baal, Al, Allah, and Elohim were names given to the
sun as representative of the Creator.
We are assured by Godfrey Higgins that Brahme is the sun the same
as Surya. Brahma sprang from the navel of Brahme. Faber in his
Pagan Idolatry says that all the gods of the ancients "melt
insensibly into one, they are all equally the sun." The word
Apollo signifies the author or generator of Light. In the Rig
Veda, Surya, the sun, is called Aditya. "Truly, Surya, thou art
great; truly Aditya, thou art great."
Selden observes that whether the gods be called Osiris, or
Omphis, or Nilus, or any other name, they all center in the sun.
According to Diodorus Siculus, it was the belief of the ancients
that Dionysos, Osiris, Serapis, Pan, Jupiter and Pluto were all
one. They were, the sun.
Max Muller says that a very low race in India named the Santhals
call the sun Chandro, which means "bright." These people
declared to the missionaries who settled among them, that Chandro
had created the world; and when told that it would be absurd to
say that the sun had created the world, they replied: "We do not
mean the visible Chandro, but an invisible one."
Not only did Dionysos, and all the rest of the gods who in later
ages came to be regarded as men, represent the sun, but after the
separation of the male and female elements in the originally
indivisible God, Maut or Minerva, Demeter, Ceres, Isis, Juno, and
others less important in the pagan world were also the sun, or,
in other words, they represented the female power throughout the
universe which was supposed to reside in the sun.
In most groups of Babylonian and Assyrian divine emblems, there
occur two distinct representations of the sun, "one being figured
with four rays or divisions within the orb, and the other, with
eight." According to George Rawlinson, these figures represent a
distinction between the male and female powers residing within
the sun, the quartered disk signifying the male energy, and the
eight-rayed orb appearing as the emblem of the female![26]
[26] Essay x.
During an earlier age of human history, prior to the dissensions
which arose over the relative importance of the sexes in
reproduction, and at a time when a mother and her child
represented the Deity, the sun was worshiped as the female Jove.
Everything in the universe was a part of this great God. At that
time there had been no division in the god-idea. The Creator
constituted a dual but indivisible unity. Dionysos formerly
represented this God, as did also Om, Jove, Mithras, and others.
Jove was the "Great Virgin" whence everything proceeds.
"Jove first exists, whose thunders roll above,
Jove last, Jove midmost, all proceeds from Jove;
Female is Jove, Immortal Jove is male;
Jove the broad Earth, the heavens irradiate pale.
Jove is the boundless Spirit, Jove the Fire,
That warms the world with feeling and desire."
In a former work the fact has been mentioned that the first clue
obtained by Herr Bachofen, author of Das Mutterrecht, to a former
condition of society under which gynaecocracy, or the social and
political pre-eminence of women, prevailed, was the importance
attached to the female principle in the Deity in all ancient
According to the testimony of various writers, Om, although
comprehending both elements of the Deity, was nevertheless female
in signification. Sir William Jones observes that Om means
oracle--matrix or womb.[27] Upon this subject Godfrey Higgins,
quoting from Drummond, remarks:
[27] See Anacalypsis, book iii., ch. ii.
"The word Om or Am in the Hebrew not only signifies might,
strength, power, firmness, solidity, truth, but it means also
Mother, as in Genesis ii., 24, and Love, whence the Latin Amo,
Mamma. If the word be taken to mean strength, then Amon will
mean (the first syllable being in regimine) the temple of the
strength of the generative or creative power, or the temple of
the mighty procreative power. If the word Am means Mother, then
a still more recondite idea will be implied, viz.: the mother
generative power, or the maternal generative power: perhaps the
Urania of Persia or the Venus Aphrodite of Crete and Greece, or
the Jupiter Genetrix of the masculine and feminine gender, or the
Brahme Mai of India, or the Alma Venus of Lucretius. And the
City of On or Heliopolis will be the City of the sun, or City of
the procreative powers of nature of which the sun was always an
According to Prof. W. R. Smith, Om means uniting or binding, a
fact which is explained by the early significance of the mother
element in early society. The name of the great Deity Om or Aum
scarcely passes the lips of its worshippers, and when it is
pronounced is always reverently whispered. Regarding the mystic
word Om, we are told that it is the name given to Delphi, and
that "Delphi has the meaning of the female organs of generation
called in India the Os Minxoe."
Although the great God of India was female and male, yet we are
assured by Forlong that the female energy Maya, Queen of Heaven,
even at the present time is more heard of than the male
According to Bryant, the worship of Ham is the most ancient as
well as the most universal of any in the world. This writer
remarks that Ham, instead of representing an individual, is but a
Greek corruption of Om or Aum, the great androgynous God of
India, a God which is identical in significance with Aleim,
Vesta, and all the other representatives of the early dual,
universal power. "In the old language God was called Al, Ale,
Alue, and Aleim, more frequently Aleim than any other name."
According to the testimony of Higgins, Aleim denotes the feminine
plural. The heathen divinities Ashtaroth and Beelzebub were both
called Aleim, Ashtaroth being simply Astarte adorned with the
horns of a ram. Ishtar not unfrequently appears with the horns
of a cow. We are informed by Inman that whenever a goddess is
observed with horns--emblems which by the way always indicate
masculine power--it is to denote the fact that she is
androgynous, or that within her is embodied the complete
Deity--the dual reproductive energy throughout Nature. The
"figure becomes the emblem of divinity and power."[28]
[28] Ancient Faiths Embodied in Ancient Names, vol. i., p. 311.
Mithras--the Savior, the great Persian Deity which was worshipped
as the "Preserver," was both female and male. Among the
representations of this divinity which appear in the Townley
collection in the British Museum, is one in which it is figured
in its female character, in the act of killing the bull. The
Divinity Baal was both female and male. The God of the Jews in
an early stage of their career was called Baal. The oriental
Ormuzd was also dual or androgynous.
Orpheus teaches that the divine nature is both female and male.
According to Proclus, Jupiter was an immortal maid, "the Queen of
Heaven, and Mother of the Gods." All things were contained
within the womb of Jupiter. This Virgin within whom was embodied
the male principle "gave light and life to Eve." She was the
life-giving, energizing power in Nature, and was identical with
Aleim, Om, Astarte, and others. The Goddess Esta, or Vesta, or
Hestia, whom Plato calls the "soul of the body of the universe,"
is believed by Beverly and others to be the Self-Existent, the
Great "She that Is" of the Hindoos, whose significance is
identical with the Cushite or Phoenician Deity, Aleim.
According to Marco Polo, the Chinese had but one supreme God of
whom they had no image, and to whom they prayed for only two
things--"a sound mind in a sound body." They had, however, a
lesser god--probably the same as the "Lord" (masculine) of the
Jews, to whom they petitioned for rain, fair weather, and all the
minor accessories of existence. Upon the walls of the houses of
the Chinese is a tablet to which they pay their devotion. On
this tablet is the name of the "high, celestial, and supreme
God." The principal word which this tablet contains is "Tien."
Of this Chinese Deity Barlow says: "The Chinese recognize in
Tienhow, the Queen of Heaven nursing her infant son. Connected
with this figure is a lotus bud, symbol of the new birth.
Originally in Chaldea and in Egypt, only one supreme God was
worshipped. This Deity was figured by a mother and her child, as
was the great Chinese God. It comprehended the universe and all
the attributes of the Deity. It was worshipped thousands of
years prior to the birth of Mary, the Mother of Christ, and
representations of it are still extant, not only in oriental
lands, but in many countries of Europe. Within the oldest
temples of Egypt are still to be observed sacred apartments which
contain the "Holy of Holies," and to which, in past ages, none
might gain access but priests and priestesses of the highest
order. Within these apartments are pictured the mysteries of
birth, together with the symbols of generation emblems of
On the banks of the river Nile are observed the ruins of the
temple of Philae, which structure, it is said, represents the
most ancient style of architecture. Within these ruins is to be
seen an inner chamber in which are depicted the birth scenes of
the child god Horus, and, indeed, everywhere among the monuments
and ruins of Egypt, is plainly visible the fact that the creative
power and functions in human beings, in animals, and in vegetable
life, together with Wisdom, once constituted the god-idea.
Between the ruins of the palace of Amunoph III. and the Nile are
two colossal statues, each hewn from a single block of stone.
These figures, although in a sitting posture, are sixty feet
high. It is thought that they once formed the entrance to an
avenue of similar figures leading up to the palace. It has been
supposed that the most northern statue represents Ammon, and that
its companion piece is his Mother. It is now believed by many
writers, however, that these figures do not represent two persons
at all, but that in a remote age of the world's history they were
worshipped as the two great principles, female and male, which
animate Nature. The fact has been observed that Am or Om was
originally a female Deity, within whom was contained the male
principle; when, however, through the changes wrought in the
relative positions of the sexes, the male element in the Divinity
adored came to be represented as a man instead of as a child, he
was Ammon. He was the sun, yet notwithstanding the fact that he
had drawn to himself the powers of the sun, he was still,
himself, only a production of or emanation from the female Deity
Om, Mother of the Gods and Queen of Heaven. She it was who had
created or brought forth the sun.
There is a tradition which asserts that every morning a melodious
sound is emitted from the first named of these two colossal
figures as he salutes his rosy-fingered Mother whom he
acknowledges as the source of all Light and Wisdom. The bodies
are described as being "without motion, the faces without
expression, the eyes looking straight forward, yet a certain
grand simplicity occasions them to be universally admired."
The Goddess Disa or Isa of the North, as delineated on the sacred
drums of the Laplanders, was accompanied by a child similar to
the Horus of the Egyptians.[29] It is observed also that the
ancient Muscovites worshipped a sacred group composed of a mother
and her children, probably a representation of the Egyptian Isis
and her offspring, or at least of the once universal idea of the
[29] Jennings, Phallicism.
The following is from Payne Knight:
"A female Pantheitic figure in silver, with the borders of the
drapery plated with gold, and the whole finished in a manner
surpassing almost anything extant, was among the things found at
Macon on the Saone, in the year 1764, and published by Caylus.
It represents Cybele, the universal mother, with the mural crown
on her head, and the wings of pervasion growing from her
shoulders, mixing the productive elements of heat and moisture by
making a libation upon the flames of an altar. On each side of
her head is one of the Discouri, signifying the alternate
influence of the diurnal and nocturnal Sun; and, upon a crescent
supported by the tips of her wings, are the seven planets, each
signified by a bust of its presiding deity resting upon a globe,
and placed in the order of the days of the week named after them.
In her left hand she holds two cornucopiae, to signify the result
of her operation on the two hemispheres of the Earth; and upon
them are the busts of Apollo and Diana, the presiding deities of
these hemispheres, with a golden disk, intersected by two
transverse lines, such as is observed on other pieces of ancient
art, and such as the barbarians of the North employed to
represent the solar year, divided into four parts, at the back of
[30] Symbolism of Ancient Art.
It was doubtless at a time when woman constituted the head of the
gens, and when the feminine element in the sun, in human beings,
and in Nature generally was regarded as the more important, that
Latona and her son Apollo were worshipped together. Latona,
Apollo, and Diana constituted the triune God. The last two were
the female and male energies, the former being the source whence
they sprang. As soon as one is divested of a belief in the
popular but erroneous opinion that the gods of the early
Egyptians and Greeks were deified heroes of former ages, he is
prepared to perceive the fact that, although to the uninitiated
these gods appear numberless, in reality they all represent the
same idea, namely: the dual, moving force in Nature, together
with Light or Wisdom.
We have seen that when among the nations of antiquity
civilization had reached its height, the god-idea was represented
by the figure of a woman with her child; subsequently, however,
as these nations began to decline, the creative energy
comprehended simply physical life, or the power to reproduce, and
was represented by various emblems which will be noticed farther
on in this work. In still later ages, after male reproductive
power had become God, and when, through superstition and
sensuality, the masses of the people had descended to the rank of
slaves, monarchs, representing themselves to their ignorant
subjects as the source of all blessings, even of life itself,
appropriated the titles of the sun, and claimed for themselves
the adoration which had formerly belonged to it. From this fact
has doubtless arisen the opinion so tenaciously upheld in recent
times, that the gods of the ancients were only deified heroes of
former times.
If, during the earlier ages of human existence, all the gods
resolved themselves into the sun, and if Light and Life, or
Wisdom and the power to reproduce and sustain life, constituted
the Deity, then of course God or the sun would be female or male,
or both, according to the prevailing belief in the comparative
creative and sustaining forces of the sexes.
From what appears in the foregoing pages the fact has doubtless
been perceived that the worship of a Virgin and Child does not,
as is usually supposed, belong exclusively to the Romish
Christian Church, but, on the contrary, that it constitutes the
most remote idea of a Creator extant. As has been hinted, there
is little doubt that the earliest worship of the woman and child
was much simpler than was that which came to prevail in later
ages, at a time when every religious conception was closely
veiled beneath a mixture of astrology and mythology. After the
planets came to be regarded as active agencies in reproduction,
and powerful in directing all mundane affairs, the Virgin of the
Sphere while she represented Nature was also the constellation
which appeared above the horizon at the winter solstice, or at
the time when the sun had reached its lowest point and had begun
to return. At this time, the 25th of December, and just as the
days began to lengthen, this Virgin gave birth to the Sun-God.
It is said that he issued forth from her side, hence the legend
that Gotama Buddha was produced from the side of Maya, and also
the story believed by the Gnostics and other Christian sects that
Jesus was taken from the side of Mary.[31]
[31] The fact will doubtless be remembered that a similar belief
was entertained concerning the birth of Julius Caesar.
Within the churches and in the streets of many cities of Germany
are to be observed figures of this traditional Virgin. She is
standing, one foot upon a crescent and the other on a serpent's
head, in the mouth of which is the sprig of an apple tree on
which is an apple. The tail of the serpent is wound about a
globe which is partially enveloped in clouds. On one arm of the
Virgin is the Child, and in the hand of the other arm she carries
the sacred lotus. Her head is encircled with a halo of light
similar to the rays of the sun.
One is frequently disposed to query: Do the initiated in the
Romish Church regard these images as legitimate representations
of Mary, the wife of Joseph and Mother of Christ, or are they
aware of their true significance? Certainly the various
accessories attached to this figure betray its ancient origin and
reveal its identity with the Egyptian, Chaldean, and Phoenician
Virgin of the Sphere.
The fact has already been observed that in the original
representation of the "Temptation" in the cave temple of India,
it is not the woman but the man who is the tempter, and a
singular peculiarity observed in connection with this ancient
female Deity is that it is SHE and NOT HER SEED who is trampling
on the serpent, thus proving that originally woman and not man
was worshipped as the Savior. Another significant feature
noticed in connection with this subject is that the oldest
figures which represent this Goddess are black, thus proving that
she must have belonged to a dark skinned race.
This image, although black, or dark skinned, had long hair, hence
not a negress. The most ancient statue of Ceres was black, and
Pausanias says that at a place called Melangea in Arcadia there
was a black Venus. In the Netherlands only a few years ago, was
a church dedicated to a black goddess. The Virgin of the Sphere
who treads on the head of the serpent represents universal
womanhood. She is the Virgin of the first book of Genesis and
mother of all the Earth. She represents not only creative power
but Perceptive Wisdom. Although this Goddess is usually seen
with the lotus in her hand, she sometimes carries ripe corn or
The mother of Gotama Buddha was called Mai or Maya, after the
month in which the Earth is arrayed in her most beautiful attire.
Maya is the parent of universal Nature. According to Davis, the
mother of Mercury "is the universal genius of Nature which
discriminated all things according to their various kinds of
species," the same as was Muth of Egypt. Mai is said to mean
"one who begins to illuminate." She was in fact the mother of
the sun whence everything proceeds. She was matter, within which
was concealed spirit.
In the representations of Montfaucon appears the Goddess Isis
sitting on the lotus. Her head, upon which is a globe, is
surrounded by a radiant circle which evidently represents the
sun. On the reverse side is Ieu, the word "which is the usual
way of the ecclesiastical authors reading the Hebrew word
Jehovah." Referring to this from Montfaucon, Godfrey Higgins
observes: "Here Isis, whose veil no mortal shall ever draw aside,
the celestial Virgin of the Sphere, is seated on the
self-generating sacred lotus and is called Ieu or Jove."[32] She
has also the mystic number 608 which stands for the Deity. Her
breasts show plainly that it is a female representation, although
connected with the figure appears the male emblem to indicate
that within her are contained both elements, or that the universe
is embodied within the female.
[32] Anacalypsis, book v., ch. iv.
Higgins thinks there is no subject on which more mistakes have
been made than on that of the Goddess Isis, both by ancients and
moderns. He calls attention to the inconsistency of calling her
the moon when in many countries the moon is masculine. He is
quite positive that if Isis is the moon, Ceres, Proserpine,
Venus, and all the other female gods were the same, which in view
of the facts everywhere at hand cannot be true. It is true,
however, that "the planet called the moon was dedicated to her in
judicial astrology, the same as a planet was dedicated to Venus
or Mars. But Venus and Mars were not these planets themselves,
though these planets were sacred to them."[33] Higgins then calls
attention to her temple at Sais in Egypt, and to the inscription
which declares that "she comprehends all that is and was and is
to be," that she is "parent of the sun," and he justly concludes
that Isis can not be the moon.
[33] Anacalypsis, book vi., ch. ii.
Apuleius makes Isis say:
"I am the parent of all things, the sovereign of the elements,
the primary progeny of time, the most exalted of the deities, the
first of the heavenly gods and goddesses, whose single deity the
whole world venerates in many forms, with various rites and
various names. The Egyptians worship me with proper ceremonies
and call me by my true name, Queen Isis."
Isis, we are told, is called Myrionymus, or goddess with 10,000
names. She is the Persian Mithra, which is the same as Buddha,
Minerva, Venus, and all the rest.
Faber admits that the female principle was formerly regarded as
the Soul of the World. He says:
"Isis was the same as Neith or Minerva; hence the inscription at
Sais was likewise applied to that goddess. Athenagoras informs
us that Neith or the Athene of the Greeks was supposed to be
Wisdom passing and diffusing itself through all things. Hence it
is manifest that she was thought to be the Soul of the World; for
such is precisely the character sustained by that mythological
[34] Pagan Idolatry, book i., p. 170.
The same writer says further:
"Ovid gives a similar character to Venus. He represents her as
moderating the whole world; as giving laws to Heaven, Earth, and
Ocean, as the common parent both of gods and men, and as the
productive cause both of corn and trees. She is celebrated in
the same manner by Lucretius, who ascribes to her that identical
attribute of universality which the Hindoos give to their Goddess
Isi or Devi."[35]
[35] Ibid.
It seems to be the general belief of all writers whose object is
to disclose rather than conceal the ancient mysteries, that until
a comparatively recent time the moon was never worshipped as
Isis. Until the origin and meaning of the ancient religion had
been forgotten, and the ideas underlying the worship of Nature
had been lost, the moon was never regarded as representing the
female principle.
When man began to regard himself as the only important factor in
procreation, and when the sun became masculine and heat or
passion constituted the god-idea, the moon was called Isis. The
moon represented the absence of heat, it therefore contained
little of the recognized god-element. It was, perhaps, under the
circumstances, a fitting emblem for woman.
In the sacred writings of the Hindoos there is an account of the
moon, Soma, having been changed into a female called Chandra,
"the white or silvery one."
While speaking of the moon, Kalisch says: "The whole ritual of
the Phoenician Goddess Astarte with whom that Queen of Heaven is
identical, and who was the goddess of fertility seems to have
been transferred to her."[36]
[36] Historical and Critical Commentary of the Old Testament.
To such an extent, in the earlier ages of the world had the
female been regarded as the Creator, that in many countries where
her worship subsequently became identified with that of the moon,
Luna was adored as the producer of the sun. According to the
Babylonian creation tablets, the moon was the most important
heavenly body. In later ages, the gender of the sun and the moon
seems to be exceedingly variable. The Achts of Vancouver's
Island worship sun and moon--the sun as female, the moon as
male.[37] In some of the countries of Africa the moon is adored
as female and sun-worship is unknown. Among various peoples the
sun and the moon are regarded as husband and wife, and among
others as brother and sister. In some countries, both are
female. I can find no instance in which both are male. Hindoos
and Aztecs alike, at one time, said that Luna was male and often
that the sun was female.
[37] Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. ii., p. 272.
The fact that among the Persians the moon as well as the sun was
at a certain period regarded as a source of procreative energy
and as influencing the generative processes, is shown by various
passages in the Avestas. In the Khordah Avesta, praise is
offered to "the Moon which contains the seed of cattle, to the
only begotten Bull, to the Bull of many kinds."
Perhaps the most widely diffused and universally adored
representation of the ancient female Deity in Egypt was the
Virgin Neit or Neith, the Athene of the Greeks and the Minerva of
the Romans. Her name signifies "I came from myself." This Deity
represents not only creative power, but abstract intelligence,
Wisdom or Light. Her temple at Sais was the largest in Egypt.
It was open at the top and bore the following inscription: "I am
all that was and is and is to be; no mortal has lifted up my
veil, and the fruit which I brought forth was the sun." She was
called also Muth, the universal mother. Kings were especially
honored in the title "Son of Neith."
To express the idea that the female energy in the Deity
comprehended not alone the power to bring forth, but that it
involved all the natural powers, attributes, and possibilities of
human nature, it was portrayed by a pure Virgin who was also a
mother. According to Herodotus, the worship of Minerva was
indigenous in Lybia, whence it travelled to Egypt and was carried
from thence to Greece. Among the remnants of Egyptian mythology,
the figure of a mother and child is everywhere observed. It is
thought by various writers that the worship of the black virgin
and child found its way to Italy from Egypt.
The change noted in the growth of the religious idea by which the
male principle assumes the more important position in the Deity
may, by a close investigation of the facts at hand, be easily
traced, and, as has before been expressed, this change will be
found to correspond with that which in an earlier age of the
world took place in the relative positions of the sexes. In all
the earliest representations of the Deity, the fact is observed
that within the mother element is contained the divinity adored,
while the male appears as a child and dependent on the
ministrations of the female for existence and support.
Gradually, however, as the importance of man begins to be
recognized in human affairs, we find that the male energy in the
Deity, instead of appearing as a child in the arms of its mother,
is represented as a man, and that he is of equal importance with
the woman; later he is identical with the sun, the woman,
although still a necessary factor in the god-idea, being
concealed or absorbed within the male. It is no longer woman who
is to bruise the serpent's head, but the seed of the woman, or
the son. He is Bacchus in Greece, Adonis in Syria, Christna in
India. He is indeed the new sun which is born on the 25th of
December, or at the time when the solar orb has reached its
lowest position and begins to ascend. It is not perhaps
necessary to add that he is also the Christ of Bethlehem, the son
of the Virgin.
Nowhere, perhaps, is the growing importance of the male in the
god-idea more clearly traced than in the history of the Arabians.
Among this people are still to be found certain remnants of the
matriarchal age--an age in which women were the recognized heads
of families and the eponymous leaders of the gentes or clans.
Concerning the worship of a man and woman as god by the early
Arabians, Prof. Robertson Smith remarks:
"Except the comparatively modern Isaf and Naila in the sanctuary
at Mecca where there are traditions of Syrian influence, I am not
aware that the Arabs had pairs of gods represented as man and
wife. In the time of Mohammed the female deities, such as
Al-lat, were regarded as daughters of the supreme male God. But
the older conception as we see from a Nabataean inscription in De
Vogue, page 119, is that Al-lat is mother of the gods. At Petra
the mother-goddess and her son were worshipped together, and
there are sufficient traces of the same thing elsewhere to lead
us to regard this as having been the general rule when a god and
goddess were worshipped in one sanctuary."[38]
[38] Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia, ch. vi., p. 179.
As the worship of the black virgin and child is connected with
the earliest religion of which we may catch a glimpse, the exact
locality in which it first appeared must be somewhat a matter of
conjecture, but that this idea constituted the Deity among the
Ethiopian or early Cushite race, the people who doubtless carried
civilization to Egypt, India, and Chaldea, is quite probable.
If we bear in mind the fact that the gods of the ancients
represented principles and powers, we shall not be surprised to
find that Muth, Neith, or Isis, who was creator of the sun, was
also the first emanation from the sun. Minerva is Wisdom--the
Logos, the Word. She is Perception, Light, etc. At a later
stage in the history of religion, all emanations from the Deity
are males who are "Saviors."
That the office of the male as a creative agency is dependent on
the female, is a fact so patent that for ages the mother
principle could not be eliminated from the conception of a Deity,
and the homage paid to Athene or Minerva, even after women had
become only sexual slaves and household tools, shows the extent
to which the idea of female supremacy in Nature and in the Deity
had taken root.
Notwithstanding the efforts which during numberless ages were
made to dethrone the female principle in the god-idea, the Great
Mother, under some one of her various appellations, continued,
down to a late period in the history of the human race, to claim
the homage and adoration of a large portion of the inhabitants of
the globe. And so difficult was it, even after the male element
had declared itself supreme, to conceive of a creative force
independently of the female principle, that oftentimes, during
the earlier ages of their attempted separation, great confusion
and obscurity are observed in determining the positions of male
deities. Zeus who in later times came to be worshipped as male
was formerly represented as "the great dyke, the terrible virgin
who breathes out on crime, anger, and death." Grote refers to
numerous writers as authority for the statement that Dionysos,
who usually appears in Greece as masculine, and who was doubtless
the Jehovah of the Jews, was indigenous in Thrace, Phrygia, and
Lydia as the Great Mother Cybele. He was identical with Bacchus,
who although represented on various coins as a "bearded venerable
figure" appears with the limbs, features, and character of a
beautiful young woman. Sometimes this Deity is portrayed with
sprouting horns, and again with a crown of ivy. The Phrygian
Attis and the Syrian Adonis, as represented in monuments of
ancient art, are androgynous personifications of the same
attributes. According to the testimony of the geographer
Dionysius, the worship of Bacchus was formerly carried on in the
British Islands in exactly the same manner as it had been in an
earlier age in Thrace and on the banks of the Ganges.
In referring to the Idean Zeus in Crete, to Demeter at Eleusis,
to the Cabairi in Samothrace, and Dionysos at Delphi and Thebes,
Grote observes: "That they were all to a great degree analogous,
is shown by the way in which they necessarily run together and
become confused in the minds of various authors."
Concerning Sadi, Sadim, or Shaddai, Higgins remarks:
"Parkhurst tells us it means all-bountiful--the pourer forth of
blessings; among the Heathen, the Dea Multimammia; in fact the
Diana of Ephesus, the Urania of Persia, the Jove of Greece,
called by Orpheus the Mother of the Gods, each male as well as
female--the Venus Aphrodite; in short, the genial powers of
To which Higgins adds: "And I maintain that it means the figure
which is often found in collections of ancient statues, most
beautifully executed, and called the Hermaphrodite."
As in the old language there was no neuter gender, the gods must
always appear either as female or male. For apparent reasons, in
all the translations, through the pronouns and adjectives used,
the more important ancient deities have all been made to appear
as males.
By at least two ancient writers Jupiter is called the Mother of
the Gods. In reference to a certain Greek appellation, Bryant
observes that it is a masculine name for a feminine deity--a name
which is said to be a corruption of Mai, the Hindoo Queen of
In process of time, as the world became more and more
masculinized, so important did it become that the male should
occupy the more exalted place in the Deity, that even the Great
Mother of the Gods, as we have seen, is represented as male.
The androgynous or plural form of the ancient Phoenician God
Aleim, the Creator referred to in the opening chapter of Genesis,
is clearly apparent. This God, speaking to his counterpart,
Wisdom, the female energy, says: "Let us make man in our own
image, in our own likeness," and accordingly males and females
are produced. By those whose duty it has been in the past to
prove that the Deity here represented is composed only of the
masculine attributes, we are given to understand that God was
really "speaking to himself," and that in his divine cogitations
excessive modesty dictated the "polite form of speech"; he did
not, therefore, say exactly what he meant, or at least did not
mean precisely what he said. We have to bear in mind, however,
that as man had not at that time been created, if there were no
female element present, this excess of politeness on the part of
the "Lord" was wholly lost. Surely, in a matter involving such
an enormous stretch of power as the creation of man independently
of the female energy, we would scarcely expect to find the high
and mighty male potentate which was subsequently worshipped as
the Lord of the Israelites laying aside his usual "I the Lord,"
simply out of deference to the animals.
In Christian countries, during the past eighteen hundred years,
the greatest care has been exercised to conceal the fact that
sun-worship underlies all forms of religion, and under Protestant
Christianity no pains has been spared in eliminating the female
element from the god-idea; hence the ignorance which prevails at
the present time in relation to the fact that the Creator once
comprehended the forces of Nature, which by an older race were
worshipped as female.
Although the God of the most ancient people was a dual Unity, in
later ages it came to be worshipped as a Trinity. When mankind
began to speculate on the origin of the life principle, they came
to worship their Deity in its three capacities as Creator,
Preserver, and Destroyer or Regenerator, each of which was female
and male. We have observed that, according to Higgins, when this
Trinity was spoken of collectively, it was called after the
feminine plural.
By the various writers who have dealt with this subject during
the last century, much surprise has been manifested over the fact
that for untold ages the people of the earth have worshipped a
Trinity. Forster, in his Sketches of Hindoo Mythology, says:
"One circumstance which forcibly struck my attention was the
Hindoo belief of a Trinity."
Maurice, in his Indian Antiquities, observes that the idea of
three persons in the Deity was diffused amongst all the nations
of the earth, in regions as distant as Japan and Peru, that it
was memorially acknowledged throughout the whole extent of Egypt
and India, "flourishing with equal vigor amidst the snowy
mountains of Thibet, and the vast deserts of Siberia." The idea
of a Trinity is supposed to have been first elaborated on the
banks of the Indus, whence it was carried to the Greek and Latin
nations. Astrologically the triune Deity of the ancients
portrayed the processes of Nature.
This recondite doctrine as understood by the very ancient people
which originated it, involved a knowledge of Nature far too deep
to be appreciated or understood by their degenerate descendants,
except perhaps by a few philosophers and scholars who imbibed it
in a modified form from original sources in the far East.
After the establishment of the Trinity, the creative energy,
which had formerly been represented by a mother and child, came
to be figured by the mother, father, and the life derived
therefrom. Sometimes the Trinity took the form of the two
creative forces, female and male, and the Great Mother.
Whenever the two creative principles were considered separately,
there always appeared stationed over or above them, as their
Creator, an indivisible unity. This Creator was the "Beyond,"
the "most High God"--Om or Aleim. It was the Mother of the Gods
in whom were contained all the elements of the Deity. Among the
representations of the god-idea which are to be observed on the
monuments and in the temples of Egypt appear triads, each of
which is composed of a woman stationed between a male figure and
that of a child. She is depicted as the Light of the sun, or
Wisdom, while the male is manifested as the Heat of the orb of
day. She is crowned and always bears the male symbol of life--
the crux-ansata.
Later, it is observed that the worship of Light has in a measure
given place to the adoration of Heat, in other words Light is no
longer adored as essence of the Deity, Heat or Passion having
become the most important element in creative power.
After the ancient worship of the Virgin and Child had become
somewhat changed or modified so as to better accommodate itself
to the growing importance of the male, the most exalted
conception of the Deity in Egypt seems to have been that of a
trinity composed of Mout the Mother, Ammon the Father, and Chons
the Infant Life derived from the other two. Mout is identical
with Neith, but she has become the wife as well as the mother of
Ammon. Directly below this conception of the Deity is a triad
representing less exalted attributes, or lower degrees of wisdom,
under the appellations of Sate, Kneph, and the child Anouk; and
thus downward, through the varying spheres of celestial light and
life involved in their theogony are observed the divine creative
energies represented under the figures of Mother, Father, and the
Life proceeding therefrom, until, finally, when the earth is
reached, Isis, Osiris, and Horus appear as the representation of
the creative forces in human beings, and therefore as the
embodiment of the divine in the human.
The Deity invoked in all the earlier inscriptions is a triad, and
we are assured that in Babylonia, where Beltis is associated with
Belus, "no god appears without a goddess."
The supreme Deity of Assyria was Asshur, who was worshipped
sometimes as female, sometimes as male. This God doubtless
represents the dual or triple creative principle observed in all
the earlier forms of worship. Asshur had no distinct temple, but
as her position was at the head of the Pantheon, all the shrines
throughout Assyria were supposed to have been open to her
According to Bunsen, in the Sidonian Tyrian district, there were
originally three great gods, at the head of which appears
Astarte--a woman who represents pure reason or intelligence; then
follows Zeus, Demarius, and Adorus. Without doubt this triad
represents a monad Deity similar in character to the one observed
in Egypt and other countries.
In the minds of all well-informed persons, there is no longer any
doubt that in Abraham's time the Canaanites worshipped the same
gods as did the Persians and all the other nations about them--
namely, Elohim, the dual or triune creative force in Nature. As
the Sun was the source whence proceeded all light and life as
well as reproductive or generative power, it had become the
object of adoration, and as the emblem of the Deity, it was
worshipped by all the nations of the earth in its three
capacities as Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer or Regenerator
each female and male.
Melchizedek, who was a priest of the most high God, blessed
Abraham, who was a worshipper of the same Deity. On this subject
Dr. Shuckford says:
"It is evident that Abraham and his descendants worshipped not
only the true and living God, but they invoked him in the name of
the Lord, and they worshipped the Lord whose name they invoked,
so that two persons were the object of their worship, God and
this Lord: and the Scriptures have distinguished these two
persons from one another by this circumstance, that God no man
hath seen at any time nor can see but the Lord whom Abraham and
his descendants worshipped was the person who appeared to them."
We are told that when chap. xxi., verse 33, of Genesis is
correctly translated, Abraham is represented as having invoked
Jehovah, the everlasting God.
In the Hebrew name Yod-He-Vau (Jehovah), was set forth the triune
character of the Creator; in other words, this name "comprehended
the essential perfections of the great God," and was used in
their Scriptures as a "kind of summary or revelation of the
attributes of the Deity."
Although Abraham, while in Egypt, was the worshipper of idols, we
are assured that "the peculiar privilege vouchsafed to him lay in
the revelation of God's holy name, Yod-He-Vau. There is indeed
much evidence going to prove that the people represented by
Abraham understood the earlier conception of a Deity, and that
while the great universal principle whose name it was sacrilege
to pronounce was still acknowledged, there was another God (the
Lord), the same as in China, whose worship they were beginning to
adopt. "And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me,
and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to
eat, and raiment to put on,
So that I come again to my Father's house in peace; then shall
the Lord be my God."
He then declared that the pillar or stone which he had set up,
and which was the emblem of male procreative energy, should be
God's house.
As at the time represented by Jacob there was evidently little or
no spirituality among the Israelites, this Lord whom they
worshipped was simply a life-giver in the most material or
practical sense.
The reproductive energy in man had become deified. It had, in
other words, come to possess all the attributes of a god, or of a
powerful man, which in reality was the same thing. It is this
god personified which is represented as appearing to Abraham and
talking with him face to face. With this same god Jacob
wrestled, while the real God--the dual or triune principle, the
Jehovah or Iav, no man could behold and live.
To conceal the fact that the God of Abraham originally consisted
of a dual or triple unity, and that the Deity was identical in
significance with that of contemporary peoples, the priests have,
as usual, had recourse to a trick to deceive the ignorant or
uninitiated. In reference to this subject Godfrey Higgins says:
"In the second book of Genesis the creation is described not to
have been made by Aleim, or the Aleim, but by a God of a double
name Ieue Aleim; which the priests have translated Lord God. By
using the word Lord, their object evidently is to conceal from
their readers several difficulties which afterward arise
respecting the names of God and this word, and which show clearly
that the books of the Pentateuch are the writings of different
[39] Anacalypsis, book ii., ch, i.
Upon this subject Bishop Colenso observes:
"And it is especially to be noted that when the Elohistic
passages are all extracted and copied one after another, they
form a complete, connected narrative; from which we infer that
these must have composed the original story, and that the other
passages were afterwards inserted by another writer, who wished
to enlarge or supplement the primary record. And he seems to
have used the compound Jehovah Aleim in the first portion of his
work in order to impress upon the reader that Jehovah, of whom he
goes on to speak in the later portions, is the same Great Being
who is called simply Elohim by the older writer, and notably in
the first account of the creation."[40]
[40] Lectures on the Pentateuch and the Moabite Stone, p. 7.
We are informed by Bunsen that El, or Elohim, comprehends the
true significance of the Deity among all the Aramaic or
Canaanitish races, El representing the abstract principle taken
collectively, Elohim pertaining to the separate elements as
Creator, Preserver, and Regenerator. Each of these Canaanitish
races had inherited these ideas from their fathers, and, although
they had become grossly idolatrous, "Moses knew, and educated
Israelites remained a long time conscious, that they used them
not merely in their real but in their most ancient sense."[41]
Maurice and other writers call attention to the fact that Moses
himself uses this word Elohim with verbs and adjectives in the
plural. That the God worshipped by the more ancient peoples,
namely Aleim, or Elohim, the same who said, "Let us make man in
our image," was not the Lord adored at a later age by the Jews,
is a fact which at the present time seems to be clearly proven;
that it constituted, however, the dual or triune unity venerated
by all the nations on the globe of which we have any record,
appears to be well established.
[41] Bunsen, History of Egypt, vol. iv., p. 421.
We have seen that although the two sex-principles which underlie
Nature constituted the Creator, the ancients thought of it only
as one and indivisible. This indivisible aspect was the sacred
Iav, the Holy of Holies. When it was contemplated in its
individual aspect it was Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer, each
of which was female and male.
The difficulty of the ancients in establishing a First Cause
seems to have been exactly the same as is ours at the present
time. When we say there must have been a God who created all
things, the question at once arises, Who created God? According
to their theories, nothing could be brought forth without the
interaction of two creative principles, female and male; yet
everything, even these principles, must proceed from an
indivisible energy--an energy which, as the idea of the sex
functions became more and more clearly defined, could not be
contemplated except in its dual aspect. So soon, therefore, as
the Great First Cause was separated into its elements, a still
higher power was immediately stationed above it as its Creator.
This Creator was designated as female. It was the Mother idea
Even gods could not be produced without a mother.
In referring to the doctrines contained in the Geeta, one of the
sacred writings of the Hindoos, Faber observes:
"In the single character of Brahm, all the three offices of
Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva are united. He is at once the Creator,
the Preserver, and the Destroyer. He is the primeval
Hermaphrodite, or the Great Father and the Great Mother blended
together in one person."
The fact that a trinity in unity, representing the female and
male energies symbolized by the organs of generation, formerly
constituted the Deity throughout Asia is acknowledged by all
those who have examined either the literature or monumental
records of oriental countries. The Rev. Mr. Maurice bears
testimony to the character of Eastern religious ideas in the
following language:
"Whoever will read the Geeta with attention, will perceive in
that small tract the outlines of all the various systems of
theology in Asia. The curious and ancient doctrine of the
Creator being both male and female, mentioned on a preceding
page, to be designated in Indian temples by a very indecent
exhibition of the masculine and feminine organs of generation in
union, occurs in the following passage: 'I am the Father and
Mother of this world; I plant myself upon my own nature and
create again and again this assemblage of beings; I am generation
and dissolution, the place where all things are deposited, and
the inexhaustible seed of all Nature. I am the beginning, the
middle, and the end of all things.' "[42]
[42] Maurice, Indian Antiquities, vol. iv., p. 705.
According to Sir W. Jones, the Brahme, Vishnu, and Siva coalesce
to form the mystic Om, which means the essence of life or divine
fire. In the Bhagavat Geeta the supreme God speaks thus
concerning itself: "I am the holy one worthy to be known"; and
immediately adds: "I am the mystic [trilateral] figure Om; the
Reig, the Yagush, and the Saman Vedas." It is a unity and still
a trinity. This Om or Aum stands for the Creator, Preserver, and
Destroyer or Regenerator, and represents the threefold aspect of
the force within the sun. The doctrine maintained throughout the
Geeta is not only that the great life-force represents a trinity
in unity, but that it is both female and male. On this subject
Maurice, in his Indian Antiquities, says:
"This notion of three persons in the Deity was diffused amongst
all the nations of the earth, established at once in regions so
distant as Japan and Peru, immemorially acknowledged throughout
the whole extent of Egypt and India, and flourishing with equal
vigor amidst the snowy mountains of Thibet, and the vast deserts
of Siberia."
We have observed that the idea of a trinity as conceived by the
so-called ancients, although at all times founded on the same
conception, viz., that of the reproductive powers of Nature and
especially of mankind, differed in expression according to its
application. Although in human beings this triune creative idea
was expressed by the mother, father, and child, as set forth in
the temples and on the monuments of Egypt, when applied directly
to the sun and the planets, it appears as the Creator, Preserver,
and Regenerator or Destroyer.
Destruction, or the absence of the sun's heat, represented by
winter, was necessary to life, and therefore the Destroyer was
also the Regenerator and equally with the Creator and Preserver
constituted a beneficent factor in the god-idea. In fact as this
third element really embodied the substance of the other two, it
finally became the supreme God, little afterward being heard
about the Creator and Preserver. The Regenerator or Destroyer
was of course the sun, which in winter died away and rose again
in the spring-time as a beneficent Savior or renewer of life.
The principle involved in these processes represented Fertility,
Life, reproductive energy. As applied to mortals, it
comprehended the power to create combined with perceptive Wisdom
or Knowledge.
This idea, portrayed as it was by a mother and her child, linked
woman with the stars. It produced the "Virgin of the Sphere,"
Queen of Heaven, "Isiac Controller of the Zodiac," at the same
time that it made her the mother of all mankind.
Every year this Virgin of the Sphere as she appeared above the
horizon at the winter solstice gave birth to the sun.
Astronomically this new sun was the Regenerator, by which all
Nature was renewed. Mythologically, after the higher truths
contained in these doctrines were lost, it came to be the Savior,
the Son of the Virgin, the seed of the woman, which was to bruise
the serpent's head.
That the religion of an ancient race comprehended a knowledge of
the evolutionary processes of Nature may not be doubted. The
myths still extant, and even the oldest Assyrian inscriptions
which have been deciphered, reveal the fact that the seeds of the
visible universe were hidden in the "great deep"--that animal
creation sprang from the earth and the sea through the influence
of the sun's rays.
It is now known that the philosophy of an older race involved a
belief in the Eternity of Matter. The abstruse doctrine of
Reincarnation and the Renewal of Worlds seems to have formed the
basis of their philosophy. According to these speculations, a
portion of the earth was destroyed or resolved into its primary
elements every six hundred years, while at the end of each
Kalpia, or great Cycle of several thousand years, the entire
earth was renovated or absorbed into the two fecundating
principles of the universe. These two indivisible forces
represented by Vishnu rested in the water, or brooded on the face
of the deep. When stirred by love for each other they again
became active, and from the germs of a former world, which had
been absorbed by themselves, created again the earth and
everything upon it. In other words, "the earth sprang from the
navel of Vishnu or Brahme." According to the Buddhists of
Ceylon, the universe has perished ten different times, and each
time has been renewed by the operations of Nature, or by the
preservation of germs from a former world. In their mythology
these germs are represented by a parent and a triplicated
offspring. It is perhaps unnecessary to add that this monad
trinity is the Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer with their great
parent, the Mother of the Gods, which in process of time came to
be regarded as male. According to Wilford, Hindoo chronology
presents fourteen different periods, six of which have already
elapsed; we are in the seventh, which began with the flood. Each
of these periods is called a Manwantara, the presiding genius or
Deity of which is a Menu. At the close of each dynasty a total
destruction of the world takes place, everything being destroyed
except the ruler, or Menu, who "escapes in a boat." Each new
world is an exact counterpart of the one destroyed, and each Menu
is a representation of all preceding ones. Thus the history of
one dynasty serves for all the rest. This doctrine of a
triplicated Deity appearing at the beginning of a new creation
may be traced in nearly every country of the globe. Among the
Buddhists of China, Fo is mysteriously multiplied into three
persons in the same manner as is Fo-hi, who is evidently Noah.
Among the Hindoos is observed the triad Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva
springing from the monad Brahm or Brahme. This triad appears on
the earth at the beginning of each Manwantara in the human form
of Menu and his three sons. We are assured that among the
Tartars evident traces are found of a similar God, who is seated
on the lotus. It is also figured on a Siberian medal in the
imperial collection at St. Petersburg. The Jakuthi Tartars, who
are said to be the most numerous people of Siberia, worship a
triplicated Deity under the three denominations of Artugon and
Schugo-tangon and Tangara. Faber tells us that this Tartar God
is the same even in appellation with the Tanga-tanga of the
Peruvians, who, like other tribes of America, seem plainly to
have crossed over from the North-eastern extremity of Siberia.
Upon this subject the same writer remarks thus:
"Agreeably to the mystical notion so familiar to the Hindoos,
that the self-triplicated Great Father yet remained but one in
essence, the Peruvians supposed their Tanga-tanga to be one in
three, and three in one: and in consequence of the union of hero
worship with the astronomical and material systems of idolatry
they venerated the sun and the air, each under three images and
three names. The same opinions equally prevailed throughout the
nations which lie to the west of Hindostan. Thus the Persians
had their Ormuzd, Mithras, and Ahriman: or, as the matter was
sometimes represented, their self-triplicating Mithras. The
Syrians had their Monimus, Aziz, and Ares. The Egyptians had
their Emeph, Eicton, and Phtha. The Greeks and Romans had their
Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto; three in number, though one in
essence, and all springing from Cronus, a fourth, yet older God.
The Canaanites had their Baal-Spalisha or self-triplicated Baal.
The Goths had their Odin, Vile, and Ve, who are described as the
three sons of Bura, the offspring of the mysterious cow, and the
Celts had their three bulls, venerated as the living symbols of
the triple Hu or Menu. To the same class we must ascribe the
triads of the Orphic and Pythagorean and Platonic schools; each
of which must again be identified with the imperial triad of the
old Chaldaic or Babylonian philosophy."[43]
[43] Faber, Pagan Idolatry, book vi., ch. ii., p. 470.
The history of the catastrophe known as the deluge, which, it is
claimed, took place either in Armenia, at Cashgar, or at some
other place in the East, is observed, in later ages, to furnish a
covering beneath which have been veiled the mythical doctrines of
the priests. Of the catastrophes which from time to time have
visited our planet, and of the belief which has come to be
entertained by ecclesiastics that the earth will be destroyed by
fire, Celsus writes:
"The belief has spread among them, from a misunderstanding of the
accounts of these occurrences, that after lengthened cycles of
time, and the returns and conjunctions of planets,
conflagrations, and floods are wont to happen, and because after
the last flood, which took place in the time of Deucalion, the
lapse of time, agreeably to the vicissitude of all things,
requires a conflagration; and this made them give utterance to
the erroneous opinion that God will descend, bringing fire like a
[44] Origen against Celsus, book iv., ch. xi.
The mythologies of all nations are largely founded upon the
"religious history" of a flood. The doctrine of a triplicated
God saved from destruction by a storm-tossed ark which rested on
some local mountain answering to Ararat, and which was filled
with the natural elements of reproduction, is found amongst the
traditions of every country of the globe. In Egypt, the
destructive agency drives the God into the ark--or into the
fish's belly, where he is obliged to remain until the flood
subsides. In other words, at the time of the destruction of the
world, the creative agency is forced within the womb of Nature,
there to remain until it again comes forth to recreate the world;
nor does the symbolism end here, for this God--the sun, or the
reproductive power within it, which every year is put to death by
the cold of winter, must for a season remain lifeless, but, at
the proper time, will come forth with healing in his wings. This
God must issue forth to life through female Nature.
The god-man, Noah, who appears under one appellation or another
in all extant mythologies, was slain, or shut up in a box, ark,
or chest in which he or his seed was preserved from the ravages
of a mighty flood, or from destruction by the calamity which had
befallen the rest of mankind. In one sense he represents a
Savior, in another sense he is the saved, for he is the seed of a
former world and is born again from a boat, a symbol which always
represents the female energy. Sometimes he is shut up in a
wooden cow, from which he issues forth to new life. Again this
storm tossed mariner is born from a cave, or the door of a rocky
cavern, within which he had been preserved from some terrible
catastrophe, caused either by water or fire.
Sir W. Jones, Faber, Higgins, and many others who have
investigated this subject are confident that the Noah of Genesis
is identical with Menu, the law-giver of India, and that both are
Adam, a man who appears with his three sons at the end of each
cycle, or six hundred years, to renovate the world. In the six
hundred and first year of Noah's life, in the first month, on the
first day of the month, the waters were dried up from the earth.
The drying of the waters, and the beginning anew just at the
close of the six hundred years, are thought to refer to the end
of the cycle of the Neros. A year of Menu or Buddha had expired
and a new dynasty or Mamwantara was to begin.
Regarding this trinity, Faber remarks:
"Brahm then at the head of the Indian triad is Menu at the head
of his three sons. But that by the first Menu we are to
understand Adam, is evident, both from the remarkable
circumstance of himself and his consort bearing the titles of
Adima and Iva, and from the no less remarkable tradition that one
of his three sons was murdered by his brother at a sacrifice.
Hence it will follow, that Brahm at the head of the Indian triad
is Adam at the head of his three sons, Cain, Abel, and Seth.
Each Menu with his triple offspring is only the reappearance of a
former Menu with his triple offspring; for, in every such
manifestation at the commencement of each Mamwantara, the Hindoo
Trimurti, or triad, becomes incarnate, by transmigrating from the
human bodies occupied during a former incarnation; Brahm or the
Unity appearing as the paternal Menu of a new age, while the
triad, Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, is exhibited in the person of
his three sons. . . . But the ark-preserved Menu--Satyavrata
and his three sons are certainly Noah and his three sons, Shem,
Ham, and Japhet."
Hesiod teaches that, after the flood, Chaos, Night, and black
Erebus first appeared.[45] At this time, when there was no Earth,
no Heaven, and no Air, an egg floated on the face of the deep,
which, being parted, brought forth Love, or Cupid. Out of Chaos
this God created or formed all things. Now Cupid is the same as
the Greek Phanes, and Phanes is Noah, the egg being the ark or
female principle from which he was produced. The Greek God
Phanes is the same as the Egyptian Osiris, who was driven into
the ark by the "wind that blasts," or by the evil principle.
[45] The Theogony.
"As Cupid is indifferently said to have been produced from an egg
at a time when the whole world was in disorder, and from the womb
of the marine goddess Venus, the egg and the womb of that goddess
must denote the same thing. Accordingly we shall find that, on
the one hand, Venus is immediately connected with the symbolical
egg; and, on the other hand, that she is identical with Derceto
and Isis, and is declared to be that general receptacle out of
which all the hero-gods were produced. Now there can be little
doubt in what sense we are to understand this expression, when we
are told that the peculiar symbol of Isis was a ship; and when we
learn that the form assumed at the period of the deluge, by the
Indian Isi or Bhavani, who is clearly the same as the Egyptian
Isis, was the ship Argha, in which her consort Siva floated
securely on the surface of the ocean. Venus, therefore, or the
Great Mother, the parent of Cupid from whom all mankind
descended, must be the Ark: consequently, the egg, with which she
is connected, must be the Ark also. Aristophanes informs us that
the egg out of which Love was born, was produced by Night in the
bosom of Erebus. But the Goddess Night, as we learn from the
Orphic poet, was the very same person as Venus; and he celebrates
her as the parent of the Universe, and as the general mother both
of the hero-gods and of man. The egg therefore produced by Night
was produced by Venus: but Venus and the egg meant the same
thing: even that vast floating machine, which was esteemed an
epitome of the world, and from which was born that Deity who is
also literally said to have been set afloat in an ark. Sometimes
the order of production was inverted; and, instead of the egg
being produced by Night or Venus, Venus herself was fabled to
have been produced from the egg. There is a remarkable legend of
this sort which ascribes Venus and her egg to the age of Typhon
and Osiris, in other words, to the age in which Noah was
compelled by the deluge to enter into the ark."[46]
[46] Origin of Pagan Idolatry, book i., ch. iv.
The Preserver of the Persians, who is seated on a rainbow in
front of their rock temples, is Mithras, who is identical with
Noah. Sometimes this ancient mariner is represented as riding on
the back of a fish, and again as floating in a boat. The God of
Hindostan, like the classical Dionysos, was enclosed in an ark
and driven into the sea. According to the Gothic traditions as
recorded in the Eddas, there once existed a beautiful world,
which was destroyed by fire. Another was created, which, with
all its inhabitants save a giant and his three sons, who were
saved in a ship, were destroyed by water. With this triad, which
originally sprang from a mysterious cow, the new world began.
This new world, which represents the present system, will in time
be devoured by flames; but another earth will arise from the
ocean,--an earth far more beautiful than this, upon which all
kinds of grain and delicious fruits will grow without
cultivation. Veda and Vile will be there, for the conflagration
will have been powerless to destroy them. While the flames are
devouring all things, two human beings, a female and a male, will
be concealed under a hill, where they will feed upon dew, and
will propagate so abundantly that the earth will soon be peopled
with a new race of beings. During the catastrophe, the sun will
be devoured by a wolf, but before her death she will give birth
to a daughter as resplendent as herself, who will go in the same
path formerly trodden by her mother.
The doctrines of the Gothic philosophers, as they appear in the
Eddas, concerning the eternity of matter, the renewal or
succession of worlds, and reincarnation are the same as those
taught by Pythagoras, the Stoics, and other Greek schools of
Brahme or Vishnu, resting on the bottom of the sea--a goddess
who was symbolized by the self-generating lotus--was in later
ages the mysterious Cow of the Goths.
After the natural truths concealed beneath their religious
symbolism were wholly forgotten, and human nature through the
over-stimulation of the animal instincts had become corrupted,
Adam and Eve, names which doubtless for ages represented the two
fecundating principles throughout Nature, with their sons, Cain,
Abel, and Seth, comprehended the god-idea. The fact has been
observed that just six hundred years from the creation of Adam,
or at the close of the cycle, Noah appears with his three sons to
save or perpetuate the race.
It is now believed that this account of Noah and his three sons
is an allegory beneath which are concealed the religious
doctrines, or perhaps I should say, the philosophical
speculations of an older race. The God of the ancients was
identified with the life of man individually and with that of
mankind collectively. As men die each day, and as every day men
are born, this Deity is said to die and to be renewed each day;
and as he is the sun, or the incarnation of the sun, the rising
and setting of this luminary depict the constantly dying and
regenerating God of Nature, the same as do the changing seasons.
A similar idea reappears in their system of the renewal of worlds
and reincarnation.
Regarding the doctrine of the eternity of matter held by the
ancients, Origen mentions a belief of the Egyptians that the
"world or its substance was never produced, but that it has
existed from all eternity. Neither is there any such thing as
death. Those who perish about us every day are simply changed,
either they take on other forms or are removed to some other
place. God cannot be destroyed, and as all things are parts of
the Deity everything lives and has always lived, seeming death
being simply change. Remnants of these doctrines are found in
every portion of the globe; among the Mexicans of the west as
well as among the rude mountaineers of the Burman Empire."
While contemplating the philosophical speculations of an ancient
race Bailly gave expression to the belief, that a "profoundly
learned race of people existed previous to the formation of any
of our systems." The wiser among the Greek philosophers, those
who, it is believed, borrowed their philosophical doctrines from
the East, declare that "there is no production of anything which
was not before; no new substance made which did not really
pre-exist." Equally with matter was spirit indestructible. "Our
soul," says Plato, "was somewhere, before it came to exist in
this present form; whence it appears to be immortal. . . .
Who knows whether that which is demonstrated living, be not
indeed rather dying, and whether that which is styled dying be
not rather living?"
To one who has given attention to the various legends relative to
the destruction of the world by a flood, and a storm-tossed
mariner saved in an ark or boat, it is plain that they all have
the same significance, all are but different versions of the same
myth, which in an early age was used to conceal the philosophical
doctrines of an ancient people.
That the early historic nations understood little concerning the
origin and true meaning of the legends which they had inherited
from an older race is quite evident. The ignorance of the Greeks
regarding the significance of these legends is shown by the
following: When Solon, wishing to acquaint himself with the
history of the oldest times, inquired of an Egyptian priest
concerning the time of the flood, and the age of Deucalion or
Phroneous or Noah, this functionary replied:
"O Solon, Solon, you Greeks are always children, nor is there an
old man among you! Having no ancient traditions nor any
acquaintance with chronology, you are as yet in a state of
intellectual infancy. The true origin of such mutilated fables
as you possess is this. There have been and shall again be in
the course of many revolving ages, numerous destructions of the
human race; the greatest of them by fire and water, but others in
an almost endless succession of shorter intervals."[47]
[47] Quoted by Plato; also by Clement of Alexandria.
We have observed that the symbol of the universe was an egg. The
egg was also the symbol of the earth and of the ark, which meant
universal womanhood. From the mundane egg the triplicated Deity
sprang. There can be little doubt at the present time that Adam,
Noah, Menu, Osiris, and Dionysos all represent the fructifying
power of the sun. In process of time they each came to figure as
male reproductive energy, and during certain periods of the
earth's history they have each in turn been worshipped as the
Deity. That not only the ark was female, but that the god
element or reproductive principle within the ark was both female
and male, is a fact which has been lost sight of during the
historic period, or during those ages of the world in which the
attempt has been made to prove Nature motherless.
All the germs and living creatures which were within the ark, and
which were to reanimate the earth, were in pairs, females and
males; and, besides, the Dove (female), the emblem of peace, was
also present. Even Noah himself was produced from an egg, which,
as we have seen, is the symbol of Venus, or universal womanhood.
In after ages the female principle was not mentioned, but, on the
contrary, was concealed beneath convenient symbols; and as the
philosophical ideas underlying natural religion were lost or
forgotten, and mankind had become too ignorant to perceive that a
dual force, female and male which was also a Trinity, pervades
Nature, the notion came gradually to prevail that the creative
agency, which is spirit, is altogether male. Hence the
formulation of the inconceivable doctrine of a Trinity composed
of a Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Glimpses of antiquity as far back as human ken can reach reveal
the fact that in early ages of human society the physiological
question of sex was a theme of the utmost importance, while
various proofs are at hand showing that throughout the past the
question of the relative importance of the female and male
elements in procreation has been a fruitful source of religious
contention and strife. These struggles, which from time to time
involved the entire habitable globe, were of long duration,
subsiding only after the adherents of the one sex or the other
had gained sufficient ascendancy over the opposite party to
successfully erect its altars and compel the worship of its own
peculiar gods, which worship usually included a large share of
the temporal power. Only since the male sex has gained
sufficient influence to control not only human action, but human
thought as well, have these contentions subsided.[48]
[48] At the present time, through causes which are not difficult
to understand, the question of the relative importance of the two
sexes is again assuming a degree of importance indicative of the
changes which are taking place in human thought, and for the
reason that we are just witnessing the dawn of an intellectual
age, the problems to be solved will admit of no answers other
than those based upon a scientific foundation.
That religious wars have not been confined to more modern times,
and that among an early race the attempt to exalt the male
principle met with obstinate resistance which involved mankind in
a conflict, the violence of which has never been exceeded, are
facts which seem altogether probable. Indeed, there is much
evidence going to show that the cause of the original dispersion
of a primitive race was the contention which arose respecting
their religious faith or regarding the physiological question of
the relative importance of the sexes in the function of
reproduction; and that the general war indicated in the Puranas,
which began in India and extended over the entire habitable
globe, and which was celebrated by the poets as "the basis of
Grecian mythology," originated in this conflict over the
precedence of one or the other of the sex-principles contained in
the Deity. Although there are no records of these wars in extant
history, accounts of them are still preserved in the traditions
and religious monuments of oriental countries. In Egypt, in
India, and to a greater or less extent in other Eastern
countries, these physiological contests have been disguised under
a veil of allegory, the true significance of which it is no
longer difficult to understand. With the light which more recent
investigation has thrown upon the subject of the separation of
the original sex-elements contained in the Deity, the
significance of the following legend in the Servarasa is at once
When Parvati (Devi) was united in marriage to Mahadeva (Siva),
the divine pair had once a dispute on the comparative influence
of the sexes in producing animated beings, and each resolved by
mutual agreement to create a new race of men. The race produced
by Mahadeva were very numerous, and devoted themselves
exclusively to the worship of the male Deity, but their
intellects were dull, their bodies feeble, their limbs distorted,
and their complexions of many different hues. Parvati had at the
same time created a multitude of human beings, who adored the
female power only, and were well shaped, with sweet aspects and
fine complexions. A furious contest ensued between the two
nations, and the Lingajas, or adorers of the male principle, were
defeated in battle, but Mahadeva, enraged against the Yonigas
(the worshippers of the female element), would have destroyed
them with the fire of his eye if Parvati had not interposed and
appeased him, but he would spare them only on condition that they
should instantly leave the country with a promise to see it no
more, and from the Yoni, which they adored as the sole cause of
their existence, they were named Yavanas.
The fact has been noticed in a previous work[49] that, according
to Wilford, the Greeks were the descendants of the Yavanas of
India, and that when the Ionians emigrated they adopted the name
to distinguish themselves as adorers of the female, in opposition
to a strong sect of male worshippers which had been driven from
the mother country. We are taught by the Puranas that they
settled partly on the borders of Varaha-Dwip, or Europe, where
they became the progenitors of the Greeks; and partly in the two
Dwipas of Cusha, Asiatic and African. In the Asiatic Cusha-Dwip
they supported themselves by violence and rapine. Parvati,
however, or their tutelary goddess, Yoni, always protected them;
and at length, in the fine country which they occupied, they
became a flourishing nation.[50] Wilford relates that there is a
sect of Hindoos who, attempting to reconcile the two systems,
declare in their allegorical style that "Parvati and Mahadeva
found their concurrence essential to the perfection of their
offspring, and that Vishnu, at the request of the goddess,
effected a reconciliation between them."[51]
[49] See The Evolution of Women, p. 303.
[50] Asiatic Researches, vol. iii., pp. 125-132.
[51] Asiatic Researches, "Egypt and the Nile," vol. iii., pp.
The people who were dominant in Asia long before the rise of the
late Assyrian monarchy, are said to be those whom scriptural
writers represent as Cushim, and the Hindoos as Cushas. They
were the descendants of Cush, or Cuth, and were believed to have
been the architects of the Tower of Babel. Epiphanius, Eusebius,
and others assert that at the time of the building of this tower
there existed two rival beliefs, the one demonstrated as
Scuthism, the other as Ionism, or Hellenism, the latter of which
embodied the worship of the Great Mother, or the female element,
which was worshipped in the shape of the mystic "Iona or Dove."
The Scuths, on the other hand, believed in the pre-eminence of a
Great Father, or, perhaps I should say, in a Deity composed of a
triad containing the elements of a male parent. Upon this
subject the learned Faber remarks: "I am much mistaken if some
dissension on these points did not prevail at Babel itself; and I
think there is reason for believing that the altercation between
the rival sects aided the confusion of languages in producing the
[52] Pagan Idolatry, book vi., ch. ii.
Those who believed in the superiority of the male in the
processes of reproduction, adored the male element in the Deity,
while those who held that the female is the more important,
worshipped the female energy throughout Nature under one or
another of its symbols, sometimes as a woman with her child and
sometimes as a dove, but oftener as an ark, box, or chest.
It is evident from the sacred writings of the Hindoos that in
India, during a period of several thousand years, there existed
various sects, those who worshipped the male as the only creative
force, others who adored the female as the origin of life, and
those who paid homage to both, as alike important in the office
of reproduction.
It would seem that the fierce wars which had devastated the land
had ceased prior to the beginning of the Tower of Babel.
According to the testimony of Moses, the Lord himself declared
"Behold the people is one." This unanimity of belief, as is
plainly shown, was of short duration, for the Tower arose
"upright and defiant," not, however, as an emblem of the primeval
dual or triune God in which the female energy was predominant,
but as a symbol of male creative power. It was the type of
virility which in the subsequent history of religion was to
assume the position of the "one only and true God."
It is not improbable that idolatry began with the Tower of Babel.
Indeed it has been confidently asserted by certain writers that
the earliest idols set up as emblems of the Deity, or as
expressions of the peculiar worship of the Lingajas, were
obelisks, columns, or towers, the first of which we have any
account being the Tower of Babel, erected probably at Nipur in
Chaldea. Until a comparatively recent time, the actual
significance of this monument seems to have been little
understood. Later research, however, points to the fact that it
was a phallic device erected in opposition to a religion which
recognized the female element throughout Nature as God. The
length of time which the adherents of these two doctrines had
contended for the mastery is not known, but through the
deciphered monuments of ancient nations, by facts gathered from
their sacred writings, and by the general voice of tradition, it
has been ascertained with a considerable degree of certainty that
this great upheaval of society was the culmination of a dispute
which had long been waged between two contending powers, and
which finally resulted in a separation of the people, and in the
final success, for the time being, of the sect which refused
longer to recognize the superior importance of the female in the
At what time in the history of mankind the Tower of Babel was
erected has not been ascertained, but the great antiquity of
Chaldea is no longer questioned. Sir Henry Rawlinson, in the
Royal Geographical Journal says:
"When Chaldea was first colonized, or at any rate when the seat
of empire was first established there, the emporium of trade
seems to have been at Ur of the Chaldees, which is now 150 miles
from the sea, the Persian Gulf having retired nearly that
distance before the sediment brought down by the Euphrates and
To which Baldwin adds:
"A little reflection on the vast period of time required to
effect geological changes so great as this will enable us to see
to what a remote age in the deeps of antiquity we must go to find
the beginning of civilization in the Mesopotamian Valley."[53]
[53] Prehistoric Nations, p. 191.
Although at the time of the building of the Tower of Babel the
worship of a Deity in which the male principle was pre-eminent
had not become universal, still the facts seem to indicate that
the doctrine of male superiority which for ages had been steadily
advancing had at length gained the ascendancy over the older
religion. The new faith and worship had corrupted the old, and
through the conditions which had been imposed upon women, and the
consequent stimulation of the lower nature in man, even the
adherents of the older faith were losing sight of those higher
principles which in preceding ages they had adored as God.
We have seen that in every country upon the earth there is a
tradition recounting the ravages of a flood. Whether or not this
legend is to be traced to an actual calamity by which a large
portion of Asia was inundated, is not for a certainty known; but
the fact that there was a deluge of contention and strife,
surpassing anything perhaps which the world has ever witnessed,
seems altogether probable.
Not long after the catastrophe designated as the flood, emblems
of the Deity, representations of the male and female elements,
appear in profusion. Babylon, at which place was erected the
Tower of Belus, and Memphis, which contained the Pyramids, were
among the first cities which were built. As the tower typified
the Deity worshipped by those who claimed superiority for the
male, so the pyramids symbolized the creative agency and peculiar
qualities of the female, or of the dual Deity which was
worshipped as female.
Although the grosser elements in human nature were rapidly
assuming a more intensely aggressive attitude, and although the
higher principles involved in an earlier religion were in a
measure forgotten, it is evident that at this time humanity had
not become wholly sensualized, and that the lower propensities
and appetites had not assumed dominion over the reasoning
The Great Mother Cybele, who is represented by the Sphinx, had
doubtless been adored as a pure abstraction, her worship being
that of the universal female principle in Nature. She is
pictured as the "Eldest Daughter of the Mythologies," and as "The
Great First Cause." She represented the past and the future.
She was the source whence all that was and is had proceeded.
In its earliest representations, the Sphinx is figured with the
head of a woman and the body of a lion. By various writers it is
stated that the Sphinxes which were brought as spoils from Asia,
the very cradle of religion, were thus represented. The lion,
which symbolizes royal power and intellectual strength, is always
attached to the chariot of Cybele. The Sphinx is supposed to
typify not only Cybele, but the great androgynous God of Africa
as well. However, as Cybele and Muth portrayed the same idea,
namely, female power and wisdom, we are not surprised that they
should have been worshipped under the same emblem. Neither is it
remarkable, when we recall the fact that the female was supposed
to comprehend both sexes, that in certain instances a beard
appears as an accompanying feature of the Sphinx. We are told
that the fourth avatar of Vishnu was a Sphinx, but a further
search into the history of this Deity reveals the fact that her
ninth avatar is Brahm (masculine). The female principle has at
length succumbed to the predominance of male power, and Vishnu
herself has become transformed into a male God.
Although the rites connected with the worship of Cybele were
phallic they were absolutely pure. In an allusion to this
worship, Hargrave Jennings admits that the "spirituality to which
women in that age of the world were observed to be more liable
than men was peculiarly adverse to all sensual indulgence, and
especially that of the sexes."
Although the creative principle was adored under its
representatives, the Yoni and the Lingham, still the principal
object seems to have been, when administering the rites
pertaining to the worship of Cybele, to ignore sex and the usual
sex distinctions; hence we find that, in order to assume an
androgynous appearance, the priestesses of this Goddess
officiated in the costumes of males, while priests appeared in
the dress peculiar to females. However, that the sensuous
element was to a certain extent already assuming dominion over
the higher nature, and that priests were regarded as being
incapable of self-control, is observed in the fact that in the
later ages of female worship one of the principal requirements of
a priest of Cybele was castration.
It is the opinion of Grote that the story which appears in the
Hesiodic Theogony, of the castration of Saturn and Uranus by
their sons with sickles forged by the mother, was borrowed from
the Phrygians, or from the worship of the Great Mother.
In India, the strictest chastity was prescribed to the priests of
Siva, a God which was worshipped as the Destroyer or Regenerator,
and which in its earlier conception was the same as the Great
Mother Cybele. These priests were frequently obliged to
officiate in a nude state, and during the ceremony should it
appear that the symbols with which they came in contact had
appealed to other than their highest emotions, they were
immediately stoned by the people.[54]
[54] Sonnerat, Voyage aux Indes, i., 311.
The identity of the religions of India and Egypt has been noted
in an earlier portion of this work. Wilford, in his
dissertations upon Egypt and the Nile, says that in a
conversation which he had with some learned Brahmins, upon
describing to them the form and peculiarities of the Great
Pyramid, they told him that "it was a temple appropriated to the
worship of Padma Devi." The true Coptic name of these edifices
is Pire Honc, which signifies a sunbeam. Padma Devi means the
lotus, or the Deity of generation.
It is thought by many writers that these gigantic structures were
erected by the Cushite conquerors of Egypt, who invaded and
civilized the country, as emblems of the female Deity whom they
worshipped. Certainly the magnitude of these monuments and the
ingenuity displayed in their construction indicate the
intelligence of their builders and the exalted character of the
Deity adored. The Great Pyramid is in the form of a square, each
side of whose base is seven hundred and fifty-five feet, and
covers an area of nearly fourteen acres. An able writer in
describing the pyramids says that the first thing which impresses
one is the uniform precision and systematic design apparent in
their architecture. They all have their sides accurately adapted
to the four cardinal points.
"In six of them which have been opened, the principal passage
preserves the same inclination of 26 degrees to the horizon,
being directed toward the polar star. . . . Their obliquity
being so adjusted as to make the north side coincide with the
obliquity of the sun's rays at the summer's solstice, has,
combined with the former particulars, led some to suppose they
were solely intended for astronomical uses; and certainly, if not
altogether true, it bespeaks, at all events, an intimate
acquaintance with astronomical rules, as well as a due regard to
the principles of geometry. Others have fancied them intended
for sepulchres; and as the Egyptians, taught by their ancient
Chaldean victors, connected astronomy with their funereal and
religious ceremonies, they seem in this to be not far astray, if
we but extend the application to their sacred bulls and other
animals, and not merely to their kings, as Herodotus would have
us suppose."[55]
[55] The Round Towers of Ireland, p. 159.
According to the testimony of Inman, the pyramid is an emblem of
the Trinity--three in one. The triangle typifies the flame of
sacred fire emerging from the holy lamp. With its base upwards it
typifies the Delta, or the door through which all come into the
world. With its apex uppermost, it is an emblem of the phallic
triad. The union of these triangles typifies the male and female
principles uniting with each other, thus producing a new figure,
a star, while each retains its own identity.[56]
[56] Ancient Faiths, vol. i., p. 145.
Thus the primary significance of the pyramid was religious, and
in its peculiar architectural construction was manifested the
prevailing conception of the Deity worshipped; namely, the
fructifying energies in the sun. We are informed that "all
nations have at one time or another passed through violent stages
of pyrolatry, a word which reminds us that fire and phallic cult
flourished around the pyramids. . . . Every town in Greece
had a Pyrtano."[57]
[57] Forlong, Rivers of Life, or Faiths of Man in All Lands, vol.
i., p. 325.
As not alone the sun but the stars also had come to be venerated
as agencies in reproduction, the worship of these objects was, as
we have seen, closely interwoven with that of the generative
processes throughout Nature. The attempt to solve the great
problem of the origin of life on the earth led these people to
contemplate with the profoundest reverence all the visible
objects which were believed to affect human destiny. Hence both
the pyramid and the tower served a double purpose, first, as
emblems of the Deity worshipped, and, second, as monuments for
the study of the heavenly bodies with which their religious ideas
were so intimately connected.
While comparing the early emblems which prefigure the primitive
elements in the god-idea, Hargrave Jennings observes:
"In the conveyance of certain ideas to those who contemplate it,
the pyramid boasts of prouder significance, and impresses with a
hint of still more impenetrable mystery. We seem to gather dim
supernatural ideas of the mighty Mother of Nature . . . that
almost two-sexed entity, without a name--She of the Veil which is
never to be lifted, perhaps not even by the angels, for their
knowledge is limited. In short, this tremendous abstraction,
Cybele, Ideae, Mater, Isiac controller of the Zodiacs, whatever
she may be, has her representative in the half-buried Sphinx even
to our own day, watching the stars although nearly swallowed up
in the engulphing sands."[58]
[58] Phallicism, p. 25.
From the time when the two religious elements began to separate
in the minds of the people, the prophets, seers, and priestesses
of the old religion, those who continued to worship the Virgin
and Child, had prophesied that a mortal woman, a virgin, would,
independently of the male principle, bring forth a child, the
fulfilment of which prophecy would vindicate the ancient faith
and forever settle the dispute relative to the superiority of the
female in the office of reproduction. Thus would the woman
"bruise the serpent's head." In process of time not only
Yonigas, but Lingajas as well, came to accept the doctrine of the
incarnation of the sun in the bodies of earthly virgins. By
Lingaites, however, it was the seed of the woman and not the
woman herself who was to conquer evil. Finally, with the
increasing importance of the male in human society, it is
observed that a reconciliation has been effected between the
female worshippers and those of the male. Athene herself has
acquiesced in the doctrine of male superiority.
Thalat, the great Chaldean Deity, who presided over Chaos prior
to the existence of organized matter, is finally transformed into
a male God. The Hindoo Vishnu, who as she slept on the bottom of
the sea brought forth all creation, has changed her sex. Brahm,
the Creator, is male, and appears as a triplicated Deity in the
form of three sons within whom is contained the essence of a
Great Father, the female creative principle being closely veiled.
Hence we see that the God of the ancients, the universal dual
force which resides in the sun and which creates all things, is
no longer worshipped under the figure of a mother and her child.
Although the female principle is still a necessary factor in the
creative processes, and although it is capable of producing gods,
the mother element possesses none of the essentials which
constitute a Deity. In other words, woman is not a Creator.
From the father is derived the soul of the child, while from the
mother, or from matter, the body is formed. Hence the prevalence
at a certain stage of human history of divine fathers and earthly
mothers; for instance, Alexander of Macedon, Julius Caesar, and
later the mythical Christ who superseded Jesus, the Judean
philosopher and teacher of mankind.
Henceforth, caves, wells, cows, boxes and chests, arks, etc.,
stand for or symbolize the female power. We are given to
understand, however, that for ages these symbols were as holy as
the God himself, and among many peoples even more revered and
We have seen that the ancients knew that matter and force were
alike indestructible. According to their doctrine all Nature
proceeded from the sun. Hence the power back of the sun, which
they worshipped as the Destroyer or Regenerator, or, in other
words, as the mother of the sun, was the Great Aum or Om, the
Aleim or Elohim, who was the indivisible God. The creative
agency which proceeded from the sun was both male and female, yet
one in essence. Later, the male appeared as spirit, the female
as matter. Spirit was something above and independent of Nature.
It had indeed created matter from nothing. The fact will be
remembered that man claimed supremacy over woman on the ground
that the male is spirit, while the female is only matter; in
other words, that she was simply a covering for the soul, which
is divine.
Thus was the god-idea divorced from Nature, and a masculine
principle, outside and independent of matter, set up as a
personal potentate or ruler over the universe.
The logic by which the great female principle in the Deity has
been eliminated, and the subterfuges which have been and still
are employed to construct and sustain a Creator who of himself is
powerless to create, is as amusing as it is suggestive, and
forcibly recalls to mind la couvade, in which, among certain
tribes, the father, assuming all the duties of procreation, goes
to bed when a child is born.[59]
[59] The Evolution of Woman, p. 127.
All mythologies prove conclusively that ages elapsed before human
beings were rash enough, or sufficiently blinded by falsehood and
superstition, to attempt to construct a creative force unaided by
the female principle. Just here it may not be out of place to
refer to the fact that in the attempt to divorce God from Nature
have arisen all the superstitions and senseless religious
theories with which, since the earliest ages of metaphysical
speculation, the human mind has been crowded.
To this separation of the two original elements in the Deity, and
the consequent exaltation of one of the factors in the creative
processes, is to be traced the beginning of our present false,
unnatural, and unphilosophical masculine system of religion--a
system under which a father appears as the sole parent of the
The fact is tolerably well understood that mysticism and the
accumulation of superstitious ideas are the result of the
over-stimulation of the lower animal instincts. When the
agencies which had hitherto held the lower nature in check became
inoperative--when man began to regard himself as a Creator and
therefore as the superior of woman--he had reached a point at
which he was largely controlled by supernatural or mystical
The fact is observed that in course of time the governmental
powers are no longer in the hands of the people; the masses have
become enslaved. Their rulers are priests--deified tyrants who
are unable to maintain their authority except through the
ignorance and credulity of the masses. Hence one is not
surprised to find that the change which took place at a certain
stage of human growth in respect to the manner of reckoning
descent was instigated and enforced by religion. Apollo had
declared that woman is but the nurse to her own offspring.
Neither is it remarkable at this stage in the human career, as
women had lost their position as heads of families, and as they
were no longer recognized as of kin to their children, that man
should have attempted to lessen the importance of the female
element in the god-idea.
Wherever in the history of the human race we observe a change in
the relations of the sexes involving greater or more oppressive
restrictions on the natural rights of women, such change, whether
it assume a legal, social, or religious form, will, if traced to
its source, always be found deeply rooted in the wiles of
priestcraft. Since the decay of the earliest form of religion,
namely, Nature-worship, the gods have never been found ranged on
the side of women.
Later investigations are proving that the primitive idea of a
Deity had its foundation in actual physical facts and
experiences; and, as the maternal principle constituted the most
important as well as the most obvious of the facts which entered
into the conception of a Creator, and as it was the only natural
bond capable of binding human society together, so long as reason
was not wholly clouded by superstition and warped by sensuality,
it could not be eliminated. In other words, a Creator in which
the more essential element of creative force was wanting, was
contrary to all human experience and observation. Indeed nothing
could be plainer than that the deified male principle could of
itself create nothing, and that it was dependent for its very
existence on the female element.
By this attempt to construct a masculine Deity, absurdities were
presented to the human judgment and understanding which for ages
could not be overcome, and by it contradictions were necessitated
which could not be reconciled with human reason and with the
ideas of Nature which had hitherto been held by mankind. It was
not, therefore, until reason had been suspended in all matters
pertaining to religion, and blind faith in the machinations of
priestcraft had been established, that a male God was set up as
the sole Creator of the universe.
When women, who had become the legitimate plunder not only of
individuals but of bands of warriors whose avowed object was the
capture of women for wives, had degenerated into mere tools or
instruments for the gratification and pleasure of men, Perceptive
Wisdom or Light, and Maternal Affection the Preserver of the
race, gradually became eliminated from the god-idea of mankind.
Passion became God. It was the Creator in the narrowest and most
restricted sense.
Although in an age of pure Nature-worship the ideas connected
with reproduction, like those related to all other natural
functions, were wholly unconnected with impurity either of
thought or deed, still when an age arrived in which all checks to
human passion had been withdrawn, and the lower propensities had
gained dominion over the higher faculties, the influence of
fertility or passion-worship on human development or growth may
in a degree be imagined.
The fact must be borne in mind that curing the later ages of
passion-worship the creative processes and the reproductive
organs were deified, not as an expression or symbol of the
operations of Nature, but as a means to the stimulation of the
lower animal instincts in man.
With religion bestialized and its management regulated wholly
with an idea to the gratification of man's sensuous desires,
religious temples, under the supervision of the priesthood,
became brothels, in which were openly practiced as part and
parcel of religious rites and ceremonies the most wanton
profligacy and the most shameless self-abandonment. The worship
of Aphrodite or Venus, and also that of Bacchus, originally
consisted in homage paid to the reproductive principles contained
in the earth, water, and sun, but, as is well known, this pure
and beautiful worship, in later times, and especially after it
was carried to Greece, became synonymous with the grossest
practices and the most lawless disregard of human decency.
With the light which in these later ages science and ethnological
research are throwing upon the physiological and religious
disputes of the ancients, the correctness of the primitive
doctrines elaborated under purer conditions at an age when human
beings lived nearer to Nature is being proved--namely, that
matter like spirit is eternal and indestructible, and therefore
that the one is as difficult of comprehension as the other, and
that Nature, instead of being separated from spirit, is filled
with it and can not be divorced from it; also that the female is
the original organic unit of creation, without which nothing is
or can be created.
The profound doctrines of abstractions or emanations; of the
absorption of the individual soul into the divine ether or
essence; of the renewal of worlds and reincarnation, were
doubtless elaborated after the separation, in the human mind, of
Spirit from matter, but before mankind had lost the power to
reason abstractly.
Although Pythagoras understood and believed these doctrines, he
did not, as is well known, receive them from his degenerate
countrymen, but, on the contrary, imbibed them from private
sources among the orientals, where fragments of their remarkable
learning were still extant. He said that religion consists in
knowing the truth and doing good, and his ideas show the grandeur
and beauty of the earlier conception of a Deity. He declared
that there is only one God who is not, "as some are apt to
imagine, seated above the world, beyond the orb of the universe,"
but that this great power is diffused throughout Nature. It is
"the reason, the life, and the motion of all things."
Plato believed that human beings are possessed of two souls, the
one mortal, which perishes with the body, the other immortal,
which continues to exist either in a state of happiness or
misery; that the righteous soul, freed from the limitations of
matter, returns at death to the source whence it came, and that
the wicked, after having been detained for a while in a place
prepared for their reception, are sent back to earth to reanimate
other bodies.
Aristotle held the opinion that the souls of human beings are
sparks from the divine flame, while Zeno, the founder of the
Stoic philosophy, taught that spirit acting upon matter produced
the elements and the earth. There is plenty of evidence going to
show that the early Fathers in the Christian church believed in
the doctrines of reincarnation and the renewal of worlds.
Neither is there any doubt but that this philosophy came from the
East, where it originated. It is thought that the ancient
philosophers who elaborated these doctrines were unable to
account for the existence of evil without a belief in the
immortality of the soul. Spirit was eternal, as was also matter.
A soul, upon leaving the body, in course of time found its way
back to earth, surrounded by conditions suited to its stage of
growth. Here it must reap all the consequences of its former
life. It must also during its stay on earth make the conditions
for its next appearance upon an earthly plane. So soon as
through a succession of births and deaths it had perfected
itself, it entered into a state of Nirvana. It was absorbed into
the great Universal Soul. Nothing is ever lost.
"Many a house of life
Hath held me--seeking ever Him who wrought
These prisons of the senses, sorrow fraught;
Sore was my ceaseless strife!
But now,
Thou builder of this tabernacle--Thou!
I know Thee.
Never shalt Thou build again
These walls of pain,
Nor raise the roof-tree of deceits, nor lay
Fresh rafters on the clay;
Broken Thy house is, and the ridge-pole split!
Delusion fashioned it!
Safe pass I thence--deliverance to obtain."[60]
[60] Edwin Arnold, The light of Asia.
Regarding the opinions of the ancients on the subject of the
eternity of matter, Higgins, in his learned work on Celtic
Druids, says:
"The eternity of matter is a well known tenet of the
Pythagoreans, and whether right or wrong there can be no doubt
that it was the doctrine of the oriental school, whence
Pythagoras drew his learning. It was a principle taken or
mistaken from, or found amongst, the debris of that mighty mass
of learning and science of a former period, of which, on looking
back as far as human ken can reach, the most learned men have
thought that they could see a faint glimmering. Indeed, I think
I may say something more than a faint glimmering. For all the
really valuable moral and philosophical doctrines we possess,
Dutens has shown to have existed there."
From what is known relative to the speculations of an ancient
race, the fact is observed that creation was but a re-formation
of matter. Wisdom, or Minerva, formed the earth and the planets;
she did not create the heavens and the earth, as did the later
Jewish God.
Of the seven principles of the universe, matter was the first,
and of the seven principles of man, the physical body was the
earliest. Through evolutionary processes, or through cyclic
periods involving millions of years, mind was developed, and in
course of time spirit was finally manifested.
Mai, the Mother of Gotama Buddha, was simply matter, or illusion,
from which its higher manifestation, mind or spirit, was
emerging. She was also the mother of Mercury. A clearer
knowledge of the philosophical doctrines which were elaborated at
a time when Nature-worship was beginning to decay, reveals the
fact that the god-idea comprehended a profound knowledge of
Nature and her laws; that while this people did not pretend to
account for the existence of matter, they recognized a force
operating through it whose laws were unchanged and unchanging.
With these facts relative to the intelligence of an older race
before us, the question naturally arises: What was the degree of
civilization attained at a time when the Deity worshipped was an
abstract principle involving the actual creative processes
throughout Nature? and, notwithstanding our prejudices, we are
constrained to acknowledge that these earlier conceptions are
scarcely compatible with the barbarism which we have been taught
to regard as the condition of all the peoples which existed prior
to the first Greek Olympiad. On the contrary, the origin of the
philosophical opinions entertained by the most ancient oriental
philosophers, and which must have arisen out of a profound
knowledge or appreciation of Nature and her operations, point to
a race far superior to any of those peoples which appear in early
historic times. Regarding these opinions, Godfrey Higgins
"From their philosophical truth and universal reception I am
strongly inclined to refer them to the authors of the Neros, or
to that enlightened race, supposed by Bailly to have formerly
existed, and to have been saved from a great catastrophe on the
Himalaya Mountains. This is confirmed by an observation which
the reader will make in the sequel, that these doctrines have
been, like all the other doctrines of antiquity, gradually
corrupted--incarnated, if I may be permitted to compose a word
for the occasion."
Of this cycle, Bailly says: "No person could have invented the
Neros who had not arrived at much greater perfection in astronomy
than we know was the state of the most ancient Assyrians,
Egyptians, and Greeks."
Toward the close of the eighteenth century the celebrated
astronomer, Bailly, published a work entitled The History of
Ancient Astronomy, in which he endeavored to prove that a nation
possessed of profound wisdom and great genius, and of an
antiquity far superior to the Hindoos or Egyptians, "inhabited
the country to the north of India, or about fifty degrees north
latitude." This writer has shown that "the most celebrated
astronomical observations and inventions, from their peculiar
character, could have taken place only in these latitudes, and
that arts and improvements gradually travelled thence to the
A colony of Brahmins settled near the Imans, and in Northern
Thibet, where in ancient times they established celebrated
colleges, particularly at Nagraent and Cashmere. In these
institutions the treasures of Sanskrit literature were supposed
to be deposited. The Rev. Mr. Maurice was informed that an
immemorial tradition prevailed at Benares that all the learning
of India came from a country situated in forty degrees of
northern latitude. Other writers are of the opinion that
civilization proceeded from Arabia; that the old Cushite race
carried commerce, letters, and laws to all the nations of the
East. Which of these theories is true, if either, may not with
certainty be proved at present; yet that in the far distant past
a race of people existed whose achievements exceeded those of any
of the historic nations may not be doubted.
That the length of the year was calculated with greater exactness
by an ancient and forgotten people than it was by early historic
nations is proved by the cycle of the Neros. This cycle, which
was formed of 7.421 lunar revolutions of 29 days, 12 hours, 44
minutes, and 3 seconds, or 219,146 days and a half, was equal to
600 solar years of 365 days, 5 hours, 51 minutes, and 36 seconds,
which time varies less than three minutes from the present
observations of the year's length. The length of the year as
calculated by the Egyptians and other early historic nations was
360 days, which fact would seem to indicate that a science of
astronomy had been developed in an earlier age which by the most
ancient peoples of whom we have any historic records has been
lost or forgotten. It has been said that if this cycle of the
Neros "were correct to the second, if on the first of January at
noon a new moon took place, it would take place again in exactly
600 years at the same moment of the day, and under all the same
[61] Godfrey Higgins, Celtic Druids, ch. ii., sec. 14.
The Varaha Calpa has the famous cycle of 4,320,000,000 years for
its duration. This system makes the Cali Yug begin 3098 years
B.C. A dodecan consisted of 5 days, and 72 dodecans formed a
natural year of 360 days. According to the earlier calculations,
360 solar diurnal revolutions constituted a natural year. The
doctrine of the ancients concerning these cycles is thus set
forth by Godfrey Higgins:
"The sun, or rather that higher principle of which the sun was
the emblem or the shekinah, was considered to be incarnated every
six hundred years. Whilst the sun was in Taurus, the different
incarnations, under whatever names they might go, were all
considered but as incarnations of Buddha or Taurus. When he got
into Aries, they were in like manner considered but as
incarnations of Cristna or Aries, and even Buddha and Cristna
were originally considered the same, and had a thousand names in
common, constantly repeated in their litanies--a striking proof
of identity of origin. Of these Zodiacal divisions the Hindoos
formed another period, which consisted of ten ages or Calpas or
Yugs, which they considered the duration of the world, at the end
of which a general renovation of all things would take place.
They also reckoned ten Neroses to form a period, each of them
keeping a certain relative location to the other, and together to
form a cycle. To effect this they doubled the precessional
period for one sign-- viz: 2160 years--thus making 4320, which
was a tenth of 43,200, a year of the sun, analogous to the 360
natural days, and produced in the same manner, by multiplying the
day of 600 by the dodecans 72 = 43,200. They then formed another
great year of 432,000 by again multiplying it by 10, which they
called a Cali Yug, which was measurable both by the number 2160,
the years the equinox preceded in a sign, and by the number 600.
They then had the following scheme:
A Cali Yug, or 600 (or a Neros) 432,000
A Dwapar, or Duo-par Age. . . .864,000
A Treta, or tree-par Age. . . 1,296,000
A Satya, or Satis Age . . . .1,728,000
altogether 10 Ages, making a Maha Yug or Great Age. These were
all equimultiples of the Cycle of the Neros 600, and of 2160, the
twelfth part of the equinoctial precessional Cycle, and in all
formed ten ages of 432,000 years each."[62]
[62] Anacalypsis, vol. i., p. 232.
The two great religious festivals of the ancients occurred the
one in the spring, at Easter, when all Nature was renewed, the
other in the autumn, after the earth had yielded her bounties and
the fruits were garnered in. It was at these gatherings that the
Great Mother Earth received the devout adoration of all her
It is supposed that the Neros, or cycle of 600, is closely
connected with this worship, and that it was invented to regulate
the season for these festivals. In process of time it was
discovered that this cycle no longer answered, that the festival
which had originally fallen on the first of May now occurred on
the first of April. This, we are told,
"led ultimately to the discovery that the equinox preceded about
2160 years in each sign or 25,920 years in the 12 signs, and this
induced them to try if they could not form a cycle of the two.
On examination, they found that the 600 would not commensurate
the 2160 years in a sign, or any number of sums of 2160 less than
ten, but that it would with ten, or that in ten times 2160, or in
21,600 years, the two cycles would agree; yet this artificial
cycle would not be enough to include the cycle of 25,920. They,
therefore, took two of the periods of 21,600, or 43,200; and,
multiplying both by ten--viz: 600 X 10 = 6000, and 43,200 X 10 =
432,000--they formed a period with which the 600-year period and
the 6000-year period would terminate and form a cycle. Every
432,000 years the three periods would commence anew; thus the
three formed a year or cycle, 72 times 6000 making 432,000, and
720 times 600 making 432,000."[63]
[63] Higgins, Anacalypsis, p. 235.
To form a great year, which would include all the cyclical
motions of the sun and moon, and perhaps of the planets, they
multiplied 432,000 by ten; thus they had ten periods answering to
ten signs. Concerning these cycles Godfrey Higgins observes:
"Persons of narrow minds will be astonished at such monstrous
cycles; but it is very certain that no period could properly be
called the great year unless it embraced in its cycle every
periodical movement or apparent aberration. But their vulgar
wonder will perhaps cease when they are told that La Place has
proved that, if the periodical aberrations of the moon be
correctly calculated, the great year must be extended to a
greater length even than 4,320,000 years of the Maha Yug of the
Hindoos, and certainly no period can be called a year of our
planetary system which does not take in all the periodical
motions of the planetary bodies."
It is thought that as soon as these ancient astronomers perceived
that the equinoxes preceded, they would at once attempt to
determine the rate of precession in a given time; the precession,
however, in one year was so small that they were obliged to
extend their observations over immense periods. Jones informs us
that the Hindoos first supposed that the precession took place at
the rate of 60 years in a degree, or 1800 in a Zodiacal sign, and
of 21,600 in a revolution of the entire circle. They afterwards
came to think that the precession was at the rate of 60 years and
a fraction of a year, and thus that the precession for a sign was
in 1824 years, and for the circle in 21,888 years. Subsequently
they discovered, or thought they had discovered, the Soli-Lunar
period of 608 years, hence they attempted to make the two go
together. Both, however, proved to be erroneous.
In referring to the fact that among the ancient Romans existed
the story of the twelve vultures and the twelve ages of 120 years
each, Higgins remarks:
"This arose from the following cause: They came from the East
before the supposition that the precession took place a degree in
about 60 years, and 1824 years in a sign had been discovered to
be erroneous; and as they supposed the Neros made a correct cycle
in 608 years, and believed the precessional cycle to be completed
in 21,888, they of course made their ages into twelve. As both
numbers were erroneous, they would not long answer their intended
purpose, and their meaning was soon lost, though the sacred
periods of twelve ages and of 608 remained."
According to Hipparchus and Ptolemy, the equinoxes preceded at
the rate of a degree in 100 years, or 36,000 hundred years in 360
degrees. This constituted a great year, at the end of which the
regeneration of all things takes place. This is thought to be a
remnant of the most ancient Hindoo speculations, and not the
result of observation among the Greeks. Some time after the
arrival of the sun in Aries,
"at the vernal equinox, the Indians probably discovered their
mistake, in giving about 60 years to a degree; that they ought to
give 50" to a year, about 72 years to a degree, and about 2160
years to a sign; and that the Luni-Solar cycle, called the Neros,
did not require 608 years, but 600 years only, to complete its
period. Hence arose the more perfect Neros."
It is thought by various writers that the knowledge of the
ancient Hindoos regarding the movements of the sun and moon in
their cycles of nineteen and six hundred years--the Metonic
cycle, and the Neros--proves that long before the birth of
Hipparchus the length of the year was known with a degree of
exactitude which that astronomer had not the means of
determining. It is positively asserted by astronomers that at
least twelve hundred years were required, "during which time the
observations must have been taken with the greatest care and
regularly recorded," to arrive at the knowledge necessary for the
invention of the Neros, and that such observations would have
been impossible without the aid of the telescope.
On the subject of the great learning of an ancient race, Sir W.
Drummond says:
"The fact, however, is certain, that at some remote period there
were mathematicians and astronomers who knew that the sun is in
the centre of the planetary system, and that the earth, itself a
planet, revolves round the central fire;--who calculated, or like
ourselves attempted to calculate, the return of comets, and who
knew that these bodies move in elliptic orbits, immensely
elongated, having the sun in one of their foci;--who indicated
the number of the solar years contained in the great cycle, by
multiplying a period (variously called in the Zend, the Sanscrit,
and the Chinese ven, van, and phen) of 180 years by another
period of 144 years;--who reckoned the sun's distance from the
earth at 800,000,000 of Olympic stadia; and who must, therefore,
have taken the parallax of that luminary by a method, not only
much more perfect than that said to be invented by Hipparchus,
but little inferior in exactness to that now in use among the
moderns;--who could scarcely have made a mere guess when they
fixed the moon's distance from its primary planet at fifty-nine
semi-diameters of the earth;--who had measured the circumference
of our globe with so much exactness that their calculation only
differed by a few feet from that made by our modern
geometricians; --who held that the moon and the other planets
were worlds like our own, and that the moon was diversified by
mountains and valleys and seas;--who asserted that there was yet
a planet which revolved round the sun, beyond the orbit of
Saturn;--who reckoned the planets to be sixteen in number; --and
who reckoned the length of the tropical year within three minutes
of the true time; nor, indeed, were they wrong at all, if a
tradition mentioned by Plutarch be correct."[64]
[64] Drummond, On the Zodiacs, p. 36.
Bailly, Sir W. Jones, Higgins, and Ledwich, as well as many
modern writers, agree in the conclusion that the Indians, the
Egyptians, the Assyrians, and the Chinese were simply the
depositaries, not the inventors, of science. The spirit of
inquiry which in later times is directing attention to the almost
buried past is revealing the fact that not merely the germs
whence our present civilization has been developed descended to
us from the dim ages of antiquity, but that a great number of the
actual benefits which go to make up our present state of material
progress have come to us from prehistoric times. The art of
writing, of navigation (including the use of the compass), the
working of metals, astronomy, the telescope, gunpowder,
mathematics, democracy, building, weaving, dyeing, and many of
the appliances of civilized life, have been appropriated by later
ages with no acknowledgment of the source whence they were
derived. When Pythagoras exhibited to the Greeks some beautiful
specimens of ancient architecture which he had brought from Egypt
and Babylon, they simply claimed them as their own, giving no
credit to the people who originated them; and subsequent ages,
copying their example, have refused to acknowledge that anything
of value had been achieved prior to the first Greek Olympiad.
When Philip of Macedon opened the gold mines of Thrace, a country
in which it will be remembered the worship of the Great Mother
Cybele was indigenous, he found that they had been previously
worked "at great expense and with great ingenuity by a people
well versed in mechanics, of whom no monuments whatever are
The decorations on the breasts of some of the oldest mummies show
that the early Egyptians understood the art of making glass. It
is now known that the lens as a magnifying instrument was in use
among them. Attention has been drawn to the fact that the
astronomical observations of the ancients would have been
impossible without the aid of the telescope. Diodorus Siculus
says there was an island west of the Celtae in which the Druids
brought the sun and moon near them. An instrument has recently
been found in the sands of the Nile, the construction of which
shows plainly that 6000 years ago the Egyptians were acquainted
with our modern ideas of the science of astronomy.
William Huntington, who has travelled widely in India, Borneo,
the Malay Peninsula, and Egypt, says:
"I think, on the whole, the most interesting experience I ever
had was in an ancient city on the Nile in Egypt. . . . When I
was there a year ago, and men were digging among the ruined
temples, some curious things were brought to light, and these I
regard as the strangest things seen in all my wanderings. In an
old tomb was found a curious iron and glass object, which on
investigation proved to be a photographic camera. It was not
such a camera as is used now, or has been since our photography
was invented, but something analogous to it, showing that the art
which we thought we had discovered was really known 6000 years
The same writer states that a plow constructed on the modern plan
was also found. "It was not of steel but of iron, and it had the
same shape, the same form of point and bend of mold board as we
have now."
It is reported that the dark continent possesses means of
communication entirely unknown to Europe. Upon this subject a
correspondent to the New York Tribune writes:
"When Khartoum fell in 1885 I was in Egypt, and I well remember
that the Arabs settled in the neighborhood of the pyramids knew
all about it, as well as about Gen. Gordon's death, days and
days before the news reached Cairo by telegraph from the
Soudanese frontier. Yet Khartoum is thousands of miles distant
from Cairo and the telegraph wires from the frontier were
monopolized by the government."
The same correspondent observes that these Arabs told him, months
previously, of the defeat of the Egyptian army under Baker Pasha
at Tokar--that they not only gave him the news, but several
particulars concerning the matter, two full days before
intelligence was received from the Red Sea coast. In answer to
the suggestion that such information might have been conveyed by
means of signal fires, this writer says that such fires would
have attracted the attention of the English and native scouts,
and that the whole country is unpropitious to such methods;
besides, no system of signal fires, no matter how elaborate,
could have conveyed the news so quickly and in such detail. The
whole matter is summed up as follows:
"The Arabs, therefore, have, manifestly, some other means of
rapid communication at their command. One is inclined to the
presumption that they, like the learned Pundits of Northern
India, have a knowledge of the forces of Nature that are yet
hidden from our most eminent scientists."
Can it be that the Arabs are acquainted with the very recently
discovered scientific principle, that it is possible to transmit
telegraphic communications without wires, and simply by means of
magnetic currents in earth and water?
Nor is this remarkable skill confined to the "barbarians of the
Old World." A correspondent from the far West to the New York
Press wrote that long before the news of the Custer massacre
reached Fort Abraham Lincoln the Sioux had communicated it to
their brethren. The scouts in Crook's column to the south knew
of it almost immediately, as did those with Gibbon farther
northwest. The same writer says that several years ago a naval
lieutenant ran short of provisions. He pushed on to a settlement
as rapidly as possible and upon arriving there found that the
inhabitants had provided for his coming and had a bounteous store
awaiting him. The people in the village were of a different
tribe from those whose domain he had passed, and so far as could
be learned were not in communication with them.
The earliest accounts which we have of Egypt and Chaldea reveal
the fact that at a very remote period they were old and powerful
civilizations, that they had a settled government, a pure and
philosophical religion, and a profound knowledge of science and
art; yet, notwithstanding the great antiquity of these
civilizations, that of the people which created them must have
been infinitely more remote.
The earliest historic nations recognized the greatness of these
ancient people and the extent of their dominion. In the oldest
geographical writings of the Sanskrit people, the ancient
Ethiopia, or land of Cush of Greek and Hebrew antiquity, is
clearly described. Stephanus of Byzantium, who is said to
represent the opinions of the most ancient Greeks, says:
"Ethiopia was the first established country on the earth, and the
Ethiopians were the first who introduced the worship of the Gods
and who established laws."[65]
[65] Quoted by John D. Baldwin, Prehistoric Nations, p. 62.
Heeren in his researches says:
"From the remotest times to the present, the Ethiopians have been
one of the most celebrated, and yet the most mysterious of
nations. In the earliest traditions of nearly all the more
civilized nations of antiquity, the name of this distant people
is found. The annals of the Egyptian priests are full of them,
and the nations of inner Asia, on the Euphrates and Tigris, have
interwoven the fictions of the Ethiopians with their traditions
of the wars and conquests of their heroes; and, at a period
equally remote, they glimmer in Greek mythology. When the Greeks
scarcely knew Italy and Sicily by name, the Ethiopians were
celebrated in the verses of their poets, and when the faint gleam
of tradition and fable gives way to the clear light of history,
the lustre of the Ethiopians is not diminished."
Homer says of them that they were a "divided people dwelling at
the ends of the earth toward the setting and the rising Sun."
Although it is possible at the present time to discover very many
of the facts bearing upon the civilization of this ancient
people, it is impossible in the present condition of human
knowledge to discover when civilized life began on the earth.
Whether the ancient Arabians or Ethiopians who belonged to the
old Cushite race, and who are believed by many to be the most
ancient people of whom we have any trace, were the first
colonizers, or whether they were preceded by a still older
civilization, history and tradition are alike silent; yet the
fact seems to be tolerably well authenticated that this
enlightened race, now nearly extinct, carried civilization to
Chaldea more than seven thousand years B.C., that it colonized
Egypt, engrafted its own institutions in India, colonized
Phoenicia, and by its maritime and commercial enterprise,
introduced civilized conditions into every quarter of the globe.
Even in Peru, in Mexico, in Central America, and in the United
States are evidences of the old Cushite religion and enterprise.
Baldwin, commenting on the greatness of this remarkable people,
says that early in the period of its colonizing enterprise,
commercial greatness, and extensive empire, it established
colonies in the valleys of the Nile and the Euphrates, which in
later ages became Barbary, Egypt, and Chaldea. The ancient
Cushite nation occupied Arabia and other extensive regions of
Africa, India, and Western Asia to the Mediterranean. While
remarking upon the vastness and antiquity of this old Cushite
race, Rawlinson says that they founded most of the towns of
Western Asia. The vast commercial system which formed a
connecting link between the various countries of the globe, was
created by this people, the great manufacturing skill and
unrivalled maritime activity of the Phoenicians which extended
down to the time of the Hellenes and the Romans having been a
result of the irgenius. It was doubtless during the supremacy of
the ancient Cushite race that a knowledge of astronomy was
developed and that the arts of life were carried to a high degree
of perfection. However, through the peculiar influences which
were brought to bear upon human experience, this knowledge, which
was bequeathed to their descendants or to the nations which they
had created, was subsequently lost or practically obscured, only
fragments of it having been preserved from the general ruin.
Within these fragments have been preserved in India certain
evidences of a profound knowledge of Nature, or of the at present
unknown forces in the universe, a demonstration of which, in our
own time, would probably be looked upon as a miraculous
interposition of supernatural agencies.
Regarding the refinements and luxuries of this ancient people,
Diodorus Siculus declares that they flowed in streams of gold and
silver, that "the porticoes of their temples were overlaid with
gold, and that the adornments of their buildings were in some
parts of silver and gold, and in others of ivory and precious
stones, and other things of great value."
From various observations, it is plain that the Etrurians
represented a stage of civilization far in advance of the
Pelasgians who founded Rome --a race which, although superior in
numbers, arms, and influence, were, when compared with this more
ancient people, little better than barbarians.[66]
[66] It is thought that as early as the nineteenth century B.C.
the Pelasgians or Pelargians went to Aenonia, or Ionia. It was a
detachment of this people which, according to Herodotus, captured
a number of Athenian women on the coast of Africa, lived with
them as wives, and raised families by them, but, "because they
differed in manners from themselves," they murdered them, which
act was attended by a "dreadful pestilence." It is the opinion
of certain writers that these women were of a different religious
faith from their captors, and that so intense and bitter was the
feeling upon the comparative importance of the sex functions in
pro-creation, that their husbands, unable to change their views,
put an end to their existence.
Nothing, perhaps, proclaims the degree of civilization attained
by the ancient Etrurians more plainly than the exquisite
perfection which is observed in the specimens of art found in
their tumuli. Within the tombs of Etruscans buried long prior to
the foundation of Rome, or the birth of the fine arts in Greece,
have been found unmistakable evidence of the advanced condition
of this people. The exquisite coloring and grouping of the
figures on their elegant vases, one of which, on exhibition in
the British Museum, portrays the birth of Minerva, or Wisdom,
show the delicacy of their taste, the purity of their
conceptions, and their true artistic skill.
Among their mechanical arts, a few specimens of which have been
preserved, is the potter's wheel, an invention which, so far as
its utility is concerned, is declared to be absolutely
perfect--the most complete of all the instruments of the world.
"It never has been improved and admits of no improvement." In
fact all that may be gathered concerning the ancient Etrurians, a
people who by the most able writers upon this subject is believed
to have been one of the first to leave the Asiatic hive, is in
perfect accord with the facts already set forth regarding that
mighty nation, perhaps of upper Asia, who carried the study of
astronomy to a degree of perfection never again reached until
after the discovery of the Copernican system, who invented the
Neros and the Metonic Cycle, who colonized Egypt and Chaldea, and
who carried civilization to the remotest ends of the earth.
The philosophy of the Etrurians corresponds with that of the most
ancient Hindoo system, and displays a degree of wisdom
unparalleled by any of the peoples belonging to the early
historic ages. According to their cosmogony, the evolutionary or
creative processes involved twelve vast periods of time. At the
end of the first period appeared the planets and the earth, in
the second the firmament was made, in the third the waters were
brought forth, in the fourth the sun, moon, and stars were placed
in the heavens, in the fifth living creatures appeared on the
earth, and in the sixth man was produced. These six periods
comprehended one-half the duration of the cycle. After six more
periods had elapsed, or after the lapse of the entire cycle of
twelve periods, all creation was dissolved or drawn to the source
of all life. Subsequently a new creation was brought forth under
which the same order of events will take place. The involution
of life, or its return to the great source whence it sprang, did
not, however, involve the destruction of matter. The seeds of
returning life were preserved in an ark or boat--the female
principle, within which all things are contained. This indrawing
of life constituted "the night of Brahme." It was represented by
Vishnu sleeping on the bottom of the sea.
From the facts adduced in relation to the Etrurians we are not
surprised to find that their religion was that of the ancient
Nature worshippers, and that a mother with her child stood for
their god-idea. In referring to the religion of this people, and
to the great antiquity of the worship of the Virgin and Child,
Higgins remarks: "Amongst the Gauls, more than a hundred years
before the Christian era, in the district of Chartres, a festival
was celebrated in honor of the Virgin," and in the year 1747, a
mithraic monument was found "on which is exhibited a female
nursing an infant--the Goddess of the year nursing the God day."
To which he adds: "The Protestant ought to recollect that his
mode of keeping Christmas Day is only a small part of the old
festival as it yet exists amongst the followers of the Romish
Church. Theirs is the remnant of the old Etruscan worship of the
virgin and child." As a proof of the above, Higgins cites
Gorius's Tuscan Antiquities, where may be seen the figure of an
old Goddess with her child in her arms, the inscription being in
Etruscan characters. "No doubt the Romish Church would have
claimed her for a Madonna, but most unluckily she has her name,
Nurtia, in Etruscan letters, on her arm, after the Etruscan
From the monuments of Etruria the fact is observed that descent
and the rights of succession were traced in the female line, a
condition of society which indicates the high position which must
have been occupied by the women of that country.
In Oman is said to exist a fragment of the government of the old
Ethiopian or Cushite race. If this is true, then we may be able
to perceive at the present time something of the character of the
political institutions of this ancient nation. As no people
remains stationary, and as degeneracy has been the rule with
surrounding countries, we may not expect to find among the people
of Oman a true representation of ancient conditions, yet, as has
been observed, we may still be able to note some of the facts
relative to the organization of society and their governmental
In a description furnished by Palgrave, Oman is termed a kingdom,
yet it is plain from the observations of this writer that the
existing form of government is that of a confederacy of nations
under a democratical system, identical with that developed during
the later status of barbarism. This writer himself admits that
Oman is less a kingdom than an aggregation of municipalities, and
that each of these municipalities or towns has a separate
existence and is controlled by its own local chief; but that all
are joined together in one confederacy, and subjected to the
leadership of a grand chief whom the writer is pleased to term
"the crown," but why, as is evident from the description given,
bears no resemblance to a modern monarch. The chiefs who direct
the councils of the municipalities are limited in their powers by
"the traditional immunities of the vassals," the decision of all
criminal cases and the administration of justice being in the
hands of the local judges. In the descriptions given of their
governmental proceedings, it is stated that the whole course of
law is considered apart from the jurisdiction of the sovereign,
who has no power to either change or annul the enactments of the
Here, it is observed, exists almost the identical form of
government which was in use among the early historic nations,
before governments came to be founded on wealth, or on a
territorial basis[67]; or, in other words, before the monied and
aristocratic classes had drawn to themselves all the powers which
had formerly belonged to the people.
[67] See The Evolution of Woman, p. 238.
We must bear in mind the fact that under these earlier
democratical institutions, the term "people" included not only
men but women, and as the grand chief, the local rulers, and the
judges held their positions by virtue of their descent from, or
relationship to, some real or traditional leader of the gens, who
during all the earlier ages was a woman, we may believe that the
power of women to depose their political leaders so soon as their
conduct became obnoxious to them was absolute and unquestioned.
Doubtless, as we have seen, the government of Oman has undergone
a considerable degree of modification since the days of Cushite
splendor and supremacy; that, like all other nations which have
come in contact with the Aryan and Semitic races, the tendency
has been toward monarchial government; nevertheless, with its
practically free institutions, representing as they do, in a
measure, the political system of the grandest and oldest
civilizations of which we have any knowledge, it furnishes an
illustration of the degree of progress possible under gentile
organization, at the same time that it points to the source
whence has proceeded the fierce democratic spirit observed among
succeeding nations, notably the Greeks.
Modern writers agree in ascribing to the Touaricks, a people
inhabiting the Desert of Sahara, a considerable degree of
civilization. We are informed that in the Sahara, which, by the
way, is far less a barren waste than we have been taught to
suppose it, "the Touaricks have towns, cities, and an excellent
condition of agriculture"; that with them fruit is cultivated
with great success and skill. Their method of political
organization is democratic and similar in construction and
administration to the old Cushite municipalities. Baldwin,
quoting from Richardson, says: "Ghat, like all the Touarick
countries, is a republic; all the people govern. The woman of
the Touaricks is not the woman of the Moors and Mussulmans
generally. She has here great liberty, and takes an active part
in the affairs and transactions of life."[68]
[68] Prehistoric Nations, p. 341.
One who is disposed to search for it, will find no lack of
evidence going to prove that in an earlier age of the world,
prior to the written records of extant history, the human race
had attained to a stage of civilization equal in all and superior
in many respects to that of the present time.
That this remarkable stage of progress, the actual extent of
which has not yet been fully realized, was attained during a
period of pure Nature-worship, or while the earth and the sun
were venerated as emblems of the great creative energy throughout
the universe, is a proposition which, when viewed by the light of
more recently acquired facts, is perfectly reasonable, and
exactly what might be expected.
That this high stage of civilization was reached while women were
the recognized heads of families and of the gentes, and at a time
when Perceptive Wisdom, or the female energy in the Deity, was
worshipped as the supreme God, is a fact which in time will be
proved beyond a doubt. Indeed, had not the judgment of man
become warped by prejudice, and his reason clogged by
superstition and sensuality, the fact so plainly apparent in all
ancient mythologies, that in the early god-idea two principles
were contained, the female being in the ascendancy, would long
ere this have been acknowledged, and our present religious
systems, which are but outgrowths from these mythologies, would,
with the partial return of civilized conditions, have been so
modified or changed as to embrace some of the fundamental truths
which formed the basis of early religion.
Regarding the religion of the ancient race which we have been
considering, we are told that they worshipped a dual Deity, under
the appellations of Ashtaroth and Baal, and that this God
"comprehended the generative or reproductive powers in human
beings and in the sun, together with Wisdom or Light." In other
words, they adored the great moving force throughout Nature, a
force which they venerated as the Great Mother.
Before the Zend and Sanskrit branches of the Aryan race had
separated, their religion was doubtless that given them by their
Cushite civilizers. The worship of the sun and the planets, with
which were inextricably interwoven the fructifying agencies in
Nature, explains their devotion to the study of the heavenly
bodies and their advanced knowledge of astronomy. The types of
regeneration or reproduction which they venerated were symbols of
abstract principles, and, from facts connected with their
religious ceremonies as practiced by their immediate successors,
and from the pure significance attached to their emblems, we are
justified in the conclusion before referred to, that the sensuous
element, which became so prominent in later religious
developments, constituted no part of their worship.
The number of ages during which the most primitive religion,
namely, that of pure Nature-worship, prevailed among the
inhabitants of the earth may not be conjectured, and the exact
length of time during which earth and sun adoration unalloyed by
serpent and phallic faiths remained is not known. It is
probable, however, that its duration is to be measured by that of
the supremacy of the altruistic or mother element in human
affairs, and that the gradual engrafting of the later-developed
sensuous faiths upon their earlier god-idea, marks the change
from female to male supremacy.
We have observed that whenever a remnant of the civilization of
the ancient Cushites appears, exactly as might be expected, women
hold an exalted position in human affairs, at the same time that
the female principle constitutes the essential element in the
Of the ancient Persians who received their religion and their
civilization from this older race Malcolm observes:
"The great respect in which the female sex was held was, no
doubt, the principal cause of the progress they made in
civilization. . . . It would appear that in former days the
women of Persia had an assigned and honorable place in society;
and we must conclude that an equal rank with the male creation,
which is secured to them by the ordinances of Zoroaster, existed
long before the time of that reformer, who paid too great
attention to the habits and prejudices of his countrymen to have
made any serious alteration in so important an usage. We are
told by Quintus Curtius, that Alexander would not sit in the
presence of Sisygambis, till told to do so by that matron,
because it is not the custom in Persia for sons to sit in the
presence of their mothers. There can be no stronger proof than
this anecdote affords, of the great respect in which the female
sex were held in that country, at the time of this invasion."[69]
[69] See History of Persia.
No one I think can study the sacred books of the Persians without
observing the emphasis which is there placed on purity of
character and right living. Indeed, within no extant writings is
the antithesis between good and evil more strongly marked, at the
same time that their hatred of idolatry is clearly apparent. The
same is observed in the early writings of the Hindoos. Within
the Vedas, although they have been corrupted by later writers,
may still be traced a purity of thought and life which is not
apparent in the writings of later ages. Not long ago I was
informed by a learned native of India that the original writing
of the Vedas was largely the work of women.
That the early conceptions of a Deity in which women constituted
the central and supreme figure were in Egypt correlated with the
exercise of great temporal power, may not, in view of the facts
at hand, longer be doubted. By means of records revealed on
ancient monuments, we are informed that in the age of Amunoph I.
a considerable degree of sovereign power in Egypt was exercised
by a woman, Amesnofre-are, who had shared the throne with Ames.
She occupied it also with Amunoph, and, notwithstanding the
statement of Herodotus, that women did not serve in the capacity
of priests, this Queen is represented as pouring out libations to
Amon, an office which was doubtless the highest connected with
the priesthood.
Less than forty years later, it is observed that another woman,
Amun-nou-het, shared the throne with Thotmes I. and II. and that
"she appears to have enjoyed far greater consideration than
either of them." Not alone are monuments raised in her name, but
she appears dressed as a man, and "alone presenting offerings to
the gods." So important a personage was she that she is believed
by many to be the princess who conquered the country, perhaps
even Semiramis herself. Her title was the "Shining Sun."[70]
[70] Rawlinson, History of Herodotus, app., book ii., ch. viii.
As these women doubtless belonged to the old Arabian, Ethiopian,
or Cushite race, the people who had brought civilization to
Egypt, we are not surprised to find them holding positions which
were connected with the highest civil and religious offices. The
Labyrinth, in the country of the Nile, is described by ancient
writers as containing three thousand chambers. Strabo says of it
that the enclosure contained as many palaces as there formerly
were homes, and that there the priests and priestesses of each
department were wont to congregate to discuss difficult and
important questions of law.
According to the Greeks, the Egyptian God Osiris corresponds to
their Jupiter; and Sate, the companion of Kneph, is identical
with Juno. It is quite evident, however, that the Greeks
understood little of the true significance of the gods which they
had borrowed, or which they had inherited from older nations. It
would seem that as a people their conceit prevented them from
acknowledging the dignity even of their gods, hence, they endowed
them with the attributes best suited to their own depraved taste
or pleasure, and then worshipped them as beings like themselves.
It has been observed of the Egyptians that they were wont to
ridicule the Greeks for regarding their gods as actual beings,
while in reality "they were only the representations of the
attributes and principles of Nature." Unlike the religions which
succeeded it, Egyptian mythology, as understood by the learned,
was essentially philosophical, and dealt with abstractions and
principles rather than with personalities.
Notwithstanding the importance which in process of time came to
be claimed by males, and the consequent stimulation which was
given to the animal tendencies, it is evident, from certain
historical and undeniable proofs in connection with this subject,
that although woman's power in Egypt, as in all other countries,
gradually became weakened, the effect of her influence on manners
and social customs was never wholly extinguished.
Regarding the existence of polygamy, it has been said that the
high position occupied in ancient Egypt by the mother of the
family, the mistress of the household, is absolutely
irreconcilable with the existence of polygamy as a general
practice, or of such an institution as the harem. Although the
plurality of wives does not appear to have been contrary to law,
it "certainly was unusual," and although Egyptian kings
frequently had many wives, "they followed foreign rather than
native custom."[71]
[71] Renouf, Religion of Ancient Egypt, p. 81.
Herodotus says of the women of Egypt: "They attend the markets
and trade while the men sit at home at the loom"[72]; and
Diodorus informs us that in Egypt "women control the men."
[72] Book ii., ch. xxxv.
Were we in possession of no direct historical evidence to prove
that down to a late period in the history of Egypt women had not
lost their prestige, sufficient evidence would be found in the
fact that, notwithstanding the growing tendency of mankind in all
the nations of the globe to suppress the female instincts and to
reject, conceal, or belittle the woman element in the Deity,
still Isis, the gracious mother, retained a prominent place in
the god-idea of that country.
I am not unmindful of the remarks which a reference to a past age
of intellectual and moral greatness will call forth; indeed, I
can almost hear some devotee of the present time remark: "So we
are asked to regard as a sober fact the existence in the past of
a golden age; also to believe that man was created pure and holy,
and that he has since fallen from his high estate; in other
words, we are to have faith in the ancient tradition of the 'fall
of man.'" If by the fall of man we are to understand that a
great and universal people, who in a remote age of the world's
history had reached a high stage of civilization, gradually
passed out of human existence, and that a lower race, which was
incapable of attaining to their estate, and which, by the overstimulation
of the lower propensities, sank into a state of
barbarism, in which the original sublime conceptions of a Deity
were obscured and the great learning of the past was lost, I can
see no reason to disbelieve it, especially as all the facts, both
of tradition and history, bearing upon this subject unite in
proclaiming its truth.
After stating that in Chaldea has been found rather the debris of
science than the elements of it, Bailly asks:
"When you see a house built of old capitals, columns, and other
fragments of beautiful architecture, do you not conclude that a
fine building has once existed? . . . If the human mind can
ever flatter itself with having been successful in discovering
the truth, it is when many facts, and these facts of different
kinds, unite in producing the same results."
That the descendants of a once mighty nation lapsed into
barbarism, forgetting the profound knowledge of the sciences
possessed by their ancestors, is a fact too well attested at the
present time to be doubted by those who have taken the pains to
acquaint themselves with the evidence at hand.
Regarding the manner in which this ancient civilization was
reached, or concerning the way in which it was achieved, history
and tradition are alike silent, although it is believed that the
present methods of investigation will, at least in a measure,
unravel the mystery. At present we only know that, as far in the
remote past as human ken can reach, evidences of a high stage of
civilization exist which it must have required thousands upon
thousands of years to accomplish.
After the decline of Nature-worship, and when through the
constantly increasing power gained by the ruder elements in human
society a knowledge of the scientific principles underlying
ancient religion had been partially lost or forgotten, it became
necessary for philosophers to conceal the original conception of
the Deity and to clothe their sacred writings in allegory. Hence
it is observed that every ancient form of religion has a cabala
containing its secret doctrines--doctrines the inner meaning of
which was known only to the few. In order that these truths
might be preserved, they were inscribed on the leaves of trees in
characters or symbols understood only by the initiated. The
allegories beneath which these higher truths were concealed were
handed down as traditions to succeeding generations--traditions
in which history, astrology, and mythology are strangely
After long periods, through war, conquest, and the various
changes incidental to shifting environment, these traditions were
in the main forgotten. Fragments of them, however, were from
time to time gathered together, and, intermingled with later
doctrines, were used by the priests as a means of increased
self-aggrandizement and power.
It is now thought that the Iliad (Rhapsodies) of Homer is only a
number of "detached songs" which perhaps for centuries were
delivered orally, and that they contain the secret doctrines of
the priests. Porphyry says that "we ought not to doubt that
Homer has secretly represented the images of divine things under
the concealment of fable." It has been said of Plato that he
banished the poems of Homer from his imaginary republic for the
reason that the people might not be able to distinguish what is
from what is not allegorical. Hippolytus informs us that the
Simonists declared that in Helen resided the principle of
intelligence; "and thus, when all the powers were for claiming
her for themselves, sedition and war arose, during which this
chief power was manifested to nations." These songs which were
gathered together by Pisistratus and revised by Aristotle for the
use of Alexander, have generally been regarded merely as a bit of
history recounting a severe and protracted struggle between the
Greeks and Trojans.
Within the earliest historical accounts which we have of the
Egyptians, we observe that their ceremonies and symbols have
already become multitudinous, the true meaning of the latter
being concealed. The masses of the people, who had grown too
sensualized and ignorant to receive the higher divine
"mysteries," and too gross to be entrusted with their true
significance, had become idolaters.
Not only the Egyptian and Chaldean priests, but Moses and the
Jewish doctors were well versed in religious symbolism. The fact
is observed, also, that as late as medieval Christianity, the
fathers in the Church, the Christian painters, sculptors, and
architects, still employed signs and symbols to set forth their
religious doctrines. Even at the present time, many of the
emblems representing certain ideas connected with the creative
principles, and which were part and parcel of the pagan worship,
are still in use. The masses of the people, however, are without
a knowledge of their origin or early significance.
Everywhere, throughout the early historic nations, were
worshipped symbols of the attributes or functions of the dual or
triune God. Each symbol represented a distinctive female or male
quality. Animals, trees, the sea, plants, the moon, and the
heavens were, at a certain stage of religious development,
symbolized as parts of the Deity and worshipped as possessing
certain female or male characteristics or attributes.
It is plain that, with the decline of female power, and the
consequent stimulation of the animal instincts in man, the pure
creative principles involved in Nature-worship gradually became
unsuited to the sensualized capacities and tastes of the masses;
but in addition to this were other reasons why the female
principle in the Deity should be concealed. Women were already
deposed from their former exalted position as heads of families
and as leaders of consanguine communities. All their rightful
prerogatives had been usurped. The highest development in Nature
had become the slave of man's appetites, and motherhood, which
had hitherto been accepted as the most exalted function either in
heaven or on the earth, trailed in the dust.
Under these conditions it is not perhaps singular that the
capacity to bring forth, and the qualities and attributes of
women which are correlated with it, namely, sympathy--a desire
for the welfare of others outside of self, or altruism,--should
no longer have been worshipped as divine, or that in their place
should have been substituted the leading characters developed in
man. From the facts at hand it is plain that at a certain stage
of human growth physical might and male reproductive energy, or
virility, became the recognized God. With passion as the highest
ideal of a Creator, the female element appeared only in a
sensualized form and simply as an appendage to the god which was
dependent upon her ministrations. Under the above conditions it
is not in the least remarkable that by the priests it should have
been deemed necessary to conceal from women the facts bound up in
their nature. Woman's importance as a creative agency and as a
prime and most essential factor in the universe must be
concealed. "Isis must be veiled."
Through the appropriation of the titles of the original dual God
by reigning monarchs, is perceived at least one of the processes
by which the great universal female Deity of the ancients has
been transformed into a male god. We are assured that the
"redundant nomenclature of the deities of Babylon renders an
interpretation of them impossible. Each divinity has many
distinct names, by which he is indifferently designated." It is
observed that each
Deity has as many as forty or fifty titles, each of which
represents a certain attribute.
Since the invention of the cuneiform alphabet, by which pictures
have been reduced to phonetic signs, the attempt has been made to
arrange or classify these gods according to their proper order in
the Pantheon, but thus far much obscurity and doubt seem to
pervade their history.
In Assyrian, Babylonian, and Egyptian mythologies are observed
much confusion and no small degree of mystery surrounding the
positions occupied by certain gods. "Children not unfrequently
change positions with parents," but more frequently, we are told,
"women change places with men," or, more properly speaking, the
titles, attributes, and qualities ascribed to the Great Universal
female God are now transferred to the reigning monarch. Thus not
unfrequently a deity is observed which is composed of a male
triad, the central figure of which is the king or military
chieftain, and to which is usually appended a straggling fourth
member, a female, who, shorn of her power, and with a doubtful
and mysterious title, appears as wife or mistress to his
greatness, while upon her is reflected, through him, a slight
hint of that dignity and honor which was originally recognized as
belonging exclusively to the recognized Deity.
The Goddess Vishnu, from whose navel as she slept on the bottom
of the sea sprang all creation, after her transformation into a
male God, is supplemented by a wife--Lacksmir. Lacksmir means
wisdom; but she has become only an appendage to her "lord," upon
whom is reflected all her former glory.
So greedy did rulers become for the splendid titles belonging to
the female divinities that we are told that "the name of the
Great Goddess Astarte not unfrequently appears as that of a man."
Although man had usurped the titles of the female God and had
denied her recognition as an active creative agency, still, as
nothing could be created without her, she was permitted, as we
have seen, to remain as wife or mistress to the reigning monarch,
in whom had come to reside infinite wisdom and power. Her symbol
was an ark, chest, boat, box, or cave. This woman, although
dignified by the title "Mother of the Gods," and even by that of
"Queen of Heaven," is utterly without power.
Not only is it plain that the titles and attributes of female
gods have been appropriated by males, but it is also true that
the more ancient deities, which are now known to have been
female, have by later investigators been represented as male.
The interpretations which have hitherto been put upon the
Babylonian and Assyrian deities by many of those who have
attempted to unravel the mysteries of an earlier stage of
religious worship, is doubtless due to the fact that since the
so-called historic period began, the qualities which have been
considered godlike have all been masculine; it has therefore
never occurred to the minds of these writers that the ancients
may have entertained quite different notions from their own
regarding the attributes of a Deity; hence, whenever the sex of a
god has appeared doubtful, especially if it be in the least
degree powerful or important, it has at once been denominated as
masculine, and this, too, notwithstanding the fact that such
rendering has oftentimes involved inconsistencies,
contradictions, and absurdities which it is impossible to
reconcile either with established facts or with common sense.
Unless the symbols representing religious belief and worship are
viewed in the light of later developed facts in mythology,
archaeology, and philology, there occur many seeming absurdities
and numberless facts which it is found difficult to reconcile
with each other; especially is this true in regard to some of the
symbols used to express the distinctive female and male
qualities. The serpent, for instance, although a male symbol, in
certain ages of the world's history appears as a beautiful woman.
This is accounted for by the fact that a woman and a serpent once
stood for the god-idea. Together they constituted an indivisible
entity--the creating power in the universe. They therefore
became interchangeable terms. The woman when appearing alone
represented both, as did also the serpent.
"In most ancient languages, probably all, the name for the
serpent signifies Life, and the roots of these words generally
also signify the male and female organs, and sometimes these
conjoined. In low French the words for Phallus and life have the
same sound, though, as is sometimes the case, the spelling and
gender differ"; but this fact is thought to be of no material
importance, as "Jove, Jehova, sun, and moon have all been male
and female by turn."
No doubt many of the inconsistencies hitherto observed in the
religion of the ancients will disappear so soon as we obtain a
clearer knowledge of their chronology; and events which now seem
contradictory will be satisfactorily explained when placed in
their proper order with regard to date. Religion, like
everything else, is constantly shifting its position to
accommodate itself to the changed mental conditions of its
adherents; hence, ideas which at any given time in the past were
perfectly suited to a people, would, in the course of five
hundred or one thousand years, have become changed or greatly
During a certain stage in human history "all great women and
mythical ladies were serpents"; but when monumentally or
pictorially represented, they appeared "with the head of a woman,
while the body was that of a reptile." This figure represented
Wisdom and Passion, or the spiritual and material planes of human
existence. The mythical woman whom Hercules met in Scythia, and
who was doubtless the original eponymous leader of the Scythian
people, had the head of a woman and the body of a serpent.[73]
Even the Mexicans declare that "he, the serpent, is the sun,
Tonakatl-Koatl, who ever accompanies their first woman." Their
primitive mother, they said, was Kihua-Kohuatl, which signifies a
serpent. In referring to this Mexican tradition, Forlong
remarks: "So that the serpent here was represented as both Adam
and Adama; and their Eden, as in Jewish story, was a garden of
love and pleasure."[74]
[73] Herodotus, book iv., 9.
[74] Rivers of Life, vol. i., p. 143.
The traditions extant among all peoples seem to connect the
introduction of the serpent into religious symbolism, with a time
in the history of mankind when they first began to recognize the
fact, that through the abuse of the reproductive functions, evil,
or human wretchedness, had gained the ascendency over the higher
forces. The Deity represented by a woman and a serpent involved
the idea not alone of good, but of good and evil combined.
Together they prefigured not only Wisdom and generative power,
but evil as well. Mythologically they represented the cold of
winter and the heat of the sun's rays, both of which were
necessary reproduction. From this conception sprang the Ormuzd
and Ahryman of the Persians, the story of Adam, Eve, and the
serpent in Genesis, and the legend of Kihua-Kohuatl and
Tonakatl-Koatl in Mexico.
"The serpent remained in the memory and affections of most early
people as wisdom, life, goodness, and the source of knowledge and
science, under various names such as Toth, Hermes, Themis, the
Kneph or Sophia of Egyptians and Gnostics, and Set, Shet, or Shem
of the Jews."[75]
[75] Forlong, Rivers of Life, etc., vol. i., p. 143.
The Serpent Goddess, although embracing evil as well as good, was
still the "Giver of Life" and the "Teacher of Mankind." These
were the titles which in later ages began to be coveted by
monarchs, and then it was that the attributes belonging to this
Deity began to appear in connection with royalty.
There is no ancient divinity about which there seems to be
connected so much mystery as the Assyrian Hea. When referring to
the "great obscurity" which surrounds this God we are assured
that there is at present "no means of determining the precise
meaning of the cuneiform Hea, which is Babylonian rather than
Assyrian," but that it is doubtless connected with the Arabic
Hya, which is said to mean "life," or the female principle in
creation. This Deity is the God of "glory" and of "giving,"
titles which during the earlier ages of human existence belonged
to the Queen of Heaven, the Celestial Mother.
The representation of the god Amun or Amun-ra, which superseded
the triune Deity, Kneph, Sate, and Anouk at Thebes, and from
which in Assyria doubtless proceeded the trinity, Amun,
Bel-Nimrod, and Hea, is supposed to be identical with the Greek
Zeus, which means the sun. This God is represented by a female
figure seated on a throne. It is crowned with two long feathers,
and in the right hand is observed the cross, the emblem of life.
Manetho, the celebrated Egyptian historian, declares that the
name of this God signifies "concealed."
There can be little doubt that the titles of the ancient
Deity--the Destroyer or Regenerator, or, in other words, those of
the God of life which embraced the idea of the moving force
throughout Nature, were, in course of time, appropriated by the
rulers of the people. It is stated that the name of a certain
Egyptian God appears first in connection with royalty, that "his
name was substituted for some earlier divinity whose
hieroglyphics were chiselled out of the monuments to make place
for his."
According to the testimony of Rawlinson, the God Hea is
represented by the great serpent, which occupies a conspicuous
position among the symbols of the gods on the black stones
recording Babylonian benefactions. Now these flat black stones
are themselves said to symbolize the female element in the Deity,
in contradistinction to the obelisks, which prefigure the male,
while the serpent, for reasons which have already been explained,
appeared for ages in connection with the figure of a woman. In
later inscriptions "king" is everywhere attached to the name of
the God Hea, which fact shows that the titles ascribed to her
were those particularly coveted by royalty. Hence we are not
surprised to find that in an inscription of Sardanapalus, in the
British Museum, there "occurs a remarkable phrase in which the
king takes the titles of Hea."
Among the Assyrian inscriptions appear Bel-Nimrod, Hea, and Nin
or Bar. In view of the facts which have come to light regarding
Hea, it is altogether probable that the triad Bel-Nimrod, Hea,
and Nin represent the trinity as figured by the father, mother,
and child. That Nin was the son or the child of Bel-Nimrod "is
constantly asserted in the inscriptions." He appears also as the
son of Hea, yet the fact that Hea should be represented as a
woman, or as the mother of Nin, and the central figure in the
trinity, seems not to have been observed by those who thus far
have been engaged in deciphering these inscriptions. By
representing Hea as male, Nin is made to appear as the offspring
of two fathers while he is left absolutely motherless. To
obviate this difficulty an ingenious attempt has been made to
account for his existence by substituting his own wife as the
author of his being. Although in the numerous accounts which I
had read of Hea, in my search for information concerning her, she
had always been designated as male, still I was satisfied from
the descriptions given that originally this Deity was female.
Therefore upon receiving a copy of Forlong's Rivers of Life and
Faiths of Man in All Lands, I was not surprised to find the
"Hoa or Hea, the Hu of our Keltic ancestors, whose symbol was the
shield and the serpent, was worshipped near rivers and lakes, and
if possible on the sea-shore, where were offered to her such
emblems as a golden vessel, boat, coffer, or fish, and she was
then named Belat Ili (the mistress of the Gods)."[76]
[76] Vol. ii., p. 94.
She was the Goddess of Water. Of this Forlong says: "Water,
perhaps more than fire, has always been used as a purifier. . .
. Christians have but imitated the ancients, in the use of
Lustral water--now-a-days called Holy Water, and into which salt
should be freely put."
According to Francis Vasques, the Cibola tribes of New Mexico pay
no adoration to anything but water, believing it to be the chief
support of all life. The Hindoo faith and the Greek Christian
Church prescribe "adorations, sacrifices, and other water rites,
and hence we find all orthodox clergy and devotees have much to
do with rivers, seas, and wells, especially at certain annual
solar periods."
The extent to which these ancient rites are still practiced as
part and parcel of modern religious observances is not realized
by those who have given no special attention to the subject. As
spring advances, all ranks of Russians from the Czar to the
humblest peasant proceed with their clergy to the Neva, where
with solemn pomp the ice is broken and the water, which is held
to be of virgin purity, is sprinkled upon the heads of Czar,
nobles, and other dignitaries. The following is an account given
of the worship of Hea not many years ago in the public press:
"An Imperial and Arch-episcopal procession was formed, consisting
of, first, the High Priest of the empire in all his most gorgeous
robes, the two masters of ceremonies walking backwards (probably
because not of a holy enough order), long double files of whiteand
gold-robed bearers of sacred flambeaux or candles, for Fire
must enter into every ceremony, whether it is the male or female
energy which is being worshipped. Following these Religieux came
all the sacred relics and fetishes of the Church, as Maya's holy
cup for water, all holy books, crosses, banners, with sacred
emblems in their order, and finally the Czar, humbly, and, like
all his people, on foot, followed by courtly throngs. These all
proceeded to a handsome pavilion or kiosk, erected close to the
edge of the water, when the Metropolitan of the Church reverently
made an incision in the ice, and took out a little water in a
sacred golden cup bearing strange devices. The firing of guns
accompanied these solemn acts in all their stages, and wherever
the grave procession moved, it always did so with measured tread,
chanting sacred verses to the old, old Deity of our race, and
surrounded with all the pomp of war; whilst at intervals, peals
of Christian bells and the booming of near and distant guns added
to the solemnity of this water pageant. After the filling of the
golden cup, which, of course, represents the earth and its
fulness, and, at this season, the now expected increase, the High
Priest placed a golden crucifix on the virgin water and blessed
its return from wintry death, invoking the precious fluid to
vernal life and productiveness, when lo! a holy child suddenly
appears upon the scene, reminding us that this is everywhere the
outcome of the 'wafers of life' in all animal as well as
vegetable production. Boodha in the garden of Loobim through
which flowed a holy stream, and Christ by the brook at Bethlehem,
nay, the first pair in the garden of the four rivers, are all the
same idea--fertility and creation. The high Russian Pontiff now
slowly and solemnly stooped, and taking up some of the holy
water, proceeded to sprinkle the vernal child--Jesus, whispered
these crowds, but the ancients said Horus. The sacred fluid was
then sprinkled on the clergy, the Czar, and all dignitaries, and
finally on the sacred emblems, banners, guns, etc. Men and
women, aye, wise as well as foolish, of every rank, now crowded
forward, and on bended knee besought their Patriarch to sprinkle
and to bless them. Finally, the great Czar put the cup to his
lips, humbly and reverently, and then filled it to overflowing
with a wealth of golden pieces, for it is the still living
representative in the nineteenth century A.C. of 'the golden
boat' of Hea of the nineteenth century B.C.'[77]
[77] Forlong, Rivers of Life, vol. ii., p. 95.
The symbol of Neith or Muth, Athene or Minerva, the great
universal female principle of the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans,
was the shield and serpent. In Celtic Druids I find that Nath,
the Egyptian Neith, the "goddess of wisdom and science whose
symbol was the shield and serpent, was worshipped among the
ancient Irish." The male God associated with her was Naith, and
according to Higgins represented "the opposite of Neith."
In Rivers of Life is observed a reference to the Assyrian Goddess
Hea by Lucian. In a note Forlong says that no doubt Hea is the
same as Haiya or Haya. In other words she represents the
universal hermaphrodite--the creative principle throughout
Nature, which was originally worshipped as female. The actual
signification of the word Haya is "life." In ancient Arabia it
was applied to a group of kinsmen.
The Rev. Mr. Davis is of the opinion that Noe or Noah was the
same as Deon and that both were Hu or Hea the mighty, whose
chariot was drawn by solar rays. This God was in fact the same
as Zeus, Bacchus, and all the rest of the sun and water Deities.
It has been observed that, according to the ancient cosmogonies,
within water was contained the life principle, and as a woman
presided over it, or was the only being or entity present, she
must have been the self-existent Creator. From this woman sprang
all creation. According to the account in Genesis, the Spirit of
God moved on the face of the deep and creation began.
By all nations water has been employed as a symbol of
regeneration, and as it contained the beginning of things it was
female. The Hindoos regard it as sacred, and in one of their
most solemn prayers it is thus invoked: Waters, mothers of
worlds, purify us![78]
[78] Quoted by Inman from Colbrook, vol. i., p. 85.
Doubtless it was from these ancient speculations regarding the
beginnings of things that Thales, the Milesian philosopher,
received his doctrine that water is the original principle. The
ancient Egyptians and the Jewish people to this day have the
custom of pouring out all the water contained in any vessel in a
house where a death has taken place, because of the idea that as
the living being comes from water, so does it make its exit
through water. Hence "to drink or to use in any way a fluid
which contains the life of human beings would be a foul offense."
The fact is noted by Inman that in all Assyrian mythology the
water God Hea is associated with life and with a serpent.
Although Rawlinson declares that Hea is Babylonian rather than
Assyrian, may she not, in view of the facts concerning her, be
not only Babylonian, but Egyptian, Indian, Phrygian, Mexican, and
all the rest?
It would seem that in this Deity, who is figured in connection
with a shield and serpent, as is Minerva, and who is worshipped
near water-- an emblem which is sacred to her,--and whose titles
correspond exactly to those of Neith or Cybele, might be traced
the remnants of a once universal worship--a worship in which the
female energy constituted the Creator.
Although it is declared that "great obscurity surrounds the God
Hea," no one, I think, whose mind is free from prejudice, and who
understands the significance of the early god-idea, and the true
meaning of the symbols used in later ages to express it, can
study the myths connected with this Deity without at once
recognizing her identity with the great female God of Nature who
was once worshipped by every people on the globe, but whose
worship had become sensualized to satisfy the corrupted taste of
a more depraved age--an age in which passion constituted the
highest idea of a God.
Although the serpent Deity was originally portrayed with the head
of a woman and the body of a serpent or fish, after the change of
sex in the god-idea which has been noted in the foregoing pages
had been completed, it is observed that this figure is
represented by the head of a man and the body of a serpent. Hea,
the great goddess to whom water, the original principle, is
sacred, and who is suspiciously connected with Noah, the
life-principle which appears at the close of a cycle, has changed
her sex. This god is now the "Ruler of the Seas," "Master of the
Life-Boat" (the ark), and "Lord of the Earth." The earth is his
and the fulness thereof. He is the "Life Giver," the "Lord of
Hosts," who subsequently becomes the maker of heaven and earth.
Minerva, who had been the first emanation from the Deity and the
daughter of the Great Mother of the Gods, now has a father but no
mother. Jove, who in course of time came to be represented as a
male Creator, brought her forth from his head. Later, woman is
produced from the side of man. The male principle, symbolized by
a serpent, has become "the one only and true God." It is Passion
--the "Healer of Nations"--the great "I Am."
No unprejudiced individual who carefully follows the results of
later investigation, and who attempts to unravel the mysteries
surrounding the ancient gods and the significance of the symbols
of worship belonging to the earliest historic times, will fail to
note the attempt which has been made in later ages to conceal the
fact that the Deity worshipped in very ancient times was female.
Neither will he fail to observe the modus operandi by which the
attributes and prerogatives of this Deity have been shifted upon
males--usually deified monarchs. After priestcraft and its
counterpart, monarchial rule, had robbed the people of all their
natural rights, kings assumed not alone the governing functions,
but arrogated to themselves the symbols, titles, and attributes
of the dual Deity. The reigning monarch became not only the
temporal ruler and priest, but was actually God himself, the
female principle being concealed under convenient symbols.
Not only were religious doctrines veiled beneath allegories and
convenient symbols, but names also had a religious significance.
We are given to understand that in Chaldea and Assyria every
child was named by the oracle or priest, and that no one thought
of changing the appellation which had come to him through this
heavenly source.[79]
[79] Inman, Ancient Faiths, vol. i., p. 3.
Inman, in his Ancient Faiths, calls attention to the fact that in
the Old Testament kings, priests, captains, and other great men
have had names bestowed upon them, each of which has some
religious signification; that this name was given the individual
"at circumcision, or soon after birth."
In the ancient names of what are designated as the Shemitic
races, children were called after the god alone, and sometimes in
connection with an attribute. Especially were these names
applied to royalty or to persons of distinction; for instance,
names were given signifying, God the good, God the just or the
merciful, God the strong, The Warrior God, etc.
As the higher conception of a Creator was forgotten, and as human
beings, or perhaps I should say their power to control
circumstances coupled with the ability to reproduce or create,
had become god, they assumed the titles or names of the Deity;
hence, it is not perhaps singular that in later times kings and
heroes were invested with all the attributes of the gods.
We have seen that according to various writers Om or Amm was the
holy one whose name in India it was sacrilege to pronounce. It
was the eternal sun, or the Great Mother. As this word stands
also for "tribe or people," it seems to mean, too, that which
binds, holds, or endures.
As Om or Amm signifies the Great Mother, so An or On means the
Great Father. Concerning the word Am-mon, Inman writes as
"The association of the words signifying mother and father
indicates that it is to such conjunction we must refer creative
power. With such an androgyne element the sun was associated by
ancient mythologists. Jupiter was himself sometimes represented
as being female; and the word hermaphrodite is in itself a union
between Hermes and Aphrodite, the male and female creative
powers. We may fairly conclude, from the existence of names like
the above, that there was at one time in Western as there was in
Eastern Asia a strong feud between the adorers of On and Am, the
Lingacitas and the Yonijas, and that they were at length
partially united under Ammon, as they were elsewhere under Nebo
or the Nabhi of Vishnu."[80]
[80] Ancient Faiths Embodied in Ancient Names, vol. i., p. 237.
Inman relates that once when a friend of his was conversing with
a very high-caste Hindoo he casually uttered this word Amm or Om,
whereupon the man was so awe struck that he could scarcely speak,
and, in a voice almost of terror, asked where his friend had
learned the word. Of this word Inman says:
"To the Hindoos it was that incommunicable name of the Almighty,
which no one ventured to pronounce except under the most
religious solemnity. And here let me pause to remark that the
Jews were equally reverent with the name belonging to the Most
High; and that the third commandment was very literal in its
The same writer remarks that in Thibet, too, where a worship very
nearly identical in ceremony and doctrine with that of the Roman
papists exists amongst the Lamas, the name of Om is still sacred.
The Iav of the Jews was equally revered, but in the later ages of
their career they seem to have lost sight of its true meaning.
According to Inman's testimony and that of other etymological
students, the true signification of the cognomen Jacob is the
female principle.
It is believed by various writers that the story of Jacob and
Esau as related in Genesis has an esoteric as well as an exoteric
meaning--that Jacob has reference to the female creative energy
throughout Nature, or, rather, to the great mass of people who in
an early age of the human race believed in the superior
importance of the female in the office of reproduction, and that
Esau signifies the male. Attention is called to the fact that
Esau is represented as a "hairy" man, rough-voiced and easily
beguiled, while Jacob, on the other hand, is smooth-faced,
soft-voiced, and the favorite of his mother.
There is indeed much in this myth which seems to indicate that it
is an allegory beneath which are veiled certain facts connected
with the struggle between two early contending sects regarding
the relative importance of the sexes in reproduction. Of this
Inman says:
"My own impression is that Esau, or Edom, and Jacob are mystic
names for a man and a woman, and that round these, historians
wove a web of fancy; that ultimately the cognomen Jacob was
recognized, and that to allow the Jewish people to trace their
descent from a male rather than a female, the appellation of
Israel was substituted in later productions."[81]
[81] Ancient Faiths, vol. i., p. 607.
As most of the myths or allegories in Genesis are now traced to a
source far more remote than the beginning of legitimate Jewish
history, it is not unreasonable to suppose that this story, too,
was copied by the Jews from the traditions of earlier races; nor,
when we remember the true meaning of the cognomen Jacob, that the
entire story should be regarded as an attempt to set forth
certain facts connected with the great physiological or religious
conflict between the sexes.
The significance of the idols worshipped by Jacob and his family
is not for a certainty known, but it is believed by certain
writers that the Seraphim and Teraphim were the usual images
which were used to represent the male and female energies. "Then
Jacob said unto his household and to all that were with him: Put
away the strange gods that are among you." In referring to this
passage, Inman, in a note, says:
"The critic might fairly say, looking at Genesis xxxv., 2, 'Put
away the strange gods that are among you,' that there were images
of God which were not strange, and that in these early times
there were orthodoxy and heterodoxy in images as there are now.
In ancient times the emblem of life-giving energy was an orthodox
emblem; it is now a horror and its place is taken by an image of
death. We infer from the context that Laban's gods were
So, also, must have been the stone pillar set up by Jacob at
Bethel (place of the sun). From a study of similar stones,
examples of which are to be found in nearly every country of the
globe, it is known that they represent the male energy, and from
all the facts connected with the story of Laban's gods it is
probable that they were emblems of this power. We may suppose
then that the "strange gods," the unorthodox gods, which Jacob
ordered put away, were those representing the female energy.
It seems strange that any person can study the history of the
Israelitish Exodus by the light of later developments in biblical
research without recognizing the fact that the "Lord" which
brought the children of Israel out from the bondage of Egypt was
the male power, which by a certain sect had been proclaimed the
only actual creative agency, and therefore the "only one and true
Although, at the time at which Abraham is said to have lived, the
knowledge of an abstract dual or triune God still remained, yet,
during the five hundred years which elapsed until the time of
Moses, the grossest idolatry had come to prevail.
Notwithstanding the fact that Moses had learned much from the
Egyptians, he seems not to have risen above a very gross
conception of a deity. His god was by turns angry, jealous,
revengeful, vacillating, and weak. He was in fact the embodiment
of human passions and desires. We have seen that the third
person in the ancient Trinity had, in Egypt, India, and Persia,
come to be recognized in place of the three principles originally
worshipped--that, as it really embodied the essence of the other
two, little was heard of the Creator and Preserver. Doubtless
this God was the one which Moses intended the Israelites to
worship, but as they were unable to conceive of an abstract
principle he invested it with a personality which, as we have
seen, was burdened with the frailties and weaknesses common to
As the Regenerator or Destroyer represented the processes of
Nature,--the dying away of the sun's rays at night only to
reappear on the following day, and the withdrawal of its warmth
in winter only to be renewed in the spring,--so this God
portrayed also the beneficent Creator and Preserver of all
things, at the same time that it was the Destroyer. It embodied
the fundamental idea in all religions, namely, life and
fertility. So also did the "Lord" of the Israelites represent
reproductive energy, but as man being spirit had come to be a
Creator of offspring, while woman being only matter furnished the
body, this "Lord" was male. Connected with it was no hint of the
female nature or principle, except the ark or chest in which it
was carried about. To those who have acquainted themselves with
the significance of ancient religious symbols, the fact is plain
that the "Lord" of the Israelites, which in their journeyings
toward Canaan they carried in an ark or chest, and which was
symbolized by an upright stone, was none other than a
"Life-giver" in the most practical sense. It was the emblem of
virility, and from the facts at hand, at the present time, there
is little doubt but that all the spirituality with which we find
this "Lord" invested was an after-thought and comprehended no
part of the belief of the Jews until after their contact with the
Persians during the Babylonian captivity.
Doubtless the story in which their journeyings toward Canaan are
set forth contains an esoteric as well as an exoteric
significance for ages known only to the priests, and that within
it is embodied not alone something of the true history of this
people, but an account also of their struggle against an older
religion. At this time the Israelites had practically commenced
the elimination of the female principle from their god-idea, and
had begun the worship of the male element, the female being
represented by an ark, chest, or box. This ark, as the
receptacle of the god, was still a holy thing.
Not only among the Israelites, but among other nations of the
East, we find the devotees of the male god beginning to assume a
position quite independent of the beliefs of their fathers. At
this time great towers or pillars begin to be erected in honor of
this deity, which is figured as the "God of Life," or as the
"Lord of Hosts." Notwithstanding the fact that the story of the
Exodus contains much historical truth, it is altogether probable
that the priests have used it, as they did that of the flood, to
conceal their religious doctrines.
At the time of the Exodus, the Israelites were ignorant tribes
without laws or letters, and while in Egypt were menials of the
lowest order. Hence, the laws written on the two tables of
stone, and which it is claimed were elaborated during their
wanderings in the wilderness of Sinai for the guidance of these
unlettered slaves, show the desire of the priests of later times
to invest the "chosen people" with the insignia of enlightenment.
Regarding the character of the god which they worshipped, we have
ample proof in the Old Testament. It is plain that at the time
of their bondage in Egypt the Jews had become the grossest
phallic worshippers, adoring the emblems of generation, with no
thought of their earlier significance as pure symbols of creative
force in mortals.
The fact will doubtless be remembered that, among the Jews, to be
barren was the greatest curse, and that the principal reward
promised to the faithful was fruitfulness of body. The essence
of this deity was heat or passion, and his emblem was the serpent
or an upright stone. It has been observed that when this "Lord"
was invested with personality he was subject to all the frailties
of his followers. His chief and most emphatic characteristic,
however, was jealousy of other gods, and most of the imprecations
thundered against the chosen people were directed against the
worship of the gods of surrounding nations, those which the
Israelites had originally worshipped.
That portion of the Decalogue relating to a jealous god is seen
to belong wholly to the Jews, or to the Israelites, who were
descendants of Jacob. The older nations, among which was the
ancient family of the Hebrews, knew nothing of a jealous god.
Notwithstanding the fact that the God of the Jews appeared and
talked face to face with Moses, that he exhibited portions of his
body to him, and that he thundered his law to this people from
Mt. Sinai, still they were constantly lapsing into the worship
of Baal and Ashtaroth, which fact shows how deeply rooted was the
belief in a dual or triune God. It is plain that this "Lord,"
the fierce anger of whom was kindled because of their
digressions, was none other than the jealous male god which had
but recently been elevated to the dignity of a supreme Creator.
Although the angel of the Lord when he came down from Gilgal
commanded his followers to "throw down the altars of the people
of Bochim," they nevertheless continued to do evil in the sight
of the Lord, and
"followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round
about them, and bound themselves unto them and provoked the Lord
to anger.
"And they forsook the Lord, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. And
the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel."[82]
[82] Judges ii., 12, 13.
"And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do
return unto the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the
strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you and prepare your hearts
unto the Lord, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of
the hand of the Philistines.
"Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth
and served the Lord only."[83]
[83] I Samuel vii., 3,4.
The extreme hatred of the schismatic faction for the opposite
worship, and the punishments which were meted out to those who
should dare to rebel against the chosen faith, are indicated by
the language which throughout the Old Testament is put into the
mouth of their Lord--a Deity which rejoices in the title of a
jealous God.
"If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy
daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as
thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve
other gods, which thou hast not known thou nor thy fathers:
"Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you,
nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the
earth even unto the other end of the earth;
"Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither
shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt
thou conceal him:
"But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon
him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the
"And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he
hath sought to thrust thee away from the Lord thy God, which
brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
"And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any
such wickedness as this is among you."[84]
[84] Deuteronomy xiii.
The constantly recurring faithlessness of the Jews, their
restlessness and proneness to wander from their one-principled
deity which had been set up by their priests for them to worship,
was doubtless an unconscious effort on the part of the people to
mitigate the outrage which had been committed against their
Creator. It was but a reaching out for that lost or unrecognized
element which comprehends the more essential force both in human
beings and in the conception of a deity. In other words, it was
an attempt at recognition, in the objects worshipped, of that
missing female element which had always been worshipped, and
without which a Creator becomes a misnomer--a meaningless,
unexplained, and unexplainable monstrosity.
When the Jews first make their appearance in history, they are
sun worshippers, as are all the nations by which they are
surrounded. They are worshippers of Seth the Destroyer and
Regenerator; but when the philosophical truths underlying the
ancient universal religion were forgotten, or when through
ignorance the language setting forth these mysteries was taken
literally, Seth became identified with the Destroyer, or the Evil
Principle. In the meantime man had come to believe himself the
sole creator of offspring. He is spirit, which is eternal; woman
is matter, which is not only destructible but altogether evil.
He is heat or passion--the principle through which life is
produced. She represents the absence of heat. She is the simoom
of the desert and the chilly blast which destroys.
That it was no part of their plan to change their original form
of worship for a spiritual conception of a Creator is apparent
from their history. On the contrary, it is plain that they
desired simply to eliminate from the hitherto dual conception of
a deity the female principle, which, in their arrogance, and
because of the change which had been wrought in the relations of
the sexes, they no longer acknowledged as important in the office
of reproduction.
It is quite true they would worship only one god--the
"Lord,"--but that lord was, as we have seen, a deity of physical
strength and virile might, a "Lord of Hosts," a god which was to
be worshipped under the symbol of an upright stone--an object
which by every nation of the globe down to a comparatively recent
time has typified male pro-creative energy. That the masses of
the people, even as late as the time of Jeremiah, had no higher
conception of a God than that indicated by an upright stone, is
shown by that prophet when he accuses the entire house of Israel,
"their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their
prophets," of "saying to a stock, Thou art my father; and to a
stone, Thou hast brought me forth."
That the people could not, or would not, be prevailed upon to
renounce the Queen of Heaven, the Celestial Mother, is seen in
Jer. vii., 17, 18:
"Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the
streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, and the fathers
kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes
to the queen of heaven and to pour out drink offerings unto other
Also in Jeremiah xliv:
"Then all the men which knew that their wives had burned incense
unto other gods, and all the women that stood by, a great
multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt,
in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying, As for the word that thou
hast spoken unto us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken
unto thee.
"But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our
own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven and to pour
out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we and our
fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and
in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals,
and were well, and saw no evil.
"But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven and
to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things,
and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.
"And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured
out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship
her and pour out drink offerings unto her without our men?"
That the above represents a quarrel in which the women of Judah
openly rebelled against the worship of the "Lord," at the same
time declaring their allegiance to the female Deity, the
Celestial Mother, Queen of Heaven, is only too evident, the curse
pronounced upon them by Jeremiah, in the name of the lord, having
little effect upon them to change their purpose.
"Therefore, hear ye the word of the Lord, all Judah that dwell in
the land of Egypt; Behold, I have sworn by my great name, saith
the Lord, that my name shall no more be named in the mouth of any
man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, The Lord God
"Behold, I will watch over them for evil, and not for good: and
all the men of Judah that are in the land of Egypt shall be
consumed by the sword and by the famine, until there be an end of
The name of one of the oldest deities of which we have any record
is Set (Phoenician) or Seth (Hebrew). Traces of this God are
found in all oriental countries; and in the most primitive
religions, whose traditions are still extant, he (or she) appears
as the supreme God. After the subjection of Egypt by the
stranger kings and the consequent introduction into the country
of Sabianism, the dual creative force residing in the sun is
represented by Seth. We are told that Seth signifies "appointed
or put in the place of the murdered Abel."
That there is some deep mystery connected with this subject none
who has studied it carefully can help observing.
According to the story of creation as set forth in the Jehovistic
account, on Saturday night, after God had finished his work, and
immediately after he had commanded Adam to "be fruitful," he
presents him with a staff, which we observe is handed down to
Enoch and all the patriarchs. Here the mystery deepens, for it
is declared that this staff was presented so Seth, and that it
was a branch of the Tree of Life.
That beneath this allegory is veiled a contest, or perhaps a
compromise, between the worshippers of two distinct sects, seems
altogether probable. That the handing down of this branch of the
Tree of Life, first to Adam, or man, by Aleim, and its subsequent
transference to Seth, the God of Nature, the Destroyer or
Regenerator, seems to indicate a victory for the adherents of a
purer religion. The translator of Kallimachus says: "It is well
known to the learned reader that the descendants of Cain are
distinguished in Scripture by the name of the sons of man or
Adam; those of Seth by the name of the sons of God." Gen. vi.,
2.[85] It is stated in Julius Africanus that all the righteous
men and patriarchs down to the Saviour himself have sprung from
Seth and have been denominated as the sons of God in
contradistinction to the sons of man.
[85] Forlong, Rivers of Life, vol. i., p. 527.
Doubtless at the time indicated by the transference of the
creative agency from Aleim to Adam, the worship of an abstract
principle, or of a Trinity composed of the powers of Nature, was
losing its hold on the minds of the people, and the creative
power, or the reproductive energy in human beings, was rapidly
taking the place of the older Deity. These higher principles
forgotten, Adam, or man, had become the Creator.
It is not improbable that the terms Adam, Cain, Abel, and Seth
have an esoteric meaning which for ages was known only to the
priests. From various facts which in later times are being
brought forward regarding the ancient myths of Genesis, it is
believed that these names originally stood for races of men, and
that subsequently certain religious doctrines came to be attached
to them. The offering of fruit by Cain, the elder brother, who
was a tiller of the ground, and that of flesh by Abel, who was a
keeper of sheep, indicates a quarrel which ended in the death of
the latter. After the death of Abel, or after one of these
principles or sects was subdued, the older religion was revived,
and Seth, as the Aleim, or as the creative power within the sun,
was "appointed" or again worshipped.
It would seem that Seth was appointed to represent the third
person in the ancient Trinity--the Destroyer or Regenerator which
had previously come to embody all the powers of the Creator and
Preserver. The fact has been observed that the very ancient
philosophers believed matter to be eternal, hence, seeming death,
or destruction, was necessary to renewed life or regeneration.
In other words, creation was but continuous change in the form of
Of the doctrines of the Sethians extant at the beginning of
Christianity, Hippolytus says that their system "is made up of
tenets from natural philosophers. These tenets embrace a belief
in the Eternal Logos--Darkness, Mist, and Tempest." These
elements subsequently became identified with the Evil Principle,
or the Devil. The cold of winter, the darkness of night, and
water, were finally set forth as the Trinity. Regarding cold,
darkness, and water, or darkness, mist, and tempest, Hippolytus
"These the Sethian says are the three principles of our system;
or when he states that three were born in paradise-- Adam, Eve,
the serpent; or when he speaks of three persons, namely, Cain,
Abel, Seth, and again of three others, Shem, Ham, Japheth; or
when he mentions three patriarchs--Abraham, Isaac, Jacob; or when
he speaks of three days before the sun, etc."
The same writer says that their entire system is derived from the
ancients; that, antecedent to the Eleusinian mysteries, were
enacted by them the ceremonies connected with the worship of the
Great Mother.[86]
[86] Hippolytus, Refutation of all Heresies, book v., ch. 15.
We have observed that through some process not thoroughly
understood at the present time, the adherents of the older faith
had succeeded in reinstating their Deity. The powers of Nature
had come to be represented by Typhon Seth. It was the God of
Death and of Life, of Destruction and Regeneration. The simoom
of the desert and the cold of winter were Seth, as were also the
genial powers of Spring. We are informed by various writers that
Typhon Seth was feminine. She was the early God of the Jews. In
other words, the Jews were formerly worshippers of a female
Deity. Jehovah, Iav, was originally female.
Although the secret meaning of all the allegories contained in
the Old Testament is not fully understood, still the belief that
Cain, Abel, and Seth represented the self-triplicated Deity at a
time when the idea of man as a creator had been accepted, or when
his power to reproduce was becoming the highest idea of a
creative force, is consistent with what is known of the Cabala of
the Jews, or of the esoteric meaning of the Jewish scriptures
formerly known only to the priests. In other words, the ancient
doctrines, the true meaning of which was no longer understood by
them, were patched together as a basis for the later developments
in Jewish religious experience.
We have seen that six hundred years after Adam appears Noah,
another self-triplicated Saviour or preserver of man, with his
ark or seed vessel, beneath which is veiled the female element.
Afterward Abraham becomes the Great Father or Saviour, and later
Moses. That, in the time of the latter, the more ancient worship
of a creative force in Nature represented by the Aleim, had, by
the masses of the people, been wholly lost, is evident from the
Old Testament writings. The worship of the Father, the male
power, in opposition to that of the Mother, or the female power,
constituted the religion of Moses. In the religion of the Jews,
Jehovah came to be regarded as wholly male and as spirit, while
Edam (translated "downward tending"), the female principle, was
matter, or woman, which finally became identified with the Devil.
The philosophical doctrine that spirit is evolved through matter,
or that matter must be raised to a certain dynamical power before
spirit can manifest itself through it, was no longer understood;
only the husks of this doctrine --the myths and symbols of
Nature-worship--remained; these were taken literally, and thus
man's religion was made to conform to his lowered estate.
When man had so far gained the ascendancy over woman as to assert
that he is the sole Creator of their joint offspring, he was no
longer of the earth earthy, but at once became the child of
heaven. He was, however, bound to earth through his association
with matter, or with woman, from whom he was unable to free
himself. The "sons of God" were united "to the daughters of
man." Jahvah, the "God of hosts," who was revengeful, weak,
jealous, and cruel, was worshipped in the place of Aleim the
great dual force throughout Nature. The ethereal, spiritual male
essence resided somewhere in the heavens and created from afar,
while the earth (female) furnished only the body or material
In the history of the god Seth is to be found a clue to the way
in which the sublime and philosophical doctrines of the ancients,
after their true meaning was forgotten, were finally changed so
as to conform to the enforced humiliation and degradation of
Seth or Typhon was for ages worshipped throughout Egypt, and as
she comprehended the powers of Nature, or the creative energy
residing in the sun and earth, little is heard of any other god.
Strange it is, however, that Seth is worshipped more in her
capacity as Destroyer than as Regenerator. So soon as we
understand the origin and character of the Devil, and so soon as
we divest ourselves of the false ideas which under a state of
ignorance and gross sensuality came to prevail relative to the
"powers of darkness," we shall perceive that his (or her) Satanic
majesty was once a very respectable personage and a powerful
Divinity--a Divinity which was worshipped by a people whose
superior intelligence can scarcely be questioned. Regarding this
subject Higgins remarks:
"Persons who have not given much consideration to these subjects
will be apt to wonder that any people should be found to offer
adoration to the evil principle; but they do not consider that,
in all these recondite systems, the evil principle, or the
Destroyer, or Lord of Death, was at the same time the
Regenerator. He could not destroy but to reproduce, and it was
probably not till this principle began to be forgotten, that the
evil being, per se, arose; for in some nations this effect seems
to have taken place. Thus Baal-Zebub is, in Iberno Celtic, Baal
Lord, and Zab Death, Lord of Death; but he is also called Aleim,
the same as the God of the Israelites; and this is right, because
he was one of the Trimurti or Trinity.
"If I be correct respecting the word Aleim being feminine, we
here see the Lord of Death of the feminine gender; but the
Goddess Ashtaroth or Astarte, the Eoster of the Germans, was also
called Aleim. Here again Aleim is feminine, which shows that I
am right in making Aleim the plural feminine. Thus we have
distinctly found Aleim the Creator (Gen. i., 1), Aleim the
Preserver, and Aleim the Destroyer, and this not by inference,
but literally expressed."[87]
[87] Anacalypsis, ch. ii., p. 66.
At one period of their history the Hebrews worshipped Ashtaroth
and Baal, they together representing the great Aleim, the
indivisible God, but after the Israelites had chosen the worship
of the male principle as an independent deity, or as the only
important agency in the creative processes, as Baal might not be
represented aside from his counterpart Ashtaroth, he was no
longer adored but came to stand for something "approaching the
Devil." Forlong has observed the fact that, although in Hebrew
Baal is masculine, in the Greek translations he is feminine both
in the Old and New Testaments.[88]
[88] Forlong, Rivers of Life, p. 223.
Jehovah was originally female, so, also, was Netpe the Holy
Spirit of the Egyptian Tree of Life. We are given to understand
that Netpe was the same as Rhea, the partner of Sev or Saturn,
and that her hieroglyphic name was "Abyss of Heaven." Osiris was
the son of this goddess who was really a Mai or Mary, the
Celestial Mother, he being the only God of the Egyptians who was
born upon this earth and lived among men. Of this Forlong
remarks: "His birthplace was Mount Sinai; called by the Egyptians
Nysa, hence his Greek name Dionysos."
As the Palm was the first offering of Mother Earth to her
children, so Osiris was the first offspring of the Egyptian
Celestial Virgin to mankind. He was the new sun which through
the winter months had been "buried," but which in process of time
arose to gladden all the earth. He was also the new Sun of
Righteousness which was to renew the world, or redeem mankind
from sin.
The female principle for the time being cast out of the Deity,
Osiris, the male element, now outwardly assumes the position of
supreme God. It was, however, reserved for a later and more
sensuous age to permanently adopt an absurdity so opposed to all
established ideas relative to a creative force in Nature and in
man. Seth, the Destroyer, had been deposed, but, so deeply
rooted in the human mind had become the idea of a female Creator,
that Isis, the Queen of Heaven, a somewhat lower conception of
Muth, or of universal womanhood, soon assumed the place of Seth
beside Osiris. Later in the history of Egypt, when the gods have
become greatly multiplied, and the original significance of the
deity obscured, Horus, the child and the third member in the
later Egyptian triad, not unfrequently appears in her place as
one of the eight great gods.
The fact is observed that the history of Osiris is not alone the
"history of the circle of the year, or of the sun dying away and
resuscitating itself again, but that it is also the history of
the cycle of 600." It has been said that of the component
elements of his hieroglyphical name, Isis is the first, and that
the name Osiris really signifies the "Eye of Isis."
According to Plutarch, Isis and Muth are identical, but from the
evidence at hand it is plain that Muth comprehends divine
womanhood, or the female principle as it was regarded at an
earlier stage of human growth. Muth is not only the parent of
the sun, or the force which produces the sun, but she is also
Wisdom, the first emanation from the Deity, at the same time that
she comprehends all the possibilities of Nature. Isis seems to
represent the Deity at a time when the higher truths known to a
more ancient people were beginning to lose their hold upon the
Renouf informs us that the word Maat, or Muth, means Law, "not in
that forensic sense of command issued either by a human sovereign
authority, or by a divine legislator, like the laws of the
Hebrews, but in the sense of that unerring order which governs
the universe, whether in its physical or its moral aspect."[89]
The same writer observes further that Maat "is called mistress of
Heaven, ruler of earth, and president of the nether world," and
in a further description of the conception embodied in this
Deity, refers to the fact that while she is the mother of the sun
she is also the first emanation from God.
[89] The Religion of Ancient Egypt, p. 126.
Although Typhon Seth was long worshipped as the sole Deity in
Egypt, in later ages the god-idea came to be represented by Seth
and Osiris. Toward the close of Typhon Seth's reign, Horus, the
child, the young sun, was represented "as rising from his
hiding-place, attracting beneficent vapors to return them back as
dews, which the Egyptians called the tears of Isis."
Seth and Osiris represent a division of the Deity. Osiris, as
the sun, represents heat; as man, or as god, he stands for
desire. Seth or Typhon stands for the cold of winter, the simoom
of the desert, or the "wind that blasts." Seth, Osiris, and
Horus constitute a Trinity of which Muth is the Great Mother.
Finally, with the gradual ascendancy of male influence and power,
it is observed that Seth appears as the brother of Osiris.
It is the opinion of Bunsen that the fundamental idea of Osiris
and Set was "not merely the glorification of the sun, but was
also the worship of the primitive creative power."[90] But, as in
Egypt the creative agency was regarded as both female and male,
the former being in the ascendancy, this fact of itself would
seem to determine the sex and position of Seth.
[90] History of Egypt, vol. iv., p. 319.
In the ideas concerning Seth and Osiris may be observed something
of the manner in which the fructifying agencies of the sun and
the reproductive power in human beings were blended and together
worshipped as the Deity; while through the history of these gods
are to be traced some of the processes by which the idea of the
Creator was changed from female to male.
In all countries, at a certain stage in the history of religion,
the transference of female deified power to mortal man may be
observed. In the attempt to change Seth or Typhon into a male
God may be noted perhaps the first effort in Egypt to dethrone,
or lessen the female power in the god-idea.
The fact seems plain that the Great Typhon Seth, or Set, who
conferred on the sovereigns of the eighteenth and nineteenth
dynasties of Egypt "the symbols of life and power," was none
other than the primitive Regenerator or Destroyer, who was for
ages worshipped as the God of Nature the Aleim, or the
life-giving energy throughout the universe.
We have observed that when the profound principles underlying the
most ancient doctrines had been lost or forgotten, and when
through the decay of philosophy, and through the stimulation of
the sensual in human nature, mankind had lost the power to reason
abstractly, Destruction, which was symbolized by darkness or the
absence of the sun's rays, finally became the evil principle, or
the Devil. Darkness and cold, which had formerly been worshipped
as the powers which brought forth the sun, or as mother of the
sun, in process of time became the agency which is ever warring
with good and which is constantly destroying that which the
latter brings forth.
We are informed by Forlong that "some derive our term Devil from
Niphl or Nevil, the wind that blasts or obstructs the growth of
corn; and it used sometimes to be written th' evil, which is
D'evil or Devil."
It was "this Dualistic heresy which separated the Zend or Persian
branch of the Aryans from their Vedic brethren, and compelled
them to emigrate to the westward."[91]
[91] See Rawlinson, Notes on the Early History of Babylon.
The ancient philosophical truth that matter is eternal, and that
the destruction of vegetable life through the agency of cold was
one of the necessary processes of re-generation, or the renewal
of life, had evidently been lost sight of at the time when Seth
was dethroned in Egypt. Wilkinson informs us that "both Seth and
Osiris were adored until a change took place respecting Seth,
brought about apparently by foreign influence." Sethi or Sethos,
a ruler whose reign represents the Augustan age of Egyptian
splendor, received his name from this Deity. It is said that
during the twentieth dynasty Seth is suddenly portrayed as the
principle of evil "with which is associated sin." Consequently
all the effigies of this great Goddess were destroyed and all her
names and inscriptions "which could be reached" were effaced.
Bunsen tells us that Schelling, who has made a study of Egyptian
mythology, although totally ignorant of the later historical
facts which by means of hieroglyphical monuments have been
obtained, had arrived at the conclusion that Seth had occupied an
important position in the Deity down to the fourteenth century
B.C. "Schelling had on mere speculative grounds been brought to
lay down as a postulate that Typhon, at some early period, had
been considered by the Egyptians as a beneficent and powerful
Wilkinson says that the character given to Seth, who was called
Baal-Seth and the God of the Gentiles, "is explained by his being
the cause of evil." We are assured that formerly "Sin the great
serpent, or Apophis the giant, was distinct from Seth who was a
deity and a part of the divine system. But after the recondite
principles underlying sun-worship were lost or forgotten; when
cold and darkness, or the sinking away of the sun's rays, which
are necessary to the reappearance of light and warmth, came to be
regarded as the destructive element, or the evil principle, woman
became identified with this principle. She was the producer of
evil, and came to be represented in connection with a serpent as
the cause of all earthly or material things. She is Destruction,
but not Regeneration. She is in fact matter. The cold of winter
and the darkness of night, which are necessary to the return of
the sun's warmth and which were formerly set forth as a
beneficent mother who brings forth the sun, became only the evil
principle--that which obscures the light. In fact Darkness or
absence of the sun's heat has become the Devil. It is the "cause
of evil in the world."
With woman blinded by superstition, with every instinct of the
female nature outraged, and with her position as the central
figure in the Deity and in the family usurped, her temples were
soon profaned, her images defiled, and the titles representing
her former greatness transferred to males.
There is no doubt but this doctrine was the legitimate outcome of
the decay of female influence. Through the further stimulation
of the lower nature of man its absurdity gradually increased,
until under the system calling itself Christian it finally
reached its height. This subject will be referred to later in
these pages.
When we remember that the original representation of the Deity
among the nations of the earth consisted of a female figure
embracing a child, and when we observe that subsequently in the
development of the god-idea woman appears associated with a
serpent as the cause of evil in the world, the history of the God
Seth, who, as we have seen, represented the processes of Nature,
namely Destruction and Regeneration, seems quite significant as
indicating some of the actual processes involved in this change.
There can be little doubt that the facts relating to this Deity
indicate the source whence has sprung the great theological dogma
underlying Christianity, that woman is the cause of evil in the
"Daughters of Jove, All hail! but O inspire
The lovely song! the sacred race proclaim
Of ever-living gods; who sprang from Earth,
From the starred Heaven, and from the gloomy Night,
And whom the salt Deep nourished into life.
Declare how first the gods and Earth became;
The rivers and th' immeasurable sea
High-raging in its foam; the glittering stars,
The wide impending Heaven; and who from these
Of deities arose, dispensing good;
Say how their treasures, how their honors each
Allotted shar'd: how first they held abode
On many-caved Olympus:--this declare,
Ye Muses! dwellers of the heavenly mount
From the beginning; say, who first arose?
First Chaos was: next ample-bosomed Earth,
Of deathless gods, who still the Olympian heights
Snow-topt inhabit. . . .
Her first-born Earth produced
Of like immensity, the starry Heaven:
That he might sheltering compass her around
On every side, and be forevermore
To the blest gods a mansion unremoved."[92]
[92] Hesiod, The Theogony.
So long as human beings worshipped the abstract principle of
creation, the manifestations of which proceed from the earth and
sun, they doubtless reasoned little on the nature of its hitherto
inseparable parts. They had not at that early period begun to
look outside of Nature for their god-idea, but when through the
peculiar course of development which had been entered upon, the
simple conception of a creative agency originally entertained
became obscured, mankind began to speculate on the nature and
attributes of the two principles by which everything is produced,
and to dispute over their relative importance in the office of
reproduction. Much light has been thrown upon these speculations
by the Kosmogonies which have come down to us from the
Phoenicians, Babylonians, and other peoples of past ages. In the
Phoenician Kosmogony, according to the Mokh doctrine as recorded
by Philo, out of the kosmic egg Toleeleth (female) "sprang all
the impregnation of creation and the beginning of the universe."
In this exposition of the beginnings of things, it is distinctly
stated that the spirit which in after ages came to be regarded as
something outside or above Nature, "had no consciousness of its
own creation." Commenting on the above, Bunsen is constrained to
admit that it is usually understood as being "decidedly
pantheistic." He suggests, however, that the writer may HAVE
INTENDED TO SAY (the italics are mine) that "the spirit who was
heretofore the Creator was the unconscious spirit."
Berosus, the scholar of Babylon, who, until a comparatively
recent time has furnished all the information extant concerning
Babylonian antiquities, in his account of the creation of man and
of the universe, says that in the beginning all was water and
darkness; that in the water were the beginnings of life; but as
yet there was no order. Men were there with the wings of birds
and even with the feet of beasts. There were also quadrupeds and
men with fishes' tails, all of which had been produced by a
twofold principle. Over this incongruous mass a woman presided.
This woman is called Omoroka by the Babylonians and by the
Chaldeans Thalatth. The latter name, signifies, "bearing" or
"egg producing."
In the Babylonian Kosmogony, according to Endemus, the pupil of
Aristotle, the beginning of the universe was called Tauthe, which
being interpreted means "Mother of the Gods." Associated with
her sometimes appears the male principle--Apason. In the history
of Berosus, there is given an account of Oaunes--a mythical
teacher of Babylon, who appeared with the head of a human being
and the body of a fish or serpent. This personage brought to the
Babylonians all the knowledge which they possessed. Oaunes wrote
"concerning the generation of mankind, of their different ways of
life, and of their civil polity." He it was who gave the above
account of creation. He says that finally Omoroka, or Thalatth,
the woman who existed before the creation, was divided, one half
of her forming the heavens, "the other half the earth." "All
this," Berosus declares, "was an allegorical description of
[93] Prof. Smith, Chaldean Account of Genesis, pp. 34, 35.
In the following legend will be observed the groundwork for the
story of the flood. Xisuthrus was a king of Chaldea. To him the
deity, Kronos, appeared in a vision and warned him that upon the
fifteenth day of the month Daesius there would be a flood, by
which mankind would be destroyed. He therefore enjoined him to
write a history of the beginning, progress, and conclusion of all
things down to the present time, and to bury it in Sippara, the
City of the Sun. He was commanded also to build a vessel, and
take with him into it his friends and relations, and to convey on
board everything necessary to sustain life, together with all the
different animals, both birds and quadrupeds, and trust himself
fearlessly to the deep. Having asked the deity whither he was to
sail, he was answered: "To the gods"; upon which he offered up a
prayer for the good of mankind. He then obeyed the divine
admonition, and built a vessel five stadia in length and two in
breadth. Into this he put everything which he had prepared, and
last of all conveyed into it his wife, his children, and his
"After the flood had been upon the earth, and was in time abated,
Xisuthrus sent out birds from the vessel, which not finding any
food, nor any place whereupon they might rest their feet,
returned to him again. After an interval of some days, he sent
them forth a second time; and they now returned with their feet
tinged with mud. He made a trial a third time with these birds;
but they returned to him no more: from which he judged that the
surface of the earth had appeared above the waters. He therefore
made an opening in the vessel, end upon looking out found that it
was stranded upon the side of some mountain, upon which he
immediately quitted it with his wife, his daughter, and the
pilot. Xisuthrus then paid his adoration to the earth: and,
having constructed an altar, offered sacrifices to the gods, and,
with those who had come out of the vessel with him, disappeared.
Him they saw no more, but they could distinguish his voice in the
air, and could hear him admonish them to pay due regard to the
gods. He informed them that it was on account of his piety that
he had been taken away to live with the gods, and that his wife
and daughter had obtained the same honor."
It is more than likely that this story, which as we have seen has
extended to the remotest corners of the earth, has an esoteric
meaning, and that it embodies the doctrines of the ancients
relative to re- incarnation and the renewal of worlds. Doubtless
it portrays not only the end of a cycle, but that by it is
prefigured the fortunes of a human soul, which in its ascent, is
from time to time forced into a human body.
All the early Kosmogonies are intermingled with the history of a
great flood, from the ravages of which an ark which contained a
man was saved. The Gothic story of creation indicates that the
Scythians belonged to the same race as the Chaldeans. At the
beginning of time when nothing had been formed, and before the
earth, the sea, or the heavens appeared, Muspelsheim existed. A
breath of heat passing over the vapors, melted them into water,
and from this water was formed a cow named Aedumla, who was the
progenitor of Odin, Vile, and Ve, the Trinity of the Gothic
There is also another tradition, probably a later, which asserts
that from the drops of water produced by the primeval breath of
heat, a man, Ymer, was brought forth. The son of Ymer was
preserved in a storm-tossed bark, his father being dragged into
the middle of the abyss, where, from his body the earth was
produced. The sea was made of his blood, the mountains of his
bones, and the rocks of his teeth. As three of his descendants
were walking on the shore one day, they found two pieces of wood
which had been washed up by the waves. Of these they made a man
and a woman. The man they named Aske and the woman Emla. From
this pair has descended the human race.
The marked resemblance between the characters of the Gothic Ymer
and the Chaldean Omoroka, from each of whose bodies the universe
is created, has been observed by various writers. After
referring to Mallet's conclusions upon this subject, Faber
"They are indeed evidently the same person, not only in point of
character, but, if I mistake not, in appellation: for Ymer or
Umer is Omer-Oca expressed in a more simple form. The difference
of sex does by no means invalidate this opinion, which rests upon
the perfect identity of their characters: for the Great Mother,
like the Great Father, was an hermaphrodite; or, rather, that
person from whom all things were supposed to be produced, was the
Great Father and the Great Mother united together in one compound
being. Ymer and Omoroca are each the same as that hermaphrodite
Jupiter of the Orphic theology."
We have observed, however, that in all the older traditions this
hermaphrodite conception is accounted as female, it is the Great
Mother within whom is contained the male; in later ages, however,
it is represented as male, the female being concealed beneath
convenient symbols.
The Trinity of the Goths was male; yet as Odin could not create
independently of the female energy he is provided with a wife,
Frigga, to whom "all fair things belonged, and who had
priestesses among the early German tribes." Frigga when
worshipped alone was both female and male. According to one
German tradition, Tiw (Zeus), which in its earliest conception
was female, was the parent of the first man. This man begat
three sons who became the fathers of the three Deutsch tribes.
Ish (or Ash) was the parent of the Franks and Allemans; Ing was
the progenitor of the Swedes, Angles, and Saxons; and Er, or
Erman, was the eponymous leader of the tribes called by the
Romans Hermiones.
The Kosmogony of the Chinese is similar in all respects to that
of other countries. The first man, Puoncu, was born from an egg.
The Chinese say that this egg-born Puoncu, who is identical with
Brahm, Noah, and Adam, is not the great Creator or God, but only
the first man. Their great God or Tien is a Unity which
comprehends three, and their human triad--a triplicated being who
is the parent of the human race--is a lower expression of the
same power, and to him has finally been ascribed the office of
The Kosmogony of the Japanese begins with the opening of the
sacred egg from which all things were produced. This egg is
identical with the ark, and from it the diluvian patriarch was
born. He was "Baal-Peor or the lord of opening; and, from an
idea that the Ark was an universal mother, he was considered as
the masculine principle of generation, and was adored by his
apostate descendants with all the abominations of phallic
In the Theogony of Hesiod, Uranus is represented as being the
parent of three sons, and the same legend repeated in the story
of Cronus portrays him also as a triplicated deity. According to
the Peruvian Kosmogony all things sprang from Viracocha who is
said to be identical with the Greek Aphrodite. Besides this
superior God they venerated a triad which was closely connected
with the sun. These gods were called Chuquilla, Catuilla, and
Intyllapa. They say that as their ancestors journeyed from a
remote country to the Northwest they bore the image of their god
in a coifer or box made of reeds. To the four priests who had
charge of this box or ark he communicated his oracles and
directions. He not only gave them laws but taught them the
ceremonies and sacrifices which they were to observe. "And even
as the pillar of cloud and fire conducted the Israelites in their
passage through the wilderness, so this Spanish devil gave them
notice when to advance forward, and when to stay."[94]
[94] Faber, Pagan Idolatry, book i., ch. v.
According to Marsden, the New Zealanders believe that three gods
created the first man, and that the first woman was made from one
of his ribs.
Among the Otaheitans and various tribes of Indians, the belief
prevails that all created things have proceeded from a
triplicated deity who was saved from the ravages of a flood in an
ark or ship.
The fact is observed that the Theogonies and Kosmogonies of all
peoples have reference to a flood or to the renewal of life after
the destruction of the world, and that the Great Father who is
preserved, and who comes forth from an ark or ship with the seeds
of a former world, represents the beginning of a new era. Adam
with his three sons, Cain, Abel, and Seth, Noah with his triad,
Shem, Ham, and Japheth, Menu and his triple offspring, and so on,
all mean exactly the same thing, namely, the renewal of life at
the close of a cycle, or manwantara.
From the traditions extant in nearly every quarter of the globe,
it would seem that, prior to the so- called flood in the time of
Noah, man, as a Creator, had not to any extent been worshipped,
but, on the contrary, that the great universal dual principle
which pervades Nature and which is back of matter and force, for
instance Tien among the Chinese, Iav among the Hebrews, and Aum
among the Hindoos, had been the Deity adored; but with the
decline of virtue and knowledge, this God was gradually abandoned
for a lesser one, a deity better suited to the comprehension of
"fallen" man.
In the Elohistic narrative of creation which appears in the first
chapter of Genesis, a dual or triune God, female and male, says,
Let us make man in our own image, and accordingly a male and a
female are created. In the Jehovistic account, however, in the
second chapter of the same book, a document of much later date,
man is made first and afterward woman. In fact, in the latter
narrative she appears as an afterthought and is created simply
for his use; she is taken from his side and is wholly dependent
upon him for existence. This fact is recognized by Bishop
Colenso in the following words:
"Thus in the second account of creation, the man is APPARENTLY
created first, and the woman is CERTAINLY created the last, of
all living creatures; whereas, in the older story the man and
woman are created last of all, as the crowning work of Elohim,
and are created together--'and Elohim created man in His own
image, in the image of Elohim created He him; male and female
created He them.' This ancient Elohistic narrative, then, the
Jehovist had before him; and he enlarged and enlivened it by
introducing a number of passages recording additional incidents
in the lives of the patriarchs before and after the flood, and
especially by inserting the second account of the creation, ii.,
Colenso observes that verse four of chapter second belongs to the
Elohist, and that it was removed from its original position at
the beginning of Gen. i., in order to form the commencement of
the Jehovistic account of the creation.[95]
[95] Lectures on the Pentateuch, p. 32.
Quoting from Bishop Browne in the New Bible Commentary, the same
writer remarks that in the Elohistic account of the creation "we
have that which was probably the ancient primeval record of the
formation of the world."[96]
[96] Ibid. p. 16.
The oldest or Elohistic portion of Genesis is, at the present
time, seen to conceal great wisdom and a knowledge of Nature far
surpassing that of later times.
According to Higgins, the first verse of the first chapter of
Genesis, if properly translated, would not declare that in the
beginning God created the heavens and the earth, but that Wisdom
"formed" the earth and the planets. In none of the ancient
Kosmogonies can there be a word found regarding the creation of
matter. From the facts which have come down to us respecting the
speculations of the ancients, it is plain that the original
conception was, that within the primeval beginnings described in
their Kosmogonies, in chaos or unorganized matter, was contained
primeval force; no attempt, however, was made by them to account
for the creation of either motion or matter.
As soon as human beings began to speculate on the attributes of
their Deity; when the two principles composing it began to
separate, and the idea was gaining ground that the male was the
only important factor in reproduction, the sun became male, the
earth and sea female. Still, even then the doctrine seems not to
have been questioned, that the creative agency had proceeded from
matter, or that it was developed in and through it. The belief
that something can be made from nothing was reserved for a later
In the oldest Semitic Kosmogonies, we are assured that the
self-conscious God who is manifested in the order of the
universe, proceeded out of the great abyss, and out of
unorganized, dark, primeval matter. During the earlier historic
period, however, by both Jew and Gentile, the belief was
entertained that spirit is material. It is the essence of
fire--a substance akin to the galvanic or electric fluid. This
masculine element, the manifestation of which is desire, or heat,
and which was finally set up as an eternal, self-existent,
creative force, or God, was originally regarded as a
manifestation of matter, and as having no independent existence.
In an earlier age, this so-called creative agency is associated
with a force far superior to itself, namely, Light or Wisdom.
Minerva, who is the first emanation from the Deity, "formed" all
things. She it is who discriminates all things and gives laws to
the universe. "She represented to the Greeks that spiritual
element which lifts knowledge into wisdom, and talent into
genius."[97] But with the importance which began to be assumed by
man when he began to regard himself as a creator, and when
through ignorance and sensuality the principles of a more
enlightened race were forgotten, desire, or heat, was separated
from matter and came to be regarded as an independent entity,
which itself had created matter out of nothing. Thus is noticed
the extent to which the god-idea has been developed in
accordance with the relative positions of the sexes.
[97] L. T. Ives, Art Words.
According to the Grecian mythology, much of which was a
comparatively late development, mortal woman was the handiwork of
Vulcan the Firegod, who, being commissioned by Jove to execute "a
snare for gods and man," moulded the beauteous form of woman.
This is a worthy example of the contempt and scorn shown by the
Greeks for women during the later period of their career as a
nation. That such contempt was a later development is shown in
the fact that woman was originally the gift of Pallas Athene, or
Wisdom. When she first appeared on the scene she was crowned by
the gods, in fact she was the first object honored with a crown.
Concerning the conceptions regarding women as held at an earlier
age, and those which came to prevail after she had become "the
cause of evil in the world," we have the following from
"If there was a Pandora, whom Hesiod mentions as the first woman,
hers was the first head the Graces crowned, for she received
gifts from all the gods, whence she got her name Pandora. But
Moses, a prophet, not a poet-shepherd, shows us the first woman
Eve having her loins more naturally girt about with leaves than
her temples with flowers. Pandora then is a myth."[98]
[98] Tertullian, vol. i., p. 341.
Woman, who was originally the gift of Wisdom, or Minerva, and who
when created was garlanded with flowers as the crown of creation,
became, in course of time, an accursed and wicked thing who must
henceforth cover herself with leaves to hide her shame.
Tertullian, who, with the rest of the early fathers in the
Christian church, had imbibed the latter doctrine concerning her,
could not believe the tradition set forth by Hesiod; therefore
Pandora was a myth, while the corrupted fable, that of Eve as the
tempter, was accepted as a natural representation of womanhood.
When woman was created, "all the gods conferred a gifted grace."
"Round her fair brow the lovely-tressed Hours
A garland twined of Spring's purpureal flowers:
The whole attire Minerva's graceful art
Disposed, adjusted, form'd to every part."[99]
[99] Hesiod, Works and Days.
Later, however, Pandora herself becomes the pourer forth of ills
on the head of defenceless man.
"Know, first a spirit with an active flame
Fills, feeds, and animates the mighty frame;
Runs through the watery worlds and fields of air,
The ponderous Earth and depths of Heav'n and there
Burns in the Sun and Moon, and every brilliant Star
Thus mingling in the mass, the general soul
Lives in its parts and agitates the whole."
Although earth, air, water, and the sun were long venerated as
objects of worship, as containing the life principle, in process
of time it is observed that fire attracted the highest regard of
human beings, and on their altars the sacred flame, said to have
been kindled from heaven, was kept burning uninterruptedly from
year to year, and from age to age, by bends of priests "whose
special duty it was to see that the sacred flame was never
extinguished." The office of the vestal virgins in Rome was to
preserve the holy fire. The Egyptians, and in fact all the
earlier civilized nations, knew that force proceeds from the sun,
hence the frequent appearance of this orb among their symbols of
life. Indeed there is not a country on the globe in which, at
some time, divine honors have not been paid to fire and to light.
The Hindoos, "believing fire to be the essence of all active
power in Nature, kept perpetual lamps burning in the innermost
recesses of their pagodas and temples, and in the sacred edifices
of the Greeks and Barbarians fires were preserved for the same
The festival of lamps, which was once universal throughout Egypt,
still prevails in China. On the evening of the fifteenth day of
the first month in the year, every person is compelled to place
before his door a lantern or light, such lights differing in size
and expense according to the degree of wealth or poverty of those
to whom they belong. Light was the symbol of Muth (Perceptive
Wisdom). Among the Persians, the Egyptians, the Mexicans, the
Jews, the Etruscans, the Greeks, and the Romans, fire was
venerated as the essence of the Deity; and, at the present time,
in Thibet, in China, in Japan, and in portions of Africa, it
still forms an important part of worship. The Hebrew writings
show conclusively that not only the Jews but all the surrounding
nations were fire-worshippers, and that their sacrifices were not
infrequently to the God of Fire. Of this Forlong says:
"When Rome was rearing temples to the fame and worship of Fire,
we find the prophets of Israel occasionally denouncing the
wickedness of its worship by their own and the nations around
them; nevertheless, even to Christ's time Molok always had his
offerings of children."[100]
[100] Rivers of Life and Faiths of Man in an Lands, vol. i., p.
It is believed that Abraham introduced fire-worship among the
Jews from Ur in Mesopotamia, a land in which lights are still
venerated, and fire altars are worshipped as containing the
The real essence of fire which was identical with the
life-principle was holy. The "Lord" of the Israelites was in the
fire which descended on Mt. Sinai, Exodus xix., 18. "The bush
burned with fire and the bush was not consumed," Exodus iii., 2.
Whether the signification of "bush" is the same as "grove," I
know not, but Josephus assures us that the bush was holy before
the flame appeared in it. Because of its sacred character, it
became the receptacle for the burning "Lord" of the Jews. The
ark, the religious emblem which Moses bore aloft, was simply a
fire altar on which the fire must continually burn. The fact
will doubtless be observed that although the ark and the bush
(female emblems) were invested with a certain degree of sanctity,
they were nevertheless only receptacles for the substance within
At the same time that the Jews kept sacred or holy fires
continually burning on their altars, they carried about a serpent
on a pole representing it to be the "healer of nations." They
also kept a phallic emblem in a box, chest, or ark which they
worshipped as the "God of Hosts," the "Life Giver," etc. It has
been observed that although the Jews frequently lost their ark,
they were never without their serpent-pole. At a certain stage
in the religious development of mankind all the temples in Africa
and Western Asia were dedicated to Vulcan the fire god or the
"Lord of Fire," to whom all furnaces were sacred. The principal
festivals in honor of this Deity took place in the spring, at the
Easter season, and on the 23d of August, when it is said that the
licentiousness practiced in the temples compared with those of
the "Harvest Homes" of Europe when the sun was in Libra and the
harvest had been garnered in. Vulcan was the "God of
fornication" or of passion.
These excesses, which remained unchecked down to the fourth
century before Christ, are said to have somewhat abated after the
rise of the Stoic philosophy.
Various philosophers of early historic times as well as many of
the early fathers in the Christian church believed that God was a
corporeal substance which in some way is manifested through fire.
In Egypt, during the early ages of Christianity, "a great dispute
took place among the monks on the question, whether God is
corporeal." Tertullian declared that "God is fire"; Origen, that
"he is a subtle fire"; and various others that "he is body."
There is little doubt that in early historic ages the Persians,
who had undertaken to purify their religion, were the strongest
and purest sect of this cult; they were in fact the genuine
worshippers of the pure creative principles which they believed
resided in fire.
We have observed that force or spirit was originally regarded as
a part of Nature, or in other words that it was a manifestation
of, or an outflowing from matter, but so soon as it began to be
considered as something apart from Nature, there at once arose a
desire for some corporeal object to represent this unseen and
occult principle.
During many of the ages of fire-worship, holy fire, although a
material substance, seems to have been too subtle to clearly
represent the god-idea, hence everywhere the worship of the
serpent is found to be interwoven with it. In fact, so closely
are serpent, fire, pillar, and other phallic faiths intermingled
that it is impossible to separate them.
The Persians are by some writers said to have been the earliest
fire-worshippers: by others the truth of this statement is
denied, while many claim, and indeed the Maji themselves
declared, that they never worshipped fire at all in any other
manner than as an emblem of the divine principle which they
believed resided within it. It is probable, however, from the
evidence at hand, that they, like all the other nations of the
globe, prior to the reformation led by Zarathustra and his
daughter, had lost or nearly forgotten the profound ideas
connected with the worship of Nature.
Passion, symbolized by fire, is declared by various writers to
have been the first idol, but later research has proved the
falsity of this assumption. It is true that at an early age of
human experience the creative processes were worshipped, but such
worship involved scientific and, I might say, spiritualized
conceptions of the operations of Nature which in time were
altogether lost sight of. Gross phallicism is clearly the result
of degeneration, and of a lapse into sensuality and superstition.
I think no one can study the facts connected with fire and light
as the Deity in the various countries in which this worship
prevailed, without perceiving the change it gradually underwent
during later ages, and the grossness of the ideas which became
connected with it as compared with an earlier age when mankind
"had no temples, but worshipped in the open air, on the tops of
In another portion of this work we have observed that in the
rites connected with the worship of Cybele (Light or Wisdom),
although phallic symbols were in use, the ceremonies were
absolutely pure, and that throughout all the earlier ages her
worship remained free from the abominations which characterized
the worship of later times.
At what time in the history of the human race the organs of
generation first began to appear as emblems of the Deity is not
known. Within the earliest cave temples, those hewn from the
solid rock, sculptured representations of these objects are still
to be observed. Although until a comparatively recent period
their true significance has been unknown, there is little doubt
at the present time that they were originally used as symbols of
fertility, or as emblems typifying the processes of Nature, and
that at some remote period of the world's history they were
worshipped as the Creator, or, at least, as representations of
the creative agencies in the universe.
Concerning the origin and character of the people who executed
them there is scarcely a trace in written history. Through the
unravelling of extinct tongues, however, the monumental records
of the ancient nations of the globe have been deciphered, and the
system of religious symbolism in use among them is now
A small volume by various writers, printed in London some years
ago, entitled A Comparative View of the Ancient Monuments of
India, says:
"Those who have penetrated into the abstruseness of Indian
mythology, find that in these temples was practiced a worship
similar to that practiced by all the several nations of the
world, in their earliest as well as their most enlightened
periods. It was paid to the Phallus by the Asiatics, to Priapus
by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, to Baal-Peor by the
Canaanites and idolatrous Jews. The figure is seen on the fascia
which runs round the circus of Nismes, and over the portal of the
Cathedral of Toulouse, and several churches of Bordeaux."
Of the Lingham and Yoni and their universal acceptance as
religious emblems, Barlow remarks that it was a "worship which
would appear to have made the tour of the globe and to have left
traces of its existence where we might least expect to find it."
In referring to the "sculptured indecencies" connected with
religious rites, which, being wrought in imperishable stone, have
been preserved in India and other parts of the East, Forlong says
that when occurring in the temples or other sacred places they
are at the present time evidently very puzzling to the pious
Indians, and in their attempts to explain them they say they are
placed there "in fulfilment of vows," or that they have been
wrought there "as punishments for sins of a sexual nature,
committed by those who executed or paid for them." It is,
however, the opinion of Forlong that they are simply connected
with an older and purer worship--a worship which involved the
union of the sex principles as the foundation of their god-idea.
Regarding the cause for the "indecent" sculptures of the Orissa
temples, the same writer quotes the following from Baboo
Ragendralala Mitra, in his work on the Antiquities of Orissa.
"A vitiated taste aided by general prevalence of immorality might
at first sight appear to be the most likely one; but I can not
believe that libidiousness, however depraved, would ever think of
selecting fanes dedicated to the worship of God, as the most
appropriate for its manifestations; for it is worthy of remark
that they occur almost exclusively on temples and their attached
porches, and never on enclosing walls, gateways, and other
non-religious structures. Our ideas of propriety, according to
Voltaire, lead us to suppose that a ceremony (like the worship of
Priapus) which appears to us infamous, could only be invented by
licentiousness; but it is impossible to believe that depravity of
manners would ever have led among any people to the establishment
of religious ceremonies. It is probable, on the contrary, that
this custom was first introduced in times of simplicity--that the
first thought was to honor the Deity in the symbol of life which
it has given us; such a ceremony may have excited licentiousness
among youths, and have appeared ridiculous to men of education in
more refined, more corrupt, and more enlightened times, but it
never had its origin in such feelings. . . . It is out of the
question therefore to suppose that a general prevalence of vice
would of itself, without the authority of priests and scriptures,
suffice to lead to the defilement of holy temples."[101]
[101] Rivers of Life, vol. i., p. 275.
Originally the Ionians, as their name indicates, were Yoni
worshippers, i. e., they belonged to the sect which was driven
out of India because of their stubborn refusal to worship the
male energy as the Creator. During the later ages of their
history, at a time when their religion had degenerated into a
licensed system of vice and corruption, and after their temples
had become brothels in which, in the name of religion, were
practiced the most debasing ceremonies, the Greeks became ashamed
of their ancient worship, and, like the Jews, ashamed also of
their name.
It is believed that the Greeks received from Egypt, or the East,
their first theological conceptions of God and religion. These
"were veiled in symbols, significant of a primitive monotheism;
these, at a later period, being translated into symbolical or
allegorical language, were by the poets transformed into epic or
narrative myths, in which the original subject symbolized was
almost effaced, whilst the allegorical expressions were received
generally in a literal sense. Hence, to the many, the meaning of
the ancient doctrine was lost, and was communicated only to the
few, under the strictest secrecy in the mysteries of Eleusis and
Samothrace. Thus there was a popular theology to suit the
people, and a rational theology reserved for the educated, the
symbolical language in both being the same, but the meaning of it
being taken differently. In course of time, as knowledge makes
its way among the people, and religious enlightenment with it,
much of what had been received literally will relapse into its
original figurative or symbolical meaning. Reason will resume
her supremacy, and stereotyped dogmas will fall like pagan idols
before advancing truth."[102]
[102] Barlow, Essays on Symbolism, p. 121.
Although, during the later ages of the human career, the higher
truths taught by an earlier race were lost, still a slight hint
of the beauty and purity of the more ancient worship may be
traced through most of the ages of the history of religion. Even
among the profligate Greeks, the mysteries of Eleusis, celebrated
in the temple of Ceres, were always respected. Care should be
taken, however, not to confound these remnants of pure Natureworship
with that of the courtesan Venus, whose adoration, during
the degenerate days of Greece, represented only the lowest and
most corrupt conception of the female energy.
Down to a late date in the annals of Athens there was celebrated
a religious festival called Thesmophoria. The name of this
festival is derived from one of the cognomens of Ceres--the
goddess "who first gave laws and made life orderly." Ceres was
the divinity adored by the Amazons, and is essentially the same
as the Egyptian Isis. She represents universal female Nature.
The Thesmophorian rites, which are believed by most writers to
have been introduced into Greece directly from Thrace, were
performed by "virgins distinguished for probity in life, who
carried about in procession sacred books upon their heads."
Inman, in his Ancient Faiths, quotes an oracle of Apollo, from
Spencer, to the effect that "Rhea the Mother of the Blessed, and
the Queen of the Gods, loved assemblages of women." As this
festival is in honor of Female Nature, the various female
attributes are adored as deities, Demeter being the first named
by the worshippers. After a long season of fasting, and "after
solemn reflection on the mysteries of life, women splendidly
attired in white garments assemble and scatter flowers in honor
of the Great Mother."
The food partaken of by the devotees at these festivals was
cakes, very similar in shape to those which were offered to the
Queen of Heaven by the women of Judah in the days of Jeremiah, an
offering which it will be remembered so displeased that prophet
that a curse was pronounced upon the entire people.
As the strictest secrecy prevailed among the initiated respecting
these rites, the exact nature of the symbols employed at the
Thesmophorian festivals is not known; it is believed, however,
that it was the female emblem of generation, and that this
festival was held in honor of that event which from the earliest
times had been prophesied by those who believed in the superior
importance of the female, namely, that unaided by the male power,
a woman would bring forth, and that this manifestation of female
sufficiency would forever settle the question of the ascendancy
of the female principle. Through a return of the ancient ideas
of purity and peace, mankind would be redeemed from the
wretchedness and misery which had been the result of the decline
of female power. The dual idea entertained in the Thesmophorian
worship is observed in the fact that although Ceres, the Great
Mother, was the principal Deity honored, Proserpine, the child,
was also comprehended, and with its Mother worshipped as part of
the Creator. Thus we observe that down to a late date in the
history of Grecian mythology the idea of a Holy Mother with her
child had not altogether disappeared as a representation of the
To prove the worthiness of the ideas connected with the
Eleusinian mysteries it is stated that "there is not an instance
on record that the honor of initiation was ever obtained by a
very bad man."
In Rome these mysteries took another name and were called "the
rites of Bona Dea," which was but another name for Ceres. As
evidence of their purity we have the following:
"All the distinguished Roman authors speak of these rites and in
terms of profound respect. Horace denounces the wretch who
should attempt to reveal the secrets of these rites; Virgil
mentions these mysteries with great respect; and Cicero alludes
to them with a greater reverence than either of the poets we have
named. Both the Greeks and the Romans punished any insult
offered to these mysteries with the most persevering
vindictiveness. Alcibiades was charged with insulting these
religious rites, and although the proof of his offense was quite
doubtful, yet he suffered for it for years in exile and misery,
and it must be allowed that he was the most popular man of his
[103] Chambers's Edinburgh Journal.
In Greece, the celebration of the Eleusinian mysteries was in the
hands of the Emolpidae, one of the oldest and most respected
families of antiquity. At Carthage, there were celebrated the
Phiditia, religious solemnities similar to those already
described in Greece. During the two or three days upon which
these festivals were celebrated, public feasts were prepared at
which the youth were instructed by their elders in the state
concerning the principles which were to govern their conduct in
after life; truth, inward purity, and virtue being set forth as
essentials to true manhood. In later times, after these
festivals had found their way to Rome, they gradually succumbed
to the immorality which prevailed, and at last, when their former
exalted significance had been forgotten, they were finally sunk
into "the licentiousness of enjoyment, and the innocence of mirth
was superseded by the uproar of riot and vice! Such were the
From the facts connected with the mysteries of Eleusis and the
Thesmophorian rites, it is evident that in its earlier stages
Nature-worship was absolutely free from the impurities which came
to be associated with it in later times. As the organs of
generation had not originally been wholly disgraced and outraged,
it is not unlikely that when the so-called "sculptured
indecencies" appeared on the walls of the temples they were
regarded as no more an offense against propriety and decency than
was the reappearance of the cross, the emblem of life, in later
times, among orthodox Christians.
Neither is it probable, in an age in which nothing that is
natural was considered indecent, and before the reproductive
energies had become degraded, that these symbols were any more
suggestive of impurity than are the Easter offerings upon our
church altars at the present time. Whatever may now be the
significance of these offerings to those who present them, sure
it is that they once, together with other devices connected with
Nature-worship, were simply emblems of fertility--symbols of a
risen and fructifying sun which by its gladdening rays re-creates
and makes all things new again.
If we carefully study the religion of past ages we will discover
something more than a hint of an age when the generative
functions were regarded as a sacred expression of creative power,
and when the reproductive organs had not through over-stimulation
and abuse been tabooed as objects altogether impure and unholy,
and as things too disgraceful to be mentioned above a whisper.
Indeed there is much evidence going to show that in an earlier
age of the world's history the degradation of mankind, through
the abuse of the creative functions, had not been accomplished,
and the ills of life resulting from such abuse were unknown.
We may reasonably believe that those instincts in the female
which are correlated with maternal affection and which were
acquired by her as a protection to the germ, or, in other words,
those characters which Nature has developed in the female to
insure the safety and well-being of offspring, and which in a
purer and more natural stage of human existence acted as cheeks
upon the energies of the male, were not easily or quickly
subdued; but when through subjection to the animal nature of man
these instincts or characters had been denied their natural
expression, and woman had become simply the instrument of man's
pleasure, the comparatively pure worship of the organs of
generation as symbols of creative power began to give place to
the deification of these members simply as emblems of desire, or
as instruments for the stimulation of passion.
We are assured that on the banks of the Ganges, the very cradle
of religion, are still to be found various remnants of the most
ancient form of Nature-worship--that there are still to be
observed "certain high places sacred to more primitive ideas than
those represented by Vedic gods."
Here devout worshippers believe that the androgynous God of
fertility, or Nature, still manifests itself to the faithful.
Close beside these more ancient shrines are others representing a
somewhat later development of religious faith--shrines, by means
of which are indicated some of the processes involved in the
earlier growth of the god-idea. Not far removed from these are
to be found, also, numerous temples or places of worship
belonging to a still later faith--a faith in which are revealed
the "awakening and stimulation of every sensuous feeling, and
which has drowned in infamy every noble impulse developed in
human nature."
Of the depravity of the Jews and the immorality practiced in
their religious rites, Forlong says:
"No one can study their history, liberated from the blindness
which our Christian up-bringing and associations cast over us,
without seeing that the Jews were probably the grossest
worshippers among all those Ophi--Phallo--Solar devotees who then
covered every land and sea, from the sources of the Nile and
Euphrates to all over the Mediterranean coasts and isles. These
impure faiths seem to have been very strictly maintained by Jews
up to Hezekiah's days, and by none more so than by dissolute
Solomon and his cruel, lascivious bandit-father, the
brazen-faced adulterer and murderer, who broke his freely
volunteered oath, and sacrificed six innocent sons of his king to
his Javah."
Of Solomon he says that he devoted his energies and some little
wealth "to rearing phallic and Solophallic shrines over all the
high places around him, and especially in front of Jerusalem, and
on and around the Mount of Olives." On each side of the entrance
to his celebrated temple, under the great phallic spire which
formed the portico, were two handsome columns over fifty feet
high, by the side of which were the sun God Belus and his
In a description of this temple it is represented as being one
hundred and twenty feet long and forty feet broad, while the
porch, a phallic emblem, "was a huge tower, forty feet long,
twenty feet broad, and two hundred and forty feet high." We are
assured by Forlong that Solomon's temple was like hundreds
observed in the East, except that its walls were a little higher
than those usually seen, and the phallic spire out of proportion
to the size of the structure. "The Jewish porch is but the
obelisk which the Egyptian placed beside his temple; the Boodhist
pillars which stood all around their Dagobas; the pillars of
Hercules, which stood near the Phoenician temple; and the spire
which stands beside the Christian Church."[104]
[104] Forlong, Rivers of Life, vol. i., p. 219.
The rites and ceremonies observed in the worship of Baal-Peor are
not of a character to be described in these pages: it is perhaps
sufficient to state that by them the fact is clearly established
that profligacy, regulated and controlled by the priestly order
as part and parcel of religion, was not confined to the Gentiles;
but, on the contrary, that the religious observances of the Jews
prior to the Babylonian captivity were even more gross than were
those of the Assyrians or the Hindoos.
These impure faiths arose at a time when man as the sole creator
of offspring became god, when the natural instincts of woman were
subdued, and when passion as the highest expression of the divine
force came to be worshipped as the most important attribute of
The extent to which these faiths have influenced later religious
belief and observances is scarcely realized by those who have not
given special attention to this subject.
It has been stated that in the time of Solon, law-giver of
Athens, there were twenty temples in the various cities of Greece
dedicated to Venus the courtesan, within which were practiced, in
the name of religion, the most infamous rites and the most
shameless self-abandonment; and that throughout Europe, down to a
late period in the history of the race, religious festivals were
celebrated at certain seasons of the year, at which the
ceremonies performed in honor of the god of fornication were of
the grossest nature, and at which the Bacchanalian orgies were
only equalled by those practiced in the religious temples of
It is impossible longer to conceal the fact that passion,
symbolized by a serpent, an upright stone, and by the male and
female organs of generation, the male appearing as the "giver of
life," the female as a necessary appendage to it, constituted the
god-idea of mankind for at least four thousand years; and,
instead of being confined to the earlier ages of that period, we
shall presently see that phallic worship had not disappeared,
under Christianity, as late and even later than the sixteenth
Such has been the result of the ascendancy gained by the grosser
elements in human nature: the highest idea of the Infinite
passion symbolized by the organs of generation, while the
principal rites connected with its worship are scenes of
debauchery and self-abasement.
At the present time it is by no means difficult to trace the
growth of the god-idea. First, as we have seen, a system of pure
Nature-worship appeared under the symbol of a Mother and child.
In process of time this particular form of worship was supplanted
by a religion under which the male principle is seen to be in the
ascendancy over the female. Later a more complicated system of
Nature-worship is observed in which the underlying principles are
concealed, or are understood only by the initiated. Lastly,
these philosophical and recondite principles are forgotten and
the symbols themselves receive the adoration which once belonged
to the Creator. The change which the ideas concerning womanhood
underwent from the time when the natural feminine characters and
qualities were worshipped as God, to the days of Solon the
Grecian law-giver, when women had become merely tools or slaves
for the use and pleasure of men, is forcibly shown by a
comparison of the character ascribed to the female deities at the
two epochs mentioned. Athene who in an earlier age had
represented Wisdom had in the age of Solon degenerated into a
patroness of heroes; but even as a Goddess of war her patronage
was as nought compared with that of the courtesan Venus, at whose
shrine "every man in Greece worshipped."
The extent to which women, in the name of religion, have been
degraded, and the part which in the past they have been compelled
to assume in the worship of passion may not at the present time
be disguised, as facts concerning this subject are well
authenticated. In a former work,[105] attention has been
directed to the religious rites of Babylon, the city in which it
will be remembered the Tower of Belus was situated. Here women
of all conditions and ranks were obliged, once in their life, to
prostitute themselves in the temple for hire to any stranger who
might demand such service, which revenue was appropriated by the
priests to be applied to sacred uses. This act it will be
remembered was a religious obligation imposed by religious
teachers and enforced by priestly rule. It was a sacrifice to
the god of passion. A similar custom prevailed in Cyprus.
[105] See Evolution of Woman, p. 228.
Most of the temples of the later Hindoos had bands of consecrated
women called the "Women of the Idol." These victims of the
priests were selected in their infancy by Brahmins for the beauty
of their persons, and were trained to every elegant
accomplishment that could render them attractive and which would
insure success in the profession which they exercised at once for
the pleasure and profit of the priesthood. They were never
allowed to desert the temple; and the offspring of their
promiscuous embraces were, if males, consecrated to the service
of the Deity in the ceremonies of this worship, and, if females,
educated in the profession of their mothers.[106]
[106] Maurice, Indian Antiquities, vol. i.
That prostitution was a religious observance, which was practiced
in Eastern temples, cannot in the face of accessible facts be
doubted. Regarding this subject, Inman says:
"To us it is inconceivable, that the indulgence of passion could
be associated with religion, but so it was. The words expressive
of 'sanctuary,' 'consecrated,' and 'sodomites' are in the Hebrew
essentially the same. It is amongst the Hindoos of to-day as it
was in the Greece and Italy of classic times; and we find that
'holy woman' is a title given to those who devote their bodies to
be used for hire, which goes to the service of the temple."
The extent to which ages of corruption have vitiated the purer
instincts of human nature, and the degree to which centuries of
sensuality and superstition have degraded the nature of man, may
be noticed at the present time in the admissions which are
frequently made by male writers regarding the change which during
the history of the race has taken place in the god-idea. None of
the attributes of women, not even that holy instinct--maternal
love, can by many of them be contemplated apart from the ideas of
grossness which have attended the sex-functions during the ages
since women first became enslaved. As an illustration of this we
have the following from an eminent philologist of recent times, a
writer whose able efforts in unravelling religious myths bear
testimony to his mental strength and literary ability.
"The Chaldees believed in a celestial virgin who had purity of
body, loveliness of person, and tenderness of affection, and she
was one to whom the erring sinner could appeal with more chance
of success than to a stern father. She was portrayed as a mother
with a child in her arms, and every attribute ascribed to her
showing that she was supposed to be as fond as any earthly female
ever was."[107]
[107] Inman, Ancient Faiths, vol. i., p. 59.
After thus describing the early Chaldean Deity, who, although a
pure and spotless virgin, was nevertheless worshipped as a
mother, or as the embodiment of the altruistic principles
developed in mankind, this writer goes on to say: "The worship of
the woman by man naturally led to developments which our
COMPARATIVELY SENSITIVE NATURES [the italics are mine] shun as
being opposed to all religious feeling," which sentiment clearly
reveals the inability of this writer to estimate womanhood, or
even motherhood, apart from the sensualized ideas which during
the ages in which passion has been the recognized god have
gathered about it.
The purity of life and the high stage of civilization reached by
an ancient people, and the fact that these conditions were
reached under pure Nature-worship, or when the natural attributes
of the female were regarded as the highest expression of the
divine in the human, prove that it was neither the appreciation
nor the deification of womanhood which "led to developments which
sensitive natures shun as being opposed to all religious
feeling," but, on the contrary, that it was the lack of such
appreciation which stimulated the lower nature of man and
encouraged every form of sensuality and superstition. In other
words, it was the subjection of the natural female instincts and
the deification of brute passion during the later ages of human
history which have degraded religion and corrupted human nature.
Although at the present time it is quite impossible for scholars
to veil the fact that the god-idea was originally worshipped as
female, still, most modern writers who deal with this subject
seem unable to understand the state of human society which must
have existed when the instincts, qualities, and characters
peculiar to the female constitution were worshipped as divine.
So corrupt has human nature become through over-stimulation and
indulgence of the lower propensities, that it seems impossible
for those who have thus far dealt with this subject to perceive
in the earlier conceptions of a Deity any higher idea than that
conveyed to their minds at the present time by the sexual
attributes and physical functions of females--namely, their
capacity to bring forth, coupled with the power to gratify the
animal instincts of males, functions which women share with the
lower orders of life.
The fact that by an ancient race woman was regarded as the head
or crown of creation, that she was the first emanation from the
Deity, or, more properly speaking, that she represented
Perceptive Wisdom, seems at the present time not to be
comprehended, or at least not acknowledged. The more recently
developed idea, that she was designed as an appendage to man, and
created specially for his use and pleasure,--a conception which
is the direct result of the supremacy of the lower instincts over
the higher faculties,--has for ages been taught as a religious
doctrine which to doubt involves the rankest heresy.
The androgynous Venus of the earlier ages, a deity which although
female was figured with a beard to denote that within her were
embraced the masculine powers, embodied a conception of universal
womanhood and the Deity widely different from that entertained in
the later ages of Greece, at a time when Venus the courtesan
represented all the powers and capacities of woman considered
worthy of deification.
To such an extent, in later ages, have all our ideas of the
Infinite become masculinized that in extant history little except
occasional hints is to be found of the fact that during
numberless ages of human existence the Supreme Creator was
worshipped as female.
One has only to study the Greek character to anticipate the
manner in which any subject pertaining to women would be treated
by that arrogant and conceited race; and, as until recently most
of our information concerning the past has come through Greek
sources, the distorted and one-sided view taken of human events,
and the contempt with which the feminine half of society has been
regarded, are in no wise surprising. We must bear in mind the
fact, however, that the Greeks were but the degenerate
descendants of the highly civilized peoples whom they were
pleased to term "barbarians," and that they knew less of the
origin and character of the gods which they worshipped, and which
they had borrowed from other countries, than is known of them at
the present time.
About 600 years B.C., we may believe that mankind had sunk to the
lowest depth of human degradation, since which time humanity has
been slowly retracting its course; not, however, with any degree
of continuity or regularity, nor without lapses, during which for
hundreds of years the current seemed to roll backward. Indeed
when we review the history of the intervening ages, and note the
extent to which passion, prejudice, and superstition have been in
the ascendancy over reason and judgment, we may truly say: "The
fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children's teeth have been
set on edge."
It has been said of the Persians that in their zeal to purify the
sensualized faiths which everywhere prevailed they manifested a
decided "repugnance to the worship of images, beasts, or symbols,
while they sought to establish the worship of the only true
creative force, or God--Holy Fire."
From the facts to be gleaned concerning this people during the
seventh and eighth centuries B.C., it is quite probable that they
still had a faint knowledge of a former age of intellectual and
moral greatness, and that it was their object, at that time, to
return to the purer principles which characterized it. That
their efforts were subsequently copied by surrounding nations is
shown in the facts connected with their history.
Soon leading Syrians and Jews began to learn from their Eastern
neighbor that the worship of images could scarcely be acceptable
to a god which they were beginning to invest with a certain
degree of spirituality. There is little doubt, at the present
time, that the attempt to spiritualize the religion of the Jews
was due to the influence of the Persians. However, the length of
time required to effect any appreciable improvement in an
established form of worship is shown by the fact that, two
hundred years later, little change for the better was observed in
the temples, in which licentiousness had become a recognized
religious rite. Even at the present time, it is reported that in
many places of worship in the East there still reside "holy women
--god's women," who, like those in Babylon, described by various
writers, are devoted to the "god of fire."
In a comparison made between the religion of Persia and the
doctrines said to have been taught by Moses, Inman remarks:
"The religion of Persia as reformed by Zoroaster so closely
resembles the Mosaic, that it would be almost impossible to
decide which has the precedence of the other, unless we knew how
ancient was the teaching of Zoroaster, and how very recent was
that said to be from Moses. Be this as it may, we find the
ancient Persians resemble the Jews in sacrificing upon high
places, in paying divine honor to fire, in keeping up a sacred
flame, in certain ceremonial cleansings, in possessing an
hereditary priesthood who alone were allowed to offer sacrifices,
and in making their summum bonum the possession of a numerous
[108] Ancient Faiths, vol. ii., p. 64.
It is quite plain that by both these nations the wisdom of an
earlier race was nearly forgotten. Seven hundred years B.C. the
Persians had doubtless already adopted the worship of "One God"
who was the Regenerator or Destroyer, a Deity which, as we have
seen, originally comprehended the powers of Nature--namely the
sun's heat and the cold of winter. That at this time, however,
they had lost the higher truths involved in the conception of
this Deity, is evident. They had become worshippers of fire, or
of that subtle igneous fluid residing in fire which they believed
to be creative force. Although the Persiaus like all the other
nations of the globe had lost or forgotten the higher truths
enunciated by an older race, there is no evidence going to show
that they ever became gross phallic worshippers like the Jews;
that they were not such is shown in the fact that down to the
time of Alexander the women of Persia still held a high and
honorable position, and that the female attributes had not become
wholly subject to male power.
Had we no other evidence of the comparatively exalted character
of the religion of the Persians than the history of the lives of
such men as Darius, Cyrus, Artaxerxes, and others, we should
conclude, notwithstanding the similarity in the ceremonials of
these two religions, that some influence had been at work to
preserve them from the cruelty and licentiousness which prevailed
among the Jews. It is related of Cyrus that he used to wish that
he might live long enough to repay all the kindness which he had
received. It is also stated that on account of the justice and
equity shown in his character, a great number of persons were
desirous of committing to his care and wisdom "the disposal of
their property, their cities, and their own persons."
In striking contrast to the mild and humane character of Cyrus
stands that of the licentious and revengeful David, a "man after
God's own heart."
"As for the heads of those that compass me about, let the
mischief of their own lips cover them."
"Let burning coals fall upon them: let them be cast into the
fire; into deep pits, that they rise not up again."[109]
"Happy shall he be that taketh and dasheth thy little ones
against the stones."[110]
[109] Psalms cxl.
[110] Ibid., cxxxvii.
No one I think can read the Avestas without being impressed by
the prominence there given to the subjects of temperance and
virtue. In their efforts to purify religion, and in the attempts
to return to their more ancient faith, the disciples of
Zoroaster, as early as eight hundred years before Christ, had
adopted a highly spiritualized conception of the Deity. They had
taught in various portions of Asia Minor the doctrine of one God,
a dual entity by means of which all things were created. They
taught also the doctrine of a resurrection and that of the
immortality of the soul. It was at this time that they
originated, or at least propounded, the doctrine of hell and the
devil, a belief exactly suited to the then weakened mental
condition of mankind, and from which humanity has not yet gained
sufficient intellectual and moral strength to free itself. This
Persian devil, which had become identified with winter or with
the absence of the sun's rays, was now Aryhman, or the "powers of
darkness," and was doubtless the source whence sprang the
personal devil elaborated at a later age by Laotse in China.
As the Jews had no writings prior to the time of Ezra or
Jeremiah, it is now believed that many of the doctrines
incorporated in their sacred books were borrowed from Persian,
Indian, and Egyptian sources. Resurrection from the dead, or the
resurrection of the body, was for hundreds of years prior to the
birth of Christ an established article of Egyptian and Persian
faith, while spiritual regeneration, symbolized by the outward
typification of "being born again," was the beginning of a new
life and an admission to the heavenly state.
In the Khordah Avesta we have the following concerning the
doctrine of the resurrection and that of future rewards and
"I am wholly without doubt in the existence of the good
Mazdaycinian faith, in the coming of the resurrection and the
later body, in the stepping over the bridge Chinvat, in an
invariable recompense of good deeds and their reward, and of bad
deeds and their punishment."
The Zoroastrians, who led the way in the great intellectual and
religious awakening which took place during the intervening years
from 700 B.C. to 400 B.C., sought to purify all things by fire
and water, the two principles which had come to be regarded as
the original elements, from which, or by which, all things are
Prior to this time, in Persia, and long afterwards by various
other nations, baptism, a rite performed at puberty, was
connected only with the sexual obligations of the person
receiving it, but in the age which we are considering it became
especially a cleansing or regenerating process, and was the means
by which the pious devotee became initiated into the mysteries of
holy living, or by which she or he was "born again."
As in their religious procedure every act was performed in
connection with symbols, so in the matter of baptism they were
not satisfied with the inner consciousness of regeneration, but
must go through with certain processes which typified the new
life upon which they had entered. According to Wilford, the
outward symbolization of the "new birth" in the East is
manifested in the following manner:
"For the purpose of regeneration it is directed to make an image
of pure gold of the female power of nature, either in the shape
of a woman or of a cow. In this statue, the person to be
regenerated is inclosed, and dragged out through the natural
channel. As a statue of pure gold and of proper dimensions would
be too expensive, it is sufficient to make an image of the sacred
Yoni, through which the person to be regenerated is to pass."
Thus at the time Nicodemus is said to have queried concerning the
mysteries of the new birth, it is observed that the outward forms
of regeneration had long been in use among the pagans. In
passing themselves through these apertures, the applicant for
regeneration was supposed to represent the condition of one
"issuing from the womb to a new scope of life."
According to the testimony of various writers upon this subject,
there are still extant, not alone in oriental countries, but in
Ireland and Scotland as well, numerous excavations or apertures
in the rocks which by an early race were used for the same
purpose. Through the misconception, bigotry, and ignorance of
the Roman Catholic missionaries in Ireland, these openings were
designated as the "Devil's Yonies." Although these emblems
typified the original conception of one of their most sacred
beliefs, namely, the "new birth," still they were "heathen
abominations" with which the devotees of the new (?) faith must
not become defiled.
The people who executed these imperishable designs, and who have
left in the British Isles innumerable evidences of their
religious beliefs, are supposed by some writers to belong to a
colony which, having been expelled from Persia on account of
their peculiar religious beliefs, settled in the "White Island,"
the "Island of the Blessed." This subject will, however, be
referred to later in this work.
When we closely examine the facts connected with the evolution of
religion, there can be little doubt that the Persians laid the
foundation for that great moral and intellectual awakening which
a century or two later is represented by Confucious, Gotama
Buddha, and Pythagoras. From the Persians, doubtless Jew and
Gentile alike received the little leaven of spirituality which in
later ages crept into their gross conception of a Deity.
By the Persians, the Hindoos, and other nations of the East, it
was believed that the end of each cycle of six hundred years, at
which time a new sun or savior was to come, would mark a new era
of religious development. At the close of each of these cycles
it was devoutly expected that the "golden age" of the past would
be restored, and that mankind would again be freed from the ills
which had overtaken them. As many of these cycles had passed,
numerous deliverers, saviors, or solar incarnations had appeared
in India, Gotama Buddha having been the ninth. In the East,
about six or seven hundred years before the birth of Christ, not
only one savior or prophet but three or four of them appeared.
Concerning the leader of the reform in Persia there seem to be
many conflicting accounts. The learned Faber concludes that
there were two Zarathustras or Zoroasters, the former being
identical with Menu, the law giver and triplicated deity of
India, and who by various writers is recognized as the Noah of
the Hebrews. According to Pliny, the former lived thousands of
years before Christ. Several writers concur in placing him five
thousand years before the siege of Troy. According to Sir Wm.
Jones, the latter Zoroaster lived in the time of Darius
Hystaspes. It is now claimed that in the Dabistan, one of the
sacred books of Persia, thirteen Zoroasters appear. The name of
the last great leader, together with a few of his doctrines, and
various scattered fragments in the Gathas, are all that remain on
record of a man whose personality stands connected with the
earliest attempt to reform a degraded and sensualized religion.
That this prophet was without honor in his own country is shown
by the following lamentation:
"To what country shall I go? Where shall I take refuge? What
country gives shelter to the master, Zarathustra, and his
companion? None of the servants pay reverence to me, nor do the
wicked rulers of the country. How shall I worship thee further,
living Wise One? What help did Zarathustra receive when he
proclaimed the truths? What did he obtain through the good mind?
. . . Why has the truthful one so few adherents, while all the
mighty, who are unbelievers, follow the liar in great
[111] Quoted by Viscount Amberley from Haug's Translations.
Although the prophet Zarathustra and his companion were first
rejected, the fact seems plain that the monotheistic doctrines
which they set forth were subsequently accepted as the groundwork
of the religion of Persia.
In the opening verses of the 5th Gatha appears the following:
"It is reported that Zarathustra Spitama possessed the best good,
for Ahura Mazda granted him all that may be obtained by means of
a sincere worship, forever, all that promotes the good life, and
he gives the same to all who keep the words and perform the
actions enjoined by the good religion. . . .
"Pourutschista, the Hetchataspadin, the most holy one, the most
distinguished of the daughters of Zarathustra, formed this
doctrine, as a reflection of the good mind, the true and wise
The fact will doubtless be observed that Pourutschista was not
merely a disciple of Zarathustra, but that she FORMED the
doctrine which was accepted as a "reflection of the good mind."
In the 5th Gatha it is stated that among those who "know the
right paths, the law which Ahura gave to the Profitable," is
Pourutschista the "Holy worthy of adoration among the daughters
of Zarathustra. . . . wise female worker of Wisdom."[112]
[112] Spiegel's Translation.
Ormuzd, or Ahura Mazda, which was the essence of heat or light,
was the principle adored by the followers of the reformed
religion in Persia. Throughout the Avesta the most desirable
possession, and that which is most praised, is purity of life.
"We praise the pure man.
"The best purity praise we.
"The best wish praise we of the best purity. The best place
of purity praise we, the shining, endued with all
"This Earth, together with the women, we praise
Which bears us, which are the women, Ahura Mazda
Whose wishes arise from purity, these we praise--
Fullness, readiness, questioning, wisdom."[114]
[113] Vespered xxvi. Spiegel's Translation.
[114] Yacna xxxviii.
Praise is offered to the "everlasting female companion, the
The following is a part of the marriage ceremony of the Persians
as it is found in the Khorda-Avesta:
"Do you both accept the contract for life with honorable mind? In
the name and friendship of Ormuzd be ever shining, be very
enlarged. Be increasing. Be victorious. Learn purity. Be
worthy of good praise. May the mind think good thoughts, the
words speak good, the works do good. May all wicked thoughts
hasten away, all wicked words be diminished, all wicked works be
burnt up. . . . Win for thyself property by right-dealing.
Speak truth with the rulers and be obedient. Be modest with
friends, clever, and well wishing. Be not cruel, be not
covetous. . . . Combat adversaries with right. Before an
assembly speak only pure words. In no wise displease thy mother.
Keep thine own body pure in justice."
Confucius, the great Chinese teacher and philosopher, who lived
probably in the sixth century B.C., may be said to have been a
humanitarian or moralist instead of a mystic. Although he
believed in a great first principle, or cause, which he termed
Heaven, we are given to understand that in his philosophizing
little mention was made of it.
The system known as Confucianism was not originated by Confucius.
In referring to this subject Legge remarks:
"He said of himself (Analects, vii., I), that he was a
transmitter and not a maker, one who believed in and loved the
ancients; and hence it is said in the thirtieth chapter of the
doctrine of the Mean, ascribed to his grandson, that he handed
down the doctrines of Yao and Shun, as if they had been his
ancestors, and elegantly displayed the regulations of Wan and Wu,
taking them as his models."[115]
[115] Legge, Preface to vol. iii. of Shu King.
The ancient books which Confucius interpreted or rewrote laid no
claim to being sacred in the sense of being inspired; but, on the
contrary, were works of wisdom put forth by historians, poets,
and others "as they were moved in their own minds." The most
ancient of these doctrines was the Shu, a work which since the
period of the Han dynasty, 202 years B.C., has been called the
Shu King.
A number of documents contained in this work date back to the
twenty-fourth century B.C., and as they are regarded as
historical are considered to be of greater importance than are
any others of their ancient writings.
Second in antiquity and importance is the Shih or the Book of
Poetry. This work contains the religious views of its writers,
also an account of the manners, customs, and events of the times
to which they belong. For 5000 years, in China, Tien or Ti has
expressed the moving or creating force in the universe. In later
ages it is observed that this name has been attached to royalty.
Hwang Ti is the present title of the Emperor of China.
From some of the texts found in the Shu King, it would seem that
the Chinese had in the remote past caught sight of the scientific
fact that virtue is its own reward. "Heaven graciously
distinguishes the virtuous. . . . Heaven punishes the
[116] Max Muller, Sacred Books of the East, book iv.
The principal object of Confucius seems to have been to inculcate
those doctrines of his ancestors which, taking root, would in
time bring about a return to those principles of former virtue, a
faint knowledge of which seems still to have survived in China.
The following precepts are found among his teachings:
"Knowledge, magnanimity, and energy are the virtues universally
binding. Gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness,
and kindness constitute perfect virtue. Sincerity is the very
way to Heaven. My doctrine is that of an all-pervading unity.
The superior man is catholic and not partisan. The mean is
partisan and not catholic. The superior man is affable but not
adulatory, the mean is adulatory but not affable."
When asked for a word which should serve as a rule of practice
for all our life he replied: "Is not Reciprocity such a word?
What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others." On
one occasion the question was asked him: "What do you say
concerning the principle that injury shall be recompensed with
kindness?" To which he replied: "Recompense injury with justice,
and recompense kindness with kindness."[117]
[117] Lun Yu, xiv., 26.
It is recorded by his disciples that there are four things from
which the master was entirely free. "He had no foregone
conclusions, no arbitrary predeterminations, no obstinacy, and no
egoism." Contrary to the rule of most reformers or leaders of
opinion, he always regarded himself as a learner as well as
teacher. It is related of Confucius that he at one time desired
a governmental position, thinking that through its occupancy he
might the better disseminate the ancient doctrines of rectitude
and virtue. Offers of individual advantage could not swerve him
from his well-grounded principles of honor. On one occasion one
of the rulers of the country proposed to confer upon him a city
and its revenues, but Confucius replied: "A superior man will
only receive reward for services which he has rendered. I have
given advice to the duke-king, but he has not obeyed it, and now
he would endow me with this place! very far is he from
understanding me."[118]
[118] Quoted by Amberley, Analysis of Religious Belief, vol. i.,
p. 197.
The fact seems evident that Confucius had not sufficient strength
of character to attempt a change in the social conditions of his
time. He had not that grandeur of soul which enabled him to
strike the key-note of reform. Monarchical institutions and
social distinctions he did not rebuke. The brotherhood of man
and the levelling processes in human society were probably never
thought of by him; certainly they were never attempted.
By certain writers Confucius has been accused of insincerity in a
few minor matters; still, the wisdom contained in his religious
doctrines, the philosophical value of his teachings relative to
the regulation of human conduct, and, above all, his purity of
purpose, justly entitles his name to be enrolled among the great
reformers of the world.
The lasting influence which this man exerted upon the minds of
his countrymen, and the appreciation in which his name and works
are still held, are shown by the fact that his descendants
constitute the only order of hereditary nobility in China.
"He lived five hundred years before Christ; and yet to this day,
through all the changes and chances of time and of dynasties, the
descendants of Confucius remain the only hereditary noblemen and
national pensioners in the empire. Even the imperial blood
becomes diluted, degraded, and absorbed into the body politic
after the seventh generation; but the descendants of Confucius
remain separate, through all the mutations of time and of
[119] Thomas Magee, in the Forum, vol. x., p. 204.
Laotse, the founder of the smallest of the three sects in China,
namely, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, was an old man when
Confucius was in his prime. The word Taou signifies reason, but
the doctrines believed by the Taoists prove their system to be
the most irrational of all the religions of the East. In an
article on The Taouist Religion, Warren Benton says:
"The tendency in rationalism is toward the utter destruction of a
belief in the existence of unseen spirits of evil. Enlightened
reason dethrones devils; but Laotse created devils innumerable,
and the chief concern of the Taouist sect has always been to
manipulate these emissaries of evil. Modern rationalists deny
the existence of devils, and relegate them to the category of
myths and to personified ideas. Not so the rationalist of the
Orient. He finds his greatest pleasure in contemplating the very
atmosphere he breathes as filled with spirits constantly seeking
his injury; and to outwit his satanic majesty is the chief end of
[120] Pop. Science, Jan. 1890.
At a time when a personal devil was gradually assuming shape, it
would have been singular, indeed, if there had not arisen one
who, by his peculiar temperament and natural disposition, was
exactly suited to the task of elaborating this doctrine in all
its grim seriousness. That such an one did arise in the person
of Laotse is evident from what is known regarding his history and
The growth of religious faith had long tended in this direction.
Typhon, "the wind that blasts," "Darkness," and the "cold of
winter," constituted the foundation of a belief in a personal
Devil; and, when the time was ripe for the appearance of his
satanic majesty, it required only a hypochondriac-- a disordered
mental organization--to formulate and project this gloomy and
unwholesome doctrine.
There is little known of the life and character of Laotse except
that he labored assiduously through a long life-time for the
establishment of certain principles or tenets which he believed
to be essential to the well-being of humanity. In the twentieth
chapter of his work are found to be some hints of his personality
and of the gloomy cast of his character. He complains that while
other men are joyous and gay, he alone is despondent. He is
"calm like a child that does not yet smile." He is "like a
stupid fellow, so confused does he feel. Ordinary men are
enlightened; he is obscure and troubled in mind. Like the sea,
he is forgotten and driven about like one who has no certain
resting place. All other men are of use; he alone is clownish
like a peasant. He alone is unlike other men, but he honors the
nursing mother."
Of all the various teachers which arose during the fifth, sixth,
and seventh centuries B.C., none of them were able to rise to the
position of moral grandeur occupied by Gotama Buddha. The
efforts put forth by this great teacher seem to have been humane
rather than religious. In his time, especially in India, society
had become encysted beneath a crust of seemingly impenetrable
conservatism, while religion, or priestcraft, riveted the chains
by which the masses of the people were enslaved.
The mission of Buddha was to burst asunder the bonds of the
oppressed and to abolish all distinctions of caste. This was to
be accomplished through the awakening of the divine life in each
individual. The leading processes by which the lines of caste
were weakened were in direct opposition to the established order
of society. It was a blow at the old Brahminical social and
religious code which had grown up under the reign of
Notwithstanding the sex prejudice which had come to prevail in
India, it was directly stated by Buddha that any man or woman who
became his disciple, who renounced the world and by abstinence
from the lower indulgences of sense proclaimed her or his
adherence to the higher principles of life, "at once lost either
the privilege of a high caste or the degradation of a low one."
Earthly distinctions were of no consequence. Rank depended not
on the outward circumstance of birth, but on the ability of the
individual to resist evil, or, upon his capacity to receive the
higher truths enunciated by the new sun or savior--Buddha.
In one of the canonical books he is represented as saying:
"Since the doctrine which I teach is completely pure, it makes no
distinction between noble and common, between rich and poor. It
is, for example, like water, which washes both noblemen and
common people, both rich and poor, both good and bad, and
purifies all without distinction. It may, to take another
illustration, be compared to fire, which consumes mountains,
rocks, and all great and small objects between heaven and earth.
Again, my doctrine is like heaven, inasmuch as there is room
within it without exception, for whomsoever it may be; for men
and women, for boys and girls, for rich and poor."[121]
[121] Viscount Amberley, Analysis of Religious Belief, vol. i.,
p. 216.
There is little doubt that the religion of Buddha was an attempt
to return to the almost forgotten principles of a past age of
spiritual and moral greatness. According to this ancient wisdom,
man is an immortal soul struggling for perfection. The growth of
the real man is a natural unfolding of the divine principle
within, such process of evolution being accomplished through the
power of the will. As every individual must work out his own
salvation, this will-force must ever be directed toward the
complete mastery of the body, or the lower self. In other words,
the development of the higher life depends upon the power of the
individual to overcome or conquer evil. The effect of every
thought, word, and deed is woven into the soul, and no one can
evade the consequences of his own acts. All sin is the result of
selfishness, so that only when one renounces self and begins to
live for others does the soul-life begin. No one who has arrived
at a state of soul-consciousness will lead a selfish or impure
life. On the contrary, every impulse of the devout Buddhist goes
out toward humanity and God, of whom he is a conscious part.
Gotama Buddha was not a "savior" in the sense of bloody sacrifice
for the sins of the people. On the contrary, he was an example
to mankind--a man who through moral purification and a life of
self- abnegation had prepared himself for this holy office.
Mythologically, or astrologically, he was the new sun born at the
close of the cycle. He was the great Light which revealed the
way to eternal repose-- Nirvana. The mythical Buddha was the
prototype of the mythical Christ. His mother was Mai or Mary,
Queen of Heaven, or the Vernal Spring. He was a new incarnation
of the Sun--the Savior of the world. In process of time his many
miracles were offered as proof of his divine character. Although
he taught the existence of a great and universal Power, he made
no attempt to explain the unknowable. The Infinite is to be
contemplated only through its manifestations. Nirvana is not
annihilation, as has been erroneously taught by Christian
missionaries. As explained by Buddhists themselves, it
comprehends a state of absolute rest from human strife and
wretchedness. It is the absorption or relapsing into the great
First Principle, whence all life is derived--a state so pure that
the human is lost in the divine.
"Lamp of the law!
I take my refuge in thy name and Thee!
I take my refuge in thy Law of Good!
I take my refuge in thy Order! Om!
The dew is on the Lotus!--rise, Great Sun!
And lift my leaf and mix me with the wave.
Om Mani Padme Hum, the Sunrise comes!
The Dewdrop slips into the shining Sea!"[122]
[122] Arnold, Light of Asia.
From the Buddhist colleges at Nolanda went forth teachers who,
inspired with enthusiasm in the cause of human justice and
individual liberty, endeavored to abolish the abominations which
had grown up under Brahminical rule. The masses of the people,
however, were too deeply sunken in infamy, wretchedness, and
ignorance to accept, or even understand, the pure doctrines of
the great teacher, and, as might have been anticipated, priestcraft
soon assumed its wonted arrogance, and eventually the whole
paraphernalia of antiquated dogmas were tacked upon the new
Through the various efforts put forth for the elevation of
mankind during the six or seven hundred years which preceded the
advent of Christianity, sufficient strength had been given to the
moral impetus of humanity to create in many portions of the world
a strong desire for a return to purer principles, and to make the
appearance of a spiritual teacher like Christ possible. The
effects, however, of ages of moral and intellectual degradation,
in which the lowest faculties have been stimulated to the highest
degree, are not wiped out in a few centuries of struggle by the
few among the people who desire reform. As true reform means
growth, those who have reached a higher stage of development can
only point the way to others--they are powerless to effect
changes for which the masses are unprepared.
Although through a partial revival of the ideas entertained by an
ancient people the attempt was made by Zoroaster, Confucius,
Gotama Buddha, Pythagoras, the Stoics, and other schools of
philosophy, to elevate the masses of the people, and, although
the unadulterated teachings of the man called Christ were
doubtless an outgrowth of this movement, yet the human mind had
not, even as late as the appearance of this last-named reformer,
sufficiently recovered from its thraldom to enable the masses to
grasp those higher truths which had been entertained by an
earlier civilized people.
While there are doubtless many points of similarity between the
religious system elaborated by Gotama Buddha and that enunciated
by Christ, there is little likeness between the teachings of the
former and those set forth by the Romish Church, or by Paul.
Seven hundred years B.C., the Persians had grasped the idea that
virtue is its own reward, and that every soul is responsible for
its own growth. The fundamental doctrine of the Christian Church
to-day is that of a vicarious atonement--a belief which takes
away man's responsibility for his own misdeeds.
By comparing the sacred writings of the Persians with the history
of the events connected with the conception and birth of the
mythical Christ as recorded in the New Testament, the fact is
observed that the latter appears to be closely connected with the
central figure of Persian mythology. It has been found that the
visit of the Magi, who, following a star, were guided to the spot
where the young child lay, was the fulfilment of a Persian
prophecy, which is to be found in the life of Zarathustra as
recorded in the Zendavesta, while the subsequent history of the
same personage is seen to be almost identical with that of the
Hindoo Sun-god Chrishna.
According to the sacred books of the Persians, three sons of the
great Zarathustra were to appear at three successive periods of
time. These sons were to be incarnations of the sun, and the
result of immaculate conceptions.
"The first is named Oschederbami. He will appear in the last
millennium of the world. He will stop the sun for ten days and
ten nights, and the second part of the human race will embrace
the law, of which he will bring the 22d portion.
"The second posthumous son of Zoroaster is Oschedermah. He will
appear four hundred years after Oschederbami. He will stop the
sun twenty days and twenty nights, and he will bring the 23d part
of the law, and the third part of the world will be converted.
"The third is named Sosiosch. He will be born at the end of the
ages. He will bring the 24th part of the law; he will stay the
sun thirty days and thirty nights, and the whole earth will
embrace the law of Zoroaster. After him will be the
resurrection."[123] This last named son was to be born of a pure
and spotless virgin, whereupon a star would appear blazing even
at noonday with undiminished lustre.
[123] Quoted by Waite, History of the Christian Religion, p. 168.
"You, my sons," exclaimed the seer, "will perceive its rising
before any other nation. As soon, therefore, as you shall behold
the star, follow it, withersoever it shall lead you; and adore
that mysterious child, offering your gifts to him, with profound
humility. He is the Almighty Word, which created the
[124] Ibid., 169.
Waite notices the conclusion of Faber that this prediction was
long before the birth of Christ, and states that one of the
reasons for such a conclusion was, that in the old Irish history
a similar prophecy appears--a prophecy which was delivered by a
"Druid of Bokhara." The identity of this Irish prophecy with the
one in the East ascribed to Zarathustra or Zoroaster, is so
singular that Faber thinks it can be accounted for only on the
hypothesis "of an ancient emigration from Persia to Ireland by
the northwest passage, which carried the legend with it."
By those who have investigated the origin of the early gospels,
it is stated that the story of the Magi and the star appeared in
the Gospel of the Infancy early in the second century, and was
subsequently incorporated into the preparatory chapters of Luke
and Matthew. According to Waite, there was a sect of Christians
called Prodiceans whose leader, Prodicus, about A.D. 120, boasted
that they had the sacred books of Zoroaster. From an extant
fragment of the Chronography of Africanus is the following:
"Christ first of all became known from Persia. For nothing
escapes the learned jurists of that country, who investigated all
things with the utmost care. The facts, therefore, which are
inscribed upon the golden plates, and laid up in the royal
temples, I shall record; for it is from the temples there, and
the priests connected with them, that the name of Christ has been
heard of. Now, there is a temple there to Juno, surpassing the
royal palace, which temple Cyrus, that prince instructed in all
piety, built, and in which he dedicated, in honor of the gods,
golden and silver statues, and adorned them with precious stones.
. . . Now about that time [as the records on the plates
testify], the king having entered the temple, with the view of
getting an interpretation of certain dreams, was addressed by the
priest Prupupius thus: 'I congratulate thee, master: Juno has
conceived.' 'And the king, smiling, said to him: 'Has she who is
dead conceived?' And he said: 'Yes, she who was dead has come to
life again, and begets life.' And the king said: 'What is this?
explain it to me.' And he replied: 'In truth, master, the time
for these things is at hand. For during the whole night the
images, both of gods and goddesses, continued beating the ground,
saying to each other, Come, let us congratulate Juno. And they
say to me, Prophet, come forward, congratulate Juno, for she has
been embraced. And I said, How can she be embraced who no longer
exists? To which they reply, She has come to life again, and is
no longer called Juno, but Urama. For the mighty Sol has
embraced her.' "[125]
[125] Hyppolytus, vol. ii., p. 196.
There is a tradition which asserts that during the early part of
the second century, St. Thomas went as a missionary to Parthia;
that after he had visited the various countries of the Parthian
Empire, tarrying for a time at Balkh, the capital of Bactria, and
the ancient residence of the Magi, he went to India. Soon after
the visit of Thomas to Persia and India, there appeared in
Palestine and the adjacent countries a gospel of Thomas, in which
were set forth various stories closely resembling the legends
found in the Hindoo sacred writings. After comparing various
passages of the Bhagavat Purana with those of the Infancy, and
after furnishing conclusive evidence that the latter must have
been copied from the former, Waite says:
"The conclusion must be, that while for some of the salient
points of the Gospels of the Infancy, the authors were indebted
to Zoroaster, and the legends of Persia, the outline of the story
was largely filled up from the history of Crishna, as sent back
to Palestine, by the Apostle Thomas, from the land of the
Concerning the story of Herod and his order to slay all the male
infants, there has been discovered in a cavern at Elephanta, in
India, a sculptured representation of a huge and ferocious
figure, bearing a drawn sword and surrounded by slaughtered
children, while mothers appear weeping for their slain. This
figure is said to be of great antiquity.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus, like Mai, the Mother of Gatama Buddha,
was regarded by certain sects in the earlier ages of Christianity
as an Immortal Virgin whose birth had been announced by an
angel.[126] She was in fact the ancient Virgin of the Sphere--the
Mother of the Gods--the Queen of Heaven.
[126] See Gospels of Mary and the Protovangelion.
As soon as Christ was born he conversed with Mary, as did also
Crishna with his mother, informing her of his divine mission.
Crishna was cradled among shepherds, so was Christ. Cansa,
fearing the loss of his kingdom, sought to destroy the life of
the divine infant in the same manner as did Herod in the case of
Christ. Both children are carried away by night, after which an
order is issued by the ruler of the country that all the young
children throughout the kingdom be slaughtered.
When Joseph and Mary arrived in Egypt, they visited the temple of
Serapis, where "all the magistrates and priests of the idols were
assembled." Upon the image being interrogated concerning the
"consternation and dread which had fallen upon all our country,"
it answered them as follows: "The unknown god has come hither,
who is truly God; nor is there anyone besides him, who is worthy
of divine worship; for he is truly the son of God." And at the
same instant this idol fell down, and at his fall all the
inhabitants of Egypt, besides others, ran together.[127] A
similar story is related of Crishna. This Indian god, the same
as Christ, cured a leper. A woman, after having poured a box of
precious ointment on the head of Crishna, was healed; so also a
woman anointed the head of Jesus. Crishna when but a lad
displayed remarkable mental powers and the most profound wisdom
before the tutor who was sent to instruct him. Christ astonished
the school-master Zaccheus with his great learning.[128]
[127] Gospel of the Infancy, ch. iv.
[128] Gospel of the Infancy, ch. xx.
Crishna had a terrible encounter with the serpent Calinaga; the
infant Christ had also a dreadful adventure with a serpent. Now
this Calinaga which Crishna encountered was a serpent goddess who
was worshipped by the sect in India which was opposed to the
adoration of the male principle. The early Christians, however,
being ignorant of the allegorical meaning of the legend,
transferred it to Christ literally.
The mother of Crishna looked in his mouth and beheld all the
nations of the earth. The same story is reported of Christ and
his mother. Finally Christ, like Crishna, was crucified, and
like him was buried. He descended into hell and on the third day
arose and ascended into heaven.[129]
[129] It will doubtless be urged that I am quoting from the
Apocryphal Gospels--that the genuine books of the New Testament
are silent concerning many of these Eastern legends. We must
bear in mind, however, that during the earlier ages of
Christianity, these finally rejected gospels were, equally with
the canonical books, considered as the word of God. The Infancy
is thought to be one of the earliest gospels. Justin Martyr was
acquainted with it, A.D. 150 to 160. It is referred to by
Irenaeus, A.D. 190.
In the poetical myths of the ancients the sun is yearly
overpowered by cold or by the destructive agencies in Nature.
Astronomically, or astrologically, it wanders in darkness and
desolation during the winter months; in fact dies, and descends
into hell in order that he may rise at the Easter season to
gladden and make all things new again. Mythologically, this new
sun becomes incarnate; enters again his mother's womb, and is
born into the world in the form of a man whose mission is to
renew human life. Hence we have an explanation of the Eastern
Buddhas and Crishnas, all of which were born of virgins at the
winter solstice.
The new sun which at the close of each cycle was believed by the
more ancient people of the globe to "issue forth from the womb of
Nature to renew the world," now that the truths underlying
Nature-worship were lost, became a redeemer or mediator between
earth and heaven, or between spirit and matter. It is stated
that at the time of the appearance of Christ not alone the Jews,
but the Persians, the Romans, the ancient Irish, and in fact all
the nations of the globe, were anxiously awaiting the event of
another incarnation of the solar Deity; and that maidens of all
classes and conditions were in a state of eager expectation, the
more pious, or at least the more ambitious among them, being in
almost constant attendance at the temples and sacred shrines,
whither they went to pay homage to the male emblem of generation,
thereby hoping to be honored as a Mai or Mary.
On the wall of the temple at Luxor are a series of sculptures,
"in which the miraculous annunciation, conception, birth, and
adoration of Amunoph III., the son of the Virgin Queen Mautmes,
is represented in a manner similar to what is described in St.
Luke's Gospel (ch. 1 and 2) of Jesus Christ, the son of the
Virgin Mary, and which is found also in the Gospel of St.
Matthew (ch. 1) as an addition not met with in the earliest
manuscripts,"[130] which fact has caused Sharpe, from whom the
above is quoted, to suggest that both accounts may have been of
Egyptian origin.
[130] Barlow, Symbolism, p. 127.
The titles "lamb," "anointed," etc., which were applied to
Christ, all appear attached to former in- carnations of the sun,
the first named standing for the sun in Aries. The effigies of a
crucified savior found in Ireland and Scotland in connection with
the figure of a lamb, a bull, or an elephant, the latter of which
is not a native of those countries, shows that they do not
represent Christ, but a crucified sun-god worshipped by the
inhabitants of the British Islands ages before the birth of the
great Judean philosopher and teacher.
It is plain that Crishna of India and the Persian Mithra
furnished the copy for the Jesus of the Romish Church, all of
whom mean one and the same thing--the second person in the Solar
Trinity. By the Jews, who attempted to ignore the female
principle, this God is called the "Lord of Hosts" and "God of
Sabaoth," which astronomically means God of the stars and
constellations, and astrologically the creator or producer of the
multitudes. Of this God, ieue, I H S, the author of Anacalypsis
says that he was the son of the celestial virgin, which she
carries in her arms; the Horus, Lux, of the Egyptians, the Lux of
St. John.
"It is from this infant that Jesus took his origin; or at least
it is from the ceremonies and worship of this infant that this
religion came to be corrupted into what we have of it. This
infant is the seed of the woman who, according to Genesis, was to
bruise the head of the serpent, which, in return, was to bruise
his foot or heel, or the foot or heel of her seed as the figure
of the Hindoo Crishna proves. From the traditionary stories of
this god Iao, which was figured annually to be born at the winter
solstice, and to be put to death and raised to life on the third
day at the vernal equinox, the Roman searchers after the
evangelion or gospel made out their Jesus. The total destruction
of everything at Jerusalem and in Judea--buildings, records,
everything--prevented them from coming to any absolute certainty
respecting this person who, they were told by tradition, had come
to preach the gospel of peace, to be their savior, in fulfilment
of the prophecy which their sect of Israelites found in their
writings, and who had been put to death by the Jews. From all
these circumstances he came to have applied to him the monogram
of I H S. . . . and to him at last all the legendary stories
related of the god Iao were attributed."[131]
[131] Godfrey Higgins, Anacalypsis, book vi., ch. iv., p. 455.
According to Faber, Jesus was not originally called Jesus Christ,
but Jescua Hammassiah--Jescua meaning Joshua, and Jesus, Savior.
Ham is the Om of India, and Messiah, the anointed. Commenting on
this Higgins remarks: "It will then be, The Savior Om the
Anointed, precisely as Isaiah had literally foretold; or reading
in the Hebrew made, The Anointed Om the Savior. This was the
name of Jesus of Bethlehem."
We have observed the fact that at the time of the birth of Christ
the entire world was expecting a Savior--a new incarnation of the
sun. The end of a cycle had come and the entire earth was to
undergo a process of renovation.
In a poem by Virgil, who was a Druid, the birth of a wonderful
child is celebrated, and the prophecy of a heathen Sibyl is seen
to be identical with that of Isaiah.
"The last period sung by the Sibylline prophetess is now arrived;
and the grand series of ages. That Series which recurs again and
again in the course of our mundane revolution begins afresh. Now
the Virgin Astrea returns from heaven; and the primeval reign of
Saturn recommences; now a new race descends from the celestial
realms of holiness. Do thou, Lucina, smile propitious on the
birth of a boy who will bring to a close the present age of iron
and introduce throughout the whole world, a new age of gold.
Then shall the herds no longer dread the fury of the lion, nor
shall the poison of the serpent any longer be formidable. Every
venomous animal and every deleterious plant shell perish
together. The fields shall be yellow with corn, the grape shall
hang its ruddy clusters from the bramble, and honey shall distil
spontaneously from the rugged oak. The universal globe shall
enjoy the blessings of peace, secure under the mild sway of its
new and divine sovereign."
There is no lack of evidence to prove that for several centuries
great numbers of Christians regarded Christ as a solar
incarnation similar to those which from time to time were born in
the valleys of the Nile and the Ganges. By the fathers in the
church Jesus Christ was named the New Sun, and in the early days
of Christianity the Egyptians struck a coin representing O. B. or
the holy Basilisk, with rays of light darting from his head, on
the reverse side of which was figured "Jesus Christ as the New
Solar Deity."
The similarity if not the actual identity of the religion of
Christ and that of the pagans in the second century is shown by
various writers. The Emperor Hadrian writing to his friend
Servianus says:
"Those who worship Serapis are also Christians; even those who
style themselves the Bishops of Christ are devoted to Serapis. .
. . There is but one God for them all; him do the Christians,
him do the Jews, him do all the Gentiles also worship."
It has been said that the head of Serapis supplied the first idea
of the portrait of Christ. Before the figure of Serapis, in his
temple, used to stand Isis, the Celestial Virgin, with the
inscription "Immaculate is our Lady Isis." In her hand she bore
a sheaf of grain.
As Serapis, or Pan, finally became Christ, so Isis, or the Queen
of Heaven, became his mother, and to the latter were transferred
all the titles, ceremonies, festivals, and seasons which from the
earliest time had belonged to the great Goddess of Nature.
Subsequently, probably about the close of the second century,
Christianity began slowly to emerge from the worship of Mithras
and Serapis, "changing the names but not the substance."
Upon the coinage of Constantine appears Soli Invicto Comita--"To
the invincible sun my companion or guardian," and when the Greek
and Roman Christians finally separated themselves from the great
body of pagan worshippers they apologized for celebrating the
birthday of their Savior on the 25th of December, saying that
"they could better perform their rites when the heathen were busy
with theirs." We are assured that the early Christians no less
than the Maji acknowledged Mithras as the first emanation from
Ormuzd, or the God of Light. He was the Savior which in an
earlier age had represented returning life--that which follows
the cold of winter. It was doubtless while they worshipped the
Persian Mithras that many of the so-called Christians gathered
their first ideas concerning the immortality of the soul and of
future rewards and punishments.
The analogy existing between the festivals, seasons, mythoses,
etc., of the various incarnations of the sun which were
worshipped by the early historic nations and those belonging to
Christianity is too striking to be the result of chance.
Buddha originally represented the sun in Taurus. Crishna was the
sun in Aries. The laborings and sufferings of Hercules, a god
who was an incarnation of the latter, portrays the history of the
passage of the sun through the signs of the Zodiac.
All the principal events of Christ's life correspond to certain
solar phases; or, in other words, all ecclesiastical calendars
are arranged with reference to the festivals which commemorate
the important events of his life from his conception and birth to
his ascension and reception in heaven. Each and every one of the
solar deities has been born at midnight, on the 25th of December,
at the time when the sun has reached its lowest position and
begins to ascend. Macrobius, a learned Roman writer, observes
that the early historic nations "believed that the sun comes
forth as a babe from its cradle at the winter solstice." Neith
is made to say, "The sun is the fruit of my womb."
The 15th of August, assumption day, the time when Mary, the
mother of Jesus, ascends to heaven is the day when the Zodiacal
constellation Virgo, "the Greek Astrea, leaves the European
horizon," and the "8th of September, when Virgo emerges from the
sun's rays, is held sacred as the Nativity of the Queen of
Of the mid-winter festival, Bede says: "The Pagans of these isles
began their year on the eighth of the Kalends of January, which
is now our Christmas Day. The night before that (24th Dec. eve)
was called by them the Medre-Nak, or Night of Mothers, because of
the ceremonies which were performed on that night."[132]
[132] Rivers of Life, vol. i., p. 430.
Among Christians as among Pagans the Christmas season was in
honor of "returning light," the vernal equinox of "growing light"
and St. John's day of "perfected light."
In England, among pagan Saxons, the midwinter festival lasted
twelve days, during which time light, fire, the sun, huge stones
and other similar manifestations of the Deity were adored.
Christian and pagan alike worshipped these objects. They called
Christmas "the birthday of the god who is light." The Savior, or
the New Sun, was the true light which lighteth every man who
cometh into the world. According to the testimony of various
writers, the festival held by Christians on Christmas eve used to
resemble the Feast of Lights, celebrated in Egypt in honor of
Neith. The tokens distributed among friends were cakes made of
paste in the form of babies. These cakes were called yuledows.
Dow means to "grow bigger," or, "to increase."
The Kalends of January at Rome were sacred to Janus and Juno to
whom sacrifices were offered. The Etruscans also worshipped
Janus who was the god (or goddess) of the year. Although this
Deity does not appear among the twelve gods it is said to be the
parent of them all. It was represented as having two faces.
Upon one were the letters representing 365, and upon the other
were the keys of life and death. According to Bryant this Deity
was called Junonius, from the goddess Juno, whose name resolves
itself into Juneh, a dove. In the Hebrew this name is identical
with Yoni or Yuni--the female principle. On the coins of this
god (which was subsequently regarded as male) is usually figured
a boat, although a dove with an olive branch is sometimes
[133] See Faber, Pagan Idolatry.
Juno is thought to be the same as Jana, which came from Jah of
the Hebrews. Diana was Diva Jana or "Dea Jana who is the same as
Astarte or Ashtaroth of the Sidonians."
Regarding the transference of the mid-winter festival of the
pagans to the Christian calendar, Forlong says:
"The early Christians undoubtedly selected this Roman Saturnalia
as an important period in the life of Christ, at first calling it
the time of his conception, and later of his birth, this last
best suiting the views and feelings of their Solo- Christian
flocks. The Jews called the day of the Winter Solstice The Fast
of Tebet. The previous time was one of darkness, and on the 28th
began their Feast of Lights."[134]
[134] Rivers of Life, vol. i., p. 430.
In France the ancient name for Christmas is Noel, a term which
until recently has baffled all antiquarian research. It is now
thought that it is formed from Nuadh and Vile which together mean
All Heal.
Although every possible effort has been put forward to give to
this date (the 25th of December) the appearance of authenticity
as the birth of Christ, still, so far as I am able to find, no
one accredited with any degree of trustworthiness has ever been
rash enough to attempt its ratification as a matter of history.
Tylor calls attention to the fact that in the religious symbolism
of the material and spiritual sun Augustine and Gregory of Nyssa
discourse on the "growing light and dwindling darkness that
follow the nativity," and cites the instance of Leo the Great
who, in a sermon, rebukes the "pestiferous persuasion, that this
solemn day is to be honored not for the birth of Christ, but for
the rising of the New Sun."
On the authority of this same prelate it is found that in the
fifth century, the faithful, before entering the Basilica of St.
Peter, were wont to turn and salute the shining orb of day.
The Roman winter solstice which was connected with the worship of
Mithra, and which was named the "Birthday of the Unconquered Om,"
was adopted by the western churches some time during the fourth
century. From the west it passed to the eastern churches, where
it finally became "the solemn anniversary of the birth of
In Ireland the ceremonies attending the mid-winter festival were
formerly regarded as exceedingly important. A short time before
the approach of the winter solstice, voices were heard throughout
the island proclaiming: "The New Year is at hand! Gather the
Mistletoe!" The mistletoe wreaths which formed the principal
decorations of Venus' temple were at first proscribed by the
Christian preachers, but, in process of time they not only found
their way into the sanctuary, but were given a place over the
altars, their final signification being "good will to men."[135]
[135] Rivers of Life, vol. i., p. 81.
Although the tokens of friendship which were distributed by the
pagans at the season of the mid- winter festival differed
somewhat from those which at the present time are exchanged among
Christians at the same season of the year, still, there can be no
doubt that the Christmas tree, loaded with gifts, is a remnant of
that worship under which the sun was recognized as the source
whence all blessings flow. Down to a late date, fire was a
conspicuous element at the festival of the winter solstice. As
the yule-log blazed upon the hearth, our ancestors set up huge
stones and danced round them, thus worshipping the god of
On the 20th and 21st of March the sun illumines exactly half the
earth. At this time the Day has conquered the Night. Light has
dethroned Darkness, a complete victory has been gained over
Typhon and the new god comes forth "with healing in his wings."
On Lady's day, the 25th of March, the Virgin conceives. In
Phoenicia numerous fetes were instituted to rejoice with Astarte
in her conception. During the months preceding the birth of the
young sun-god the Queen of Heaven receives marked homage.
In a former portion of this work we have observed that the
festival which celebrated the return of spring was instituted by
the inventors of the Neros thousands of years prior to the
beginning of the Christian era, to celebrate the vernal equinox
and to commemorate a return of Nature's bounties; but, after male
reproductive power began to be regarded as the creator, when
passion came to be considered as the moving force in the
universe, and when the operations of Nature began to be typified
by a dead man on a cross who was to rise again, Easter was
celebrated in commemoration of a risen savior or sun-god.
The following is an account given in Ramsay's Travels of Cyrus,
concerning the vernal equinox festivals in the East. When Cyrus
entered the temples he found the public clad in mourning. In a
cavern lay the image of a young man (the dying savior) on a bed
of flowers and odoriferous herbs Nine days were spent in fasting,
prayers, and lamentations, after which the public sorrow ceased
and was changed into gladness. Songs of joy succeeded weeping
(for Tamuz), the whole assembly singing hymns: "Adonis is
returned to life, Urania weeps no more, he has ascended to
heaven, he will soon return to earth and banish hence all crimes
and miseries forever." This scene, it will be remembered, was
presented 500 years prior to the birth of Christ. In Rome,
throughout the months preceding the winter solstice, Hilaria or
Ceres, was especially honored. Apollo and Diana rose on the 7th
of the Julian April and on the 10th their religious festivals
On Easter morn, during the earlier ages of the church, the
observances of Christians were exactly the same as were those of
the so called pagans, all together hurried out long before the
break of day that they might behold the sun ascend, or "dance" as
they called it, for on this morning he was to "make the earth
laugh and sing." Pagan and Christian alike greeted each other
with the salutation "The Lord is risen," and the reply was "The
Lord is risen indeed." On Easter morning the peasants of Saxony
and Brandenburg still climb to the hilltops "to see the sun give
his three joyful leaps."
In Buckland's Land and Water it is stated that on the first of
May all the choristers of Magdalene College, Oxford, still meet
on the summit of their tower, 150 feet high, and sing a Latin
hymn as the sun rises, during which time ten bells are rung "to
welcome the gracious Apollo." Formerly, high mass was celebrated
here and early mass for Sol was held in the College chapel, but,
as at the time of the Reformation this service was forbidden, "it
has since been performed on the top of the tower." After the
hymn is sung "boys blow loud blasts to Sol through bright new tin
Perhaps none of the ideas which enter into present religious
rites and ceremonies proclaims its eastern origin more forcibly
than do those connected with the veneration of fire. The
testimony of all writers upon this subject agrees that in Europe,
down to a late date in the Christian era, fire was still adored,
and in some mysterious manner was connected with the Creator.
Upon the subject of the continuation of sun and fire worship to
modern times, it is stated that the ancient bonfires with which
the North German hills used to be ablaze mile after mile are not
altogether given up by local custom. In Ireland as late as the
year 1829, the ancient Canaanitish and Jewish rite of passing
children through fire as a cleansing or regenerating process was
still in operation. It is related that at stated seasons great
fires were lighted in public places, on which occasions, fathers,
taking their children in their arms, would leap and run through
the flames. At the same time, two large fires were kindled a
short distance from each other through which the cattle were
driven. It was believed that by means of this ceremony,
fecundity is imparted both to man and beast. May, the month in
which all Nature revives, and in which life starts anew, is the
time selected for the lighting of those sacred fires. May is the
month of the fires of Baal. According to Maurice in his work on
the Antiquities of India, the festival and the May-pole of Great
Britain are the remnants of a religious ceremony once common in
Egypt, India, and Phoenicia, which nations all worshipping the
same Deity, celebrated the entrance of the sun into the sign of
Taurus at the vernal equinox, but which in consequence of the
precession of the equinoxes is removed far in the year from its
original situation. This festival is thought to be coeval with a
time when the equinox actually took place at that time. It was
formerly in honor of the goddess Bhavania, who, under various
names, was once worshipped in every country of the globe. "She
is identical with the Dea Syria of Chaldea, and the Venus Urania
of Persia."
At the present time there is direct and indisputable evidence
that sacred fires once flamed over the whole of Britain. A few
days prior to Bealtine season, every flame was ordered
extinguished, to be relighted on the first of May by holy fire
drawn directly from the sun. Of fire-worship Toland observes:
"On May-day the Druids made prodigious fires on these cairns,
which being every one in sight of some other could not but afford
a glorious show over a whole nation. These fires were in honor
of Beal, or Bealan, Latinized by the Roman writers into Belanus,
by which name the Gauls and their colonies understood the sun,
and therefore, to this hour, the first of May is, by the
aboriginal Irish, called la Bealtine, or the day of Belan's
fires. May-day is likewise called la Bealtine by the Highlanders
of Scotland, who are no contemptible part of the Celtic
offspring. So it is with the Isle of Man: and in Armorica a
priest is called Belee, or the servant of Bel, and the priesthood
[136] Quoted by Godfrey Higgins, Celtic Druids, ch. v., p. 181.
Down to a comparatively recent time, in the British Isles, the
youth of both sexes used to arise long before daybreak on
May-day, and in large companies set out for the woods, there to
gather flowers, boughs, and branches, which, on returning at
night, were used to decorate their homes. This festival is said
to be the most ancient of any known, and during the earlier and
purer ages of human faith was celebrated in honor of returning
spring. In later ages, however, after passion had become the
only recognized god, May-day was celebrated with "all manner of
obscenity and lewdness."
Although the uneducated masses among the Gauls worshipped Apollo,
Mercury, and Mars without understanding their true significance,
the Druids, who are thought to be Pythagorians, invoked one great
power, the animating force which pervades the universe, the
essence of which they believed resides in fire.
It is related that although after the introduction of Romish
Christianity, May fires still continued to be lighted on Bealtine
day, the more impressive ceremonies took place on the 23d of
June, on the eve of the nativity of St. John. The early
preachers, wishing to defer to the prejudices and usages of the
people, "yet not so as to interfere with the celebration of
Easter at the vernal equinox, retained the Bealtine ceremonial,
only transferring it to the saint's day." Of these fire
festivals and their adoption by the Christian church Tylor says:
"The solar Christmas festival has its pendant at mid-summer. The
summer solstice was the great season of fire festivals throughout
Europe on the heights, of dancing round and leaping through the
fires, of sending blazing fire-wheels to roll down from the hills
into the valleys, in sign of the sun's descending course. These
ancient rites attached themselves in Christendom to St. John's
"It seems as though the same train of symbolism which had adapted
the mid-winter festival to the Nativity, may have suggested the
dedication of the mid-summer festival to John the Baptist, in
clear allusion to his words 'He must increase but I must
decrease.' "[137]
[137] Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. ii., p. 271.
In a description recently given of the "moral, religious, and
social disease" which broke out A.D. 1374, in the lower Rhine
region, and which was denominated as the "greatest, perhaps, of
all manifestations of possession," Andrew D. White says: "The
immediate origin of these manifestations seems to have been the
wild revels of St. John's Day."[138]
[138] Pop. Science, vol. xxxv., p. 3.
Upon this subject Toland observes that he has seen the people of
Ireland running and leaping through the St. John's fire proud of
passing through it unsinged. Although ignorant of the origin of
this ceremony, they nevertheless regarded it as some kind of a
lustration by means of which they were to be specially blessed.
To every domestic hearth was carried the seed of Bealtine, or St.
John's fire, which during the year was not permitted to go
[139] Although the preservation of holy fire upon every hearth
was clearly a religious observance, still, as in those days there
were no matches, the material benefit to be derived from this
precaution doubtless had a significance apart from that connected
with worship.
According to the testimony of Tylor, the festival of John the
Baptist was celebrated in Germany down to a late date. This
writer quoting from a low German book of the year 1859, refers to
the "nod fire" which was sawed out of wood to light the St.
John's bonfire "through which the people leapt and ran and drove
their cattle."
With regard to the worship of Fire and Light it is related that
in Jerusalem, at the present time, the Easter service is
performed by the bishop of the church emerging from a tomb with
lighted tapers "from which all crave lights."
On the authority of Peter Martyr, Bishop of Alexandria in the
third century, we are informed that the place in Egypt where
Christ was banished, which is called Maturea, a lamp is kept
constantly burning in remembrance of this event. Although the
story of this banishment is doubtless borrowed from the life of
the Hindoo god Crishna, the fact is evident that those who
appropriated it, and used it in furbishing the mythical history
of Christ, had no scruples against fire worship--a religion which
we have been taught to regard as belonging exclusively to the
In the ecclesiastical processions of the Church of Rome is
frequently to be observed the figure of a dragon, in the mouth of
which "holy and everlasting fire" is observed to be burning. A
boy follows the procession with a lighted taper, so that in case
the fire is extinguished it may be relighted. In referring to
this subject the Rev. J. B. Deane says:
"The whole ceremony may be considered as a lively representation
of an ophite procession as it advanced through the sinuous
paralleiths of Karnak. So that no wonder the illiterate races
were deceived into thinking that there was no harm in calling
themselves Christians, for all their dear old faiths are
here--fire, arks, poles, and fire in an ark."
Almost innumerable instances are given by various writers upon
this subject, showing that the sun worship of the ancients has
been continued to the present time by the so called followers of
Christ, in the shrines of the East, with no change even of names
to distinguish it from that of the Christian faith. By those who
have spent much time in investigating the Holy Land, it is
related that nearly all the spots in and about Jerusalem, sacred
to Greek and Romish Christians as connected with the life and
death of their risen Lord, are equally sacred to the pagans as
commemorating the life and death of their Savior--the New Sun.
Even Gethsemane is marked by characteristics which prove that it
is no less interesting to pagans, or, more properly speaking, to
the pagan followers of Christ, than it is to those of the Greek
and Romish churches. Here is a holy tree, and not far distant is
a cave of Mithras. There is also to be seen a trinity of stones
"those of Janus (Chemosh), Petros and Ion, all solar terms and
connected with the sitting or sinking down to rest of the Kuros."
Messrs. Maundrell and Sandys, who in 1697 visited all the holy
places in and around Jerusalem, state that the entire city, but
especially the sites of Moriah, Zion, and suburbs were hotbeds of
fire and phallic worship as usually developed still in the East.
The topography of ancient Delphi, on the site of which was built
the village of Kastri, and at which place excavations are now
being made under the direction of the American School of
Archaeology, has ever been a place of peculiar interest to the
mystic. Here are to be found all the natural features and
objects which gladden the heart and stimulate the imagination of
a solo-phallic worshipper. The holy Mt. Parnassus, the fountain
of Kastali, the deep cave said to be Pythian, and the remnants of
huge sepulchres hewn in the rocks all conspire to make of this
spot a perfect abode for the god, or goddess, of fertility.
Here, too, is a beautiful lake and near it a sacred fig-tree
which has been struck by lightning, or, "touched by holy fire."
Of this sacred place Forlong writes:
"Christianity has never neglected this so-called Pagan shrine,
nor yet misunderstood it, if we may judge by the saint she has
located here, for Mr. Hobhouse found in the rocky chasm dipped in
the dews of Castaly, but safe in a rocky niche, a Christian
shrine; and close by a hut called the church of St. John; yea
verily of Ione, she who had once reigned here supreme; whilst on
a green plot a few yards below the basin, in a little grove of
olive trees, stood the monastery of Panhagia or Holy Virgin, so
that here we still have and beside her sacred form in the cleft,
men who have consecrated their manhood to the old Mother and
Queen of Heaven, just as if she of Syria had never been heard of.
Doubtless they knew little of what civilized Europe calls
Christianity, for I have spent many days conversing with such
men, and seen little difference between them and those similarly
placed in the far East--fervid Christians though Greeks and
Syrians are."
Perhaps nothing shows the extent to which the religion of the
pagans has been retained by Christianity more than does the
worship of the serpent. It has been said that this reptile
enters into every mythology extant. Ferguson is authority for
the statement that "he is to be found in the wilderness of Sinai,
the groves of Epidaurus, and in Samothracian huts." He
constitutes a prominent factor in the religious worship of India,
Assyria, Palestine, and Egypt, and, notwithstanding the fact that
he is not a native of Ireland, in an earlier age representations
of him appear in profusion among the symbols of that country. It
has been said that there is scarcely an Egyptian sculpture known
in which this reptile does not figure. The serpent whenever it
appears as a religious emblem always typifies desire--creative
energy--which, proceeding from the sun, is manifested in man and
in animals. Whether it be a veritable snake in a box, a serpent
connected with the figure of a woman, or as a carved
representation on monuments or stones, or as chains or wreaths on
columns, bas-reliefs or friezes, the signification is the same.
The sacred character of this reptile among the Gnostics is shown
by the accounts given of their religious rites and ceremonies.
By many of these sects this holy creature was kept in a box, ark,
or chest, and when the eucharistic service was to be performed,
he was enticed forth from his resting- place by a bit of bread.
So soon as his holiness had wound himself about the offering, the
sacrifice was complete and the service was concluded by "singing
a hymn to Almighty God, and praying for acceptance in and through
the serpent."
In later ages when the attempt was made to abolish serpent
worship from the Christian church, it was declared by the leaders
in the movement that Ophiolatry had been imported from
Persia--that it had been brought in by ignorant devotees who were
too weak to renounce their former faith.[140]
[140] Forlong, Rivers of Life.
The extent to which the symbols representing Serpent, Sun, Tree,
and Plant worship are still retained as part and parcel of the
symbolism of Christianity is shown by the following report
regarding the adoption of a seal by the Presbyterian Church which
appeared in the daily press only a few years ago.
"After the assembly opened, the committee for the selection of a
seal made a report recommending: That the general assembly hereby
adopts as its official seal the device of a serpent suspended
upon a cross, uplifted within a wilderness, in form as
represented upon the official seal of the trustees of the general
assembly, and displayed upon a circular field of the same
proportions. In addition thereto the figure of a rising sun
appearing above the margin of the wilderness, whose out-shooting
beams shall occupy the centre of the field. Further, the
decoration of a demi-wreath of two palm branches (in the form of
the wreath upon the seal of the Westminster assembly of divines),
placed around the margin of the upper hemisphere of the field;
and on the lower hemisphere of the field a demi-wreath composed
of a branch of oak united with an olive branch. Further, that the
words of the motto, 'Christus Exaltus Salvatar,' shall be
displayed in a semi-circle upon the upper part of the field, on
either side of the standard of the cross, and, encompassing the
whole in a bordure, the following words, in full or in proper
abbreviation thereof, 'The Seal of the General Assembly of the
Presbyterian Church in the United States of America.' "
The origin of the rite of Baptism as performed at the present
time in Christian churches, may be traced directly to the worship
of the sun, within which were supposed to reside the reproductive
powers of Nature. All nations have had ceremonies corresponding
to our baptism and confirmation rites, such baptism being either
by fire or water. When we remember that for ages fertility, or
the power to reproduce, constituted the idea of the Deity, we are
not surprised to find that the original signification of the rite
of baptism had, and still has, in some of the oriental countries,
special reference to the child's sexual obligations.
In India, the religious rites performed upon the individual occur
at birth or soon after; at betrothal, which takes place in
childhood; at puberty; at marriage, and at death. The fact will
be noticed that all sexual (spiritual) obligations and seasons
fall within the domain of priestly supervision and surveillance.
The child at baptism is dedicated to Vesta, or Hestia, the Queen
of Hearths and Homes, a divinity who is supposed to assist him in
securing the special evidence of divine favor, namely,
fruitfulness of body.
Among Hindoos and Jews, excessive reproduction was the Lord's
mark of favor. In India there has been a special hell provided
for childless women, and with Jewesses no curse was equal to
Baptism, or the ceremony connected with the naming of children in
Christian countries, is seen to be identical with that performed
in Mexico among the Aztecs. After the lips and bosom of the
infant had been sprinkled with water, the Lord was implored to
"permit the holy drops to wash away the sin that was given to it
before the foundation of the world, so that the child might be
born anew."
Among the petitions which are offered to the Deity is the
following: "Impart to us, out of thy great mercy, thy gifts which
we are not worthy to receive through our own merit." In their
moral code appear these maxims: "Keep peace with all; bear
injuries with humility; God who sees, will avenge you." "He who
looks too curiously on a woman, commits adultery with his
[141] Quoted by Prescott from Sahagun. Conquest of Mexico, book
i., chap 3.
From the facts recorded in the foregoing pages, we have seen that
true Christianity was but a continuation of that great movement
which was begun in Persia seven or eight centuries before, and
whose gathering strength had been emphasized by the humane
doctrines set forth in the various schools of Greek philosophy.
In the first century of the Christian era may be observed among
various sects, notably the Gnostics, a desire to popularize the
teachings of an ancient race, and to accentuate those principles
which had been taught by Buddha, Pythagoras, the Stoic
philosophers, the Roman jurisconsults and others. In other words
the object of the new religion was to stimulate the altruistic
characters which had been developed during the evolutionary
processes, and to strengthen and encourage the almost forgotten
principles of justice and personal liberty upon which early
society was founded, but which through ages of sensuality and
selfishness had been denied expression.
When we remember the tenacity with which the human mind clings to
established beliefs and forms, it is not perhaps singular that in
a comparatively short time these principles were lost sight of,
and that the entire system of corrupt paganism, with Christ as
the New Solar Deity, was reinstated; neither is it remarkable,
when we reflect upon the length of time required to bring about
any appreciable change in human thought and action, that the
principles which this Great Teacher enunciated are at the present
time only just beginning to be understood.
To one who carefully studies the history of Christianity by the
light of recently developed truths, the fact will doubtless be
discovered that the fundamental difference existing between
Catholic and Protestant sects is grounded in the old feud arising
out of the relative importance of the sex-principles. From the
days of Zoroaster to the final establishment of Christianity by
Paul, the tendency--although slight--had been toward the
elevation of woman, and consequently toward a greater
acknowledgment of the female element in the god-idea.
Considerable impetus was given to the cause of woman's
advancement through the doctrines of the various schools of
philosophy in Greece, and subsequently by the efforts put forth
by the Roman lawyers to establish their equality with men before
the law; hence, during the first hundred years of the Christian
era the "new religion" seems to have contained much of the spirit
of the ancient philosophy.
By several of the early Christian sects, the second person in the
trinity was female, as was also the Holy Ghost.
In a "fragment of a gospel preserved by St. Jerome, and believed
to have been from the original Aramaean Gospel of St. Matthew,
with additions, the Holy Ghost (ruach), which in Hebrew is
feminine, is called by the infant Savior, 'My Mother, the Holy
Ghost.' "[142]
[142] Barlow, Essays on Symbolism, p. 135.
The mission of Christ was that of a Regenerator of mankind, an
office which had been symbolized by the powers of the sun. He
was to restore that which was lost. He attempted to teach to the
masses of the people the long neglected principles of purity and
peace. He did not condemn woman. He was baptized by John (Ion
or Yon) in water, the original symbol for the female element, and
while in the water; the Holy Ghost in form of a dove (female)
descended upon him. To those who have given attention to the
symbolism of the pagan worship these facts are not without
Because of the peculiar tendency of Christ's teachings women soon
became active factors in their promulgation. If there were no
other evidence to show that they publicly taught the new
doctrines, the injunction of St. Paul, "I suffer not a woman to
teach," would seem to imply that they were not silent.
The doctrines of the Gnostics were particularly favorable to
women. Marcellina, who belonged to this order, was the founder
of a sect called Marcelliens. Of her works Waite observes: "It
would scarcely be expected that the heretical writings of a woman
would be preserved amid such wholesale slaughter of the obnoxious
works of the opposite sex. The writings of Marcellina have
perished."[143] Not only did women teach publicly, and write, but
according to Bunsen they claimed the privilege of baptizing their
own sex. The reason for this is evident. Before baptism it was
customary for the newly-made converts to strip and be anointed
with oil. After the establishment of Paul's doctrines, however,
"the bishops and presbyters did not care to be relieved from the
pleasant duty of baptizing the female converts."[144]
[143] History of the Christian Religion, p. 405.
[144] Ibid., p. 23.
Although the utmost care has been exercised to conceal the fact
that women equally with men, performed the offices connected with
the early church, yet by those who have paid attention to the
true history of this movement, there can be no doubt about the
matter. Notwithstanding the early tendencies of the "new
religion" toward the recognition of women, and toward the
restoration of the female principle in the Deity, the policy to
be pursued by the church was soon apparent, for Paul, the real
founder of the system calling itself Christian, and a man imbued
with Asiatic prejudices concerning women, arrogantly declared
that "man is the head of woman as Christ is the head of the
Church." Women were commanded to be under obedience. Neither
was the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man;
thus was re-established and emphasized the absurd doctrine of the
Lingaites, that the male is an independent entity, that he is
spirit and superior to the female which is matter. After this
indication of the policy to be pursued under the new regime, it
would scarcely be expected that theefforts put forth by the
various sects among the Gnostics toreinstate the female element
either on the earth or in heavenwould be successful, and as might
be anticipated from the factsalready adduced, as early as the
year 325, at the council of Nice, a male trinity was formally
established, and soon thereafter, the Collylidians, a sect which
rigorously persisted in the adoration of the female principle,
were condemned. At the council of Laodicea, A.D. 365, the 11th
canon forbade the ordination of women for the ministry and the
44th canon prohibited them from entering the altar.
The devotees of female worship, although for a time silenced,
were evidently not convinced, and to force their understanding
into conformity with the newly established order, the Nestorians,
in the year 430 A. D., reopened the old dispute, and formally
denied to Mary the title of Mother of God. Their efforts,
however, were of little avail, for in the year 451, at the
council of Ephesus, the third general council, the decision of
the Nestorians was reversed and the Virgin Mother reinstated.
Upon this subject Barlow remarks: "Well might those who made this
symbolical doctrine what it now is, at length desire to do tardy
justice to the female element, by promoting the mother to the
place once occupied by the Egyptian Neith, and crowning her Queen
of Heaven."[145] The fact will doubtless be observed, however,
that by the Romish Church the idea of the god-mother differs
widely from the Queen of Heaven--the original God of the
ancients. Mary the Mother of Jesus is not a Creator, but simply
a mediator between her Son and His earthly devotees--a doctrine
only a trifle less masculine in texture than that of an Almighty
Father and his victimized son. The worship of Mary was adopted
by the so-called Christians in response to a craving in the human
heart for a recognition of those characters developed in mankind
which may be said to contain the germ of the divine. The
masculine god of the Jews was feared not loved, and his son had
already been invested with his attributes. He was all powerful,
hence a mediator, a mother, was necessary to intercede in behalf
of fallen man, and this, too, notwithstanding the fact that woman
had become the "cause of evil in the world."
[145] Essays on Symbolism, p. 134.
The Great Goddess of the ancients, Perceptive Wisdom, the Deity
of giving, she who represented the purely altruistic characters
developed in mankind, and whose worship involved a scientific
knowledge of the processes of Nature, when engrafted upon the
so-called Christian system, although indicating an important step
toward the recognition of the genuine creative principles, was
not understood. Although her effigies were brought from the East
and made to do duty as representations of Mary, the Mother of
Christ, a knowledge of her true significance lay hurled beneath
ages of sensuality and selfishness.
By those who have made it their business to investigate this
subject, it is observed that there is scarcely an old church in
Italy in which there is not to be found a remnant of a black
virgin and child. In very many instances these black virgins
have been replaced by white ones, the older figures having been
retired to some secluded niche in the church where they are held
especially sacred by the ignorant devotees who know absolutely
nothing of their original significance. We are assured that many
of these images have been painted over, ostensibly in imitation
of bronze, but the whites of the eyes, the teeth, and colored
lips reveal the fact that they are really not intended to
represent bronze, but figures of a black virgin goddess and child
whose worship has been imported into Europe from the East. I had
been told that one of the oldest of these images extant was to be
found in Augsburg; a thorough search, however, in all the
churches and cathedrals of that city failed to reveal it, but in
the museum at Munich such a figure is to be seen. It is in a
state of decay, one arm of the mother and a portion of the
child's figure being worn away. Upon this subject Godfrey
Higgins remarks:
"If the author had wished to invent a circumstance to corroborate
the assertion that the Romish Christ of Europe is the Crishna of
India, how could he have desired anything more striking than the
fact of the black virgin and child being so common in the Romish
countries of Europe? A black virgin and child among the white
Germans, Swiss, French, and Italians!!!"[146]
[146] Anacalypsis, book iv., ch. i., p. 175.
We have observed that during an earlier age in the history of
religious worship, as the female was supposed to comprehend both
the female and male elements in creation, a belief in the
possible creative power of the female independently of the male
was everywhere entertained, and that after the schismatic faction
arose which endeavored to exalt the male, the production of a son
by a woman unaided by man, was among the Yonigas to be the sign
which would forever settle the question of the superior
importance of the female functions in the processes of
reproduction, and consequently, also, her claim to the greater
importance in the deity.
The sacred books of India show that from a former belief in one
or the other of the two creative principles throughout Nature as
God, the people had come to accept both female and male as
necessary elements in reproduction, the latter being the more
important. In course of time this change seems to have been
universal and to have extended to all the countries of the globe.
As the male could not create independently of the female, or, as
spirit was dependent on matter for its manifestations, there
arose a necessity for a Savior to redeem man from the evil
effects arising from his relations with woman who was regarded as
matter, and who in course of time became the cause of evil.
Concerning the doctrines which prevailed in the earlier ages of
Christianity relative to the ancient dual principle in creation,
and regarding the offices which were performed by the two
elements, male and female, in the deity, we have the following
from Justinus, who is said to have been contemporary with Peter
and Paul:
"When Elohim had prepared and created the world as a result from
joint pleasure, He wished to ascend up to the elevated parts of
heaven, and to see that not anything of what pertained to the
creation laboured under deficiency. And He took His Own angels
with Him, for His nature was to mount aloft, leaving Edem below;
for inasmuch as she was earth, she was not disposed to follow
upward her spouse. Elohim, then, coming to the highest part of
heaven above and beholding a light superior to that which He
himself had created, exclaimed: 'Open me the gates, that entering
in I may acknowledge the Lord.' "
As he enters the Good One addresses him in the following manner:
"Sit thou on my right hand." Then the soaring male principle
says to the Good One "permit me Lord to overturn the world which
I have made, for my spirit is bound to men." To which the Good
One replies: "No evil canst thou do while thou art with me, for
both thou and Edem made the world as a result of conjugal joy.
Permit Edem then, to hold possession of the world as long as she
wishes; but you remain with me." While the father is drawn away
from earth to Heaven, Edem, in the meantime is bringing woes
innumerable upon man. Naas, who has received his evil nature
from her, and who is a child of the Devil, has debauched Eve,
"Henceforward vice and virtue are prevalent among men." The
Father seeing these things dispatches Baruch his third angel to
Moses, and through him spake to the children of Israel, that they
might be converted unto the Good One. But the third angel, Naas,
by the soul of which came from Edem upon Moses, as also upon all
men, observed the precepts of Baruch, and caused his own peculiar
injunctions to be hearkened unto.
Again, after these occurrences Baruch, the angel of the Good One,
was sent to the prophets to warn them against the wiles of Edem,
but in the same manner Nass, the Devil, enticed them away, they
being allured by him to their own destruction. Again Elohim
selected Hercules, an uncircumcised prophet, and sent him to
quell the disturbance caused by Naas or Edem and to release the
Father from their power.
"These are the twelve conflicts of Hercules which He underwent,
in order, from first to last, viz.: Lion, and Hydra, and Boar,
and the others successively. For they say that these are the
names of them among the Gentiles, and they have been derived,
with altered denomination, from the energy of the maternal
angels. When he seemed to have vanquished his antagonists,
Omphale (now she is Venus) clings to him and entices away
Hercules, and divests him of his power, viz.: the commands of
Baruch which Elohim issued. And in place of this power Babel, or
Venus, envelops him in her own peculiar robe, that is, in the
power of Edem, who is the power below; and in this way the
prophecy of Hercules remained unfulfilled and his work."
As men were still bound by the power of Edem, or the Devil, in
the days of Herod the king, Baruch was again dispatched by
Elohim, and coming to Nazareth delivered his message to Jesus,
son of Joseph and Mary. Nass, who, as we have seen, was the evil
spirit in Edem, wished to entice away Jesus also. He was not,
however, disposed to listen but remained faithful to Baruch.
Naas, overcome by anger at not being able to seduce him, caused
him to be crucified.
"He, leaving the body of Edem on the accursed tree, ascended to
the Good One; saying to Edem, 'Woman, thou retainest thy Son,'
that is, the natural and the earthly man. But Jesus himself
commending his spirit into the hands of the Father, ascended to
the Good One. Now the Good One is Priapus, and he it is who
antecedently caused the production of everything that exists. On
this account he is styled Priapus, because he previously
fashioned all things according to his design. For this reason,
he says, in every temple is preserved his statue, which is
revered by every creature; and there are images of him in the
highways carrying over his head ripened fruits, that is, the
produce of the creation, of which he is the cause, having in the
first instance formed, according to his design, the creation,
when as yet it had no existence."[147]
[147] Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies, book v., p. 188.
Thus the fact is observed not only that in the time of Paul,
phallic worship still existed, but by the writings of Justinus
and others is shown the manner in which the doctrine that woman
is the cause of evil in the world became formulated and adopted
as part and parcel of the Christian belief.
Staniland Wake, director of the anthropological society of
London, when commenting on the obscene myths upon which the
Christian religion rests, remarks:
"The fundamental basis of Christianity is more purely phallic
than that of any other religion now existing, and its emotional
nature . . . shows how intimately it was related to the older
faiths which had a phallic basis."
After stating that the myth of creation and that of the flood
have their exact counterpart in India, the Rev. Mr. Faber
remarks that "there is no rite or ceremony directed in the
Pentateuch of which there is not an exact copy in the rites of
the pagans."
The Christian doctrines as established by Paul, and afterwards
formulated into a system by the Romish Church, were adopted by
the ignorant multitude who, being incapable of understanding the
higher principles involved, accepted the allegories beneath which
were veiled the ancient mysteries literally, and as the highest
expression of divine wisdom. Hence the comparatively recent
observation that the "new religion was eventually but the
gathering in of the superstitions of paganism" is a matter of
little surprise to those who have carefully examined the facts
connected with the growth of religious faith.
Under the new regime Christ became the New Solar Deity and round
him were finally ranged all the myths of Solo-phallic worship
which had prevailed under the adoration of Crishna at a time when
the higher truths underlying pure Nature-worship had been
According to the accounts in the New Testament, the wise men of
the East, meaning Persia, had foretold the coming of Christ. The
fulfilment of the ancient Persian prophecy as applied to Jesus,
together with the reference to the "star" which the Maji saw, and
which went before them till it came and stood over where the
young child lay, furnishes a striking illustration of the manner
in which Eastern legends and ancient sacred writings are
interwoven with the doctrines relating to Christianity.
In the sacred books of the East it is prophesied that "after
three thousand and one hundred years of the Caligula are elapsed,
will appear King Saca to remove wretchedness from the world." We
have seen that at the birth of Christ the time had arrived for a
new solar incarnation.
Regarding the introduction of Christianity into Ireland it is
claimed by certain writers that the Irish did not receive the
"new religion" from Greek missionaries; but when at the close of
the cycle, a new solar deity, an avatar of Vishnu or Crishna was
announced, and when missionaries from the East proclaimed the
glad tidings of a risen Savior, the Irish people gladly accepted
their teachings, not, however, as a new system, but as the
fulfilment to them of the prophecy of the most ancient seers of
the East, and as part and parcel of the religion of their
forefathers. Therefore when the devotees of the Romish faith,
probably about the close of the fifth century of the Christian
era, attempted to "convert" Ireland, they found a religion
differing from their own only in the fact that it was not subject
to Rome, and was free from the many corruptions and superstitions
which through the extreme ignorance and misapprehension of its
Western adherents had been engrafted upon it.
Concerning the form of religious worship in Great Britain, and
the fact that phallic worship prevailed there, Forlong writes:
"The generality of our countrymen have no conception of the
overruling prevalence of this faith, and the number of its
lingham gods throughout our Islands." These symbols were always
in the form of an obelisk or tower, thereby indicating the
worship of the male energy. Although emblems of the female
element in the deity were present, they were less pronounced and
of far less importance than those of the male.
These monuments were erected on knolls, at crossroads and centers
of marts or villages, and were placed on platforms which were
usually raised from five to seven steps. A few years ago the
shires of Gloucester, Wilts, and Somerset still claimed over two
hundred of these crosses, though all of them were not at that
time in a perfect state of preservation.
It would seem that in Britain and Ireland the seed of the "new"
doctrine, that which involved a recognition of the mother element
in the god-idea, had fallen on more congenial soil, for within
three centuries after the birth of Christ, the various original
monuments typifying the male principle had all been ornamented
with the symbols representing the female in the deity. The
ancient religious structures of the Lingaites still continued as
recognized faith shrines, changed only by the emblems of the new
religion which had been engrafted upon them.
The earliest Greek and Roman missionaries knew full well the
significance of these symbols, and we are given to understand
that "a few of the more spiritual of the Christian sects made war
upon them and all their ephemeral substitutes, such as Maypoles,
holy-trees, real crosses, etc." It is declared also that, as
"later" Christians were unacquainted with the significance of
these emblems, "they adopted them as their own, employing them as
the mystic signs of their own faith."
Although the earliest Greek and Roman missionaries understood the
signification of these faith shrines, the complaints against them
seem soon to have ceased, and the "fierce wars" waged over them
appear to have left little trace of their ravages, except that
the female emblems with which these monuments had been supplied
by those who had received the new faith direct from the East,
were all removed. As the male monuments and symbols were all
permitted to remain undisturbed, this fact of itself would seem
to indicate that the "pagan abominations" against which these
pious devotees of a "spiritual religion" thundered their
denunciations, included only the female emblems.
The fact must be borne in mind that the Western Church, which was
rapidly usurping the ecclesiastical authority of Britain and
Ireland, had not itself at this time adopted the worship of the
Virgin Mary.
A set of iconoclastic monks whom the Christian world is pleased
to designate as St. Patrick, and who probably early in the fifth
century of our era amused themselves by chiseling from the Irish
monuments many of the symbols of the female power, removed also
the figures of serpents which had for ages appeared in connection
with the emblems of woman, and by this act won the plaudits of an
admiring Christian world; chiefly, however, for the skill
manifested in "banishing snakes from Ireland." In addition to
this dignified amusement, we find that the same person or set of
persons ordered to be burned hundreds of volumes of the choicest
Irish literature, volumes which contained the annals of the
ancient Irish nation, and in which, it is believed, was stored
much actual information concerning the remote antiquity of the
human race.
The extent to which the worship of the male emblems of generation
prevailed in the Christian Church even as late as the 16th
century, proves that it was not the particular symbols connected
with the worship of fertility upon which the Western Christian
missionaries made war, but, on the contrary, that it was the
recognition by them of that detested female element against
which, even before the erection of the Tower of Babel, there had
been almost a constant warfare. The rites of Potin, or Photin,
Bishop of Lyons, who was honored in Provence, Languedoc and the
Lyonais as St. Fontin, also the rites performed in many of the
Christian Churches as late as the 16th century, prove that the
devotees of the Christian system were not at this time a whit
behind their Pagan predecessors in their zeal for "heathen
abominations." The only difference being that the Druids, a
people who still retained a faint conception of ancient Nature
worship, had not become entirely divested of the purer ideas
which in an earlier age of the race had constituted a creative
That the war of the sexes was revived, and that for many
centuries much strife was engendered over the exact importance
which should be ascribed to the female element in the Deity may
not be doubted.
An ancient homily on Trinity Sunday has the following: "At the
deth of a manne, three bells should be ronge as his kuyl in
worship of the Trinitie, and for a woman, who was the Second
Person of the Trinitie two bells should be ronge." Upon this
subject Hargrave Jennings remarks: "Here we have the source of
the emblematic difficulty among the master masons who constructed
the earlier cathedrals, as to the addition, and as to the precise
value of the second (or feminine) tower of the Western end or
Galilee of the Church."[148]
[148] Rosicrucians, vol. i., p. 206.
The fact that the religion of the ancient Irish, who, were
phallic worshippers, was modified but not radically changed by
the introduction of Christianity, is believed by at least one of
the Irish historians of that country. He says:
"The church festivals themselves, in our Christian calendar, are
but the direct transfers from the Tuath-de-danaans' ritual.
Their very names in Irish are identically the same as those by
which they were distinguished by that early race. If, therefore,
surprise has heretofore been excited at the conformity observable
between our church institutions and those of the East, let it in
future subside at the explicit announcement that Christianity,
with us, was the revival of a religion imported amongst us many
ages before by the Tuath-de-danaans from the East, and not from
any chimerical inundation of Greek missionaries--a revival upon
which their hearts were lovingly riveted, and which Fiech, the
Bishop of Sletty, unconsciously registers in the following
couplet, viz.:
"The Buddhists of Irin prophesied
That new times of peace would come."[149]
[149] The Round Towers of Ireland, p. 493.
The conditions surrounding the ancient inhabitants of the "White
Island," or Ireland, a remnant of which people may be observed in
the Highlanders of Scotland, furnish an example of the fact that
a much higher standard of life had been preserved among them than
is known to have prevailed either among the Jews or the Greeks.
The comparatively advanced stage of progress which is now known
to have existed in Ireland at the beginning of the present era,
which even the bigotry and falsehood of Roman priestcraft have
not been able wholly to conceal, is seen to have been a somewhat
corrupted remnant of a civilization which followed closely on
ancient Nature worship.[150]
[150] It is thought by certain writers that when the Tuath-dedanaans
emigrated from Persia to the "White Island" they found it
inhabited by the Fir-Bolgs, a colony of Celts. After conquering
the island they engrafted upon it the religion, laws, learning
and culture of the mother country. In a later age the Scythians,
whose religion was similar to that of the Fir-Bolgs, united with
them and succeeded in making themselves masters of the situation.
Hence the intermingling of races and tongues among the ancient
Irish. The Druids adopted, or appropriated, the religion and
culture of the Tuath-de-danaans, who, it is claimed, were the
real Hibernians. The Scythians changed the name of Irin to
Scotia--the latter being retained until the 11th century.
According to the annals of the ancient Irish, Scotland was
formerly called Scotia Minor to distinguish it from Scotia Major,
or Ireland.
Because of their isolated position, or for some cause at present
unknown, these people do not seem to have degenerated into a
nation of sensualists. It is true they had departed a long
distance from the early conditions of mankind under which
altruism and the abstract principle of Light or Wisdom were
worshipped under the form of a Virgin Mother and her child, but
they never wholly rejected the female element in their god-idea,
nor never, so far as known, attempted to degrade womanhood.
Women were numbered among their legislators, at the same time
that they officiated as educators and priestesses. In fact
wherever the Druidical order prevailed women exerted a powerful
influence in all departments of human activity. Among the
Germans, Valleda, a Druidess, was for ages worshipped as a deity.
It is recorded that St. Bridget planted a monastery for women at
Kildare and entrusted to its inmates the keeping of the sacred
fire, and that in later times the Asiatic missionaries founded
there a female monkish order. After the establishment of Western
Christianity, however, no woman was permitted to enter into the
monasteries, and we are assured that this ridiculous affectation
of purity was extended even to the grave. During the earlier
ages of Christianity, in many portions of Ireland there were
cemeteries for men and women distinct from each other. "It had
been a breach of chastity for monks and nuns to be interred
within the same enclosure. They should fly from temptations
which they could not resist."
Although volumes have been written to prove that Christianity was
carried to Britain by Paul, and although the energies of scores
of Romish writers have been employed in attempting to prove that
Ireland was in heathen darkness prior to its conversion by the
priests of the Romish Church, yet these efforts so vigorously put
forward seem only to strengthen the evidence going to show that
the Christianity of the British Isles antedates that of either
Paul or Rome.
According to Scripture, Claudia, the wife of the Senator Pudens
of Britain, was a Christian,[151] as was also Graecina, the wife
of Plautus, who was governor of Britain in the first century.
The latter, it is related, was accused before the Roman senate of
"practicing some foreign superstition." Although Lingard, in his
History and Antiquities of the Anglo-Saxon Church, has endeavored
to annul the force of the evidence which places two Christian
women from Britain in Rome during the first century of our era,
he is nevertheless constrained to use the following language: "We
are, indeed, told that history has preserved the names of two
British females, Claudia and Pomponia Graecina, both of them
Christians, and both living in the first century of our
[151] 2 Timothy, iv., 21.
[152] Vol. i., p. 1.
According to the Romanists, between the years 177-181 of the
Christian era, a British king named Lucius sent a messenger to
the authorities at Rome, with a request that he with his people
be admitted into the bosom of the "Holy Catholic Church." By
those not prejudiced in favor of the Romish hierarchy, this bit
of amusing "evidence" shows the anxiety manifested lest the facts
concerning the religious history of the British Isles become
known. Regarding this embassy of King Lucius there is an extant
version which is far more in accordance with reason and with the
known facts concerning this people.
When we remember the advanced stage of civilization which existed
in Ireland prior to the Christian era, and when we bear in mind
the fact that, as in the case of Abarras mentioned by various
Greek writers, the people of the British Isles were wont to send
emissaries abroad for the sole purpose of gathering information
relative to foreign laws, customs, usages, manners, and modes of
instruction, we are not surprised to learn that the message to
Rome sent by Lucius, instead of containing a request for
admission to a foreign church, embodied an enquiry into the
fundamental principles underlying Roman jurisprudence; and
especially does this appear reasonable when we remember that the
remodeling of the Roman code on principles of equity and justice
had for several centuries employed the energies of the best minds
in Rome.
Concerning the planting of Christianity in Ireland, we have the
following from Ledwich:
"Thus Bishop Lawrence in Bede tells us Pope Gregory sent him and
Austin to preach the Gospel in Britain, as if it never before had
been heard, whereas the latter met seven British Bishops who
nobly opposed him. In like manner Pope Adrian commissioned Henry
II. to enlarge the bounds of the church, and plant the faith in
Ireland, when it had already been evangelized for eight hundred
years. The faith to be planted was blind submission to Rome and
the annual payment of Peter's pence."[153]
[153] Antiquities of Ireland, p. 78.
Of the exact time at which Romish and Greek missionaries first
went to Ireland we are not informed, but there is ample evidence
going to prove that a regular hierarchy had been established in
that island before the beginning of the fifth century, and that
this religion which had been brought in through the efforts of
missionaries from the East was, by the legendary writers of the
later Christian Church, ascribed to Romish monks.
The Jealousy of the Romish priests, and the means employed by
them to usurp the ecclesiastical authority of the Irish people,
is shown in the history of their councils. The 5th canon of the
Council of Ceale-hythe requires
"that none of Irish extraction be permitted to usurp to himself
the sacred ministry in any one's diocese, nor let it be allowed
such an one to touch anything which belongs to those of the holy
order. . . .; neither must he administer the eucharist to the
people because we are not certain how or by whom he was
After quoting the above Ledwich queries thus: If St. Patrick had
been a missionary of the Romish Church, would the Anglo-Saxon
clergy have abjured the spiritual children of that see? In the
year 670 Theodoret, Archbishop of Canterbury, decreed that they
who were consecrated by Irish or British Bishops should be
confirmed anew by Catholic ones.[154]
[154] Ledwich, Antiquities of Ireland, p. 81.
It is observed that as early as the fourth century A.D. there
were three hundred bishops in Ireland, and to account for so
large a number, it is declared that ignorant legendary writers
had recourse to the fable of St. Patrick.
The remarkable "conversion" of the Irish to Romish Christianity,
which it is said took place in the latter part of the fourth
century or the beginning of the fifth, is to be explained by the
fact that a number of Romish priests or monks which in later ages
came to be designated as St. Patrick, claimed all the
monasteries, bishops, and priests already there as a result of
the remarkable power and pious zeal of this miracle-working
saint. It is claimed that St. Patrick founded over three
thousand monasteries, consecrated three hundred bishops, and
ordained three thousand priests.
According to Ledwich and other writers, this St. Patrick was not
heard of earlier than the ninth century A.D., and the legend
concerning him "was not accepted until the twelfth century, at
which time his miracles are set forth with great gusto."
Nothing, perhaps, which is recorded of this monk will go farther
toward proving him a myth than the miracles ascribed to his
While yet an infant he raised the dead, brought forth fire from
ice, expelled a devil from a heifer, caused a new river to appear
from the earth, and changed water into honey.
"These were but the infant sports of this wonder-working saint.
The miracles recorded in holy writ, even that of creation itself,
are paralleled, and, if possible, surpassed by those of our
spiritual hero."[155]
[155] Ledwich, Antiquities of Ireland.
Concerning St. Patrick, Forlong writes:
"Various Patricks followed from Britain and Armorika, but even
the Catholic priest, J. F. Shearman, writes that he is forced to
give up the idea that there ever was a real St. Patrick. Thus
the name must be accepted only in its Fatherly sense, and with
the fall of the man Patrick all the miraculous and sudden
conversions of the kings, lords, and commons of Ireland must
[156] Rivers of Life, vol. ii., p. 417.
The Irish Church bishoprics differed from the Romish in that they
were held by hereditary succession, after the custom of ancient
nations. All bishops were married.
Prior to the introduction of the Christian system in Ireland the
Sabian ceremonial had been succeeded by the Druidical, upon which
had been engrafted that of the Culdees, and notwithstanding the
fact that the Romish Church gradually usurped the ecclesiastical
functions in Ireland, the last named people who for ages had been
regarded as the depositaries of the ancient faith and the ancient
system of laws, were highly respected by the people for their
sanctity and learning. Many of the Greek and Roman writers who
have dealt with this subject agree in ascribing to the Druids a
high degree of scientific knowledge and mechanical skill. The
principles of justice set forth in their judicial system, their
love of learning, and the standard attained in the sciences and
arts, prove the early people of Ireland to have been equal if not
superior to any of the early historic nations.
In referring to the number and magnitude of the monumental
remains in Ireland, and while commenting on the mechanical skill
of the Druids, the Rev. Smedley says:
"I was present at the erection of the Luxor Obelisk in Paris, and
yet I think that I would have felt greater emotion if I had
witnessed the successful performance of the old Celtic engineer
who placed on its three pedestals of stone the enormous rock
which constitutes the Druidical altar here at Castle May."
It is believed that this people understood the art of mining and
that they were acquainted with the use of iron. The following is
an extract from one of Hamilton's letters on the Antrim coast:
"About the year 1770 the miners, in pushing forward an adit
toward the bed of coal, at an unexplored part of the Ballycastle
cliff, unexpectedly broke through the rock into a narrow passage,
so much contracted and choked up with various drippings and
deposits on its sides and bottom, as rendered it impossible for
any of the workmen to force through, that they might examine it
farther. Two lads were, therefore, made to creep in with
candles, for the purpose of exploring this subterranean avenue.
They accordingly pressed forward for a considerable time, with
much labor and difficulty, and at length entered into an
extensive labyrinth branching off into numerous apartments, in
the mazes and windings of which they were completely bewildered
and lost. After various vain attempts to return, their lights
were extinguished, their voices became hoarse, and, becoming
wearied and spiritless, they sat down together, in utter despair
of an escape from this miserable dungeon. In the meanwhile, the
workmen in the adit became alarmed for their safety, fresh hands
were incessantly employed, and, in the course of twenty-four
hours, the passage was so open as to admit the most active among
the miners . . . On examining this subterranean wonder, it was
found to be a complete gallery, which had been driven forward
many hundred yards to the bed of coal: that it branched off into
numerous chambers, where miners had carried on their different
works: that these chambers were dressed in a workmanlike manner:
that pillars were left at proper intervals to support the roof.
In short it was found to be an extensive mine, wrought by people
at least as expert in the business as the present generation.
Some remains of the tools, and even of the baskets used in the
works, were discovered, but in such a decayed state that, on
being touched, they immediately crumbled to pieces. From the
remains which were found, there is reason to believe that the
people who wrought these collieries anciently, were acquainted
with the use of iron, some small pieces of which were found; it
appeared as if some of their instruments had been thinly shod
with that metal."
Through various means the fact has been ascertained that although
in the sixth century the buildings in Ireland were mean and
wholly without artistic merit or skilful design, in an earlier
age they were magnificent. Of the causes which produced the
decay of architecture, the extinction of the arts and sciences,
and the general degradation of the people of this island the
devotees of St. Paul and of the Romish Church are alike silent.
For ages after the subjection of Ireland, in open defiance of the
English, the people continued to dispense justice, and to enforce
the old Brehon laws of the country.
The lack of regard shown for English law in Ireland, even as late
as the sixteenth century, is set forth by Baron Fingles, who
wrote in the time of Henry VIII. He says:
"It is a great abuse and reproach that the laws and statutes made
in this land are not observed nor kept after the making of them
eight days, while diverse Irishmen cloth abuse and keep such laws
and statutes which they make upon hills in this country, firm and
stable, without breaking them for any favor or reward."
By a statute of Parliament enacted at Kilkenny, it was made high
treason to administer or observe these old Brehon laws. The two
enactments especially obnoxious to the English were Gahail Cinne,
and Eiric. The former of these enactments was that which in
opposition to the English law of primogeniture declared that the
estate of a parent should descend in equal proportion to all
members of the family. There was another law, or custom, among
this people, which provided that the chief of the tribe or people
should be elected by general suffrage.
We have something more than a hint of the condition of ancient
Ireland and its people in a description given by the Greeks of
one of its inhabitants. Abarras, who visited Greece about six
hundred years before Christ, and who was called by the Greeks a
Hyperborean, was a priest of the Sun, who went abroad for the
purpose of study and observation, and to renew by his presence
and his gifts the old friendship which had long existed between
the Celts and the Greeks. Strabo remarks concerning Abarras that
he was much admired by the learned men of Greece. Himerius says
of him that he came
"not clad in skins like a Scythian, but with a bow in his hand,
and a quiver on his shoulders and a plaid wrapped about his body,
a gilded belt encircled his loins, and trousers reaching from his
waist downward to the soles of his feet. He was easy in his
address, agreeable in conversation, active in dispatch and secret
in the management of great affairs; quick in judging of present
occurrences, and ready to take his part in any sudden emergency;
provident, withal, in guarding against futurity; diligent in
quest of wisdom, fond of friendship; trusting very little to
fortune; yet having the entire confidence of others, and trusted
with everything for his prudence. He spoke Greek with so much
fluency that you would have thought that he had been bred or
brought up in the Lyceum and had conversed all his life with the
Academy of Athens. He had frequent intercourse with Pythagoras
whom he astonished by the variety and extent of his knowledge."
From the descriptions given of the native country of Abarras by
the Greeks, it is evident that it could have been none other than
Although at this time in their history, Apollo the sun-god was
the Deity worshipped in Greece and in Ireland, still both nations
honored Latona his mother. The same as in the mother country
(Persia, or Phoenicia), the oracles, or sybils of Ireland, had
prophesied a "Savior," and three hundred years before Greek
emissaries visited that country, its people, through the
preaching of Eastern missionaries, had substituted for the
worship of Latona and Apollo that of the new solar
incarnation--the third son of Zarathustra, whose appearance had
been heralded by a star.
The identity of the symbols used by the early people of Ireland
who were sun worshippers, and those employed in that country for
ages after the Romish Church had usurped the ecclesiastical
authority, has been a subject for much comment. After describing
the peculiar form of the early Christian Churches and the
attention paid to the placing of the windows which were to admit
the sun's rays, Smedley says: "It is possible, in an age of
allegory and figures, this combination and variety expressed some
sacred meaning with which we are unacquainted at present."
The similarity observed in the sacred festivals and religious
seasons of the ancient inhabitants of Ireland and those of the
early Christians, the extent to which large stone crosses,
lighted candles, the yule log and the various other symbols
belonging to fertility, or sun worship, were retained by
Christianity, furnish strong evidence of the fact that the latter
system is but part and parcel of the former.
"Throughout all the world, the first object of idolatry seems to
have been a plain unwrought stone, placed in the ground as an
emblem of the generative or procreative powers of Nature."[157]
[157] Celtic Druids, ch. vi., p. 209.
In the language of symbolism the upright stone prefigures either
a man, reproductive energy, or a god, all of which at a certain
stage in the human career had come to mean one and the same
thing; namely, the Creator.
In the earlier ages of male worship, upright stones as emblems of
the Deity were plain unwrought shafts, but in process of time
they began to be carved into the form of a man--a man who usually
represented the ruler or chief of the people, and who, as he was
the source of all power and wisdom, was supposed by the ignorant
masses to be an incarnation of the sun. Thus arose the spiritual
power of monarchs, or the "divine right of kings."
Wherever obelisks, columns, pillars, attenuated spires, upright
stones or crosses at the intersection of roads are found, they
always appear as sacred monuments, or as symbols of the Lingham
The Chaldean Tower of which there are extant traditions in Mexico
and in the South Sea Islands; the Round Towers of Ireland; the
remarkable group of stones known as Stonehenge, in England; the
wonderful circle at Abury through which the figure of a huge
serpent was passed; the monuments which throughout the nations of
the East were set up at the intersection of roads in the center
of market- places, and the bowing stones employed as oracles in
various portions of the world, have all the same signification,
and proclaim the peculiar religion of the people who worshipped
Whether as among the Jews in Egypt, a pillar is set up as a
"sign" and a "witness" to the Lord, or whether as with the
Mohammedans these figures appear as minarets with egg shaped
summits, or as among the Irish they stand forth as stately towers
defying time and the elements, or as among the Christians they
appear as the steeple which points towards heaven, the symbol
remains, and the original significance is the same.
The Lord of the Israelites who was wont to manifest himself to
his chosen people in a "pillar of smoke by day" and a "pillar of
fire by night" is said to be none other than a reproductive
emblem, as was also the "Lord" which "reposed in the ark of the
covenant." Monuments set up to symbolize the religion of the
Parsees or fire-worshippers after they had succumbed to the
pressure brought to bear upon them by the adorers of the male
principle were each and all of them, like their great prototype
the tower of Babel, typical of the universal creative power which
was worshipped as male.
Notwithstanding the fact that the male energy had come to be
recognized as the principal factor in reproduction, it is
observed that wherever these monuments or other symbols of
fertility appear, there is always to be found in close connection
with them certain emblems symbolical of the female power; thus
showing that although the people by whom they were erected had
become worshippers of the masculine principle, and although they
had persuaded themselves that it was the more important element
in the deity, they had not become so regardless of the truths of
Nature as to attempt to construct a Creator independently of its
most essential factor.
Protestant Christianity, probably the most intensely masculine of
all religious schemes which have claimed the attention of man,
has not wittingly retained any of the detested female emblems,
yet so deeply has the older symbolism taken root, that even in
the architecture of the modern Protestant church with its
ark-shaped nave and its window toward the rising sun, may be
detected the remnants of that early worship which the devotees of
this more recently developed form of religious faith so piously
The large number of upright columns, circles of stone, cromlechs
and cairns still extant in the British Isles, bears testimony to
the peculiar character of the religious worship which once
prevailed in them. Of these shrines perhaps none is more
remarkable than that of Stonehenge, in England. Although during
the numberless ages which have passed since this temple was
erected many of the stones have fallen from their original
places, still by the light of more recently established facts
concerning religious symbolism, it has been possible, even under
its present condition of decay, for scholars to unravel the
hitherto mysterious significance of this remarkable structure.
Stonehenge is composed of four circles of mammoth upright shafts
twenty feet high, the one circle within the other, with immense
stones placed across them like architraves.
In ancient symbolism the circle was the emblem of eternity, or of
the eternal female principle. Mountains were also sacred to the
gods. It has been said that a ring of mountains gave rise to
these circular temples. Faber assures us that a circular stone
temple was called the circle of the world or the circle of the
ark, that it represented at once the inclosure of the Noetic
Ship; the egg from which creation was produced; the earth, and
the zodiacal circle of the universe in which the sun performs its
annual revolutions through the signs. Stonehenge is said to be
the temple of the water god Noah, who, as we have seen, was first
worshipped as half woman and half fish or serpent, but who
finally came to be regarded as a man serpent (or fish) Deity.
On approaching Stonehenge from the Northeast, the first object
which engages the attention is a rude boulder, sixteen feet high,
in a leaning posture. This stone has been named the Friar's
Heel, but until recently its signification has been wholly
Regarding the upright shaft which stands sentinel over the
mysterious circles of mammoth stones called Stonehenge, Forlong
says that it is no Friar's Heel, but an emblem of fertility
dedicated to the Friday divinity. It is represented as the
"Genius of Fire," not the genius of ordinary fire, "but of the
super-sensual Divinity, celestial fire."
Regarding these remarkable stones to which the Lingham god is a
mere introduction, Forlong says:
"No one who has studied phallic and solar worship in the East
could make any mistake as to the purport of the shrine at
Stonehenge . . . yet the indelicacy of the whole subject often
so shocks the ordinary reader, that, in spite of facts, he cannot
grant what he thinks shows so much debasement of the religious
mind; facts are facts, however, and it only remains for us to
account for them. Perhaps indeed in these later times an
artificial and lower phase of sensuality has taken the place of
the more natural indulgence of the passions, for procreative
purposes, which principally engrossed the thoughts of early
[158] Rivers of Life, vol. ii., p. 233.
Higgins is of the opinion that Stonehenge is the work of the same
era with the caves of India, the pyramids of Egypt, and the
stupendous monument at Carnac--a structure which, it is claimed,
must have required for its construction an amount of labor equal
to that of the pyramids.
Undoubtedly there has never been a religious shrine which has
excited more curiosity than has Abury, of which, unfortunately,
nothing now remains, although in the early part of the eighteenth
century enough had been preserved to prove the identity of its
signification with other ancient religious monuments both in the
British Isles and in the countries of the East. Perhaps there is
no way by which this shrine can be better understood than by
quoting the exact language of those who have written upon the
subject. Especially is this true concerning the testimony of
those who, after personal investigation, have given to the public
the results of their research.
In the History of Wiltshisre, published by Sir R. Colt Hoare,
Bart., appears the following from Dr. Stukeley:
"The situation of Abury is finely chosen for the purpose it was
destined to, being the more elevated part of a plain, from whence
there is almost an imperceptible descent every way. But as the
religious work in Abury, though great in itself, is but a part of
the whole (the avenues stretching above a mile from it each way),
the situation of the whole design is projected with great
judgment, in a kind of large, separate plain, four or five miles
in diameter. Into this you descend on all sides from higher
ground. The whole Temple of Abury may be considered as a
picture, and it really is so. Therefore the founders wisely
contrived that a spectator have an advantageous prospect of it as
he appeared within view. When I frequented this place, which I
did for some years together, to take an exact account of it,
staying a fortnight at a time, I found out the entire work by
degrees. The second time I was here, an avenue was a new
amusement; the third year another. So that at length I
discovered the mystery of it, properly speaking, which was, that
the whole figure represented a snake transmitted through a
circle. This is an hieroglyphic or symbol of highest note and
"In order to put this design in execution, the founders well
studied their ground; and to make their representation more
natural, they artfully carried it over a variety of elevations
and depressions, which, with the curvature of the avenues,
produces sufficiently the desired effect. To make it still more
elegant and picture-like, the head of the snake is carried up the
southern promontory of Hackpen Hill, toward the village of West
Kennet; nay, the very name of the hill is derived from the
circumstance. . . . Thus our antiquity divides itself into
three great parts, which will be our rule in describing this
work. The circle at Abury, the forepart of the snake leading
toward Kennet, which I call Kennet Avenue; the hinder part of the
snake leading toward Beckhampton, which I call Beckhampton
Avenue; for they may be well looked on as avenues to the great
temple at Abury, which part must be most eminently called the
"The plan on which Abury was built, is that sacred hierogram of
the Egyptians and other ancient nations, the circle and snake.
The whole figure is the circle, snake, and wings. By this they
meant to picture out, as well as they could, the nature of the
The temple which represents the body of the snake is formed by a
circular agger of earth having its ditch withinside. As this is
contrary to the mode adopted in works of defence, it is thought
to prove the religious character of Abury. In a description
given of this shrine by Higgins is the following:
"These ramparts inclose an area of 1400 feet in diameter, which
on the edge nearest the ditch was set round with a row of rough,
unhewn stones, and in the center was ornamented with two circular
temples, composed of the same native stones."[159]
[159] Celtic Druids. Description of plates, p. xx.
The space of ground included within the vellum has been estimated
at twenty-two acres, and the outward circumvallation was computed
at 4800 feet. The number of stones that formed this outer circle
was originally one hundred, of which, in the year 1722, there
were eighteen standing, and twenty-seven thrown down.
In the village of Rudstone in Yorkshire there stands a huge
stone, the significance of which, at the present time, is by
scholars clearly understood. Its depth below the surface of the
ground is said to be equal to its height above, which is
twenty-four feet. It is five feet ten inches broad, and two feet
thick, its weight being upwards of forty tons.[160]
[160] See Rivers of Life.
The gigantic rocking stones found in nearly every quarter of the
globe are now known to be religious monuments of remote
antiquity. Not long ago I saw a description of one of these
oracles in Buenos-Ayres, South America, and a few months later
there appeared the following account of a similar stone found in
Sullivan Co., N. Y.:
"At first sight it would scarcely attract attention, but a closer
observation reveals the remarkable position which it occupies.
The total weight of the immense boulder has been variously
estimated at from forty to fifty tons, and its bulk at from 500
to 700 cubic feet. It is almost perfectly round, much resembling
a huge orange, and so nicely balanced on a table of stone as to
be easily set in motion by a single man, providing the operator
exerts his strength on the north or south sides. On either of
the other sides the combined strength of forty elephants would
not be sufficient to cause the least oscillation. Although it is
easily rocked, we are assured that as many men as could surround
it would be unable to dislodge it from the pivot on which it
[161] The St. Louis (Mo.) Republican.
The writer of the above, who was evidently ignorant of the extent
to which these monuments are scattered over the earth, seemed to
regard it as a singular freak of Nature with no significance
other than that of a natural curiosity.
The round towers of Ireland, over the origin of which there has
in the past been so much controversy, are now pretty generally
admitted to be analogous in their use and design to Stonehenge,
Abury, and other extant monolithic structures.
Many writers have endeavored to prove that these towers were
belfries used in connection with Christian churches; others that
they were purgatorial columns or penitential heights, similar in
design to the pillar of St. Simeon Stylites. Others again have
argued that they were used as beacons and others that they were
intended simply as receptacles for the sacred fire known to have
formerly been in use in the British Isles. Although numberless
arguments have been brought forward to refute these theories, it
is thought that the expensive architecture alone of the elegant
and stately columns known as Round Towers contradicts all these
"guesses," and that their grandeur and almost absolute
indestructibility proclaim for them a different origin from that
of the lowly and miserable huts which in a later age were erected
beside them for purposes of worship by the Romish Christians.
The same objection is made also against the theory that these
monuments were erected in memory of the several defeats of the
Danes. As an answer to the argument that they were erected by
the Danes to celebrate their victories, it is declared that such
is the character of the hieroglyphics upon them as to make this
theory worthless. Besides, throughout the country of the Danes
and Ostmen, there is nowhere to be found an example of
architectural splendor such as is displayed in the construction
of these columns. In the north of Scotland was one of these
monuments upon which were depicted war-like scenes, horses and
their riders, warriors brandishing their weapons, and troops
shouting for victory, while on the other side was a sumptuous
cross, beneath which were two figures, the one evidently female,
the other male.
In Cordiner's Antiquities of Scotland is a description of an
elaborately carved obelisk. On one side of this column appears a
mammoth cross, and underneath it are figures of uncouth animals.
Among these carvings are to be seen the Bulbul of Iran, the Boar
of Vishnu, the elk, the fox, the lamb, and a number of dancing
human figures. In fact all the configurations are not only in
their nature and import essentially Eastern, but are actually the
symbols of the various animal forms under which "the people of
the East contemplated the properties of the Godhead."
Carnac, in upper Egypt, is a monolith of the same symbolic
character. It is hewn from a solid block of black granite and is
eighty feet high.
Henry O'Brien, a cultured Irishman, who when in London became, in
his own line of investigation, one of the chief contributors to
Fraser's Magazine while at its best, in response to a call by the
Royal Irish Academy for productions relating to the origin and
use of the Round Towers, declared that they were erected by a
colony of Tuath-de-danaans, or Lingham worshippers from Persia,
who had left their native land because of the victories gained
over them by their rivals--the Pish de-danaans--a sect of Yoni
worshippers; in other words, the sect which recognized the female
element as the superior agency in reproduction, and who,
therefore, worshipped it as divine. In the devastating wars
which swept over Persia and the other countries of antiquity
prior to the age of the later Zoroaster, the Pish-de danaans were
victorious, and, driving from the country the Tuath-de danaans,
or male worshippers, succeeded in re-establishing, and for a time
maintaining, the old form of worship. O'Brien claims that the
Tuath-de-danaans who were expelled from Persia emigrated to
Ireland, and there continued or preserved their favorite form of
worship, the Round Towers having been erected by them in
conformity to their peculiar religious views. This writer
assures us that the old Irish tongue bears unmistakable evidence
of the relation existing between these countries. In addition to
the similarity of language which is found to exist between
ancient Ireland or Iren, and Persia or Iran, the same writer
observes that in all their customs, religious observances, and
emblems, the resemblance is preserved.
Much regret has been expressed by all the writers who have dealt
with this subject that at an earlier age when Stonehenge, Abury,
and various other of the ancient monumental shrines of the
British Isles were in a better state of preservation, and before
bigotry and religious hatred had been aroused against them, more
minute observations of their character and of all the details
surrounding them could not have been made; yet, notwithstanding
the late date at which these investigations were begun, it is
believed that a fair amount of success has crowned the efforts
which have been put forth to unravel the mysteries bound up in
When we remember that every detail connected with the sacred
monuments of the ancients was full of significance that their
religious ideas were all portrayed by means of symbols which
appeared in connection with their sacred edifices--the extent to
which a thorough understanding of these details would assist in
revealing the mysteries involved in the universal religious
conceptions may in a measure be realized.
The identity of the symbols used to express religious ideas, and
the extent to which the conceptions of a creative force have been
connected in all portions of the globe, are set forth in the
following from Barlow:
"A complete history of religious symbolism should embrace all the
religions of antiquity no less than the Christian, and it would
require as thorough a knowledge of their tenets as of our own to
explain satisfactorily its influence in regulating the practice
of art."[162]
[162] Symbolism, p. 10.
Although the sun was formerly worshipped as the source of all
good, at a certain stage in the human career it came to be
regarded as the cause of all evil. When Typhon Seth comprehended
the powers of Nature, as the Destroyer and Regenerator she was
the author of all good; but later, after the truths underlying
Nature worship were lost, Typhon, the hot wind of the desert, was
feared rather than worshipped.
In the history of an earlier age of existence, there is not to be
found the slightest trace of human sacrifice to atone for the
sins of the people, or to appease the wrath of an offended God.
On the contrary, throughout the traditions and monumental records
of the most ancient nations, sacrifices to the Deity-- the God of
Nature--consisted simply in the acknowledgment of earth's
benefits by means of a free-will offering of the bounties which
she had brought forth.
That the sacrifice either of human beings or of animals was not
offered in an earlier age of religious faith is confidently
asserted and, I think, proved by various writers. Of this
Higgins says: "I think a time may be perceived when it did not
exist even among the Western nations." This writer states also
that it was not always practiced at Delphi. Mention is made of
the fact that among the Buddhists, to whom belongs the first book
of Genesis, no bloody sacrifices were ever offered.
It was doubtless under the worship of Muth, Neith, or Minerva,
the first emanation from the deity and the original Buddha, that
the first book of Genesis or Wisdom was written. In this book
may be observed the fact that the slaughter of animals is
forbidden. It is thought that with Crishna, Hercules, and the
worshippers of the sun in Aries, the sacrifice of human beings
and animals began. In the second book of Genesis, which is said
to be a Brahmin work, animals are first used for sacrifice, and
in the third book, or the book of Generations or Re-generations
of the race of man or the Adam, which was written after the pure
doctrines connected with the worship of Wisdom had been
corrupted, they are first allowed to be eaten as food.
It is supposed that the practice of sacrificing human beings and
animals took its rise in the western parts of the world after the
sun entered Aries, and that it subsequently extended even to the
followers of the Tauric worship, among whom it was carried to a
frightful extent. It is also thought that the history of Cain
and Abel is an allegory of the followers of Crishna to justify
their sacrifice of the yajna or lamb "in opposition to the
Buddhist offering of bread and wine, or water, made by Cain and
practiced by Melchizedek."[163]
[163] Anacalypsis, vol. i., p. 101.
It is now positively known that all over the world, during a
certain stage of religious belief, either human beings or animals
were, at stated seasons, sacrificed to the Deity. Of the
universality of this practice Faber says:
"Throughout the whole world we find a notion prevalent that the
gods could be appeased only by bloody sacrifices. Now this idea
is so thoroughly arbitrary, there being no obvious and necessary
connection, in the way of cause and effect, between slaughtering
a man or a beast, and recovering of the divine favor by the
slaughterers, that its very universality involves the necessity
of concluding that all nations have borrowed it from some common
[164] The Origin of Pagan Idolatry, vol. i., book 2, p. 465.
Dr. Shuckford is constrained to admit that the sacrifices and
ceremonies of purification practiced by Abraham and his
descendants and those of surrounding peoples, were identical,
with only "such trifling changes as distance of countries and
length of time might be expected to produce." The substitution
of a lamb in the place of Isaac would seem to indicate a change
from child-slaughter to that of animals.
Sacrifices were offerings to the god of pro- creation. Certain
representatives of the life which he had bestowed must be
returned to him as a free-will gift. In many countries, the
victims offered to the deity were captives taken in war; but, as
prisoners of war and slaves were not permitted to join in the
battles of their captors, their lives were of little value;
hence, later, it is observed that the sacrificial victim must be
a prince or an individual whose life was of great importance to
the tribe.
As in all hot countries the heat of the sun is the most
destructive agency against which mankind have to contend, it is
not perhaps singular, at a time when superstition had usurped the
functions of the reasoning powers, that the sun-god should have
been invested with the attributes inspired by terror, and that so
far as possible, mankind should have deemed it necessary to
propitiate its wrath, and, by rendering to it suitable offerings
and sacrifices, they should have hoped to avert the calamities
incident to its displeasure. Neither is it remarkable when we
remember the peculiar circumstances surrounding the Jews, and the
fact that the offerings demanded by their god was the life which
he had bestowed, that the sacrifices offered to Moloch, the fire
god, should have been the members of their own household--namely,
their children.
We must not forget that the reward promised this people by
prophet, priest, and diviner for godliness was extreme
fruitfulness of body. We have seen that to obtain this mark of
godly favor, or, under pretense of serving their god, the form of
worship prescribed by their priests, and adopted both in their
households and in their temples was pre-eminently sensual, and
calculated to stimulate and encourage to the highest extent their
lower or animal nature.
As the size of a man's family, or his power to reproduce, was an
index to his favor with the Almighty the pleasure of the "Lord"
in this matter being but the reflection of his own desires, the
result as might reasonably be expected was overpopulation to such
an extent that the means of subsistence within the small boundary
of Judea was inadequate to supply the demands of the swarming
masses of "God's children"--children which had been created for
his honor and glory. Surely some plan must be devised whereby
these difficulties might be adjusted, and that, too, to use a
modern expression, without flying in the face of Providence. As
the Lord had been honored and man blessed in the mere bringing
forth of offspring, what better scheme, so soon as such blessings
became too numerous, than to return a certain number of them to
the giver, the god of Moloch? It is true that by this process
children were born only to be delivered over to the ravages of
the fire- god, but by it, was not their deity both served and
appeased at the same time that population was kept within the
bounds of subsistence? That great numbers were thus sacrificed is
only too apparent from the accounts in the Jewish
scriptures--Abraham's acts and those of Jephtha being examples of
the manner in which this god was propitiated.
In Micah, vi. chap., 7th verse, occurs an interrogation which
furnishes something more than a hint of the practice among the
Jews of child sacrifice. "Shall I give my first born for my
transgressions, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?"
Although there is sufficient evidence to prove the enormous
extent to which the practice of child sacrifice prevailed among
the Jews, it is believed that much more proof would be found, had
it not, in later times, with a view to concealing the extent of
this practice, been expunged from their sacred writings. Moloch
was to the Jews what Siva came to be to the Hindoos, namely, the
Terrible. It is plain, however, that Siva was not formerly
feared in India, but next to Vishnu was the best beloved of all
their gods. Siva was originally the androgyne god who was not
only the Destroyer, but the beneficent Regenerator and purifier.
It was the cold of winter and the heat of the sun. It was a
conception which was a direct outgrowth of Nature worship or of
that religious idea which was portrayed by a mother and her
The conception involved in sacrifice seems to be that of a
payment for services rendered, or desired. The Amazulus, when
going to battle, sacrifice to the manes of their ancestors, who,
as older branches of the tree of life, appear to constitute their
god-idea. This is done that their gods "may have no cause of
complaint, because they have made amends to them and made them
bright." On appearing before the enemy they say: "Can it be,
since we have made amends to the Amadhlozi, that they will say we
have wronged them by anything?"[165]
[165] Viscount Amberley, Analysis of Religious Belief, vol. i.,
p. 32.
At a certain stage in human history the various peoples of the
globe depended upon excessive numbers for their prosperity, hence
the most precious offering to the god of pro-creation was that of
human victims.
In India, when a new colony or city was founded, in order to
insure its prosperity, large numbers of children were delivered
over as a bribe or offering of reconciliation to the god of
virility. The enormous extent to which human sacrifice has
prevailed in India, in Egypt, in Mexico, among the Carthaginians,
the Jews, the Druids, and even among the Greeks and Romans, is
well attested.
From the records of extant history, it would seem that human
sacrifice usually accompanies a certain stage of sun-worship.
Among the Aztecs in Mexico, a country in which the sun was a
universal object of reverence and in which one of the prescribed
duties of the boys trained in the temple was that of keeping
alive the sacred fires, the immolation of victims became the most
prominent feature of their public worship. We are distinctly
told, however, that human sacrifice was not formerly practiced in
Mexico, but that finally here as elsewhere, the idea became
prevalent that by sacrificing human victims to the god of
Destruction, his wrath might be appeased and the people saved
from his vengeance. It is stated that human sacrifices were
adopted by the Aztecs early in the fourteenth century, about two
hundred years before the conquest. "Rare at first, they became
more frequent with the wider extent of their empire; till, at
length, almost every festival was closed with this cruel
Notwithstanding these atrocities, in their conceptions of a
future state of existence, and especially in their disposition of
the unregenerate after death, are to be observed certain traces
of human feeling and refined sensibility which are difficult to
reconcile with the cruelty practiced in their religious rites,
and which bear a striking contrast to the physical torture, to
which after death the wicked are subjected not only in Mexico,
but in countries professing a high stage of civilization and
Of their religious observances, those which had doubtless been
inherited from an older civilization, Prescott, quoting from
Torquemada and Sahagun, says:
"Many of their ceremonies were of a light and cheerful
complexion, consisting of the national songs and dances, in which
both sexes joined. Processions were made of women and children
crowned with garlands and bearing offerings of fruits, the
ripened maize, or the sweet incense of copal and other
odoriferous gums, while the altars of the deity were stained with
no blood save that of animals. These were the peaceful rites
derived from their Toltec predecessors."[166]
[166] See Conquest of Mexico, book I, chap. iii., p. 74.
Prior to the days of Montezuma, the Aztec priests had engrafted
upon these simple ceremonies not only a burdensome ceremonial,
and a polytheism similar to that of Eastern nations, but, as we
have seen, human sacrifices and even cannibalism had become
prominent features in religious worship. Throughout the entire
ceremonial and religious conceptions of the Aztecs may be
observed a display of the savage and brutal elements in human
nature, in close connection with unmistakable evidence of a once
higher stage of culture and refinement.
In the later ages of Aztec history their most exalted deity was
Huitzilopotchi, the Mexican Moses, the god of war. His temples
were the most costly and magnificent among the public edifices in
the country, and his image bedecked with ornaments was an
universal object of adoration. At the dedication of his temple
in the year 1486 more than seventy thousand captives are said to
have perished.[167]
[167] Torquemada.
A Deity which occupied a conspicuous place in the mythology, and
which was probably an inheritance from more ancient times, was
Quetzalcoatl, doubtless the same as the Eastern Goddess of
Nature, or Wisdom. She was the "grain goddess," and "received
offerings of fruit and flowers at her two great festivals. She
also took care of the growth of corn. She was doubtless the same
as the Earth Mother of the Finns and Esths, she who "undertakes
the task of bringing forth the fruits." She is evidently the
Demeter of the Greeks, the Ceres of the Romans, etc. She is also
the goddess of Wisdom, for she had "instructed the nations in the
use of metals, in agriculture, and in the art of government."
Under this Deity the
"Earth had teemed with fruits and flowers without the pains of
culture. An ear of Indian corn was as much as a single man could
carry. The cotton, as it grew, took, of its own accord, the rich
dies of human art. The air was filled with intoxicating perfumes
and the sweet melody of birds. In short, these were the halcyon
days, which find a place in the mythic systems of so many nations
throughout the world. It was the golden age of Anuhuac."
We are given to understand that for some cause not explained the
beneficent god Quetzalcoatl was banished, that he (or she) was
deposed through the influence of some deity which had become more
popular, or, at least, more powerful; but that when Quetzalcoatl
departed from the country "in a winged skiff made of serpent
skins," it was with a promise to return to the faithful, which
promise was sacredly cherished down to the time of the Spanish
The Mexican Mars, Huitzilopotchi, was born of a virgin. His
mother, a devout person, while at her devotions in the temple saw
floating before her a bright colored feather ball, which she
seized and placed in her bosom. She soon became pregnant, her
offspring being a god, who like Minerva appeared full armed with
spear and helmet.
Although the exact manner in which the Mexicans sacrificed to
their Deity to atone for the sins of the people differs somewhat
from the modus operandi employed in the Christian vicarious
atonement, still the likeness existing between them is sufficient
to indicate the fact of their common origin and the similar
manner of their development.
The Mexicans were wont to select a young and handsome man from
their midst, whom they invested with the dignity of a god. After
having surrounded him with every luxury, and when they had
showered upon him every attention, crowning him with flowers and
worshipping him for a year or more as a Savior, they killed him,
offering him as an atonement or sacrifice, in order that the rest
of the people might escape the vengeance of their great Deity,
who, it was claimed, is pleased with such offerings, and who
demands sacrifices of this kind at the hands of his children.
Within blood was contained life, hence the offering of a bloody
victim was but the returning to their god, as a free-will gift
that which he had bestowed, such sacrifice being regarded as the
only acceptable means of grace or reconciliation.
That the offering of a victim to the Jewish God was deemed
necessary to the fulfilment of Christian doctrine is a fact which
is clearly shown by numerous passages in the New Testament. "We
are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ
once for all." "By one offering he hath perfected forever them
that are sanctified."[168] "Christ was once offered to bear the
sins of many."[169]
[168] Hebrews, x., 10, 14.
[169] Ibid., ix., 28.
That the Jewish Paschal feasts and the Eucharistic rites of
Christians had their counterpart among the Mexicans is observed
in the fact that shortly after the death of their god, cakes
which had been prepared and blessed by the priests were offered
by them to the people to be eaten as the veritable body of their
sacrificed lord.
The source whence the doctrine of an atonement --a bloody
sacrifice which lies at the foundation of Christian theology--has
proceeded is not at the present time difficult to determine, for
we shall presently see that it, like all the leading doctrines
contained in this later system, and which are regarded as
exclusively Christian, had its origin in the religion of past
ages, a religion which although originally pure, in course of
time degenerated into the grossest phallicism and even into human
sacrifice and cannibalism.
Although among the Mexicans as among the Jews, human sacrifices
were offered to the Deity, no hint of gross and sensual rites
practiced in the temples of the latter is recorded. Hence, as
the Mexicans had not arrived at that stage of religious progress
(?) at which sensuality inculcated as a sacred duty, and at which
moral and physical debasement was encouraged both in public and
private life, we may reasonably conclude that their faith
represents a somewhat earlier stage of development than does that
of either Jew or Greek. In point of morality, as judged by the
most ancient standards, or by the more modern, the Mexicans
compare favorably with either of these nationalities. Indeed
when we compare the social, religious, and civil conditions of
Mexico as we find them under Montezuma with those of the Jews
under David or Solomon, or with those of the Greeks under Solon,
or even with those of the Christians during the Spanish
Inquisition when thousands upon thousands, not of captives taken
in war, but of the noblest and best of the land, were yearly
slaughtered for "the glory of God," there is quite as much to
meet the approval of an enlightened conscience under the first
named system as under that of any one of the other three.
By priests the fact has long been understood that effects may be
produced through appeals to the religious or emotional nature
which under other circumstances would be impossible; and as, for
thousands of years, it has been the special business of this
class to formulate creeds for the ignorant masses, religious
belief and the ceremonies connected with "sacred" worship, during
certain periods of the world's history, have assumed a
grotesqueness in design unsurpassed by the most fanciful fairy
tales which the imagination has ever been able to create, at the
same time that they have portrayed a depth of sensual degradation
capable of being reached only by that order of creation which
alone has been able to develop a religion.
In Egypt, the cross when unaccompanied by any other symbol
signified simply creative energy both female and male, but
whenever a distinctively female emblem was present it denoted the
male power alone. The Ibis, which is represented with human
hands and feet, bears the staff of Isis in one hand and the cross
in the other. There is scarcely an obelisk or monument in Egypt
upon which this figure does not appear. The symbol or monogram
of Venus was a circle and a cross, that of Saturn was a cross and
a ram's horn.
Plato declared that the son of God was expressed upon the
universe in the form of the letter X, and that the second power
of the supreme God was figured on the universe in the shape of a
There is little doubt that the early Christians understood full
well the true meaning of the cross, and that it was no new
device. In later ages, however, every monument of antiquity
marked with this symbol was claimed by the Church and by it
believed to be of Christian origin.
It is related that when the temple of Serapis at Alexandria was
overthrown by one of the Christian Emperors, beneath its
foundation was discovered the monogram of Christ. The Christians
made use of this circumstance to prove the divine origin of their
religion, "thereby making many converts." The Pagans, on the
contrary, were of the opinion that "it should forever silence the
claim put forward by the devotees of Christianity." It is
plain, however, that the Christians had the better of the
argument for "the cross being uneasy under the weight of the
temple overthrew it."
On the coins of Decius, the great persecutor of the Christians,
is to be observed the monogram of Christ which is also the
monogram of Osiris and Jupiter Ammon. On a medal proved to be
Phoenician appear the cross, the rosary, and the lamb. There is
another form of the same monogram which signifies DCVIII. These
devices although in use hundreds of years prior to the Christian
era are all said to be monograms of Christ. At the present time
they may be seen in almost every church in Italy.
In the cave of Elephanta, in India, appears the cross in
connection with the figure which represents male reproductive
power. Inman relates that a cross with a rosary attached has
been found in use among the religious emblems of the Japanese
Buddhists and the lamas of Thibet, and that in one of the
frescoes of Pompeii, published at Paris, 1840, is to be seen,
vol. v., plate 28, the representation of a phallic cross in
connection with two small figures of Hermes.[170]
[170] Inman, Ancient Faiths Embodied in Ancient Names, vol. i.,
p. 408.
The Rev. Mr. Maurice adds his testimony to that of other
investigators to show the universality of this emblem. He says
that the principal pagodas in India, viz., those of Bernares and
Mathura, are built in the form of a cross.
In the museum of the London University is a mummy upon whose
breast is a cross "exactly in the shape of a cross upon Calvary."
The true significance of this emblem, and the reason for its
adoration are not, at the present time, difficult to understand;
but whence comes the symbol of a dead man on a cross, and what is
its true meaning?
Perhaps there is no problem connected with ancient symbolism, or
with mythical religion, which is more difficult to solve, than is
the representation of a dying Savior on a cross. It is stated by
those who have investigated this subject, that although the sun,
or the fructifying power within it, was adored by all the
historic nations, no hint of a cross is to be found amongst the
most ancient Nature worshippers. We must then look for a
solution of this problem to those ages in which the higher truths
of an older race were partially forgotten, and to a time when
phallic worship had supplanted the adoration of Light or Wisdom.
The cross doubtless came into use as a religious emblem at a time
when the sexes in union began to stand for the god-idea, the
lower end of the upright shaft being transfixed to the horizontal
As soon as the male energy became god, the cross gradually grew
into the figure of a man with arms extended. It became the
original "life giver," it was Adam, the creator of the race.
Doubtless for ages Adam represented the god-man-phallus-Tree of
Life, or cross idea. He was the progenitor of the race. From
this same idea sprang ancestor worship, or the deification of the
past vital spark. The adoration paid to the Lares and Penates,
the household gods of the Romans, on the first of May, is an
example of this worship, as is also the homage paid by the
Chinese to their progenitors.
Of religious emblems R. P. Knight says that one of the most
remarkable among them is a cross in the form of the letter T
which was used as an emblem of creation and generation before the
church adopted it as a sign of salvation. To this representation
of male reproductive power "was sometimes added a human head,
which gives it the appearance of a crucifix, as it has on the
medal of Cyzicus."
Originally the figure of a dead man on a cross typified creation
and destruction or the operations of the creative forces in
Nature. Everything dies only to live again. Although man dies,
and although the individual man becomes but a dead branch on the
tree of life, still the tree lives. Through the cross- phallus
idea, or through man's power to create, existence on the earth
continues. Although the sun dies in winter, in spring it revives
again to quicken and enliven Nature and make all things new.
There is much evidence to show that a dying figure on a cross was
no new conception at the advent of Christianity. Crishna, whose
history as we have seen is almost identical with that of Christ,
and Ballaji, from whom the thorn-crowned figures of Jesus have
doubtless been copied, are illustrations of this mythical figure
of a crucified savior in India.
It seems altogether probable from the facts at hand that the
Romans worshipped a cross with a dying figure of a man upon it.
Minucius Felix, a Christian father, in defense of his religion,
has the following passage:
"You certainly, who worship wooden gods, are the most likely
people to adore wooden crosses, as being parts with the same
substance as your deities. For what else are your ensigns,
flags, and standards but crosses gilt and purified? Your
victorious trophies not only represent a simple cross, but a
cross with a man upon it. When a pure worshipper adores the true
God with hands extended, he makes the figure of a cross. Thus
you see that the sign of the cross has either some foundation in
Nature, or in your own religion, and therefore not to be objected
against Christians."
Higgins says that it is proved as completely as it is possible to
prove a fact of this kind that the Romans had a crucified object
of adoration, and that this could be no other than an incarnation
of the God Sol, represented in some way to have been crucified.
An ancient medal found in Cyprus has upon one of its sides the
figure of a crucified man with the chaplet or rosary, the same as
those now in use by Romanists. From the style of workmanship it
is thought that this medal must have been anterior to the
Macedonian conquest.
There is little doubt that the early fathers and the bishops in
the Christian church recognized in the cross the ancient emblem
of fertility, but as the idea of a spiritual life had begun to
take root, it was deemed proper to conceal its real significance;
hence from a symbol representing the continuity of existence on
the earth the cross now prefigured eternal life or existence
after death. Henceforward although man was dead in
transgressions, through the cross, or through the crucified
Christ, he received eternal life.
That the original signification of this symbol was understood by
early Christians is apparent from the fact that the Emperor
Theodosius, between the years 378 and 395, issued a decree
prohibiting the sign of the cross being sculptured or painted on
the pavements of churches. Tertullian also, after declaring that
the devil made the sign of the cross on the foreheads of the
followers of the Persian Mithra, accused the Christians of
adoring the same emblem.
In 280, A. C. Porphyry, referring to crosses, asked why
theologists give passions to the gods, erect Phalli and use
shameful language; to which the Christian Iamblichus in the year
336 replied: "Because Phalli and crosses are signs of productive
energy, and provocative to a continuance of the world."
It was not until the second century, or until after the days of
Justin Martyr, that the instrument upon which Jesus was executed
was called a cross. But whatever may have been its form, as soon
as the myths of former religious worship began to attach
themselves to his history, he became the symbolical dead man on a
cross, the original sacrifice to Mahadeva. He portrayed the same
idea as did Crishna, Ballaji, the dying Osiris, and all the other
sun-gods. He, like each of these, represented a new sun at the
beginning of a new cycle. He was a risen savior, and to him were
finally transferred all the festivals, seasons, symbols, and
monograms of former solar deities. That the figure of a dead man
on a cross was a familiar emblem throughout Asia and various
portions of Europe, and that numberless crucified
gods--incarnations of the sun--have been worshipped throughout
the East, is a fact which it has been the aim of the initiated
among the Christian clergy to conceal, but one which no one who
has examined the evidence with a mind free from prejudice
attempts to deny.
In Italy, on many of the earlier pictures of Christ, may be
observed the words Deo Soli, which inscription signifies either
"to the only God," or "to the God Sol."
Of the various so-called Christian antiquities which cover the
walls of the Vatican, we are assured by those who have acquainted
themselves with the signification of pagan symbolism that "they
have no more reference to Christianity than they have to the
Emperor of China." The same may be said with reference to the
representations on the walls of the Catacombs.
Crishna, who was the equinoctial sun in Aries, appeared 2160
years after the first Buddha, who was the equinoctial sun in
Taurus. According to Plutarch they were both modern gods when
compared with the deities which gave names to the planets.
Buddha, or the sun in Taurus, was worshipped in the form of a
bull. Crishna, or the sun in Aries, was adored under the figure
of a ram with a man's head. The true significance of these
figures was the fructifying sun or reproductive energy as
manifested in animal life, and this meaning to those who
worshipped them was identical with the carved figures on the
caves of India, the Lares and Penates of the Romans, and the
stone pillars or crosses in the market-places and at the
intersection of roads in Brittany.
Eusebius says that at Elephanta they adored a Deity in the figure
of a man in a sitting posture painted blue, having the head of a
ram with the horns of a goat encircling a disk. The Deity thus
described is said to be of astronomical origin, denoting the
power of the sun in Aries.
This figure, which was one of the representations of the sun-god
Crishna, was worshipped both in India and in Egypt. In various
of the manifestations of this Deity he appears in the act of
killing a serpent. He was the dead man on a cross and also the
sun, which although continually dying is constantly being revived
again. Various incarnations of this God have appeared as
crucified saviors.
Of the avatar of Crishna known as Ballaji or Baal-Jah little is
positively known. Indeed there seems to be some impenetrable
mystery surrounding this figure, which makes it impossible for
scholars to absolutely prove that which by means of the evidence
at hand amounts almost to a certainty.
A print by Moore of this god represents him in the shape of a
Romish crucifix, but although there is a nail hole in his foot he
is not transfixed to a wooden cross. Instead of a crown of
thorns a Parthian coronet encircles his head. As all the avatars
of Crishna are represented with coronets, this fact has caused
several writers to observe that the effigies of Ballaji have
furnished the copies for the thorn-crowned Jesus. Through the
ignorance of the early Christians who in the second century
adopted the religion of Crishna, the true significance of this
coronet was not understood, hence the thorns upon the head of
Christ. In referring to the effigy of a crucified savior found
in Ireland the author of The Round Towers says that it was not
intended for our Savior for the reason that it wore the Iranian
regal crown, instead of the Jewish crown of thorns.[171]
[171] The Round Towers of Ireland, p. 298.
Regarding this effigy, Higgins remarks that the crucified body
without the cross reminds one that "some of the ancient sects of
heretics held Jesus to have been crucified in the clouds."
Moore, who has produced several prints of Ballaji, says he is
unable to account for the pierced foot of a crucified figure in
India. He endeavors to prove, however, that this crucifix cannot
be Hindoo "because there are duplicates of it from the same
model." As the mould is made of clay, he contends that only one
cast may be made from it. This argument falls to the ground,
however, so soon as it is found that duplicates, or copies of
these brass idols which may not be distinguished from the
originals, are seen in the museum at the India House, and also in
that of the Asiatic Society.
The admission of Moore that "great influence was brought to bear
upon him to induce him not to publish the prints of Ballaji for
fear of giving offense," serves as a hint in determining the
cause for the lack of information respecting this god.
It is believed that, were the development of truth upon this
subject rather than its concealment the object of Christian
missionaries, the temples of Ballaji would have furnished more
important information to the Christian world than would those of
any other of the Hindoo gods; but while numberless pilgrimages
have been made to Juggernaut and other shrines devoid of interest
to the student, we have heard little concerning the shrines of
this deity, although at the time Moore wrote, Terputty was in the
possession of the English who made a profit of L15,000 a year
from the temple.
On the Brechin Tower in Ireland are two arches one within the
other in relief. At the top of the arch is a crucifix, and about
midway from top to bottom on either side are two figures which,
according to Romanist Christians, represent the Virgin Mary and
St. John. At the bottom of the outer arch are two couchant
beasts, the one an elephant and the other a bull. The figure on
the cross has a Parthian coronet. The appearance of a crucifix
on the towers of Britain and Ireland has in the past led many
writers to ascribe to these singular structures a Christian
origin. To the critical observer, however, the first question
which presents itself is whence comes the elephant--an animal not
found within these countries?--and again why should these beasts
have been placed here as Christian emblems? The facts in the case
as revealed by unprejudiced investigators are, that the towers in
Ireland are not Christian monuments, and that the crucifix found
on them is not that of Christ but of Ballaji, or of some one of
the avatars of Crishna.
The fact that the figure of Crishna as a crucified god was found
in the ruins of a temple at Thebes in Egypt, is sufficient to
prove his antiquity; still, as we have seen, he represents the
god-idea at a much later date than did Buddha. Regarding the
evidence furnished by the Rev. Mr. Maurice of the ten avatars of
the Indian sun-god, Higgins observes:
"The only fact worthy of notice here is, that Buddha was
universally allowed to be the first of the incarnations; that
Crishna was of later date; that, at the era of the birth of
Christ, eight of them had appeared on the earth, and that the
other two were expected to follow before the end of the Caliyug,
or of the present age."
With reference to the fact that the Hindoo God originally
represented Wisdom or the Logos, the same writer says:
"Then here is DIVINE WISDOM incarnate, of whom the Bull of the
Zodiac was the emblem. HERE he is the Protagonos, or first
begotten, the God or Goddess Mhtis of the Greeks, being, perhaps,
both male and female. Buddha, or the wise, if the word were not
merely the name of a doctrine, seems to have been an appellation
taken by several persons, or one person incarnate at several
periods, and from this circumstance much confusion has
[172] Anacalypsis, book v., p. 201.
Concerning the religion of an ancient race the following facts
have been ascertained, namely:
The first of the Buddhas or Incarnations of the Deity was
Minerva, and her mother, who was the sun, was the mother of all
the Buddhas. She was Mhtis, Mubt or Mai, "the universal genius
of Nature, who discriminated all things according to their
various kinds of species."
In the earliest ages she comprehended not only matter but the
moving force in the universe. She was the Deity which by a very
ancient race was represented by the mother idea--Perceptive
Wisdom. She was the sun and the first emanation from the sun.
She was the Divine Word, the Logos, the Holy Ghost which in the
time of Christ was again by various sects recognized as female.
The allegory of the Greeks concerning Jupiter taking Mhtis
(Wisdom) to wife and from this union with her producing Minerva
from his head, is seen to be closely connected with the doctrine
of Buddha (Wisdom) or of the Rasit of Genesis. According to
Faber, the import of the Greek word Nous and of the Sanscrit Menu
is precisely the same: each denotes mind or intelligence, and to
the latter of them the Latin Mens is nearly allied. "Mens, Menu,
and perhaps our English mind are fundamentally one and the same
word." All these terms in an earlier age meant Buddha, Wisdom,
or Minerva.
Later, with the worship of the sun in Aries, appeared a crucified
savior. During the earlier ages of Crishnaism, the ideas
typified by a dying savior were still those pertaining to the
processes of Nature. Matter was still believed to be
indestructible and seeming death but a preparation for renewed
life, or for birth into another state of existence Subsequently
this dying sun-god, which disappeared in winter only to return
again to re-animate Nature, became a veritable man--a man on a
cross who must be sacrificed to Mahadeva in order that humanity
might be saved. Here we have the origin of the doctrine of a
Vicarious Atonement. Later, under the system called
Christianity, woman, who had previously become identified with
the evil principle, became the Tempter. She was the cause of sin
in the world and wholly responsible for the evil results arising
from desire. Indeed, according to the doctrines annunciated by
the Christian Church, had woman, who was an after thought of the
Almighty, never been created, man would have lived forever in a
state of purity and bliss, free alike from the toils, pains, and
temptations of life, and from the crafts and assaults of the
Through the over-stimulation of the animal instincts man had
become wholly unable to overcome the evil in his constitution,
hence the adoption of the doctrine of Original Sin and the
necessity for an Atonement, or for a crucified savior, who would
take upon himself the sins of poor, weak human nature. By simply
believing on this crucified redeemer, man would be saved, not
from sin itself, but from the penalty of sin. To bolster up the
belief in original sin and the necessity for an atonement, the
allegory of the fruit tree and the serpent in Genesis was taken
The more the religion of the past is studied the more plainly
will the fact appear, that not only have the ceremonies, symbols,
festivals, and seasons adopted by Christianity been copied from
India and Persia, but also that all the leading doctrines of the
so-called Christian Church originated in those countries. The
belief in a Trinity, the Incarnation of the Deity, a Crucified
Savior, Original Sin and a Vicarious Atonement, the last three
having been elaborated after the ancient natural truths
underlying sun worship had been forgotten, are all to be found in
the East.
The doctrine of a Trinity is supposed to have been received
directly from the Platonists, who had learned it from the
Persians; while that of a Crucified Savior, and also that of the
seed of the woman bruising the serpent's head, belong, as we have
seen, to the religion of Crishna.
Concerning Original Sin, which is the foundation of the doctrine
of the "Atonement," it is plain that it was not known to the
earlier followers of Christ, but that it was subsequently copied
from the corrupted religion of the Hindoos.
The symbolical meaning of the serpent and the Tree of Life was
doubtless understood by the earliest adherents to the Christian
faith; it is not surprising, therefore, that by them there is no
mention of the doctrine of Original Sin. Their theory to account
for evil in the world was the same as that of an ancient and
almost forgotten race. The belief that the soul of man is a
spark from, or a part of the universal soul, that at the death of
the body it returns to its source, and in process of time appears
as the animating principle in other bodies, was believed by
Pythagoras, Aspasia, Socrates, and Plato and, in fact, for
thousands of years it was entertained by the best and wisest of
the human race. It was a part of the early Christian doctrine
and is still believed by the followers of Buddha and by the
Theosophists of Europe and America.
Doubtless the doctrines of Re-incarnation and Karma were set
forth by those very ancient philosophers who were the near
descendants of the inventors of the Neros and the Metonic
cycle--those who believed in the indestructibility of matter, and
that spirit proceeds from or is evolved through it. It was an
effort on their part to solve the problem of the existence of
evil, and was far more satisfactory to the reasoning mind than
was the literal translation of the story of the woman, the
forbidden apple, and the talking serpent in Genesis.
Original sin of which woman is said to be the cause, and the
necessity for a spiritual (male) savior to deliver man from the
wretchedness which she had produced, are doctrines which took
their rise in the grossest ignorance, and in an entire
misconception of the natural truths which had previously been set
forth by the figure of a dying sun-god. Original Sin and a
Vicarious Atonement--doctrines by means of which man has
attempted to evade moral responsibility and the legitimate
results of evil-doing--have, by weakening his moral sense, and by
shifting the responsibility of his deeds upon another, resulted
in greatly lowering the standard of human conduct.
Science teaches that the penalty for sin is inherent in it, and
that virtue is its own reward; the so-called Christian doctrines
assert that although a man's sins be as scarlet, they may, simply
through a certain belief, become white as wool. It has been
claimed that a belief in original sin caused all the human
sacrifices in ancient times and that it "converted the Jews into
a nation of cannibals."
That the system which has borne the name of Christianity is an
outgrowth of Sun, Serpent, and Phallic faiths is so plainly
proven by the facts brought out by later research as no longer to
be a matter of reasonable doubt to those who have given any
considerable degree of attention to this subject. The more
exalted ideas which from the time of Zoroaster to that of Jesus
had been struggling for existence, and which through various
means had been gradually gaining a foothold, were, by the influx
of Crishnaism, soon choked out, and mythical Christianity, which
was but a gathering in of the grosser forms of the prevailing
Hindoo faith, mounted the throne of the Roman Empire.
During the nineteen hundred years that have elapsed since the
inauguration of this system, little has been understood
concerning the real philosophy of Christ--a philosophy which is
seen to be simply a recognition of those higher scientific truths
enunciated by an ancient race.
The fact is observed in these later times that the altruistic
principles involved in these teachings contain the highest
wisdom--that they form the basis of a true social science, and
that a high stage of civilization will never be reached until
these principles are recognized as the foundation of human
conduct Unselfishness, purity of life, and the brotherhood of man
will never be realized so long as man shifts the responsibility
of his wrong-doing upon another.
Quite recently the fact has been proved that the progressive
principle originated in the female constitution; that in
sympathy, a character which has its root in maternal affection,
lies the key to human progress. Conscience and the moral sense
are outgrowths of sympathy; therefore, that which distinguishes
man from the lower orders of life originated in and has been
developed through the female organization.
When these plain scientific truths, which are so simple as
scarcely to need demonstration, become popularized, doubtless our
present god-idea will undergo a process of reconstruction, and
the later development will probably involve conceptions more in
keeping with science and human reason. Surely a scientific age
will tolerate no religious conception whose principles are not
founded on truth. The worship of a male god as the sole creator
and sustainer of the universe is as unphilosophical as it is
unreasonable and unscientific.
As in many ways at the present time, mankind seems inclined to
retrace its steps, and as upon its onward march humanity is
beginning to manifest a willingness to return to truer and more
primitive methods of thought and action, it is not impossible
that in the not distant future, Perceptive Wisdom and the
altruistic principles, together with the power to give life, may
again be divinely enthroned in the place so long usurped by
physical force and virile might.

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