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4. Maya Mater,
6. Isis, Horus, Osiris.
7. Samothracian Mysteries.
8. Mystery Cult of Sabazius.
At the end of the opening paragraph of this article about Zeus and the innumerable cults, festivals, games, shrines, and observances in honor of him, and about the totemistic tribes and peoples, it was stated that the latter may more than once have developed finally not into Zeus-worship but into Ancient Mysteries. The tribe as a "cult" would thus be enumerated among the origins of the Mysteries. There were other and dissimilar origins, because once grant the single and central fact that man and not a god was in the middle of a Mystery Cult, one of them might have originated out of anything—from the lengthening and increasing fame of one man, of whom Orpheus is the great example (Euhemerus attempted to explain every cult and mystery as having thus been originated); or from a long-continued custom; or around some imported foreign cult; or out of some such private school or movement as the cult established by Pythagoras; or on the basis of some art. As there was no the religion, no the Mystery Cult, so was there no the origin of Mystery Cults. To a Greek (or, in a lesser degree, any other Ancient man) nothing lay farther outside the range of his thought than the above-discussed doctrine that one, and only one, religion can be "true"; nowhere in his mind could he find a thought to serve him as the means to think such an idea, even as a theory. Yet by complete contrast the idea that one. and only one, religion can be "true" is so firmly rooted in our own Modern minds that we can nowhere find a thought to serve us as a means to adopt the Greek idea even as a theory. 'This is a dilemma; at least it is an impasse; unless it can be eleared there is no possible meeting of our minds with the Ancient Greek mind. "What of it," a Modern man may retort: "it is at best nothing more than a matter of theories." But it isn't! And it isn't, at least here and now, because unless this dilemma is resolved we must abandon any hope of understanding either the Ancient public cults of religion or the Ancient Mysteries. The solution is found in a Greek term which the Greeks themselves used, and apparently always used, to describe their ceremonies, rites, and observances of religion; this was dromenon. It meant "things done," with emphasis on the doing of them. To them religious rites were dromena. But a modern man almost never thinks of using the verb "to do" in any of its forms when describing his own religion, but almost invariably describes it as something "believed,)' or as "faith;" he insists that his religion shall be true in the full sense of "true" because he requires of it that it shall truthfully give him the facts about his own soul, his world, about death, and about God. A Christian can engage in worship in its almost absolute form, almost without moving; the Mystics, who have been the absolute worshippers in this sense, have been the first to call for private, motionless meditation, contemplation, silent prayer. A Modern American can observe for himself a form of religion in which dromenon still is the central core, if on any August 4th he goes to watch the Annual Corn Dance in the Pueblo of Santo Domingo, New Mexico. Throughout the whole of one day some 400 men and women of that very old Pueblo enact in their largest plaza a set of ceremonies which they have preserved for many centuries almost unchanged. The men are nude, except for a kilt and soft deer-skin shoes; they are painted, have turquolse and silver necklaces, armlets, and bracelets; carry a gourd rattle in one hand, and a handful of evergreen in the other. At one side is a chorus like a Greek chorus, composed mostly of the older men, who chant ancient songs around their great tombes (drums). White people call the continuous and tireless ceremony a "dance;" but it is not a dance; it is dromenon in the Greek sense. The Pueblo people are themselves very clear about what they are doing. Far under the earth is shipapu, the Underworld. Strom it all Indian peoples came in the first place, climbing out to the Upperworld; when a Pueblo Indian dies he returns to it, and the funeral ceremonies are to guide him in his four-day journey to its entranee. In this Underworld there abide forever a number of katcinas, a word for which we have no translation, not even a remote one, because the katcinas are not gods, goddesses, souls, demons, spirits, or "elemental or any such thing. Each of them has its own place in shipapu; it must be very large; and in shape they differ as much as an eagle differs from a serpent. It is some one of these katcinas which of itself is responsible for the existence and the activity in the Upperworld of some one kind of thing—the birth of children, rivers, growing of corn, a rain, the winds, remedies for diseases, etc.. etc. But while each of the katcinas thus acts as if it were a god to some department or sphere of things it can be set in motion by men if they know the exact ceremony to use, because it is the purpose of ceremonies to effect, or move, or affect a katcina. The Corn Dance of August 4th is therefore not a dance, but is a series of dromena, of "doings," of means the secrets of which are in the custody of the Caciques which men possess to put the katcinas into operation for their own purposes. Ceremonies, rites, observances in the larger part of the Ancient World were just such ways and means to control, or direct, or make use of those supernatural forces or beings which were to them what katcinas are to the Pueblo (and almost all other) Indians. It is not faith, belief, or worship "but a way of getting things done." The wheat farmer at Eleusis used dromena not for worship but as one of the practical arts of his agriculture, to make soil rich, to make rain fall, to make the seeds fertile, and to protect the growing grain against insects, drouths, and wind storms. Whenever any man discovered aIly Secret, word, incantation, spell, ceremony which he believed could accomplish such purposes it was used, just as farmers will use many different implements, fertilizers, and tools for a similar purpose; and just as it would occur to no farmer that it was necessary for others to use exactly the same plow as himself, so it did not occur to any Ancient Man that every other man should use the same dromenon. "Religions" of a hundred sorts could therefore flourish side by side. If these differences between what Ancient religions consisted of and what our own consists of are one way by which we can have a meeting of our own minds with the minds of Ancient men, that meeting can be made complete if we go on to see that they had many gods, goddesses, etc. with inconsistencies and selfcontradiction among them, because the things which were meant by the gods were themselves disparate and unconnected with each other. This fact can be described by the formula: there is remind" outside of man. By this is meant the fact that outside of us many things are, or exist, or are in being, or are born, or live, or happen which if we ourselves were to do the same things would require us to think, reason, understand, plan, have emotion and feeling, and go according to purposes. A snow-flake has a pattern; if we produce a pattern we must design it. A beaver builds a home, ants construct a city, and bees build a eomb of geometric and engineering perfection; if we build and construct we must use plans and models. Animals have families, live in clans and tribes, go in schools and flocks and bevies, have regular meeting-places, travel in fixed routes, have communities and residences, etc.; among us, comparable things are possible only by organization and social institutions. Earth itself as one thing among many is not a chaos and never was, and it gave Ancient men the impression of one Great Being, with a life of its own, because it had fixed seasons, dav and night, and out of it came plants in a regular order, and in it were countless things which were as delicately patterned and designed as a piece of lace; and the ocean appeared to breathe and to have emotion. There were also in that outside world activities which in behavior had the appearance of men's behavior, and therefore Ancient men described them in the same terms as their own behavior; the wind "breathed," stones "slept," plants and animals "fought" with drouth, night "swallowed" the sun, and in his own experiences with these outside events an Ancient man felt that he was at grips with a "something" very like himself, which vv as opposed to him, or was vis a vis with him; it acted as if it were a man itself. Of such facts or materials were the gods, heroes, monsters, and supernatural machinery made; so that in essence and in the long run a god was descriptive, was a setting or imaging forth of something which actually existed or occurred, and it is because of this that for us long afterwards the gods continue to be so inexhaustible and vital in literature, painting, music, and dancing. If the Ancient stories and forms of Venus, and of the many Venuses, could be collected, and could be logically arranged, they would present a not incomplete picture of love, as would any of the other Greater Gods for other things. Since these things which exist, or live, or occur in the outer world appeared to Ancient men to be somewhat unlike men and women and yet very like men and women it is plain that the gods are tantalizing to the thinking mind because they are never one thing or another; it is also clear why among Ancient men there were so many instances of what modern technical jargon has described as anthropomorphism, animism, transmigration, theanthropy, supernaturalism, superstition, etc., etc.; finally, it also is plain that the mindlike, or man-like, things and events in the outer world were separate from each other, and independent of each other, because in plain observation they do occur separately. If a wind was a messenger which brought a whisper of knowledge to the Oaks at Dodona, that wind had no connection with Poseidon while the latter was heaving a stormy tide off the Pireus; if Sabazius drew the seasons along behind him, he was not associated with the Demeter who ripened the corn. our own many thoughts, ideas, reasonings, and meanderings occur in one mind; Ancient men could see no one mind everywhere outside them, but saw many "minds." They did not take events, things and occurrences to be particular patterns in a single web, but as disparate, independent, unconnected; and since what they took the realities to be outside them was thus an unorganized indefinite number of separate and unlike things, their religious cults and their Mysteries also were filled with independent and unconnected and often antagonistic gods, goddesses, etc.; and in consequence the dromenon in one Cult or Mystery was wholly unlike the dromenon in another; and one of them might even make war on the other. If these facts are themselves partly an explanation of the number of differences among the Ancient Mysteries, they also bring into focus the point of greatest difference between Ancient men and ourselves, because for us there is Matter, everywhere the same: Life, with its own universal ways; Being always composed of the same things by which men can continue to be; the mind everywhere the mind; one world; one God. This discovery that there is but one world (or cosmos, or universe) and that everywhere and in spite of their differences the arts and sciences, religion, philosophy, mathematics, etc., are one, is that which brought the Modern Age into existence, and separated it off from the Middle Ages; and it means that it is not time which separates us from the Ancient Age as much as it is this fundamental difference in thought which extends to the bottom of things. Ancient men said: "There are countless numbers of things, scareelv any two alike." Modern man says: "There is but One, and that One is everywhere." If Ancient public religious cults and the Mysteries differed radically from each other because of the reasons thus given, one more question remains to be answered before the meeting of our minds with the minds of Ancient men can be complete. If the Mytery Cults differed so much from each other why were they nevertheless collectively called by the same name? Wherein, amid the many points of difference was the one identity? When Christianity came it brought its discovery that any man, regardless of who or what he is, "means much to God." It was said in other paragraphs that the Mysteries themselves ads proached closely to this truth because in them also a man, and not something natural or anything supernatural, was in the middle of them. The public religious cults were for sake of the gods. The Mystery Cults were for the sake of men. At that point they were alike. Here again we meet with the abysmic dishotomy which separates Ancient men from Modern men; for Ancient men were no more able to think of the welter of unlike peoples and tribes as belonging to one Mankind than they were of thinking that the welter of unlike things and events belonged to one World. Any Ancient Egyptian people considered themselves to be men and women, but the Abyssinians on the one side and the Arabs on the other they took to be "somthings" (though man-like), belonging to other "species." To the Ancient Hebrew, Jehovah was his God, and also his God, he and his were men and women, they were people; but non-Hebrews were "others" were "outsiders," were in some sense "non." When Marco Polo first went into Chin, the northerly of the Chinese lands, it took him months to convince others that he also was a man; the Chin people had a name for themselves which meant "man;" others, "the beyond-sea somethings," were not men. The Greeks themselves were men and women; others were barbaroi—a "they knew not what." The Latin root gen, which in one form or another meant man, was always in one way or another the Roman's name for themselves. The Navajo Indians similarly call themselves dings, which means man; they do not even ask themselves what other "beings" are (whites, and other Indians) because they are nothing but unknown "somethings. " Thus when Christianity arrived with its discovery that "a man, any man, means much to God" the first Christians themselves found it difficult to decide what or who was to be included under the word "man." Were the cannibalistic Ethiopians? Were the Antipodeans? That question was so difficult to answer, after the thousands of years when nobody anywhere had an inkling of Man, that even as late as the Nine teenth Century civilized Englishmen were still praeticing slavery, and here in the democratic United States many men as late as 1865 A.D. were stilt refusing to accept a Negro into the Family of Man, and bought and sold Negro men, women, and children like cows and horses; and clerical slave-owners justified themselves as against the Gospels by their formula: 'A man means much to God, but a Negro is not man." The Civil war decided against them, but it took a war to decide! It was almost impossible for any Ancient people to believe that Whites, Yellows, and Blacks belonged to one Mankind, still less that thousands of tribes and clans could. The discovery that there is but man, that the White, Yellow, and Black races, though races, are still races of one man; and that in their nature, their anatomy-as-a-whole, men everywhere in the world are one family, was as slow to discover, as difficult, as resistant to what appeared to be daily experience and common knowledge, as was the discovery that there is but one World. Christianity reached that fact through religion; the Ancient Mysteries reached it through the humbles commonplace, every-day associating of many different sorts of men—or, if they did not fully reach it, came close to it, and helped pave the way to it. It was this which they had in common; and, again, and to repeat what is said elsewhere, it is this which gives them their analogy to Freemasonry, and has preserved a "mystic" (though not historical) tie between them and our Fraternity. . But in spite of the jungle-like growth and diversity of Mystery Cults great and small (both in Greece and elsewhere) a principle was at work in and through them which has been insufficiently noted, and certainly it has been insufficiently studied, which is one of the most over-topping of the major principles in the history of culture everywhere in the world, and as important in culture as gravity is in physics. This is the principle which in the history of Freemasonry is described as the Transition from the Operative to the Speculative. It would appear to some of us that the time has come, for in data now at hand the evidence is ripe, for a scholar of prime repute to write a great book about that principle, for it is unquestionably a law of the history of culture, and without it much in that history will evermore continue to be dark, confused, unintelligible. In the history of Freemasonry it is this principle which binds together into a single unity the great (and otherwise unconnected) periods of Masonic history, the Operative, the Transition, and the Speculative. Any Freemason reading these statements may be understandably reluctant to have the writer make such claims for what he (the Freemason) has always taken to be a fact in Masonic history but not of importance elsewhere; he is naturally tempted to fear that the writer is permitting himself to be carried away by an enthusiasm for Freemasonry into snaking what might appear to anybody to be an exaggerated claim for something peculiar to Freemasonry, and varied never before has been exalted into a major principle of history, valid throughout the world, and throughout all time. Those fears can be allayed by a more precise formulation of the argument: 1. the argurnent is not that a purely Masonic principle is to be generalized into a law of culture; 2. the argument is that the principle of "Transition from Operative to Speculative" is a universal principle already, and was true and in operation everywhere before Freemasonry began; and 3. that the appearance of it in that special chapter in culture which is called the history of Freemasonry is but one of a hundred instances of it. It is only because the principle is valid everywhere that it is valid in Freemasonry. (In reality it is the solution of the "problem" of Masonic history.) We modern men, and we modern American men in particular, have fallen into the habit of assuming that if we learn anything (of any size or moment) we must learn it from being told about it, or learn it from reading about it. (We have formed that habit from our public schools and from reading newspapers.) But that is not true. one of the most necessary and one of the largest sources in which we find whole bodies of knowledge is works. "Work, and thou shalt know" is as true a saying as "Go to school, and thou shalt know." nothing is more impossible, and it is tempting to say more absurdly impossible, than the current notion that work consists of nothing but the use of the hands and of tools. In work, within work, out of work, while at work, not only is the whole man engaged but the whole man is engaged in one of the forms of work, and engaged with one of the kinds of material in which are many sorts of things belonging to soil, animals, plants, etc., etc.; it is impossible for a man to continue year after year engaged in work without learning from it (or in it) a world of facts about himself, about every possible kind of material, every conceivable process or tool, about the world, and about other men—except he is a worker nobody can be an educated man even in the loosest academic sense of "education." And it has been in work, and almost never in schools and books, that the discoveries have been made in the arts, to say nothing of the discovery of the arts themselves. Thousands of attempts have been made to trace the origin of the few major arts and sciences, and the hundreds of the smaller arts and sciences, and also mathematics, to some famous man, like Pythagoras, or to some famous school, like Aristotle's; each and every one of those attempts has failed because no one of the arts and sciences or the branches of mathematics has ever been invented by one man, but each one was found out, and patiently pieced together detail by detail until perfection was reached, by generations of men, in a number of countries, while at work. When at work the Ancient Egyptian (more than 95% of them) tilled small fields, diked the river, made and kept clear a net-work of small irrigation ditches, erected water-wheels, constructed flumes, computed the times and amounts of the Nile flood, calculated the cubic footage of irrigation waters, set up landmarks, and had many of those things to do over again each year after the flood subsided, among the things they were thus doing were to measure, to calculate to compute, not as something intellectual, separate, or abstract, but as a necessary part of the work. For convenience they worked out various tables and formulas for calculation, which a mxn leamed by Hera 'rhis mathematics in their work was only a part of the work, but it was as much a part of it as spading or dike making. If they computed an area, it was the area of a field; if they calculated a volume, it was a volume of water; and they were not interested in points, lines, angles, areas, etc., for any other purpose. This was Operative Geometry, and until the Greeks came into Egypt it was the only geometry they had. "Speculative" geometry (pure, abstract) came when the Greeks, and by much thinking, began to see that lengths, areas, volumes can be computed without the computor's knowing the lengths, areas, volumes of what. Two and two are four, two apples, two stones, two men, two rivers, etc. Egyptian operative geometry would have always been limited to the few practical uses of farming; "speculative" geometry was universal and practicable anywhere by anybody for anything; even a philosopher could use it, and Plato said that "God geometrizes"—as Speculative Masons later were to say, "God builds." In the same sense in which he thus had measuring, calculating, computing in his daily work, the same Egyptian had himself, other men, a way of working together, of being in association, of co-operating, a deal of fellowship in its form of singing and conversing, accidents and others gathering about the the victim to give him relief, of boys being taught, of old men slowing up the work and calling for patience and consideration; and that which they produced by their work was food, and clothing, and houses, and medicine for their families as well as for themselves. About these things the Egyptian worker thought much, felt much, for them he had much emotion, and oftentimes he would add something about them to the general stock of sayings, mottoes, adages, observances, ceremonies belonging to the community. The whole body of these latter belonged to him as an Egyptian, as an Egyptian farmer, and as living in some particular community. Later, these merely local and temporary and agricultural elements were caught up into a larger synthsis, the whole of it was universalized, and given a form in which men of other peoples and of any art or trade could use it. This universalizing of a fellowship and fraternity which had for generations been confined to men of one people and one trade resulted in the growth and formation of the Egyptian Mystery Cults. There was thus a movement in Egyptian cultural history which began as a body of "operative" practices and then went on through a transition period to become at the last a set of "speculative" fraternities; and that in these latter which was true for non Egyptian and non-farmer continued to be true (the fact is often overlooked) for the Egyptians and farmers (as Speculative Freemasonry now continues to be as true for operative architects and builders as ever it was). There are modern American towns, townships, counties which correspond to Ancient Egyptian areas or communities of a like kind, but it is impossible for an American community to develop into a Mystery Cult, or anything similar to one, and in no matter how many generations of time, because the American community or area is too fluid.. Families continue to move in and out; any man can go where or when he pleases, or come; if two men cannot get along together they merely cease to see each other; if a man cannot endure the group of workmen he begins to work with he quits and hunts up a different group; and if a group finds one workman recalcitrant he is excluded ("fired"). A man born into an Egyptian community remained in it (with few exceptions, and most of them in a few cities) as long as he lived; he had to find a way to associate peaceably with others because he could not go away from them, nor they from him; he and his family were rooted in the same spot, and the community itself also was rooted because it lay within fixed boundaries. Such a community became a unit and this unit came in time to have a "life" of its own and when it did it might become a Mystery Cult. In this Cult there were meeting rooms, assemblies and the other means and ways of fellowship with which Freemasons are familiar. Freemasons need not have any difficulty in understanding the rites, sym bols, and ceremonies they used (each one a crystal lization out of some old custom or tradition or practice) though they had a form so unlike anything we see in America. Their Ra was very much what our T.S.G.A.O.T.U. is to us; their Horus was little more than our Candidate; their Nile-in-Heaven was analagous to our Grand Lodge Above; their ceremony of a Judgment Day was in principle our Obligation; if thev represented ideas and truths by crocodiles, cats, ibises, hawk-headed men, etc., no one of them is more extraordinary than our custom of representing T.S. G.A.O.T.U. by a triangle, with a blazing sun in it. What for centuries had been "operative" in an Egyptian community (and in a very striking parallel with our Operative Freemasons' Community) became in time "speculative," and a number of Egyptian Mystery Cults were this "speculative" form. And, to ret peat what has already been said, if Freemasonry from 1000 A.D. or 1100 A.D. to the present has very striking analogies with Egyptian Ancient Mysteries (as well as with many others) it is not because one of those Mysteries was preserved, still less that it "effused" Freemasonly; the latter came into existence by virtue of the same cultural law of "from Operative to Speculative" as the former, and it is because they are two instances of that same law that they are in fundamental points so much alike. There would be Freemasonry if there had been no Egyptian Mystery Cults, there could have been Mystery Cults without any Freemasonry coming afterwards, but always there has been in operation the law of the Transition from Operative to Speculative and as a result always there will be fraternities, fellowships, etc., as well as arts and sciences.
The Mystery Cult in which Mithra was to its ritual what HA.-. is to ours was the oldest, the most interesting and became the most powerful of any. Each attempt to trace its history leads the researcher farther and farther back until he reaches a period before the Sanskrit-speaking peoples of Mesopotamia had divided. leaving one branch to go into India, the other to move westward into Europe. But it is not possible that an organized cult should have as long a history- a truer aeeount would be to say that when the cult was organized it made use of much which was very old. According to its symbolism the Sun (Ormazda) had a Son named Mithra, who represented that "young" light which comes into the sky before the sun rises. This young Hero God came into the world to make war on evil- evil was represented by a bull; the scene in which he stew the bull was called the taurobolium- after that victory he returned to sit in the presence of his Father, and from there commanded his legion of loyal soldiers on the earth. There are no written books for the early period of the Cult but a mass of internal evidence shows that in its "operative" period it began in the acts and practices of soldiers, as Knightly Chivalry (and Masonic Templarism) was to merge out of the acts and practices of Medieval soldiers 2000 years later. These soldiers drilled; went on campaigns in companies, were under a commanding officer; ate together and lived in barracks; and because of this work in common they came to have a body of social practices, moral standards, religious ideals, and comradeship; it was this latter which gradually svas released from soldiering (operative) and became the Mystery of Mithra. That Mystery was a fraternity built on comradeship; as ours is a fraternity built on a skilled craft; where ours is a Lodge of workmen, their Mithreum vras a company. The first mithrea were established in Persia, and their hallmark (like our square and compasses) was a picture or a sculptured bas-relief showing the young and soldierly Mithra stabbing the recumbent bull—it is doubtful if in the whole history of the world any one picture has been seen by as many men, meant so much to them, or played as large a part in history itself, it is one of the supremely great picture compositions. When mithrea were established in Phrygia its members there altered the picture by putting a Phrygian cap on the Hero's head. Later. at about 100 B.C., after mithrea were established in Greece, Greek artists and sculptors gave the composition its final perfection why it is not as famous a masterpiece of art as the Temple of Diana or the statue of Aphrodite it is difficult to explain; it ought to be. From Greece mithrea were carried over into Italy (which was one-fourth Greek at the time), and there the Mystery (like Freemasonry in the nineteenth Century) began suddenly to grow, and hundreds of thousands of men, most of them soldiers, sailors, and travelers, crowded into it. There are ruins of mithrea over the whole Mediterranean world and from Ireland to the Danube, as from the Baltie to Egypt. A number of the Roman emperors were members; it was so powerful that it, and not popular paganism, was the great obstruction in the path of Christianity; and it eame so near to being adopted officially by the Empire that the poet-theologian Renan (with pardonable exaggeration) said that at one time the flick of an Emperor's wrist might have predestined us all to be Mithraists. It could never have become a universal religion because it was not a religion; it did, however, become for two centuries the underlying framework which gave the many Roman Imperialisms their unity. As a Lodge is both the Masons who compose it and the room or building in which they meett so a mithreum waa both the temple and the members. The temple was built half underground. It had a lodge room, large and tiled, with benches on the side, and stations for officers.. Members were divided into seven grades. They were admitted after having proved to be qualified, and as candidates they were conducted through a series of initiations. The climax was the taurobolium, in which the candidate stood under a grating, on which Mithra's slaying of the bull was literally enacted, its blood pouring down through the grating upon the candidate. A part of the "legend" was that after a "soldier" died he appeared before Mithra who was his judge as well as his commander; if he had been loyal (to "Mithra, god of soldiers") he was promoted to an everlasting heaven; if disloyal, he was demoted into an everlasting hell. The officers of the mithreum (sometimes called "priests") enforced a set of rules and regulations; they had a eanon of writings (like our Standard Work); a Secretary kept the records; there was a box for charity; the mithreum conducted burial services upon request; and a member had modes of recognition to identify himself to fellow members wherever he might go. (Many thousands of .Mithraic inscriptions have been found.) Its breaking up and its casing were stretched over a period of time, and came for many reasons, among them the decay of the Empire, the demoralization of the army, the attack on it by Christianity. When it passed away it passed so completely that for centuries almost every trace of it was lost until in the past century areheelogists began to excavate ruins of the mithrea. There is nowhere any evidence of any connection historically between it and Freemasonry.
Eleusis was one of the Old Attie cities. It lies 14 miles northwest of Athens, in what had once been a region so fertile and of grain crops so abundant that Demeter was fabled to have her home there. At some unknown date, probably before Solomon built his Temple in Jerusalem, a small temple was erected in Eleusis; as time passed, and because it was in use by a slow-growing Mystery Cult, it was rebuilt many times, larger and larger; a stone wall enclosed the large preemets; at the time when Alarie destroyed them in 396 A-D. (the year 400 A.D. stands tor Europe's darkest hour), they must have been as a whole impressive beyond anything of its kind ever bailt since; especially as the buildngs and the mans Zooms were filled with altars, sculptstures, carved work, tapestries, gold and silver work, and gems without price. The principal building was entered through the broad Portieo of Philo; its main hall was caned the Hall of Mysteries, and had benches at the side: from it postulants were led out into a Saered Way, and from it were led into any one of a number of small tempies, shrines or crypts, erected separately, among them the Temple of Philo, the Temple of Artemus, a large Propylaea, and a small Propylaea. The solemnity and richness of the ceremonies must have been almost overwhelming during the period from 500 B.C. to 100 A.D., and it would have been strange if they hadn't been because both Greeks and Romans poured into Eleusis an uncounted treasure and unsurpassable artistic talents. But to a Masonie student the period which fell possibly as early as 1000 B.G. or even 1500 B.C. is far more interesting, because it once again illustrates the principle of "from Operative to Speculative." The grain farmers about Eleusis remained rooted in their communities generation after generation; they did their work eo-operatively, and according to very old fixed rules, many of them so ancient that the earrying out of them had become ceremonies. The whole eommunity acted together, at the same work, according to the same calendar, with the same observances and festivals; and with a fixed number of ideas of how, what, where, and when to plant which beeame "an agricultural orthodoxy." The Mystery Cult was the "speculative" form of the once operative practices of the farmers' community. It is almost impossible to guess what the rites were beeause the disclosure of secrets was punishable by death, and the few texts about them in the Greek and Latin writings and in the Patristie writings reveal little, and at the same time eontradiet each other; however, there is general agreement that the climax of initiation was a symbolic burial and a raising—a rite not uncommon in the Ancient World, either in the Occident or in the Orient. What must have influenced and impressed the candidates above all else was the fact that it was a marls and not a god, who was thus raised! The raising of a god would have meant little to anybody, because the gods were of a miraculous substance anyhow, and a raising of one would have been merely one more miracle, and miracles in Greek religion were commonplace beeause they were multitudinous: to raise a man meant that man is eternally in That Whieh Is; and that men are not animals or plants, but belong to another order of things. What this meant to the Greeks it is impossible to measure; the effects of it are on every page of Plato, and are themselves the subject matter of the philosophy of Plotmus, who was himself the Plato of a later period.
Orpheus may have been an historical man, an eminent teacher come from Crete, who brought with him a great talent and a knowledge of music and its sister arts, especially of the Iyre, which was used not only for its own musie, but also as an accompanist of vocal songs ("lyrics"); or he may have been a ritual Hero, not an actual man like Pythagoras, but a Symbolic personage like Eurydice. At about 600 B.C. Orphism was an organized fraternity, strikingly similar to the fraternity organized by Pythagoras, and with rules and regulations almost the same. The use of these rules was to preserve purity. Orphism itself was a Mystery, but it was one devoted more to art than to religion, and everywhere in Greece it inspired music, instrumental and vocal, daneing, the theater, and feasting. The archeologist and the specialists in comparative history and religlon have as yet discovered too few data to furnish even an outline theory of the origin of Orphism, but on its analogy with other Mystery Cults, and especially by its similarity with Pythagoreanism, it is safe once again to presuppose that regardless of what its own legends and rituals may allege, its real beginning was among the gilds, collega, heterai, schools, homeridae and other organized assoeiations of musicians, singers, poets and dancers. No cult of mythological gods and goddesses ever eame full-formed out of the sky; always there was a beginning way back and way down, among the daily work and practices and customs of many men over many years who in the beginning were at work in their own art or craft, and had no purpose trb establish a eult. One of the most significant elements in Orphism was the prevalence of darkness in it- the name Orpheus itself suggested darkness; the eeremoraes were held at night; the legends were of events in twilight or darkness; over it were the moon and the stars, not the sun; the fact would suggest that it had always belonged to those arts w which oftenest are practiced at night; music, dancing, singing, plays; and this bears out what was said above. It may also remind us, as a digression, and as a fact interesting for its own sake, tiat the universally accepted picture of Greek life as something going on outdoors, in the full light, is incomplete; they also, like us, had evenings and nights, with arts appropriate to them.
4 Maya Mater,
or The Great Mother of the Gods. In its migrations and expansions this Mystery Cult followed the same route as Mithraism, with which it was contemporaneous. After extending itself to Phrygia, which was more a museum of religions than even Alexandria was to be, it advanced into Greece about 600 B.C., into Athens about 400 B.C., and from there later extended itself to Rome, where its great ritual festivals in April helped bring on what at that time was the New Clear season. In organization, form, and practices it paralleled other Mystery Cults, but at one or two other points it possesses a lively interest for a modern thinker. even though the last traces of it vanished 1500 years ago. Mayna Mater, Great Mother of the Gods, is a pompously impressive name, and more than one reader about the Cult has been unable to look past it: but far less than in other Mysteries does the name mean anything; every attempt ever made by piecing the data together to find some theme or organized teachings in the Cult has failed and nothing can be made of Magna Mater more than the w mere fact that there are mothers. In the Ancient World mothers bore their children, with little assistance, could call in no physicians (except the rich), and could have no experienced aid except from midwives. These midwives were an important group, however, because they had in eustody the tribe's or people's whole store of remedies and healing formulas, and nursing methods. It is this cioseness of the ancient midwife to the ancient mother, it if possible to believe, which explains v,hv so often the activities of the Magna Mater Mystery Cult trespassed on the field of medicine, a fact which has puzzled many commentators. In 1859 Charles Darwin published in his Origon of Species an argument to prove that a man is an animal there are thousands of species of animals, he said; man is a member of one of those species, named homosapiens; he raised the question as to how that particular species had originated, and answered his own question with his theory of natural selection and survival of the fittest, or evolution. As often as opponents attacked that theory Darwinians reworded, or revised, or rearranged, or enlarged it in order to make a reply. For three quarters of a century this debate went on, oftentimes with much heat, but always composed of words and theories. It got completely out of hand finally, and bogged down; even if it had not it would have come to a stop out of sheer weariness. But it is unfortunate that before it was played out none of its protagonists ever put it to the real test of actually trying it out, to see how it would work in practice. If, for example, the family and friends of one of these Darwinians had taken him at his literal word (how else should a truthful man's word be taken?) and had treated him as an animal, would it have worked? Could they have done it? How would he have liked it? Did he after all actually and literally believe himself to be an animal? Did he treat himself as one? It happens that the Mystery Cult of the Magna Mater did in all literal fact carry out that experiment with tens of thousands of men and women engaged in it and over a term of four or five centuries. The Great Mother these devotees tried to make themselves believe, is the great mother of horses, goate, sheep, birds, fish, snakes, insects, etc., ete., and yet at the same time, as they tried to carry it out, was their mother also—their Great Mother was in effect an animal; men and women who would have it that she was thus their own "Mother" also had to consider themselves animals, or they would not be her children. The experiment worked out to a terrible eonelusion, because there were times when the Magna AIater Cult broke down into some of the most obscene and hideous animal-like orgies that ever occurred, and there was nothing blacker on the pages of Ancient History than those break-downs ; men could not work out in practice the theory that they are animals. Nothing can possibly be a more conclusive proof that a man is not an animal than the fact that it kills him to be treated like one; when therefore this Cult of "the Mother" reached Greece it brought a dark entail of past history with it and it took a profound revising of the Cult's conceptior; of what a mother is to make it fit for establishment in civilized Rome.
When the conquering people took possession of a country after a war they set up in it their own favorite gods, and then because so many political, rnilitary and economic customs were interconnected with the cults around these gods, the conquerors had to persuade the conquered people to accept the alien gods. one of the methods was for the conquerors to combine one of their own gods with a native god who was nearest like him, and then to give this newly-synthesized god a new name, or else to hyphenate the two names. If while in occupation of the conquered country the conquerors were themselves conquered, these second conquerors would repeat the process of consolidation, and a god composed of two gods became one in which three were consolidated Of these gods thus compounded Serapis was an extreme case, because Egyptologists have disassembled him into six or seven gods. The result is that Serapis stands for no one doctrine or idea; he was a mere convenience, and little is known about his cult. There was a serapeum here and there, but almost nothing is known about its rite or practices. Almost the only clue is that early in his career Serapis was the god of a Village; it suggests that he may have begun as a figure in the ritual of a Mystery Cult and have won his high place later when Alexander made his name famous. The case of this Mystery Cult is an example by which a reader about the Mysteries can guard himself against a mistake into which it is easy to fall. In the case of almost every Ancient Mystery one or more gods had a central place in its ritual; the same god, or gods, would also have religious cults of their own, and these would be public. The historical Ring Solomon has a large role in Old Testament theology, and also has a place in a Masonic rite; lt does not follow that what is true of the ritual Solomon is true of the historic Solomon; it is impossible to reason from one to another. Similarly it is impossible to reason from a god like Serapis, worshipped in a public religious cult, to Serapis as the hero in the ritual of the Mystery; the fact explains why the known data about the public worship of Serapis throws little light on a Serapis Mystery Cult. (Masonic writers more than others tend to fall into this mistake of thinking that what was true of a god when worshipped in public was also true of that same god in a Mystery.) This error, when it occurs, is more disastrous to an interpretation of an Ancient Mystery than it may appear to be. A god was imaged by his worshippers, and had his own form; to him were assigned a number of divine attributes; a theology and a way of daily life because shaped by the worship of him; learned books were written about him; and his name often came to stand for important ideas in science or philosophy; and oftentimes his temples w ere the largest and richest monumental buildings in the country. Even a modern reader can discount the element of polytheism and feel a large reverence for the body of thought and ethics vehich were identified with his name. But if this feeling of awe, reverence, and vague feeling of divine things stir in a modern man when he reads about one of the great Ancient gods, the modern man ought not to transfer this theology to an Ancient Mystery named after that god; because an Ancient Mystery was not a public religion, or even similar to one, and therefore in it a Serapis was a very different "god" (being merely a figure in a ritual) from the Serapis who was worshipped in the great Temple of Memphis, and there captured Alexander's enthusiasm. If the policemen of a small American city were to adopt the gold-headed eagle as their emblem, it does not follow that the policemen would thereafter be eagles among men and live an eagle-like life; they would continue to be policemen as before, busy with their daily routines, would pull off their shoes at night to rest their feet, and would catch rheumatism as easily as ever. Any Ancient Mystery Cult was almost always nothing but a fraternity or club, its members belonged to the rank and file of ordinary men; they belonged to it not because they themselves were each one a Serapis, but in order to have a social center, to leave fellowship, to have burial insurance, to have feasts, etc
6,. Isis, Horus, Osiris.
The most successful and popular of the Egyptian Mysteries, and the ones easiest transported to Greece or Rome (by the Greeks and Romans themselves usually), were those named for these three deities In some of the Mysteries only one of the three was a ritual hero; in others the three together were heroes. The lodges and small temples and the often humble meeting rooms were found for centuries in almost every cited from Persia to Britain. The long, elaborate, detailed stories of the three were as dramatic, and at the same time were so close to the daily lives of poor folk, that the ~1~ steries no doubt were partly sustained by the popular t"se of the stories; they had in them the everlasting materials out of which popular stories are always made, a family quarrel, loss of home, tragical death of a breadwinner, what one irreverent writer called "husband trouble." death, a search for something lost, etc. It is also possible that the trio served in some sense as the image of a family, for they were Father, Mother, Son, but it may be reasonably inferred that this has been exaggerelad because a group of father, mother, son is not a picture of the family because there is no daughter in it. It is most likely that the popularity of Osiris was rooted in the story that he had found the prehistoric people of Egypt in savagery, and had taught them farming, shiphuilding, metal working, and the arts and sciences; and it is certain that lt was this, rather than the high theology in the stories, which was the basis of the Mystery Cults named for them, in which the membership was so largely composed of farmers, craftsmen, laborers.
7. Samothracian Mysteries.
The mythic materials out of which these Mysteries formed their rituals are of 1 richness beyond inventory, and for 2500 years have itself a mine out of which artists have brought statues, pictures, tales, plays, poems, legends- and philosophers have brought speculations, and story-tellers have found stories, almost without number. In these was Harmonia, the wife of Cadmus, the latter of whom gave the Greeks their letters. Hephestus, the metal-worker, who fashioned a fatal necklace. There is Jason who went after the Golden Fleece belonging to Zeus; and Aphrodite Pandemos, who was an impersonation of the love patriots has e for their land. Heeate, one of the many forms of the Great Mother of the World who taught people hunting eattle-raising, and the customary practice of municipal law; she was also the one who gave to her devotees the secrets of sorcery and magic spells: and she gave mothers the secrets of childbearing. The Romans even attributed to the Mystery Cults of Samothraee their penates. those small and much-loved "little gods" of the kitchen and store-room. It is evident that the ultimate and first origins of the Samothracian Mysteries Severe in the general and daily praetice of Ancient family life. This also, and in spite of every appearance to the contrary, was an instance of "the Transition from the Operative to the Speculative." A modern woman can keep house with fiery little knowledge of the necessary domestic arts and Sciences because she can call upon Specialists in each of them who are close at hand in the neighborhood; at the grocely she can get foods ready prepared, at the stores she purchases clothing ready-made; she can call in the doctor or send her Sick to the hospital; she can go off to the theater with her family for entertainments or to a public place to dance; she gets her fruits, vegetables, condiments and meats from the markets; she and her husband do not even build their own house. but rent one ready-buit; it is not necessary for her to know how to make many things for herself, and she is free to arrange everything to her own taste and without consulting her neighbors. Out of that family life no Mystery Cult could ever develop (it has not even produced a Society, or a fraternity) because there is too little in it, it is too lacking in arts, routines, gilds, or women's other collective activities. In the Ancient World it was completely otherwise. The women themselves, individually or working together, had to make everything, had to spin and weave their own garments, produce and prepare foods, raise herbs and make medicines, nurse their own sick, be their own midzives, ornament and beautify their own possessions, and had to prepare their own festivals, dances amusements; no woman by herself. acting as what in modern times is eailed an "individual," could have managed an Ancient family and its home, it was impossible for her to know enough, or to do enough, and since she could not know enough she could not decide each new thing as it arose for herself or by herself. In consequence, women worked together, in collective routines and gilds, with traditional tasks for each and every woman to do at the same time and in the same way. Each domestic art or set of duties became formalized, styled, organized, and any growing daughter of a family was not free and footloose to run at w ill as modern daughters do. but began at six years of age as an apprentice in the whole long list of domestic arts, crafts, sciences, and customs; in the end she satisfied the description of a good woman in the Book of Ecclesiastes, "she looketh well to the Ways of her household," and that saying was the perfect definition of the Greek idea which was the original of our ward "economies." Eeonomies in its ancient sense was the ground under the Samothracian Mystery Cults, and the gods and heroes and goddesses in their ritual were merely ritual figures who hit off some universal truth which "every woman knows"—or knew then, when every woman had to know so much. They were family and domestic life sub specie aeternitatis. The mention above of Hecate as the goddess of Sorcery and magic spells is yet another reminder of the fact that for an understanding of the ancient Mysteries it is far more important to have a set of sound principles of interpretation to go by than to have a large accumulation of data. The case of Hecate raises the question, by virtue of its being a typical ease, about the "secrets" and oecultism and esoteric knowledge which were possessed by the Ancient Mysteries; for in literature, though very largely in popular literature, this subject of Aneient Secrets and "magical acts" stands at the front, and very probably does more than any other theme to keep alive in Modern times a more or less general interest in the Mysteries. Anything as widespread in the Ancient World as the use of magic, Sorcery, spells, incantations could not have been foisted on the whole world by a few individual men ("Masters"), or individual cults, but had to grow up of themselves and everywhere, out of something in men's daily life and affairs. That something was the universal ignorance of ehemicals, drugs, machines, energies (electrieity, ete.), ete.; almost every day a man did something or encountered something which he did not understand and it may have been something simple, like the freezing of an icicle; if in it there was apparently no possible connection between cause and effect the man was mystified and he filled in-the gap with theories and guesses taken out of his own ignorance. This vwas the general and normal genesis of ideas of magic and spells. When an old woman boiled some bark and had a Sick child drink the liquor, and the child's fever began immediately to abate the mother of the child eould see no connection between the bark and the fever; it nas magic. Having no knowledge of abstract. or pure, or general Sciences, and having a world filled, as he believed. mith things and events from outside his own experience. The .Ancient man pictured those things and enents according to a whole set of such notions as gods, devils, witches magics, etc. History in the large proves this to have been true, and proves it beyond cavil, because it invariably shows that where the area of knowledge increased. the area of superstition decreased. Epicurus saw this more clearly than any other ancient thinker, therefore he made war on "religion." by which he meant a Superfluity of superstitious practices by which the population became too degraded, and witless, and supine to support a government like that of Rome; and Lucretius. his disciple, wrote a great epic poem on the theme. Both said in effect to theil fellows: "Don't lie down like a worm in these abject and childish fears; stand up on your feet like a man, and use your minds as a man ought." Elziellrus great dream was that of a people among which the arts and Sciences had driven out the miserable superstitions. and one therefore in which men could be happy. (Epicurus was "one of our men"; it is to our loss that he was not named in our Old Charges along with Pythagoras and Euclid.) If the Ancient Mysteries had anything of "secret knowledge" in them it was a knowledge of very common things, if they had any "secret sciences" they were elementary and rudimentary astronomy, physics, chemistry. There is nothing mysterious in the method for calculating the area of a triangle, but where it was known in the Ancient World it was considered a wonderful piece of erudition the secrets of the Ancient Mysteries were such secrets. The "spells" sent down by Hecate were prescriptions for remedies, and formulas for beauty lotions. The Samothracian Mysteries illustrate yet another of those principles of interpretation which prevent us from incorporating into our own understanding of the Mysteries a set of modern ideas and praetiees. There were scores of small local temples and bodies of members in villages and towns, mostly in Thrace, but there was nowhere a general organization. The Grand Lodge of New York or the Grand Lodge of California would not tolerate it if a local Lodge, at a. distance from New York City or from San Francisco, were to set itself up in independence of Grand Lodge; there is a general Masonic system in each State, and the States and Countries maintain that same system everywhere bv means of cornity, and with general rules, and Ancient Landmarks, and a general superintendent of local bodies. But there was no general organization of the Samothracian Mysteries. What seas true of one loeal body of Samothracians was not necessarily true of another.
8. Mystery Cult of Sabazius.
If a man who has been saturating himself with reading about the Eleusinia and with Mithraism, each of which has in it so much that is intelligible to modern men, turns to reading about the Cult of Sabazius his first reaction is to feel that "this is queer;" it is even something a little dreadful, and casts a dark shadow across his muld. This is partly because the name itself is easily confused with the word Sabbath, or with the Hebrew name for Jehovah, Jehovah Tsabaoth, Jehovah the Lord of Hosts. The Romans themselves were similarly confused because in 639 B.C., they drove the Jews out of Rome because they (the Romans) confused the Jewish Sabbath with the Cult of Jupiter Sabazius, against which they had enacted a law; it was not until nearly three centuries afterwards that Sabaism began to prosper in Rome. The feeling that. there is something dark in the Cult probable comes from the identification of Sabazius with a serpent, and with the use of the serpent (made of gold) in the ceremonies of initiation. Also the members used as a votive emblem a small pair of clasped hands covered with emblems, and from the Middle Ages until now that emblem has been employed for sinister effects in mystery and horror tales. It is impossible to trace the history of this god because he was even in ancient times identified with a number of earlier gods, even with Zeus himself; he was connected with the Great Mother, Cybele (who also had Mystery Cults). Attis, Dionysus, ete. Members were said to be "adopted." The snake represented self-renewal, and therefore the seasons. The Great Mother (she is a Ritual Hero in this Mystery) stood for the moon and stars. This use of the stars and the heavens appears to have been so predominant that Sabaism mav be used as a specimen of the many Mystery Cults which had a similar atronomical content and in modern times have been called "nature worship." A just understanding of these Aneient star-worships and nature-teorships is among the most difficult problems for us at this long remove in time beeause when we safe "star" or "nature" we mean something wholly unlike their meaning to an Ancient man. We know that a star is composed of such materials as are found in our earth and air; we knov.- that the space it moves in is identical with our space; we know that if any cosmic bodv moves it is not because some outside agent shoves it along but because a cosmic bodv is bv nature and is itself and to begin with a moving body. For us to worship a star, or the skin or to believe that magical forces move stars about. would be equivalent to a worship of rocks and rivers; since that is true for us we leap to the conclusion that it was also true for Ancient men; therefore, so we take it. ancient men "worshipped sticks and stones." But their didn't. The Ancient man did not know what a star was. In his own knowledge, and strictly speaking, he had no stars, therefore he did not ' worship" stars. What he believed or guessed a star to be we have no means of knowing, but it was very unlike rocks or air, and must have had in it some element of thought or consciousness, because Ancient men (some of them) believed that their could control the stars to some extent, and that a star had some particular force or power or influence of its own which could affect a man. (The name of the disease influenza" meant "the influence"; that is, the disease was caused by the "influence" of baneful, or baleful. or evil stars.) Therefore Ancient men, such of them as foregathered in the small local temples of Sabaism and in other temples like then, mixed much astrology with their astronomy, and vet it was not astrology altogether, because in those ages befor printing, and when written languages were few and men able to read and write were fewer still, a man in the country or on the sea had many practical uses for the stars; they were his calendar and his clock, the markers of the seasons, the signals for festivals, the Signs for sowing or for harvest, a compass for sailors, and a guide for hunters. None of the ordinary rank and file of men in those times, no more than in these, would spend an evening once or twice a month, or any money, or contribute their work, for no more practicable purpose than to be told and retold. over and over, the dark and gloomy stories of Sabazius and his associate gods goddesses. demons, and his snake; their found something better and more useful in it than that; and if it was a so-called nature cult" they were not natulalists, but were working men, and it was what thy needed in their work that they sought in "nature." nor did they "worship" it. It is not difficult to picture an archeologist as the future year 3,000 A.D., Which will be 1000 years from now, or to guess in advance how some such experience as the following might befall him. He has recently discovered a few fragments of an ancient printed manuscript which he is able to identify as belonging to the Ancient United States, and to be of the date 1950 A.D. (circa). He identifies his Ms. as fragments of a book which had borne the title of Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, but he is unable to make out what Mackey could have been; he knows what an encyclopedia was (they still have them), but he cannot make even a probable guess at the meaning of the word "freemasonry." After months of labor of a kind than which no other labor can be more taxing he finally learns that his fragments are a number of separate writings on such subjects as The Grand Architect, Solomon's Temple, a Gothic Cathedral, a man named King Solomon, and another With the very cryptic name of Hiram Abif. After additional months of labor, and with the assistance of twenty or so experts, he reaches the conclusion that the complete book of which he has but fragments as written for a kind of society, or club, Of Mystery Cult, or even a church. Since it met in a very large building it must have been situated in one of the greatest cities, which at that time, in contrast to the present civilized world, had populations unbelievably large; that its members worshipped a God called the Grand Architect; that its High Priest was a man named King Solomon, and that the second Priest was named Hiram Abiff. After publishing his treatise, archeologists fall into two opposed schools over the meaning of the mystifying word "architecture," which appears to have been in some sense a holy word of the cult. and has been a dead word for 1800 years. One school insists that the "arch" in it meant a Structural arch; that the "tect" meant "to malce" or "to build," and that "freemasonry " was a Mystery Cult composed of builders of arches. The other School holds that the "arch" meant "head," or "chief," and that the ''tect" meant textures, or textiles, therefore the freemasons were the most expert weavers of cloth. Neither the one school nor the other nor any other archeologists would ever be able to reason from Grand Architect, King Solomon, Hiram Abif, to the actual dày-by-day activities of Freemasons in the Ancient year 1950 A.D.; nor could they have ever reasoned from these Ritual characters to thousands of Lodges in hamlets, towns, and cities, in which millions of men meet once or twice a month, nor to what those men did. .As regards the Ancient Mystery Cults we are in that archeologist's own shoes. We are Similarly puzzling our way around in a world which has vanished these 2000 years- With us, as with those archeologists Of 3000 A.D-, our first law should be to remember that millions or men and women were in the membership ot the .ancient Mysteries, century after century, in qome twenty countries, and that millions cannot keep occult "secrets" known only to adepts; and would not give their time and money had they not found in the temples and meetings or the Mysteries something understandable and commonplace, and enjoyable, and useful to themselves; and that we cannot reason from the stories of what the gods, goddesses, and other supernatural ritual personages were to what those millions did who psssed through their rituals of initiation. Sir Samuel Dill was the first historian of the Ancient Mysteries to call attention to the fact that they came into Rome, and began to flourish in numbers at about the same time; and was the first to see the full significance of that fact, and how much it reflects upon their sork and purposes. They came in, the majority of them, after Julius Caesar and they flourished mightily between about 1 A.D. and 200 A.D. Before Caesar they had been kept out by law, most of them; after Constantine they were abolished, and as far as ne knos ithout exception. The circumstances in Rome during the intervening period must therefore explain why they were admitted and why they flourished, and at the same time ought to indicate what wants, needs, and desires among the populace they satisfied. 1. The number of slaves (white men and women, most of them) were multiplied many times over after the Republie was replaced by the Empire; in some times and plaees they outnumbered free men. They had few rights or privileges. but they were either permitted to belong to Mystery Cults of their own, or else their membership in them nvas winked at; inside a room of the Mystery fault these slaves became the equals of other members, eould live for a time the life of a free man, and could have a wide fellowship among themselves. (Among them v. ere manv teachers, scribes, and now and then there were Scholars scientists and theologians.) 2. During the period of the Republic a family lived in the country, in a homestead, generation after generation. and listed in security, because neighboring families were connected by blood or marriage. In such a community a man had no fear of unemployment, or sickness, and was never a stranger. The very act by which the Empire was set up broke up these stable communities, tore milions from the land, and gathered them into huge cities where they became a proletariat without security or eighhors. For these lonely men a Mystery Cult (like the collega) was a second family, a home from home, and the best available substitute for the lost security of the old stable community. 3. At the same time, more and more colonies of foreigners came into Italy, the conquest of each new ountry sending in a wave of its own. These foreigners were from lands and tribes very far away and there were many of them. They did not speak the language of Rome, and could not bring their religions with them. among the large number of Mystery Cults any foreigner could find something very close akin to his way of social life and his religion at home, even though he came from Irelands or from India. It is thus Lear that in the ancient World the Mysteries had two great missions. In the public religious cults and in the presence of its gods a man meant so little that he felt like the grass, the dried grass, over which a fire could Pass in an instant everything was for sake of the god, a man counted for nothing. In the Mysteries everything was for sake of a man. and he counted much, and in them recovered his sense of his dignity and his place in things. The other mission was to give the rank and file of ordinary man circles of their own, "families" by adoption, "homes" which were more than city tenements, brotherhood without blood ties but with a mystic tie; a society, and a place for social entertainment, and a security where no man by himself could win security against a population of strangers to whom his needs were unknown and his tragedies unnoted. Freemasonry did not descend from the Mysteries: is neither a survival nor a re-creation of them, is itself not a Mystery, but something wholly other, with an essence of another kind; yet in a world which has come once again to be full of great cities; and where a city is a colony of strangers and often-times has colonies of foreigners in it, the Fraternity satisfies many of the same needs as those which the Mysteries satisfied, and in the Modern World has a mission and a place not unlike that of the Mysteries in the Ancient World. For such reasons Freemasons must ever have a warm place in their hearts for them, and an abiding intellectual interest in them. (Note by Author. The above article was not designed to set forth a complete list of the Ancient Mysteries [100 of themes nor to be a detailed description of any one of them; nor could it have succeeded if such had been the purpose because a presentation of the Mysteries, the Greater or the Lesser, calls for a book and not pages: the purpose, rather, was to present a discussion of those facts and points about them which would be most interesting to Freemasons, or most useful. Such a purpose necessarily pre-supposed that a leader will go on from a short sketch to read complete books. If he does, he will need to mortgage for that purpose a considerable period of time, because the subject is one of the most comprehensive of the many subjects left over to us out of the Ancient World; and he will need a small library of his own. The burden of the above discussion was that for all the antique strangeness of the rituals of the Mysteries. and of their gods and their supernatural machinery, the men who met in their halls were such men as ourselves and are as intelligible, and would be at home with us or we with them could either they or we travel the irreversible paths of time; but they are a long while gone, they and thelr world with them, and we can meet them only through books, so that over the entryway to any knowledge of them is inscribed, "He that will not read shall not pass." (It is best for any man in making a beginning to read first the more general and less weighted books, of the sort represented by Sir Samuel Dill's From Nero to Marcus Aurelius; Jane Ellen Harrison's Proleaomena and Ancient Art and Ritual - Sir J. G. Frazer's The Golden Bough in the complete edition [the one-volume condensed is a deadening book]; Cumont's books on Mithra- and though it is half fiction Robert Graves' Hercules My Shipmate is fresh and vivacious and leads a newcomer with audacity into the world where the Mysteries were having their beginnings. While reading them it is wise to have at one side Hastines' encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, in which though the articles are safely sterilized against heterodoxies they nevertheless contain mountains of information; the Encyclopedia Britannica [ 14th edition]; and Masons may find this present Encyclopedia also useful. (Almost every topic in the article above is listed in the Index; in them or appended to them, as also in the other encyclopedias, are a large number of bibliographies which collectively are an almost exhaustive list of titles. And in addition. at the time when the reader has graduated into being a Student he should next read the reports of the fitty or more archeological societies in which are an endless number of data in the field of the Mysteries: if he studies them with sufficient thoroughness he will find at the last that these reports are more interesting than any book because their texts and inscriptions most of them, were self-written by the Mysteries, and the Mysteries indisputabty are the final authorities about themselves—it can be predicted that he will even come in time to consider the most fascinating books among the thousands of books the Corpus inscriptionum Latinarum.)
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