His Relation to Serpent Worship

The Two Brothers, the Good and Evil Principles, appear in the Myths of the Bible as well as those of the Gentiles, and Cain and Abel, Typhon and Osiris, Esau and Jacob, Apollo and Python, etc., Esau or Osu, is represented, when born, as "red all over like an hairy garment." He is the Typhon or Satan, opposing his brother.

From the remotest antiquity the serpent was held by every people in the greatest veneration, as the embodiment of Divine wisdom and the symbol of spirit, and we know from Sanchoniathon that it was Hermes or Thoth who was the first to regard the serpent as "the most spirit-like of all the reptiles"; and the Gnostic serpent with the seven vowels over the head is but the copy of Ananta, the seven-headed serpent on which rests the god Vishnu.

* See Lenoir's "Du Dragon de Metz," in "Memoires de l'Academie Celtique," i., 11, 12.

f Plutarch, "Isis and Osiris."

European treatises upon serpent-worship, that the writers confess that the public is "still almost in the dark as to the origin of the superstition in question." Mr. C. Staniland Wake, M.A.I., from whom we now quote, says: "The student of mythology knows that certain ideas were associated by the peoples of antiquity with the serpent, and that it was the favorite symbol of particular deities; but why that animal rather than any other was chosen for the purpose is yet uncertain."*

Mr. James Fergusson, F.R.S., who has gathered together such an abundance of material upon this ancient cult, seems to have no more suspicion of the truth than the rest.+

Our explanation of the myth may be of little value to students of symbology, and yet we believe that the interpretation of the primitive serpent-worship as given by the initiates is the correct one. In Vol. i., p. 10, we quote from the serpent Mantra, in the Aytareya-Brahmana, a passage which speaks of the earth as the Sarpa Rajni, the Queen of the Serpents, and "the mother of all that moves." These expressions refer to the fact that before our globe had become egg-shaped or round it was a long trail of cosmic dust or fire-mist, moving and writhing like a serpent. This, say the explanations, was the Spirit of God moving on the chaos until its breath had incubated cosmic matter and made it assume

* "The Origin of Serpent Worship," by C. Staniland Wake, M.A.I. New York: J. W. Bouton, 1877. f "Tree and Serpent Worship," etc.

the annular shape of a serpent with its tail in its mouth — emblem of eternity in its spiritual and of our world in its physical sense. According to the notions of the oldest philosophers, as we have shown in the preceding chapter, the earth, serpent-like, casts off its skin and appears after every minor pralaya in a rejuvenated state, and after the great pralaya resurrects or evolves again from its subjective into objective existence. Like the serpent, it not only "puts off its old age," says Sanchoniathon, "but increases in size and strength." This is why not only Serapis, and later, Jesus, were represented by a great serpent, but even why, in our own century, big snakes are kept with sacred care in Moslem mosques; for instance, in that of Cairo. In Upper Egypt a famous saint is said to appear under the form of a large serpent; and in India in some children's cradles a pair of serpents, male and female, are reared with the infant, and snakes are often kept in houses, as they are thought to bring (a magnetic aura of) wisdom, health, and good luck. They are the progeny of Sarpa Rajni, the earth, and endowed with all her virtues.

In the Hindu mythology Vasaki, the Great Dragon, pours forth upon Durga, from his mouth, a poisonous fluid which overspreads the ground, but her consort Siva caused the earth to open her mouth and swallow it.

Thus the mystic drama of the celestial virgin pursued by the dragon seeking to devour her child, was not only depicted in the constellations of heaven, as has been mentioned, but was represented in the secret worship of the temples. It was the mystery of the god Sol, and inscribed on a black image of Isis.* The Divine Boy was chased by the cruel Typhon.+ In an Egyptian legend the Dragon is said to pursue Thuesis (Isis) while she is endeavoring to protect her son.} Ovid describes Dione (the consort of the original Pelasgian Zeus, and mother of Venus) as flying from Typhon to the Euphrates,§ thus identifying the myth as belonging to all the countries where the Mysteries were celebrated. Virgil sings the victory:

"Hail, dear child of gods, great son of Jove!

Receive the honors great; the time is at hand;

The Serpent will die!"**

Albertus Magnus, himself an alchemist and student of occult science, as well as a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church, in his enthusiasm for astrology, declared that the zodiacal sign of the celestial virgin rises above the horizon on the twenty-fifth of December, at the moment assigned by the Church for the birth of the Saviour.++

The sign and myth of the mother and child were known thousands of years before the Christian era. The drama of the Mysteries of Demeter represents Persephoneia, her daughter, as carried away by Pluto or Hades into the world of the dead;

* Godfrey Higgins, "Anacalypsis"; Dupuis, "Origines des Cultes," iii., 51.

f Martianus Capella, "Hymn to the Sun," i., ii.; Movers, "Phiniza," 266.

J Plutarch, "Isis and Osiris."

ff Knorring "Terra et Calum," 53.

and when the mother finally discovers her there, she has been installed as queen of the realm of Darkness. This myth was transcribed by the Church into the legend of St. Anna}} going in quest of her daughter Mary, who has been conveyed by Joseph into Egypt. Persephone is depicted with two ears of wheat in her hand; so is Mary in the old pictures; so was the Celestial Virgin of the constellation. Albumazar the Arabian indicates the identity of the several myths as follows:

"In the first decan of the Virgin rises a maid, called in Arabic Aderenosa [Adha-nari?], that is, pure immaculate virgin,§§ graceful in person, charming in countenance, modest in habit, with loosened hair, holding in her hands two ears of wheat, sitting upon an embroidered throne, nursing a boy, and rightly feeding him in the place called Hebrea; a boy, I say, named Iessus by certain nations, which signifies Issa, whom they also call Christ in Greek."***

At this time Grecian, Asiatic, and Egyptian ideas had undergone a remarkable transformation. The Mysteries of Dionysus-Sabazius had been replaced by the rites of Mithras, whose "caves" superseded the crypts of the former god, from

JJ Anna is an Oriental designation from the Chaldean ana, or heaven, whence Anai'tis and Anai'tres. Durga, the consort of Siva, is also named Anna purna, and was doubtless the original St. Anna. The mother of the prophet Samuel was named Anna; the father of his counterpart, Samson, was Manu.

§§ The virgins of ancient time, as will be seen, were not maids, but simply almas, or nubile women.

*** Kircher, "ttdipus &gyptiacus," iii., 5.

Babylon to Britain. Serapis, or Sri-Apa, from Pontus, had usurped the place of Osiris. The king of Eastern Hindustan, Asoka, had embraced the religion of Siddhartha, and sent missionaries clear to Greece, Asia, Syria, and Egypt, to promulgate the evangel of wisdom. The Essenes of Judea and Arabia, the Therapeutists* of Egypt, and the Pythagoristst of Greece and Magna Grecia, were evidently religionists of the new faith. The legends of Gautama superseded the myths of Horus, Anubis, Adonis, Atys, and Bacchus. These were wrought anew into the Mysteries and Gospels, and to them we owe the literature known as the Evangelists and the Apocryphal New Testament. They were kept by the Ebionites, Nazarenes, and other sects as sacred books, which they might "show only to the wise"; and were so preserved till the overshadowing influence of the Roman ecclesiastical polity was able to wrest them from those who kept them.

At the time that the high-priest Hilkiah is said to have found the Book of the Law, the Hindu Puranas (Scriptures) were known to the Assyrians. These last had for many centuries held dominion from the Hellespont to the Indus, and probably crowded the Aryans out of Bactriana into the Punjab. The Book of the Law seems to have been a purana. "The

* From Oepaneuw, to serve, to worship, to heal.

f E. Pococke derives the name Pythagoras from Buddha, and guru, a spiritual teacher. Higgins makes it Celtic, and says that it means an observer of the stars. See "Celtic Druids." If, however, we derive the word Pytho from nns, petah, the name would signify an expounder of oracles, and Buddha-guru a teacher of the doctrines of Buddha.

learned Brahmans," says Sir William Jones, "pretend that five conditions are requisite to constitute a real purana:

"1. To treat of the creation of matter in general. "2. To treat of the creation or production of secondary material and spiritual beings.

"3. To give a chronological abridgment of the great periods of time.

"4. To give a genealogical abridgment of the principal families that reigned over the country.

"5. Lastly, to give the history of some great man in particular."

It is pretty certain that whoever wrote the Pentateuch had this plan before him, as well as those who wrote the New Testament had become thoroughly well acquainted with Buddhistic ritualistic worship, legends and doctrines, through the Buddhist missionaries who were many in those days in Palestine and Greece.

But "no Devil, no Christ." This is the basic dogma of the Church. We must hunt the two together. There is a mysterious connection between the two, more close than perhaps is suspected, amounting to identity. If we collect together the mythical sons of God, all of whom were regarded as "first-begotten," they will be found dovetailing together and blending in this dual character. Adam Kadmon bifurcates from the spiritual conceptive wisdom into the creative one, which evolves matter. The Adam made from dust is both son of God and Satan; and the latter is also a son of God,* according to Job.

Hercules was likewise "the First-Begotten." He is also Bel, Baal, and Bal, and therefore Siva, the Destroyer. Bacchus was styled by Euripides, "Bacchus, the Son of God." As a child, Bacchus, like the Jesus of the Apocryphal Gospels, was greatly dreaded. He is described as benevolent to mankind; nevertheless he was merciless in punishing whomever failed of respect to his worship. Pentheus, the son of Cadmus and Hermione, was, like the son of Rabbi Hannon, destroyed for his want of piety.

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