« AnteriorContinuar »
as it was the places where corpses were received, the Melanophoris here found the Paraskistes, or persons who dissected the bodies, and the Heroi, or persons who embalmed them, at their work. In the centre stood the coffin of Osiris. The Melanophoris was asked if he had had a hand in the assassination of his master. On his denying the question, he was seized by two Tapixeites, or men who buried the dead, and led into a hall, where he found all the other Melanophores clothed in black. The king himself, who always was present on these occasions, addressed him, in an apparently friendly way, begging him, if he did not feel courage enough to undergo the test now to be applied to him, to accept the golden crown he was offering him. But the new Melanophoris had previously been instructed to reject the crown and tread it under his feet. The king immediately exclaimed, “Insult! Revenge!” and raising his sacrificial axe, slightly touched the head of the Melanophoris. The two Tapixeites cast the Melanophoris on the ground, and the Pariskistes wrapped him up in mummy bandages. All present wept. Then he was led to a gate, over which was written, “Sanctuary of the Spirits.” On its being opened, thunder and lightning struck the apparently dead man. Charon received him, as a spirit, into his boat, and carried him to the judges of Hades. Pluto sat on his judgment seat, while Rhadamanthus and Minos, as well as Æthon, Nycreus, Alaster, and Orpheus stood beside him. Very severe questions were put to him as to his former life, and finally he was sentenced to remain in these subterranean vaults. The bandages were taken off, and he was instructed never to thirst after blood, never to leave a corpse unburied, and to believe in the resurrection of the dead and in a judgment to come. He had then to learn painting, to be able to decorate coffins; was taught a peculiar writing, called a hierogrammatical, and in which the records of Egypt, and works on cosmography and astronomy were written. The sign was a particular kind of embrace to express the power of Death. The words were “Monarch caron mini” (I count the days of wrath). He remained in these subterranean chambers till he showed himself worthy of a higher degree.
63. Fourth Degree, or the Battle of the Shades. — The days of wrath, lasting generally a year and a half, being over, the Thesmophorus came to the Melanophoris, asking him to follow him, and giving him at the same time a sword and a shield. They passed through dark passages, until they met certain persons, presenting a frightful appearance, carrying
torches and serpents, and attacking them, whilst crying “ Panis !” The Thesmophorus encouraged him to defend himself bravely. At last he was taken prisoner by them, his eyes were bandaged, and a cord was put round his neck. Then they dragged him to the hall, where he was to be initiated into a new degree, and the spectres or shades disappeared. He was led into the assembly, his eyes were unbandaged, and he beheld a magnificent hall
, hung round with fine paintings. The king and the demiurgos, or highest officer, were present. All wore their Alydei, an Egyptian order (Truth), consisting of a figure formed of sapphires. Around them were seated the Stolistes, the Hierostolista, or secretary, the Zacoris, or treasurer, and the Komastis, or master of feats. The Odos, or orator, then made a speech, congratulating the Christophorus-his new name-on his resolution. He was then given a drink, called Cyce (probably the same as the kůkedv, a drink mixed of gruel, water, wine, milk, or honey), which he had to drink to the dregs. Then he was given the shield of Isis. He put on the boots of Anubis, and the cloak and cap of Orcus. He received a sword, with which he was to cut off the head of the person he was to meet in a cave, and to bring it to the king. Every member exclaimed, “ Niobe, there is the cave of the enemy! In the cave there was an exceedingly beautiful woman, who seemed to be alive, but was artificially formed of fine skins. The Christophorus had to seize her by the hair, and cut off her head, which he brought to the king, who praised him for his daring, and said he had cut off the head of the Gorgon, the wife of Typhon, who had been the cause of the death of Osiris. He received permission always to wear the dress which had been given to him, and his name was entered in a book as one of the judges of the land. He could freely communicate with the king, and received his daily board from the court. He also was invested with an order, which, however, he could only wear at the initiation of a Christophorus, and which represented Isis in the shape of an owl. He was further told that the name of the great lawgiver was Joa, which was also the password. The Christophori held chapters called Pyxon, at which the password was Sasychis, the name of an ancient Egyptian priest. He had to study the Ammonite language, the secret language, because he was now very near acquiring the whole secret.
64. Fifth Degree : Balahate.—The Christophorus was entitled to this degree: it could not be refused him. He was led into a hall, where a theatrical representation took place,
at which he was the only spectator. A Balahate, styled Orus, with other balahates, all carrying torches, went about the hall, as if seeking something. After a while Orus drew his sword. Typhon was seen sitting in a cave, surrounded with flames. Orus approached Typhon, who rose up; he had a hundred heads, and his body was covered with scales, and his arms were of extraordinary length. Nevertheless, Orus slew him. The new Balahate was then told that Typhon signified fire, one of the most terrible elements, without which, however, nothing could be done on earth. The password in this degree was Chymia, the instruction being in chemistry.
65. Sixth Degree : Astronomers at the Gate of the Gods.The candidate, on entering the hall of assembly, was bound with cords or chains. The Thesmophorus then led him back to the Gate of Death, which had many steps, leading to a cave full of water. There he saw many corpses of traitors to the society. He was threatened with the same fate, and led back to take a fresh oath. He was then instructed in astronomy, and warned against astrology and horoscopy, which were detested as the sources of all idolatry and superstition. The professors of these false sciences had for their password the word Phoenix, at which the astronomers laughed. He was then conducted to the Gate of the Gods, which was opened, and he beheld all the gods painted on the walls. The Demiurgos told him their history, and showed him a list of all their members, scattered over the whole world. taught a priestly dance, symbolising the courses of the heavenly bodies. The word was Ibis, the symbol of watchfulness.
66. Seventh Degree: Propheta.—The last and highest degree, in which all the secrets were revealed. It could not be conferred without the consent of the king and of all the higher members of the order. Public processions were held, called Pamylach, the circumcision of Osiris, i.e., of the tongue. When these were over, the members secretly left the city at night, and retired to some houses built in a square, and surrounded by pillars, by the sides of which were placed alternately a shield and a coffin, whose rooms were painted with representations of human life. These houses were called maneras, for the people believed them to be visited by the manes of departed men. On their arrival at these houses, the new member, now called prophet, or Saphenath Pancah, i.e., a man who knows the secrets, was given a drink, called oimellas (probably consisting of wine and honey), and told that now
all trials were over. He received a cross of peculiar significance, which he was always to wear. He was clothed in a wide, white-striped dress, called etangi. His head was shaved; he wore a square cap. The usual sign was crossing his arms in his wide sleeves. He could peruse all the sacred books written in the Ammonite language, to which he had the key, which was called the Royal Beam. His greatest privilege was his having a vote in the election of a king. The password was Adon.
67. Concluding Remarks.—Such is the fanciful account of the Crata Repoa. I confess my ignorance of the meaning of these two mysterious words. The order itself seems not to have been known before the year 1785, when the account the reader has just been perusing was published in a German pamphlet of 32 pages (30 pages text) in 12mo, with no name of place or printer. Ragon, who gives a French translation of the above in his “Franc-Maçonnerie : Rituel du grade de Maître,” Paris, N.D., calls his translation an extract from a pamphlet of 114 pages in 8vo, taken from a large German MS. by Brother Köppen, with an interlinear translation into French, which was purchased by Brother Antoine Boilleul, and in 1821 edited by Brother Ragon. But as Ragon's translation agrees word for word with the German pamphlet, published in 1785, the German MS. by Brother Köppen was either the original composition or a copy of it. Ragon supposes the Crata Repoa to be a concoction by learned Germans of all that is to be found in ancient writers on initiations. And the authorities on which the statements in the German pamphlet of 1785 are founded are given therein, and are : Porphyry, Herodotus, Iamblichus, Apuleius, Cicero, Plutarch, Eusebius, Arnobius, Diodorus Siculus, Tertullian, Heliodorus, Lucian, Rufinus, and some others.
METAMORPHOSIS OF THE LEGEND OF ISIS
68. Spread of Egyptian Mysteries. — The irradiations of the mysteries of Egypt shine through and animate the secret doctrines of Phoenicia, Asia Minor, Greece, and Italy. Cadmus 1 and Inachus brought them into Greece at large, Orpheus into Thrace, Melampus into Argos, Trophonius into Boeotia, Minos into Crete, Cinyras into, Cyprus, and Erechtheus into Athens. And as in Egypt the mysteries were dedicated to Isis and Osiris, so in Samothrace they were sacred to the mother of the gods, in Bæotia to Bacchus, in Cyprus to Venus, in Crete to Jupiter, in Athens to Ceres and Proserpine, in Amphissa to Castor and Pollux, in Lemnos to Vulcan, and so to others in other places; but their end, as well as nature, was the same in all—to teach monotheism and a future state.
69. Dionysiac or Bacchic Mysteries. These were divided into the greater and the less. The latter were celebrated every year at the autumnal equinox, and females were admitted to them, wearing the creative emblem suspended round their necks. They ended with the sacrifice of an unclean animal, which was eaten by the worshippers. Then aspirants and initiated proceeded with sacred dances towards the temple. The Canephoroi, carrying golden vases full of the choicest fruits, were followed by the bearers of the creative emblem, who were furnished with long poles, and were crowned with ivy, a herb sacred to Bacchus, or the sun personified. Now came other celebrants habited as women, but performing all the repulsive actions of drunken men. The next night the ceremonies of initiation were performed, in which the fable of Bacchus slain by the Titans was scenically represented, the aspirant acting the part of Bacchus.
The greater mysteries were celebrated every three years at
i Cadmus is not to be understood as signifying a man. The Phænician word " cadm ” means the East, hence the meaning is that the mysteries and learning came from that quarter.