THE NATURAL GENESIS
NATURAL GENESIS AND
TYPOLOGY OF THE MYTHICAL MOUNT,
TREE, CROSS, AND FOUR CORNERS.
It has now to be shown, by a worldwide range of illustration, how the mount and the tree became two of the chief sacred types and figures of expression for the primitive and prehistoric man. Max Muller has remarked that when the Hindu poets exclaim 'What Wood, what Tree was it of which they (the gods) made Heaven and Earth?' this means; in the ancient language of religious poetry, Only of what material were Heaven and Earth formed? On the contrary they speak according to the system of typology which was universal once and interpretable in all lands. It is the same language spoken by Homer when Penelope says to Ulysses: 'Tell me thy lineage, and whence thou art, for thou dost not spring from the ancient Tree nor from the Rock.' Tree and rock, the stock and stone of all the olden worldwide fetishism.
Hesiod knew that the tree and the rock involved great mysteries. In the Theogony, the singer being bidden to sing of the race of the ever-living ever-blessed immortals, asks why should he begin by telling tales or blabbing mysteries concerning the sacred tree (oak) or the rock? The 'Rock of Israel' was a type of the progenitor of that people. 'But,' says Max Muller, 'the Hebrews speak in a very different sense from that in which Homer speaks of the Rock from which Man has sprung.' The answer is that the typology is the same wherever found.
When the son of the chief of the Bushmen who lived in the neighbourhood of the Moravian station at Glenadendal became a Christian, he told the missionaries that the Bushmen performed a kind of religious worship to two rocks, the one representing a male and the other a female. On going out to hunt they implored the aid of these deities to provide them with food. First they went to the male rock and struck it with a stick; if it sounded they believed the report [p.372] was heard in heaven and they would have success; but if they got nothing they repaired to the female rock, which they thought was inhabited by a malicious spirit, and beat it well, upbraiding it, saying; 'Why do you, by your hidden arms, cause all the game to be shot dead so that we can find none?'
The rock or mount is also reverenced by the negroes on the Gold Coast, where it is called Tabora, the same type by name as the Mount Tabor, the Egyptian Tepr the point of commencement in a circle. The Zulus have the magical tree, and the rock with two holes which opens and shuts at the voice of those who know the secret. The hereditary title of the Chief of Pango-pango, Samoa, is Maunga, the mountain; as was the Egyptian sen and the Hebrew tzer. 'Great Mountain' is the title of the supreme divinity of the Santhals. One of the New Zealand chiefs claimed the neighbouring mountain, Tongoriro, for his progenitor. 'This seemingly whimsical belief,' says Mr. Spencer, 'becomes intelligible when we observe how easily it may have arisen from a nickname. Do we not ourselves sometimes speak figuratively of a tall fat man as a mountain of flesh?' True, but here, again, we have the same system of typology as in Africa, India, and Greece. The Mount and the Tree were primordial types of the genetrix, of Khepsh, of Ri (Ishtar) Hathor, Kêd, Parvati, and others. Primally it was the mount of the north, the birthplace of beginning. Tongoriro denotes the very lofty. In Egyptian sen is the mountain (or rock) and the chieftain, the head; in Hebrew, the god. The Maori Chief claimed descent from the olden rock or mountain. The mountain Maunga is named from mau, fixed, enduring: and the same word signifies a product of Earth. The chief was descended from the motherhood in its first form, that of Earth, which was represented by the mount and the tree. According to Paul, Hagar the mother of Ishmael was Mount Sinai, in Arabia. Therefore Ishmael was likewise the son of the mount as typical birthplace. It is also certain that Paul knew this symbolical nature of the Mount when he said it answered to Jerusalem, the 'Mother of us all.'
The genetrix who was represented by the mount came to be called the great harlot and prostitute, on account of the early status of the mother. She is still identified by the rock or mount as the 'Bad Woman' of Hong Kong. This is the name of a particular rock on the hill near Wanchai that presides over the illicit intercourse of the sexes. Those who make money by immoral practices still offer her a share of their profits, and burn frankincense at the foot of this rock, which remains a monument of the motherhood as it was in the primitive sociology. [p.373] The mythical heroes of the Parsees were born of the Mount Ushi-Darena, from which they are said to descend with the glory shining on their faces.
The Navajos claim the mount for their birthplace and attribute their deliverance from the underworld dwelling in the heart of it to the moth-worm that mounted and made a way out of the mountain when he found himself in a world all water. The world all water was the heaven above; the moth-worm is a symbol of the breathing power. The Indians of Guinea venerate the tree and mount under the figure of a great rock that rises sheer up for fifty feet like the trunk of a gigantic stem; this is designated 'Pure-piapa' or the 'headless tree.' In Plato's Timaeus the prototypes of our race are spoken of as being enclosed in, and developed from, the great tree, which is not to be understood except by knowing the history of the tree as a type of the genetrix. The Lenni Lenape Indians relate that Manitou at the beginning floated on the water and shaped the earth out of a grain. He then made a man and a woman out of a tree. The Popul Vuh describes man as being created from a tree named the Tzité. Woman, according to the same authority, was formed from the marrow of a reed called Sibac. The Hindus still ascribe genders to the bamboo, reed, or cane; and the female one contains the pith, the male the hard substance. The Sioux Indians have a myth of the primal man who stood for many ages with his feet made fast in the soil and growing like a tree. Near him grew another tree. A snake gnawed them off at the root, whereupon they walked away as human beings. The serpent that gnaws at the root of the tree reappears as Nidhogg beneath one of the roots of Yggdrasill. But in neither instance can anything be made out of such statements until the typology is interpreted.
The Philippine Islanders narrate how the world at first consisted of sky and water, and between these there was nothing but a Glede, which, finding no place of rest, and being weary of flying about set the water at variance with the sky; this he did in order to keep it within bounds; and, to prevent its getting uppermost, he loaded the water with a number of islands to settle on and leave the sky at peace. Then mankind sprang out of a large cane with two joints that floated about in the water, and was thrown by the waves against the feet of the Glede which stood on the shore and opened the cane with its bill. A man issued from one joint, a woman from the other. The tree or cane with two joints denotes the two sexes that were divided first at puberty. So Tin split the tree into man and woman. The one that split the tree or opened the cane represents a type of pubescence like the stone of Pundjel or the tortoise of [p.374] Fo-hi. Here it is the glede or hawk, a Kamite symbol of soul which as the soul of pubescence did divide to distinguish the sexes, or split the double-jointed cane in two.
As the three sons of Bor were one day walking along the sea-beach they found two stems of wood floating on the waters. Out of these they shaped a man and a woman. Odin breathed into them the breath of life; Honir made them to go, and Lodur caused them to speak, hear, and see. The man they called Ask (or Ash), the woman Embla. From these two descend the whole human race. A tree was pointed out to the traveller Erman as an important monument of an early epoch in the history of Beresov. When the Ostiak rulers dwelt there in former times this tree was a particular object of adoration. It was a larch about fifty feet high, and its peculiar sacredness was connected with the singularity of its form and growth. For about six feet upward from the earth the trunk had divided into two equal parts and then united above in a single bole. Thus the tree offered an obvious image of the doorway of life. 'Honour your paternal aunt, the Date-Palm (says Mohammed), for she was created in Paradise of the same earth as that from which Adam was formed.'
The stake, that is a reduced form of the tree, still represents the first mother and the later ancestors in the sacrificial feasts of the Damaras; they stick this type of the tree and primal parent into the ground and offer the first portions of the feast to it.
The Veddas who dwell in huts made of bark live in a primitive form of the tree-ark, and their name for the house Rukula, means the hollow tree in Singhalese. The Tasmanians returned their dead to the mother's arms under this type, by burying them in a hollow tree.*
* The recent fall of an enormous puketea tree near Opotiki, New Zealand, disclosed the fact that the hollow interior from the roots to the first fork, about forty-five feet from the ground, had been filled with human bones. A confused heap of skeletons burst out of the butt of the tree when it fell. A local paper says: 'A more extraordinary sight than this monarch of the forest lying prone and discharging a perfect hecatomb of human skeletons can scarcely be conceived. Some are nearly perfect while others are mixed up in a chaotic mass of heads, hands, feet, and arms, indiscriminately. All the Maoris here seem to have been quite unaware of this natural charnel-house, and declare that it must have been filled long before their or their fathers' time. Indeed the appearance of the tree fully justifies the supposition that it must have been some hundreds of years since this novel family vault was filled with its ghastly occupants.'
The hollow tree or gas was also a British coffin. The inhabitants of Thebes in the eleventh dynasty, many of whom are negroes, were buried in coffins formed of the hollowed trunk of a peculiar kind of tree, which is no longer met with except in the Sudan. The tree of the birthplace is yet extant in Germany, north and south, as 'Frau Holda's Tree;' the common name for old decayed and hollow boles. A hollow tree in or overhanging a pool is still recognised [p.375] as the habitation of unborn children. A Hessian legend describes the genetrix Frau Holda as a lovely woman in front and behind a hollow tree with a rugged bark. An ancient tree once stood on the Heinzenberg near Zell, which was the shrine of 'Our Lady' the genetrix. When the woodman cut it down it was said to utter its moan. At the present time 'Our Lady's' chapel stands on the same spot. The chapel superseded the tree, and 'Our Lady' who was Holda once, is Mary now. It is the same in Egypt. There the sycamore is sacred to Hathor, the Egyptian Venus, who is styled 'Mistress of the Sycamore' at Maturea. In the Ritual the solar god is said to issue forth from the midst of the copper-coloured sycamore. The tree being employed as a type of the genetrix and birthplace (locality) in one. Maturea is named from mat an ancient name of An the place of birth, beginning and repetition, where the tree of the Two Truths grew in the pool of Persea, or the tree of life stood in the water of life. To this day the sycamore-fig of Hathor, one of whose characters and names is meri (and this is likewise a name of her tree as the meri or mulberry-fig), is pointed to at Maturea as the tree of Mary and her child. In the Arab traditions the divine child Jesus was also said to have been concealed in the trunk of the Gemaselt tree, a spider having spun its web over the entrance to hide him from his pursuers. The mother of Confucius is reputed to have been told in a dream by the Black Te that she should bring forth the divine child in a hollow mulberry-tree. The elder tree is an especial type of Holda the old or elder mother, the Danish Uildmoer who, as herein maintained, is one with the Egyptian Urta, the bearer, and Irish Arth, the bear. The earth is of course one type of the bearer under the same name, but the tree would be first recognised as the yielder of fruit. The mother-tree in England is often reduced to the status of a gooseberry-bush, beneath which the babies are found, but it is still a bearer of fruit. The tree as a type of the birthplace will account for the custom of passing diseased infants through a split sapling or the cleft of a stem which, in some cases, may have signified a transference of the disease to a genius of health supposed to reside in the tree.
But primarily the tree typified renewal, and this was a symbolical mode of rebirth from the mother imaged as the tree. Such was the idea in the eschatological phase where the adult was regenerated and born anew in the mysteries, whether from the tree, the holed-stone, the ark, cow, or any other type of the rue des femmes, when the object was a moral or spiritual renewal. The tree was a type of healing when the rags and other tokens of disease were hung upon it by the sufferers praying for assistance. When the Khonds hung up the hands of their slain foemen on the tree it was a type of their deity [p.376] to whom they offered their trophies. In this aspect the tree is equivalent to the 'Hill-Altar' of the Jews, upon which they offered their propitiatory sacrifice. 'His own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree,' is a continuation of the tree itself, which had borne the propitiatory offering on its living altar. But, in all the oldest mythologies the tree is a type of the motherhood, and the child is her branch. The Egyptian Rennut is the nurse, the rennu is her nursling, and renpu to renew, be young, is the name of the branch, shoot or plant, as the child of the tree. The genetrix as Hathor is portrayed in the tree or by the tree, and as the tree half human in shape. From this she pours out the drink of life and furnishes the food upon which souls are fed.
In one picture the deceased standing with his body on one side of the tree of life, and as a soul on the other exclaims, 'Oh, Sycamore of Nut, give me the water and the breath of lift which proceed from thee, that I may have the vigour of the goddess of vigour.' He receives the water of life being of flesh and blood; breath of life as a spirit, both from the mother in accordance with the Two Truths, and in their earliest phase. Isis is said to have found the ark of Osiris exposed on the river Nile, containing the child, entangled in a thicket of heath or tamarisk, the Aseru, a form of the tree of life, which had entwined about the ark and child until both were completely enclosed within its trunk, now grown up into a stately tree. This tree which contained the invisible chest, or ark, and child, was made into a pillar to support the roof of a royal palace. Isis being informed of this went herself to Byblus. When she came there, she sat down hard by a well. Here she met with the ark-tree; 'she begged the post that held up the roof.' This tree, or pillar, she trimmed of its bushy heath, poured perfumed oil upon it and wrapped the trunk in fine linen, and thenceforth it was laid up in the Temple of Isis.
A similar myth of the tree and child is related of Krishna. One legend describes how he was transformed into the trunk of sandalwood, or the tchandana tree, and that after being planted in Yamouna, near Mathurea, it passed from thence to the holy waters of the Ganges, and these bore it to the shore of Orica.
In the north the ash, which is the tree of life in Egypt, is known as the 'Refuge of Thor,' because that tree caught and saved him when he was being swept away by the river Vimur, just as the child Osiris was being swept away, but was saved by the tree, inferentially as the type of a landmark.
So supreme an emblem of reproduction was the tree in India that the Buddha is fabled to have been incarnated some forty or fifty times under the tree-type, the tree of knowledge, wisdom or enlightenment.
[p.377] Maurice observes that 'it is a fact, not less remarkable than well-attested, that the Druids in their Groves were accustomed to select the most stately and beautiful tree as an emblem of the deity they adored, and having cut off the side branches, they affixed two of the largest of them to the highest part of the trunk in such a manner that these branches extended on each side like the arms of a man, and together with the body, presented the appearance of a huge cross, and in the bark in several places was inscribed the letter Tau.' On the central upright stem he says they cut the word 'Taramis,' on the right hand branch the name of 'Hesus,' and on the left hand one 'Belinus.' Taramis represents the Daronwy of the Druids. Taliesin celebrated this tree as the great refuge from the flood. 'What tree is greater than he, Daronwy? I know not for a refuge around the proud circle of Heaven that there is a mystery which is greater.' Belin, it may be remarked, is an inner African type-name for the young one, the new thing, the Rennu (Eg.).
|belin, is young, in Kanuri.||belin, is young, in N'guru.|
|belin " " Munio.||belin " " Kanem.|
The mother of Adonis was said to have been metamorphosed into a tree, and in that shape to have brought forth the divine child. On the coins of ancient Crete the genetrix is portrayed, like Hathor or Nupe, in the tree.
In the Phrygian mysteries, called those of the mother of the gods a pine-tree was cut down every year, and the image of a youth was bound on the inside. This was on the first day of the feast of Kubele. 'What means that pine,' asks Arnobius, 'which on certain days you bring into the sanctuary of the Mother of the gods?' This he identifies with the tree of the genetrix, beneath which the youth Attis laid hands upon himself, and which the mother consecrated in solace of her own wound.
The 'dark pine' that grew in Eridu was the seat, shrine, and couch, of the Akkadian genetrix Zikum. She who was the tree that bore the child as Tammuz or Duzi. 'In Eridu a dark pine grew. It was planted in a holy place. Its crown was crystal white, which spread towards the deep vault above. The abyss of Hea was its pasturage in Eridu, a canal full of waters. Its station (seat) was the centre of this earth. Its shrine was the couch of mother Zikum. The (roof) of its holy house like a forest spread its shade; there (were) none who entered not within it. It was the seat of the mighty mother.'
In Egypt the sycamore-fig is the chief type of the tree of life from which the Great Mother, as Hathor, pours out the divine drink. [p.378] Hathor was the sekhem, or shrine of the child, in the shape of the sycamore tree, also this type of the tree, genetrix, womb, shrine, and tomb may be traced back by name to inner Africa. The typical tree is the—
dsigma, in Nupe. tsugma, or tsugba, ín Esitako. tagma, in Ebe. tsigmo, in Kupa. tsimo, in Gugu.
In this name the tes that is ideographic in the hieroglyphics supplies the t and s which permute in later language. Thus sekh (Eg.), liquid, drink, interchanges with tekh, drink, liquid, wine; to supply with drink; whilst the tsigmo in Kupa becomes tugma in Ebe. In Hebrew the typical tree as the saqamah (המקש) is the sycamore fig-tree. Also we have a species of fig-tree called the sycamine in English. The fig is an emblem of the womb, the sekhem (Eg.), one of those feminine types like the pomegranate, the Persea fruit, or the lotus which contain their seed within themselves, and it is the fruit of the sycamore fig-tree. In the African Gura the abode as a hut is the saguma. The Swedish skemma is a store-house for the fruits of the earth. In Egypt the sekhem had become a sacred shrine representing the mother; the abode of Horus in utero.
The Turks have a tradition that when Mary and the child were being pursued by the murderers whom Herod sent after them, they came to the tree at Maturea which having the power of opening and shutting, opened to receive the parents and saved the child. In this legend the sekhem, or sycamore tree, becomes the Egyptian 'Sekhem,' which means the shut-place, and shrine. The typical tree of inner Africa, the sekhem of Egypt, Zikuni of Akkad, survives in the Koran as Al-zakkum, the tree of knowledge; but how different says the text, from the abode of Eden. Here it issues from the bottom of hell, and is planted solely for the torment of the wicked. The fruit of it resembles the heads of devils or serpents (for the word signifies both), so that it is still the tree of the serpent, and the damned are to eat of it and fill their bellies therewith, washing down the fruit with scalding liquor.
The Lord said, 'If ye have faith as a grain of mustard-seed, ye would say unto this sycamore tree, Be thou rooted up, and be thou planted in the sea; and it would have obeyed you.' This may possibly contain an occult allusion to the tree of the motherhood which was superseded in the worship of the son; the tree of Zikum in Eridu, and of Hathor at Maturea.
The natural genesis of the typical tree is self-evident. Norden describes the sycamore-fig as a very tree of life in Egypt. He says the people almost live off it. This tree is always green and bears its fruit several times a year, without observing any change of season. [p.379] Ficus sycomorus in Egypt sometimes measures fifty feet in girth. But equatorial Africa is the paradise of the sycamore tree, which grows there to a size befitting the roof-tree of the world.
Captain Cameron describes three vast specimens towering outside the town of Khoko which formed a prominent mark for miles around. One of these afforded ample shelter for 500 people who encamped under its branches. Another type of the food-bestower is the Baobab or Monkey-bread-tree of Central Africa which sometimes attains a girth of thirty yards in the trunk. When it loses its leaves in the dry season, fruit the size of a half-quartern loaf is seen suspended all round it. The wood soon decays and most of the older boles are hollow like those of Frau Holda; these become reservoirs of rain, from which the natives draw water in the dry season, and in the day of need. A magnificent tree of life was the bread-and-water tree for man as for monkey. Its leaves are eaten by the negroes, and the apes are very fond of its fruit which has a slightly acid pulp. Now, one of the old folks' stories told by the Indians of Guiana says the Tree of Life was planted under the rule of Sigu, son of Maikonaitna, and in its stem was pent up the whole of the waters that were to be let forth according to measure and reckoning to stock every lake and river with fish. But, Warika the mischievous monkey forced open the magic cover that kept down the waters and the next minute he was swept away with all living things by the bursting forth of the deluge.
In this account we have the tree typified after the Baobab or monkey-bread fruit-tree of inner Africa, with its primitive cistern of water and pent-up reservoir of rain, supplying the type of a tree that contained the deluge. The negroes also make artificial cisterns of the large boles of decaying trees. The name of the Norse tree Yggdrasill, is said by Magnusson, to signify the producer of rain. Such a meaning has little application in northern regions, but in inner Africa where the tree collects water and becomes a reservoir of nature or the mother, an Yggdrasill of wet in a burning land, it was indeed divine as the distributor of an element of life which it had caught in a myriad leafy hands held up to the passing clouds for their riches of rain. When we see Nupe or Hathor portrayed in and as the celestial tree offering the divine food and drink of souls, we have a late picture of the African looking up to the tree of sustenance, of water, and of life itself. So ancient then is this type of the motherhood that it reaches back to the time when the tree was the cradle and coffin of the race, and the bounteous breast of the mother herself leaning over the human infancy with its nourishment; when man, only a little ahead of the Soko, was born and lived in and on and underneath the tree. The natural type was first. The tree preceded any form of the carven image, however rude; consequently [p.380] there are African races with whom the tree has continued from the beginning, and the type has never passed into the domain of representative art. In Egypt where the type is sometimes found in all its phases, a sycamore tree with two arms is a form of the genetrix who became Hathor in the tree or as the tree personified. A sycamore with human arms is an illustration of the 19th chapter of the Ritual; this image of the two-armed tree being the tree, the cross, and the mother of life all united in one.
A great deal of nonsense has been written concerning the so-called 'tree-worship,' and 'tree-spirits.' But, the primitive man was not the diseased victim of subjectivity. The tree that is the African's wong did not become sacred at first because of any inherent 'spirit.'
Primally the tree produced food and was the support of life, the producer, the mother of life on the physical plane. It was the mother in the same sense that the mother was the cow, or the earth was the mother, because it was the source of food and drink in the human in fancy.
Sahagun says the Mexicans adored certain hills on account of the rainwater which they collected, and the same reason is assigned by the aboriginal tribes of India for their worship of hills. But here the words worship and adoration are modern, and the sense is modern compared with that of the early men who were glad if the hill or the tree proved to be a cistern of water for their time of need. Typology shows their mode of representing this hill or tree was as the image of the mother who feeds the child from her breast and still earlier in her womb. Hence the Mount Tanga (in Mose) is the thigh. The primary motive for looking up to the hill or great tree was want of water and desire for fruit—the early man being frugivorous—the first sense of this source of supply; the moral and religious came afterwards. In looking to the hill and tree for sustenance, they had common sense and reason on their side, which is more than can be said for those who have continued the types as fetishes in the religious phase. The first perception was that of food, drink, and shelter. Hence the tree represented the nursing mother. The primitive man did not personify the inherent life of the tree as an object of adoration nor adore any abstract spirit of the forest. He did not conceive of a spirit first and then localise it in the tree. Animistic ideas belong to a later stage; to the metaphysics of savages in common with the 'feng shui' of the Chinese, the poetizing of the Greeks, and the modern interpretation of mythology.
Primitive animism was not spiritual in the current sense. What it was is evident from the genders of American and other early languages in which living things belong to the animate gender, and things dead, motionless or small and mean, belong to the inanimate gender. The motion of wind or lightning; the voice of thunder, the renewing life of the tree, these were animistic but not eschatological. Spirits were [p.381] not conceived as governing phenomena until the elements had been personified as spirits. The fruit evoked no gratitude to a giver that constituted the intelligence of the tree. Language is able to tell us what the tree was to the earliest human perception. It was the dwelling-place and the producer of food, and sometimes it had food on it; at other times none. This would excite expectation. The Ojibwa name for an object of veneration meaning 'My hope,' would particularly apply to a source of water in a burning land, and still remain an adequate expression when the one conscious cause of phenomena was postulated and worshipped in a later religious phase. The earliest form of gratitude would be a lively sense of future favours. These were bestowed at recurring intervals, and thus evoked or appealed to a sense of periodicity. The tree is one of the ideographs of time, and it bears the name of time itself. Our word tree is identical with the Egyptian teru (or tre), the shoot, branch, or tree of time, carried in the hands of Taht the reckoner of lunar time; and teru (Eg.) is likewise the name of time. This is the chief inner African type-name for the tree.
|taro, in Legba.||atir, in N'goala.||tir, in Bavon.|
|tero, in Kaui'e.||tir, in Balu.||turi, in Timbuktu.|
|tera, in Mose.||atir, in Bagba.||daru, in Barba.|
|tir, and atir, in Papiah.||tir, in Kum.||ntera, in Muntti.|
|tir, in Momenya.||atir, in Pati.|
This type is continued in the Egyptian teru, Greek doru or drus, Welsh deru, and English tree. As food-producer the tree became the sign of a season and a teller of time. Therefore the tree that told was adopted as the symbol of a time. On account of its bringing forth fruit periodically, the tree was an intelligencer to men and a kind of primary intelligence. The tree that told became the tree that talked and gave forth oracles whether as the sacred palm of Negra in Yemen, or the prophetic oak of Dodona, the Ava-tree of the Polynesians, the tree 'Mirrone' of the Congo negroes or countless other sacred trees.
The fact is curiously conveyed in the account of the Antilles Islanders which was given by Friar Pane, who says that certain trees were supposed to send for the sorcerers and instruct them in the selecting and shaping of their trunks into idols for the temple where they became oracles, which is tantamount to saying that various trees had certain self-manifesting qualities which were best known to the learned in forest-lore, and these gave them a self-conferred sacred character.
The Siamese follow the 'spirit' of a tree (that which constitutes its essential character) into the boat made from its wood, and continue their offerings to it when it has assumed that shape. This 'spirit' we should call 'durability' as of oak; or 'lightness' as of teak the quality which constituted its especial character. With us the [p.382] 'spirit' of the Cinchona bark is quinine; but the modern medicine was a primitive 'spirit.' The ancient tree-spirits are now known as vegetable alkaloids. They have at last revealed their nature. To the early man they only made known certain effects. Still, inasmuch as they did make known they were acknowledged to be tellers, talkers, or intelligencers to men. This habit of self-revelation made the tree oracular to the early mind of man.
The dark side of phenomena being first consciously reflected, dread of an inimical influence would precede a mental recognition of the good. What to avoid would be the first lesson taught by the tree. The tree or plant that produced poison would naturally be considered the abode of a bad character, a power of evil, a tree noted for the malignancy of its indwelling inimical element or power. The African negroes of Senegambia, the Australian aborigines, the Karens of India, and North American Indians, alike seek to propitiate and appease the malicious demon of the tree that sends disease. This was primarily the poisonous tree. But the early man having found it out would simply not eat of it! He did not offer sacrifice to it any more than the dog gives thanks for the grass which he knows to be medicinal; whilst his mind had not yet attained the savage religious phase. The doctrine of early 'spirits' is well illustrated by the Bushmen. A caterpillar called n'gwa supplies a deadly poison with which they anoint the barbs of their arrows. The poison is fatal even to the lion. They are also said to cure the wound of this poison. They told Livingstone that they administered the n'gwa itself with fat. 'The n'gwa wants fat,' they said; having found that fat or oil was an antidote. Now when the negro in felling the Asorin tree gives it the first cut the spirit of the tree is supposed to issue forth and chase him, whereupon the negro drops palm-oil on the ground and while the spirit pauses to lick it up the negro escapes. So the knife that made the cut has to be fed with fat to assist the wound in healing. The doctrine is the same as if the oil were applied to a wound as an antidote to the sting or poison, only the poison is represented as a devourer who has to be appeased by the oil. According to Bosman 'The trees which are the Gods of the second rank of this country (Hwida) are only prayed to and presented with offerings in time of sickness, more especially fevers, in order to restore the patients to health.'
The Tree of Life originated in the tree that furnished food and drink. The Tree of Knowledge was the tree that told. This can be traced into the tree alphabets and other forms of the book. Hence the beech-tree is identifiable by name with the book-tree; its bark having supplied a kind of papyrus. But here the book and food are inseparable by name. In Egypt the buka is the palm-tree, the branch of which is the Book of Taht. Buka is also the palm-wine. [p.383] Buk modified into buh, is food, bread. The buka-tree furnished food with its fruit and wine with its liquor. Pekh (Eg.) is another form of the word for food, as in the English 'peck' for victuals. Bag (גב) is food in Hebrew; bhag, in Sanskrit; fagus, in Latin, is the beech-tree; φηγός, in Greek is the oak. Both meet under one name as the bearers of food, peck, or victuals. Fek (Eg.) is produce, plenty, and the food-producing tree is of various kinds which may be traced under one name. The food-tree is buko in Kanyop (Af.); the palm is the bukeem in Bola; bukiam in Sarar; bekiame in Pepel; and buka in Egyptian. The fig is a form of the same name, and in the African Filham, the ground-nut instead of the tree-fruit is the fukui. The corresponding name of the genetrix and giver of food in Egyptian is that of the goddess Pekh. To denote ancient descent Horapollo says the Egyptians depict a bundle of papyrus, and by this they intimate the primeval food; for no one can find the beginning of food or generation. This is the papyrus roll or book. The root of the papyrus was eaten for food and the plant, like the lotus, is a form of the typical tree. It is carried in the hands of the mother-goddesses as the uat-sceptre of the genetrix who produced the food of the child's life in her own blood (the red food of source) and nourished it afterwards at her breast. Thus the book and food were both found in the papyrus plant, as they were in the tree. Such an origin as this will explain how 'eating the book,' as in Revelation, could be spoken of as synonymous with receiving knowledge. Many illustrations of this mode of eating of the Tree of Knowledge might be quoted and traced to the beginning of the tree as the producer both of food and information. It extends among the Africans and other races to the swallowing of the written letter as white man's medicine or fetish-food. The tree that told communicated the information first of all by means of its fruits and its juices.
Horapollo asserts that education was called sbo (Coptic for learning), i.e., seba, by the Egyptians, which, when interpreted, signifies sufficient food.
The primitive man did not begin by book-making but the later men developed the tree as a type of the intelligencer which became a book at last, and continued to be known by the same name. Primitive man did not eat of the tree and straightway personify it as the divine mother. But the tree gave food and drink as the mother does, therefore, it was the mother of life and so survived as a typical mother, exactly in the same way that the milch-cow, or goat, or ass was a mother, only the tree was first as it did not need to be trained or domesticated. It is noticeable that the palm-tree of the primeval world was the immediate precursor of man in the garden of earth. It was in the shape of the palm-tree that nature first gave her maternal milk to man, with such a dash of spirit in it as made him wink and [p.384] wonder, and feel like the farmer whose glass of milk had been slyly mixed with whiskey, and who on drinking it off exclaimed lustily, 'Lord! what a cow.' The toddy palm of equatorial Africa was a cow and a mother indeed! The palm-tree was not only an intelligencer but an inspirer of men; a strange illuminator of their dawning minds.
In Egyptian sukh (or uskh) is liquid, drink; sukha, the flood-time. This is our English suck; the Euskarian uisge, for water; Chinese, sok (suck); Latin, sugo; Sanskrit, sić for drink, wet, liquid, of liquor. But just as whiskey is a kind of uisge, the suck of the toddy is a natural sort of whiskey, and the mother's milk was found to be koumess, ready fermented, when drawn from the tree. In the Zulu Kaffir language the good wife who fills her husband's cup is designated his Zikisa. Zugia was a title of Juno. Now this root, zug, sukh, or sakh (compare English sack), denotes fermentation and spirit. Sakhu (Eg.) is to be fermented. Sakh is to inspire, illuminate, mental influence, the illuminator. Sekht (a name of Pekh) is a divinity of intoxicating drinks. Thus drink and divinity are found under one name, the first spirit as a mental inspirer being alcoholic. συκος is the Greek name of the fig-tree, from the fruit of which the divine drink was also made. This root, sk, is an inner African type-name for divinity; the deity or demon is
|Tskuka, in Ibu.||Soko, in Nupe.||Sogei, in Kise-Kise.|
|Dsuku, in Isoama.||Soko, in Esitako.||Sokwo, in Nufi.|
|Dsuku, in Mbnfia.||Seakoa, in Puka.||Suge, in Susu.|
|Soko, in Basa.|
In some African languages there is but one name for God and Devil, as in Marawi, where both are called Tsoka. In the country of Kivo the intoxicating palm-toddy is named zogga. In Dahome the soko is a poison-tree. Both bear the name of the Spirit, which is a divinity in one language and a devil in others. Poison being one of the active principles first recognized because of its effect, that would identify the tree of death; and in opposition to this the tree that bore the good fruit was the Tree of Life. The typical tree has descended in the Hebrew Genesis as the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, that is, the tree as a natural intelligencer to men.
The 'Tree of Knowledge' in Egyptian is known as the kat. This is also the name of the feminine abode, the womb, and is a title of the genetrix as Kat-Mut. Another name of the feminine interior is identical with that of the fig-tree, which is kent (Eg.), a type of fertility, abundance, plenty. In several languages the female, or womb, and the sacred-tree have the same name, just as in English the pudendum femine is called a plum-tree. In Spain the plumtree furnishes an especial wood for images of the Virgin. This arose naturally from the mother being the bearer of the food. She was the Tree of Life. [p.385] Kat, the Welsh gwydd, in the Hebrew form ץג (getz), is the typical Tree of Life and of Knowledge planted in the Garden of Eden and this feminine type will show us how the tree is related to the Fall, because it bears two different kinds of fruit, one of which may be called good and one evil. The typical tree in Hebrew has preserved an inner African name, getz (ץג) being identical with
|kedsi, in Nsa.||odsi, tree, in Opanda.|
|ketsi, in N'ki.||odsi, " " Eghira-hima.|
|kodsi, in Kore.||etse, " " Param.|
|ekedsi, in Boritsu.||itsi, " " Okam.|
|heitsi, tree-like, in Hottentot.||keti, " " Mfut.|
|yetse, tree, in Baseke.||kat, tree of knowledge, Egypt.|
|odsi, " " Yala.|
In the Ananda Tantram the aswatha or sacred fig-tree is identified with the yoni or uterus. In the Yoni-rupam, instructions are given for making the Bhagam Aswatha patra Vat, or fig-leaf-shaped vulva as an object of adoration in the cult of the Yonias, 'Let the cleft in the mons veneris be seven fingers wide, bulging out four fingers breadths, and downwards let it be shaped like the Aswattham,' (fig-leaf). The fig-tree, says Magnus, was the first to introduce purity of life among men. Hence the Athenians called the fruit of this tree the guide or guiding-fruit. This was a mystical Tree of Knowledge, which we shall find connected with the 'Fall.'
The Aborigines of Victoria have a legend of the tree and the introduction of death into the world. The first created man and woman were charged not to go near a certain tree in which a bat (Bon-nel-ya) lived. The bat was not to be disturbed. One day, however, the woman was gathering firewood, and she went near the tree in which the bat dwelt. It flew away and after that came death. Many among the Aborigines died after that. It may afford a gloss on this in connection with the Fall to repeat Horapollo's statement that the Egyptians portrayed a bat when they would represent a mother as suckling and bringing up her children well; this being the only winged creature that has breasts and teeth. Thus when the bat which taught how to nurse and bring up the children properly had deserted the Tree of Knowledge or Life, then came death into the world.
In the Polynesian Paradise there grew the 'Tabooed bread-fruit tree,' together with the sacred apple-tree. In old times the Hawaiian priests held that the tabooed fruit was in some way connected with the trouble and death of Kumu-honua and Lalo-honua, the primal pair whose fall is bewailed in ancient chants that describe the eating of the fruit, the breaking of the law and the bringing down of death. The 'tree-eaters' or 'tree-upsetters' were tempted to eat by the Moopela or Ilioha, an artful lying animal and mischief-maker; and [p.386] they were then driven out of the primal paradise by the 'large white bird of Kane.'
Those who ate of the forbidden food and fell are mourned over in the native chant, as
'Dead by the feast,
Dead by the oath;
Dead by the law, in
Disobeying the gods.'
The genesis of the legend would be in eating of a tree that poisoned or made the eaters of it ill, with later applications of the type.
The Hottentot deity, Heitsi Eibib, tells his son Urisip, the whitish one, not to eat of the raisin-trees of the valley. It is said that when Heitsi Eibib was travelling about with his family they came to a valley in which the raisin-tree was ripe, and he was there attacked by a severe illness. Then his young (second) wife said, 'This brave one is taken ill on account of these raisins; death is here at the place.' The old man (Heitsi Eibib) told his son Urisip (the whitish one), 'I shall not live, I feel it.' 'Thou must therefore cover me with soft stones.' And he spoke further, 'This is the thing which I order you to do: Of the raisin-trees of this valley ye shall not eat, for if ye eat of them I shall infect you, and ye shall surely die in a similar Way.' His young wife said, 'He is taken ill on account of the raisins of this valley, let us bury him quickly and go.' So he died there and was covered flatly with soft stones, according as he had commanded. When they had moved to another place and were unpacking there, they heard, always from the side whence they had come, a noise of people eating raisins and singing. In this manner the eating and singing ran:
'I, father of Urisip,
Father of this unclean one,
I, who had to eat these raisins and died,
And dying live.'
The young wife perceived that the noise came from the side where the old man's grave was, and said, 'Urisip, go and look.' Then the son went to the old man's grave, where he saw traces which he recognised to be his father's footmarks, and returned home. Then the young wife said:
'It is he alone, therefore act thus;
Do so to the man who ate raisins on the windward side,
Take care of the wind that thou creepest upon him from the leeward,
Then intercept him on his way to the grave,
And when thou hast caught him do not let him go.'
He did accordingly, and they came between the grave and Heitsi Eibib who, when he saw this, jumped down from the raisin-trees and ran quickly, but was caught at the grave. Then he said, 'Let me go, [p.387] for I am a man who has been dead, that I may not infect you.' But the young wife said, 'Keep hold of the rogue.' So they brought him home, and from that day he was fresh and hale.
Dr. Hahn says he has eaten the fruit of this so-called wild raisin-tree, and the result was an attack of dysentery. The natives, having no medicine, often succumb to such attacks. Hence the natural genesis of the type in relation to this particular tree that brought death into the world. Dr. Hahn derives the name of Heitsi from heii, the tree, but admits that he cannot account for the 'ts.' One meaning of it is 'to come.' This tends to identify Heitsi with the branch, which is his especial symbol. The tree itself is feminine. The child god is everywhere the branch, the coming one. This god, their first man, is continually rising again as the branch from the root; a primitive sense of the resurrection that might suit the modern agnostics. The imagery is also applied to the renewal of the moon, as well as of the human race. In consequence the green branch is still laid on the cairns of the dead, whether considered as the grave of their first man, who is renewed in them, or of their more immediate relatives. Of course, in a later phase, the ancestral tree or root is assigned to the male. Thus the root, and the grandfather become synonymous. When this root is personified it is as Khūnomab, the mimosa-root, of whom the lion says, 'Mimosa-root has killed me.' Now a book of the origins is concealed in this, for the mimosa is the sensitive plant. One of their typical roots used as charms for protection and images of divine power is the giraffeacacia. The acacia is the Tree of Life in Egypt. The wood is so vital that when dried and planed down in doorsills, it has been known to sprout again. But the sensitive root offers a mental clue to the primitive thought. When they set fire to this root as they lie down for the night and murmur, 'My grandfather's-root, bring sleep on the eyes of the lion and leopard and hyena: make them blind that they cannot find us: cover their noses that they cannot smell us out;' and when they give thanks to their grandfather's-root next morning on finding themselves in safety, and we remember this is the mimosa-root, the sensitive-root, we also can lay hold of it as a first link in a chain of that consciousness which culminates in apprehending or divining the mind beyond phenomena, to which the later human appeal is made.
Um Nga, in the Kaffir dialect, is the name of the mimosa-tree, and nga means to wish. It is the root of all that implies potentiality and forms the potential mood of the verb. Wishing by the sensitive-tree, then, is primitive prayer. So the Egyptians wished by the ankh, the life, the living one, when their nga was the king, or the still earlier knot, or the clasped (ank) hands.
Heitsi Eibib, as divinity or spirit of the tree identifies himself, not only with, but as the tree when he says, 'I shall infect you.' Here we see the spirit of the tree communicating the knowledge of good and evil in the act of warning them against the evil, whereas the subtle Serpent or the sly Moopela tempts them to eat of the tree of death. Thus the spirit of the tree is demonstrably based on the quality of its fruit, and afterwards a motive is assigned to this as an active agent personified.
Alcoholic drinks were taken in the ancient mysteries to induce an abnormal condition and excite the power of prophecy and divination. In the Rig Veda the gods are said to get drunk and to obtain immortality by drinking the 'Immortal Stimulant'—amartyam madam. They all drink copiously the first thing in the morning, are drunk by midday, and dead-drunk by night with the third libation. Their followers also drink the soma-juice to attain the privileges of immortality and to know the gods; and in their consequent exaltation sing:
'We've quaffed the Soma bright,
And are immortal grown.
We've entered into light;
And all the gods have known.'
They felt the 'tulla intoon,' or supernatural ecstasy of the Finnish magician, in which he became the likeness of the spirit in possession of him.
Even in the Book of Deuteronomy the Jews are commanded to spend their saved-up money in drink as an offering to the deity, which shows that intoxication was a religious rite with them as it was with those who grew immortal by quaffing the juice of the soma, the homa, or other types of the Tree of Knowledge. The Tree of Knowledge first supplied the divine drink, which was naturally fermented in the toddy-palm. The drink was elsewhere produced artificially from the various kavi-trees and plants, the vine, the homa, soma, fig, mistletoe, elder, raisin, and other sacred fruit-trees. The Mexicans made brandy from the pulque-plant, called the maguey, which is one of the agaves or kavis. The kavi drink was made by the Mangaians from the piper mythisticum, and a root of this intoxicating tree was buried with the dead at Rarotonga to enable the spirit-traveller to make a fit spirit-offering to Tiki and obtain entrance into his dwelling.
The juice of the Hindu Tree of Life is called the ornaments of the Siddhas. The Siddhas are the perfected; the spirits of the Eighth Heaven, or the Height, which was first attained by primitive man, who mounted and entered by means of the intoxicating tree. Among the North American Indians we find the notion that immortality consists in [p.389] being eternally drunk, because drink supplied the type of a paradisiacal condition, and the dead-drunk were as spirits among spirits.
The story of the tree in the Hebrew Genesis has been told with this gloss: The serpent informs the woman that 'in the day ye eat thereof then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as Elohim, knowing Good and Evil. And when the Woman saw that the tree was good for food and pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the tree thereof and did eat,' or partook of it in some way. And 'their eyes were opened.' The tree was to make them wise. The wise are the seers. The Persian Magi were the wise men. seers, clairvoyants, fortune-tellers, prophets, are called the wise. The wizard is the wise man, and the Elohim, as spiritual beings, say, 'Behold the man is become as one of us.' The tree had taught them the way to enter spirit-world, and the Elohim were the elementary spirits or gods of the earliest time and typology.
We are told by Plutarch that previous to the time of Psammeticus, the Egyptian priest-kings were not used to drink wine at all, nor to pour it out in a sacrifice as a thing they thought in any way grateful to the gods. On the contrary, they shed it as the blood of those who in ancient times waged war against the gods from whose falling down from heaven and mixing with the earth (compare the blood of Belus mixing in the same manner) they conceived vines to have first sprung; which is the reason, they say, that drunkenness renders men beside themselves, and makes them mad; they being, as it were, gorged with the blood of their ancestors. 'These things reported & Eudoxus in his Second Book of Travels, are thus related by the priests.' There is a cognate tradition extant among the folktales of the Little Russians concerning the origin of tobacco, or 'the devil's herb,' as it is designated by the Raskolniks. Once on a time there was a witch-woman who is described as a heathen. She led men astray, and a voice from heaven commanded that she should be put to death. This was obeyed, and the enchantress was buried alive. Her husband planted a twig on her grave which grew up into the tobacco plant. The people plucked its leaves and discovered the art of smoking. They smoked and smoked until one day the smoke burst into flame, and they were all consumed. In the Mexican legends the genetrix Magaguil or Mayaguil is represented as a woman who had 400 breasts (the Dea Multimammae), and on account of her fruitfulness the creative power changed her into the Maguey tree that is the vine of the country, from which the natives made their wine. This also identifies the Great Mother with the Tree of Knowledge as a producer of intoxicating drink. The Egyptians described by Plutarch, had passed out of the primitive typhonian phase in [p.390] which inspiration was attained by intoxication. The giants, the opponent powers, are here identified with the fall from heaven, and wine with the cause of the fall. We still call wine the blood of the grape. The first wine in the mystical sense was the blood of the Tree of Life; and this was actually partaken of in the eucharist of the mysteries before it was commuted by the blood of the grape, or the fermented juice of other fruits. The Egyptians were in the position of total abstainers from wine because it was the symbol of the earlier source of uncleanness, lawlessness, and sin against nature; and representative of the daemons or spirits that were early and elemental, and therefore the 'bad' spirits of later thought. This reaction is especially characteristic of the Hebrew prophets, and is still more plainly set forth in the Parsee sacred scriptures.
The priests and prophets of the Devs are called by the name of Kavi in the Gathas. The Kavayas and Kavitayas are the ministers of evil, stealers of the understanding; typhonian in the evil sense. Kavi often occurs in the Vedic Hymns. In Sanskrit the root kavi supplies a name for the Kavya, as those who are possessed of the greatest understanding; endowed with the qualities of the sage, the prophet, the poet, and inspired seer. But it also denotes a 'female fiend.' By drinking the intoxicating soma-juice the power of Kavi may be attained. In India the Kavis or seers were believed to be divine revealers to men, and were consulted as prophets. The word kavi is a revelation in itself. It is the Egyptian kefi or kepi which signifies the mystery of fermentation, heat, illumination, and spiritism of the alcoholic kind. It is applied to fertilization by the inundation; and kap in the Hok-Keen (Chinese) dialect likewise signifies imbibing to the full, to soak through; keep being a libation. Kep (Eg.) is Typhon. The ancient Iranians were worshippers of the genetrix; as the Devi Drukhs maliciously reminds Zaratusht. The term kavi was once an honoured name; a title of the most famous personages of Iranian antiquity, such as Kavi-Husrava (Kai Khusro) Kavi-Kavata (Kai Kabad) Kavi-Vishtaspa (Kai Gushtasp), and in its derived adjectival form Kâyanian was the designation of a whole dynasty of the ancient Bactrian rulers. They wore the mighty glory which was peculiar to the Kavis, the Iranian heroes before the Zoroastrian times, the glory worn by Yima and Thraetaona, a celestial glory essential for causing the resurrection of the dead at the end of the world; a light of the life everlasting. Kavasakha is the name given to those who are influenced by drinking the kava, and who are the enemies and despisers of the soma, the later and more sacred drink of India, sakha (Eg.) means illumined, influenced, inspired, and the kava-sakha are the illumined by fermented liquor. In one passage the Kavasakha is called a Maghava. Indra is said to turn out the [p.391] Maghava who follows the Kavayas from his possession. The Maghava and Kavasakha are thus synonymous and in Yasna 51, 15, the Zoroastrians are designated Maghavas.
'Zarathustra assigned in times of yore as a reward to the Magizavas the Paradise where first of all Mazda himself had gone.'
'Kava Vishtaspa obtained through the possession of the spiritual power (maga) and through the verses which the good mind had revealed that knowledge which Ahura Mazda himself as the cause of truth, has invented.'
The casting out (or transformation) of the kavi corresponds to the kindred change in Israel. Kep has a variant in sep (Eg.) for the spirit of wine; and this is the root of the Greek word sophia, which signifies wisdom and originally meant wine, as the juice of the grape; the vine being one of the trees of knowledge that were 'to be desired' to 'make wise'; the sap or juice is one by name with sapiens. Also, the Assyrian cuneiform characters which designate the 'vine,' or wine are traceable to the compound ges-tin in Akkadian, which means the Tree of Life.
The connection of the fetish idol with a 'spirit' is curiously shown in the religious rite described by Columbus who relates that the West Indian natives used to place a platter on the head of the divinity. This platter contained the intoxicating cohoba powder which was snuffed up the nostrils by means of a double-branched cane. In this way the gods inspired them through the powder.
Roman Pane also describes the native priest as coming to the sick man, and then putting himself in communication with 'spirits' by snuffing cohoba powder that 'made him drunk,' or induced the abnormal condition in which he saw with opened vision, and foresaw and divined, because in this state of trance he was talking with the 'cemis,' i.e., the dead; the khemu in Egyptian.
The spirit was first discovered in the powder of the fetish herb, hence tobacco became the Holy Herb because it inspired the seers; next, the spirit was discovered, by means of the powder, in the consequent ecstasy, delirium, trance or dream. Then it was believed that a window had been opened into another world, through which the medium conversed with the dead, who went on living, despite the evidence of the external senses. Primitive spiritualism was based on the trance-vision now called clairvoyance. As before said, the present writer has had many years' private experience of the abnormal condition which could be induced by the look, whether of a serpent or the human eye, a disk, a light, a looking-glass, by anaesthetics, narcotics, or by ecstatic sensation. In this trance the sensitive believed that she saw and talked with spirits, and observers also considered that other Intelligences than her own could commingle [p.392] with, and see and talk through her. Whether this be true or false or mixed, we have the means extant in our own day for studying such 'mysteries' of the past. The attempt to explain these abnormal phenomena on the theory of imposture is a shallow delusion, even if supported by all the foremost men of science living, and can but tend to their own discredit.
The tree as the mother of life, as the teller, and lastly, as the oracle or foreteller, was represented in certain rites by a living woman who was worshipped beneath its branches. Isaiah denounces the 'Sons of the Sorcerers' who 'inflame themselves with idols under every green tree.' Jeremiah says of Israel, 'She is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot.' This is termed committing adultery with stocks and stones; the stock and stone that represented the tree and the mount of the genetrix. According to Hosea they sacrificed under the tree 'because the shadow thereof was good.' The reader must not suppose that mere congress of the sexes, natural or unnatural, is all that is meant by this harlotry under the tree, whose worshippers were they that 'Sanctified and purified themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine's flesh, and the abomination and the mouse,' and drinking the broth of abominable things, in a kind of eucharistic rite, incredibly primitive.* In the Hindu drawings an altar is portrayed beneath the tree; in one of these the 'medium' is being led to the altar.
* 'I will take his bloods (margin) out of his mouth, and his abominations from between his teeth,' Compare the 'bloody wafer.'
This nautch woman or temple-hekeria (Gr. έταιρεία) is intoxicated for the purpose of divination. She becomes the Radha Dea to the spirit, a cup of wine, the wine of astonishment, is consecrated for the Sakteyas, and in her state of magnetic sleep, the divinity, in this case, of drink, inspires her to utter revelations. By an effusion of the sacrament, somewhat after the manner of the cup of Charis in the eucharist of Marcus. The female was the acknowledged inspirer of the male in the sexual sense, she was his Shakti. This is identical with the Egyptian sakh, to inspire, and sekhet, the double force personified as that of the female. The goddess Sekhet is designated the 'force or energy of the Gods, the astonisher of Mankind.' Hers was the 'Wine of Astonishment.' That which was the allpotent charm of the primitive mind, the 'ur-hekau,' or great magic power in the hieroglyphics, remained the natural type of pleasure and paradise in the more spiritual phase—if the epithet may be allowed—of the erotic and uterine religion. The Sakteyas continued to worship the great magic power of the primitive man. They held that the spirit was of feminine origin.
The pythoness who spoke with the belly-voice is often assumed to have been a ventriloquist. But the known facts show that the female professors of spirit-utterance were not supposed to give oracular responses with the vocal organs alone. Sellon describes the voice of an oracle that certainly could not be ventriloquised. In various temples the adorers of the yoni believed that it spoke oracles. Clement Alexander, Arnobius and Theodoret, amongst others, mention the adoration of the yoni at Eleusis; and this was considered by some to be the supreme oracle of the goddess Vach. This voice of the feminine oracle was the original of the Hebrew Bath Kol.
The survival of most primitive customs and superstitions amongst the Jews is proved by the denunciations of their teachers, and the prohibition of their later lawgivers. What the practices really were can only be ascertained by the comparative process.
We shall find that the tree, the pillar, and mount, are interchangeable as types of the motherhood and place of birth. The Paphian Venus was typified by a conical stone pillar, respecting the significance of which, says Tacitus, we are left in the dark. It was identical with the pillar or pyramid of Isis-Sothis; a type that is masculo-feminine.
A conical pillar or stone called Lovekaveka was consecrated to a Fijian goddess, Lovekaveka, rear Thokova, Na-Viti Levu. It was a round black milestone with a liku, the female girdle of pubescence tied round the middle. The Natchez of Louisiana likewise worshipped a conical stone.
Kubele was held to lie concealed as 'Mother of the Gods' in the Pessinuntian stone sent by Attalus, king of Phrygia, to the Romans.
The tree, the pillar, and the cross are all three combined in the Assyrian asherah or grove; a far more primitive form of which is found in the Hittite or Khetan hieroglyphics, where it is in the next stage to the pudendum muliebre itself.
It has been thought a confusion of metaphor when, in the First Epistle to Timothy, Paul likens the Church to a house and a pillar, as basis of the truth. But, the pillar and house were both symbolically the same. Pillar, seat, mount, tree, or abode, was each representative of the motherhood, whose latest type was the mother Church. In a Greek myth described by Pausanias the tree, the mount, and the horn are confounded together[92a]. The garden of Dionysos contains a kind of Mount Meru which resembles a horn, it is called the Hesperian Horn, and produces the Golden Apples and every delicious fruit of the Tree of Life. This shows the phase of confusion in which the mythologists appear to be insane to their interpreters, who are innocent of eating from the tree of the ancient knowledge.
Because of the birthplace the Tree of Life is likewise one with the mount and summit of the world called Paradise. Pardes, says Ibn Ezra, is a garden planted with one kind of tree. We shall see that paradise and the tree are identical as the type of a world or a first formation consisting of the mount, the circle and cross of the four cardinal points.
So the Iranian 'Tree opposed to harm' the White Horn-Tree was planted in the Eden of Aryana-Vaejo, which was one with the mountain of the world.
The Jambu or rose-apple tree is an equivalent type with the Mount Meru. It stands on an island and the juice of its fruit was fabled to flow in a river of life. The soil of the banks of the river absorbs the jambu-juice, and in being dried by gentle breezes it becomes the gold termed Jámbunada of which the ornaments of the Siddhas are made. This is the river of Eden that went forth to water the garden and encompass the whole land of Havilah, the land of the good gold.
The Jambu or Gambu is the Tree of Earth or jam (Sansk.) and its droppings make the earth or soil. This agrees with the kami tree, a gum-acacia in Egypt with which the name of kami is written as a type of the earth or soil that was actually shed in the Nilotic valley, as it was fabled to be shed by the jambu tree of the Hindu allegory.
The Egyptian Tree of Life stands in the Pool of Persea in Annu, the birthplace. This can be followed in the Parsee Bundahish:—
'On the nature of the tree they call Gôkard it says in revelation that it was the First Day when the tree called Gôkard grew in the deep mud within the abyssal ocean;' and it is necessary as a 'producer of the renovation of the universe, for they prepare its immortality therefrom. The evil spirit has formed therein, among those that enter as opponents, a lizard, as an opponent in that deep water, so that it may injure the Hôm. And for keeping away that lizard, Ahura-Mazda has created there ten Kar fish which, at all times, continually circle around the Horn, so that the head of one of those fish is continually towards the lizard, and till the renovation of the universe they remain in contention.'
'The White Horn, the healing and undefiled, grows at the Source of the Water of Aredvivsur. Every one who eats of it becomes immortal, and they call it the Gôkard (or Gôkarn) tree, as it is said that Horn is death-expelling. Also in the renovation of the universe they prepare its immortality therefrom. It is the chief of plants.'
With it they restore the dead.
The tree of the 'First Day' and the fabled fount of Immortality are found together, and have one origin and significance. The one is identified with the very beginning of time, the first day. In the Ritual [p.395] the renewing pool is designated the 'Generator of Years.' The Tree of Life is portrayed in the monuments of Nineveh with the two waters flowing from it in keeping with the Egyptian Persea tree in the pool of the Two Truths.
The myth of the beginning found by the missionary John Williams among the traditions of the islanders of the Southern Seas relates that the heavens were so near the earth at first that men could not walk but were forced to crawl under them. 'This was found to be a very serious evil, but at length an individual conceived the sublime idea of elevating the heavens to a more convenient height. For this purpose he put forth all his energy, and by the first effort raised them to the top of a tender plant called Teve, about four feet high. There he deposited them until he was refreshed, when by a second effort he lifted them to the height of a tree called Kanariki which is as large as a sycamore. By the third attempt he carried them to the summits of the mountains, and after a long interval of repose, and by a most prodigious effort he elevated them to their present height.' For this beneficent work he was deified as the 'Elevator of the Heavens.' The elevator of the heavens is also known as Maui in the Hervey Islands, and as Tane in New Zealand. He has been already identified with Ma-Shu, the upholder of the nocturnal heaven. Tane was also represented as a tree. Here the types of the tree and mount are both applied to the height of heaven. The Egyptian teve or tef is the papyrus reed which, like the cane, is a form of the typical tree of birth and beginning, especially from the waters of source. The Kaffirs derive their origin from the reed; and so popular is the symbol with the Basutos that they still fasten one over the hut to announce the birth of a child. Casalis tells the story of a prosaic-minded Basuto who acquired the nickname of 'Father Reed' because he made it his mission to go about denouncing the ridiculous belief that men could be produced from reeds. The reed represents the genetrix and the great-grandfather. So in Egypt tef, the reed, bears the name of Tef, the Great Mother, and Tef, the divine Father. The reed itself is a hieroglyphic determinative of sems, the heir as it is with the Kaffirs. The teve, about four feet high, agrees with the tef or reed as a minor form of the tree. It was by means of the tree that the vault of heaven was lifted. The tree was the earliest 'strut' or support. By its branching the two halves were stemmed apart and the four quarters founded. By means of the tree space was first penetrated, ramified, divided, and configurated.
This tree of earth, the branches of which were hung with the clustered constellations, is found among the Kasia of Bengal, who affirm that the stars were once human beings but they climbed to the [p.396] top of a great tree whereupon others who were below cut the trunk in two, and they were left aloft in the branches.
The North American Indians preserve the tradition of a tree or vine which carried a whole tribe across the waters of the Mississippi river. They also have an account of their origin through climbing up the roots of a large vine from the interior of Mother Earth!
The tree type is employed by the Chinese in two characters, as the tree of earth and of heaven. In the celestial aspect its branches represent the twelve zodiacal signs, like the twelve-branched tree in the Book of Revelation. As the tree of ti-chi or the earthly branches it is the horary of the Chinese twelve hours, equal to twenty-four of our time. This tree is also totemic, as the tree of twelve signs previously explained.
The Lenni Lenape Indians, who have twelve highest Manitous, were accustomed to set up twelve trees or posts in a circle in the middle of their council-house; these trees were then connected together at the top. Into this house of twelve trees twelve hot stones were rolled, sacred to the twelve spirits, four of which were the genii of the four corners of Heaven.
The Inscription of Nabonidus, king of Babylon, was found on four terracotta cylinders at the four corners of the Temple of the Moon at Mugheir, the Ur of the Chaldees. This is called the 'Temple of the Great Tree,' which was begun by Urukh, a king who lived long ago. The tree or mount was a figure of the pole and the ancient temples were sometimes built with a planisphere in the roof around the rooftree.
The starry heavens were taken indoors, and placed upon the astronomical ceilings of the temples of Egypt, Babylonia, and China; and now whilst looking up at the starry dome whether of the building or the heaven of night we for the first time understand what could be meant by a mountain which is said to surround the world, as does the Turkish and Arab mount called 'kaf.' Considered as a mountain this dome surrounded the earth just as did the water of heaven, the first figure of the firmament. This can be proved by the mythical Alborz (Persian) which is also a mount that surrounds the world. Of this celestial mount it is said that it has 360 apertures and every day the sun comes in and goes out through one of these. Thus the celestial dome, the mount and tree, the pole and horn-point are identical.
The Apalaches of Florida said the sun had built his own conical mountain of Olaimi, which had a spiral path winding round it, and leading to his cave-temple on the eastern side, in which four solar festivals were celebrated every year. In this instance the natural [p.397] mount occupies the place of the pyramid mound erected elsewhere. In the Ritual the mount of the seven stars and the four quarters supplies the type of a house on high, to which the soul of the deceased ascends, and is at rest. This abode is built by Sefekh-abu, whose name of the 'Seven-horned' shows that she represents the seven stars of the mount, or the seven constellations called the Seven Hills of Heaven. Here he sits in peace, or changes his quarters according to the direction in which the four winds blow. When the Assyrian gods are discussing their plans of future action after the revolt and fall, it is said of the race, 'In a circle may they sit,' and 'Let them plant the Vine'—the new creation consisting of the circle and the tree. So the pippala is planted in Hindu districts as the sacred village tree, the 'Chaitya-taru,' the tree of the enclosure. It is still a custom with the Khonds, when a new village is founded, to first plant the sacred cotton-tree as a point of commencement, a central mark; and under this is placed the stone of the deity, the image of the mount. The tree, as a lotus-tree, stands in the seventh Mohammedan heaven, at the boundary beyond which no angels can pass, or the creature's knowledge extend. Vast trees used to mark the boundaries of English counties. The great 'Shire-oak' stood at the meeting-point of the three counties of York, Nottingham, and Derby, and its branches extended into each like the typical tree of the three regions, in the triple division of the heavens. 230 horsemen could find shelter or shadow under the 'Shire-oak.' A most ancient maypole is mentioned in a charter by which the town of West Halton, Lancashire, was granted to the Abbey of Cockers, and about the time of the reign of King John the maypole was a landmark that defined boundaries; this, it appears, superseded a cross—the typical Druidic tree. Thus we find the maypole and cross interchanging as types. The words of the charter are 'Lostockemepull, ubi crux sita fuit recta linea in austro, usque ad Crucem super-le-Tunge.' Kemble prints in his Codex Diplomaticus a charter of the date of 959, and in this one of the marks or memorials of a boundary line of land is called Frigedaerges-Tréow, or the tree of Friday, the day of Freya, or sacred to Freya, as a Doomsted and judgment seat. At Hesket in Cumberland, yearly, on St. Barnabas Day, a court was kept for the whole forest of Englewood under a thorn-tree by the highway side, according to the very ancient manner of holding assemblies for judgment in the open air. In front of the ground now occupied by St. Mary-le-Strand there once stood a cross, at which, according to Stow, 'In the year 1294 and other times the justices itinerant sat without London.' The cross is a form of the tree. The mount and the tree were likewise [p.398] interchangeable types of the judgment-seat in Britain. The ancient shire-moots and hundred-courts used to be held on the top of the dun, tor, or tut-hill; or under the oak of the shire; or beneath the apple-tree made sacred by the mistletoe—the tree of pure gold, the tree of the lofty summit, as the mistletoe was called. And because this was the tree beneath which covenants were once made and troth was plighted, the white-berried branch is still suspended overhead for the Christmas kiss; the 'Tree of the Summit' being a type of the celestial pole. In the Ritual the tree of the 'Two Truths' stands in the place of the 'Judgment Hall'; and on the tablet of one Tahtmes, a Memphite functionary of the eighteenth dynasty, we find a reference to the judgment under the tree. The text states that 'on the 30th day of the month Tibi' (December 16 in the sacred year), the 'day of filling the eye in Annu' (the birthplace), 'the great Inspectors (or judges) come out to the end of the dais under the trees of Life and Perseas.' This was the locality of the judgment, the place of examination. 'Having been questioned thou answerest in Rusta on the 3rd of the month Epiphi,' or on the 17th of May, in the sixth month afterwards; the two times corresponding to the two halves of the heavens, the hall of the Two Truths, and the tree of heaven and earth, or north and south. The first tree was at the centre of the circle, like the pine in Eridu. An oak-tree standing near Weedon, in Warwickshire, is still pointed out as marking the very centre of all England. Next the type is divided into the tree of the north and south, to mark two points of reckoning and boundary. The tree was one in the Pool of Persea, in Annu. Then it is spoken of as two trees. 'I draw waters from the Divine Pool under the two Sycamores of heaven and earth,' says the Osirian in the Ritual. This tree is deposited in the Egyptian planispherei along with the virgin mother, and may be seen in the decans of Virgo, where it shows as the tree of the north.
The Hindus personify a kind of pre-eval supreme being as Skambha, whose name signifies the prop, support, or fulcrum. He formed the first abode, he 'who, with a prop (skambha), held the two worlds apart, like the unborn.' He is typified as the tree; and the gods, who are all comprehended in Skambha, are his branches—or, rather, he is the tree-type impersonated in a masculine instead of the feminine form. Skambha is the fulcrum of the whole creation, as the tree, first of two branches and then of four. The two primordial branches are termed those of non-entity and entity, according to the theory that in the first age of the gods the existent sprang out of the non-existent. Here it should be observed that this beginning is theoretical and metaphysical, whereas the actual beginning was in accordance with [p.399] observation. The makers of language and moulders of typology were not metaphysicians.*
* It is at times as satisfactory to get back to the simplest elements of the beginning as were the signs of the deaf mutes to the Chinaman who found himself in a European city where no one spoke Chinese.
The Egyptian nun, as phase or condition, place or point of commencement, is negative; it is identical with not and none. But it denotes existence in the negative condition of water, or the firmament considered as water, and enti (Eg.), or entity, which signifies the coming out of, is determined by the flower of blood or bleeding, and the froth and foam of water. These are the blood and breath (sen) of the Two Truths of being. The water, whether below or above, was a first form of phenomenal and elemental existence, and not a theoretical non-existence in the Vedic sense; and the blood was the mystical water of life. The natural genesis of Hindu thought is not to be found in the Hindu writings, but in a far earlier representation, and its myths can only be laid hold of by means of the primordial and physical origins, into which the later speculations have been read.
The Chinese system of feng shui, or the 'Breath of Nature' said to have commenced with the 'Absolute Nothing' out of which the 'Great Absolute' was evolved, begins phenomenally with the 'Two Truths' of water and breath, corresponding perfectly to the water and breath of the Egyptian mâti, water, or shui for shade and light. The female principle became the representative of non-existence, because it transformed into existence as breath. The two were essentially one, just as dew is condensed vapour and vapour is rarefied moisture.
So is it with the Hebrew writings. Rabbi Azariel, in his commentary on the ten sephira tells us that he is following the opinions of the Kabbalist Theosophists in considering the deity to be purely negative, by divesting him of all attributes. The ayin or Ain-Soph of the Jewish Kabbalah, the boundless, endless, or timeless, is of a negative nature, and in a sense nonexistent. It has the negative nature of the Egyptian nun, that negation out of which creation came. But the Kamitic typology affords us tangible foothold once again in the vast void of metaphysical vagueness. It shows us the nun or abyss as the mother nature who produced the first seven elemental powers and formed, with them, the Ogdoad that was continued by the Jewish Kabbalah in which the first of the ten sephira or manifestors of the 'Ain-Soph' has seven other names, and the Ogdoad are designated היהא and תויח, the circle or pleroma of primordial powers. The Kamite nun or en, whence enti existence and Neith the genetrix, was not negative in itself but only in relation to other things—as the water is negative to breath. In one form the nun is the new inundation; in another it is the child, called the nunu, English ninny, [p.400] Italian ninna and nan, modern Greek ninion, which is negative because impubescent. So the nun and the nanny are negative compared with wife and mother. But the nun (Eg.), Irish nion, as the heaven or firmament was actual; so was nun, as the water or the infant. These were not non-extant. Hence nun (with its variants han and an) signifies to bring. The nun (Eg.), which is the firmamental water in the first vague stage, gives a name to nun or nin the fish in the stellar phase. Nun in Chaldee is the great fish; nuna in Syriac is the constellation Ketos. This shows the passage from the vague phase of water to a definite water-type in a constellation. The nun (nnu or nu) was heaven personified as the bringer of the water and the breath of life. And this mother-heaven, as bringer, had been the inner African mother from the beginning.
|nna, ina, or na, is the mother, in Kabunga.||nnu, is the mother in, Yula.|
|nna, ina, or na, " " Dsalunka.||nne, " " Isoama.|
|nna, ina, or na, " " Kankanka.||nene, " " Isiele.|
|nna, ina, or na, " " Mandenga.||nne, " " Abadsa.|
|nina, " " Bola.||nna, " " Mbofia.|
|nna, " " Padsade.||nna, " " Mbofon.|
|nne, " " Bass.||ninge, " " Landoro.|
|ninu, " " Kra.||nina, " " Balu.|
|nande, " " Krebo.||nen, " " Bamon.|
|none, " " Anfne.||nene, " " Pulo.|
|nna, " " Gurma.||inna, " " Goburu.|
|nna, " " Koama.||enna, " " Okans.|
|nau, " " Bagbalan.||anen, " " Kanyop.|
Nana, as person, is one with the mama, and kaka; as name it is from a primordial nga-nga, the earlier sound of na-na. The Kaffir nina is either her, his, or their mother. This was the mother at the head of the line of descent from whom the mother-name has been extended to the sense of nationality which is Um-Nina or Nini in Xhosa Kaffir. This type-name is also Vedic, as nana, the mother; nana is the Babylonian genetrix; nin, the Assyrian lady; nini, the mother in Malagasy. Mother and woman are often synonymous, and the woman in Africa is
|nenu, in Gbese.||onya, in Vala.||anye, in Opanda.|
|nyonu, in Hwida.||onyui, in Isiele.||one, in Egbira-Hima.|
|nivonu, in Dahome.||unwai, in Ara.||nô, in Boko.|
|nyon, in Mali.||oniye, in Igu.||ne, in Bagrmi.|
The cow was another form of the bringer of the liquid of life whence the cow of heaven; and this bringer in inner Africa is
|nina, the cow, in Gbese.||ningei, the cow, in Kise-kise.||una, the cow, in Timne.|
|nan, " " Koansa.||ningi, " " Kono.||ina, " " Mampa.|
|nnan, " " Bagbalan.||ningena, " " Soso.||nao, " " Legba.|
|enan, " " Anan.||nnara, " " Biafada.||no, " " Kaure.|
|nankuye, " Ashanti.||ana, " " Bags.||nao, " " Kiamba.|
It was at this stage the No-people and the Nuther-speech were named as forms of the first, which was neuter, because undistinguished by sex. Nene, English, is neither, Egyptian nunter, or nuter, which [p.401] is potentially either in a second phase, as is the child, and was not nonexistent in the first. On account of this origin Nin is the Lord or Lady in Assyrian, and both the grandfather and grandmother are the 'Nni' in Javanese. Metaphysics, theosophy, and theology have everywhere perverted the ancient 'wisdom' by introducing their counterfeit coinage in hermeneutical interpretation, but the true types are uneffaced and yet extant as the original coins of primitive human thought, and to these we must trust, as our sole guides in the matter when the natural simplicities have been transmogrified into abstract spiritual or metaphysical profundities. Thus skambha can be followed to the root by means of the tree-type. The tree was one which bifurcated in the first or solstitial division of the circle above. It became fourfold as the tree of the four quarters. Hence the four regions are called the four arteries of Skambha. The word skamb in native lists is written skanbh. This recovers the hieroglyphic prop which is the Egyptian skhen. Skhen (Eg.) means to support, sustain, and embrace, with the prop upholding the heavens as ideographic determinative. The prop skhen (Y) is a 'strut' with two arms. This, when portrayed in the human form, is the god Shu, who upholds the heaven with his two arms, which were also represented by the two stars of the solstices, the two lawgivers north and south, Kepheus and Cor Leonis. Further, the prop, skhen, was personified in the divinity named skheni, who is designated the Two Hands of Ra. In the solar litanies the two hands of Ra are said to be the god Skheni. Skheni also denotes the embracer and supporter with the arms as well as the prop and sustainer; and skambha or skanbha is expressly said to embrace all things with his two arms, which represent entity and non-entity. Skambha is identified with all that breathes and possesses soul and skhen (Eg.) signifies to give breath. Skhen and skhem are interchangeable as names of the abode of breath and being; and by aid of the form skhem we recover the feminine type of the shrine, the mother, who was zikum in Akkad, and whose symbol of the birthplace, the prop and support of being is the tree, the sekhem or sycamore of Hathor. Skambha then is reclaimed as the tree type which has been divinized according to the later cult in a masculine form, as skheni was personified in Egypt. It is the primordial type that proves the original unity.
The skambha prop becomes the pillar of stone, çkemba (in the Avesta), otherwise called the kata, which was erected for the dead.
Skambha and skheni make the sign of the cross with their arms extended, and may be figured as the prop of north and south, or the cross of the four quarters of the roof-tree of heaven, which is one with the roof-tree of the house. In English the prop, or roof, is the [p.402] sign-tree, and that is our skhen (or skanbha) of the human abode. The Mangaians have the dual tree, but it is applied to the mapping out of east and west. One, they tell us, was planted eastward, facing Mauke; one toward the west, facing Atiu. These were so tall they touched the skies, and their branches put forth and spread and bowed down with their load of fruit within the reach of men. Supernatural beings are said to have dug earth from the hollow of Anaoa and filled baskets, which they hung on the branches of the befriending trees that stooped down to receive them, and then rose up and strewed the soil over all the barren rock until the island was covered with vegetation. One-half of this beneficent work was done by the tree planted eastward, the other by the tree of the west. This is a primitive mode of representing the formation of the garden of the beginning, or of making two boundaries in space. Anaoa also agrees with the valley of Annu in the Egyptian mythos, and with the Chinese Han-mun. These two trees are considered to be the bifurcation of Tane, the Polynesian and Maori form of Skambha, who is depicted as a tree growing head downwards and propping up the heavens with its roots, because he had to lie on his back and hoist them up with his feet. In Egyptian tahn is to force, to compel, with the determinative prop of the midway or divided heaven.
The Great Mother was the one in space who divided into two sisters above and below, or north and south, and who was also the goddess of the four quarters. The water of the firmament was one (the blue heaven), and it was divided into the two waters, north and south, and then into the four rivers of the four quarters. The mount and the tree follow the same law, and are divided to mark the two stations and the four stations. The tree is one and single as a type of the genetrix, the abode of being, the nurse of life. The tree is twofold, as the type of the being that bifurcates and stems the earth and heaven apart. The tree is fourfold, as the image of the four quarters, the tat-tree of Ptah, the tree of four branches shown to Zaratusht. The tree is sevenfold, as a type of the seven constellations and the seven regions of a primeval order of things in the earliest time. The tree has twelve branches which bear their fruit monthly, as a type of the twelve signs of the zodiac. And finally, the celestial tree of the Kabbalists, copied by Kircher, has seventy-two branches, which represent the seventy-two demi-decans of the zodiac. This is called the tree of הוהי, and the type affords another proof of the feminine origin of Jehovah-genetrix.
It must be explained that the mythical mount and tree fulfil their types in the image of both sexes. The mount as birthplace was feminine at first, as the brû, navel, or mam, the mamma-shaped [p.403] hill, but the pen or ben is of a masculine nature corresponding to its name. The ben (Eg.) is pyramidal; and the pyramid and obelisk are both male symbols. The cave in the mount was feminine; the monolith erected on the top was masculine, the type being perfected in the blending of the two sexes.
Hence the triangle is feminine at the base and masculine at the apex. These two were represented in the Great Pyramid with its well of the water-source, the birthplace below, and the 'ben-ben,' or pyramid of fire above. These two are still combined in the feminine nave of the church and the masculine spire, as they were in the argha and its mast. By reading backwards we see that the tomb in the earth is feminine in type, and the stone erected above is masculine. This shows the simple nature of the cairn, consisting of an excavation and an erection; the within and without of the earliest thought; the hole in the earth having the feminine, and the conical pile of stones the masculine, likeness.
The Chinese still select a spot of ground for the burial-place of the dead just where the male and female features are most completely delineated in the natural configuration of hollow and mound which correspond to the uterine excavation and stone-erection of the cairn; the cave and pen of the mount; the nave and spire of the church. A similar conjunction also constitutes a luck-bringing site for the dwelling-place of the living.
The British 'combe' combines this dual nature under a perfect type. It unites both hill and hollow in one formation, hence the name is sometimes identified with the mount, as in black combe, and at others with the hollow.
Lichtenstein, who travelled in Outeniqua-land in 1803, records that the Hottentot grave consisted of a conical pile of stones some twenty or thirty yards in circumference at the base. Sometimes these cairns were called the graves of Heitsi-Eibib, the deity who always rose again. He was their moon-god, and his periodic renewal is obviously related to the lunar phenomena applied to the dead. The phallus was buried in the tombs as a type of re-erection (the Kamite phrase for re-arising), and the monolith, or the conical pile of stones, was erected in the likeness of the male erector and establisher of existence.
The tree was also feminine at first; the Tree of Life and Knowledge in one; the central tree of all beginning with and derived from the motherhood. Then it became a dual type, which blended the sexes as twin producers. Finally, the Tree of Life was considered especially masculine, and the Tree of Knowledge was left to the woman who first ate its fruit. The hollow hole might remain feminine as the coffin; the root was assigned to masculine cause, and the branch was its product. The Khoi-Khoi still add the fresh [p.404] green branch when they lay the stone on the cairn, and the branch is held to spring from their grandfather's root.
When the Druids shaped the tree into the tau-cross, they were turning it into a masculine Tree of Life; and in the cross of the four quarters the tree had become prominently masculine. Hence it interchanges with the fourfold phallus, and both have one name as the tat (Eg.); and the cross within the circle (or in connection with the ru, the rosary, or other feminine figure) is the same symbol of the male Tree of Life twinned and blended with the female as the fourfold linga or the four-cornered swastika in the tomb, or the square that is figured with the circle in the American and British mounds. Perhaps the most primitively perfect type of this sexual duality is that which is figured in the Long-horned Cairn, the chamber of which has the shape of the uterus within, and the four horns at the corners correspond to the four-footed cross and the fourfold phallus without. Thus, from first to last, the symbols retain and show the impress of nature's primordial mould.
It was at the top of the tree of heaven—the pole—that the Guaranis were to meet once more with their Adam, Atum, Tum, or Tamoi, who was to help them from thence in their ascent to the higher life. Here the Tree of Life becomes a tree of the dead to raise them into Heaven. So in the Algonquin myth the tree of the dead was a sort of oscillating log for the deceased to cross the river by as a bridge of the abyss, beyond which the dog—as in the Persian mythos—stands waiting for the souls of the dead, just as the dog stands at the northern pole of the Egyptian planispherei, and is depicted in the tree of the southern solstice—the tree of the pole which was extended to the four quarters.
Nowhere could the tree type of the four divisions have struck deeper root than in our own land. It was the tree of virile vernal life all in flower as the maypole, the British bedwen; the tree of fruit built up with fruits for the festival of Harvest Home; the tree of the two equinoxes somewhat belated; it was the tree of fire at midsummer, and is still the fire-tree or illuminated tree of light when the Yule-log burned on Christmas Eve is transfigured by fire into the renewed tree of Christmas Day. The fire-tree is solstitial. Thus we have it all round. Moreover, as before said, the tree of these four times interchanges with the pyramid, a form of the mount of the four corners, and this equivalence of the types affords good evidence of the unity of origin for the total system here called typology, and shown to be Kamite.
On an ancient gem copied by Maffei the tree is engraved with four oscilla suspended from its branches. This is an obvious form of the [p.405] Roman and British Christmas-tree, only the pendants are limited to the typical four, according to the gnosis that has been lost in England, which made it the tree of the four cardinal points. The tree, like the serpent, is a type by which numerous ideas could be expressed. As the serpent was an image of the revolving heavens, or of a polar constellation, so the tree was a fixed figure of station round which the starry serpent twined. This tree of heaven also served for the primitive thought to climb by, to mount, to make the passage from this life into the Paradise first planted on the top, at the centre where they saw the place of rest in the star-lit ocean always moving round. The seven stars of Ursa Major were observed to revolve around the tree or pole, and to make a circuit annually. This was the first circle marked out with the four cardinal points and assigned to her who was called the 'mother of the revolutions,' whose name of Teb signifies the first movement in a circle, she who had been the old typhonian genetrix as the abyss in space, and brought forth her brood of seven elementaries in Am-Smen, or Chaos. Four quarters were established by means of this constellation. The Chinese reckoned four seasons by its pointings to the south, east, north, and west in making the annual round. Four types were assigned to the genetrix in her starry shape of the Great Bear, which were representative of four elements. These were the hippopotamus for water, the kaf-ape for air, the lion for fire, and the crocodile for earth. The hippopotamus was given the ape's nose and lion's feet, and was depicted as a crocodile in her hinder-part. Thus the Great Bear north, the place of the waters, was the water-cow; to the south, the place of fire, she was the lioness; to the west, the swallowing crocodile of earth; and to the east, the ape of breath. In such a fourfold form she was the goddess of four elements and of the four quarters. These four types of the four quarters and elements once established might be varied, but have never been effaced to this day. Two of them are yet zodiacal, as the signs of the lion and waterer. The fourfold beast of the Great Bear circle is the original of the beast with four faces, seen in Ezekiel's vision, where the circle is described as a wheel with four faces of the beast which had the likeness of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle; also of the four in Revelation where they appear as the lion, calf, man, and bird—the lion, bull, and waterman of the zodiac. These four characters and four elements were likewise represented by four elementary spirits, or genii, who were stationed at the four corners, and who are portrayed as Amset the human-headed; Hapi the ape-headed; Tuautmutf the jackal-headed; and Kabhsenuf the hawk-headedi.
In India the typical four may be recognised as the cow, ape, eagle, and serpent which receive the highest honours amongst the totemic or divine types. In this group the cow takes the place of the water [p.406] cow of the north, as it did in later Egypt; the ape is one with the kaf-type of breath in the east; the eagle with the solar hawk in the south, and the serpent represents earth in the west. The human was not at first included in the four types of power, force, or faculty. They were four elementaries that represented four elements, as the fish, reptile, animal, and bird; there was no bird even amongst the earliest four in which fire was signified by the lion. The four have variants, but the elements were primordial and permanent. It was the type of water, the hippopotamus, or fish, that was first humanised as the mother of all, water being the earliest element of life that was recognised, as is shown by the bringer to birth and producer from the waters. Thus Amset, who is the man-image in the later four and who took the place of the genetrix, had an earlier feminine form. This connecting link also serves to prove that the first type of the producer which was humanised was that of the mother, not the male.
The four types that became gods of the four quarters and four elements are portrayed in the fragment of an Inscription of Psametik I as the goddess Uati, Seb (or Sut), Shu, and Ra. Uati represents water; Seb, earth; Shu, air; Ra, fire. In a still later phase the four became four rams or souls of Ra called Sheft-kat, the primordial force. This was after the one god (solar) had been compounded from the four spirits or elements to become 'the only God the original male power of gods and men who reveals himself in the region of light with four heads (that represent him as) the illuminator of heaven and earth by his solar splendour, as the one coming in the Nile stream, as the one granting life to the terrestrial world, and as the air for all men.' He is still the divinity of the solar fire, of water, earth, and air! In like manner Horus is said to be the 'Four superior Gods of the Upper Place.' The four were first, were elemental, were the types, spirits, genii, or gods of the four quarters, and these were derived visibly from the genetrix of the Great Bear. Water, fire, air, and earth were the four sacred elements of existence; and under the most ancient religion these were kept sacred to all. Under the current cult they have become the personal property of the few, and the ruling powers no longer guard these natural elements for the whole people, or fitly represent the giver who supplied them freely for the benefit of all.
Proclus, in Timaeus, affirms that 'in the equinoctial circle the motive power of the universe was especially established.' In Yucatan the reckonings were kept by means of a wheel divided into four quarters; and with the Siamese their dates are arranged on a cross, i.e., the sign of the four quarters. This marking out of the annual circuit by means of four cardinal points furnished the foundation of the [p.407] mythos in which the four brothers, genii, spirits, or other figures of the four are stationed at the four different quarters to bear up the heavens no matter in what land or language we may find it. These four are universal. They belong to the first circle that was quartered according to the cardinal points. To quarter is a common term in English. Troops are quartered when they are lodged, and a quarter is a fourth part, whether the quartered get a fourth or not. Our heraldry proclaims the same origin and social stage in the quartering of arms as is found in the four quarterings of the Kamilaroi. It is related by the Iroquois concerning the introduction of their religious mysteries, that the first mother had four sons at a birth and died in bringing them forth. These are the four good spirits placed at the four quarters to which they point in their ceremonies. Thunder is the voice of these four to whom the Iroquois offer the smoke of Samau (tobacco). With the Algonquians, Creeks, Dakotas, Natchez, Araucanians, and other Indian tribes, it is an indispensable formula preliminary to any business, to puff tobacco-smoke to the spirits of the four corners. The same religious custom has been observed among the Tartars of Siberia.
Brinton has called the cult of the Red Indians an 'Adoration of the Cardinal Points,' identified with the spirits of the four winds, who were the ancestors of the human race: he points out that the Indian speaks as if he carried the cross inside of him, and expresses himself according to the cardinal points even within his own wigwam. The four 'lineages' of the Tlascalans who occupied the four quarters of the Pueblo of Tlascala; and the Aztecs, who also occupied the Pueblo of Mexico, can in like manner be traced to the same source. The Inca of Peru was 'Lord of the Four Quarters of the Earth.' According to Prescott the natives had no other epithet by which to designate the large collection of tribes and nations who were assembled under the sway of the Incas than that of the Tavantinsuyu, or 'four quarters of the world.' In the Maya, Moscos, and Huasteca languages the names of the four winds or spirits are the same as those of the four quarters. The Dakota word Tate-ouyetoba, for the four cardinal points, literally means whence come four winds. The four gods of the showers also dwelt at the four corners of the earth. Four mighty Manitous were worshipped by the Delaware Indians, and sacrifices were offered to them as gods of the four quarters, the west, south, east, and north. The Algonquians and Dakotas traced their origin to four ancestral personages, not completely identified either as gods or men, but positively with the four winds and four quarters.
The four brothers in Algonquin were designated Wabun, Kabun, [p.408] Kabibonokha, and Shawno, and these are the names of the four cardinal points as well as the four winds. Shawno was a spirit that presided over the south in the Iroquois mythology; his station being between the Twins and the Crab. Kabun was the west and Wabun the east. The Mexicans had four spirits of the wind who carried the dead to heaven, and Brinton refers these to the cruciform graves ascribed to the Mexicans. The Eskimo abode of the dead was Sillam Apane, the House of the Winds (or Spirits), and Sillam-Innua was owner of the four winds. The Mayas of Yucatan looked back to four parents or leaders called the Tutul Xiu. The xiu are spirits, chiefs; and in Egyptian khi or khu is a spirit, a ruler. Moreover, the khi or khiu are the four supports of the heaven at the four corners, who are, therefore, identical with the four xiu of the Mayas. But the khu is an earlier keb as a lord of the angle or corner, and the four keb (Cabiri) are the four representative genii of the four quarters, and of the sarcophagus of the Great Bear, the coffin of Osiris. These are the four Assyrian kubur which were stationed facing the 'Four Celestial Regions,' as mentioned in the Inscription of Khorsabad.
The Yucatees said the sky was supported by four brothers whose family name was Bacab, their individual name being Kim, Mulac, Ix, and Canac. These four had been placed at the four corners of the world when it was created, and they escaped when all else was destroyed by the flood. Amongst the lunar mansions the Arabic Al-Hak'ah is in Orion; the Chinese Chang is in Hydra, and the Hindu Mula is in the tail of Scorpio. These names and cardinal positions correspond to Ix, Kan, and Mulac. According to the Quiche myth the four genii were in existence before the creation of the sun; there being no sun in Tulan-Zuiva, the birthplace called the seven caves, where they had lived by star-light. The circle of the seven stars was thus succeeded by the chart of the four quarters, four gods, or four constellations. Following this earlier world came the creation of four perfect men, the three Balams and Mahucutan. A god was assigned to each of the four. Tohil, the god of fire, Avilix and Hacavitz, together with the fourth deity, given to Iqi-Balam. It was on Mount Hacavitz, named after the divinity, that the sun was first seen to rise, whereupon the four men were turned into four corner stones. The transformation and the appointment of the four gods, or men, changed into stones by the sun, for watch and worship, simply denote the making of the four cardinal points of the solstices and equinoxes by means of the four great stars or constellations that first served as indicators in the earliest zodiac of four signs.
There is a Tulan, says an ancient authority, where the sun rises (east), and there is another in the land of shades (north), and another where the sun reposes (west), and still another where the sun reposes (south) and there dwells God. These four Tulans are solstitial and equinoctial, they belong to the four quarters, and were established in the mount of the four corners.
Four of the brothers Maui, who are a family of elementary gods like those of earliest Egypt, are the four supporters of the sky in the Maori myth. In one version they are described as rending the earth and heaven in twain, and as the four props or supports they stem them asunder when divided and quartered. The four brothers are found in the most ancient Chinese books. In the Canon of Yaou (Shu King), the second chapter of which is entitled the 'Measure of Yaou to secure a correct Calendar in order to promote the worth of Agriculture,' the Yŏ are four persons who are brothers; they are also four mountains or astronomical stations. To these four the emperor appeals when the deluge begins to rise, 'Oh chief (or chiefs) of the Four Mountains, destructive in their overflow are the waters of the inundation. In their vast extent they embrace and overtop the mountains, threatening the heavens with their foods. Is there a capable man to whom I can assign the correction of their calamity?' The four Yŏ are the same four brothers previously called Ho, to two of whom is assigned the examining and registering of the times of the spring equinox and summer solstice, and to the two younger members of the house of Ho the autumn equinox and winter solstice. Yaou commanded the Ho brothers, in accordance with their observations of the wide heavens, to calculate and delineate the movements and appearances of the sun, moon, and stars, and to measure the zodiacal spaces. He commanded one brother to reside at Yu-e in the Bright Valley, where he was to respectfully receive as a guest the Rising Sun, and there adjust and arrange the labour of the spring. The day, said he, is of mid-length, and the star is in Neaou. You can thus determine mid-spring. Neaou is a starry space of the heavens embracing the seven constellations or sieus of the southern quarter in the lunar circle. Another brother was ordered to reside at Nan-Keaou and there arrange the transformation of the summer and observe the extreme limit of the shadow. The day, said he, is at its longest, and the star is Ho; you may thus exactly determine midsummer. The star Ho is identical with the Star Fire, the central star in the azure dragon, which embraced the seven constellations of the western quarter (called east by the Chinese) and corresponding to the heart of Scorpio. A third brother is ordered to dwell in what was termed the Dark Valley and there convoy the setting sun and arrange [p.410] and adjust the labours of the autumn. The night, he said, is of medium length and the star is Heu. You can thus determine mid-autumn. This was in the natural west of the period, but the culminating star was Heu the central one in the Black Warrior, which included the seven constellations of the northern quarter, the particular star corresponding to β Aquarii. The fourth brother is to reside in the north, in what is called the Sombre Capital, and there adjust the changes of winter. The day, said he, is at the shortest, and the star is Maou. These four stars mark four of the twenty-eight lunar mansions or sieus. Kin is the twelfth sieu, the star a-Virginis. This corresponds to the star Ho of Nan-Keaou. Uei is μ 2 Scorpionis, in the seventeenth sieu. Heu exists as Hiu, β Aquarii, in the twenty-second sieu, and Mao is η Tauri, in the first sieu.
This disposition of the sun and the four points of the year shows the longest day to have coincided with the sun in the sign of Scorpio, and the shortest with the sun in the sign of the Bull. The summer solstice now occurs with the sun in the last degree of the Twins, the winter in the last degree of the Archer. The zodiacal difference is, therefore, that of four full signs, or 8,620 years in time. Hence the necessity for readjustment. The Chinese Taoists have the four spirits of the four quarters named (1) Pek-hé, (2) Cheng-lidng, (3) Tsuchhiok, (4) Hieu-bu, corresponding to the Black Warrior, White Tiger, Red Bird, and Blue Dragon.
Four spirits stand, four powers preside, four winds blow, or four waters flow, at the four cardinal points or the four corners of the mount in the general myths of the world; this being a primordial type like the serpent or the tree. The lotus is also a figure of the mount Meru in India, and the Kamite original of the lotus as the mount of the four corners may be seen in the Hall of the Two Truths, where Osiris presides as judge of all the world. The earth is here represented by the four spirits, gods, or genii of the four corners, who stand on a lotus before him. This becomes the lotus-tree of Moslem legend. Four immortals are spoken of in the Atharva-Veda as the guardians of the four quarters of the sky. The four spirits appear in the Book of Enoch as the four great angels Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, and Phanuel. The four winds or spirits of the four quarters are described by Enoch. The first wind is called the eastern. The second is 'called the south, because the Most High descends there.' The western wind 'has the name of diminution' because 'it is there that all the luminaries are diminished and descend. The fourth wind which is named the north is divided into three, and the third part contains Paradise;' the garden eastward. There is a paraphrase of Genesis, in one of the Targums, ascribed to Jonathan ben Uzziel, which relates that when Jehovah-Elohim formed man by two creations, he [p.411] collected dust from the habitation of the holy place and from the four spirits of the world and mixed from all the waters of the world. Here likewise the four spirits stand for the four corners of the world. In the Book of Revelation the four angels stand at the four corners holding the four winds of the Earth in their hands. According to Milligan the spirits or manes of the dead that returned after death to cause good or evil to befall the living were of four different kinds, answering to these spirits of the four corners. In the Prose Edda the four spirits are four dwarfs called the East, West, North, and South, who are placed at the corners of the four quarters. In the Scandinavian mythology the four corners are represented by four horns which support the vault of heaven. The Kabbalist throne of the divine Ain-Soph has four legs and six steps. The four legs stand for the four corners, and the six steps are the four quarters, together with the height and the depth. These form a figure of the ten sephira. The 'four props of Heaven' are identified by a priest of Amen, in the time of Tahtmes III, with the four corners at the 'utmost ends of the world.' The Assyrian four protecting genii are represented as the human-faced bull, called the Sed, Alap, or Kirub; the lion with a man's head called the Lamas or Nirgal; the Nattig with the head of an eagle, and the Ustur formed in the human likeness. The same four as the symbolical creatures described by Ezekiel[157a].
The Mandans have the tortoises at the four corners of the earth which spout forth the waters. Two tortoises are also found in the sign Libra of an ancient Egyptian zodiac. The stag, phoenix, tortoise and dragon, are a Chinese heraldic form of the typical four. These preside over the Chinese empire; they coincide with the Egyptian phoenix in the south, the tortoise in Libra, west; the dragon north, leaving the stag for the east.
The Aztecs had four chief ideographic signs which were symbols of the four elements. These are Tochtli the rabbit; Calli the house; Tecpatl the flint (or arrow), and Acatl the cane. The rabbit was dedicated to Tevacayohua, god of earth; Calli the house was dedicated to Xiuteucli, god of fire; Tecpatl the flint, to Quetzalcoatl, the god of air; Acatl the cane to Tlaloc, god of water; these correspond to Seb (Tseb) or Sut, for the earth; the hawk (Horus or Kabhsenuf) for fire; Shu (the ape or Hapi) for air, and Amset (or Uati who carries the papyrus sceptre) for water. The Mexican four Great Ages are the age of earth; the age of fire; the age of air and the age of water; and these are based primarily on the circle of the four quarters extended possibly to the cycle of precession. The Druids founded [p.412] the quadrangular caer, on the circle and four corners. They are called by Cynddelw, 'the Druids of the circle, of four dialects, coming from four regions.'*
* Compare the Assyrian low dominions, each of different language.
They were also designated 'Bards of the Steep Mount.' This mount of the circle and four regions was the seat of the throned bards of the Briton's isle and their seat was the chair of Kêd the genetrix of gods and men; the chair of Cadet Idris, as the mount.
When Tu-wên-hsin sent his 'Panthay' embassy to England, signifying his submission or his desire to become feudatory to the British Crown, his representatives brought four pieces of rock that had been hewn from the four corners of their sacred Tali or mount. They offered all their world in that type of totality. The mind of the oldest races is continually limited to this primitive mould of thought, and their expression and simplicity is not comprehended by the race that now governs them.
Four colours were connected with the four corners. The square at the top of Mount Meru was faced with four different colours; it was white to the east; yellow to the south; black to the west, and red to the north. In the Maya arrangement yellow is said to be assigned to the east; red to the south; black to the west, and white to the north. These four correspond to the ages named after the metals, gold (yellow), silver (white), copper or brass (red), and iron (black) also to the tree of the four quarters shown to Zaratusht by Ahura-Mazda. It is declared in the Studgar Nask that when Zaratusht desired immortality, he beheld the root of a tree on which were four branches, one golden, one of silver, one of steel, and one mixed with iron. An image of the ancient four quarters is described by Daniel as seen in the dream of Belshazzar. It was formed of the four metals, gold, silver, brass, and iron (the latter being mixed with clay), and is identical with the root of the four-branched tree of gold, silver, steel, and iron, shown to Zaratusht, which Ahura-Mazda tells him typifies the four periods that are to come. This figure of the four quarters is to be superseded by a form of the mountain that is to rise up and fill the whole earth; i.e., a mount of the four quarters, as the throne of the one solar god alone, as it was in the worship of Ra. Another application of the four was made in relation to the square, circle, triangle and crescent; the square being assigned to earth, the circle to water, the triangle to fire (compare the triangle of Horus), and the crescent to air (compare the bow of Shu). The square, [p.413] the circle, the triangle and crescent were all continued in the Christian iconography as the nimbus, aureole, or glory of the god. 'God the father' also wears the square disk in the Disputa of Raphaeli. It often appears lozenge-shaped. The deity wears the triangle in a Greek fresco of the seventeenth century. He is seated on the bow or crescent in other representations, and the circle is the common glory.
A type once founded in physical phenomena continues for ever. The four elements yield four spirits of the four elements. The four corner constellations become four spirits. The four winds that blow from the four quarters are four spirits. Four spirits are extracted from the four metals. Four properties of matter are transformed into four spirits. The type was continued by the Kabbalists, Theosophists and mystics.
The whole matter of the mythos survived with the Gnostics (in a doctrinal phase) who begin with the Great Mother that divided into the two sisters as Sophia below and Sophia above. From the mother of all things came the first tetrad (as it did in the fourfold Apt or Typhon) and from her came the second tetrad as a daughter, a 'female from a female.' The Gnostic Valentinus derived the primordial four from a certain duadic being. This tetrad was likewise of a dual nature; it bifurcated and formed the ogdoad of a right and left hand tetrad, the one being called Light, the other Darkness. These agree with the Quiche four spirits and their four wives. Moreover, according to Irenaeus, 'The Ogdoad' (composed of the four who were dual) 'is understood as being hidden in the viscera,' which makes a curious return to the Egyptian spirits of the four corners who were also the four genii of the sarcophagus, to whose care the viscera of the embalmed mummy were committed to be kept in four different canopic vases over which they presided. Now, when we learn from the Berosian account of the Chaldean kings and the deluge that four double-shaped personages came up out of the sea to land in the time of Daos of Pantibiblion, there can be little doubt that these likewise represent the four keepers of the cardinal points who comprised the Ogdoad in their dual nature. Pantibiblion, the City of the Records, was the place of the most ancient temple of the sun.
This is how Jacob Boehm applies the fourfold type to the creative nature, 'The four first forms in themselves are the anger and the wrath of God in the eternal nature; and they are in themselves nothing else but such a source or property as standeth in the darkness, and is not material, but an originality of the Spirit, without which there would be nothing. For the four forms are the cause of all things.'
Irenaeus shows us how the four spirits of the four corners were [p.414] continued when he says, 'It is not possible that the gospels can be either more or fewer than they are. For, since there are four zones of the world in which we live, and four chief winds, τεσσαρα Καθολιχα πνεύματα, or four Catholic spirits, while the Church is spread throughout the world, and the pillar and ground of the Church is the Gospel and the spirit of life, it is fitting that she should have four pillars ... It is evident that the Word the Artificer of all (who in Egypt was Khepr-Ptah), he that sitteth upon the Cherubim (which are two beetles in an Egyptian ark), has given its the Gospel under four aspects, but bound together by one spirit. The Cherubim were four-faced as the Scripture says.'
A Hindu who was shown the symbolical pictures of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John with their respective man, lion, ox and eagle, explained these in accordance with his own system of divine totemism as the avatars or vahans of the four evangelists, because they represented the universal types of the four quarters. The four of the Gospels are still appealed to by incantations as the genii of the four corners of the children's bed.
The present writer considers that the 'Mount of Transfiguration' in the gospels according to Matthew and Mark is the mount of the transformation of the solar god in the Ritual; and that the four in the mount, the Christ, Peter, John and James are a form of the four genii, the hawk-headed Horus (or Kabhsenuf), Hapi (or Kafi), Sut-Anup and Amset. But this thesis has to be developed hereafter. The 'pantomime' deserves to be preserved a little longer as a witness to the origins of mythology which were continued in the mysteries. Nowhere else have the four spirits of the four corners a more perfect survival.
Columbine, the dove, is the Great Mother, one of whose types was the dove of Hathor, Menat, Semiramis and Juno. Her quarter is the north, the region of the Great Bear. The clown is a survival of the ape (Hapi or Kafi; i.e., Shu) whose quarter is the east, and who appears as the Greek Pan or Orioni in an Egyptian planisphere. Pantaloon represents the jackal, the sly, wise counsellor, Sut-Anup, whose quarter is the west. Harlequin is Har, the solar god, who went downward from the south as the sun of the underworld, the 'Horus (Har) of the Two Horizons' who transformed and was the cause of the transformation which took place annually in Amenti. His black mask witnesses to the hidden sun, invisible in the darkness. His magic wand is the sign of the transformation and resurrection. 'I went in as a Hawk; I came out as a Phoenix,' says the Osirified in the two characters of Horus. This is the hawk-headed Kabhsenuf. The [p.415] phoenix is a type of the transforming Horus, our Harlequin. It does not matter how or where the pantomime was continued from the miracle play or mystery drama, nor what the explanations hitherto offered may have been; we are solely concerned with the origin and significance of the characters and the persistence of the types. Possibly the pantomime, as we have it now, was reintroduced from Italy, but 'Harlequin' is Armoric for the juggler, a reduced shape of the divinity of transformation and wonder-working. Also, in the continuation of the miracle-play still performed in Brittany, the actor who represents the sufferings of Christ in the drama becomes the harlequin in the pantomime that follows, so that he plays the part of the double Horus. Moreover, we can point to the four most ancient British festivals of these four spirits pre-identified with the four quarters of the year, and the fourfold Yule, wheel or circle of the cross.
The genetrix presides over the north and the mother-night of the year was celebrated by the northern nations, in Britain and Greenland on the night of the winter solstice and the rebirth of the year. The folk-festival following, that of the Fool Plough, establishes the connection with the Great Bear (the P1ough) the seven characters in which correspond to the seven spirits; the fool and Bessy to the ape and bear. The Old Fool's Day ('All Fools') belongs to the clown, ape, or fool, whose constellation was probably Orion, the Hebrew Kesil, or the fool. It has been denied that Kesil does mean the fool. But this has to be determined finally by phenomena, and the mythology. The giant Shu was represented by the ape; he is known as the Kehkeh, an ape, a fool, or a crazy man. In Coptic Kes-Kes is the name of Orion, and the Hebrew Kesil completes the proof. The kehkeh (or khaku, a variant) becomes our gec, or gouk who is the April Fool. The fool, Orion, was superseded as one of the timekeepers in the later mythos, and made a mock of. The ape and fool are identical, and formerly the fool carried an ape on his shoulders as his image. To 'put an ape into your hood' is to make a fool of you. The ape represents the equinox. At midsummer we have the festival of fire, associated with the name of Baal and Belin. In Egypt Baal is Bar-Typhon, i.e., the Sut-Anup of the four genii, whose constellation is the dog or jackal. The autumn festival has got belated with the lapse of time; for example, Nutcrack Night at Kingston in Surrey had kept its equinoctial position and was celebrated on the 28th of September, whereas in the north of England it is the vigil of All Souls' Day, celebrated on the 31st of October. 'All Souls' is the great autumn festival of the four, and it is now kept five weeks (or 2,600 years) behind the true time. At this equinox the Horus of both horizons or Har-Makhu (our Micha-El) entered the underworld to conduct the [p.416] congregated souls and deliver those that were in purgatory. No doubt the nuts were cracked by the living as a ceremony that was symbolical of the deliverance of the dead that were now supposed to be released by the solar god, who descended to do battle with Apollyon the Apophis in the Valley of the Shadow, and lead the waiting multitude of 'All Souls' up into the region of eternal light. Another custom, that of diving for apples and catching them with the mouth only, the hands being tied behind, may be interpreted as illustrative of the Horus who saved men in spite of his maimed and fettered condition, as the lessening autumn sun that conquered the adversary and rescued souls under the most adverse conditions which were dramatised and imitated by the actors in the ancient miracle plays and pastimes. The four genii or gods of the four quarters, elements, colours, metals, etc., are also deposited in the pack of 52 playing cards. These are based on the four divisions of thirteen to the set, and the four, the ace, king, queen, and knave, preserve their places according to the latest arrangement in which the sun-god was supreme. Harlequin is the Great One; the ruling power. The ace takes all the tricks, just as harlequin frustrates all the trickeries. The ace is the Latin as, and in Egyptian as means the Great One, the Supreme Ruler.
In Central Asia the game of chess which is believed to have had its origin in the Garden of Eden, is played by four persons (instead of two as with us) in keeping with the four quarters. The four are likewise known in the British mythology as (1) Cesarea, called the niece of Noah, and her three brothers; (2) as Heremon and three others, termed 'four Scots,' who first ruled over Ireland. (3) Deirdre and the three sons of Usneach. The Tuatha-dadanan are also said to have built four cities, their Tetrapolis—named Falia, Goria, Finnea, and Mura; that is, they divided the land into four quarters like Nimrod in the plain of Shinar.
In Egypt the four elementals of the four corners were stationed finally as the four souls (or rams) of Ra in the decans of Aries, the four being compounded into the one god, called primordial force. The forces were primordial, but the god was final. In the Memnonium at Thebes the four rams appear as an animal with wings, like those of the Assyrian bulls with the human head; and this, as we have seen, was a type of the later solar god. A compounding of the one god from the four occurs also in the four-headed Brahma. When this had been effected we hear of the 'four castes' who are 'formed from the body of the Creator,' according to the Hindu doctrine, whereas the body of the Creator had been formed out of four types or characters of the elemental castes, Orpheus sings of
'One Zeus, one Aïdes, one Helios, one Dionysos.'
These were identical with the four in Egypt and elsewhere, and may be paralleled with other sets of four in many forms.
The fourfold compound divinity was also described by the oracle of the god Iao in the Temple of Klaros. This deity being consulted through his oracle as to which of the gods it was that should be adored under the title of Iao replied:
'Know that of gods who exist the highest of all is Iao,
He is Aides in winter, and Zeus at the coming of springtime,
Helios in summer heat, and in Autumn the graceful Iao.'
Here the combination varies; the god of fire appears twice as Hellos and Iao the autumn sun (the child Horus, Elul, Adon, or Tammuz) and Dionysos is omitted. This combination therefore points to the Iao of the threefold nature already explained who did not include the fatherhood of the tetramorphic Iao (which has to be elucidated) but it does show the divinity adapted to the four quarters or four seasons of the year.
In Egypt one god of the four quarters was the tat-cross of the four cardinal points personified as the fourfold Ptah, and likewise as 'Osiris-Tat.' In the Inscription of Shabaka the god Ptah is portrayed in the fourfold character of 'Ptah-Ur,' 'Ptah-Sen,' 'Ptah-Nunu' and 'Ptah-hes-urt'; he is designated 'Ptah in his four divine forms.' Beneath are four figures in the mummy-shape holding the tat-cross. Ptah is a recognised god of fire, the Egyptian Hephaistos. Ptah-Nunu is god of the water; Ptah-Sen, god of breath; Ptah-ur is the old first, fourfold (equating with the genetrix Ta-urt), and Ptah-hes-Urt is the god of the ancient seat. In this way the fourfold god, whether as Ra, Osiris-Tat, or Ptah, superseded the goddess of the first circle of time and the four quarters of the beginning. In the Ritual this god is designated 'Ptah the Great Tat, the Throne of the sun, sole type in the Roofed House.' The type being the tat-tree of the four quarters.
The 'tat of gold' made out of the body of a sycamore tree and washed with the water of life, was placed at the throat of the [p.418] dead so that they might pass through the gateways 'turning a deaf ear to the charmer' the snake Ruhak. This tree-tat was symbolically the backbone of Osiris, on which the heavens and the future state of existence were bodily built.
In connection with the compounding of a one god from the four it is noticeable that when the four spirits, gods, or old men passed away, in the Quiche legend, they left in their place a bundle that could never be unfolded as it was without seam. It was called the 'Enveloped Majesty.' This has been previously compared with the mummy which in Egypt was represented by and as Ptah, the god of the fourfold tat-type.
The Mexican god, Napatecutli, appears likewise to be a form of the fourfold deity. His name means the four times, or the fourfold lord; the four times answering to the four corners figured by the tat of Ptah, the four seasons of Iao, Brahma with four faces; the ram with four faces; the beast in Ezekiel and Revelation with four faces; Ptah in four characters, and other forms of the four.
The cross of symbolism has no significance without the circle; both go together and are indivisible. In the town of Northampton the ceremony of beating the bounds is called 'Beating the Cross.' The cross or crossing is usually at the centre of the bounds. The week of going round to beat the boundaries was also known by the name of 'Cross Week.'
The Hindu râsamandala is a circular dance in honour of the young sun-god Krishnai. In this the couples of the dancers keep making the sign of the cross with two sticks which they strike together in going round.
The mystic chain of the Masonic and other Mysteries formed by making the circle with the hands of each person crossed derives all its significance from the cross and circle being figured at one and the same time and in one and the same image.
The planets are all crossers of the circle, and each one has the sign of the cross. The symbol of Mercury unites the moon, circle, and cross. Jupiter has a cross underneath a crescent; Mars an oblique cross on the circle; Venus a cross below the circle; Saturn a sickle and cross, and these cross-symbols are all extant as the planetary signs of the crossers.
The great cross which was discovered a few years since at Callernish (in the Lewis) covered with a bed of peat-moss more than four feet thick that must have taken ages to accumulate, was a chamber sunken near a circle of standing stones; it was planned according to [p.419] the four quarters with scientific precision, with the head to the south, foot to the north, and arms extending east and west, 270 feet in length and 27 across.
The circle and four corners are also depicted as a circle and a square. These are two patterns of the mound-builders. They appear both as the square outside of the circle and as a square enclosed within a circle, in the ancient earthworks of Ohio, America. These squares and circles were also formed with scientific precision. The Chinese have two typical temples; one of which is consecrated to Heaven that is round; the other to earth, that is square.
The circle and square constituted the 'Quadrangular Caer' of the Druids, as the circle of the four quarters. And this was a continuation of the horned cairns of a prehistoric British race that once extended from Caithness to the Cotswold Hills, and from thence to West Wales. The plan of the cairn of Ormiegill which is sixty-six feet long, and has nearly the same breadth, shows the circle within the square, like the American mounds, and at the centre of both is the uterine type of the abode, the Egyptian kha. This cairn comprises the mother's womb, the circle of heaven, and the square (with four corners) of earth.
In the Quiche geography the earth is foursquare. It is shaped as a square, divided into four parts, marked with lines, measured with cords, and suspended from the heavens by a cord to each of its four corners and its four sides.
The square was held by the Pythagoreans and Neo-Platonists to be the symbol of earth, and inferior to the circle, the symbol of heaven. The square in the language of heraldry is a diminished or broken circle, the circle being the square perfected. This is imaged by the swastika cross, the four feet of which show segments of the circle broken and reduced to form the squarei.
The square is of course an angle of ninety degrees, the fourth part of a circle. Thus the square formed of the four corners is a cross equal to the circle of 360 degrees.
The oldest known form of the Nagari character in use throughout Pegu and Ava is formed of circles and segments of circles combined, whereas the sacred text of the Pali is in a form of the square letter, consisting chiefly of right angles. There is the same contention of circle and square manifested in the Phoenician and Hebrew letters; this is shown by the ayin, the earliest form of which is round, the later square.
The circle assigned to heaven was the primordial figure, and this was followed by the square of the four corners. Both are [p.420] combined in the shape of the mounds, in the quadrangular caer (or ceathar), and both are reflected in the round and square forms of letters.
The square and ring are coupled together in the marriage ceremonies. In Yorkshire it was formerly a custom for the bride-cake to be cut up into small square dice-like pieces, passed over the heads of the bride and bridegroom, and then crossed through the wedding-ring. The pieces of cake were drawn through the ring nine times over. Passing the square through the ring nine times is indicative of the nine solar months of gestation, and shows the relationship of the square to the circle. In a Popish Hallowing of the Ring the blessing asked for on the ring is denoted by the sign of the cross, 'Lord send thy X (blessing) upon this ring,' the blessing being one with the cross-sign of multiplying, or the phallus. In this connection of the circle with the cross of the four corners we shall find the origin of the fourth digit being made the especial wearer of the wedding-ring.
In the Hereford, York, and Salisbury Missals instructions are given for the ring to be put first on the thumb and afterwards on three fingers in succession, to be left on the fourth finger, where it is to remain, the four digits being equal to the four corners. Passing the fourth digit through the circlet is identical symbolically with passing the square of bride-cake through the ring; this is acknowledged, and, as it were, pointed out in putting the ring on the four digits before leaving it at last on the fourth, and going round the four points or corners of the square in the complete espousal with the ring. Many sufficiently prolific mothers who represent the Tree of Life bowed down with its fruitful branches, never take off their wedding-ring from the time it is put on the fourth digit at the altar, little thinking it is the type of fertility, of the circle fulfilled in the nine months of gestation, and that it signifies progeny in plenty or children for ever. This not being sufficient, the keeper-ring was added to be worn on the same finger, originally as a charm against miscarriage. The cross being a symbol of blessing, this was represented by the ring placed on the fourth digit, and to take it off would be to lose the blessing. Instructions for depicting the 'Divine Hand' in the act of blessing, according to this typology, are given in a Byzantine manuscript cited by Didron: 'When you desire to represent a hand in the act of blessing you must not join the three fingers together, but let the thumb be crossed on the third finger, so that the first, called the index, may remain open, and the second finger be slightly bent. These two fingers form the name of Christ Jesus, J.C. The first finger remaining open signifies an iota, and the curvature of the second finger forms a sigma. The thumb is placed across the third finger, and [p.421] the fourth, or little finger, is slightly bent, thus indicating the word Kristos, X.C. The union of the thumb with the third finger makes a chi, χ, and the curvature of the little finger forms a sigma, C. And these two letters form the 'sigle' or abridgment of Christos. This sign of the cross and circle in one figure is made by the Christ as the saviour god in the Greek iconography. It is also made by the divine hand reaching out of heaven; which hand is undoubtedly intended for God the Father. Up to the twelfth century, says Didron, the hand represents the Father exclusively. But Didron did not know the relation of the number 4, or the fourth finger to the fatherhood. This has to be expounded in the following section. Enough for the present to affirm that the sign of the thumb and fourth finger making the circle does denote the fatherhood, and that this corroborates the reason now assigned for placing the marriage-ring upon the fourth finger.
The fourth digit was considered the healing one, known as the Lech-man, or medical finger. The Greeks and Romans called it the medical finger. It is still used in England for the purpose of rubbing on salve. But the first salve, medicine, or healing signified was that of marriage applied to such ailments as green-sickness. Salveo, to save, is primarily to be well in health. Hence the saviour of the world poses as the Lech-man with his thumb touching the fourth digit as a sign of saving and healing, or of blessing. It is the fourth digit on the right hand, the masculine hand which constitutes the healer. This in digital reckoning is number 9, an equivalent to the nine pieces of cake passed through the ring, and the sign of nine months, the nod of gestation. The Hindu Buddha is often depicted making the figure of the circle and the cross, both with the hands and the feet, whilst holding a four-petalled lotus in one or in each hand. The Buddha of Bengali also wears the four-petalled lotus on his breast, and a hood of nine hooded and inflated snakes on his head. These also denote the period of gestation, and, as the present writer considers, show the nine dry months of a year that was first completed by the three months' inundation in Egypt.
The circle and cross are inseparable. The ankh-loop, the sign of one turn round, consists of a circle and a cross or crossing of the ends. This, however, is. not the cross of the later four corners. The crux ansata unites the circle and cross of the four corners. From this origin the circle and the cross came to be interchangeable at times. For example, the chakra, or disk of Vishnu is a circle. The name denotes the circling, wheeling round, periodicity, the wheel of time. This the god uses as a weapon to hurl at the enemy. In like manner Thor throws his weapon, the fylfot, a [p.422] form of the four-footed cross, and a type of the four quarters. Thus the cross is equivalent to the circle of the year. The wheel emblem unites the cross and circle in one, as does the hieroglyphic cake and the ankh-tie, ¤.
The tat cross consists of a pedestal (or stand) with four horizontal bars or shelves that are circular, constituting a kind of altar-cross. It was used in the temples as the pedestal and fulcrum for supporting the statues of the gods. The name signifies to establish, and it is the symbol of stability as the fourfold foundation of a world or an order of things that was established upon the four quarters. The tat-altar (or pedestal) is the equivalent of the mount of the four corners, or the tree with four branches, or the cross with four arms. The tat is the special type of Ptah, the establisher of the four corners in the solar mythos, but it existed as a lunar emblem for the moon-god. Taht impersonates the tat, and says 'I am Tat, the Son of Tat, conceived in Tat, and born in Tat.' As a lunar type it would represent the four quarters of the moon, for, whether the four corners may be those of the four stars (or spirits), the four leaves of the lotus, the four lunar divisions, or the four corners of the solar zodiac, the cross is everywhere the sign of the four quarters with the one exception. The tat was set up in Tattu, the established or eternal region corresponding finally to the zodiacal sign of the Fishes, the station of the seven great gods of the Assyrians, the chief of all the four corners because the solar birthplace.
A most curious form of the cross is given in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. At each of the four corners is placed a quarter arc of an oviform curve, and when the four are put together they form an oval; thus the figure combines the cross with the circle round it in four parts, corresponding to the four corners of the cross. The four segments answer to the four feet of the swastika cross and the fylfot of Thor. The four-leaved lotus flower of Buddha is likewise figured at the centre of this cross, the lotus being an Egyptian and Hindu type of the four quarters. The four quarter arcs, if joined together, would form an ellipse, and the ellipse is also figured on each arm of the cross. This ellipse therefore denotes the path of the earth. Now the symbol depicted on the Scottish stones and commonly known as the 'spectacles ornament' is, as previously suggested, a form of the cross of the four quarters; a symbol of the solstices and equinoxes. This is also drawn within the ellipse upon the sculptured stones of Scotland. Sir J. Y. Simpson copied the following specimen, which is here presented as the cross of the two equinoxes and the two solstices placed within the figure of the earth's path. The same ovoid or boat-shaped figure appears at times in the Hindu drawings with seven steps at each end as a form or a mode of Meru.
The four-armed cross is simply the cross of the four quarters, [p.423] but the cross-sign is not always simple. This is a type that was developed from an identifiable beginning which was adapted to the expression of various ideas afterwards. The most sacred cross of Egypt that was carried in the hands of the gods, the pharaohs, and the mummied dead is the ankh ÷, the sign of life, the living, an oath, a covenant, and a pair, or to couple and duplicate. The top of this is the hieroglyphic ru ¨, set upright on the tau-cross. The ru is the door, gate, mouth, the place of outlet. This denotes the birthplace in the northern quarter of the heavens from which the sun is reborn. Hence the ru of the ankhsign is the feminine type of the birthplace representing the north. It was in the northern quarter that the goddess of the seven stars, called the 'Mother of the Revolutions,' gave birth to time in the earliest circle of the year. The first sign of this primordial circle and cycle made in heaven is the earliest shape of the ankh-cross, ¤ a mere loop which contains both a circle and the cross in one image. This loop or noose is carried in front of the oldest genetrix, Typhon of the Great Bear, as her Ark, the ideograph of a period, an ending, a time, shown to mean one revolution. This, then, represents the circle made in the northern heaven by the Great Bear which constituted the earliest year of time, from which fact we infer that the loop or ru of the north represents that quarter, the birthplace of time when figured as the ru of the ankh symbol. Indeed this can be proved. The noose is an ark or rek type of reckoning. The ru of the ankh-cross was continued in the Cypriote r, and the Coptic ro, r. The ro was carried into the Greek cross, , which is formed of the ro and chi, or r-k. Thus the ark (Eg.) sign of the circle and cross survives by name in the ro-chi cross, and the connection of the ru or rk with the birthplace can be shown by this name. Ru (Eg.) is the outlet, and the feminine kha determines its nature. Rak in Akkadian, like the ru-kha, is the vulva. Rakha, in Quichua, is the vagina and the woman. The rak, or ark, was the sign of all beginning (arche) on this account, and the ark-tie is the cross of the north, the hind-part of heaven. 'Arka' in Assyrian is the hinder-part, which is represented by the ru ¨.
The sign, , occurs as the reverse of a Phoenician coin, with a ram as the obverse. The two represent the front and hinder-part, or the familiar head and tail. The same sign, sometimes called Venus' Looking-Glass, because it typified reproduction, was employed to mark the hind-quarters of valuable brood mares of Corinthian and other beautiful breeds of horses. This was based on the ru or ark sign of the crossing in the north. With the ru sign set on the staff thus , we have the symbol of north and south, or male and female, the south being considered the front, before, masculine. A form of [p.424] the ankh cross found in the fourth pyramid enables me to prove the origin of this cross as a sign of north and south, because the pillar and base are the pyramid of Sothis, the Dog-star. The pyramid being both four-square and triangular is a figure of seven. Hence its name of Hept or Sebt (Sothis) is the name of number 7. Sothis was a masculine or southern type of the goddess of the seven stars, who was thus represented by the ru of the north and the pyramid of the south. The top is the ru of the birthplace in the north, and the bottom is the symbol of the south! With the two arms it presents the figure of above (north), and below (south) with the crossing east and west, or right hand and left. This is the complete ankh-cross of life.
In symbolism nothing dies. The earliest ankh-sign is the cross of cord. The Muysca Indians continued this in a very significant form. They used to stretch a great rope-cross consisting of two cords over the surface of a pool or a river, and at the point of intersection they would cast their most precious offerings and tributes into the water. Such was their offertory of the cross; the cross of the genetrix, and of the waters. The cross of rope survived in Britain. Scot in his Discovery of Witchcraft,mentions a kind of cross made of a rope's end on Ascension Day, which was looked on as a source of blessings. The ankh signified life and reproduction, whether made of rope or any other material.
The notion of Payne Knight and Inman, that the cross or tau is simply a copy of the male organs in a triadic form is radically false. For instance, Khem-Horus is the crosser; he wears the cross on his breast. He exhibits his form of the tat, which is expressly deprived of two members of the supposed triad of the tau. The tau cross Τ, our letter T, is connected with the number 9. The Coptic theta, tida, or T has the numeral value of 9. In the Greek form the theta unites the circle and cross θ. The T is a numerical three, a cross of three-quarters instead of four, and so becomes a figure of nine months, or nine divisions of the twelve which were completed by the three water signs, or the abyss in the north, represented by the 0 of the 9 cross. But the cross as the tat and the male emblem have a meeting-point inasmuch as both are types of establishing. De Rossi found a phallus of red coral in a tomb which, as he says, might have been suspected of being Christian did not the presence of this symbol persuade to the contrary. But the emblem was not uncommon in the so-called Christian cemeteries.
There is a cross also composed of a fourfold phallus. This is found on the bosom of the Paphian Aphrodite of Cyprus, likewise on a Greek coin, an assarion or farthing of Chios, which has the female sphinx on one side and the fourfold phallus on the other. The [p.425] emblem is found on a 'Christian' sarcophagus where it occupies the same place as the 'Sacred Monogram of Christ' on another marble coffer in the catacombs.
Now what is to be made of the cross of Christ in the form of a fourfold phallus? Yet this occurs amidst the iconography claimed to be Christian. As the cross of Khem or the Khem-Horus only can it be comprehended. The male emblem was from remote times a type of re-arising assigned to Khem, Mentu, Khepra, and Horus, the solar gods who ascended from the underworld. As such it was a symbol of the establisher in Egypt, in the bone caves, in the cemeteries of Rome, on the bell of St. Fillan, or the pier of the old bridge at the Chesters a few miles from Hexham. Indeed, a Buddhist cross in the Asiatic Researches is formed of a sevenfold phallic type. The sevenfold linga is an image of the solar power equivalent to the seven spirits of Ra, the seven horses of Surya, or the seven tongues of fire; it was a fellow type to the seven yonis of fire, a numerical figure of masculine force. In the fourfold form it is equivalent to the fourfold tat of Ptah, the type of stability based on the foundational four corners. Also, as the tat is a form of the pillar and tree, so is this fourfold sign of the generator treated as the tree of life, with two winged figures supporting it, just as the two cherubs or griffins support the tree in the Assyrian and other representations. This masculine type also appears at Rome under the dignified title of Soter. It was as Soter in the phallic sense that Horus the Christ, who, dwelling above, took pity on the great mother Achamoth, whom the Gnostics identified with the woman that had the issue of blood—when she was running all to waste, and her creations were without form, and void and by extending himself over her crosswise he imparted to her a figure. As Stauros he was the cross, the tat, or the fourfold phallus of the Christ in the catacombs.
The Hittite or Khetan cross which is common to Citerior Asia unites the cross of the four corners and the tree. It is portrayed with shoots or branches springing from the root and stem, and is therefore a form of the tree of life. The Buddhist cross puts forth leaves and flowers and fruits, and is reverenced as the divine tree, the tree of life and knowledge which produces all that is good and [p.426] desirable. It is likewise the tree of the earthly paradise. Tonacaquahuitl the 'tree of our flesh' is a name of the Mexican cross.
It has been a subject of discussion as to which of the elements was represented by the cross symbol. The truth being that this type of the four quarters also served to indicate the four elements of earth, water, air and fire; earth in the west where the sun descended to the underworld; water in the north, the region of the water-horse; air or breath in the east, and fire in the south, the region of the Dog-star. The sun or the soul entered the earth in the west, crossed the waters in the north, breathed new life on the horizon of the east, and soared in the south as the phoenix of fire. The cross of earth is especially represented by the square. The cake sign of land and locality which has the square of earth within the circle, is likewise a cross of earth. This occurs on the British stones and the Gaulish coins. It is also the Chinese sign of teen, a field, in the ancient characters. This ideograph of land and locality, hence of the town and city, is likewise a symbol of the solar orbit and the equinox; and our cross on the cake or bun of the Easter crossing is identical with the Egyptian cake of the cross, or the cross of earth.
In the baptismal ceremony of the Western Church the making of the sign of the cross was accompanied with breathing three times on the mouth of the child. This was making the sign of the cross of breath, or spirit, at the same time as that of the water-cross, which identifies the dual cross as a type of the two primary truths.
Another most ancient and illustrative custom is yet extant which appears to preserve the essence of the symbol. It is a mode of covenanting by crossing with the breath. It is known in Pennsylvania as a form of oath-taking amongst boys. 'If it is not so I will cross my breath,' is a saying equivalent to I will stake my life on it. When the crossing is carried out it is done by breathing on the hand and making the sign of the cross over the heart.
Gori tried to get the name of Jesus out of the two zeds of the swastika cross of the catacombs by writing Z for J, and Zezus for Jesus[209a]. But the fact is that Seses is a gnostic name of Isis, and the SSS sistrum (the Sshsh) is a symbol of Isis, the sign of the female crossed, the three s's or bars being identical with the Seses of the Gnostics. Therefore a sixfold cross may be claimed as a cross of breath. For ses (Eg.) signifies breath and number six with an occult allusiveness. Ses also denotes the attaining of land after crossing the waters, as did the annual sun when emerging from the water-sign of the Ram or Pisces. The 'Padma-Swastika'i is a mystical mark consisting of the lotus-flower; (according to the scholiast) a four-cornered sort of painting. It is the lotus-cross figured in the palm of Buddha's hand and upon the [p.427] soles of his footi, as well as on his breast, the place of breath. The lotus, the ascender out of the waters, was a symbol of breath, and the Egyptian seshnin (lotus) is the opener, uncloser or breather out of the waters.
But breath, spirit, and fire are equivalent types of life. In Egyptian ses is breath; sesit, flame. Sesh is combustion, also a spirit of wine, ziz, or zizit, was the rabbinical bird of fire or soul. The Greek 'ζησης!'—Vivas—is a form of wishing life and health. Svas in Sanskrit also means to breathe and to live. The svastika, or swastika crossi, is a sign of life represented by the vivifying fire, and also a lingaic symbol (tika [Eg.] is to cross, join, twist, go together; and tik in Sanskrit is to go); this has the shape of a double z, and zz has the force of ziz, ses, or svas, denoting the life, the breath, the generative fire, of which the swastika is the cross.
The Dakotas have a native name for the cross, which signifies the 'Musquito-hawk spread out.' Here the bird is a type of fire. The hawk in Egypt was representative of the soul and the solar fire. The Creek Indians at their festival of the Busk commenced with making the new fire by placing four logs in the centre of a square, end to end, so that they formed a cross, the outer ends pointing to the four cardinal points, and in the centre of this cross the new fire was created. This was another mode of making the swastika or cross of fire. In Egyptian 'bus' denotes both fire and protection. This connection of the cross and fire as interchangeable types of protection is likewise manifest in the command for the Hebrews to make a fiery serpent, and elevate it on a stauros or cross pole, which is rendered by the Targum, 'Make thee a burning.' The four-footed swastika cross has been found on the prehistoric pottery of Cyprus, at Herculaneum, in Egypt, in Ireland, and in England. A leaden figure of the Babylonian goddess Nana discovered by Dr. Schliemann at Troy, has this cross figured on a triangular pelvis. The triangle is a type of fire, and the Hindus consider the swastika cross to be the especial emblem of Agni or fire. Swastika in Sanskrit is the name of various mystical marks and signs, amongst others the cross, and one particular symbol made of ground rice, and shaped like a triangle or pyramid, and this triangle or pyramid was a sign in Egypt of the ancient Horus, as the virile one of the triad. The swastika was also used (in India), for the fumigation of Durga, as a type of the fire that vivifies, after the period of negation or the water. According to De Rossi the swastika from an early period was a favourite form of the cross employed with an occult signification which shows the secret was not that of the Christian cross. One swastika cross in the catacombs is the sign of an inscription which reads 'ΖΩΤΙΚΩ ΖΟΤΙΚΗ Vitalis Vitalia,' or life of life. The writer of Rome in the Nineteenth Century [p.428] witnesses that Christ was buried before he was dead, according to the Christian reckoning; 'His body is laid in the sepulchre in all the churches of Rome, where the rite is practised, on Thursday in the forenoon, and it remains there till Saturday at midday, when, for some reason best known to themselves, he is supposed to rise from the grave amidst the firing of cannon, and blowing of trumpets, and jingling of bells which have been carefully tied up ever since the dawn of Holy Thursday, lest the devil should get into them.' On the Friday was the day of adoring the cross of fire. A blazing cross was suspended from the dome of St. Peter's, a cross being covered with countless lamps, which had the effect of a perfect figure of fire, shaped cross-wise. 'The whole church,' says the eyewitness, 'was thronged with a vast multitude of all classes and countries, from royalty to the meanest beggar, all gazing upon this one object. In a few minutes the Pope and all his cardinals descended into St. Peter's, and the aged pontiff prostrated himself in silent adoration before the cross of fire.' This may explain why the swastika cross, the fire-cross of India, the cross of the generative fire in Egypt is found in the tombs at Rome. Dante describes the souls in Paradise as kneeling, praying, and respiring inside a cross of fire which forms their world. The cross of fire survives in the hot cross bun, the cake of the vernal equinox, and of the Horus who arose hawk-headed, the hawk being a symbol of the vivifying fire. The hot cross buns eaten on Good Friday are believed to protect the house from fire, which shows the connection with that element. The cross of fire was continued in the 'cross candle' of Easter Eve and Pasche, also in the candles that used to be consecrated to 'light up in thunder,' which was equivalent to making the sign of the cross as the symbol of stability when the powers of darkness, discord and desolation were at work overhead. The cross has now been identified with the three elements of earth, breath, and fire.
The vessel borne in the hands of Chalchiuitlicue the Mexican goddess of water, which vessel is the equivalent of the Egyptian water-bottle nu, Ù, and the womb-shaped vase of Mena, is fashioned in the form of a cross. This we may consider the water-cross, together with the Muysca rope-cross of the water. The Mexican cross is particularly the symbol of rain, the first element of life being liquid. Ankh (Eg.) the name of life and the cross denotes the liquid or oil of life. Martin found the people of the Western Isles in possession of a stone called the 'water cross.' The traditions said the ancient inhabitants were accustomed to erect this kind of cross when they wanted rain, and to lay it fiat again when they had more than they wanted. The water cross is likewise made in the baptismal sign of the cross.
The Romish calendar contains several festivals devoted to the glorification of the cross, but the church gives no account of their [p.429] origin, one of these designated the 'Feast of the Invention of the Cross,' is celebrated on the 3rd of May. Another is the 'Exaltation of the Cross,' on the 14th of September. This is the same cross which, according to the Legenda Aurea, was found by Helena.
It is so explained by the Egyptian ascetic Mary and by Eutychius of Constantinople. It is to Egypt that we must turn for the origin of these festivals of the cross. The Egyptian calendar still preserves some most ancient matter which has been Christianized by the Copts, and brought on without being readjusted according to the Christian dates. For example on the 26th of September, 1878 (30th Ramadan, 1295; 17 Thoth, 1594), is the Eed-es-Salib, or festival of the cross. The equinox is on the 21st of September, and on the 22nd the sun (as reckoned) enters the sign of Libra, and autumn begins. On this day (September 26), the Coptic Christians say, 'We make mention of the glorious cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.' The festival proper lasts three days, 'beginning with the preaching in the Church of the Resurrection, and ending with the Feast of S. Porphyrius, who is connected with the finding of the holy cross by Helena,' as it was to his keeping and care that it had been committed. Formerly the Copts assembled on this day at old Cairo, opposite the cross of the so-called nilometer when the patriarch, after certain formalities, threw into the Nile a silver cross, which expert divers endeavoured to recover. The custom is preserved in some churches by throwing the cross into a basin of water. Salib also signifies 'suspension' and the water of the inundation is at its full height and generally stationary for some days about this time, at the end of the three months' flow.
A Coptic local tradition asserts that the suspension of the waters lasts fifteen days whatsoever their height on the Eed-es-Salib. This level at the equinox was the level of the equinox, which shows how the cross flung into the Nile was a type of the cross founded on the crossing and on the suspension of the waters at the equinox. The inundation is one of the fixed facts of nature, and this suspension of the waters is for ever coincident with the level attained in time at the equinox; and the balance of the stationary waters at the crossing was the real suspension on the cross intended by the original ceremonies at the festival of its exaltation.
The Nile-cross as a symbol of the new flood of life poured out over the thirsty land, was the cross of a salvation indeed, but what has this festival and sacrifice of the cross at the time of the overflow to do with the cross of the Christian cult? Yet they are both one and the same in Egypt and Rome. For this was the cross that was found by Helena under the guidance of the saint Porphyrius.
The making mention of the 'Cross of Christ,' is but the application [p.430] of a later faith to imagery and customs of immense antiquity. The first rise, the very birth of the inundation, is in the month Mesore (May-June), which is named from the rebirth of the waters and of the child Horus of the waters, who is borne up from them on the lotus. Mes (Eg.), means birth and rebirth; it is the root of the Messiah's name, who in Egyptian is known as Mesiata; and Mess-Iah is the reborn Iah. The Horus of the waters was the messiah, or Mes-Hor, born in the month Mesore, about the time of the summer solstice. He represents the water-source as the child Horus, and his brother or second self, who is born nine months afterwards at the vernal equinox, represents fire or the sun of the resurrection. If the reader will now turn to the zodiac of Denderahi, the child who images the river and the descending sun may be seen seated on the 'Scales' at the crossing. In the oblong zodiac of Denderahi, the child Horus is enthroned on a mountain with the Balance suspended overhead. In other zodiacsi, the sign of the Scales (d) is marked by a measuring rod which shows that the nilometer was a measure of the inundation. As the Egyptians attained the height of felicity on the summit of the waters at the crossing, it follows that this was the cross exalted and celebrated on the 26th of September.
This was the cross of the waters found at one time of the year, and hidden at another. For the churches of Egypt and Abyssinia also celebrated the festival of the Hiding of the Cross, the natural corollary to the finding and exaltation; but this feast is unknown to the Roman Church, which considers the others schismatic, in regard to that particular festival. The cross considered to be hidden or lost in later legend was the nilometer in Egypt; the cross that was found when Nile was in full flood, and lost again when it was at lowest ebb. It was not only the cross that was lost in Egypt, but the Christ also. According to one legend, the child Horus fell into the waters and was drowned.
At the autumn equinox the waters begin to fall, the sun to descend, and these were typified by the child Horus, who suffered and dwindled, was lost or drowned. Isis the rennu or nurse was portrayed as the seeker of her child, whom she found, and reproduced at the time of the resurrection on the Easter horizon. The rennu (nurse) of Hel (or Har) is probably the original, that is mythical Hellena. It was the boast of Isis that she gave birth to Helios. In her search she was accompanied by her guide Anubis, one of whose names is Apheru the guide (Ap), of roads (heru), He has the same name as that of the crossing which he kept, and therefore helped Isis to find. He is sometimes called 'Aper.' His double Holy-House is the Par-iu, and Aper-par-iu is the possible original of Porphyrius, the 'saint' who accompanied Helena, and to whose keeping the cross was committed after it was refound by Helena.
It is certain that the Coptic Christians merely continued the rite of the ancient Egyptians, for with them the sun still enters the sign of the Scales on September the 22nd, which is at least 2155 years behind time, or 4000 years if we reckon from the first entrance of the equinox into the Sign; the reckonings not having been adjusted to the change of signs. Here then we can identify the cross of the water.
The author of Tree and Serpent Worship, speaking of the cross sign on the sculptured stones of Scotland says 'their age is known with tolerable certainty, inasmuch as the greater number of them have the cross itself or Christian emblems engraved upon them, and these must therefore be subsequent to the age of St. Columba, who arrived in Scotland apparently in 563, and died in 597.' And such are our authorities and teachers who have ascribed to Christianity all the symbols that existed before it, and are then compelled to date the oldest monuments after it! There is no greater fraud than that of historic interpretation which begins with things where they are first met with, as we look back on the past. The history thus fabricated from evidence which has been forged for the purpose is at war for ever with all that is prehistoric, and in no other domain of thought could such falsification of facts have been tolerated as in that which is termed 'religious.'
The Christian Fathers, with the exception perhaps of Clement Alexander, had scarcely enough knowledge of the ancient symbolism to put any perceptible boundary to their ignorance. Augustine recognizes in the sign of the cross the antitype of circumcision, which is the excision of a circle. But in reality the one was the constant complement of the other.
The present writer knew a sailor who had been seized by the natives of one of the isles of the Southern Seas, and tattooed with the cross and circle on the thigh. He could not be persuaded that the operators were not avenging his breaches of the seventh commandment. The inhabitants of the Isle of Anaa tattooed themselves with the cross. The people of Raratonga were in the habit of tattooing themselves with the cross and square, side by side; a double figure of the four corners. According to Kahn the Hurons tattoo themselves on the thigh with black figures, sometimes of a serpent, at others of a cross.
Both Protestant and Catholic missionaries who first entered the territory about Hudson's Bay found the adoration of the tree of the cross was quite common in those regions of North America as a magic talisman and an emblem of fertility. According to the native Toltec historian Ixtlilxochitl, the deity Quetzalcoatl, who was said to have introduced the cult of the cross, was adored under the sign of the [p.432] cross, which was called the Tree of Sustenance and the Tree of Life. He was also portrayed in a robe covered over with crosses. The hair of Toze the Great Mother (compare Tes-Neith, Eg.), was carefully arranged on her forehead in curls and crosses; the curls being made to form the crosses. Garcilasso says that a great cross cut out of a single jasper was sacred to the Incas of Peru.
Dobrizhoffer tells us the Abipones were all marked on the forehead with the cross. They likewise wore black crosses in red woollen garments, a custom which was not derived from their knowledge of Christianity. The cross was discovered in the ruins of Palenque on the tablet of an altar with a bird on the top and a serpent at the footi. It was standing on the serpent's head. The cross being the type of stability, this would be the Evil serpent, the representative of dissolution, the dragon of darkness conquered by the cross, or by the bird-headed sun-god at the crossing. The cross was used in Egypt as a protecting talisman and a symbol of saving power. Typhon, or Satan, is actually found chained to and bound by the cross. In the Ritual the Osirian cries 'The Apophis is overthrown, their cords bind the South, North, East, and West, their cords are on him. Har-ru-bak has knotted him.' These were the cords of the four quarters, or the cross. Thor is said to smite the head of the serpent with his hammer, or fylfot, a form of the swastika, or four-footed cross, and therefore an equivalent to the four-armed cross established on the serpent's head. In the primitive sepulchres of Egypt the model of the chamber had the form of a cross. The pagoda of Mathura considered to be the birthplace of Krishna was built in the form of a cross. The type had the same significance when cut in a ground-plan, whether in Egypt, India, or in Britain, as if represented by the Crux Ansata. The cross and Calvary of the Christian iconography is common on the breasts of Egyptian mummies.
From time immemorial the copper ingots of Central Africa have been smelted in the shape of the cross. As Livingstone remarks, 'Not as a Christian emblem certainly.' They were so founded because the cross was a primal figure of the fourfold foundation. The South Australians dance around the Palyertalla. This is a spear upholding a cross which has bunches of feathers displayed at the ends of two sticks. Humboldt, in his Travels, says he met with the cross symbol and other rude remains of hieroglyphics, similar to those of Egypt, in Kamkatka, the remotest corner of Asia. West Indian negroes employ the cross as a charm. They carefully cut a bit of paper in the shape of a cross and stick it on to a child's forehead to take away the hiccough. The sign is identical with the ankh-cross, which denotes [p.433] life, health, sanation. Pliny says that it is sorcery to sit by a parturient woman with the fingers crossed. In both cases the cross signified a stoppage. Making the sign of the cross is as old as clasping the hands to make the sign of ten, which is the cross. The Maoris practise a mode of divination by means of this form of the cross. Whilst uttering the appropriate karakia or inoi the hands are clapped and clasped, and if the fingers strike clear of each other it is a good omen, but if they come in contact it denotes a check. This is a mode of making the cross and completing the circle in one.
Captain Warren found the tau cross on a Phoenician vase far down below modern Jerusalem. Arnobius recognises with disgust the 'handled cross' made use of in the Bacchic Mysteries. The value of the cross as a Christian symbol is supposed to date from the time when Jesus Christ was crucified. And yet in the 'Christian' iconography of the catacombs no figure of a man appears upon the cross during the first six or seven centuries. There are all forms of the cross except that—the alleged starting-point of the new religion. That was not the initial but the final form of the crucifix. During some six centuries after the Christian era the foundation of the Christian religion in a crucified Redeemer is entirely absent from Christian art! The earliest known form of the human figure on the cross is the crucifix presented by Pope Gregory the Great to Queen Theodolinde of Lombardy, now in the church of St. John at Monza, whilst no image of the crucified is found in the catacombs at Rome earlier than that of San Giulio belonging to the seventh or eighth century. So in the earliest representations of the Trinity made by the 'Christian' artists, the Father and Holy Ghost (who was feminine as the dove), are portrayed beside the cross. There is no Christ and no crucified; the cross is the Christ even as the stauros (cross) was a type and a name of Horus the gnostic Christ. The cross, not the crucified, is the primary symbol of the Christian Church. The cross, not the crucified, is the essential object of representation in its art, and of adoration in its religion. The germ of the whole growth and development can be traced to the cross. And that cross is pre-Christian, is pagan and heathen, in half a dozen different shapes. The cult began with the cross, and Julian was right in saying he waged a 'Warfare with the X;' which he obviously considered had been adopted by the A-gnostics and mytholators to convey an impossible significance. During centuries the cross stood for the Christ, and was addressed as if it were a living being. It was divinized first and humanized at last.
The Tree of Paradise, that is of the mount of the four corners, was the Tree of the Cross. According to the legends the genealogy of the tree was traced back to Paradise. Seth obtained a shoot from the Tree of Life and planted it on Adam's grave at Golgotha, where [p.434] it sprang up as the cross of Christ, and where it was reburied to be discovered by Helena. So certainly does the cross of Christ represent the four cardinal points that in the Christian traditions the cross of Calvary was said to have been made out of four different kinds of wood, the palm, cedar, olive, and cypress, to signify the four quarters of the world. Thus does the legendary mould the alleged historical matter! The cross did symbolise the four quarters of the whole circle, and the four different woods are afterwards read into it by the A-gnostics. The mythological tree of the cross no more consisted of four various kinds of wood than a tree does in nature. The Tree of Life and cross of the beginning is also shown in the colour of the Christian cross. Green was the Egyptian hue of life arising from the underworld as it is in external nature. And after the tree had been planed down into the wood of the crucifix, this was painted green as a common representation of the cross of Christ, which proves the survival of the living tree of the ancient typology. It is yet believed in England, and other northern countries, that the wood of the true cross was elderwood. Some of our peasants still consider this wood sacred, and will carefully look through their faggots to avoid burning it. Not because the tree of the cross was ever made of an elder-stem, but because the elder was one of the trees of life in the north, and a type of the old mother. The elder is one of the wine trees, a producer of the inspiring juice, and its leaves and flowers are still held to be very healing. Also, there was a sacred festival at which the Romans annually paraded a kind of crucifixion consisting of a dog stretched out alive upon a cross of elderwood. The exhibition was made between the temples of Juventus and Summanus. The dog was a type of Sut Anup, the golden jackal, who is depicted on the cross, or at the crossing, as the gnostic Anubis in what has been termed the 'Blasphemous Crucifix,' which was discovered on the Palatine wall of Rome. The dog, jackal, and ass are three types of Sut-Anup, who was the crosser and guide of the crossing in the pre-solar and pre-Christian mythos. The elder, one of the hollow trees, identifies the ancient genetrix who was Typhon, the mother of Sut.
The cross that was seen in heaven by Constantine was that of the four quarters. Hence he had himself represented in the solar character as the slayer of the dragon. After his victory over Licinus, he was portrayed at his palace in Nicomedia with the cross on his head and a transfixed dragon writhing at his feet. This is the same imagery as that of the cross established on the serpent found in the ruins of Palenquei. One of the coins of Constantine also shows the labarum standing upon the conquered serpent. The meaning of this is simply the cycle founded for ever on the four quarters, and the cross is nothing more than a type of duration. So far from the typology showing [p.435] that Constantine was a worshipper of the Christian Christ, it proves that he himself was the Christ intended, who was added to the cross and dragon of the pre-Christian imagery. On one of his coins the four-armed Greek cross appears beside a figure of the sun-god (not a pretended portrait of any historical Christ), and on the reverse Soli invicti comiti. He was assimilated to the sun-god, whom he represented just as the pharaohs impersonated Horus or Ra, and in that character he was the Bishop of the Christian Church.*
* The labarum was the royal Roman standard, which Lactantius calls 'the ensign that was consecrated by the name of Christ;' by which he means the monogram of 'KR' upon the banner. No doubt this signification was being read into the sign on the standard of Constantine. But there was nothing new in it, whether found in Rome or out of it. The tree and cross are identical; and as a type the one involves the other. The labarum was the tree, from laba, Greek, a staff. This is a common type-name for the tree. Llwyf is the elm-tree in Welsh; liobhan, in Irish; laban, a kind of wood, in Malayan; lipa, a plane-tree, Polish; luban, a conifer, Arabic; labanah, a poplar-tree, Hebrew; labanj, a plane-tree, Persian, etc. Lep or rep (Eg.) signifies to grow, bud, branch, and take leaf. The vine is a form of the rep or arp. The repa personified was the branch of the ancestral tree, the shoot and offspring of the pharaoh, called the hereditary highness, the prince, lord, heir-apparent. Now when Constantine is portrayed on the labarum with his child (or children), he is the exact equivalent of the Egyptian Ra with the repa; and the coins prove that he was assimilated to the solar god, after the fashion of the pharaohs. The doctrine of the repa-ship belongs to mythology, in which the repa was the divine child, the KR, kar.t, or khart, who is portrayed as Horus on the cross, at the crossing, the representative of the KR, a course or circle. Seb-Kronus is called the veritable repa of the gods; that is, as the personified course of time—KR, for the course, being a monogram of Kronus. The latest form of the repa was the lord of the solar course, the kar whose representative was the kar.t in Egyptian, the kudos in Greek, the god Har-pi-Khart, whose image is portrayed in the catacombs, or Har-Ma-Kheru. The cross goes with the tree in the labarum as elsewhere, because it was the tree of the four corners. The cross is inseparable from the circle, the kar, or course, and the maker of the course is intended by the monogram of KR, whether personified as the kart, Kronus, or Christ. The typology is so ancient, that the repa is found as rupe in the Maori mythology—he who was fabled to have fallen from the cross, or at the crossing; ripeka being a name for the cross, the crossroads, and to crucify.
Wilkinson remarks upon the (to him) strange and startling fact that the first cross found in Egypt belonging to the Christians is not the cross which was substituted in after times, but the Crux Ansata, the ankh-sign of life. 'The early Christians of Egypt,' he says, 'adopted the Ankh in lieu of the Roman cross, which was afterwards substituted for it, and prefixed it to inscriptions in the same manner as the cross in later times. I can attest that the Ankh holds this position in the sepulchres of the Great Oasis, and that numerous inscriptions headed by the Ankh are preserved to this day on early Christian monuments.' That is, the supposed emblem and proof of a crucified Christ is purely Egyptian, and has no relation either direct or typical to the crucifixion, which has been all along ignorantly assumed to give its significance to the cross. This ankh-sign proves the Christians to have belonged to the Osirian religion, the Christ of which was Horus, the Christ who was continued by the Gnostics.
When the Christian iconoclasts, in the time of Bishop Theophilus, [p.436] about 390 AD, were engaged in the work of destroying the monuments and effacing the tell-tale past—had they been able to read it they would have wanted to erase the geological record itself—they came upon the ankh-cross, which they were horribly astonished to find in Egypt, at the end of the fourth century AD. So ignorant were they of the age, origin, and significance of the symbol which they had adopted. The native Christians explained to them that it was the emblem of life to come, as it was, and had been for thousands of years. The cross was placed in the hands of the dead, and bound to their bodies as the sign of life to come. It was figured on the back of the sacred scarab as the image of life to come. The ankh-cross signifies life and to duplicate; and in the Sechuana (African) language, tsela, to cross over, literally signifies to live. The Horus of the resurrection is portrayed with the cross of life in his hand in the act of raising the dead body from the bier.
It may be noticed in passing that the tree and cross of life are identical, and that the staff or rod is a reduced form of the tree-type. The rod of Moses was fabled to be a shoot from the tree of life. But perhaps the most singular form of the rod and staff that was ever clutched for comfort is that which used to be held in the hands of a person who was being bled. It was an ancient British custom, continued until recent times, for the patient at the barber's to sit and clasp a coloured pole, somewhat shorter than the one outside the door. The patient was thus holding on to the tree of life whilst parting with a goodly portion of his own, and supposing that he was saving it in losing it. This practice, says Brand, may be seen from an illuminated missal of the time of Edward I, in the possession of Mr. Wild.
The cross in Egypt was the express emblem of life to come when the ankh was a mere noose held in front of the enceinte genetrix as she brooded over the dead in the tomb, the womb, or meskhen, of the second birth. This place of rebirth and of life to come was imaged by Apt, the hippopotamus goddess of the Great Bear, who was represented as the gestator, if not in the crucial pangs of her travail, in the act of bringing the dead to their immortal birth. It is this fact which accounts for the masculine symbolry that first accompanies the cross. One of these cruciform figures has a beard, and bears a fourfold phallus on her breast. In like manner Apt or Ta-urt, the old typhonian genetrix, as well as Mut, has the male member assigned to her. These are the symbols of their power as the rebegetters and regenerators of the dead. As Apt, she was the crib, the cradle of new life, the abode of the four corners, or four parts by name. Therefore she was herself a figure of the ankh as well as the [p.437] bearer of the ankh-symbol. The ankh was likewise impersonated in the goddess Ank.
The Great Mother with the ankh-cross of life to come was continued as the ankh-cross or the genetrix in a cruciform figure. This is a type of the Cyprian Venus. Amongst the images recovered from the ancient tombs of Cyprus by Di Cesnola is one which Dr. Lundy calls the 'Crucifixion of the Great Mother herself.' It shows a cruciform female figure, and the ligature looks as if the one arm that is now left might have been bound to a piece of wood. But the pre-Christian cross does not imply any actual crucifixion. The ankh, whether as emblem or goddess, is the cross of life, not of death. So the cross that burgeons into leafy life in the Khetan and Indian symbols, and bursts into blossom in the floriated cross of Rome is an illustration of the cross of life, the ankh of Egypt, not the Roman instrument of torture or of death.
Thus, when Krishna is depicted as what is modernly termed 'the Crucified,' the picture is not a representation of the Saviour made flesh to be nailed on the wood of a tree. The stigmata, the four nail-marks, are visible on his hands and feet, nevertheless he is not nailed upon a tree. On the contrary, he is the tree, as Christ is the vine, and the tree is alive, all in leaf, therefore it is a Tree of Life, not of death. It is the tree of transfiguration from one character into another, whether of dying moon or diminishing sun that only waned a while to wax again with redoubled power. This is but the impubescent child-god who transfigures into the pubescent Balarama as virile divinity; or into the man of twenty nails, according to the simple typology of digital reckoning. An immeasurable mistake has been made by thinking the nail-mark was necessarily a sign of crucifixion. The earliest stigma ever branded on the human body was a totemic token of puberty, a mark of the male who had duplicated, or crossed the boundary of boyhood; and who became the completed man of twenty years of age. This was the origin of the cross that was used as a brand cut in the body, or tattooed upon the thigh, in the rites of young-man-making; and the natural genesis accounts for the cross being figured as a fourfold lingam or tat, wherever this may be found. Also the original Soter explains why the phallus and the cross should be equivalent signs of power in the practice of crucesignation for the purpose of healing. The pubescent one had crossed and become established in his manhood; hence he was tattooed with the cross of the four corners, as the sign of foundation. This is the Egyptian tat (a fourfold cross or the phallus), and Tattu is the region of establishing for ever in the eschatological phase, the place where the tat-cross was erected when the child Horus had crossed and been united with his masculine force or virile soul, and the two became one in Tattu. The Romans likewise had the figure of a man extended on the cross; for Minucius [p.438] Felix (one of the Christian Fathers) in his perplexity at their non-acceptance of the later doctrine of the crucified, says to them, 'Your victorious trophies not only represent a simple cross, but a cross with a man upon it.' This figure also was pre-Christian in Rome as well as in India and Africa; whilst the primary form of the man on the cross was that of the young man who was tattooed with the cross.
The cruciform Witobai has the marks of nails in the palms of his hands and feet, but there is no crucifix behind him, nor does he represent a person nailed to the cross. Like Horus—as Stauros—he is the cross. Certain figures of the Buddha also show the sign of the nail in the palm of the hand. This is so common that it appears in the little toy-images or fetish figures which are made by the Chinese. No Christian sees this symbol without looking upon it as a sign of the crucified. If pre-Christian; as in the image of Witoba, it is considered to be a pagan prophecy of the true Christ, or it is denounced as the devil's mode of parodying the divine. Yet the nail in the palm of the hand never meant the crucified Christ, Buddha, or Witoba, except to the ignorant A-gnostics. It signifies exactly the same thing as the cross-shaped, four-leaved lotus displayed by the Buddhaiiiiiii in the palm of his hand, or depicted on the soles of his feet. Vishnu, in his avatar of Vaharai, is represented with the nail-mark on the palm of his hand figured within the sign of the square of the four corners in place of the cross.
The swastika cross is found as a pattern on the gold-leaf which covers the 'bone buttons' disinterred by Dr. Schliemann at Mycenae. Here the cross is depicted with nails in the four angles. Bone and nail are emblems of reproduction, and the gold-leaf corresponds to the gilding on the nails, teeth, and phallus of the Egyptian mummies. Four nails equate with the four-footed cross of the four corners, and both with the fourfold phallus.
The most mystical signs are the most simple, i.e., fundamental; they can only be explained by the natural genesis, and according to gesture-language. The nail was a sign of no. 20, the homme fait; and it takes the place of the virile member as a token of the pubescent solar god who had crossed, decussated, or duplicated—for that is the root of the matter—in his second character. Now this second character, being that of puberty, applies equally to both sexes, and so the nail-mark appears in the female as well as the male. In a portrait of Maya the palms of her hands are hidden, but the nail-mark is visible on her feet! Not because she had been crucified, but on account of her second phase. She is the pubescent woman of the Two Truths, the gestator who in Egypt wore the double serpent for her maternal crown. In the gnostic sense she has been crossed by Stauros, as is indicated by the scarf-tie and the [p.439] cruciform nimbus or glory; the Egyptian 'Double Force.' The four nails are equivalent to the fourfold phallus worn on the bosom of the Cyprian Venus as the sign of generation or gestation, and this, again, is equivalent to the four-leaved lotus or the cross. Moreover, the genetrix as Devi, a form of Parvati, is represented with the nail-mark on her foot and a phallus in each hand; the types being interchangeable.
The nail, whether as clavis or unguis, being a type of virility, its significance becomes apparent wherever the nail is a symbol. Burton, our modern opener of Central Africa, found that the negroes there would drive a nail into the 'Devil's Tree' as a charm against disease. The meaning was the same as that of the nail in the tomb, the nail in the corners of the swastika, in the body of Buddha or Krishna; the nail that figured the masculine potency of the Soter, saver, preserver, and healer, with which the primitive man contended against the Devil, disease, and dissolution. It was the weapon of his manhood, whether this might be represented by the nail, the hieroglyphic nakh, or ankh, pubes, horn, stone, metal, or the member.
Tertullian, in his taunting of the non-Christians with their use of the same symbols as the Christians, asks with regard to the cross, 'Doth the Athenian Minerva differ from the body of the cross, and the Keres of Pharos who appeared in the market with a figure made of a rude and shapeless stake? The origin of your cross is derived from figures mounted on the cross. All those rows of images on your standards are the appendages of crosses. Those hangings on your standards and banners are the robes of crosses.' As if the cross of Christianity were the original of these! Whether innocence or impudence, it is imperturbable. Except in a dark void of human ignorance there was no place left in this world for the cross to become the symbol of salvation and the type of immortality by man or god being sacrificed upon it. According to the Septuagint, the cross was the symbol of salvation, just as it had been for ages and in divers forms when buried with the mummies in Egyptian tombs, with no earthly relationship to an historical crucifixion. It was already the image of immortality in Egypt, in Chaldea, Britain, India, America, and the Southern Isles, because it was the cross of life and not a cross of death. And it was the cross of life because it represented the fourfold foundation of the world, the four corners of the human abode; because it was an emblem of reproduction, an image of duration, a type of the eternal.
There is a belief yet current amongst our peasantry that one can hardly die or pass away in peace beneath the crossbeams called the sign-tree of the house. Many a bedstead has been removed from its usual place under the crossbeams before the departing spirit could get release. Thus, after the cross has been for so many centuries held [p.440] before the closing human eyes as the sign and token of relief, as the very hand outstretched by an expiring deity to help the dying mortal in the pangs of death, this primitive pre-Christian type of stability, duration, life, and living, remains so potent over minds that are totally unconscious of its origin and significance that they cannot die whilst looking at it or lying under it. The sign-tree, or skhen-tree (the prop), is the cross-shaped tree of life in Britain, as it was in Egypt, India, or Mexico, and here it also survives as the cross of life in opposition to a cross of death. The cross-type is a continuation of the tree, and it equates with the tree, the mount, and the conical pillar of Aphrodite, all three being primary images of the mother of life and goddess of the four quarters. The mother as the cross was continued in the Orante, who was found in an Etruscan tomb standing with extended arms over the laid-out body of the dead.
The same sign is made by the spiritual body just emerging from the dead body in the Egyptian drawings, because it is the symbol of the future life. The Etruscan Orante survived in Rome where she forms one of the chief figures in the catacombs. There she is taken to represent the Church and the bride of Christ. Call it what you may, the cruciform Orante in the cemeteries of Rome or the Etruscan tombs or the tombs of Paphos is identical with the ancient mother of life who holds her cross before her pregnant womb in token of the life to come. She was the virgin mother, too, who produced without the fatherhood, and who reproduces the dead in a later time when the male progenitor or emblem has been added. The identification of this virgin mother with the Church is complete in the words of Clement Alexander, who exclaims 'O Mystic Wonder! The universal Father is one, and one is the universal Logos or Word; and the Holy Spirit is one and the same everywhere, and one is the Virgin mother. Her love to call the Church!' She was the Church as the abode of life continued. She was also the cross as the Orante; the cross that bore the Christ of the ancient cult; the tree of which the messiah son was the branch.
The Orante figure is several times found double; one standing on either side of the good shepherd, the supposed Christ of the catacombs, like the two divine sisters on each side of Horus; they who call him to come to them, to his abode; with one of them, Nephthys, carrying the house on her head. The latest form of the feminine abode was the mother church who becomes twin because it was so in Egypt.
A figure extended in the shape of the cross, then, whether as a female Orante, a Cyprian Venus, or a masculine Orante, does not necessarily imply a crucifixion or the crucified. There is a cruciform figure portrayed on the Egyptian obelisk of the Lateran Basilica, a male Orante standing upon a serpent, which might be interpreted by the Christian Agnostic as the ante-type and foreshadowing of the [p.441] seed, or Christ overcoming the serpent according to prophecy. But which serpent is intended? The good or the evil one? Here it is not the Apophis monster but the serpent of life. The two figures are necessary, and the serpent proves that the Orante makes the sign of the cross of life to come; that is the ankh.
Another Egyptian cruciform human figure was found in an old Nubian temple at Kalabche, which, like that on the Lateran obelisk, is pre-Christian. It is a man or a divinity with his arms extended crosswise, but without the cross or any other hint of a crucifixion.
Osiris has been found in this attitude. Also Vishnu as Witoba is presented as the crucified in what has been termed the crucifixion in space; the crucifixion without the cross, in which the god himself is the cross in a male form, just as the genetrix is the crossed one in a female form, and as Horus was Stauros.*
* This figure of Witobai has been omitted from Moor's Pantheon.
It is true the sun of the western crossing was considered to be the suffering, dying sun. As Atum he was said to set from the land of life. As Horus the elder we see the god on the crossi, at the crossingi which is represented by the crossbeam of the scales. This is Horus the child, and Horus 'the lamb,' who was described as the divine victim that died to save. But in the mysteries the matter was rightly explained in accordance with phenomena.
The crossing of the west was on the dark side where Typhon triumphed over the lord of light, and in a sense here was the cross of death, the opposite to the cross of Easter and the resurrection. But whether the mythical messiah descended into the world of the dead or rose upon the horizon of the east, both the vanquished victim and the overcoming victor were known to be mythical by all except the non-initiated.
The cross of the west is that of the red sun of autumn, who was Atum by name; and this sign of the sinking sun survives in the red cross which Krimhild marks upon the cloak of Siegfried. The solar god in the west, the hinder-part, was the vulnerable sun, the sufferer, who was overpowered and over-passed for the time being; and the red cross on the back of Siegfried is intended to point out his one vulnerable and penetrable spot.
Rome had continued and still preserves enough to convict the 'primitive Christians' of the profoundest ignorance of the past and of the true nature of that religious symbolism which they had come by they knew not how nor when. As the consciousness of the pre-Christian origins grew, there was an endeavour made to revise and revise; the latest of these attempts being the revision of the New [p.442] Testament in the nineteenth century, by the correction of some thirty thousand errors in the 'Word of God.'
In the fifth century certain believers began objecting to the cross or crucifix being coupled with the trisagion or threefold form in which the Holy Ghost was invoked. It was urged by them that the heathen would think that God himself had been crucified. The sculptor was accused of introducing a suffering son in addition to the three persons of the trisagion. Other Christians are said to have derived from this figure of the cross and trisagion the heterodox opinion that the son, the second person of the Trinity, was divided into two.
This, however, was no late addition. The dual nature of the Osirian son was as old as the myth itself. The two Horuses were the suffering messiah, the mother's child, and Horus the son of the Father. Their astronomical stations are at the place of the two equinoxes. These two Horuses as the biune one were blended in Hor-Makhu, the deity of both horizons or equinoxes, the symbol of which was the cross because the equinoxes were the crossings.
Proclus says, of the circle and its divisions or its decussation, that 'the one soul and the two souls proceed from it.' Here the circle is feminine, as it is in the dove-winged circle of the Persian triad, or its co-type the winged eye, an emblem of the genetrix. The one soul was primarily feminine; the, feminine holy spirit whose symbol is the dove. The two souls are those of the double Horus, of whom it is said the 'one and the other are united. He (the God) is transformed into his soul from his two halves, who are Horus the sustainer of his Father and Horus who dwells in the shrine.' This blending in one is the reverse to the obverse which is the decussation of the one into the two halves. Horus was the one god of the two horizons, and the cross was the sign of him who 'decussated in the form of the letter X' in the two characters of the child and the virile god; the sun that descended crossed the waters and rose again on the horizon of the resurrection.
Osiris, Isis, and Horus were the Egyptian trisagion. But Horus was biune, he did bifurcate into the suffering messiah and the risen saviour, and the emblem of that twinship was the cross, which with the rest of the ancient imagery had been continued by the Christians who knew not what heathens they had been all along; heathen in origin, doctrines, and typology. When they did wake up to the facts one by one they tried to get rid of the proofs, or keep them concealed.
At the end of the seventh century it began to be felt that the supposed actual human history and veritable reality of a personal Christ were in great danger of being submerged and lost amid the mass of symbols and the number of allegorical Christs; and, we are [p.443] told, the Church grew uneasy. Wherefore it was decreed by the Council of Trullo, or the Quinqui Sixtum, in the reign of Justinian II that for the future the figure of the real historic personal Jesus should be portrayed upon the crucifix. It was proclaimed that the lamb (Egyptian and Persian; also a type of the saviour from the year 2410 BC) was to be superseded 'in the images of Christ, our God. He shall be represented in his human form, instead of the lamb, as former times.'
In the eighth century Adrian I, Pontiff of Rome, addressing Barasius, the patriarch of Constantinople, expressed the opinion that the time had come for the Christ to be no longer portrayed as the lamb—'For as much as the shadow hath passed away and that Christ is very man, he ought therefore to be represented in the form of a man.' 'The Lamb of God must not be depicted on the cross as a chief object, but there is no hindrance to the painting of a lamb on the reverse or inferior portion of the cross where Christ hath been duly portrayed as a man.'
In this particular at least it took seven centuries to transform the typical and mythological cross into the actual and historical, and the sacrificial lamb (or ram) into the human victim; and thus the shadow was at last substantialized by the pre-Christian type being humanized as Christ.
The absence of a human portrait of Jesus is said to prove his divinity. They who adored him as a deity could not or would not portray him with mortal lineaments, although they held that he came into this world to be 'made flesh.' And in the absence of the human likeness he was represented to them by the outcast pagan gods, by Apollo, by Aristaeus, the good shepherd; by Orpheus, by Bacchus, Osiris, Horus, and others who are admitted to be types in the catacombs, of the Christ who is not otherwise there. Rochette shows conclusively that the most ancient images of the Virgin and Christ were of gnostic fabrication; and the gnostic Christ was not an historical personage.
In the Micrologus of Ivo we find a curious witness to the readaptation of the cross. The 'Apostolic Constitutions' expressly prescribe the single cross to be made as the sign of sanctity. The Micrologus (about 1100) admits the signs of the single, triple, or fivefold cross in the sacred oblation, whilst the sign of the twofold or the fourfold one was absolutely prohibited.
The origin of the cross as a type of the four quarters was probably dawning on the adaptors. The Syrian liturgy prescribes thirty-six [p.444] crossings, the same as the number of the decans in the zodiac, which were first reckoned by thirty-six crossing-stars. Here then we have the cross of the thirty-six decani (tekani or tehani, Eg.), of the early reckonings, continued in a Christian liturgy.
It was prescribed in the Ordo Romanus that in consecrating churches the walls were to be signed with the chrisma in the shape of the cross in twelve different places, the number of signs in the zodiac and on the papal chair, which, according to Bower, was being cleaned in the year 1662 when the twelve labours of Hercules were found to be portrayed upon it.
If there be one thing considered more certain than another, it is that the cross composed of the Chi and Ro, , which reads Chr must be the abbreviated name of Christ; and it is always taken to convey that meaning. Be it so. Yet it is not of Christian origin; and, to go no further back, it appears upon coins of the Ptolemies and on those of Herod the Great, which had been prophetically struck forty years before the Christian era.
Who then was the Christ intended? Chr answers to and represents the Egyptian kher or kheru, which means the word, voice, or the later solar logos. Chi and Ro are the cross and circle. The Egyptian khi, !, called the sieve, is a cross; the sieve being made by crossing (Eg. teka). The ru, ¨, is an oval, as on the top of the ankh, ÷. These are continued in the Greek . The kher then is a dual sign of the cross and circle. The sign appears upon a coin of the Emperor Decius, with the letter A prefixed. Here the A, R, K, are an abbreviated form of αρχοντος, which proves that the sign has the value of RK when read one way, and therefore KR the other. Kher and rekh interchange in the hieroglyphics for the 'word.' Also ker, for the circuit, course, or turn round, is identical with the ark, a period or cycle of time. The kr and ark, signs of the cross and circle, or the crossed circle, likewise correspond; and the Ptolemeian or Greek form of the kr symbol is the later equivalent for the ark-tie, ¤, which, from the beginning, contained both the circle (ru) and the cross (chi). The 'ark' was the sign of the annual circle when it was made by the Great Bear. It denotes a lunar month in the Assyrian arkhu. And the rk or kr, is a circle, or course of time. KR denotes a course in Egyptian and various other languages. For this reason the sign appears in Greek inscriptions as an abbreviation for Kronus, the monogram of time himself (ibid.). Kr is the root of the names Kronus, course, circle, cross, and Christ. Further, tek (Eg.) is a cross, and this explains the sign found upon the coins of the Armenian king Tigranes, which stands for the first letters (tigr) of his name, or that of his capital, the [p.445] city of Tigranocerta. In this the cross reads both tau and chi in one, as does the hieroglyphic tek r, and with the ro forms the TKR, whence tigr. Of such pre-Christian signs of the mythical Christ, the author of Early Christian Numismatics has remarked, 'Although these symbols, as far as regards their material form, were not invented by the Christians, they nevertheless received at this time a new signification,' which is perfectly true; but the signification read into them by men who were ignorant of their origin, history, and nature is entirely false, and ridiculously delusive. The typology of the catacombs, when interrogated and interpreted by means of the gnosis, will be found to turn informer and confess that it has been forced to bear false witness in giving its testimony to the truth of historic Christianity. All such symbols figured their own facts from the first, and did not prefigure others of a totally different order. The iconography had survived in Rome from a period remotely pre-Christian. There was neither forgery nor interpolation of types; nothing but a continuity of imagery with a perversion of its meaning. The sign is simply composed of a cross bisected with the letter iota. This letter has the numeral value and mystical significance of the Hebrew yod, which denotes the ineffable name of the Iao. Here it signifies the dual one that decussates in the sign of the r to become twain on the two horizons as did Har-Makhu, the Greek Harmachis, and Khem-Horus, who wears the decussa on his breast ages before it appears on the coins of L. Lentulus, and on medals of the kings of the Bosphorus. The iota and chi were read as the initials of Jesus the Christ, which they were, but in no personal sense. Iota, alpha, and omega read Iao, even as they did with Hebrews, Phoenicians, and Britons; and they remained just what they had been, the monogram of the biune one, the androgynous deity that decussated in crossing the circle; who was also considered triadic or tetradic in character, according to the variation of the type in the different aspects yet to be elucidated.
The Christ in the solar myth was the sun-god who, in the form of Stauros, the gnostic Horus, crossed the genetrix Sophia, and gave a figure to her who had been otherwise formless by making the sign of the 'KR' or cross in space. In the human aspect of the typology there is no male without the female, no cross without the circle, and the two are finally a form of the natural axis, and copula, the linga-yoni, which is actually worn as a crown on his head by the crucified Krishna. The symbolical can only be interpreted by the natural. The AO denotes the being of both sexes with a triadic manifestation. Without the two sexes in conjunction there can be no reproduction. The Christ who crossed, whether as Horus the child, or Ma-Kheru, was the boy of the mother who duplicated at puberty, or [p.446] decussated—as it was figured—to become the reproducer in conjunction with the genetrix. Hence the chi combined with the ro, or the cross within the circle, has the same significance as the male and female united under other and more evident twin-types of the two sexes. Sophia was crossed and established by Horus the Christ in his sixfold form, which is figured by the letters , iota chi. The AΩ beside the sixfold cross has the same significance as the exclamation of the sixfold Horus, who, when he extended himself crosswise to restrain Sophia, exclaimed 'IAO,' which the Gnostics affirmed to have been the origin of that name.
One special solar form of the Egyptian Christ was Horus-Ma-Kheru, the Horus who was the true word or logos. He was the crosser of the circle personified, as the 'word that made truth,' or as the word made truth, because he fulfilled the promise: he crossed. The amulet or charm which Isis hung round her neck when she found herself enceinte was called in Greek the true voice, which, in Egyptian, is Ma-Kheru. For one reason, the star-gods and moon-gods were not true timekeepers, and they were superseded in favour of Har-ma-Kheru, who was the solar crosser or the Christ, and the word as the kheru or chr, .
Once, at least, the cross of Christ, together with the alpha and omega, is found in the catacombs coupled with the name of Asaris. The inscription reads, 'Khr-Ao-Asaris.' As-ar, ´u , is the Egyptian form of the name known as Osiris, and this with the Greek terminal ς is Asaris. Osiris is designated 'Har-Iu.' Har denotes the lord, the Greek kurios (kr having been the earlier form), who is the Lord; and the dual Iu is an exact equivalent for Au (was, is, and to be), the Greek Aω (also the ό ών, he who is). This 'Monogram of the Saviour's name' belongs to Osiris, and to Har-Ma-Kheru in Rome as surely as ever it did in Egypt.
The Latins appear to have continued the ark or rek in their rex which they inscribed on the cross, instead of the ό ών of the Greek aureole cross, with one letter on each of three arms. Rek (Eg.) denotes time and rule, whence the ruler or regulus. Rex and kr are equivalents, and kher (Eg.) also means the majesty or rex applied to Horus the Christ, the Ma-Kheru.
As late as the eighteenth century the Christ in a fresco at Salamis is portrayed in the act of making the sign of the cross and circle with the first and fourth digit of the right hand. In his left hand he holds the book, the word (kheru). He is portrayed between the two figures
which contain the Egyptian hieroglyphic for the balance or crossing (Libra), d the Makha, still extant as the Greek sign of the scales [p.447] and for a crossing; and Har-Makhu in Egypt was the Christ of the double equinox or horizon denoted by these two signs. Moreover, the student has only to compare the portrait of the Christ treading underfoot the typhonian types of evil, with Horus standing on the two crocodiles and holding the serpent and scorpion suspended helplessly in his hands, to see that the same type of the Saviour was continued in Italy.
Plato in Timaeus applies the Egyptian figures in a metaphysical phase. He describes the Creator as making the universe of a spherical form, the most like unto his own shape. When therefore he cogitated over that god who was destined to exist at some certain period of time (which period was annual!) he produced his body according to this same circular pattern, and 'The perfect circle of the created god he decussated in the shape of the letter X.' That is, he made the sign of the circle and the cross. Proclus explains this decussated circle thus: 'Two circles will be formed of which one is interior, but the other exterior, and they will be oblique to each other. One of these is called the circle of the Same, the other the circle of the Different, or the fired and variable, or rather the equinoctial circle and the zodiac. The circle of the different revolves about the zodiac, but the circle of the same about the equinoctial. Hence, we conceive that the right lines ought not to be applied to each other at right angles, but like the letter X, as Plato says, so as to cause the angles to be equal only at the summit, but those on each side, and the successive angles to be unequal. For the equinoctial circle does not cut the zodiac at right angles. Such therefore in short, is the mathematical discussion of the figure of the soul,' the nous or son of God. Both Proclus and Iamblichus agree that the circle and cross typify the one soul, and the two souls that proceed from it, which primarily signified the year, or the Horus renewed at the crossing where the star or sun emerged from the underworld at the place of the vernal equinox. The two souls are described in the Ritual: 'Osiris goes into Tattu, he finds the soul of the sun (the second Horus) there. The one and the other are united.'
Justin interprets the words of Plato as relating to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and says he borrowed his description from Moses. John also asserts that Anthropos was to be lifted up after the fashion of the serpent on the cross. One image of this decussation is the , the kheru, kurios, or koros, the word or logos personified as the son, the boy. Koros, says Plato, in Cratylus, does not signify a boy, but the pure unmixed nature of the intellect. That is platonizing. The koros or Horus was the, boy, called the Eternal Boy, the Christ born yearly at the crossing, and the Egyptian kheru was the Greek koros. The two Horuses were the dying mortal one, [p.448] and the living immortal; the sun in relation to the two equinoxes or crosses of Michaelmas and Easter. These supplied two different types of the crucified to the Greeks and Romans. The Greeks represented the Christ on the cross as dying; the Romans as living, and the two characters of the mythical Christ caused a split between the two churches. The Greeks reproached the Latins with portraying the Lord contrary to all nature, and the Latins accused the Greeks of setting up a figure of the Antichrist. The Egyptians blended both Horuses in one as Har-Makhu, the lord of the double horizon, but they had not to contend with the difficulty of the actual cross and crucifixion.
We learn from Isidorus that it was a custom in the Roman army to mark the names of the living with the sign T, or the tau cross, but the dead were denoted by a theta, θ. They had crossed. The Greek theta, θ, is a kind of tat by name, which combines the circle and cross. Theta is the Egyptian teta for the eternal. Tet is the tomb, the eternal abode, the lower heaven. Tet or tat also means death and the dead. Tet signifies to pass and cross over. Death is spoken of as the passage. 'When my death came' is literally 'when my passage or crossing came.' 'Save thou the Osiris from the attack made against him at the crossing.' 'The Osiris has not been spoken of, seen, perceived, or heard, in the mystical house of Cross-head,' is said of the deceased. The dead are those who have crossed, and attained the eternal region where the fourfold tat was set up in Tattu, the place of establishing for ever, which may account for the theta being the sign of the dead.
It even depended on the cross being three-armed or four-armed as to whether the Christ was crucified with three nails or four. Some sects adored the T-shaped cross and three nails; others the four-armed cross and four nails. Bishop Luke of Tuy (about 1230) maintained that the nails were four in number. This was evident from the existence of the four genuine nails which were still preserved, and which he had seen in four different places, to wit, Nazareth, Tarsus, Constantinople, and St. Denis. The nails in the hands and feet of Buddha, of Witoba, of Maya, and in the corners of the swastika cross, show that the proper number is four, in keeping with the cross of the four quarters. The cross on which the Jewish paschal lamb was spitted, was double, and thus corresponded to the two equinoxes or crossings which the Hebrews keep. This cross of the four quarters and two equinoxes constitutes that known as the 'Cross of Lorraine,' (i.e. i or i) which has double arms, and is therefore of a sixfold form. Three French churches are founded on this model. The great English churches of Beverley, [p.449] Rochester, Lincoln, and Worcester, are built on the same plan, as may be seen by engravings in Dugdale's Monasticon Anglicanum. These edifices have two transepts instead of one. Didron tries to account for this cross by supposing the upper and shorter arms denote the scroll which was said to have been extended over the head of the crucified.
A Greek cross of the 'first ages' has this double figure, and is bifurcated at foot. The double cross is likewise extant in the cross of suffering (the cross of the maimed messiah Horus), and the cross of the resurrection or the Easter equinox.
The cross follows the tree and the serpent as a numerogram. It is merely twin as the two strokes of the Roman cross and the r. It is threefold in the T. It is fourfold as the tat-type of the four cardinal points. It becomes sixfold in the form of a circle with the cross and perpendicular iota. This is a pre-Christian monogram found on the medals of the kings of the Bosphorus and on the coins of L. Lentulus, before the Christian era. The sign consists of six points with the phonetic value of chi and iota. These when read backwards—and everything in the Christian symbolism has to be read backwards, from end to beginning—are I Chi, assumed to be the initials of the name Jesus Christ. But the value of the letters has to be interpreted by the figures. This is a figure of six. The numeral value of chi is 600. This is the sign of the AO reckoned as the one who was of a sixfold nature, like Anu of Babylon, whose figure is the one-six or sixfold one, because of the natural basis in the four quarters together with the height and the depth. So the Hindu youthful god Kàrtikêya is represented with six heads; and the Christ or Horus of the Gnostics has six names, and was of a sixfold nature. The six-armed stauros is identical with the sixfold Horus. Iota-Chi denotes the one that decussates in a sixfold form, and is an equivalent for the Hindu Shasha-Linga. This same sixfold sign appears on a lamp figured by Gori and by Lundy, with twelve heads around it, supposed to be the twelve apostles, where this sixfold pre-Christian sign is taken by all believers to be the sacred monogram of Jesus Christ. But the absolute solar and Kronian nature of the symbol is proved by the number 52 marked on it in little circles. The spokes image the sixfold division which belongs to space. The fifty-two circles are the weeks of the year, and the 'Twelve Apostles' are nothing more than the twelve signs the zodiac personified as companions of the solar god, just as the original twelve of the round table were the companions of the mythical Arthur in Britain. The lamp undoubtedly indicates the 'Light of the World,' but as the solar god, not as any historical personage. The lamp has the figure of the female; it is of the same [p.450] shape as the yonii in the Hindu Naga Linga Nandi, which contains the tetrad in unity, within the type of the female; or, in other instances, the sign of the male power erect within the image of the female, as simply portrayed as it is in the gesture sign.
Further, it is well known that a triangle with the apex upward is a masculine emblem, but when reversed, with the apex downwards, it is feminine. The two combined in the double triangle signify both sexes in unity; the six points being another form of the figure of six with the same significance as the six arms, six heads, or six names. The reversed or female triangle is found on a grave-stone in the cemetery of Prieilla, and within this, as within the female figure on the lamp, the cross and ro (kr), together with the letters Aω, are depicted and also assumed to represent the personal Christ. The AO proves the dual nature of the Christ intended as does the uterine lamp in which the monogram of the apostolic cross is portrayed. The female sign is the ru ¨, the mouth or uterus of birth. It is the primary circle in heaven and earth, which, as before said, is inseparable from the cross. This is the r of the sign, and of the monogram 'KR'; the circle of the chi or cross. It is the same female image as the reversed triangle and the uterine lamp, the figure of the celestial birthplace which gave annual rebirth to the solar Christ when he had crossed; he whose symbol in its several forms was the pre-Christian cross.
In ecclesiastical heraldic blazonry the single cross is assigned to the bishop, the double cross to cardinals and archbishops, and the triple or sixfold cross to the pope. An utter reversal of the grades if the original had been the supposed cross of Christ. The types tell the truth, however the written word may lie. The pope represents the sixfold cross that was extant ages before the era called Christian, the cross of the completed solar circle, or, in the feminine character, the triple-cross, the SSS of the seshsk (sistrum), and a form of the 666 the number of the beast that sat on the seven hills. The pope also wears the mitre shaped like the fish's mouth, the 'os tincae' of obstetrists; the vesica piscis, an especial emblem of the mother in Rome. These two are a continuation of the same types as the cross-barred sistrum; the cross within the triangle and the sixfold cross or shasha-linga within the yoni of the lamp.
The ancient popish ceremony of creeping to the cross on all fours, illustrates the cross of the four quarters. This used to be performed on Good Friday. John Bale in his Declaration of Bonner's Articles, 1554, denounces, amongst other customs, that of 'Creeping to the Cross on Good Friday featly.' Cranmer likewise objected to the custom of creeping on all fours to the cross. The kings of England, also the queens and their ladies, crept to the cross on all fours upon [p.451] that day. This figure of the four quarters was accompanied by the egg as a type of the circle—the circle and the cross being everywhere twinned. Eggs were offered to the cross, and the image of the cross was used in collecting eggs on Good Friday.
The cardinals, as their name denotes, are founded on the cross as the cardinal points of the circle, from cardo, a hinge, a point or nick of time. The double cross of the archbishops is still paralleled in England by the two archbishoprics of the north and south, York and Canterbury. No link is missing in the long chain of evidence that shows the continuity of the mythical cross. It cannot be said that the sun and moon were the parents of an historical Christ, but they were the father and mother of Horus the Christ or Iu-su the child of Atum, and of Khunsu, the prince of peace. It is the mother moon—the woman arrayed with the sun, and the moon under her feet—that still brings forth her child at Easter, as she does in the Book of Revelation, and a bust of the supposed historical saviour is seen enthroned within a nimbus of the cross between the sun and moon, showing the child of both who was born at Easter. Moreover, this form of the father and mother is portrayed on the earliest known crucifix that has the human figure on it. The solar disk and crescent symbols appear upon the plastic crucifix presented by Gregory the Great to Queen Theodolinde, which is preserved in the church of St. John at Monza. The vernal equinox is the place where the sun and new moon were once more reunited and the Horus or Christ was reborn at Easter; and in the medieval representations of the crucifixion the Christ is constantly accompanied by the sun and crescent moon. It is the same luni-solar conjunction that produced the youthful Khunsu in the mythos of Egypt. Our calendar rules for Easter continue the same as in Egypt, and the same full moon which contains Khunsu holding forth the pig of Easter in the planisphere of Denderahi (compare the leg of pork especially eaten at that season), still determines the Easter-tide. There has been no break in the bringing on to leave any room for the insertion of an historical cross.
Being pre-Christian, the cross was not derived from an historical crucifixion, and can afford no evidence of the fact. The monograms of the cross X, KR, Iota Chi, and others, being also preextant could not have been derived from the name of a personal Jesus Christ. The solar and Kronian crosses were continued for and as the Christ until there was a personal representation; the pagan imagery was not even taken intelligently, it was only inherited ignorantly.
To recapitulate: the earliest sign of the cross made with the hands denoted reckoning and repetition; this is extant in the × of multiplication. The first form of the celestial cross was described by the earliest maker of a circle, which was a constellation that crossed below the [p.452] horizon. This was made by the seven stars in Ursa Major or the genetrix who was personified as the bringer-forth of Time in heaven and portrayed as the enceinte mother, whose ankh-cross (the tie or cord) was the figure of life to come (for in her was life), and of continuity by means of cyclic repetition. The next was the cross of establishing for ever on the fourfold foundation of the four quarters, with the tat-pillar as its type, which was first assigned to the lunar god. Lastly, the sun-god made the circle and the sign of the cross which might be the tat of the equinox and solstice, or the swastika with four nails in its four feet; the extended human figure with the sign of four nails in hands and feet; the cross of the fourfold or the cubical foundation; the fourfold, sixfold, or sevenfold lingaic cross. The solar god who crossed was the virile potent one, the victor and conqueror. Hence the cross became the sign of all that is expressed by the word KR (Eg.), which not only means a course of time but power, ability, virile potency, support, the weapon of power. And in its final phase as the Christian emblem the cross of death and blood-sacrifice offered to the god of gore, befittingly fulfils its type; keeps its character, and still gets its drench and drink of human life as the hilt of the sword by means of which the dominion of the cross has been and still continues to be extended over the globe.
In the Christian iconography the cross is connected with the ram and the lamb; in each case the animal wears the cross as a glory, and has another form of the cross for an accompaniment. Again, the name of the fish as ΙΧΘYC is placed at the head of the starry cross.*
* Mosaic in S. Appollinario in Classe, Ravenna, 6th C.
In the Hermeani zodiac, Pisces is named Ichton, and the fish is the female goddess who brought forth the young sun-god as her fish, whether called Horus in Egypt or Marduk the fish of Hea in Assyria; Ichthys, who was the son of the fish-tailed Atergatis at Ascalon, or Ichthys which was also a title of Bacchus. The cross of the ram or lamb, as the symbol of the four quarters is corroborated by the mount of the four quarters which are represented by the four rivers of the Genesis. In monuments of what is termed by Didron the 'Primitive Church,' the lamb is frequently seen standing on a mountain out of which the four rivers flow, as a symbol of the four quarters. On a sculptured sarcophagus in the Vatican, 'belonging to the earliest ages of Christianity,' the lamb is portrayed standing on the mount of the four rivers with the monogram Aω set in a circular nimbus. The same writer also cites a monument of the 11th century in which the four streams are called Gyon, Phishon, [p.453] Tygris and Eufrates, and these are represented by figures of men, nearly naked, who wear the Phrygian bonnet and each carries an urn of one of the four streams. In this, the Mithraic bonnet points unmistakably to the Mithraic lamb, which the Persians adopted instead of the ram, and therefore to the Mithraic cult. Dupuis shows that the ancient Persians celebrated their feast of the cross a few days after the entrance of the sun into the sign of Aries, at a time when the Southern Cross was visible by night. If so, that constellation would be the starry type of the newly-found cross of the lamb and the vernal equinox.
This symbolism of the cross and ram and the cross and fish is found on the sculptured stones of Scotland. But wherever found, the sole origin and significance is solar, and the typology belongs to the cycles of time.
The ram and the fish were not placed in the zodiac as anti-types of any personal Christ who was to come in human form, nor did these signs on the ancient monuments catch the light of Christianity by anticipation. The ram or lamb that carries or is accompanied by the cross never did and never could really represent any other fact than that of the equinoctial colure in the sign of Aries. The ram has no meaning apart from the cross which accompanies it, as the sign of the crossing and of the four quarters. The cross is borne by the lamb in the form of the Tree of Life. The lamb is standing upon the mount of the four quarters which are represented by the four rivers issuing forth. These are the mount and the tree which have now been traced from their beginning. They are found with the typical lamb, or ram, because that was the sign of the vernal equinox at the time denoted by the typology. The lamb or ram was the Christ of its particular cycle of time which lasted 2,255 years. The ram-type had been continued in the Indian iconography, as the bearer of Agni ever since the sun entered that sign. During all that time the Hindu god of fire or spirit, whose emblem was the cross of fire, had ridden on the young ram as the solar sign of his reproducing power; and the Egyptian divinities Num and Sebek-Ra had been imaged in the sign of the Ram, the head of which they wore. When discovered by Europeans, this figure of Agni on the Ram had to be accounted for as the anti-type of the Christ that was to come. When will the long slumber of common sense come to an end, and all such false deluding dreams be put to flight? During all that time the lamb supposed to take away the sins of the world was offered up by the Jews and others as the victim sacrificed. This was crucified on the cross, and it was continued during some seven centuries of the Christian era as the Christ upon the cross in the catacombs of Rome. When the equinox passed into the sign of Pisces the fish became the figure of the Christ on the cross. Hence the fish on the pre-Christian cross which is [p.454] found in Scotland and Ireland and the fish-type which was continued wherever the reckonings were kept. Pisces became the sign of the resurrection from the dead for souls, as for the sun, about 255 BC, and in this sign the genetrix holds up the dove in her hand. Hence dove and fish were continued together along with the cross and the sign of KR in the typology of the catacombs. Moreover, the dove and the fish are portrayed as bearers of the palm-branch which is the hieroglyphic symbol of a time, period, course, or KR. Thus the fish, dove, palm-branch, and monogram, are all grouped together in strict accordance with the latest sign of the resurrection at the crossing. In the catacombs the concealed burial-place of the ancient religion visibly becomes the birthplace of the new, and it is there we can see the types in the process of their transformation. The fish became and was continued as the Christ of the new cycle of 2,255 years. Christ with, or as, the fish appears upon a gem copied by Rochette; his youthful head is resting on a fish, and he is identified by the name of ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ. Horus in Egypt had been a fish from time immemorial, and when the equinox entered the sign of Pisces, Horus, who was continued by the Gnostics, is portrayed as Ichthys with the fish-sign over his head.
This engraving has been called Jesus Christ in the character of Horus, but it is simply the Egypto-gnostic Horus, the Christ who was first born as the fish of the perfected solar zodiac in the year (or thereabouts) BC 255. The facts are visibly depicted in the celestial imagery; and the type has been continued, for example, in Japan, where the birth of a child is still publicly announced by the villagers under the sign of the fish—a typical paper fish being suspended over the doorway of the house wherein the child has been born. Also [p.455] in modern rites of the Jewish Passover, Leviathan and the fishes are connected. Leviathan is a form of the dragon of darkness which has been vanquished by the sun in Pisces ever since the crossing occurred in that sign, over two thousand years since, when the fish-type succeeded that of the lamb. The final facts are that Christ, as the ram, dates from BC 2410. Christ as Ichthys, the fish, dates from BC 255. Christ, in the human form upon the cross, dates from the seventh century AD.
This is the gnostic Christ, the Egyptian Horus who for thousands of years had been represented in the act of treading the crocodile under foot, and who is here portrayed as the youthful sun-god representing the sun of the vernal equinox in the sign of the Fishes.
This page last updated: 13/03/2017