Christian and Pagan Mysteries

Anna Bonus Kingsford was highly gifted spiritually and gives us a glimpse into the initiations, from her dreams and visions; No. XX Concerning the Great Pyramid and the Initiations therein;

I see the Great Pyramid, and can tell you all about it. My genius informs me that the number of the pyramids in Egypt corresponds to the number of the mysteries of the Gods. No one has yet rightly found out the purpose of the great one. It was built simply in order to serve in initiations. I see a candidate and seven or eight hierophants going in procession with torches through the passages. Each passage represents a mystery, the chief one leading to the ‘king’s chamber’. This represents the greater mysteries. The ‘queen’s chamber’ represents the lesser mysteries. The coffer in the king’s chamber is a measure representing the standard of the perfect humanity, and in this the candidate was laid on his final initiation. It appears to me that I was once there myself. My sensations about it are like a memory. It was not built to be a prophecy, but it may serve as a prophecy. In it is symbolized all the wanderings in the desert, the history, that is, of the soul in the wilderness of the body. In representing the soul of the individual, it represents the soul also of the race, and thus is really a prophecy.

The new birth takes place in the king’s chamber. It is the last stage. A person may be initiated several times in various incarnations; but he is regenerated once for all. The ‘baptism’ took place in the queen’s chamber. It belonged to the lesser mysteries. It is neither initiation nor regeneration, but purification. There are four stages to be passed before final initiation. They correspond to the four elements, earth, fire, water, and air; and they relate respectively to the four corresponding divisions of man’s nature, the body, the phantom or peri-soul, the soul, and the spirit, which are the four rivers of Eden. And the candidate has to be tested and proved in each of them by the tempter.

The initiate was accompanied by his sponsor or ‘mother’, a priestess or Sibyl. The central secret of the Mysteries was the Tree of Life in the midst of the garden; Immortality, the secret of Transmutation, or of changing ‘water’ (substance) into ‘wine’ (spirit). This, ‘Issa’- the son of Isis – or Jesus, is alone able to do. O incomprehensible secret, who shall understand thee! A soul, as has already been said, may be initiated more than once, in several lives, but only once regenerated. For she – the soul -can only once be born of the Spirit, or ‘Wisdom’. To be regenerate is to be born into spiritual life, and to have united the individual will with the Divine Will.

This union of the two wills constitutes the spiritual marriage, the accomplishment of which is in the Gospels represented under the parable of the marriage at Cana of Galilee. This divine marriage, or union of the human and Divine wills, is indissoluble; whence the idea of the indissolubility of human marriage. And inasmuch as it is a marriage of the spirit of man to that of God, and of the Spirit of God to that of man, it is a double marriage. I see the ceremony actually taking place. The hierophant represents the Divine Spirit; and he and the candidate face each other, and crossing their arms grasp each with each hand a hand of the other. A soul may be partially and transiently illuminated by the Spirit; the Spirit may even descend upon an individual and make him a prophet, and pass away leaving him unregenerate, and out of the kingdom of God – as occurred to John the Baptist.”

As a life-long Southern Baptist it is incredible to me to hear a prophetess say that John the Baptist didn’t enter the Kingdom of God. However, I believe this could be true. In an ancient Mandean text called The Mandean Book of John the Baptizer we learn;

“Yahya (John the Baptist) proclaims in the nights, Yôhânâ on the Night`s evenings. Yahya proclaimed in the nights and speaks: “Stand not I here alone? I go to and fro. Where is a prophet my equal? Who makes proclamation equal to my proclamations? And who doth discourse with the like of my wondrous voice! When Yahya thus spake, the two women weep. Miryai (mother Mary) and Enishbhai (Johns mother Elizabeth) weep, and for both tears flow. They say: We will go hence, and do thou stay here; see that thou dost not bring us to stumble. I (M.) will go hence, and do thou stay here; see that thou dost not bring me to stumble. I (E.) will go hence, and do thou stay here; see that thou dost not fill me with Sorrow. Then Yahya opened his mouth and spake to Enishbhai in Jerusalem: “Is there any who could take my place in the height? Is there any who could take my place in the height, so that thou mayest pay for me ransom? If thou canst pay for me ransom, then bring thy jewels and ransom me. If thou canst pay for me ransom, then bring thy gold and ransom me.

Thereupon Enishbhai opened her mouth and spake to Yahya in Jerusalem: “Who is thy equal in Judea, who is thy equal in Jerusalem that I should look on him and forget thee?” Yahya continued, saying: “Who is my equal? Who is my equal, that thou shouldst look on him and forget me? Before my voice and the voice of my proclamations the Torah disappeared in Jerusalem. Before the voice of my discourse the readers read no more in Jerusalem. The Wantons cease from their lewdness, and the women go not forth to the”…

To attain the Divine Marriage or at-one-ment with God, you must lose your own sense of individual self, i.e. ego. As just stated by Anna Kingsford, you must merge your will with God’s will. Because John still displayed ego, this would have prevented his attainment of the Kingdom of Heaven – in that particular incarnation.

The following quote speaks on the subject that was probably the hardest for me to understand. That is the realization that Christianity is a pagan religion! The truth is that Christianity is a higher revelation of the ancient Mystery or pagan religions. Therefore, the same allegories are used – among which are aspects that Christians hold dear. The Secret Teachings of All Ages speaks of that;

“The ideals of early Christianity were based upon the high moral standards of the pagan Mysteries, and the first Christians who met under the city of Rome used as their places of worship the subterranean temples of Mithras, from whose cult has been borrowed much of the sacerdotalism of the modem church. The ancient philosophers believed that no man could live intelligently who did not have a fundamental knowledge of Nature and her laws. Before man can obey, he must understand, and the Mysteries were devoted to instructing man concerning the operation of divine law in the terrestrial sphere. Few of the early cults actually worshiped anthropomorphic deities, although their symbolism might lead one to believe they did. They were moralistic rather than religionistic; philosophic rather than theological. They taught man to use his faculties more intelligently, to be patient in the face of adversity, to be courageous when confronted by danger, to be true in the midst of temptation, and, most of all, to view a worthy life as the most acceptable sacrifice to God, and his body as an altar sacred to the Deity.

The birthplace of Bacchus, called Sabazius or Sabaoth, was claimed by several places in Greece; but on Mount Zelmisus, in Thrace, his worship seems to have been chiefly celebrated. He was born of a virgin on the 25th of December; he performed great miracles for the good of mankind; particularly one in which he changed water into wine; he rode in a triumphal procession on an ass; he was put to death by the Titans, and rose again from the dead on the 25th of March: he was always called the Savior. In his mysteries, he was shown to the people, as an infant is by the Christians at this day, on Christmas Day morning in Rome.

….Saviors unnumbered have died for the sins of man and by the hands of man, and through their deaths have interceded in heaven for the souls of their executioners. The martyrdom of the God-Man and the redemption of the world through His blood has been an essential tenet of many great religions. Nearly all these stories can be traced to sun worship, for the glorious orb of day is the Savior who dies annually for every creature within his universe, but year after year rises again victorious from the tomb of winter. Without doubt the doctrine of the crucifixion is based upon the secret traditions of the Ancient Wisdom; it is a constant reminder that the divine nature of man is perpetually crucified upon the animal organism. (human body)

Certain of the pagan Mysteries included in the ceremony of initiation the crucifixion of the candidate upon a cross, or the laying of his body upon a cruciform altar. The list of the deathless mortals who suffered for man that he might receive the boon of eternal life is an imposing one. Among those connected historically or allegorically with a crucifixion are Prometheus, Adonis, Apollo, Arys, Bacchus, Buddha, Christna, Horus, Indra, Ixion, Mithras, Osiris, Pythagoras, Quetzalcoatl, Semiramis and Jupiter. According to the fragmentary accounts extant, all these heroes gave their lives to the service of humanity and, with one or two exceptions, died as martyrs for the cause of human progress.”

From The Mystery Schools by Grace F. Knoche;

“The various Mystery Religions and their successors have a varying number of steps, or initiations to complete. Some of them break it up into seven steps, others such as the Freemasons into thirty-three steps. In one of the steps the initiate meets their own God self, face to face. I see this as the indwelling Holy Spirit. …In time, as we are able to distance ourselves from materiality, we become more integrated with our inner Spirit. …Then comes the seventh and last of the degrees of initiation before master-hood is achieved. This initiation usually took place at the winter solstice. The ancient pagan initiates considered the four points of the year, the winter and summer solstices and the spring and autumnal equinoxes, as representative of holy workings in the cosmos. The birth of the sun at the beginning of the year symbolized to them the mystic birth of the initiate, and it is significant that nearly all the great world saviors, such as Jesus the Christ, Krishna the Avatar, Apollonius of Tiana, and others, celebrate their ‘birthdays’ at this sacred time: the rebirth of the solar deity.”

The Encyclopedia Britannica compares the Mithraic and Christian Mysteries;

“The fraternal and democratic spirit of the first communities, and their humble origin; the identification of the object of adoration with light and the sun; the legends of the shepherds with their gifts and adoration, the flood, and the ark; the representation in art of the fiery chariot, the drawing of water from the rock; the use of bell and candle, holy water and the communion; the sanctification of Sunday and of the 25th of December; the insistence on moral conduct, the emphasis placed on abstinence and self-control; the doctrine of heaven and hell, of primitive revelation, of the mediation of the Logos emanating from the divine, the atoning sacrifice, the constant warfare between good and evil and the final triumph of the former, the immortality of the soul, the last judgment, the resurrection of the flesh and the fiery destruction of the universe – [these] are some of the resemblances which, whether real or only apparent, enabled Mithraism to prolong its resistance to Christianity.”

Jesus was not only a Dying-Rising Savior God, he was a Sun King. I will let Theosophical writer Annie Besant describe the Sun Kings to you. She claims that the virgin birth concept has a purely astrological significance, when one understands what she terms the Solar Myth. “The Hero of the myth is usually represented as a God or Demi-God, and his life …must be outlined by the course of the Sun, as the shadow of the Logos. The part of the course lived out during the human life is that which falls between the winter solstice and the reaching of the zenith in summer. The Hero is born at the winter solstice, dies at the spring equinox and conquering death, rises into the mid-heaven.” Besant explains that a divine personage, such as those listed previously, is said to be an ambassador of the Logos – personified as the sun.

High initiates who are sent on special missions to incarnate among men as teachers or rulers would be designated by the symbol of the sun. Why then a virgin birth? The initiate or hero, “is always born at the winter solstice after the shortest day of the year, at the midnight of the 24th of December, when the sign Virgo (the Virgin) is rising above the horizon; to be born as this sign is rising, he is born always of a virgin, and she remains a virgin after she has given birth to the Sun-Child, as the Celestial Virgo remains unchanged and unsullied when the Sun comes forth from the heavens.” From this we learn why Catholics strove so hard to portray Jesus’ mother Mary as always being a virgin – ignoring the fact that she had other children. Besant goes on to explain that the life of the Sun-God follows the prescribed mystery ritual of death, resurrection, and ascension.

The key to accepting and understanding all of this inter-mixing of Christianity with Paganism is in the words; “a divine personage is said to be an ambassador of the Logos – personified as the sun.”  Jesus was an incarnated ambassador of the Logos – thus he was a Sun-God,  just as all the other Sun God’s listed above were too. The people who lived a thousand or two thousand years before Jesus needed their saviors/avatars too. According to the renowned esotericist, writer and 33rd degree Freemason, Manly Palmer Hall, in his book, The Secret Teachings of All Ages;

“Sun worship played an important part in nearly all the early pagan Mysteries. This indicates the probability of their Atlantean origin, for the people of Atlantis were sun worshipers. The Solar Deity was usually personified as a beautiful youth, with long golden hair to symbolize the rays of the sun. This golden Sun God was slain by wicked ruffians, who personified the evil principle of the universe. By means of certain rituals and ceremonies, symbolic of purification and regeneration, this wonderful God of Good was brought back to life and became the Savior of His people. The secret processes whereby He was resurrected symbolized those cultures by means of which man is able to overcome his lower nature, master his appetites, and give expression to the higher side of himself. The mysteries were organized for the purpose of assisting the struggling human creature to re-awaken the spiritual powers which, surrounded by the flaming ring of lust and degeneracy, lay asleep within his soul. In other words, man was offered a way by which he could regain his lost estate.”

From ‘Living Gnosis a Practical Guide to Gnostic Christianity’ we learn;

“In most Gnostic traditions, the purpose of the divine incarnation of the Logos is not salvation of the world. Rather, it is the redemption of Sophia, who is fallen and exiled in the world. Essentially, Divine Wisdom is the true nature of consciousness, which is the foundation of creatures and creation, and she is bound within creatures and creation to the dominion of the demiurges and archons – hence in bondage to cosmic ignorance. Thus, through the incarnation, Logos enters into the world to awaken and redeem Sophia. She is the soul of the world and the soul of all creatures.”

The author tells us that the story of Mary Magdalene reflects this common theme of Gnosticism. Her life story is an allegory of the soul that becomes obscured and lost in the material world. And according to him, “Therefore, in her redemption the world and all creatures are redeemed.”  The esoteric Christians in celebrating the ‘Lords Supper’ or ‘Eucharist’ instead of remembering Christ body and blood shed for us, remember Sophia’s passion and restoration into the Pleroma. And as just stated, that symbolically celebrates our restoration into the Pleroma, or highest Heaven.

John Van Auken, former director of the Association of Research and Enlightenment, the Edgar Cayce research Foundation, has this to say regarding Cayce’s readings on the Christian Mystery religion;

“The system of metaphysical thought which emerges from the Cayce discourses is a Christianized version of the mystery religions of ancient Chaldea, Persia, India, and Greece. It fits the figure of Christ into the tradition of one God for all people, and places him in his proper place, at the apex of the philosophical structure; He is the capstone of the pyramid. The mysteries were concerned with man’s problem of freeing his soul from the world. In the mystery symbologies the Earth was always represented as the underworld, and the soul was lost in this underworld until freed from it by wisdom, faith, and understanding. In the Greek mysteries, Persephone was abducted by Pluto, Lord of Hades. Persephone is the soul of man, whose true home is in the heavens.”

The author goes on to say that Cayce was raised in strict nineteenth century Bible tradition and was shocked to discover that in his spiritual readings, given while in a trance state, he declared the truth of the Mysteries and claimed Jesus as their crowning glory. Cayce had only a seventh grade education and had never even heard of the mystery religions. He spoke at length on Gnosticism a number of years before the discovery of the Gnostic Nag Hammadi texts in Egypt in 1945. Those texts were hidden by Coptic Christians, a church started by St. Mark of the Bible. Cayce said that the Mystery religions were a preparation for the coming of Jesus and that he was the fruit of their efforts. His message was a fuller revelation to the people at large of the mysteries themselves.

Van Auken goes on to show how the symbology used in the Mystery religions has survived in Christianity. Starting in about the 300’s C.E., the early Church fathers began to separate from their pagan origins and so destroyed the books of their rivals and outlawed their practices. The Christian doctrine of reincarnation and the Gnostic mysteries of Jesus were declared heresies by the Church in 553 AD.

Margaret Starbird in The Woman with the Alabaster Jar beautifully describes Jesus and his ministry;

“The Jesus described in the Gospel stories is an anti-establishment hero, an incarnation of the Spirit of Wisdom, gentle and compassionate toward the poor and a champion of justice. It is this Jesus who is the role model for the life of a true Christian. The Jesus who is victor, ruler, Lord of the Universe, seated at God’s right hand, and the object of Christian worship on Sunday is a male solar divinity in the Oriental tradition of Egypt (Ra), Greece (Apollo), Rome (Jupiter and Sol Invictus), and Persia (Zoroaster and Mithras).

But there is another Jesus, the charismatic healer who walked the streets of Israel’s towns in sandals; who tended the sick and preached a message of reconciliation and relationship; whose baptism was accompanied by the sign of a dove; who was anointed at Bethany and crucified as an insurrectionist by Rome’s decree. This is the Jesus who fled whenever the people tried to make him king – and whose death on the cross radically illustrated the woundedness of God, whose prophets are so universally scorned and butchered.

Side by side with the orthodox version of Christianity preached from Peter’s chair is another story of Jesus, a hidden tradition that has been branded heretical and forced underground for centuries. In the shadow of the communities that came to believe in a high Christology of Jesus, the heavenly and omnipotent King and Cloud-Rider (an ancient epithet of Baal, the sun god of Canaan), there were those who loved Jesus as brother and friend and who taught a simple gospel of healed relationships and spiritual transformation.”

From J.G. Bennett;

“The task of the Masters of Wisdom was to demonstrate the power of humility and weakness and from that demonstration to lead man back to love. When a man is united with love; he is God.”