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Serial Lesson 132
From Course XII-1, Natural Alchemy
Part 1: Evolution of Life
Original Copyright 1949, Elbert Benjamine (a.k.a. C. C. Zain)
Copyright 2011, The Church of Light
Early Man Extrasensory Communication Mesopotamia Egypt Crete Peru Mexico China
Theoretical Seven Colonies of Atlantis Sphinx and Pyramid of Gizeh, Egypt Indian Pictographs Near Coso Hot Springs Inyo County, California.
Development of Knowledge
Theoretical Seven Colonies of Atlantis
THE first record of the modern type of man is the Cro-Magnon. He appeared in Europe about 30,000 years ago. From whence he came, or where he developed his culture no one knows, nor from whence came either the Dark Whites or the Light Whites that much later followed him with a fully developed and highly complex heliolithic culture.
But the drawings of pictures of objects, such as the Cro-Magnons drew on the walls of their caves, is the commencement of writing. The American Indians drew the picture of a man shooting an arrow at an animal to convey the idea of a man hunting. To show that a river was crossed the crude picture of a man crossing a river was used. This form of writing, which may be seen on rocks and cliffs east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains along the trails and at the water holes all the way from Mexico to Canada, is called pictograph writing.
In Inyo County, California, the desert heat makes it imperative that the traveler find a water hole at the end of his day’s journey. The Indian routes across the Inyo Range, several of which this writer followed on foot (as these were too difficult for a horse) in 1911 and 1912, would be unnoticed by one unfamiliar with Indian methods. But from the start, if one looks ahead as far as he can see he will discern a little rock perched on a larger rock. When he reaches this place, if he looks ahead about as far as he can see he will discern another small rock perched on a larger rock. These mark the route, and by following them one is not led into a box canyon or to an impassable declivity. On the top of the Inyo Mountains big horn sheep abound even to this day. The trails on the pictograph reproduced on page show where big horn sheep may be found, and the water holes (which are far apart in this region) where those hunting them can camp.
In true pictograph it is very difficult to convey abstract ideas of any kind. Its use, therefore, is quite limited. But where there is also a spoken language it is but a step, though a long step and an exceedingly important one, to unite the picture of something having the same name as an abstract idea with the abstract idea, using the picture of the object to represent the more general conception. Thus the sound of not, and knot, is identical. It is impossible to draw a picture of the general conception “not.” But it is easy to draw a picture of a knot in a rope. This picture then, because the words sound the same, becomes the symbol of “not” as well as of knot. The picture of the knot is then said to be a phonetic sign.
Likewise, as James Henry Breasted points out, the picture of a “bee” may be phonetically used to stand for “be,” and the picture of a “leaf” may be used to stand phonetically for the syllable “lief.” The picture of a bee followed immediately by the picture of a leaf then becomes the phonetic sign for “belief.” These phonetic signs so used become real writing, such as the Egyptians employed. Professor Breasted holds that such writing arose in Egypt earlier than anywhere else in the world. But the Sumerians also possessed writing as far back as we have records of them, so it is difficult to decide which developed writing first. And there is much to indicate that both derived the general idea from a common source.
However, the writing of the Sumerians, while developed along the lines above illustrated, was very different from the Egyptian system, so different that it seem certain one system was not derived from the other. The Egyptians used pictures, called hieroglyphics. They also developed at a very early date a true alphabet in which a sign signifies a single letter instead of a syllable. This true alphabet contained 24 letters, being the earliest known alphabet, and the one from which our own has descended. At a much later date there was another alphabet developed of 22 letters, each letter being an abbreviated and conventionalized symbol for one of the 12 zodiacal signs or one of the 10 planets. The religious works and other important doctrines, however, were mostly written in hieroglyphics, which was the phonetic writing employed even at a late date by the priesthood.
Another method of primitive writing, usually employed in association with hieroglyphics or pictographs, is the use of ideographs. An ideograph is the use of a picture which is not that of the object but which symbolizes the object. Thus a feather may be used as an ideograph for a bird, a crescent as an ideograph for the moon, or a hawk as an ideograph for the sun god. Ideographs were employed both by Egyptians and Sumerians, as well as by the early people of other lands, but their method of using ideographs, as well as their method of writing in general, was very different. The Egyptians cut the pictures of their hieroglyphics into stone, and wrote them in black ink, and painted them in colors upon papyrus. The Sumerians did not have papyrus, but wrote upon thin tablets of clay.
Their method of writing was to use a clay tablet while it was yet soft. They wrote with a square tipped reed, or stylus, pressing a corner of this square tip into the soft clay for each line of the picture sign. Lines produced in this manner were broad at one end and pointed at the other, tending to be wedge shaped. Each picture was thus a group of wedges. Hence the writing is called “cuneiform,” meaning wedge shaped.
This cuneiform writing of the Sumerians evidently developed from pictographs to the use of hieroglyphics and ideographs. These became so conventionalized that their meaning seems quite arbitrary. They even verge closely to an alphabet. But the Sumerians never attained a true alphabet. In this way they were surpassed by the Egyptians. Yet even though the writings of the Sumerians and the Egyptians passed through parallel stages of development, in the end the characters of the writing, as well as the materials used, were so different that it is difficult to imagine that one system influenced the other.
The Egyptians made no use of clay as a writing material. Instead, they made use of a tall rush-like plant, the papyrus plant, which they cut into thin longitudinal slices and gummed together and pressed to form a sheet called papyrus. From this comes our word “paper.” This papyrus, when prepared, formed a thin sheet which was usually something over twelve inches in width and from a few feet to over a hundred feet long. It was kept in the form of a scroll, and as written upon the part containing the writing was rolled up and the blank part unrolled. It constituted very convenient and durable writing material, papyri that was written on several thousand years B.C. still being in a good state of preservation.
In whatever region the existing species of man developed, whether from Australopithecus or some other ancient strain, it seems certain that there were succeeding waves of migration from this early home at widely separated intervals. A great wave of this primitive population left the parent group not less than 700,000 years ago and gradually filtered around the world south of the equator developing ultimately those characteristics which we recognize in the Negroid races. Then sometime later, possibly about 600,000 years ago, another great wave left the parent group and gradually spread around the world along the northern coastal lines, finally developing those characteristics that we recognize in the Mongolian-Amerindian races. Still later a third wave left the parental stock and in time encircled the globe somewhat north of the equator. This people developed the characteristics that came to mark the White race.
The physical and mental differences we observe in the races of man on earth today imply no unusual pressure from the outer-plane environment or the inner-plane environment. Although Australopithecus was a pigmy only four feet tall, and we may assume black of skin, a change in environment, including his food and factors of heat and cold and astrological energies might very well, in the course of time act upon his endocrine glands sufficiently to develop the characteristics of all people existing today. While psychokinetic energies may have played their part, no mutation need to have taken place.
The thyroid gland controls the development of the skin, the amount of hair, the moisture in the skin, and the development of the bones of the skull and extremities. It is well known that giants are due to an excess of the hormone of the front pituitary gland that responds to Saturn. The pigmies, if their front pituitary hormone was stimulated would have grown to larger size. On the other hand, pigmies commonly result from over activity of the pineal gland. Thyroid deficiency leads to obesity. Cortin, the hormone of the adrenal cortex, acts upon the pigment cells of the skin, blunting their sensitiveness to light. When there is deficiency of this secretion in a white person, the skin becomes increasingly sensitive to light, bronzing until, if the deficiency is marked, there is the characteristics of negroid skin. Furthermore, when there is a certain deficiency of the thyroid gland, it produces in a white person decidedly mongoloid features.
For the past 30 years my home has been within four city blocks of the Lincoln High school in Los Angeles. Attending this school on equal terms, and mingling freely with each other are White, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican and Negro youths. The parents of the Chinese and Japanese youths, mostly working in markets not far away, usually are small in comparison to White Americans. But their children are not small. In size, scholarship and athletic ability they compare favorably with the Whites. And most of them are very much better looking than their parents. Furthermore, White children raised in this region commonly grow to larger size than their cousins who are raised in the colder states to the east. The sunshine, the mild climate, and the accessibility to vegetables and fruits the year round from which essential vitamins are obtained, are modifying both the size and the features of children whose Oriental parents probably before coming to America lived on a quite inadequate diet.
I have already mentioned that the three chief types of the White group of humanity finally settled in Europe. Along the Mediterranean coast of Africa was another race of Dark Whites, called Berbers; still other Dark Whites were the aborigines of Egypt, while to the south of these were the Ethiopians, also Dark Whites. Crossing the Red Sea to the east of Africa into Arabia there were other Dark Whites, the Semites, typified by the Arabs and the Hebrews. Still further east in India were still other aborigines, the original Dark White population, called Dravidians. And still further to the east of these, at least at a later date, and spreading across the islands of the Pacific, were still other Dark Whites, the Polynesians. All this great group of white people possessed, when first we find records of them, religious ideas evidently derived from some common source.
They came from some locality where they had the opportunity of developing much above the culture of the old stone age. There are three chief theories as to the locality in which they developed their culture. It is believed, on geological and other evidence, that the Mediterranean Sea, before the ice cap of the last glacial period receded, was not connected with the ocean, but was merely two fresh water lakes fed by the rivers of Europe and Africa. Much of what is now the Mediterranean Sea was then a fertile valley. Some think it was in this now submerged Mediterranean Valley that the White people gained their early culture. With the melting of the vast glacial ice cap, the level of the ocean rose and cut a channel through the Straights of Gibraltar, submerging this valley and connecting it with the Atlantic.
Another theory is that the early culture of the White people was developed in Egypt. But the preponderance of the evidence goes to indicate, I believe, that culture was brought to Egypt from some other region.
The third theory is based upon the tradition of lost Atlantis. Tradition has it that when darkness settled over Atlantis and Mu colonists were sent to what later became the seven centers of ancient civilization. Deep sea divers have done some exploring on the ridge where Atlantis is supposed to have been located without finding evidence of any people having lived there. Yet there is considerable concrete evidence that both Atlantis and Mu had existence and civilization. Atlantis, by Ignatius Donelly, The History of Atlantis, by Lewis Spence, and The Problem of Lemuria, by Lewis Spence, present this evidence in detail.
But wherever it developed, the very first records of Egypt, India, Crete, Peru, Mexico, China and Mesopotamia show a high degree of knowledge, and a culture similar enough to make it certain it was developed at a time when there was close communication between those who developed it, and dissimilar enough to make it equally certain that those whose earliest records are uncovered had been isolated from each of the other six centers of civilization for a long time. Even as the same species of animal when members move to a different environment and are isolated from each other over a long period of time develop quite distinct subspecies, so isolated cultures, although retaining their main features, after a time take on quite different minor characteristics.
While there is similarity enough between the seven ancient centers of civilization to make it certain their cultures and their religious beliefs were developed from a common source, it is difficult to appraise the extent to which each had actual physical contact with that source. The tradition is that, as mentioned, the astrologers of Atlantis foreseeing the probable destruction of that land, were instrumental in having a colony set up in each of the regions which later became one of the seven ancient centers of civilization; even as precautionary actions are being taken in this year of 1949, that The Brotherhood of Light lessons shall survive for future generations in the event that much of the population of the globe is exterminated in a possible atomic war.
But there are many recorded instances in modern times of important new discoveries in science, important theories, and important inventions which have been made almost simultaneously by those, often in different countries, who have been quite unaware of the work being done along the same line by others. All of us who have been interested in science have read announcements of the same discovery made almost at the same time by scientists who have had no outer-plane contact with each other. Practically the same theory about some phenomenon often is published in different countries by people who do not even know of each other’s existence. And the same invention is so frequently sent to the patent office by those who live long distances apart that this is one of the big problems faced by those in this government service.
There can be no doubt that extrasensory perception often plays a considerable part in causing inventions to be almost identical in detail. But that both should be working on the same problem at the same time in these cases is probable chiefly due to the general astrological weather.
In Chapter 6 (Serial Lesson 130) it was mentioned that the similar way in which marsupial mammals developed characteristics parallel with those of the various species of placental mammals from which they were isolated was probably due in about equal degree to the outer-plane environment and the inner-plane environment. Confronted with the problem of adapting to a similar kind of external condition, the creatures in both areas would struggle to find a solution. That they found a solution, and were able to adapt themselves successfully to the similar conditions is not surprising. But that the animals thus isolated from each other should solve the problem in an almost identical manner certainly was not due to chance. Nor, in many instances was the method used the only one which could have been made successfully to adapt to the condition.
And while, even as the marsupials and the placental mammals had a common ancestor, the heliolithic culture undoubtedly was the ancestor of all later civilizations, it must not be overlooked that even by peoples quite isolated from each other, developments from this culture along parallel lines probably was strongly influenced both by the extrasensory impressions each received from the other, and by the astrological weather stimulating the thoughts of each to follow a similar pattern.
The environment most favorable for inclining towards civilized pursuits is one in which there is a fertile land with an available water supply. For this reason the Valley of the Tigris and Euphrates became the seat of civilization in Mesopotamia, the Valley of the Nile became the seat of civilization in Egypt, the Valley of the Ganges the seat of civilization in India, and the Valleys of the Hwang-ho and Yangtse-kiang the seats of civilization in China.
Civilization not only requires a stable and never failing food supply that can be obtained close to the home, but it also requires some available building material out of which homes can be constructed. In the lower valley of the Euphrates-Tigris was a clay which was suitable for drying into brick. Of this brick the earliest known inhabitants, the Sumerians, who were a dark white people, built their homes, made pottery, and upon thin sections made records and wrote communications.
It is still a matter of surmise which is the older, the civilization of Egypt or Mesopotamia. At Nippur, in Mesopotamia, an American expedition unearthed evidence of a city dated not later than 5,000 B.C. and thought by some to date as early as 6,000 B.C. This is earlier than anything of a similar nature found in Egypt. An inscription at Nippur says that the empire extended from what is now the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea. This is the first of all known empires, and its temples and its priest rulers are the oldest of which we have indisputable records.
In 1930, at Tepe Gawra excavations uncovered various occupation levels. Level six down is contemporaneous with the first Dynasty of Ur and mentions temples and astrological emblems. At Level 13 down, which dates more than 6,000 years ago, was unearthed the oldest temple now known. It is of advanced architecture, and the pottery motives and engraved seal stamps show not merely skill, but true artistic talent.
What astounded the University of Pennsylvania professors in charge of the work was that at such antiquity there were neither mud huts nor crude methods of life. As they stated it: “Those inhabitants of Level 13 were neither primitive nor normal; they were an abnormally gifted and wonderfully balanced people. And they left evidence of their achievements in more than one aspect of common life.”
The oldest recorded religious beliefs are those of the Sumerians, written in cuneiform. These earliest religious records reveal that the people of the Tigris-Euphrates Valley believed in five chief deities: Sun, Moon, Storm-god, Vegetation deity, and deity of the Water. Each city had its patron deity, but although the names given to these patron deities differed, in attributes they were identical with these mentioned. At a very early date also, there was a deific trinity: Anu, the Heavens; Enlil, the Earth; and Ea, the Sea. At the same time, however, Anu was also considered the Sun-god, and Enlil the Storm-god corresponding to Jupiter. As the years rolled on the names of the gods changed. Thus the Sun-god in the north was called Ashur, the patron of the city of that name. Ninib was the Sun-god of Nippur, and Shamash was the Sun-god of another region. In Babylon, Marduk was the chief deity. He was originally the Sun-god, but gradually absorbed the qualities of all the various other deities of the surrounding territories. Later still he became identified with the planet Jupiter.
The Babylonians and Assyrians, nor the Sumerians and Akkadians before them, did not possess the scientific knowledge sometimes accredited to them. They had little ability to predict in advance the precise time when eclipses and other celestial phenomena would take place. According to A. T. Olmstead, Professor of History in the University of Illinois, who has been over the ground in person, they did have, however, great precision in observing and recording such phenomena. Speaking of fragments quite ancient he says that the fixed stars were mapped in three concentric circles belonging to Anu, Enlil and Ea, respectively. He assumes they possessed several machines for close reckoning of the stars, as star positions are given exact, and the circle is divided into 360ø. A later fragmentary tablet has been found picturing a number of the zodiacal signs, each showing 30 vertical lines, corresponding to the 30 degrees of a sign. The position of a star is marked by a horizontal line over the vertical line, and on this tablet the position of the chief star in Libra is shown where it was in 800 B.C.
Other fragments are known from Assurbanipal’s library, being copies of older originals collected by this literary monarch, showing the position of the equinox in Assyrian times when it was in Aries, showing it in the early Babylonian Dynasty when it was in Taurus, and one, called the Astrolabe, showing it in Gemini with the star positions as they were about the year 4,864 B.C.
All authorities agree that both the astrological positions and the important events coincident with them, as well as the astrological predictions made from such positions, were carefully recorded dating back to before the conquest by Sargon, about 2,750 B.C. This vast series of observations of the actual events which were coincident with certain astrological positions, were finally collected not later than 1,500 B.C. into what is known as the Anu-Enlil Series. This astrological handbook became the standard reference throughout Babylonia and Assyria, and as Jastrow says:
“It appears, therefore, that when an inquiry was put to an astrologer as to the meaning of a particular sign in the heavens, the Anu-Enlil Series was forthwith consulted, the sign in question hunted up, and copied verbatim, together with the interpretation or the alternative interpretations, and forwarded to the king with any needful explanation.”
No less painstaking and thorough were the comparisons with actual events that transpired, or predictions made by liver divination. The forms shown by the liver that gave rise to the prediction were recorded, together later with the extent to which the prediction was fulfilled. What might be predicted from a given condition, both in astrology and by other methods of divination, was based upon what similar conditions in numerous instances in the past had presaged. These careful experimental methods were followed over vast periods of time.
The Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians, and Assyrians believed the universe to be peopled with both good spirits and bad spirits. They also believed in sorcery, the power of one person to injure another by what is now called psychokinesis. There is a vast literature given to incantations to secure the help of good spirits, to avert the influence of malevolent spirits, and to annul the influence of sorcerers.
They universally believed in a life after death. There was no hell, but ordinary persons continued in a conscious or semi conscious state after this life; a rather dour and inactive sort of existence in the dark, gloomy bowels of the earth. Those who won the favor of the gods went to the “Island of the Blest.”
As far back as we have any record of their laws, and the complete legal code of Hammurabi, 2,200 B.C., has been recovered and translated (pictured in Chapter 5, Serial Lesson 137, Course XII-2, Natural Alchemy: Evolution of Religion), they indicate that the aim was toward strict justice, being quite as fair and humanitarian as those of the present day. The kings prided themselves upon being just and benefiting their people, and the legal decisions show a full conscientious weighing of all evidence. The ancient Sumerians, Akkadians, and later the Babylonians and Assyrians, so far as there is evidence to show, were no more moral and no less so than the people of today.
Sphinx and Pyramid of Gizeh, Egypt
History records that at the time of the early Sumerian kings in Chaldea the first dynasty of Lower Egypt was established, dated according to the Turin MS., 5,507 B.C. At this time no suitable calendar was in use and the Egyptian system of writing had not been evolved. Fifty kings were to reign before Menes, who commonly is considered the first historical ruler because, seven years after he came to the throne he established a calendar by which succeeding events could be, and were, recorded.
Menes, who thus established the First Dynasty, came to the throne 3,407 B.C. Khufu, whom the Greeks called Cheops, was the first king of the Fourth Dynasty. He ruled 2789-2767 B.C., up to within a few years of the date Sargon the Great founded his empire in Chaldea. According to our traditions, in the year 2,440 B.C. a group separated from the Theocracy of Egypt, and throughout all subsequent times, as a secret order, the name of which translated into English means, The Brotherhood of Light, has been perpetuated.
Amenhotep IV who ascended the throne in 1,375 B. C. through the death of his father, was born 1,388 B.C. At the age of 19 he contacted the same spiritual source from which now emanates The Brotherhood of Light lessons. This led him to perceive that the orthodox religion of Amen kept the minds of the people confused as to reality, steeped in fear, servile to the priests, and shut them from the knowledge which would lead to true spirituality, progress and happiness.
When the king became one of the Brethren of Light, he was determined to spread the gospel of The Religion of the Stars even as The Church of Light has determined to spread it throughout the world today. But having allied himself with the Legions of Light, he could no longer bear the name of Amen, a name which was associated with orthodox religion; for orthodoxy then, as now, kept people in spiritual darkness. He therefore renounced the name Amenhotep, and took the name Akhenaten, which means living in the Light. The details of his life and teachings, during the ten or eleven years he disseminated The Stellarian Religion before orthodoxy succeeded in bringing about his death, are set forth in the reference book, Astrological Lore of All Ages.
The orthodox religion of Egypt was no such simple system as that found in Mesopotamia. The Egyptian populace seems to have been cursed with the inability to forget or discard any belief once held. From time to time new gods and beliefs were adopted, but the old ones were not discarded.
Egypt in ancient times was divided into more than forty little principalities, called “nomes.” Each nome, in addition to whatever gods it absorbed from without, had its own special god. This god frequently was worshipped in the form of some animal.
In so brief a space no attempt can be made to enumerate the gods of ancient Egypt. For this sees, A Handbook of Egyptian Religion, by Adolf Erman; and the works of Wallace Budge on The Gods of Ancient Egypt. These gods, for the most part, seem to be secondary deities; for as far back as we have records we find in Egypt the grand idea of Divine Unity. Thus Herodotus states that the Egyptians of Thebes recognized a single god, who had no beginning, and who was to have no end of days; a statement confirmed by the sacred texts. Corresponding to the mother-god, Ishtar, of the Chaldeans, was Isis of Egypt. Osiris seems to have been the father-god, the creator. And the son, the god of light, was Horus. In Chaldea, Tiamant was the god of darkness and evil, and the Chaldean mythology largely revolves around encounters in which Marduk, the god of light, vanquishes Tiamant. And in like manner Egyptian mythology largely revolves around encounters in which Horus, god of light, in the end defeats Set, the god of darkness.
Due to the continuous fluctuating names given the deities, sometimes it is Osiris, as god of light, who is pitted against Set. Osiris, again, was the sun of the lower hemisphere, Horus being the rising sun, Ra the sun at noon, and Kheper the sun when it produces and nourishes life. The sun thus became the symbol of the one supreme deity, and its journey about the earth typified the journey of the human soul. The soul, like the immortal Ra, the sun, when it descends into the tomb, is resurrected to lead a new life.
The outstanding feature of the religions of ancient Egypt is the universality of the belief that the soul lives in another region after the death of the physical body. In this after life the soul encounters certain obstacles to its progress, which may be overcome by adhering to a specific line of conduct and reciting appropriate hymns, prayers, and orations. The whole body of Egyptian religious literature has for its primary object the care of the soul after death. This literature is chiefly embodied in the Egyptian Book of the Dead.
Relative to these beliefs I will quote two paragraphs from E. A. Wallace Budge’s, The Book of the Dead, a volume which may be consulted for further particulars:
“Osiris was the God-man through whose suffering and death the Egyptian hoped that he might rise again in a glorified Spirit-body, and to him who had conquered death and had become the king of the other world the Egyptian appealed in prayer for eternal life through his victory and power. In every funeral inscription known to us, from the Pyramid Texts down to the roughly written prayers upon coffins of the Roman period, what is done for Osiris is done for the deceased, the state and condition of Osiris are the state and condition of the deceased; in a word the deceased is identified with Osiris.”
“The preservation of the body was of vital importance, because the dogma of Osiris taught that from it would spring the translucent, transparent, immaterial, refulgent and glorious envelope in which the Spirit-soul of the deceased would take up its abode with all his mental and spiritual attributes.”
In this after life the good deeds done in the flesh are weighed against the evil deeds, and the soul is judged accordingly. Only the extremely wicked were supposed to be condemned, after much suffering, to final extinction.
The Egyptians also believed in, and practiced, what is now called psychokinesis, and was then known as magic.
In later times astrology was extensively practiced. At this date it is difficult to determine how early and how widely the priests were devoted to astrology. It is highly probable that only those who belonged to certain secret organizations were initiated into astrological lore. We do, however, have positive evidence of very early and very comprehensive astronomical knowledge, and in those days astronomy seems to have been studied only in behalf of astrology. Thus the Solar Calendar was introduced into Egypt in 4,241 B.C., and is the earliest dated event in history. The earliest year list, dated from some event as we date from A.D., is the Palermo Stone of Egypt, beginning 3,400 B.C. and continuing without a break for 700 years.
The workmanship of the temple of Denderah seems to be of rather a late period, but also appears to be built upon a succession of older buildings dating back to very early times. Upon the ceiling of this temple is pictured a great zodiac showing the vernal equinox in the sign Virgo, where it was about 13,000 years ago. The Great Pyramid of Gizeh was built by Cheops, requiring the full period of his reign, 2789-2767 for its construction. Embodied in its measurements are as precise and as great a knowledge of astronomy as possessed by modern astronomers, and also in its symbolism is embodied the ancient Hermetic Doctrines.
We are apt to consider the Greece of Homer’s time as ancient; but recent excavations in Crete show there was an Aegean civilization extending into Crete, Cyprus, Greece, Asia Minor, Sicily and South Italy. This is not far from Egypt geographically, and it is apparent that some time in the past this culture developed from the same heliolithic ideas as that of Egypt, Mesopotamia and the other ancient centers of civilizations. And H. G. Wells holds that it is equally as old as that of Egypt, and that its inhabitants had become a people of sea commerce as far back as 4,000 B.C.
Although their writing has not yet been deciphered, it seems quite certain that Crete was united under one ruler, who was called Minos, about 2,500 B.C. From this time on until the disruption of the Empire about 1,400 B.C., there was a very high degree of civilization, including water pipes, bathrooms, pottery, textiles, ivory and metal inlaid work that has not been surpassed in quality, and female styles that include corsets and flounced dresses.
Somewhat paralleling the civilizations of Egypt in Africa, Crete in the Mediterranean, Sumeria in Mesopotamia, and that of China and India in Asia, though never rising to so great a height, and probably being of much later date, there developed in America two apparently independent centers of culture. These were the Peruvians in South America and the Maya in Mexico.
Both of these people were of the Mongolian-American group, and both show indisputable evidence of rising directly from the heliolithic culture. From picture writing the Maya developed a hieroglyphic script. But this was used chiefly in keeping records in connection with the calendar system. The Peruvians seem not to have gone farther than crude picture writing, but developed a system of keeping records by means of knots tied on variously colored and variously shaped strings.
It would seem that at least for a very long time there had been no more intercourse between Peru and Mexico than there had been at the beginning of their civilizations between Egypt and Sumeria. The potato, for instance, was one of the chief agricultural products of Peru, yet the Mexicans had never heard of it. Both people, however, worked in bronze and copper and in silver and gold. They were skilled in stone construction, made excellent pottery, did weaving, and were skilled in the use of dyes. Their architecture was of a very high order.
Among the Pre Incas knowledge of the stars and the spiritual teachings were in the custody of the Stellar Priests. Seven hundred years before the coming of the first Spaniards this people had a white granite city some distance down from the 14,000 foot Continental Divide of the Andes toward the Amazon. It consisted of 400 hewn stone houses. The temple was built of irregular, dissimilar, many joined stones of gigantic size fitted with Pre Inca nicety. One block in it is 14 feet long and 8 feet high. The city is called Manchu Picchu. Further details are given in the reference book, Astrological Lore of All Ages.
In America, among the Maya in Mexico and the Peruvians in South America, much the same beliefs prevailed in regard to magic, spirit communion, astrology, and the reward for righteousness, that we find among the Chinese. Each of these three peoples had great veneration for the movements of the heavenly bodies and ordered their lives largely through astrological considerations. When the first White men reached Peru they found at Curzco a great temple of the sun, in which was a huge sun of gold representing the figure of a human face surrounded by golden rays, so placed as to receive the first beams of the rising sun. The sun was the chief deity, the moon and stars were subordinate deities, and there was an order of Vestal Virgins. They were set apart at an early age for duty in the temple and to preserve the sacred fire there kept burning.
The religious ceremonies were numerous and elaborate and associated with festivals which were held at those times when the heavenly bodies were properly situated. They were for the purpose of securing rain, averting evil, producing abundant harvest, and other ends too numerous to mention. The burning of incense and offering of sacrifice to the various gods formed a part of these ceremonies, on very rare occasions human sacrifices being offered.
More is known of the religion of the early inhabitants of Mexico and Central America, because the string records of the Peruvians are not so well understood as the hieroglyphics of the Maya. With the latter the calendar is by far the most important religious feature. Not only were all religious observances according to the calendar, but an elaborate system of divination was worked out by the priests, whose duty it was to note the movements of the planets. They had also observed that Venus disappears for eight days between the last glimpse of her in the West and the first glimpse of her as a morning star in the East, and that the same phases of Venus come back in about 548 days, so that five Venus years are equal to practically eight ordinary years. From this, in addition to an annual calendar, they had computed a Venus calendar.
Dr. Spinden, of Harvard, announced in December, 1925, that he had deciphered this Venus calendar, and that it was finally put in working order between two risings of Venus as morning star in conjunction with the summer solstices of 538 and 530 B.C. He has also proved that the first date on which the Maya gave each day its consecutive number, so that the records subsequently are complete, was August 6, 613 B.C., and that the perfected annual calendar was inaugurated on the winter solstice 580 B.C. Back of these perfected calendars must lie age long astronomical observations.
The sun was the chief deity of the Maya. He ruled the East. The god of storm ruled the North, the god of maize ruled the West, and the death-god ruled the South. There was a bat-god of the under world, and each day was ruled over by a special spirit. The unseen universe was peopled with such spirits, to whom sacrifices were made for special purposes. And to facilitate matters, images were made of stone, pottery, and other substances, of these spiritual entities, and the sacrifices made before the image. Such images, of course, are mere symbols of unseen presences and powers; therefore let no one who has ever knelt before a cross, or bowed his head in the presence of the image of a saint scoff at such modes of worship. There was also a system of confession by which through gifts and offering of some of his own blood obtained by pricking his veins, the penitent might obtain, through priestly intercession, absolution for sins. Sacrifices were made at time of planting, for harvest, for rain, and for many other boons. In time of national crisis, prisoners of war were offered as human sacrifices. As time passed human sacrifices became more numerous. Later, among the Aztecs, thousands of human beings were sacrificed to appease the angry gods, their hearts being torn out of the living bodies of the victims and held quivering aloft. Thus in the New World a priesthood developed which drenched the country with the blood of the innocent, even as in the Old World countless innocents were sacrificed by no less cruel means for heresy, all in the name of religion, but of religion gone to seed. Further details of the astrology of the Maya and the astrology of the Aztecs is given in the reference book, Astrological Lore of All Ages.
Our first view of China is as a great empire, or group of principalities, about 2,700 B.C. to 2,400 B.C., ruled over successively by five emperors. The people are of the Mongolian-American group. They spread from the ten fertile valleys of the Tarim down into the valley of the Hwang-ho and later to the valley of the Yangtse-kiang. They also spread from the south, where they mingled with the heliolithic culture people of Siam and Burma. Furthermore, as far back as we are able to trace them, they were in possession of writing.
This writing, from its form, evidently developed from pictographs through ideographs and phonograms. But when it reached the phonetic stage, due to the fact that the Chinese language consists of a very few simple monosyllabic sounds, it necessarily departed quite markedly from the writing developed in other lands. Thus in Chinese, there being no grammar, the same word when spoken is used to denote a large number of things. The particular picture of some object signified by the spoken word— usually a picture easily drawn—was used to signify any one of the numerous things denoted by the spoken word. In addition to this picture, representing the sound of the word, there was also necessary another picture to signify which of the various ideas was meant. It was thus possible to express practically any idea.
The second sign which gives precision to the first picture is called a determinative. Determinatives were also used in the Egyptian hieroglyphics. But the Egyptian language did not need such a complicated system of signs to express itself phonetically.
Because of the peculiar makeup of the Chinese spoken language it became necessary to use an almost unlimited number of written characters to express it. And for convenience in writing them with a brush, the pictures were abbreviated and conventionalized and represented by groups of marks each of which it was possible to make by a stroke of the brush. Such groups of brush marks gradually lost semblance to the original pictures, and it became necessary for anyone desiring to read or write Chinese to memorize a vast number of complex signs. This, because it required so much time and effort, developed a special literary class, the mandarins, who also became the rulers. And even among these it took so long to learn to read and write that it would seem they had little time left for other lines of thought. Furthermore, in learning the Chinese characters they spent so much time with the traditional literature of the country that these ideas gained a firm hold upon their minds. To such an extent is this true that it is with the utmost difficulty that they are replaced by more up to date notions.
That which is of more interest to us here, however, is that at the very commencement of authentic knowledge about the Chinese we find them with a knowledge of medicine, with a knowledge of astronomy, and in possession of the civilized arts and industries. Neither their writing nor their culture was obtained from, nor in any appreciable degree influenced by, Egypt or Mesopotamia. It seems to have been derived with them from a common source, but so far in the past that its subsequent development made of it a great contrast in every way to that developed in any other part of the world.
Indian Pictographs Near Coso Hot Springs
Inyo County, California
Photographed in January 1933 by Fred H. Skinner, who from Nov. 2, 1932 until he passed to the inner plane in 1940, was Vice President of The Church of Light.