THE ORDER OF THE MAGI.
WHY IT HAS EXPERIENCED A REVIVAL IN THIS CENTURY.
THE BROTHERHOOD OF MAGIC — THE TRUTH ALWAYS DISTASTEFUL TO A LARGE PART OF MANKIND — THE “THREE WISE MEN” — FOLLOWING A STAR — THE TRUTH SUPPRESSED BY THE PRIESTHOOD — THE MAGI, THE CONSERVATORS OF TRUE HISTORY — THE GREAT MASONIC DEPARTURE — KEEPERS OF THE WORD — LANDMARK OF PROPHECY — THE COMING LIGHT.
WE have had hundreds of questions asked covering these points, and we will answer them as plainly as possible. The order has always, since its very inception, ages and ages ago, dealt in magic, in mystic emblems and numbers. The name Magi, plural, and Magus, singular, and Magea, a commander in magic, all come from the same root. All that was wonderful in nature, and at the same time not generally understood, was regarded as mystical, and therefore, magical, and came within the province of this order.
For thousands and thousands of years the priests and masters of mystic lore were a power in the land. They were the conservators of knowledge that had been gathered by patient and laborious research, carried on by sworn brothers, through a period of time which compared with our so-called historical epoch, was long. Knowing the magic power possessed by these masters, even kings feared them, and therefore sought to placate them by grants of money, lands and emoluments.
From the books handed down to us from past times, we can gain but little true history of this wonderful order, for the very good reason that the manuscripts, scrolls, etc., which did give a true history, have been hidden and destroyed; while the ones preserved were invariably written by enemies of the order, to-wit, the church. By “the church” we do not mean any particular religious body, but all dealers in so-called “revealed” religion.
Inasmuch as the fundamental belief and teaching of the Magi has always been that the “universe is governed by law,” a doctrine that has been enunciated by thousands of philosophers in our own day, it has, of course, followed that the dealers in a system that teaches that the universe is governed by capricious gods and devils, that can be placated or subsidized, by properly approaching them, into changing the natural course of nature, have invariably been our bitter enemies.
What could be expected? The truth has always been bitter to a large proportion of mankind. Let any man promulgate a new system of philosophy, and he was rewarded with a cup of poison, the stake, or the dungeon. Every newly-found truth must run the gauntlet of scorn and vilification. It is even so unto this day, only the teeth and claws of the monster, Ignorance, have been blunted to such an extent that they cannot rend and tear as in days of yore.
After the fall of Atlantis, Egypt became the theatre of the exploits of the Brotherhood of Magic, and they arose, during a period of several thousands of years, to a position nearly as grand as that once reached by their brothers of Atlantis. Everything that could be written or said to belittle this noble order, was industriously gathered and saved; but in spite of all, a little here and a little there, of fact, has crept into ancient writings, prophecies, etc., which show to us a glimpse of the truth.
Do you suppose for a moment that the church would have allowed the account to pass into history, of the fact that Jesus was discovered by a committee of three of the so-called “wise men of the East,” had it not have been in their anxiety to obtain proofs of the divinity of Jesus, of which they were sorely in need? And see how the account has been garbled by the rendering. Instead of stating the fact, which was that the Magi followed the teachings of the stars in the finding of Jesus, and took their direction of travel from a certain star while making that long and eventful journey, we have the absurd statement that they “followed a star,” which evidently, according to the text, went ahead, and “stood over” the child until the brothers caught up (Math. 9, 10.).
Then again, how much pains have been taken to conceal the fact that Jesus was taken to Egypt and there became learned in the science and knowledge of past ages, to be found only within the sacred temples of the magi. That would never do, to admit that Jesus received his knowledge, and, therefore, power, from the magi, would be fatal to the pretensions of the parties interested.
Consequently, every one of the “gospels” extant up to the year a.d. 400, that set forth the facts in the case, were suppressed. Some of these gospels relate, in a minute manner the childhood of Jesus and his life in Egypt. But, strange to say, the gospel, according to Matthew was allowed to remain, where a short account is given of the arrival of the wise men and the departure of Jesus for Egypt (Math. II, 10 to 15.). St. Luke says (I, 80): “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.” In other words, Jesus was away beyond certain desert countries in Egypt until he was a full-grown man.
Mark and John quietly skip over all responsibility by bringing Jesus onto the stage of action at full manhood. It is wonderful, though, how a reading between the lines will reveal to a Mystic so much that the church could not understand. Read St. John I, 14, and see how that writer regarded Christ as a fleshly representative of the Word; in other words, a possessor of the sacred word.
In later years, scientific writers of textbooks for our schools, in their anxiety to cater to the believers in supernatural religion, have deliberately suppressed facts regarding the deep knowledge possessed by our sacred order in ancient times. In not one astronomy of a later date than 1840, that I have ever seen, can be found an acknowledgment that the true system of the motion of the planets about the sun was known and taught in the temples of Egypt ages before the days of Copernicus, whom they credit with the discovery; but in astronomical works published prior to 1840, credit is given where it belongs. Ryan’s astronomy, a very exhaustive work on mathematical astronomy, published, I think in 1831, is one of the works that honestly gives due credit to the Magi. For more minute reference to this, see lecture “Looking Backward” (Lecture II).
It has always been easy for the promulgators of falsehood to suppress the advocates of truth. By a strange law of nature, the truth always has to stand on its own merits. Those who stand for the truth never “strike back.” Did you ever hear of a person being tortured on the rack to make him admit a belief in a scientific truth? Was a man ever burned at the stake because he would not believe that the earth was round, or that the sun was the true center of our system? Never! While the supporters of lies have carried them to the hearts of the people upon the points of millions of blood-dripping swords, spears and bayonets, the advocates of truth have quietly plodded onward, secretly meeting in caves and underground crypts, ever satisfied that in time truth would prevail. And they were right. It will prevail in the long run.
As regards scientific facts, we might say relative to the average churchman:
Truth presents to us so frightful a mien,
That to be hated needs but to be seen;
But seen too oft, encountered face to face,
We hesitate, then pity, then embrace.
Every scientific truth has had to run the gauntlet of: “That does not agree with our holy scriptures.” But we notice that when the fact is so firmly established that there is no shaking it; our theologians quickly discover that it “agrees exactly with scripture.”
Had not the true and original secret order, based upon astral law, been changed into an order that professed to take its inspiration form the Jewish bible, and did substitute words taken from that book for the true, grand word and all the minor pass-words, we would not have to-day the great and grand order denominated Masonry; which order has preserved much to us that would otherwise have been lost. The Egyptian branch, that did preserve the ancient landmarks and keep to the sacred teachings of our order, were scattered to the four winds of heaven, and reduced to a few here and a few there, who were sworn to, and did, transmit the secret doctrines from mouth to ear down through all the dark centuries of ignorance that supervened.
Even the Masonic departure, which took place at the building of King Solomon’s Temple, came very near being annihilated during certain periods. The church was ever suspicious of the lodge; but, by adding new degrees from time to time, that catered more and more to the church, the leaders of the order have managed to keep it up. Change it however, as they may, the old harlot of Revelation will not recognize it, and many of her children follow her lead.
As a fraternal association the Masonic order is a decided success, both morally and financially; but as an association reaching beyond mere earthly things and fitting one for the great hereafter, its most ardent devotees would hardly claim it.
As the secret knowledge of the Magi has been handed down the ages from one unto another, the ones who have held their place in the line have been called the “Keepers of the Word.” In some instances the number of “Keepers” have fallen so low as three, although an effort has been made to keep the number up to seven at all times.
Wars and pestilence have sometimes nearly cut off the succession, but according to ancient prophecy the secret doctrines have been kept alive down to this day, when the “books were to be opened” and “certain signs” should indicate the coming of light once more to this earth.
When the writer was approached by the brother in Nashville, Tenn., in 1864, he had no more knowledge of mystic light than a child. Even after I had been instructed in the Word and its use, and initiated as well as circumstances would admit, as a mystic, all was yet blind, and I was obliged to await the time when more would be unfolded to me. That time arrived without volition on my part, and all was brought about in accordance with prophetic records.
How surprised we are, when we find that what we have been doing apparently with perfect freedom of will, was all fore-ordained, as it were, and predicted years before. We ought not to be surprised at it, but we cannot help it. We are all instruments for the operation of divine law, and we cannot but fulfill our destiny. The one who is called upon to fill the highest place in the glorious work deserves no more praise than he who fills the lowest place. It is his destiny, that is all.
Why has the light of Oriental Mysticism come back to the world just at this time? The answer is this: Because the world was not in a condition to receive it before. Certain mathematical knowledge had to come first; certain astronomical discoveries and certain instruments had to be made; some person must be born who had a combination of certain qualities necessary in the work; not better or grander qualities than those possessed by millions of others, but peculiar in their combination.
Then, lastly, the world must be slowly prepared for the light. This preparation has been going on steadily since 1833, when the last sign in the heavens came to pass. The year 1844 was another landmark of ancient prophecy, and the culmination of the outpouring of the spirit for forty-five years took place in 1889, when the books were opened and the first modern temple established upon the earth.
The “Star of the East” once more rises to guide the mystic traveler upon his way; while the light of the rising sun guilds the pyramids of Egypt with a Golden Light.
(This lecture is found in Part I, Lecture XIV in Olney H. Richmond’s second book, Temple Lectures of the Order of the Magi, also known as Religion of the Stars, published in 1891.)