isis unveiled: chapter xiv (ancient mysteries)

“”What better illustrates the theory of cycles than the following fact? Nearly700 years B.C., in the schools of Thales and Pythagoras, was taught the doctrine of the true motion of the earth, its form, and the whole heliocentric system. And in 317 A.D., we find Lactantius, the preceptor of Crispus Ceasar, son of Constantine the Great, teaching his pupil that the earth was a plane surrounded by the sky, which is composed of fire and water, and warning him against the heretical doctrine of the earth’s globular form!

Whenever, in the pride of some new discovery, we throw a look into the past, we find, to our dismay, certain vestiges which indicate the possibility, if not certainty, that the alleged discovery was not totally unknown to the ancients.

It is generally asserted that neither the early inhabitants of the Mosaic times, nor even the more civilized nations of the Ptolemaic period were acquainted with electricity. If we remain undisturbed in this opinion, it is not for lack of proofs to the contrary. We may disdain to search for profounder meaning in some characteristics sentences of Servius, and other writers; we cannot so obliterate them but that, at some future day, that meaning will appear to us in all its significant truths.

“The first inhabitants of the earth”, says he, “never carried fired to their alters, but by their prayers they brought down the heavenly fire.” “Prometheus discovered and revealed to man the art of bringing down lightning; and by the method which he taught them, they brought down fire from the region above.”

If, after pondering these words, we are still willing to attribute them to the phraseology of mythological fables, we may turn to the days of Numa, the king-philosopher, so renowned for his esoteric learning, and find ourselves more embarrassed to deal with his case. We can neither accuse him of ignorance, superstition, nor credulity; for, if history can be believed at all, he was intently bent on destroying polytheism and idol-worship. He had so well dissuaded the Romans from idolatry that for nearly two centuries neither statues nor images appeared in their temples.

On the other hand, old historians tell us that the knowledge which Numa possessed in natural physics was remarkable. Tradition says that he was initiated by the priests of the Etruscan divinities, and instructed by them in the secret of forcing Jupiter, the Thunderer, to descend upon earth. Ovid shows that Jupiter Elicius began to be worshipped by the Romans from that time.”

H. P. Blavatsky

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