isis unveiled: chapter xiv (ancient mysteries)

“In recognizing in the gods of Stonehenge the divinities of Delphos and Babylon, one need feel little surprised. Bel and the Dragon, Apollo and Python, Osiris and Typhon, are all one under many names, and have traveled far and wide. The Both-al of Ireland points directly to its first parent, the Batylos of the Greeks and the Beth-el of Chanaan.

“History”, says H. del la Villemarque, “which took no notes at those distant ages, can plead ignorance, but the science of languages affirms. Philology, with a daily-increasing probability, has again linked together the chain hardly broken between the Orient and the Occident.”

No remarkable is the discovery of a like resemblance between the Oriental myths and ancient Russian tales and traditions, for it is entirely natural to look for a similarity between the beliefs of the Semitic and Aryan families. But when we discover an almost perfect identity between the character of Zarevna Militrissa, with a moon in her forehead, who is in constant danger of being devoured by Zarevna Militrissa (the Serpent or Dragon), who plays such a prominent part in all popular Russian tales, and similar characters in the Mexican legends – extending to the minutest details – we may well pause and ask ourselves whether there be not here, more than a simple coincidence.

This tradition of the Dragon and the Sun – occasionally replaced by the Moon – has awakened echoes in the remotest parts of the world. It may be accounted for with perfect readiness by the once universal heliolatrous religion. There was a time when Asia, Europe, Africa, and America were covered with the temples sacred to the sun and the dragons. The priests assumed the names of their deities, and thus the tradition of these spread like a network all over the globe: “Bel and the Dragon being uniformly coupled together, and the priest of the Ophite religion, as uniformly assuming the name of his god.”

But still, “if the original conception is natural and intelligible…and its occurrence need not be the result of any historical intercourse”, as Professor Muller tells us, the details are so strikingly similar that we cannot feel satisfied that the riddle is entirely solved.

The origin of this universal symbolical worship being concealed in the night of time, we would have far more chance to arrive at the truth by tracing traditions to their very source. And where is this source? Kircher places the origin of the Ophite and heliolatrous worship, the shape of conical monuments and the obelisks, with the Egyptians Hermes Trismegistus.

Where, then, except in Hermetic books, are we to seek for the desired information? Is it likely that modern authors can know more, or as much, of ancient myths and cults as the men who taught them to their contemporaries?

Clearly two things are necessary: first, to find the missing books of Hermes; and second, the key by which to understand them, for reading is not sufficient. Failing in this, our savants are abandoned to unfruitful speculations, as for a like reason geographers waste their energies in a vain quest of the sources of the Nile. Truly the land of Egypt is another abode of mystery!”

H. P. Blavatsky

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