isis unveiled: chapter xiv (ancient mysteries)

“If the language of Palestine became in time Semitic, it is because of Assyrian influence; for Phoenicia had become a dependency as early as the days of Hiram, and the Phoenicians evidently changed their language from Hamitic to Semitic. Assyria was “the land of Nimrod” (from Nimr, spotted), and Nimrod was Bacchus, with his spotted leopard-skin.

This leopard-skin is a sacred appendage of the “Mysteries”; it was used in the Eleusinian as well as in the Egyptian Mysteries; it is found sculptured on the basso-relievos of Central American ruins, covering the backs of the sacrificers; it is mentioned in the earliest speculations of the Brahmans on the meaning of their sacrificial prayers, the Aytareya Brahmanam. It is used in the Agnishtoma, the initiation rites of the Soma Mystery.

When the neophyte is “to be born again”, he is covered with a leopard-skin, out of which he emerges as from his mother’s womb. The Kabeiri were also Assyrian gods. They had different names; in the common language they were known as Jupiter and Bacchus, and sometimes as Achiochersus, Aschieros, Achiochersa, and Cadmillus; and even the true number of these deities was uncertain with the people. They had other names in the “sacred language”, known but to the hierophants and priests; and “it was not lawful to mention them.”

How is it then that we find them reproduced in their Samothracian “postures” on the walls of Nagkon-Wat? How is it again that we find them pronounced – albeit slightly disfigured – as known in that same sacred language, by the populations of Siam, Thibet, and India?”

H. P. Blavatsky

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