isis unveiled, vol 2: chapter ii (sorcery)

“And now we will try to give a clear insight into one of the chief objects of this work. What we desire to prove is, that underlying every ancient popular religion was the same ancient wisdom-doctrine, one and identical, professed and practiced by the initiates of every country, who alone were aware of its existence and importance. To ascertain its origin, and the precise age in which it was matured, is now beyond human possibility. A single glance, however, is enough to assure one that it could not have attained the marvelous perfection in which we find it pictured to us in the relics of the various esoteric systems, except after a succession of ages.

A philosophy so profound, a moral code so ennobling, and practical results so conclusive and so uniformly demonstrable is not the growth of a generation, or even a single epoch. Fact must have been piled upon fact, deduction upon deduction, science have begotten science, and myriads of the brightest human intellects to have reflected upon the laws of nature, before this ancient doctrine had taken concrete shape.

The proofs of this identity of fundamental doctrine in the old religions are found in the prevalence of a system of initiation; in the secret sacerdotal castes who had the guardianship of mystical words of power, and a public display of a phenomenal control over natural forces, indicating association with preterhuman beings.

Every approach to the Mysteries of all these nations was guarded with the same jealous care, and in all, the penalty of death was inflicted upon initiates of any degree who divulged the secrets entrusted to them. We have seen that such was the case in the Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries, among the Chaldean Magi, and the Egyptian hierophants; while with the Hindus, from whom they were all derived, the same rule has prevailed from time immemorial. We are left in no doubt upon this point, for the Agrushada Parikshai says explicitly, “Every initiate, to whatever degree he may belong, who reveals the great sacred formula, must be put to death.”

Naturally enough, this same extreme penalty was prescribed in all the multifarious sects and brotherhoods which at different periods have sprung from the ancient stock. We find it with the early Essenes, Gnostics, theurgic Neo-Platonists, and mediaeval philosophers; and in our day, even the Masons perpetuate the memory of the old obligations in the penalties of throat-cutting, dismemberment, and disemboweling, with which the candidate is threatened.

As the Masonic “master’s word” is communicated only at “low breath”, so the selfsame precaution is prescribed in the Chaldean Book of Numbers and the Jewish Mercaba. When initiated, the neophyte was led by an ancient to a secluded spot, and there the latter whispered in his ear the great secret. The Mason swears, under the most frightful penalties, that he will not communicate the secrets of any degree “to a brother of an inferior degree”; and the Agrushada Parikshai says: “Any initiate of the third degree who reveals before the prescribed time, to the initiate of the second degree, the superior truths, must be put to death.”

Again, the Masonic apprentice consents to have his “tongue torn out by the roots” if he divulge anything to a profane; and in the Hindu books of initiation, the same Agrushada Parikshai, we find that any initiate of the first degree, (the lowest), who betrays the secrets of his initiation, to members of other castes, for whom the science should be a closed book, must have “his tong cut out”, and suffer other mutilations.”

H. P. Blavatsky

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