In every order of animals there are individuals who transgress the laws of their being.
In what way, my Mother? said Horos.
And Isis answered: In this wise:--A man who acts against reason, a beast which eludes necessity, a reptile which forgets its cunning, a fish which loses its timidity, a bird which renounces freedom. Thou hast heard what was to be said concerning the hierarchy of souls, their descent, and the creation of bodies.
O my son, in every order of souls there are found a[few [p. 36]
few royal souls, and of divers characters: some fiery, some cold, some proud, some gentle, some crafty, some simple, some contemplative, some active. This diversity belongs to the regions from whence they descend into bodies. From the royal zone the royal souls go forth, but there are many royalties; the royalty of spirit, of the flesh, of art, of science, of the virtues.
And how, said Horos, dost thou name these royalties?
O my son, the king of souls who have hitherto existed is thy father Osiris; the king of bodies is the prince of each nation, he who governs. The king of wisdom is the Father of all things; the Initiator is the thrice great Hermes; over medicine presides Asclepios, the son of Hephaistos; force and power are under the sway of Osiris, and after him, under thine, my son. Philosophy depends on Arnebaskenis; poetry, yet again, on Asclepios, Imouthe's son. So that, if thou thinkest thereon, thou wilt perceive that there are indeed many royalties and many kings.
But the supreme royalty belongs to the highest region; lesser kingships correspond to the spheres which bring them forth. Those who issue from the fiery zone handle fire; those who come from the watery zone frequent liquid spheres; from the region of art and learning those are born who devote themselves to art and science; from the region of inactivity, those who live in ease and idleness. All that is done and said upon earth has its origin in the heights, from whence all essences are dispensed with measure and equilibrium; nor is there anything which does not emanate from above and return thither.
Explain to me this that thou sayest, O my Mother.[And [p. 37]
And Isis answered:--An evident token of these exchanges has been stamped on all creatures by most holy Nature. The breath which we indraw from the upper air we exhale and again inbreathe by means of the lungs within us which perform this work. And when the way destined to receive our breath is closed, then no longer do we remain on earth; we depart hence. Moreover, O my glorious son, there are other accidents by which the balance of our combination may be destroyed. [*1]
What is, then, this combination, O my Mother?
It is the union and admixture of the four elements, whence emanates a vapour which envelops the soul, penetrates into the body and communicates to both its own character. Thus are produced varieties among souls and bodies. If in the composition of a body, fire dominates, then the soul being already of an ardent nature, receives thereby an excess of heat which renders it the more energetic and furious, and the body the more vivacious and active. If the air dominates, the body and soul of the creature are thereby rendered unstable, errant and restless. The domination of the water causes the soul to be mild, affable, bland, sociable, and easily moulded, because water blends and mixes itself readily with all other things, dissolves them if it be abundant, moistens and penetrates them if it be less in quantity. A body softened by too much humidity offers but a weak resistance, a slight malady disintegrates it, and little by little dissolves its cohesion. Again, if the earthy element be dominant, the soul is obtuse, because the body lacks subtlety, nor can she force a way through the density of its organism. Therefore, the soul remains[indrawn [p. 38]
indrawn upon herself, borne down by the burden she supports, and the body is solid, inactive, and heavy, moving only with effort.
But if the elements be all in just equilibrium, then the whole nature is ardent in its actions, subtle in its motions, fluent in its sensations, and of a robust constitution. Of the predominance of air and fire birds are born, whose nature resembles that of the elements which generate them. Men are endowed with an abundance of fire united with but a little air, and of water and earth equal parts. This excess of fire becomes sagacity, seeing that intelligence is indeed a kind of flame, which consumes not, but which penetrates. The predominance of water and earth with a sufficient admixture of air and but little fire engenders beasts; those endued with more fire than the rest are the more courageous. Water and earth in equal quantities give birth to reptiles, which, being deprived of fire, have neither courage nor truthfulness, while the excess of water renders them cold, that of earth, sordid and heavy, and the lack of air makes all their movements difficult. Much water with but little earth produces fishes; the absence of fire and air in them causes their timidity, and disposes them to lie hidden, while the predominance of water and earth in their nature approximates them by natural affinity to earth dissolved in water. Moreover, by means of the proportional increase of the elements composing the body is the body itself increased, and its development ceases when the full measure is attained. And so long, my beloved son, as equilibrium is maintained in the primitive combination and in the vapours arising therefrom, that is, so long as the normal proportion of fire, air, earth, and water remains unchanged, the creature continues in[health. [p. 39]
health. But if the elements deviate from the proportion originally determined--(I speak not now of the growth of activities, nor of that resulting from a change of order, but of a rupture of equilibrium whether by addition or diminution of fire or of other elements)--then malady supervenes. And should air and fire, whose nature is one with that of the soul itself, prevail in the conflict, then, through the dominance of those elements, destroyers of the flesh, the creature abandons its proper state. For the earthy element is the pabulum of the body, and the water wherewith it is permeated contributes to consolidate it; but it is the aerial element which confers motion, and the fire engenders all energies. The vapours produced by the union and combination of these elements blending with the soul, as it were by fusion, bear her along with them, and clothe her in their own nature, whether good or evil. So long as she remains in this natural association the soul keeps the rank she has attained. But if a change should occur either in the combination itself or in any of its parts or subdivisions, the vapours, altering their condition, alter likewise the relations between soul and body; the fire and air, aspiring upward, draw with them the soul, their sister, while the watery and terrestrial elements, which tend earthwards like the body, weigh it down and overwhelm it.
* * * *[p. 40]
^33:1 This hint is enough to indicate that Isis speaks in metaphorical language. The entire description should be understood as equally applicable to the macrocosm and the microcosm, the consciousness of every constituent particle in man's system being accounted a soul.
^37:1 Isis here speaks not as a Goddess, but as a mortal.
The Virgin of the World, by Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland, , at sacred-texts.com[p. 41] [p. 42]
A Treatise on Initiations;
Asclepios.[p. 43] [p. 44] [p. 45]
TREATISE ON INITIATIONS;
IT is a God who hath brought thee to us, Asclepios, that thou mayst assist at a divine discourse, and one which will be the most truly religious of all we have as yet held, or with which we have been inspired from on high. In understanding it thou wilt be in possession of all blessings,--if so be indeed there are several, and if it be not more correct to say there is but one blessing which comprises all. For each one of them is bound to another; all[are [p. 46]
are derived from one and make but one, so that their mutual bonds make separation impossible. This is what thou wilt understand by paying attention to that which we are about to say. But first, Asclepios, go away for a little while and look for another hearer for our discourse.[Asclepios proposes to call Ammon.]
There is no objection to Ammon's presence among us, says Trismegistos. I have not forgotten that I have addressed to him, as to a dear son, several writings on Nature and other subjects relating to exoteric teaching. But it is thy name, Asclepios, which I shall inscribe at the head of the present treatise. And call no other person than Ammon. For a discourse upon the holiest matters of religion would be profaned by a too numerous audience. It is an impiety to deliver to the knowledge of a great number, a treatise full of divine majesty. [*1] [Ammon enters the sanctuary, and completes the holy quartet, [*2] filled with the presence of God. The invitation to devotional silence comes from the lips of Hermes, and in the presence of the attentive souls who[hang [p. 47]
hang upon his words, the divine Love thus begins:--] [*1]
Every human soul, Asclepios, is immortal; but this immortality is not uniform. It differs both in mode and in duration.
It is because souls, Trismegistos, are not all of the same quality.
How quickly thou understandest the reason of things, Asclepios! I have not yet said that all is one and that one is all, since all things were in the Creator before the creation and we can call Him all since all things are His members. Wherefore, throughout all this discourse, bear in mind Him who is One and All, the Creator of all things.
Everything descends from heaven upon the earth, into the water, into the air: only fire is vivifying, because it tends upwards; that which tends downwards is subordinate to it. That which descends from above is generative; that which emanates and rises is nutritive. The earth, alone self-supported, is the receptacle of all things, and reconstructs the types which she receives. That Universal Being which contains all and which is all, puts into motion the soul and the world, all that nature comprises. In the manifold unity of universal life, the innumerable individualities distinguished by their variations, are, nevertheless, united in such a manner[that [p. 48]
that the whole is one, and that everything proceeds from unity.
Now this unity, which constitutes the world, is formed of four elements: fire, water, earth, and air:--one single world, one single soul, and one single God. Lend me now all the powers and all the penetration of thy thought; for the idea of Divinity, which cannot be conceived save by divine assistance, resembles a rapid stream precipitating itself onwards with impetuosity, and often, therefore, outstrips the attention of the listeners, and even of him who teaches.
^46:1 It is the indiscriminate disclosure of spiritual mysteries to those who, by reason of their exclusively fleshly condition, are incapable of appreciating and reverencing then, that is called by Jesus a casting of pearls before swine.
^46:2 The fourth being Tatios, the son of Trismegistos. All such discourses required--for occult reasons--the presence of a minimum number of four. The four above represented the four great divisions of existence, and constituted an epitome of the Universe. "The form of the fourth is like the Son of God," Nabuchodonosor is made to exclaim in the Hermetic allegory in Daniel, representing the transmutation--instead of the expected destruction--of the earthly elements of Man under the fiery alchemic ordeal of suffering.
^47:1 This identification of Hermes with Eros--the only instance Dr. Menard says he has found in literature--accords with the Hermetic axiom--" Love and Wisdom are One."
The Virgin of the World, by Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland, , at sacred-texts.com
HEAVEN--God manifest--regulates all bodies.
Their growth and their decline are determined by the sun and the moon. But He who directs heaven--the soul itself and all that exists in the world--is very God, the Creator.
From the heights where He reigns descend innumerable influences which spread themselves throughout the world, into all souls both general and particular, and into the nature of things.
The world has been prepared by God in order to receive all particular forms. Realising these forms by[means [p. 49]
means of Nature, He has updrawn the world to heaven through the four elements.
Everything is in accordance with the designs of God; but that which originates from on high has been separated into individualities in the following manner. The types of all things follow their (representative) individualities in such way that the type is a whole; the individual is a part of the type.
Thus the Gods constitute a type, the genii also. Similarly, men, birds, and all beings which the world contains, constitute types producing individuals resembling them.
There is yet another type, without sensation, but not without soul. It consists of those beings which sustain themselves by means of roots fixed in the earth. Individualities of this type are found everywhere.
Heaven is full of God. The types of which we have spoken have their habitation extending up to that of the beings whose individualities are immortal. For the individuality is a part of the type, as, for instance, man is a part of humanity; and each one follows the character of its type. Hence it comes that, while all types are imperishable, individuals are not all imperishable.
Divinity forms a type of which all the individualisations are as immortal as itself. Among other beings eternity belongs only to the type; the individual perishes, and is perpetuated only by reproduction. There are, then, some mortal individualities. Thus man is mortal, humanity is immortal.
Nevertheless, individuals of all the types mix with all the types. Some are primitive; others are produced[by [p. 50]
by these, by God, by genii, by men, and all resemble their respective types.
For bodies can be formed only by the divine will; individualities cannot be characterised without the aid of the genii; the education and training of animals cannot be conducted without man.
All those genii who have forsaken their own type, and become joined in individuality to an individuality of the divine type, are regarded as neighbours and associates of the Gods.
The genii who preserve the character of their type, and are properly called genii, love that which relates to mankind. The human type resembles, or even surpasses, theirs; for the individuality of the human is manifold and various, and results from the association mentioned above. It is the indispensable link between nearly all other individualities.
The man who has affinity with the Gods through the intelligence which he shares with them, and through piety, is the neighbour of God. He who has affinity with the genii approximates himself to them. They who are satisfied with human mediocrity remain a part of the human type. Other human individualities will be neighbours of the types or individualities with which they shall be in affinity.
The Virgin of the World, by Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland, , at sacred-texts.com