THE NATURAL GENESIS
NATURAL GENESIS AND TYPOLOGY OF THE TWO TRUTHS
'I have penetrated the region of the Two
Ritual, chapter 1.
'I follow the Two Truths.'—Egyptian Ritual, chapter 72.
The words myth, mythos, and mythology are derived from the Greek μύθος, muthos, which is usually taken to mean a saying, a word, and is sometimes equivalent to logos. In consequence, mythology has been declared to have originated in mere sayings, the clue to which was lost before mythology proper could have existed. For it has been affirmed by Max Muller and maintained by his followers that the radical meaning and primitive power of certain words (and sayings) must be obscured or lost for them to become mythological and that the essential character of a true myth consists in its being no longer intelligible by a reference to the spoken language.
Such teaching of 'comparative mythology' is the result of its being limited to the Aryan area; and if the myth be no longer intelligible in the later languages we must look for it in the earlier.
The Greek muthoi, for sayings, represents the Egyptian mutu, for ejaculations or brief utterances. Mutuni (Eg.) means 'Lo it is,' or 'It is verily so.' In a similar sense, 'So mote it be' is used by our Freemasons, which brings on a saying and an ancient mode of saying under one word. Mat (Eg.) signifies the pronouncing of conservative formulas. And these formulas and wise sayings were part of the muthoi in Egypt. The muthoi or myths did not begin in Greece or originate in any other Aryan language; nor with the sayings which are the fading metaphors of mythology, and the utterances of its second childhood. Nor is the myth a mere word in Greek. Mutheomai is not simply to say, but to feign and fable, represent and invent.
Μυθικός signifies that which pertains to fable and myth in an early sense; mυθολογεω, is to recite fables. In Attic prose the myth was commonly a legend of early Greek times, before the dawn of history. The mythoi were no mere sayings in a modern sense; [p.136] they were mystical. In them the mysteries were uttered by word of mouth to the ear alone; like the smriti of India. The myths are sayings because they were only to be said, not written; hence muthos denotes anything delivered by word of mouth. They are myths because uttered by word of mouth alone, but they were so uttered because they contained the hidden oral wisdom and dark sayings of old. The mythoi are the logia, and the logia, or sayings, are assignable to a sayer or logos, who was personified as the utterer in the mythology which preceded theology. The sayings, or logia, in Egypt, were assigned to Taht, the moon-god, who was the measurer of time; the reckoner and registrar of truth in the hall of the twofold truth, or double justice. In consequence of his being primarily a representative of the dual lunation, Taht was the sayer, utterer of the divine words, and a logos, tongue, or word in person.
The sayings or logia were likewise attributed to the youthful solar god Iu-em-Hept (the Egyptian Jesus of the Book of Ecclesiasticus), and the 'second Atum,' who was another of the sayers of whom we read, 'I have heard the words of Iu-em-Hept and Hartataf. It is said in their sayings,' etc.
The ass (aai) and the cat (peht) are the sayers of great words in the house of Pet, or Heaven.
The Christian gospels were founded on and originated in the logia or sayings as Papias emphatically declares. The Christ of John is the Word, Logos or Sayer in person. His teaching, according to John and Matthew, was conveyed by the sayings, logia or mythoi.
Now, it is immaterial whether the Greek muthoi or mythoi be connected at root, not merely etymologically, with the Egyptian Mâti who represents the 'Two Truths,' but mu and ma are interchangeable, and these sayings were held to be the words of truth and wisdom personified. When Paul speaks of a true saying he means one of the sayings of Truth, of Aletheia.
So far from Egyptian mythology being founded on words that have lost their senses, it is the science of Truth in a twofold phase or character, called Mâti. Mâti, as divinity, is the goddess who presides in the hall of the twin Truth. Mâti is also a title of Taht in relation to the two truths. The two truths (or twinship of Mâti) appear in the Sanskrit mithuna, a twin couple, the zodiacal Gemini, the state of being dual, Greek meta; and one form of the mâti as Ma and Shu was that of the zodiacal Gemini in Egypt. Mati in Sanskrit signifies measure and exact knowledge. In Egyptian maat as a noun means an inflexible rule of right; that which is strictly accurate in measure, and perfect as the poise of scales, the straightness of the plumb line, or the stretch-out, finger.
Mythology proper—by which is meant its relation to time as [p.137] distinguished from space, which will be hereafter described—began with the measuring and establishing of periods. Mâ earlier mak, in Egyptian denotes measure, to measure, the measurer who in the dual character is Mâti. Mata in Sanskrit is the mother also the moon as the measurer of time; time being measured and reckoned both by the mother and the moon. The mother measured time in the two phases of feminine pubescence and gestation. These are signified by the double serpent. Matoti in Lithuanian, is to measure. Muthi, in Toda, is the new moon. Mata signifies ten fishes in Fiji, that is a total equal to two hands or the two feet, which are also mâta in Egyptian; and mêt is no. 10 in Coptic.
Taht and Maat then are two personified forms of the measurer and the utterer of truth. This has two aspects like the mother, or the moon, in her dual lunation; and these sayers in Egypt, preceded the sayings in Greece. Moreover, myth and logos are interchangeable in Greek; and one sense of the word logos is a true narration; as it is said, in the Georgics, the fable differs from λόγος, because the latter is true. Thus the logos or myth is identical with the ma-kheru or 'True Word' of the Egyptian theosophy, the word that was made truth when impersonated in the god Har-Ma-Kheru.
It is now intended to show that mythology is at root the science of the Two Truths or Mâti, which are at the foundations of Egyptian thought and expression. For instance, the moth is a perfect type of Mâti, on account of its transformation from the grub. Mato in Finn is the grub or worm; mato, Lap, the caterpillar or grub; mathu, Gothic, a worm. In English the moth is the winged worm, sometimes called a soul, in the second of two phases.
Mâti may denote water and breath, decay and renewal, a pair of feet, the two waters, the two solstices, the double lunation, the twin lion-gods, light and shade, menstruation and gestation, wet and heat, the circle and cross (in the knot or ankh), the collar and counterpoise, the house of the Two Truths, or any other type of twinship in which the beginning at first bifurcated.
For, it may be affirmed, generally, that all veritable beginning in typology, mythology, numbers and language, can be traced to the opening of a oneness which divides and becomes dual in its manifestation.
So far as the evidence reaches back, all beginning is synonymous with opening. In Egyptian, to found is to open. In Maori and Mangaian, to begin, or tupu, is to open as the bud and flower. So the place of opening is the teph (Eg.), the tuba in Kaffir; and the earliest ascertainable human thought was related to opening. Night opened the starry heaven. The black cloud opened with its quivering Assegai of the lightning. Darkness opened into day. The mother opened to give birth. The child opened into the woman or man at puberty. The male opened the female. The eye opened for seeing; [p.138] the ear for hearing. The nostrils opened with the breath of life. The mouth opened to utter forth; hence the mouth and mother are one by name. In the act of opening things became dual, and this was the bifurcation signified by the Kamite 'Two Truths' of all beginning.
Max Muller asserts that 'as soon as sûryas, or ήλιος, appears as a masculine form, we are in the very thick of mythology'; that is, as soon as sex is distinguishable in words. Nay; but we are caught in the thicket before language was sex-denoting at all, and it is at that stage we have to read some of the hardest riddles of the sphinx of mythology.
The Hottentot, amongst other languages, reaches back to that stage. 'Thou son of a red "she-bull"' (i.e., of a heroine), is a Hottentot address to a hero. This agrees with 'The Bull called Sothis at her time.' Language had but one name then for the beast of both sexes. So nin in the Assyrian, denotes both the lord and the lady, because nin, or ninu, was the name of the child, the English ninny, and the child was named before the two sexes were discriminated by different terminals. Nin, for the child, was not a sex-denoting word, and the child so named might be of either; and, so far as the type goes, of both.
The Egyptian type of divinity is the nunter, or nuter, our neuter. The nun is the ninny, the impubescent boy, or young one, the khart of either sex, as is the child or the colt. This type-name is found in English, Greek, Italian, Javanese, Fijian, North American Indian, and other languages, and it is inner African for the young one, as:—
|nina in Mende.||nina in Gbandi.||a nene in Soso.|
|nenj in Kiriman.||nunina in Toma.||a nene in Kisekise.|
Also for the younger brother, as:—
|nan in Koama.||nyan in Vula.||ninda in Biafada.|
|nana in Bagbalan.||nmta in Dselana.||ninda in Landoma.|
|neneye in Pangela.||nyene in Kiamba.||nande in Nyanban.|
|nuane in Isiele.|
It is likewise applied to the younger sister.
As the child, homo was born twin (within the limits of language), and was separated and distinguished at puberty. We shall find the two sexes are said to have been divided by the lizard or serpent, or severed by the stone of the opener; and it will be shown how the one statement is related to the female, the other to the male.
The totemic mysteries reveal the fact that individual personality was constituted at the period of puberty, and determined as twain by the manifestations of sex, the 'Two Truths' of reproduction. Until that time the child-name was not distinguished by gender. In Egyptian it was also the nakhen, or young one, as the impubescent. [p.139] Nakh denotes pubescent or virile power; which the terminal en negatives. Nicholas, the good genius of children, who was always a child himself, is the nakhen, or nakh-las. The a-nak, in Malay, Salayer, and Javanese, is the child in the same sense.
Nakhen (Eg.) reappears in the Sanskrit nagna, and nagnaka for the girl who is yet impubescent, and on that account allowed to go naked. In Zulu, nguna means to be quite naked, or to expose the person, and in English nakne is to make naked. The naked were the impubescent, those who did not need to be clothed. Hence the two classes in the Hall of 'Two Truths,' the Good and the Evil, are called the 'Clothed and the Unclothed,' in accordance with this simple origin of the typology.
Again, the Hottentot language shows a primitive mode of distinguishing the one sex from the other. In one of the chaunts the mother of the lion calls him 'the yellow child of the Liontail,' i.e., of herself as female lion. She is the lion-tail, the hinder-part, just as it is in the hieroglyphics where the forepart of the animal is masculine, the lord or leader, that which goes first, the 'Ha!' whereas the hind part denotes the female sex. There was then but one being, whether as human or beast, and the front was the male, the back female. This is the secret of the sphinx. The orthodox sphinx of Egypt is masculine in front and feminine behind. So is the image of Sut-Typhon, a type of horn and tail, male in front and female behind. The pharaohs, who wore the tail of the lioness or cow behind them, were male in front and female behind. Like the gods they included the dual totality of being in one person, born of the mother, but of both sexes as the child.*
* The present writer has suggested, and he maintains, that the pharaoh was not founded on the Ra (who was the earlier rek or rex) but on the double har, who preceded him as the Har-Iu; whence P-har-ia, the dual Horus, the effeminate (or feminine) and the virile one united.
It was a common tradition with the Jews and other races that man, homo, was formed of both sexes at first, and afterwards divided. It is so stated in Genesis. The rabbi, Jeremiah Ben-Eleazer, also supported this view with the authority of the text, 'Thou hast fashioned me Behind and Before.' Other rabbis affirm that homo was male in front and female behind; just as we find it was in language and is imaged in the typology, which alone can explain it.
Within such limits of expression homo, or khem, was born twin; the male and female were distinguished by their sex as two forms of one being; and these limits of early thought and expression were the cause of the dual and epicene types, and of the later superstitious beliefs. Sex was first denoted by gesture, and next by images, which were retained in the mythological figures like those of the sphinx, the [p.140] centaur, Sut-Typhon, Pan, the god, or pharaoh, with the feminine tail.
Not only typology but language itself was also evolved from this primary phase that contained and divided into the twinship of the Two Truths.
As already affirmed, there was a stage at which language was not sex-denoting and different words or signs were used by the two sexes (as such) to distinguish them. At first the genders were dramatised, so to say, and the speech was according to the character or sex of the speaker. Doing, demonstrating, in relation to sex (from which peculiar customs have descended) preceded saying in sex-denoting speech. Language began without distinction of gender. The Kinyarnwezi and other African languages have no genders. There is a formal absence of gender in the Australian dialects. The Algonquin language has no direct distinction of gender. In the Fula language of Central Africa there is no distinction between the masculine and feminine genders, hut it divides beings into two classes. In one is everything belonging to humanity; in the other everything belonging to the brute creation and to inanimate objects; these have been termed the human and the brute genders. There are two genders in Iroquois known as the noble and ignoble, the first being applied to divinities and the male of human beings, the second to all other things. The Dravidians also have a 'high caste or major gender,' which is that of the divinities as well as great men. The Mexicans evolved a dual kind of language on this principle, one form of which is used solely by the superior castes, the other by the inferior in social position. In the Aryan languages the father and mother occur without the signs of gender, which shows the neuter was first; and the distinction between animate and inanimate which forms the genders in the North American Indian dialects is visibly earlier than the distinction by sex. The sign of gender in the Bonus Pater and Bona Mater is obtained by means of the adjective. The person, so to say, remains neuter. So papa, (Eg.) to produce, may be applied to either the father or the mother. The mother is the papa in the Australian dialects.
The Kaffir custom of hlonipa shows us language in the act of becoming twain. It is negatively sex-denoting. The especial language of the female becomes so by her avoidance of male names and masculine terms. It is similar to the woman distinguishing her sex by denuding herself of her eyebrows and pubes, to be unmasculine, or become more feminine. Hlonipa was not assumed at first as a sort of fig-leaf apron of the feminine consciousness, although it may look so now. Certain words, expressions, or sounds were only used by each sex because they were sex-denoting, and the primitive mode of denoting the sex was by each keeping to its own words. In [p.141] this way the genders were dramatised, and the human being was made twain, as were the two castes in other languages.
In the American Indian dialects women use different words from the men to denote various degrees of relationship, the custom being confined to such words and to the interjections. For example, among the Araucanian tribes the brother calls his brothers peni, and his sisters lamnen. But the sister calls both sexes lamnen. In the woman's mouth the distinction based on sex is effaced.
Peni, as in other languages, denotes the male organically, and this name the female avoids, not primarily from shame or modesty, but because it was representative of the male at first, and was afterwards prohibited to the female. The Kaffir women are forbidden to pronounce the names of any of their husband's male relatives in the ascending line, or to use any words in which the chief syllables of these names occur.
The Fijians have an interjectional neu, which is prohibited to the men, and is used only by the women. This is a universal form of the negative; and in the hieroglyphics nnu is no, negation, and the woman menstruating. The woman was being limited to her own negational sign expressed in sound; just as she was the hinder-part, as lion-tail to the ha, or front; or as the north to the south for the front. Although the first, she became negative to the male. In Egyptian the feminine article is also found to serve for the neuter one, which preceded sex.
The Apaches 'nyau' is an exclamation strictly limited to the females, whereas 'ak' is the exclamation confined to the males. In the African Hausa language the two genders of sex are distinguished by the terminal ia used for the male, and nia, the force of which has not been determined, for the female. So in a Murray dialect (Australia) the word purragia signifies 'You lie' when addressed to a man, and 'purragaga' is 'You lie,' when addressed to a woman. The reason for this is unknown.
Ia and nia are common forms for Yes and No. In Egyptian, ia is yes, positively, certainly. Na is no, negative; these contain the Two Truths, however applied. Hence they served as signs of the male and female nature; the male claims to be the superior one, according to the Two Truths, a division answering to that of the 'noes' and 'yeas' of the two castes of people in Australia. Even when the genders of language had to be expressed by gesture-signs and interjectional sounds or clicks, the Two Truths or diverse aspects of the one were represented by signs and clicks; for with the Zulus, to this day, the woman expresses contempt by a sound like that of the c click, whereas a man does it with the x click, and this is according to the secret signs or sounds of 'nci-fila,' and a very primitive gnosis.
Such a manner of distinguishing the sexes was developed in the Ibu 'nna,' for the father, and 'nne' for the mother; and in the Kooch nana for the paternal grandfather, and nani for the paternal grandmother, by means of a vowel-intonation in a name instead of a personal click, or sexual gesture-sign. In the Sonorian dialects of America the gender is indicated by the addition of words denoting the man-word and woman-word, which took the place of earlier signs, on the way towards a sex-denoting terminal for single words.
In the hieroglyphics the natural ideographic signs of sex can be traced into sex-denoting suffixes. The feminine terminal and article 'the' is the sign Û of the female sex; it is one of the two mammae separated from the body. This phonetic t is an ideographic tt, the English teat and titty, for the female breast. The masculine article the is pâ, ideographic paf (the); and paf signifies the breath. This sign then denotes the breath-giver, who was at first the quickening female and afterwards the causative male, pepe having the same meaning as 'engender,' the papa as engenderer. These signs are related to the 'Two Truths,' and to the breath and liquid of life, and they became the two masculine and feminine articles and sex-denoting suffixes. Thus gesture-signs of sex were first; next the words of sex; lastly the woman-sign, the teat or mamma, becomes a terminal t, to denote the feminine gender of words.
In the Nagari alphabet there are two peculiar signs for symbolic sounds which may also be related to the Two Truths of the Water and the Breath. The one, represents n, and is the symbol of nasal sounds. The other is the symbol of h, and the sibilant called visarga. N denotes the negative element (water) in many languages, including Sanskrit, Egyptian, Chinese, Japanese, Akkadian. Visarga is a distinctly audible aspirate. This and the h therefore represent breath.
The rabbis have a saying that all came out of the letter h. The Two Truths appear in the Chinese division of the roots of their language, the full and the empty words, designated chi-tsen and lin-tsen. Grammar, they say, is an art which teaches us how to distinguish between the full and the empty words. Full and empty have great nearness to the original nature of the Two Truths, the yes and no, positive and negative, breath and water, light and darkness, of the primitive typology.
The Melbourne blacks used to distinguish their language as nuther galla. Galla is language, and nuther means no. Judging from the Egyptian nuter and the English neither, it may be inferred that this is negative in the sense of the neuter that becomes either. The language of 'no' is equivalent to the 'no' or negative people of Australia. The Egyptian nu-ter contains the elements of nnu, negative; and ter, for the type, image, or status. The prepubescent [p.143] period of the child was neuter in this sense of neutral, which became dual at puberty, and the language formed before homo could be sexually distinguished by the name, would be nuther or neuter speech.
In the Kamkatdal and Koriak dialects of the Aino language, man, as homo, is called nuteira and nuteiran. The name included both sexes, but distinguished neither. It was because the nuter preceded sex that it became a type of divinity beyond sex and the neuter remains the sexless gender. The neuter of deity is either he or she in the negative sense neither, but potentially both. At this primitive stage the type of a biune deity was founded in the likeness of the child, which is of either sex, as the dual being. It has been said that in no language does the plural precede the singular. But the one, as group was earlier than the personal I, and the bifurcation and individualization from the group or from the typical one, the mother, who preceded the dual child, is one of the cruxes of all beginning. Those who date from the mother, the negative one, are the No-people.
They who begin as her children are both yes and no, male and female, no longer neuter. With them there is a dual that precedes the singular. It belongs to the prepubescent period of the child. The Egyptian 'heir apparent,' the repa, has a name that signifies either, the repa being the royal or divine child of either sex, of two characters, or typically of both. The twofold oneness of the primordial neuter is still attained or preserved in the various duals of dignity, the 'we,' 'our,' and 'us,' of royalty, which is an equivalent for the cow-tailed Râ, and is represented in literature by the infallible 'we' of the reviewer and editor. In Samoa this is continued to the extent of asking the single chief, 'Have you Two come?' 'Are you Two going?' Thus 'Your Twinship' is a perfect plural of dignity. This plural is portrayed by the hieroglyphic sign of nakh (or ankh, the pair), | the type of pubescent power in the male, who has doubled, and become 'You Two.'
The personal pronoun, I, is a dual in several ancient languages, as in the Hottentot. The Egyptian ank (I) is plural in ankh, a pair. U, the I or me, is also a plural for they or them. Penti in Egyptian is emphatically the one, because the word is plural and indicates a dual nature, like that of the pubescent male, the doubled Horus, or the female in her second phase of the Two Truths.
Here, as elsewhere, the dual does precede the singular in language and was necessitated by an earlier stage of expression, the I being twin in sex. The human being was broken in two (as it were) to be divided into male and female. This led to the primitive legends of the split men, the half men, the one-legged race, who fancied the Zulu maiden must be a pair of people. 'You Two,' or the twinship, restores this original unity. The parent when [p.144] enacting the couvade might also have been addressed as 'You Two!'
The Baroling regard their god as a person with only one leg, and they hop round in his image on one leg in their sacred dances. The single leg, says Rowley, is emblematic of unity. This one-legged divinity was continued in the mummy-type of Ptah, which type includes the male and female, and shows the process of individualizing.
In death the Egyptians returned to the type beyond sex. The mummies were bound up in the undivided image of the single-legged Ptah, or Osiris, whose legs were at first undivided. The shabti or double of the deceased shows no distinction of sex for the male or female, but served for both. The unity of the lower part corresponds to the prepubescent period of the child in which the sexes were as yet undistinguished, or, as they called it, undivided.
In the sacrifices to the Mexican god Tlaloc, children were selected who had two whorls in their hair, or were what we call 'double-crowned.' These were held to be the most agreeable offering to the gods, because as we read the symbol, the double-crown, like that of the divinities and kings of Egypt represented the Two Truths of the biune one. This the present writer considers to have been the reason why twin children were especially chosen to be offered up in sacrifice and not from any absurd notions connected with the infidelity of the mother and a double fatherhood. Such customs and ideas date from a time when there could be no such thing as female fidelity. Hobo was the Dahoman god of twins. These being sacred to him would be sacrificed to him. The twin being in mythology is the complete one, the dual child, and the twins according to the same idea would furnish the perfect offering. The same typology is continued in the custom of 'wishing' over the double kernel found in a fruit-stone called a 'phillipine.'
When words become sex-denoting in themselves we are out of the thicket of mythology or typology, and the 'Two Truths' of Egypt relate to this primary phase, short of which there is no beginning.
The 'Two Truths' may be said to commence with the natural antithesis of the positive and negative. As day and night embrace the whole world in two halves, so do 'yes' and 'no' cover the two hemispheres of the world of language; and these may be indicated even by the nod and shake of the head in gesture-language.
The 'Two Truths' originated in there being but one name or type for the dual manifestation of an object, person, or thing. Shen (Eg.), for instance, is a circle, an orbit, a whole. It was the circle of the year. But shen is also twin, and two; the circle of the year, being first divided into the two times; and the shen, tunic, was first put on at puberty when the second half the two phases was attained. The shen as the brother and sister were Shu and Tefnut (also the shenti) [p.145] the lion-gods of the two gates North and South in the earliest halving of the circle.
This form of the biune one was finally fixed in heaven as the Twins of the zodiac. Thus the shen (as one) includes both sexes, two halves, two times, and the shen-ring is a symbol of reproduction or duplicating. The knee-joint and elbow are both shena (Eg.), or shenat, the equivalent of joint, as the hinge of juncture and point of unity. Shen and sen are interchangeable. Sen is two or twin. Also sen (Eg.) means blood and breath, the dual foundation of being, the Two Truths in a biological sense; the twin as two principles of life under one and the same name. Sen means to be made, to become, to be founded, by means of the mother-source, and secondly, by the quickening breath or spirit, first observed through the mother, and lastly assigned to the father.
The serpent, on account of its sloughing became a pre-eminent type of the Twin Tuths, or two manifestations of the one, especially in the two phases of the female. In India the serpent still images the two primary truths represented by the elements of wind and wet; it is invoked in the one character for fine weather; in the other for rain. In the time of Hioun-Thsang, that traveller records how the people of Cashmere would go to the spring accompanied by the priest, and 'snapping their fingers would invoke the dragon and at once obtain their wishes.'
The rootage of language and of mythology has to be sought here where the oneness bifurcates in duality according to the Egyptian doctrine. The Ojibwa signs or hieroglyphics contain a unique symbol of the Two Truths, consisting of a serpentine double line which represents the river of words in a twofold flow. This serves as a visible figure of unity bifurcating into duality.
It is an Accra saying that men have two ears but these do not hear two stories; and when the one tongue spoke falsely that became the double-tongue. In like manner the human being was named as one, before the two sexes were distinguished by genders. There were two forms of the primary one. The genus had to be identified before sex and species could be distinguished by name. So that the root of the present matter is not reached on any line of research until we have attained the starting-point in a twofold oneness.
The name of the goddess Aahti is the name of the womb, the moon, and a pair of bellows, legs or shanks. Aah denotes the house, moon, or the thing which is duplicated by the ti. Thus the womb Aahti is the dual house, the place of the Two Truths of the water and breath, or of duplication in reproduction. The lunar Aahti is the manifestor of the Two Truths in the waxing and waning of the moon. The ibis Aahti was black and white, thence representative of the dark and light of the lunar orb. [p.146] The two eyes of the crocodile denoted sunrise, the tip of its tail was an ideograph of sunset.
The earliest division of the human being is founded on sex, whatsoever the terminology; and the ideographic signs are the members. The he is the head and she the tail of the first dual coinage, as well as in the latest currency. The he is before, in front, and she is the hinder half. He is the outer and the right hand, she the inner and the left hand; he being the type of out, and she of in and within. He is the upper and active; she the lower and passive when the one becomes twain.
All the earliest imagery in the planisphere is arranged according to these Two Truths, or the dual one. There are two Bears, the Greater and Lesser; two Dogs, the Major and Minor; two Lions, as the Lion-Gods; the double Anubis or dual form of Sut; two Fishes; two Mothers, the Virgin and Gestator; one in the sign of Virgo, the other who brings forth the solar child in the sign of Pisces. The Twins (who in Egypt were the two Lion-Gods); the ass and its foal; the polar dragon, north, and hydra, south; with the Scales figured at the equinoctial level, the division as the connecting link of two heavens and the express emblem of the Two Truths.
One of the symbols of Ma is the ostrich feather, which is the sign both of light and shade, Ma and Shu. There can be nothing older than day and dark, and as the ostrich feather was an inner African sign of the Two Truths, and as Horapollo says the symbol was adopted because of the equal length of the ostrich feathers, it has been suggested that the type was first made use of in a land of equal day and dark, or equatorial Africa.
This would be a form of equal poise and of the balance before the equinoxes were made out in higher latitudes.
With the Chinese the two primal principles called yang and yin ([), the male and female, or Father Heaven and Mother Earth, were originally known as light and shadow. These are the Two Truths of Ma and Shu, or Mâti in Egypt.
The Hebrew deity is represented, according to the Two Truths, studying the scriptures by day and the Mishna by night. Also it is said that when Moses was with the Lord during forty days and forty nights he was taught the written law; then he understood it was day, and when he was taught the oral law he knew it was night. These also are the Two Truths of light and shade, i.e., of Ma-Shu (Eg.).
The white and black ermine worn by English judges continues the typology of the Two Truths or the dual justice, and corresponds to the feather of light and shade which was worn by the goddess Mâti [p.147] in the Judgment Hall. The ermine, says the Bundahish, was the first of the fur animals that was produced.
The Two Truths of light and shadow appear in the Bundahish represented by two antagonistic spirits, personified as Ahura-Mazda (the spirit of Light), and Aharman (the Angro-Manyus, or black man of the Avesta). 'The region of Light is the place of Ahura-Mazda, which they call endless Light and his omniscience is in vision (sight) or revelation.' Aharman 'in Darkness, with backward understanding and desire for destruction, was in the abyss, and it is he who will not be (he only exists negatively), and the place of that destruction, and also of that Darkness, is what they call the endlessly dark.' In the earliest phase these two were simply the light and the darkness.
In many lands the waxing and waning moon conveyed two messages to men as its form of the Two Truths. According to a Lithuanian precept, boys should be weaned whilst the moon is waxing, and girls during the wane. The Orkney Islanders prefer to marry when the moon is waxing. The present writer has personally met with a prejudice entertained by English villagers against killing the pig in the wane of the moon, because the meat will waste so in cooking! The Two Truths conveyed by the moon's message to men, are set forth in the Hottentot legend.
The moon once sent an insect to men with this message: 'As I die and dying live, so ye shall also die and dying live.' On its way the insect was overtaken by the hare, who, being a fast runner, proposed to convey the message to men. The insect consented. When the hare arrived she said, 'As I die and dying perish, in the same way ye shall also die and end.' The hare then returned to the Moon and told her what she had said to men. This made the Moon so angry that she struck the hare on the mouth and slit it. So the hare-lipped mouth became a type of the double (compare the double tongue) or lying lip. 'We are still angry with the hare,' said an old Namaqua, 'and dislike to eat its flesh because of the message it brought.'
Shu, the feather of light and shade, also reads Ma; and Shu-Ma or Shu, and his sister (Tefnut) represent the Two Truths of breath and moisture. These in one form may be the breath of heaven, and its dew, as tef is to drip and drop. They likewise denote the breath of soul and the blood of source, the mystical water of life. Also, Shu-Ma is a name for the 'Pool of the Two Truths.'
When Thales, the Milesian, said water was the mother of life, he did but formulate the first perception of the primitive man in a thirsty land. Water and breath were the two elements of life earliest identified; and water, having to be sought for and supplied as drink, whereas the air came of itself, would make the earliest appeal and first [p.148] demand for recognition. Hence, in mythology, water is the primal element. All begins with or issues from the water, the first of our Two Truths. The 'revelation' concerning creation in the forty-first chapter of the Koran, says the Lord set His mind to the creation of Heaven, and it was darkness or smoke. Al-Zamakhshari affirms that this smoke or vapour of darkness ascended from the waters under the throne of God and rose above the waters and formed the heavens. In the Hindu creation it is said that, 'From the foam of the water was produced the wind;' that is the breath or anima, the Egyptian pef (or beb), the exhalation.
According to the Vishnu Purana, the creation proceeds from the quality of darkness called sesha. Sesha shows that breathing out of the waters which is represented under the waters by Vishnu and Ananta. And in Egyptian, sos is to breathe; susu, in the inner African languages is smoke, and to breathe. The god Shu, who represents the element of breath and air, is the born child of Nun, the firmamental water. The doctrine had a natural genesis, and was derived from observation. Breath, or vapour, is a secondary condition of water in the form of mist. Heat is a means of converting water into breath or vapour. The breath of heaven is born of the firmament, which was called the celestial water; water in its second, upper, aerial or ethereal condition.
The name of the genetrix Uati signifies both wet and heat, and the water was converted into breathing life by the mother when in heat, or gestating, i.e., life-making. The soul of man, say the Australian blacks, was breathed into him through his navel. The two primal principles of wet and heat are the bases of beginning in the Vedic Hymn, as everywhere else, however mystified by later rendering, and obscured by still later translation. The one like uati consists of the water and heat; and although the latter may be expressed as fervour and desire, fervour, desire, and heat are yet synonymous. We read in the Ritual, 'Oh the Being dormant within his body, making his burning in flame glowing within the sea, raising the sea by his vapour. Come give the fire, transport the vapour to the Being.' The vapour was the breath, the later spirit or soul.
In drowning it was observed that the vapour was transported from the being, when the breath of life ascended in bubbles of air. Beb (Eg.) is to exhale; and they saw the beb or pef (gust or wind) was exhaled in bubbles or in foam, and so the earliest wind, breath, the second element of life, came visibly from the water. Hence the element had two aspects, the Water of Life was also the Water of Death; for water as the drowning element would impress the primitive man as profoundly as did the deadly sting of the serpent. The Two Truths of life as the first and second are well illustrated in an inscrip [p.149] tion on an Egyptian vase. The goddess Nut stands in her sycamore tree from which she pours the Water of Life. The deceased awaiting his resuscitation cries, 'Give me the water and the breath of life.' The goddess replies, 'I bring thee the vase containing the abundant water for rejoicing the heart by its effusion, that thou mayest breathe the breath of lie resulting from it.' The water precedes and is the creative cause of the Breath of Life, and such is the relationship and sequence of the Two Truths. Water is the first form of matter in all the oldest mythologies or so-called cosmogonies. It is the mother of substance, and mother and matter are one. Water is called by Plato 'the liquid of the whole vivification;' and again he alludes to it mystically as a 'certain fountain.' That fountain was the mother-source, in the mystical rendering of the water of life.
Water was the first cause in Egypt. So was it in India, or, as it was put by later theology, the first creation; and one of the most curious ceremonies in the festival of the water-goddess Ganges is to make her image and cast it into the river. 'The Pundits,' says Sir William Jones, 'of whom I inquired concerning its or in and import, answered that it was prescribed by the Veda, they knew not why.'
Ganga, the water, like:—
|khenka in Chinese,||ngi in N'guru,||nke in Eamnm,|
|ngongi in Maori,||ngi in Kanem,||nki in N'goala,|
|engi in Munio,||aningo in Orungn,|
|nki in Kanuri,||nke in Balu,|
is a form of ankh (Eg) the liquid or water of life. The goddess Ank represented the mystical water, with her crown of hemp, as the clother in flesh, and the casting of the image into the waters was typical of the human formation from the waters.
One of the Hawaiian expressions used to designate the death of a man was 'He has gone to the moist earth and the muddy water (soil) from which he was made.'
Images modelled in honour of the genetrix were a symbolical offering of the human form which was clothed and shaped by her in the womb. It was a commuted kind of human sacrifice, once fulfilled by offering a virgin to the waters, as the bride of Nile, which we hear of in Egypt and can read by the images made to be resolved by the Nile or the Ganges, as a mode of return by proxy to that source from whence we came. The Romans at one time used to make fetish images or dolls to cast into the river Tiber as proxies for the earlier sacrificial victims.
The confusion of vapour that rises from the water with spirits or apparitions ascending from the lakes is common in Africa. For instance, in the Vei language dsina is a ghost, spectre, or wraith. Dsi is water, and na means to come. Thus the dsina comes from the water. The Vei ghosts manifest from the water as one of their [p.150] two abodes. The other is considered to be on the summit of Cape Mount, their aerial abode, the high land of breath.
The Maori have a race of beings called the Ponaturi (from pona, the joint, and turi, the knee,) who are literally the people of the division, the join of the upper and lower worlds, typified by the knee-joint. Their country was underneath the waters, but every night they ascended to sleep on dry land in a large house called Manawa-tane, or breath for the suffocated. They were obliged to come up to breathe, and the place was at the division or crossing, the level of the two times, where land or breathing-place was attained. But they had to leave before sunrise under penalty of death; for, like the Norse trolls, if the sun saw them they perished. Exactly the same expedient is adopted in the Maori legend of 'Tawhaki,' and the Norse story of 'Lord Peter,' to kill the Ponaturi and the troll. The myth belongs to the division by two of a world of water and breath, and the beings of the water-half ascend by night to breathe the air of the upper half, but as they are mere vapour-spirits the sun consumes them with its glance.
The Two Truths of the inner African beginnings were further emphasised and enforced by the peculiar conditions found in Egypt. Every year when the new inundation had poured forth its water of life, the welcome wind of the north arose with its breath of life and spread the tide of the stream out over the thirsty soil. The beatitude of Paradise portrayed in the Ritual is to drink of the Nile and breathe the bliss of the vivifying wind of the north which had brought coolness to the burning land.
'She's hit between wind and water' is a provincial English expression for one who is more likely to be a mother than become a wife. According to that typology the dead in Egypt were buried between wind and water, or in the womb of a new life. The Great Pyramid was a symbolical sepulchre containing a well supposed to have some communication with the Nile. Where there was no water, this was still represented by the well. The wind or breath was allowed for in the small air-hole of the serdab left open to the north quarter from whence came the revivifying breath of life.
These Two Truths of life are illustrated by the wind and water; the two primary and supreme elements of life, the givers of breath and bringers to life, in the American myths. The Quiche four ancestors, are four forms of the spirit of breath as males, who were created by Hurakan, the air in motion; and their four wives the mothers of the human race were four forms of water, Falling Water, Beautiful Water, Water of Serpents, and Water of Birds.
At this mental stage the primal biology was formulated. In relation to the Two Truths of water and breath Empedocles may be quoted [p.151] who said: 'The earliest breath was drawn by the first animal when the moisture in infants was separated and by that means an entrance was given to the eternal air into the gasping vessels from which the moisture retired.'
In the beginning all came out of the Nu (Nun) the waters of the firmament; and existence is nuti or enti (Eg.) as entity. Enti means out of, froth, existence in a negative phase, water being the negative of Two Truths when the breath is included. Nuti as froth shows the breath of life issuing from the waters as it might in frog-spittle or the breath-bubbles of the submerged water-cow, or Aphrodite personified as kindling into breathing life and beauty as she rises from the foam. Nuti, for froth, is the same word as Neith, and Aphrodite was the froth or breathing life of the waters. Neith is Hathor, the Egyptian Venus, Aphrodite from the froth or nuti (i.e., Neith) in whom the breathing power was entified and named as that which came 'out of' and was afterwards personified or represented as the mother of life, who had two characters derived from the liquid of life and the breath of being. The primordial image of power and type of time was set in heaven as the hippopotamus (Ursa Major) the great breather in and out of the water.
One form of Mâti signifies to float on the surface of the water, to be going in the cabin, which denotes the second phase, that of the breathing life. Water also imaged the visible type of existence; air or breath the invisible, hence the priority of water.
The 'secret of Horus in An' is how his mother made him or caught him in the water. Neith, or the Net, as it were, fished the child from the water. The fish being a type of the breather in the water.
In several languages birth, beginning, natalis, is identical with swimming. This is seen in Latin as well as in the Egyptian enti, out of (the water), and mâti, to float, in the cabin or argha-yoni. In Tamil nid or nitt is to swim and also to be born. Being born of the water is equivalent to being borne upon it. Man was not a born swimmer and never could live under water, hence this type of birth and existence was found in swimming on the water and in coming out of it.
In the most ancient typology (the typhonian) life was emaned from the waters by the genetrix imaged as the water-cow. There were no human fishers then. When the goddess Neith was created men had learned how to catch fish. The perch on the head of Neith, or Hathor, is a symbol of birth from the waters. Neith also carries the shuttle or knitter of the network. Her name is synonymous with Net. So Ank, the goddess who wears the bundle of hemp or flax on her head, shows that men were weavers when she was created. Neith was the knitter or netter and typifies the mother as the [p.152] catcher of fish who netted Horus from the water, or in other words gave him birth under the type of the fish. She is portrayed as suckling her fish in the shape of a crocodile.
Being, existing, then is figured as an escape (net) out of the waters, a drawing out (net, to draw) and thence a netting as the means of being born, saved, fished from the drowning element. The Maori language has various forms of 'net' with this primary meaning; noti, is to draw together with a cord; nati, to make fast, hold firm; ngita, to make fast, secure, carry, bring forth; noto, is to shut. Notan, an oyster that keeps shut and safe under water. That which could breathe and keep its life under water was the object of deep attention to the earliest observers.
The West-Australians used the term 'netingar' to signify their ancestors or beginnings. They also reckoned to come from the waters.
A Maori meaning attached to the word 'ewe' or uho, the placenta, retains the idea of the primeval land, earth and foothold; the mud of the mythical waters. Ewe, the placenta, the afterbirth, is likewise the 'land of one's birth.' Whenua, another name for the placenta, also means one's own land, country, native place. The whenu is a warp, a form of the net. Ea, to appear above water, means to be performed, to be produced, or evolved.
This mode of attaining land and breathing-place gave especial significance to the placenta and the umbilical cord. Tangaenga (Mao.) the cord, and tangakangha, the fish, are both derived from nga, to breathe, the breather, to take breath. Likewise nef (Eg.) for breath and the navel, as breathing-place, are identical. Nef (Eg.) is the sailor, and the aboriginal natives of Australia consider that children with large navels will be famous swimmers. The navel is the bilyi (belly) and a good swimmer is called bilyi-gadak, that is having a good navel. One name of the navel in English is the nathe.
When the umbilical cord drops off the child, the New Zealanders put it in the mussel-shell with which it was severed, and place the shell with its freight on the water. If the shell should swim it is a lucky omen; but if it capsizes that portends an early death. Others cast the cord into the waters as an offering.
The placenta (Latin) is a cake, and the cake sign is the Egyptian ideograph of land (Û). The goddess Hathor (Venus) in the tree of life pours the water with one hand from the vase, and in the other she holds the cake emblem of land—the two types of the Two Truths of the beginning. Hathor was that Queen of Heaven to whom the Israelite women offered their cakes, which are called placentas in the Vulgate.
In Kanuri one's native place is na dabu kambe, or literally, where [p.153] one's umbilical cord was buried. The placenta thus identifies the place of birth, in relation to one's native land. Amongst the Wanyamwizi, when a child is born the father cuts the cord and travels with it to the frontier of his district, and there buries it. If the frontier be a stream (the natural boundary) he buries it on the bank. Then taking the root of a tree (in exchange), he carries it home and buries it at the threshold of his door.
It was this beginning that gave such importance to the navel as a kind of mesmeric disk which the ecstatics and seers of India gaze at until they enter the state of trance. They concentrate their thought or vision on the navel because it was one of the first oracles; it taught them how the child breathed in the womb, and we shall find the early men were very loyal and worshipful to every educational fact of this kind that offered any response to their wonder, and they gave it apotheosis. 'Hear, O sons of the Gods, one who speaks through his navel (nabha), for he hails you in your dwellings,' cries the Brahman seer. Whatsoever his idea of the gods and their dwelling, the imagery belongs to the simplest beginning of human thought and expression. Through the navel was the first manifestation of nef or breath. That way the life was held to be inspired into the child by the mother, or the later God. And that way they sought the breathing power.
The navel was one of the earliest doorways between two worlds, and as such maintained its symbolical value. Through the navel men were told of the breathing source, and they made the navel a type of foretelling. Naba, in Hebrew, is to prophesy, to utter forth. This is a secondary sense, apparently unknown in Egyptian. It was the oracle of one of the Two Truths, that relating to breath, and then made the type of another meaning. Both Pliny and Solinus say that when Apis was led in the solemn procession if children could get to smell its breath they were thought to be thereby gifted with the power of predicting future events.
The navel of the waters is personified in the Avesta. It is said to take possession of and to guard the imperishable majesty, i.e., the soul of breath, which is preserved amid the waters by means of this mount. In the Sirozah, the navel appears as the navel of the kings, or more anciently, the 'navel of women,' the feminine producer being first. This navel of the waters was the typical mount and mound, the navel-mound, as breathing-place. The Hindu nabhi-yoni was a dual type of the Two Truths of the breath and the waters of life; the navel being an image of breath in the waters of the womb.
When the male Vishnu takes the place of the female, the sacred navel loses significance, because the male has been made the source [p.154] of breath, or soul, whereas the female was first. There is no male Vishnu, however, without the female nature.
Nef (Eg.) not only means the sailor, it is likewise a type-name for the knitter, spinner, and weaver in the Sanskrit nabhi and nabha; Greek, nabh; Maori, nape, to weave (also a fishing-line), Egyptian nebt, a basket of woven wickerwork; napet, in English, woven linen. Hence she who inspired the breath of life into the child was the weaver or spinner of the web of life personified in mythology. She was both Argha and sail (the Egyptian hieroglyphic of breath), and the sail and mast were afterwards given to the god as Argha-Nautha. In the Athenian festival in honour of Athena, called the ΠΑΝΑΘΗΝΑΙΑ, the ark or boat was carried in a procession, and on it was hung, in the manner of a sail, the sacred garment of the goddess, the peplum that no man had lifted. This sail, the Egyptian sign of breath, derives its name from pef (Eg.), breath. The Two Truths of breath and water were being celebrated, as shown by the boat and sail, and the waterpots following the sign of breath. The sail was a lady's smock or body-garment, mystically a veil, the veil of Isis or Neith.* And this sign of breath, the net of Neith, is to be realized at last in one form, as the caul. The caul in which some children are enveloped at birth is the network of Neith.
* The most occult signification of the saying of Isis, at Sais, that no man had lifted her veil or peplum may now be interpreted. The first clothing or veil was assumed on natural grounds at puberty. Isis or Hes is the liquid of life personified, the flow which ceases with generation. But Isis always wore her veil as divinity. She came from herself and the generator had not put aside her mystic veil. In the same sense, the nun (compare nun (Eg.), for negation) takes the veil that remains unlifted by the male in marriage: The profoundest mysteries are the simplest.
In this they were netted and fished from the waters. The caul in English is synonymous with the smock. It is an old saying, 'Oh, you are a lucky man; you were wrapped up in a part of your mother's smock,' when born in the caul. The caul was the work, and the type of Neith the knitter, and Athena the weaver. One English name of the spider's web is a caul. Also the caul was a headdress in which the hair of the pubescent maiden or married woman was snooded as was the mythical gestator.
Egyptian mummies awaiting their rebirth in the tomb were invested in a network of bugles or beads, that represented the net of Neith, in which the child Horus was fished from the Nile. Buckley states that the Australian mothers likewise made nets of hair and twisted bark, in which they placed the bones of their dead children, and wore them tied round their necks by day, and laid them under their heads by night. The net-type is the same in both cases. It represents the caul of birth and afterwards of rebirth.
The caul of fat that forms the network of the kidneys was to be especially offered to the Hebrew deity. [p.155] 'Thou shalt take the caul that is about the midriff and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, and burn them upon the altar as a "sweet savour."'
The same caul of fat is still sought for and highly prized by the Australian blacks; but it must be human. They make an incision in the flank of the live victim, and extract a portion of the kidney-caul to anoint themselves with, leaving the sufferer to die slowly.
It is in this connection that the caul, or network, and sign of saving from the waters, acquired such significance for sailors. Midwives used to sell the caul to them as a preservative against drowning; also to advocates, for the purpose of making them eloquent. The first connects it with the saving from the flood; the second, with the nabi, because it was a sign of the revealer and maker known. Navel, naval, and nautical, are derived from this origin, and the sailor still holds on to the hieroglyphic signs.
On launching a canoe a Fijian chief has been known to slay several men for 'rollers' to facilitate the launching; the 'rollers' being afterwards cooked and eaten. Time was when a chief would kill a man, or men, on laying down the keel of a canoe, and try to sacrifice a life for every fresh plank added. Why was this? It was because the life was the breath in one aspect, the blood in the other. Nef (Eg.), breath, is the sailor, the wind, the breeze. The dead men were eaten as 'food for the carpenters;' but the souls let out were the breath that was to fill the sails, and make the voyage prosperous. If a chief did not lower the mast of his vessel within a day or two after arriving at the place, some poor creature was sacrificed, and taken to him as the 'lowering of the mast,' or letting out the breath of his sail. When a canoe arrived at a place for the first time after the death of a chief, the mast was not only lowered, the sail was also flung away into the water to be scrambled for. The typology is the same when the English or other ships still make the death-salute with lowered masts or flags at half-mast high. The sail was an Egyptian symbol of breath and soul, and the lowered flag now takes the place of the earlier sign.
The Two Truths of the water and the breath are especially operant in certain primitive and traceable customs, some of which are universal.
When the Brandenburg peasant empties a pail of water on his doorstep after the coffin has crossed it on the day of the burial, to 'hinder the ghost from coming back,' the custom is based on the antithesis of water and breath, and on the spirit or soul being founded on the breath. So is the belief that the ghost cannot cross a running stream without some kind of bridge, if only formed of a single thread.
Dapper, in his description of the Hottentots, says, some of them wear round the neck certain roots, which they find in the rivers far inland. When on a journey they set light to these in a fire, and then blow the smoke and ashes about, believing that the fumes or smell will keep off wild animals; or they chew the root and spit out the juice around the spot where they encamp for the night to ensure protection. When the Hottentot goes out hunting, his wife will kindle a fire, and she must do nothing else but tend it and keep it alive, for if it should go out, her husband will not be successful; or, if she elects the other element, she must pour water on the ground. When she is tired, her servant, or some one, must pour the water ceaselessly, or the hunter will not be lucky. We shall not find a simpler application of the two elementary truths.
On the last night of the year the Strathdown Highlanders form themselves into bands and fetch home great loads of juniper bushes, which are ranged round the fire to dry until morning. A discreet or wise man is then sent to the Dead-and-Living-ford to draw a pitcher of water in profound silence, without letting the vessel touch the earth. On his return they all retire to rest. Early on New Year's morning the usque-cashrichd or water of the Dead-and-Living-ford, is drunk as a charm that is potent till the next New Year's Day. One of them then takes a large brush, with which he performs an act of lustration by sprinkling the occupants of all the beds. When this is ended, the doors and windows are completely closed, and every crack and cranny carefully stopped. The juniper collected in the various rooms is brought in and set fire to, and a rite of fumigation is performed by aid of the suffocating vapour. The more intense the smuchdan, the more propitious is the solemnity. Horses, cattle, and other livestock, are then smoked to preserve them from evil or inimical influence during the coming year. The effusion of the spirit following this baptism of water is also represented by the drinking of whisky. As soon as the gude wife has sufficiently recovered her breath to reach the bottle dhu, she does her best to regenerate the wheezing, coughing, nearly choked sufferers.
These Two Truths of the water and breath are illustrated in like manner by Herodotus, who describes the way in which the Scythians made use of Indian hemp in their rite of purification after the burial of their dead. He says, 'The Scythians having buried their dead, purify themselves by washing their own bodies. Then they set up the tent of fumigation.' 'When the Scythians have taken some seed of the hemp they creep under the clothes, and then put the seed on the red-hot stones; this smokes, and produces such a steam that no Greek vapour-bath could surpass it.' The Scythians, transported with the vapour, shout aloud with delight. He likewise relates how the [p.157] Massagetæ had discovered trees that produced a peculiar kind of fruit, which the inhabitants threw on the fire, and sat round it in a circle to inhale the odour till they became intoxicated; then they rose up and betook themselves to singing and dancing.
In Russia custom requires that on the third day after childbirth the mother shall take a vapour bath. The results are often evil, but the practice is typical, therefore sacred, and thus continued. The Two Truths of the water and the breath are combined in the vapour bath. Vapour is the breath of water. The vapour or sweating bath is a prominent and hitherto inexplicable feature in the mysteries of the American Indians, Aztecs, and other races. Vapour produced from water by heat was a primitive illustration of the breath of life. It was the marvel, the mystery called kepu (Eg.), the mystery of heat, of fermentation, of breathing spirit into the embryo. Kept (Eg.) also means to fumigate. This was performed with vapour or other fumes produced by fire.
At a festival of the Delaware Indians said to have been held in honour of the god of fire, a small hut-oven was set up inside the house of sacrifice, made of twelve poles tied together atop, and covered over with blankets. It was heated with twelve stones made red-hot, and twelve men crept within. An old man then threw twelve handfuls of tobacco on the stones, and the fumes narcotised the sitters, who were carried out swooning.
The smokers and fumigators with tobacco were inhaling spirit, and in-breathing an inspiring life, a delirium of delight. Intoxication by tobacco was held by the North American Indians to be a supernatural ecstasy in which they saw spirits, as did the Brazilian sorcerers by the same means. Breath, breathing, vapour, were synonyms of the spirit, and the North American Indian yet adores the Great Spirit, the master of breath, by breathing the smoke of his tobacco-pipe toward the sun.
When the Canadian Indians killed a bear, one of the hunters placed the stem of his pipe between the bear's teeth and, breathing into the bowl, forced the tobacco-smoke backwards into its mouth, adjuring the soul of the animal not to be offended!
The smoke was a temporary revivification, a typical giving back of the breath, or a mode of spiritual communication by means of the breath here represented by the smoke. The smoke of sacrifice and of incense represents the breath or spirit. The Chinese burned beasts and rich silks and jewels for their vapour to ascend as an offering to the celestial spirits. The Jews were commanded to burn a perpetual incense before the Lord. The household deity of the Siamese was supposed to delight in the fragrant steam of hot rice and Arrack.
In offering flowers to Coatlicue the Aztec goddess of flowers, it was forbidden to smell them before they were presented to the goddess. Scent was considered the spirit of the offering, the breath of the flowers, by the primitive races. The Limboos in offering their sacrifices dedicate the 'life-breath to the gods, the flesh to themselves.' The Kaffirs eat the animals which they offer to the manes; the hunger of the spirits being satisfied with smoke. The Seminoles of Florida held the babe of a woman who died in childbirth over her mouth in order that it might receive her spirit with her parting breath: the breath was the spirit! So with the Romans, the nearest of kin had the right to inhale the breath or soul of the dying.
At the Jewish feast of tents or tabernacles a golden pitcher that held three lugs of water was filled from the fountain of Siloah. When they came with it to the water-gate the trumpet was blown, the priests ascended the stair of the altar and turned to the left, where two silver basins stood. Each was perforated at bottom with a small hole like a nostril. The one toward the west was for the water; the one to the east for the wine. The wine to the eastward was the Water of Life, and represented the effusion of the Holy Spirit, the second of the Two Truths. The double basin with the nostril-like aperture repeats the hieroglyphic vase with the two spouts, the name of which has been read khent and fent, and probably includes both in relation to the Two Truths, for it signifies the nose (which is fent), and it is at the same time a water-vase, or a vase of the Two Waters.
At the moment of pouring out one of the waters, in this case the Water of Life, considered by some Talmudists to be the effusion of the Holy Spirit, a strange transformation scene occurred. The priests suddenly cast off their belts and breeches; tore them into shreds and then made use of the strips as candlewicks to which they set light.
This was the analogue of the rising up to play in the Exodus, and conjoining promiscuously as in the witches' Sabbath, the first mode of celebrating an influx of the Spirit.
The Jewish breeches were not a masculine garb. The Makanase was a form of the primordial garment of womankind, still put on first by the priests, the same as the Egyptian ank, the dress and strap, which often appears as linen hung up to dry. The tearing up of this was typical of the negative period past, and the setting light to the strips as candles was the equivalent of procreation. To light a candle sta (Eg.) is synonymous with begetting a child.
The unleavened bread of the Egyptians and the Jews was symbolical of the first feminine period. Fermentation (kepa) was the primary form of spirit, and of the second of the Two Truths represented by the [p.159] leavened bread. Sekha-hut (Eg.) is leavened or inspirited bread. Dough, when leavened began to show holes and rents; it commenced breathing. In the Mishna instructions are given to the women who make unleavened bread, that they are to plunge their hands into cold water to prevent its breathing, or to hinder the dough from rising.
It was likewise a law that during Passover no man was allowed to chew wheat for laying on a wound, because it set up a process of fermentation on the way to becoming leavened.
Bread, when fermented, and breath are synonymous, and in English the breathing-place is called the Bread-basket. So the goddess Neft whose name signifies the breathed, or the breather, carries the bread and seed basket on her head; and she who is the lady of breath or seed is the later Llafdig, or lady of the loaf.
The Jews also apply the Two Truths to fruit, and make a distinction between Biccurim, the fruits of the soil in their natural state, and the fruits in their prepared condition of wine, oil, and flour called therumoth.
Before milk is considered fit for the use of men, with the Kaffirs, it needs to undergo the process of fermentation. New milk is only fit for the young, the adults hold it puerile for them to drink it. Fermented milk represents virility and spirit.
Of the Passover feast the rabbis say: 'On all other nights we dip what we eat once; on this night we dip twice.' Other ceremonial observances show the unification of the Two Truths.
The 'Passover of the Resurection' is spoken of by the two brothers in the Gospel of Nicodemus. They state that they were 'baptized along with other dead who had arisen,' and that afterwards they celebrated the Passover of the Resurrection.
The child Horus was fabled to be drowned, and the Osirified in this character enters the water. Bacchus, lord of the humid nature, in being raised again ascends from the waters and in the character of the twice-born was called the faninan or winnower. The initiated in the greater Mysteries were purified with water and breathed on, fanned, or winnowed by the purifying spirit.
'Tis the Lenaean feast (Bacchic). But we ourselves now, at least, are winnowed (pure).'
The two symbols held in the hands of the Egyptian gods, the hek or aut crook and the khi, are signs of these Two Truths. The hook which denotes laying hold is the determinative of matter as 'aut.' The khi is a fan, the sign of breath or spirit.*
* The crook is an inner African symbol. Hurd says of certain tribes, 'they place fetishes before their doors, and these titular deities are made in the form of grapples or hooks which we use to shake our fruit-trees.'. From this natural genesis the type becomes the crosier of the Pope of Rome, and of the Lama in Tibet, the symbol of the gods in the temples of Japan. But the inner African fetish image is primary.
The 'Two Truths' are represented by the water and the spirit or ghost in the dual baptism practised in many lands, and in all the known mysteries. The two baptisms of the Gnostics were recognised by them as the animal and the spiritual.
In the New Testament records we find the two baptisms contending for supremacy. John is represented as the baptizer with water and Paul with the Holy Ghost. They are likewise illustrated by the two baptisms of John and Jesus. John says, 'I baptize with water,' but Jesus is 'He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.' The double baptism is portrayed in Jordan by John baptizing Jesus with water, and the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, one of the symbolic birds of soul, and by the fire which Justin asserts was kindled in the river Jordan. The Two Truths are recognizable even in the formula of the Christians, applied to heretics who were 'to be baptized or burnt.'
The 'Two Truths' of biology survive in their primitive perfection as the 'Blood and Fire' blazoned on the banners of organized ignorance by the 'Salvation Army.' The blood of the female and the vivifying fire of the male are the two factors in the human creation. These bringers to birth in the natural genesis—the 'double primitive force' of the creator Ptah—were continued as types of rebirth in the symbolical representation of the mysteries, where the soul was supposed to be regenerated in baptism, reborn and saved, as by fire and blood, or the water and breath, that were made use of in the purifying rite. When divorced from their origin and unexplained by the gnosis, such doctrines and dogmas culminate in publicly profaning all that was once held sacred under the seal of secrecy because they were so natural in their genesis.
Among the Jakun tribes of the Malay Peninsula the Two Truths of the water and breath are recognised in their dual baptism. When a child is born it is carried to the nearest stream and washed. There a fire is kindled, fragrant wood is burned, and the child is passed to and fro through the fumigatory incense-smoke, or breath of fire. When the child is born the Khoi-khoi kindle a fire with the dorob, a fire-drill; no flint, steel, or matches being allowed. This fire has to be maintained until the navel heals and the umbilical cord drops off. Nothing must be cooked on that fire. If these injunctions be not duly observed the child will surely die.
The old Pahlavi Rivayat, or miscellany of traditional memoranda called the Shayast La-Shayast, gives instructions for the fire to be stirred and made to blaze high the moment the navel-cord of the newborn infant is severed, and for three days and three nights no one is to pass between the child and the fire. The placenta is still offered up as a burnt sacrifice by all good nurses; fire being the superior [p.161] element of life; the fire that vivifies; the solar or masculine fire. It is also an English custom for the parturient woman to breathe in her left hand to bring away the afterbirth.
In ancient Mexico the first act of lustration took place at birth. The child was washed by the nurse in the name of the water goddess to remove the outward impurity. Next she blew her breath on water held in her right hand, and prayed the invisible deity (the Holy Spirit) to descend upon the water for baptism of the inner nature and deliverance from sin, foulness, and misfortune. Four days later there was another ceremony (the nem, or second festival of Egypt), at which the babe was named, and it is said the child was passed four times through the fire. These customs were continued in the mysteries.
Modern writers may begin their account of the religious origins with the 'Perception of the Infinite'; but such thinkers, whose:—
Can spin an unsubstantial universe
Suiting their mood, and call it possible,
Sooner than see one grain with eye exact
And give strict record of it,'
are not calculated to interpret the thought of primitive men who began with a perception of the definite. They saw the breathing image of life issue from the water in various forms. They found that water was an element opposed to breath. They observed the fish the frog and the hippopotamus could keep under water and live; the water did not extinguish their breath as it did that of the human being. Hence when they tried to express the perception of a power beyond themselves, it took one shape as the power of breathing in the water. Such is one of the great facts registered in the Kamite typology. This perception led to the portrayal of powers in the image of the frog, the eel, the perch, the hippopotamus, the crocodile, and other types of that which could cross the waters and live beneath them.
In one figure of life issuing from the waters the lotus is the type of the bearing and breathing power. It is noticeable that the Greek word στέγω, which is used for bearing, means to hold water, and in gestation the bearer as vessel is watertight in the mystical sense. Hence the pregnant water-horse was adopted as a type of the bearing mother; the lotus on the water is the early type of the natural argo. The womb, or argha-yoni, was the primary form of the boat that goes of itself without sail or wind in the mythical tales. But the water and lotus are both female emblems at first. The lotus represented her who came from herself or from the Water of Life, i.e., the blood source. The papyrus-sceptre, the uat, is the express sign of the feminine nature of Uati who impersonated both [p.162] truths of wet and heat, water and breath, or body and soul. It was the blue and red lotus in Egypt, where red denoted flesh and blood, blue signified the soul.
To image source as water, they identified water first as source. This was the one existence with two manifestations, or two aspects; the water of life in one sense might become the water of death in the other, according as it was drink of life or drench of death.
In the mystical phase it was the water of life when it nourished the embryo, and the water of death to the seed that was mixed with it through the non-observance of time and season.
A mythical form of the twin waters of source was supplied by the red and white or spotted cow, as the menstrual fluid and milk; the water of the womb and breast; the red source being reckoned first as it is in nature. Maka, Menka, or Menkhat, the genetrix, carries in her hands two vases, the symbol in a dual aspect of the two waters of the motherhood.
In the Bundahish there is a physiological account of the two waters of source considered as female and male. In this the seed of the male becomes the uppermost of the two, and is a form of the spirit that broods over the water in creation or incubation. It says in Revelation: 'The seed of the females which issues beforehand takes a place within the womb, and the seed of the males will remain above it and will fill the space of the womb; whatever refrains therefrom becomes blood again, enters into the veins of the females, and at the time any one (child) is born it becomes milk and nourishes him, as all milk arises from the seed of the males, and the blood is that of the females.'
According to the Parsee ritual the rule is that, 'That which comes from the menstruous woman to any one or to anything is all to be washed with bull's urine (gomez) and water.' These also are two opposite forms of the waters as male and female.
The two waters are divided, and one of them is underlined with red by John as the water and the blood.
The double baptism of the mysteries was also by water and by blood. The blood, represented the hesmen, the menstrual purification, and the water the masculine source, as may be learned from the Ritual and the process of regenerating; hence the water of purifying and the water of vivifying, the Pool of Natron and the Pool of Salt.
Considered as liquid or uat the two waters are one, but they were divided to distinguish them. They were one when the water and the breath constituted the Two Truths. When distinguished as the male and female of source there are three, including the breath, [p.163] and John identifies the later three as the water, blood, and spirit. 'The Christ came,' he says, 'by water and blood.' The Alexandrine version distinctly says, 'He came by water and the spirit.' Another version gives the water, blood, and spirit.
This uninterpreted gospel mystery is only explicable by aid of the Two Truths, and by distinguishing their variations. John has taken the Two Truths of the water (male), the blood (female), to evolve the Spirit as the third witness of his Trinity; 'and these three agree in one.' There were but Two Truths, but these were blended to produce the son who was a third to the preceding two as the one in whom they united and were reproduced; the Spirit of Life being here evolved from the two waters, male and female.
The negroes of St Croix, West Indies, on becoming Christianized objected to be baptized by the water from the earth; they insisted on using rainwater which came down from heaven. Such a superstition belongs to an earlier form of faith than the Christian, which, especially in the Protestant phase, is smilingly ignorant of any distinction between the two. The Catholics sanctify the water of earth by adding salt, and this turns the water of hesmen (blood) into the Pool of Salt according to the Egyptian Ritual.
When the two waters are distinguished as male and female, existence, healing, and purity are made dependent upon their not being mixed. Various legends inculcate the never mixing of the white source with the red. The Talmudists say the waters of Jordan are unfit for healing the unclean because they are united waters. This is a relic of naming from the two waters considered as male and female continued from the time when distinction of season was first taught.
In the Book of Enoch, when the world is destroyed it is described in the same typical language. Destruction depends upon the waters mixing, the water above being considered as masculine source. 'The water which is above shall be the agent (male), and the water which is under the earth shall be the recipient, and all shall be destroyed.'
Unlike the Jordan described by the rabbis, the Welsh Bala, or going forth from the source at the head of the twin river Dee was famed for not mixing its dual waters which ran into one lake but were reputed to pass through it in separate currents that never blended together. The same was said of various other waters. Homer describes the river Titaresius flowing from the Styx as pure and unmixed with the waters of death; and gliding like oil over the surface of the waters by which the gods made their covenants.
The twin waters are also localised in Dumfriesshire, where the river Esk takes the double form of the white and black Esk. The [p.164] place where the one water bifurcates was once sacred to most ancient rites; a fair was formerly held there annually, at which it was the custom for unmarried persons of both sexes to choose a companion with whom they were to live for the year following. This was called hand-fasting. If they liked each other they were then united for life, and if not they separated and made a fresh choice.
The Kabbala Denudata says there are two dews, the dew of Macroprosopus (the primal cause) and the dew of the Seir.
In the Inscription of Darius at El-Kharjeh the two waters appear the young and the old Han or Mu; youth and age being the two aspects there assigned to the same element for typical purposes.
The twin waters are found at the centre of all in the Assyrian place of beginning, in the realm of Hea and Nin-ki-Gal, the Great Lady of the earth, or the Great Mother Earth. Here, according to the Assyrian mythos, rose the stream Miebalati, or waters of life, and here also the 'waters of death which cleanse not the hands,' in consequence, probably, of being like the Egyptian tesh and pant, the red source. The Basutos have a mysterious region in the world of spirits called Molimo, the Abyss. The Baperis on the northern shore of the Fal river affirm that the entrance to this region is in their country. Here the universal two waters are located; one is a kind of Styx, the river of death; the other, in a cistern, is the water of life and nectar of the gods.
The natives of Millbank identify the water with two rivers guarded by two huge portals and flowing from a dark lake. The good enter the stream to the right hand, this is the water of life from which they are eternally supplied. The wicked enter the water on the left hand and suffer from starvation and perishing cold. In this, the two waters appear just as in the Ritual, and the myth presents the eschatological aspect of the Egyptian judgment. Even the island answers to the Isle of the Blessed in the celestial Nile.
The water that divides in space is a type of bifurcation in the beginning. The heaven or firmament, (the Nun,) was first apprehended, or named as the water above. This was divided in creation as we find it in the Hebrew Genesis where the water is separated into upper and lower, and was represented by the two manifestations of day and dark, the water of life and water of death. Various legends may be read by an application of this type. The Chinese have a saying that Chaos opened and unfolded at midnight, and therefore they date their day from that hour; the one time of the 'Two Truths' of light and shade.
The separation was next marked on the two horizons of dawn and darkness. The one water that is divided in the Ritual became twain in forming two lakes; the northern being the lake [p.165] of primordial matter; the southern, the lake of sacred principles or seminal (later spiritual) essences. Thus the south, as the region of light, and the north as the domain of darkness, were the bright and the dark waters of the two heavens. This was in the vaguest stage of distinguishing before the two solstices could be determined by two constellations or stars. We find the water of life is sometimes said to be concealed between two lofty mountains which shut closely together. But for two or three minutes in each day they open, and the seeker of the healing and vivifying water must be ready on the instant to dash through the opening, dip his two flasks and as instantly rush back.
There is a Slovak version of the myth, which makes the cleft in one mountain open at midday, the other at midnight. The midday cleft discloses the water of life, the midnight one reveals the water of death. In this version the division is that of midday and mid-dark, and the heaven is the water of light and shade, as it is in Egyptian when the pool of the two waters is called Shu-Ma, or Ma-Shu, i.e., light and shade. Similar stories are told of the Moslem Mount Kaf.
This imagery of the cloven mountain is applied by Zechariah on the grand scale to the great year when the Lord shall go forth and stand upon the Mount of Olives, 'And the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the East and toward the West, and half of the Mountain shall remove toward the North and half toward the South.' This is the mount of the equinoxes, yet to be described. When the vast cleft shall open into a deep valley the 'living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the Southern sea (in front or before) and half of them toward the hinder sea' (i.e., the north, which implies the other being south). These are the two waters of the earliest division.
'Generator of Years' is another name of the Two Pools—the Pool of Natron and the Pool of Salt—in which the sun was reborn by day and the moon was renewed by night. This shows the waters in relation to the keepers of time and period. The first definite indicators of the year were the seven stars of the Great Bear, and the 'Well of the Seven Stars' the Hebrew Beer-Shebâ, was an early form of the primordial water of the nocturnal heaven, from the depths of which the constellation arose in latitudes where it dipped below the horizon. Then it became the pool of the sun and moon on the two opposite sides of the circle, when the waters were divided. The Mohammedan traditions speak of the two waters as the pool of the sun and the pool of the moon.
In Polynesia the god Tane was the mythical divider of the heaven from earth, or the waters into upper and lower; and the divided or [p.166] dividing waters are still represented by the constellation Eridanus, the Iarutana (Eg.), or River of the Division. In a Maori myth the waters of Tane are the waters of life and renewal for the moon. At their only festival, that of the new moon, the women assembled and bewailed those who had died during the last moon, crying, 'Alas, thou, O Moon, hast returned to life, but our departed ones come not back. Thou hast bathed in the living Waters of Tane, and had thy life renewed, but there has been no fountain of living water to restore life to our departed ones.'
Following the division of light and shade the two solstices were established, north and south, by means of two stars, such as the double lawgiver Kepheus (Kafi or Ma-Shu) north, and Cor Leonis in the zodiac. Kepheus was known in India as Capuja and in New Zealand Kupe (a name of Maui the Maori Shu) is celebrated as the divider of the north from the south islands and as the former of Cook's Straits.
This first division of the heaven, the water, or the circle, is possibly symbolised in the custom of the Algonquin Indians who, when on the warpath, drink out of small bowls which are marked across the middle. In going out one side of the circle is placed to the mouth and in coming back the other. In such customs the original meaning continued to be enacted when otherwise forgotten.
The Chinese have the two waters of the Egyptian Ann as two rivers in the Valley of Han or Hanmun. It is said to have been in this valley that Hwang-te the first mythical Emperor of China obtained the map-writings in red lines and in the seal character. The dragon-writing was derived from the River Ho; the tortoise-writing from the River Lo, the two waters which are still represented by the double stream of Aquarius.
At the time and place of receiving the writings there were three days and nights during which all was wrapt in vapour. When the mist removed the emperor saw a great fish and sacrificed to it. Three days and nights was the length of time during which the hero was immured in the fish's belly. It was when the fish floated off to sea that Hwang-te obtained the map-writings in the Valley of Han (Egyptian Ann) the birthplace, where the one water of heaven was divided in two for the earliest mapping-out. The Fish was in all likelihood the Pisces Australis which contains the great star Fomalhaut (the mouth of the fish), one of the determinatives of the four quarters. This was an early sign of the solstitial division; and the fish, crocodile, or water-cow, was the primordial type of the genetrix who brought forth the writings from the waters.
As before said one name of the Egyptian pool is Shu-Ma, or Ma- [p.167] Shu, in relation to the Two Truths represented by Ma and Shu, and the Chinese have a curious ceremony designated the mae-shuwy. On the death of a parent the eldest son living puts two small copper coins into an earthen vessel which he takes in his hands and goes, accompanied with other mourners, to the city-moat, or to the well at the village gate, where he deposits the money and takes some water, with which the face of the dead is washed. Whoever brings this water is entitled to a double share of the property. When there are no children or grandchildren the next of kin purchases the water, and this ceremony determines the heir to the double possession. In this typical ceremony the water at the gate, the two copper coins, the twofold property all tend to identify the mae-shuwy rite with the Two Truths of the pool called Ma-Shu in Egyptian mythology.
The Great Hall of the Two Truths in the Ritual stands at the place of the double pool or lake. This is in Ann, which is an Egyptian name of the Valley and of Fish.
The pool of the two waters was also formed at the place of the great serpent temple, Nagkon-Wat, in Cambodia. On either side of the immense causeway, 725 feet long, is an artificial lake fed by springs, each lake covering about five acres of ground. Popular tradition assigns the foundations of the temple to the prince of Roma, whose name is mentioned by the native historians. Now the Fish was a sign of the birthplace from the beginning. It was there the prince, the repa and heir-apparent, was born, that being the sign of rebirth out of the waters, which was fixed at last as the sign of Pisces in the solar zodiac.
It was there that Semiramis or Derkéto, the fish-tailed genetrix, brought forth her son; and in the temple of Roma there is a representation of the child as Vishnu issuing from the mouth of the emaning fish, holding in his hand the Word, which has been rescued from the waters. Rama is another Egyptian name for the fish, and for the throat out of which issues the Word. It has been previously suggested that semi (Eg.), the image, and rami (Eg.), the fish, supplied the name of the fish-tailed Semiramis. It is the celestial locality that will account for Roma in Cambodia and Rome in Italy. Rumo was an ancient name of the River Tiber, and from this the city was undoubtedly named as the birthplace of the twins, Romulus and Remus. Ram (Eg.), the fish and the throat, is still represented by the mitre, shaped like the fish's mouth, worn by the Pope of Rome; and Roma, called the mother of the twins, is one with Semiramis of Nineveh.
The pool of the two waters, denominated the Twin Pools, was represented in Jerusalem as the two pools called Bezatha by Eusebius in his Onomasticon. He says, 'there is a pool [p.168] at Jerusalem, which is the Piscina Probatica, that had formerly five porches, and now is pointed out as the twin pools there, of which one is filled by the rains of the year, hut the other exhibits its water tinged in an extraordinary manner with red, retaining a trace, they say, of the victims that were formerly cleansed in it.' The red one answers to the Pool of Pant and Hesmen; the other to the Water of Life. Jerusalem, the Mount of Peace, the nabhi-yoni of the earth, was one of those sacred cities that were mapped out according to the Kamite model in the heavens. As such they include the well of the abyss (Egyptian 'tsta,' the depth) and the water from the source.
Thus the miracle of the healing belongs of necessity to the astronomical allegory. The 'moving of the waters' is periodic, as in all other forms of the mythos. It depends on the coming of the Angel—the very impersonation of periodicity—and on his washing in the water first. 'An angel of the Lord washed at a certain season.' So in the Ritual the deceased is restored to life by the water in which Osiris, the good opener (un-nefer), has wished.
The Pool of Two Truths was in Ann (Heliopolis) and Ann is the name of the Fish. In Jerusalem it is the Fish-pool, and when the zodiac of the twelve signs was formed the solar birthplace was figured in the sign of Pisces, as the outlet from the northern quarter, and the waters of the abyss, the depth, or tesui-ta (Eg.) from which come the Hebrew Bethesda or Bezatha, and the Assyrian Bit-zida—for the same imagery is found in the Assyrian mythology and mundane mapping out from the one original pattern. In the Greek text the pool is said to be by the sheep, not by the sheep-market, and the Fishes of course are next to the sign of the Sheep or Ram in the zodiac.
The twin-pool was located in Ann, the white water being southward and the red northward. Here the Church of Anne answers to the Temple of Ann in Egypt. Near the church was a reservoir of water which is mentioned by Brocardus, corresponding to the pool or well that supplied the two waters. The Assyrians likewise have their Bit-Anna. A shrine of Anna was built on the mound near Bit-ziba; just as the ancient British had their well and water of 'St. Anne.'
The well Zem-Zem at Mecca, into which the moon is fabled to have fallen, is an extant form of the Pool of the Two Truths. The waters also preserve their dual character as of old. They are the Water of Life to the true believer. Every pilgrim who visits the shrine seeks its well, and both drinks of the water and pours it over his body. It is still the water of purification or regeneration in accordance with the meaning of Sem-Sem in Egyptian. Sem-Sem (Eg.) denotes the regenesis. The Ritual says: 'Inexplicable is the Sem-Sem, it is the greatest of all secrets.'
The pool in the Ritual is the well of Sem-Sem. It was the place [p.169] not only where the moon fell but where both moon and sun were renewed. In accordance with which doctrine the deceased seeks the well to receive baptismal regeneration and be purified and renovated. He says 'I wash in the Pool of Peace. I draw waters from the Divine Pool under the Two Sycamores of Heaven and Earth. All Justification is redoubled on my behalf.' 'The Osiris is pure by that Well of the South and the North.'
The water of Zem-Zem is sent forth to Mohammedan devotees abroad as the water of life and spiritual healing. And it is very literally the water of death; for a late analysis made by Dr. E. Frankland showed it to be sheer sewage 'seven times more concentrated than London sewage,' and containing 579 grains of solid matter per gallon.
The division of the water is likewise portrayed on the monuments by the figure of Hapi-Mu. Hapi, being of both sexes, denotes the one in whom the two were united (Hapi), hence the epicene personification. From the mouth of Hapi issues the one water which enters two other figures that emane it from their mouths in two separate streams. Thus the one water is visibly divided into the two waters of mythology just as the one Nile became two in the Blue Nile above and the Red Nile below, in the land of Egypt. Hapi-Mu is painted red and blue. One source of the two waters of Hapi-Mu called the 'Abime of Karti,' was localized at the Ivory Island, Elephantine. This personification of the waterer was finally fixed as the Waterman pouring out the two streams in the zodiac. But long before the zodiac was formed the two waters were said to issue from the mount, a figure of the height, sometimes called the Rock of the Horizon. The 'two-topped mount divine' was a form of this rock that divides in two in various myths. The double rock which marked the solstices first, and afterwards the equinoxes. The well or pool of Ma-Shu (Eg.) bubbles up from this mythical mount or rock of the horizon in a legend of the people called Shu-Paropamisans, south of the Hindu Kush. At the top of a rock near the fort of Khornushi there rises a spring of brilliant water, hot in winter and cool in summer, in a basin always brimming. 'Nu-Shu' is said to be the sound made by the murmur of the water. Shu having been the opener of the rock from which the water sprang at first. In this legend Shu appears as the grandson of Noah. Nu (Eg.) is water and a variant of mu or ma; thus Nu-Shu is equivalent to Ma-Shu, the name of the pool in Egyptian. Shu was the divider of the rock whence came the water as the god of the two solstices or divisions in [p.170] heaven. This, like the Hebrew legend of Moses or Mashu smiting the rock, is another version of the same original mythos.
In Maori the Two Truths of Mati find expression the most perfect. Matua signifies the first; the parent and parents. Matauai denotes the fountainhead. Matatu is to begin to flow. Matahae means the stream diverging from the main channel where the water becomes the Two Waters. Mata-mata is the source of all, the bifurcating or dual point of beginning; an exact equivalent for the dual mati (Eg.). Motu means dividing, to be severed; and Matahi is the name of the two first months of the year.
One ancient Egyptian name of the birthplace in the beginning where the water divided into two—as in the double stream of the Waterman—was Mat, the middle; later Ann, and this is extant by name in the Mangaian and Maori mythology. Rangimotia, or the centre of the heavens, is the point of commencement marked by a hill, as it was in Mat, the boundary, division, middle of the heaven. It was on Rangi-Motia that Ru, the sky-supporter, planted the trees upon which the heaven was raised up from the earth. The division of Mangaia was based on that of the hill Rangimotia, the centre of the heavens; and in accordance with this mapping out of the land it was the custom in ancient times, whenever a large fish was stranded, to divide the fish in two, straight along the backbone, and then apportion it in shares, the head going to the two eastern chiefs, the tail to the two western, and the middle to the two central chiefs of Mangaia. Again, the divided fish typifies the one fish of the primordial division which is represented for us by the twin fishes of the zodiac. Also the Annamese consider it bad luck for a fish to leap out of the water into the boat. When this happens the fish must be cut in two and thrown into the water again, one half on each side of the boat. Such customs are correlative, however widely scattered. The whole round of the world is a reflector of the celestial imagery.
In the kingdom of Udyana, or 'the garden,' a form of Eden, near Cashmere, there is a sacred mountain called 'Mount Lan-po-lo,' by Hiuen-Tshang. At one time it was identified with Méru. It is the source of the waters as is Alborz, in the Bundahish, and the Gan-Eden in Genesis. The Buddhist pilgrims describe the tree of life, or periodicity, Kalpatura, as growing on the summit, where there is a lake from which a large river issues, and in the water lurks a dragon. In many mythologies the Two Waters are localised along with the tree and the great serpent (or dragon). The three are inseparable in the Ritual, where the Pool of the Two Truths is also the pool of the two trees as well as the two waters, and the Apophis serpent that lies in the Pool of Pant.
In a Russian story a flying snake brings two heroes to a lake into which a green bough is cast, and the green bough forthwith breaks into flame and is consumed. Into another lake they flung a decaying log, and this immediately burst into blossom. The legend preserves its two branches of the two trees and the two waters of life and death as found in the pool of Ma-Shu. These narratives belong to the same original myth as the burning bush of Moses and the budding rod of Aaron, the flying serpents, the bitter waters, with the log or tree cast in to make them sweet. As such they have been preserved in the northern folklore instead of being converted into Hebrew history out of the Kamite mythology. In the Russian stories these Two Waters also appear as the water of strength and of weakness. They are often among the precious treasures guarded by the serpent in a cave, cellar, or other hole of the underworld. One of the Skazkas tells of a wondrous garden in which there are two springs of healing and life-giving water, and around this garden coils a mighty serpent like that of Midgard hidden in the waters, which encircles the world until the last day. The Egyptian pool of the Two Truths is represented in the Bundahish by the abyssal waters. These are identifiable by the tree and the lurking monster. Here it is the horn tree, the tree of healing and immortality. The Apophis dragon of the Egyptian pool is here the lizard with a log-like body, which is at eternal enmity with the good mind, and for ever tries to injure and destroy the Tree of Life. The waters, in a modern Greek story, are guarded by a lamia, a serpent-woman, and these flow from a rock. In another, the cleft of the mountain opens at midday, and the springs are disclosed. Each of these cries 'Draw from me', but the bee flies to the one that gives life.
The healing water that is periodic in the gospel according to John is one with the water that only heals periodically in this form of the mythos.
The mount, or rock, and the tree, are co-types with the water at the point of all commencement, and these can be traced in many localities. For example—the same Pool of the Two Truths, along with the tree of the Ritual, is found in the story told by Varro of the origin of Athens. It is related that a double wonder appeared springing out of the earth—the olive tree and water. The oracle declared that the olive was the sign of Athena, the water of Poseidon; and the people were to choose from which of the two—tree or water—they would name their city, the name of Athens being adopted.
The Two Waters are also described in the Bundahish as belonging to the 'beginnings of creation.' They are said to flow from the north, where the Aredvivsur fount of the waters is the source of all. [p.172] Ardvi-sura, in the Aban Yasht, is a title of the goddess Anahita, who is the female angel of the waters; and the name of Anahid is applied to the planet Venus in the Bundahish. Anahita is the Persian form of the Egyptian Anit (Neith) and the Assyrian and Syrian Anne. The waters come 'part from Alburs and part from the Alburz of Ahura-Mazda; one towards the west, that is the Arag, and one towards the east, that is the Veh River.' Of these it is said: 'Through those finger-breadth tricklings dost thou pour and draw forth such waters, O Ahura-Mazda!' The fertilization of the world arises from these two waters.
Here, as elsewhere, the mythical waters have been confused with actual rivers with which they were identified, but the celestial Egypt and the Nile of the Waterman are indicated as the originals of the common mythos. The Arag is described as passing through the 'land of Spêtos, which they also call Mesr, and they call it there the river Niv.' Mesr is Egypt, the mes-ru, or outlet of birth, and Spêtos therefore represents the word Egypt. The s in Pazend being equivalent to the Avesta g or Pahlavi ik or ig, Spêtos is a form of Egypt like Coptus or Egyptos. Niv is also identical with num (Eg.) or with nil, if the Pazend form of the word be transcribed through Pahlavi.
The tree, the water, and the serpent, which are clustered together in various myths at the point of commencement, may be identified at last as inner African, for these are the three supreme types of divinity with several races. The water, the serpent, and the tree, sometimes classed as a triad, are the objects of worship in Hwida. Three deities only are adored by the negroes of Guinea—the water, tree, and serpent. This myth of the heaven that divided into the Two Waters of day and dark, of south and north, of life and death, is universal, and belongs to a total system of typology that is one and indivisible.
It takes years to fathom the simplicity of the primitive thought and expression; the knowingness of the 'ignorant present' is totally antipodal to such matters as are herein interpreted. The Two Truths were also typified by motion and non-motion, or arrest in relation to the female. This is shadowed forth by Plutarch in a somewhat abstract and remote manner, but thoroughly illustrative of the way in which the simplicities of the early time have been transmogrified into the 'Mysteries' of the later, especially by the Greeks:—
'The generative and salutary part of nature hath its motion towards him (Osiris), and in order to procure being; but the destroying and corruptive part hath its motion from him, and in order to procure not-being. For which reason they call the former part Isis, from going and being born-along with knowledge, she being a kind of a living and prudent motion. For her name is not of a [p.173] barbarous original; but as all the gods have one name (Theos) in common, and that is derived from the two first letters of Theon (runner) and of Theatos (visible), so also this very goddess is both from motion and science at once called Isis by us and Isis also by the Egyptians. So, likewise, Plato tells us that the ancients opened the nature of the word Usia (or substance) by calling it Isia (that is, knowledge and motion); as also that Neosis (intellection) and Phronesis (discretion) had their names given them for being a Phora (or agitation) and a kind of motion or lids (or mind), which was then, as it were Hiemenos and Pheromenos (that is, moved and agitated), and the like he affirmeth of Synienay (which signifies to understand), that it was as much as to say to be in commotion. Nay, he saith moreover, that they attribute the very names of the Agathon (or good) and of Arete (or virtue) to the Theontes (or runners) and the Euroüntes (or well-movers). As likewise on the other hand again, they used terms opposite to motion by way of reproach; for they called what clogged, tied up, locked up, and confined nature from Jesthai and Janai (that is, from agitation and motion), Kakia (baseness or ill-motion), Aporial (difficulty or difficult motion), Deilia (fearfulness or fearful motion), and Anina (sorrow or want of motion). As corruption locks up and fixes Nature's course, so generation resolves and excites it by means of motion.'
The simple foundation for this doctrinal abstruseness is that the early men perceived and taught that there was a time to go, and a time not to go, or a time of motion and a time of arrest. Some of the strangest matter in all folklore is related to this subject. The Hottentots speak out more plainly. Bleek tells us how in their folktales it is affirmed that by the glance from the eye of a maiden (this, he says, is probably at a time when she would be usually kept in strict retirement) men became fixed in whatever position they then occupied, with whatever they were holding in their hands. They were also transformed into 'trees that talked.' That is, as other legends show, during the ordinary menstrual period, which was looked upon as the opposite of motion, an end of time, a solution of continuity, a phase of arrest.
At a later stage of thought it is said, 'The fiend or demoness Gêh is so violent that where no other fiend can smite with a look, she smites with a look.'
This arrest was transferred and reflected in the persons of those who looked on the maiden at the taboo time. Many legends of a transformation of living things into stone originated in this way, and the petrifying is often assigned to water. The water of life, represented as the water of death or negation in the occult sense, is afterwards externalised.
The Polynesians and North American Indians call water that flows living water, and when it ceases to flow it is dead water. Also, during the negative period, or the solution of continuity in time, it was the dead water, or water of death, according to the symbol. The water of life flowed, was in living motion, and motion was equivalent to generation, whereas corruption, as Plutarch has it, 'locks up and fixes Nature's course,' and this corruption was that of the dead water, the typhonian torpidity which required to be aroused by means of motion in generation.
Remembering the liku token of a marriage covenant and other customs connected with the reckoning of intercourse between the sexes from the time of feminine puberty, it is more than probable that the myth of the Sleeping Beauty and her water of life is founded on the condition of the prepubescent and unopen female. This, too, was a condition of not going, non-motion, arrest, passivity, the first lockup to primitive man, which was also applied to menstruation as the opposite of motion in another sense, both meeting in the one meaning of non-going during the time of taboo.
One of the Two Waters is described as a magic fluid flowing from the hands and feet of a fair maiden, who is a form of the 'Sleeping Beauty.' In a variant of the same Russian story, the precious water is contained in a flask concealed beneath the pillow of the Sleeping Beauty, who lies on her couch in the Enchanted Castle amidst the realm that is locked in magic slumber, until the Prince comes to wake all up and to carry off the prize, here represented as the feminine water of renewal, which is sought for the purpose of turning age into youth, or, in other phrase, for reproduction.
The Russian folktales almost invariably recognise Two Waters as being made use of for the miraculous restoration or transformation. One is called the Water of Death. This is employed in healing the wounds of a corpse. The Living Water is held to restore the body to life.
The Norse tales speak of two waters; one—the Water of Death—induces a magic sleep, from which the Water of Life alone can recover.
These waters in the folklore make the blind to see and the lame to walk, as they do in the Russian story of the 'Blind Man and the Cripple,' both of whom are cured by one of the Two Waters; the witch being destroyed in the other; this correlates with the belief that evil spirits, when exorcised, flee to and find their place of disappearing in the Red Sea; the sea or pool of dissolution in the Ritual.
Both truths of the water and breath were at first represented by the Great Mother of mythology in accordance with the earliest appearances. The mother gave the water of being as flesh-maker to the child, and breathed the quickening breath of life into the embryo through its navel. Breath was the second element of life—the spirit that fluttered over the mystical waters. The Two Truths were also assigned to the genetrix, in two characters, those of the two sisters, Isis and Neft, one of whom represented the red source, the other the breath, or Nef. Next the male was made the breather, and the female represented the water. He was the inspirer of soul, and she the former of flesh. The phallus, as nefer, becomes the male breather. A Yoruban saying [p.175] affirms that 'Marrow (compare the Hebrew ןמשׁ) is the Father of Blood.' Observation had then extended to the region of causation, and the male principle had been made primary. The bat (Eg.) is the father as the inspirer of the breath or soul, called the ba, earlier paf. And the male as bat or pater, the inspirer of breath, is strangely illustrated in an Indian sculpture from the cave-temple of Elephanta, now in the British Museum. The critic of the present work should take a lesson in symbolism from this sculpture. To the eye that is unfamiliar with, and the mind that is uninstructed in such teachings of the past, it is ghastly in its grossness; a fragment from Sodom, a damning proof against the carnal heathen mind. Yet denunciation is altogether beside the mark. Such things, of course, are not reproducible now, but they have never been explained. Once the meaning of these representations was piously expounded in the caves of the mysteries, where the primitive pictures were drawn on the walls of the chambers of imagery. The group here referred to very simply sets forth the male as the supplier to the female of the breath and the Water of Life, as in the dual emanation proceeding from Khem in the drawings at Denderah. The male is the breather of life in a twofold character, and the act of natural congress could not have represented the meaning as does this biological allegory.
When this repellent subject was carved it was to demonstrate the idea that a male source was the nourishing potency of nature, and the breather or inspirer of the female; and both the water and the breath of life are here assigned to the male, as the active agent of a biune nature, in which the female, as the passive recipient, is being fertilised. The Hindus reduced the feminine to mere nonentity, and here ascribe both the breath and the liquid vivification to the male: the female being now portrayed as the receiving instead of the emaning double-mouth. This transfer of the breathing-source from the female to the male can be traced in Egypt.
In the Ritual the speaker in the new life says he has been 'snatched from the Waters of his Mother' and 'emaned from the nostril of his father Osiris.' At this stage the father had become the breather of life. But the mother was primordial.
When the two divine sisters invoke Osiris to come to them to kha, as the beloved of the adytum, the lord of the sixth day's festival, the fructifying bull, Isis says: 'Thou comest to us from thy retreat to spread the water of thy soul; to distribute the Bread of thy being, that the Gods may live, and men also.' Bread and breath are homotypes, and thus the male divinity is here the Lord of the Two Truths, and supplier of the water and the breath, as in the Indian drawing.
The Two Truths of water and breath were likewise represented by the god Num or Khnef. He is the lord of the inundation; the [p.176] king of frogs; the sailor, the spirit breathing on the waters in creation. He is characterised as the great god making (like a potter) the son of his race with the good breath in his mouth.
In the Hebrew version of the mythos the water of life flows from the Rock Tser until the time of Miriam's passing away. She represented the feminine source. The change to the masculine occurs when the water gushes for the first time from the Rock Sela, by command of Moses. This was the water of Meribah, and in Egyptian mer is water, and bah signifies the male. In Chinese fu-mu for the parents is now understood to mean the father and mother. Both, however, were feminine names at first, and fu (Chinese) is still a name of the wife; fu (Eg.) signifies dilatation, swelling, bearing, the mother as gestator. Mu is water and the mother. Fu, fuf, or puf, denotes the breath of life, whether represented by the male or female, and the two parents are identical by name with the two elements of breath and water.
When the masculine deity had taken the place of the mother, and the sun had been adopted for the creative type, the same imagery of the Two Waters and the twin source was applied to the solar god. We read in the Magical Texts, 'When the sun becomes weak he lets fall the sweat of his members and this changes to a liquid; he bleeds much.' Then he was called the sun in linen; he was bound up as a woman; or he was Osiris-tesh-tesh in his bloody sweat, in Smen.
In another of the sun's weepings or sheddings he is figuratively said to 'let water fall from his eyes; it is changed into working bees; they work in the flowers of each kind; and honey and wax are produced instead of water.' Shu and Tefnut (an equivalent of Shu and Ma) are said to weep much. 'Shu and Tefnut give it (the liquid) to the living members.' But the sun is the deity who in the later mythos sheds one water that turns to blood, and a liquid source of life which is typified by wax or sperm. The English ritualists still cling to their long sperm candles as the sign of the Light of the World, the solar messiah; the red source being symbolised by the bloody wafer of the papists. The tallest wax candle in Rome is the same, symbolically, as the most elongated linga of Shiva in India, and both meet where they can be explained in the typology of Kam. The Hebrew deity is also represented as shedding two creative tears, a more abstract form of the primeval Two Waters.
In a Hindu picture of Mahadeva and Parvatii, the waters of Soma are seen issuing from the head of the male deity, and from the mouth of the cow, the feminine personification. Shiva is the mouth of the male source, and Parvati, the Great Mother, the mouth (mut) of the feminine source.
The golden rod standing amid the waters is a hieroglyphic of the biune one. The reed as vetasa in Sanskrit, is synonymous with the male emblem. He who knows the golden reed standing in the midst of the waters is the mysterious Prajapati, as generator. This golden reed is described standing in streams of butter (ghrita). Opposite as it may seem to any direct resemblance, butter is the representative of female source, not of the male.
And rightly too. It came from the female, the cow, the nourisher, and in the sacrificial rites Soma was typical of the male origin; butter of the female. Thus the golden reed and the butter are the biune source imaged in Prajapati. Ghritaki, the butterer or female anointer is an epithet of the goddess Saraswati. 'May the waters, the mothers, cleanse us, they who purify with butter, purify us with butter,' is one of the invocations, and Saraswati was this purifier personified.
The golden reed of Prajapati is the Priapus. The lingam and reed also cross by name in the Kaffir hlanga for the reed and for the name of the Zulu Prajapati or progenitor, the great, great father of all.
Porphyry tells us that Zaratusht consecrated a cave in a mountain on the borders of Persia, where he represents the powers of nature by painted symbols, as the souls descending into birth. 'For,' he remarks, 'the ancients thought that these souls are incumbent on the water which is inspired by divinity, as Numenius says, who adds, that on this account a prophet asserts that the Spirit of God moved on the waters.' In this later phase the souls descend instead of ascending in froth, foam, vapour, or breath.
The Two Truths of Egyptian biology, the blood and breath named sen or sun (the u being earlier than the e) are apparently extant as English in relation to the sound of fishes. The cod-sound is scientifically known as the 'swim-bladder,' and popularly as the aorta or great blood-vessel. These two are organs of breath and blood, both of which are named sen in Egyptian, where alone after all superficial philological discussion, we can reach the root of the matter.
Sen (Eg.) means to make a foundation by opening, as is done by the breath and the blood. It also signifies to pass. From this comes the sennt or sunnt as in the sound, a strait, a sea passage, and the snout, a passage for the breath (sun). Sunnt is that which is founded, the very selfhood, from sun which in biology is the blood or the breath. Sunnu in Assyrian and sen in Chinese denote foundation. If we take the fish-sound to be the air-vessel or swim-bladder, then sun, to breathe, is the root of sound. Sne, in English, is to swim. If the aorta, then sun, the blood will account for it as a blood-vessel. And if the name of the 'sound' belongs to both, as it well may, we have the Two Truths of Egyptian biology under one word. Sun (Eg.) being breath and to breathe, sound is likewise that which is breathed; [p.178] and the snout, like the sound, is an organ of breath or air. The Two Truths may be followed in manifold directions.
The author of Juventus Mundi has elaborately demonstrated that Homer's colour-phrases all resolve at last into epithets of brightness and darkness, and that in his use of words for light and dark he is unerring, whereas his other epithets are confused and indefinite and his colours all run.
From this undoubted fact he infers that the author of the Iliad and Odyssey was especially sensitive to light and dark, but that the perception of colour was almost absent. He remarks that 'a child of three years in our nurseries knows, that is to say, sees, more of colour than the man who founded for the race the sublime office of the poet.'
It may be the archaic or primitive man set out with a limited perception of colours. But Homer could in nowise have represented the primitive man. The world was very old when Greece was young. In the beginning all was luminous and non-luminous. This stage is expressed by the Two Truths of light and shade as the two aspects of one truth which determined the earliest classification of colours.
The double Sut, as Sut Nub, is typified as black and golden by the bird of darkness and the gold hawk. The moon is black and white, and these were imaged by the black and white ibis. White and black were equated by the blue and red of the solar colours, those of the blue heaven and red sun which are also found in the tongue of Hu and in the two colours of spirit (blue) and flesh (red).
These pairs conform to the primary dual of light and shade, upper crown and lower. Black and red permute in Homer or in Egypt as the lower of two colours. The Two Truths dominate in Homer's system of colour, which is symbolical. Scientifically, all colours resolve into light and its negation dark. Light and dark were the two primaries, and in the sacred writings all other colours were affiliated to the parental pair. So Homer founded upon light and darkness as the two opposite poles, because in the beginning there were but Two Truths of what came to be called colour—those of light and shade. This has nought to do with colour-blindness or defective perception of colours. It is a relic of the past, religiously preserved. The colour-blindness, like much of our modern blindness, was not natural but sacerdotal. And when the limits are thus imposed they are held to be divine; the boundary is the most sacred part of the domain occupied; the fetters are more highly prized than any freedom.
Plato bears witness that for ten thousand years the religious art of Egypt was forcibly held in bonds like these and doomed to repeat itself without innovation or change. The twilight of the Two Truths was perpetuated; the past for ever reproduced, as the most hallowed thing that could be done by art. This was the sacred sign of the [p.179] religious writings, the note of the initiated, and, as it turns out, incontrovertible evidence for the Kamite origins, and the doctrine of mental evolution.
In like manner an important ethnological fact was registered by the Greek artists, through their following the Egyptian canon. In the apes the second toe is considerably longer than the first, and the long great toe is an attribute especially human. But the Greeks represented the first toe as being shorter than the second, and this has been conventionalised in modern art. They copied from the Egyptians who had derived and retained the type from the negro on the way from the ape, and so it was perpetuated as the token of a well-proportioned foot. But the Greeks were no more ape-toed than Homer was colour-blind.
The same limitation to the law of the 'Two Truths' found in Homer can be traced in the colours of the wampum belts used by the American Indians of the North Atlantic coast. In these the light shades of colour were all in one class of signs denoting peace and pleasantness in different degrees, whereas the dark hues were all in the second, signifying gradations of warfare, and other dangers.
One frequently meets with proofs that the ancient symbolism survived more or less in the secret societies. For example, Jacob Bohme, who was one of the illuminati, observes, 'We must be silent concerning the times of the ancients, whose number shall stand open in the Rose of the Lily.' And he further remarks, 'Those who are ours will know what I mean.'
Here is an allusion to the two times of the Two Truths, whose perfect flower-symbol was the lily-lotus of Egypt. The lily-lotus, the sushenin, or sushen, was the flower of the Two Truths and two colours, the breather in and out of the waters. Isis was said to have conceived by smelling this flower. So Gabriel, the announcer, offers the lily to Mary at the time of her conception. The Greek muses were said to speak with the lilied voice of the gods. The lily-lotus, or rose of the lily, is the only flower really identifiable in the Hebrew Bible.*
* In Spanish a lily is still called azuçena, that is the Egyptian sushen (from sushnin), the lily and lotus in one. Sush is to open, to unclose; and nn or nu is the water. Also sushen was continued in Arabic, and as the English female name of Susan.
There were two mirrors made use of in the mysteries. It is said in the Talmud, 'All the prophets looked into the non-luminous mirror, while our teacher Moses looked into the luminous mirror.' The non-luminous mirror was the dark water that first reflected a face or likeness, when the creative spirit looked into it. This was symbolised by the black mirror of the magi and mysteries. The monthly prognosticators in the occult sense looked in the black mirror, and [p.180] prophesied. Paul alludes to this black mirror when he says we see as in a glass darkly. That is, we only see in the non-luminous mirror of the mysteries. Ma, to see, is also to mirror with the eye for the mirror. The water of life and of death was a form of the twin-mirror of Ma. Also a mirror of steel and one of water were employed, as in the temple of Neptune, described by Pausanias. The steel, ba (Eg.), identifies the one with ba, the soul; the water represented the female source. The initiates in the greater mysteries were designated magicians of the steel mirror. The ba or steel was also a type of the blue heaven.* The two mirrors also represented the two trees—of Life and the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
* Mirror. The mother of the gods was their mirror. Tef is the genetrix and the pupil of the eye, and the eye was a mirror. The Japanese make much of this type. A correspondent sends me the following: The Japanese have an ancient myth to this effect. In the beginning the earth was comparatively dark, because the sun-goddess was concealed in a cave, and would not appear. The gods decided to entice her out by means of her own image shown to her in a mirror; for this purpose they made a mirror with steel got from heaven, and hung it on a tree opposite the cave, whose petulant tenant was to be aroused by the dancing and singing of a certain lovely goddess, while all the gods made music. This goddess danced, like David, 'with all her might,' and her excitement and her action rising together, loosened her dress, thus revealing more and more of her loveliness, till at last, to the intense delight of the gods, her garment slipped from her altogether! The laughter of the gods shook the heavens (έσβεστοςγελως!), and the sun-goddess rushing out of her cave, saw her beautiful image in the mirror, and rushing up to it, was caught, and obliged ever after to perform her office of light-giving.
The mysteries of Masonry are founded on the 'Two Truths' of the goddess Ma, who survives in them, even by her name. 'How few newly-made Masons but go away (from their initiation) imagining that it (the word communicated with mouth to ear, and at low breath) has some connection with the "marrow in the bone." What do they know of that mystical personage known to some adepts as the "venerable Mah"?' This question is asked and left unanswered in Isis Unveiled, by an initiate in various mysteries.
The essential idea of Masonry is that of a company or brotherhood of builders working under the Master Architects, just as the company of the seven Khnemmu work under the direction of Ptah and Mâ; Ptah being the artisan who built with Truth; that is, with Mâ. The seven Khnemmu are their operatives. Egypt will re-identify Masonry as a mystic craft, with foundations in facts that go beyond the religious mysteries of the Hebrews, Romans, or Greeks. Here, for example, is Masonry. An Egyptian scribe addresses the gods as the 'Nutriu, who test by their Level (the Mason's level) the words of men; the lords of law (i.e., Maât). Hail to you, ye gods, ye associate gods.'
A mason in Egyptian is a makh (makht), and mâ has an earlier form in makh, for rule and measure. Also the goddess of rule and measure had a prior personification in makha (or menka), who came [p.181] into these islands as Macha, the wife of Nevy, whether accompanied by any Masonic mysteries or not. Sen (Eg.) denotes a brother or brotherhood; sen-sen means to fraternise. Thus derived, the ma-sen or makh-sen would be the Brother-Mason of the craft, and the fraternity would be that of Ma, not only as masons, but as that of Truth. The Masonic brotherhood is founded on 'Truth,' as one of its primordial tenets; and Ma is Truth. The initiate is instructed to be true and trusty, and is consecrated to the Truth, which alone is immutable and eternal. This Truth was first founded and expressed by the stone-squarers and polishers in the typology and language of building. Hence the symbols, the square, compasses, and other Masonic emblems.
One sign worn by Mâ is the ostrich feather, which denotes both light and shade, or black and white. The Masons likewise wear a suit of black, with white aprons, gloves, stockings, and sometimes white shoes, which are the exact equivalent of the feather of light and shade worn by the goddess Ma. In their processions the Masons always walk two and two; and ma is dual; sen means two. The eye is one of the Masonic signs. In Egyptian mâ is the eye, and the word also signifies seeing. The hand is proffered in greeting to make the peculiar sign of the brotherhood, and the hand extended to offer and give is an ideograph of Mâ. The hands crossed in making the circle of the mystic chain form another hieroglyphic of mâ or mah, the crossed loop, tie, wreath, or crown. Masons read the twenty-four inch rule as a sign of the twenty-four hours, or day and night. The twenty-four inch rule represents two feet; and two feet in Egyptian read mâti, a pair of foot-soles, as well as the Two Truths of mâ; the Two Truths that were the basis on which all stood.
The pair of shoes occasionally found with the pair of half-opened compasses on the tombs of masons in Rome, are the same symbolically as the pair of feet on the ancient stones of Britain and Ireland and in Polynesia or other parts of the world, and these may be interpreted by the pair of feet or the 'footstep and the sole' of the two lion-gods of Egypt who kept the gates or divisions of the two solstices, north and south. The half-closed compasses which accompany them denote the midway of the equinoctial level.
The council-chamber of the 'knight of the east' degree is illuminated by seventy-two lights, erroneously supposed to be in memory of the seventy-two years captivity of the Jews, but which relate to the seventy-two duo-decans of the zodiac of twelve signs; these were also typified by the tree with seventy-two branches and by the Parsee kustik or sacred girdle formed of seventy-two threads which represents the girdle studded with stars that was first prepared in heaven according to the good Mazdayasnian law.
English Freemasons in Australia have felt convinced that the aborigines were in possession of some of their own secret signs. Dr. de Plongeon is certain that he detected traces of the mystic craft among the ruins of Uxmal. There is nothing incredible in this. Some of these signs have persisted from the earliest times because they belong to those gestures which are the oldest form of language.
Under the totemic system certain signs were given to each fraternity whereby their brotherhood was known, and this mode at least is extant in the signs of Freemasonry. Red is the colour of ma, and sen (Eg.) is blood. Blood is sworn by in Masonry, and thus supplies the true colour. Seng in English is both blood and true. This type of ma, the true, used to be the chosen colour of the English felon about to be executed, who held a red handkerchief in his hand when on the scaffold to show that he had betrayed no secrets, but died 'bloody true.'
When the candidates were initiated into the Eleusinian gnosis the holy mysteries were read to them out of a stone book called Petroma, the book being of stone and formed of two stones fitly cemented together. But the Petroma meant more than the Stone Book. Petru (Eg.) is to show, explain, interpret. Hence the 'Peter' or interpreter of the Mysteries who became the typical interpreter or 'Peter' of the Roman Church. The Petroma was the book of Mâ written on stone, and the two leaves or tablets corresponded to the twofold Truths of Ma, the truth in its dual aspect. The double tablet of stone is yet represented in English churches with the Ten Commandments inscribed on it, and every Sunday the petar, interpreter, goes to the Petroma and reads the Ten Commandments just as the Peter of the Mysteries read out of the Stone-Book to the initiates. The same mysteries are now performed by daylight.
The Two Truths are likewise illustrated by the numbers nine and ten. The number ten is lunar; it is the number of Menat, the wetnurse. Ment denotes number ten and liquid measure. The number nine of Mâ and Ptah is that of dry measure, and the reckoning by nine solar months. Nine solar and ten lunar months are the Two Truths relating to feminine periodicity; the Two Truths of Mâti.
In an inscription on the San-tablet these two numbers meet. There was an order of priestesses called the Didyma or Twins, who were allowed ten gallons of oil of sesame with nine bushels of barley a month, in addition to a provision of three loaves daily. The Didyma were keepers of the Two Truths.
The Great Pyramid was built according to these two reckonings, its slope being that which builders call nine by ten. Another illustra- [p.183] tion may be found in the English game of skittles with either nine pins or ten pins.
The one Truth of all beginning is probably extant under the name of nuter. In the ancient languages of India this is the name for blood, as netru, Budugur; netturu, Canarese; netteru, Teiugu; netra, Kohatar, and others, and this source was typified by Neith (Isis) who was designated nuter.t, the feminine Nature, out of whom all issued in the beginning; the one blood of the motherhood which became dual through the typical 'Two Sisters,' when the fountainhead was divided into the first two totemic lines of descent.
By degrees the first of the Two Truths in the primitive biology was degraded from its primacy of place. When the soul was assigned to the male, the water as feminine source was made the passive factor the negative element that only served to give life by vanishing away. It became the unreal one of the two, and on this was founded the doctrine of maya or illusion in India, and in Egypt, of annihilation in the Pool of Pant, or the Red Sea of the Ritual. Further illustrations of this natural genesis of primitive ideas might be adduced.
There are two times, says the Sûrya Siddhânta. Time the destroyer of worlds, and another Time which has for its nature to bring to pass. This latter, according as it is gross or minute, is called by two names, real (murta) and unreal (amurta). That which begins with respirations (prana) is called real, that which begins with atoms (truti) or matter, is called unreal. The real and unreal applied to time is akin to the Parsee doctrine applied to Vohu-Manyu, the Good Mind that dominates the hemisphere of reality, or of all things good, perfect and true; and Akem-Mainyu, the Extinguisher in the hemisphere of non-reality.
The 'Two Spirits' of the Parsee writings also illustrate the Two Truths, or the Truth in its twinship. Ahura-Mazda is the teller of Truth, and the evil spirit the teller of lies, hence the double tongue, as it is represented by the Indian gesture-sign with the two fingers diverging from the corners of the mouth. Two minds or intellects and 'two lives' are also spoken of in the Gathas. These two intellects are called the First and the Last, which came to be applied to the here and hereafter. The two lives correspond to the Two Truths as matter and spirit, or body and soul.
The origin of Good and Evil in the nature of man considered as a being of flesh and spirit, and as the embodiment of two opposite principles with a spontaneous tendency toward good, supposed to originate in the spirit, and an antagonistic impulse towards evil assumed to be engendered by the blood (or flesh) which are destructive of individual responsibility, not to say of personal identity, has no other foundation except in the perversion and misapplication of the dualism of the primitive Two Truths.
There was no new point of departure in phenomena, nothing added to nature or human knowledge in these later views of the Metaphysicians and Theosophists. It was but the transformation of mythology into metaphysics, philosophy, and theology, in which the supposed revelation of a newer truth was largely founded on a falsification of the old.
From these 'Two Truths' of all beginning the total system of typology and mythology was telescopically drawn out joint by joint, and as we shut up the glass again in the return process and attain the early stand-point and focus of vision we perceive with more or less exactness what the early thinkers saw.
This page last updated: 20/02/2014