04 December 2014

Egyptian Mystery Schools

Egyptian Mystery Schools

For more than 3,000 years, the mystery schools of Egypt have epitomized the ultimate in ancient secret Wisdom and knowledge (Gnosis). As in ancient times, certain contemporary scholars and researchers insist that the great teachers who presided over the Egyptian mystery schools had to have come from some extraordinary place.

Perhaps, it has been theorized, they were wise masters who survived the destruction of the lost continent of Atlantis and made their way to the early civilization of Egypt, where they helped elevate it to a greatness far in advance of other cultures of that era.

Some have even suggested that the entity known as the god Osiris was an extraterrestrial traveler from the Pleiades, who first visited Egypt in prehistoric times when it was composed of barbaric tribes. Because he came from an advanced extraterrestrial culture, say the proponents of this theory, he was considered a god and became the founder of the mystery schools and raised the primitive Egyptians’ standard of living to a remarkable degree.

Even many conservative scholars of the history of religion have a sense that the mystery schools of Egypt contain within their teachings a particular knowledge that came, if not from prehistoric times, from ancient times. The earliest human records legible, the Pyramid Texts of Egypt (c. 3000 B.C.E.), contain many prayers that are quoted from a far more ancient period, and it is apparent that the prayers were used in the texts as magical formulas and spells.

The mysterious first initiator into these sacred doctrines was known as Toth and later to the Greeks by his more familiar name of Hermes. Hermes-Toth is a generic name that designates a man, a caste, and a god at the same time. As a man, Hermes-Toth is the originator of a powerful system of magic and its first initiator; as a caste, he represents the priesthood, the repository of ancient Wisdom; as a god, Hermes becomes Mercury, the god who delivers messages to mortals from the Olympiad and the god who initiates mortals into transcendent mysteries. Later, the Greek disciples of this secret tradition would call him Hermes Trismegistus (three times great), and he would be credited for originating the material contained in 42 books of esoteric science.

In the time of the Ramses (c. 1300 B.C.E.), Egypt shone as a beacon light of civilization throughout the known world, and while the leaders of foreign nations sought to barter for the empire’s rich produce in order to avert local famines and to make treaties with pharaoh in order to avert his military might, seekers of the divine sciences came from the distant shores of Asia Minor and Greece to study in the sanctuaries with magi and hierophants (priests) who they believed could give them the secrets of immortality.

The students who would be initiates of the mystery schools were well aware that they must undertake the rigors of disciplined study and the training of body, soul, and spirit … for years. They had heard from former initiates that in order to attain the mastery demanded by the priests of the mysteries that the newcomers would undergo a complete restructuring of their physical, moral, and spiritual being.

According to the beliefs of the mysteries, only by developing one’s faculties of will, intuition, and reason to an extraordinary degree could one ever gain access to the hidden Divine forces in the universe. Only through complete mastery of body, soul, and Spirit could one see beyond death, and perceive the pathways to be taken in the afterlife. Only when one has conquered fate and acquired divine freedom could he or she, the initiate, become a seer, a magician, an initiator.

The Greek philosopher Pythagoras (c. 580– c. 500 B.C.E.) learned the secret doctrine of numbers, the heliocentric system of the universe, music, astrology, astronomy, mathematics, and geometry from the powerful Egyptian Magi. Before he established his own school of philosophy in southern Italy, Pythagoras spent 22 years in the temples of Egypt as an initiate in the ancient mysteries. There were many followers of Pythagoras in the later years.

A particularly interesting aspect of the Egyptian mystery schools is that for centuries the pharaohs themselves were the pupils and instruments of the hierophants, the magicians, who presided over the temples and cults of Isis and Osiris. Each pharaoh received his initiation name from the temple, and the priests were honored with the roles of counselors and advisors to the throne. Some have even referred to the rule of ancient Egypt as government of the initiates.

Although the ancient Egyptians never appeared to produce a philosophical system in the manner of the Greeks or the Romans, the mysteries produced a remarkable number of systematized theologies that dealt with the essential questions about the true nature of humankind and its relationship to the cosmos. The hierophants created theological constructs and formulated esoteric answers that brought initiates and aspirants to the great religious cities of Heliopolis, Memphis, Hermopolis magna, Abydos, and Thebes.

Most of what we find in the Bible and other ancient scriptures, originated in these Mystery Schools and the Wisdom, allegories, and teachings of these great minds and philosophers. From among the Egyptians, Greeks, Persians, Hindus, Buddhists, Sumerians, and so many other ancient civilizations, mankind has done his best to find out why we’re here, who or what put us here, and what we are to do while we are here. In many ways, man has created God/Source through inner consciousness and connecting to the Divine Matrix that ties everything together as a web threaded endlessly since the beginning and continuing to regenerate itself eternally within this universe that is technically … INSIDE our heads.

Just a thought …

~Justin Taylor, ORDM., OCP., DM.