[Feb. 26th, 1874.—At one of our circles we had had a piece of direct
writing of which we could make nothing. It was written in curious hieroglyphics. I inquired about
The writing, though unintelligible to you, was the work of a high
intelligence, who on earth was incarnated amongst the nation who was
then most spiritual, the great nation of the Egyptians. They had a more
real belief in the existence and intervention of spiritual agencies than
you now have. They cherished a firmer belief in immortality of the human
spirit, and of the indestructibility of all spirits, than your wise men
have yet attained to.
Their civilisation you yourself know to be vast; their erudition such
that they were the
depository of the knowledge of their age.
Aye, verily; and they had knowledge which a material age has lost;
knowledge which illumined the souls of Pythagoras and Plato, and which has filtered down
to you only through their teachings. The ancient Egyptians were wise and erudite
philosophers, and our friend may well teach you much of which you are
ignorant. After and interval of three thousand years and over, who in his earth-life knew of
God and the hereafter, comes to witness to the abiding nature of his faith. The
time—so long in its seeming to your contracted vision—during which our
friend has been a denizen of spirit-land, has served to open new vistas
of truth, to remove
old errors, to throw light on old speculations, but it has served also
to deepen and confirm faith in the Supreme and in the immortal destiny
of man’s spirit.
suggested that I still did not see why he should write unintelligible
hieroglyphics; and asked his name.]
You shall know him; but his earth identity is long lost, and you would
know it no more than you know his signs on the paper. He knew even in the body
that bodily life was but the first short stage of perpetuated existence;
has gone onwards, as he believed, upwards to Ra, the source of light, to
whom his gaze was
[I inquired if he believed in absorption
into the Godhead after a course of progress.]
The Egyptian faith was of some such sort. Their philosophers believed in
gradual progress until the dross was purged away and the spirit
completely purified. His religion was one of faith in future progress,
and, for the present, of high morality in life. Duty to man and to self
was not forgotten, and religion was made a business of daily life. We
may touch on this again as we develop in you a wider knowledge. For the
present it is enough that you know that the special peculiarities of the
Egyptian theology—the sanctity of the body—had its true and false side.
The great God was to them represented by every living thing, and the
human body was so sacred that it was preserved from natural decay as far
as might be; and so well was this done, that some still exist among you.
undue care of the body was error, but the due preservation of bodily
health was true and wise. When they saw God in everything, they did well; when they reduced Him to
bodily form, their care for the body misled them. Their doctrine of
transmigration through vast ages and cycles was an error which
symbolised and typified eternal and unceasing progress. These errors,
which led to the worship of animal life in all its forms, as symbolising
the Creator, and as being the future home of the spirit in its manifold
transmigrations, the spirit unlearns as it progresses. But it preserves
the great truth of progressive development and growth in presence of the
Great Creative Force, of which they were the
If it seem to you foolish and unwise to
worship animal life, as needs it must, remember, too, that worship may
be directed through and external symbolical manifestation to that
spiritual essence which it typifies; and that errors which enshrine
truths are husks which die in time and leave the kernel safe. Ideas,
germs of truth, never die. They may be viewed through a distorted
medium, and so take a disproportioned form; but when the distorted
removed, the true form is seen. So our friend and his brethren see now
that all nature in your world is a phenomenal manifestation of the
Supreme; and that if life in all its varied forms may not be
held up as an object of adoration, still the groping spirit who strives
to reach up through nature to its God is not to be visited with
unreasoning blame. Do you not see this?
In a way. I can understand the use of all helps to realising God. But I
thought that Egyptian theology was material and earthy compared with
that of India. The communications which you wrote out as to the
religions of the world left me with the impression that Egypt reacted
from India. I suppose all error includes some truth, just as every truth
has an admixture of error, both terms being relative and not absolute.
We do not now dwell on the characteristic points of Indian theology. What
you say is true. We only desire now to show you how, under forms most
repulsive to your present ideas, there was a lurking germ of truth, and
that such truth, known to the ancients, has in many cases perished from
among you. It is well that you learn to be modest in estimating both your own
knowledge and that of the ancients.
Yes; I am not aware that I have any particular knowledge except of the
prevalent ignorance touching these matters. And it is silly to laugh at
any form of religion. Our friend lived long since. An Egyptian priest,
He was one of the prophets of Osiris, and was in his time learned in the
mysteries esoteric and unmentionable to the vulgar. Osiris, Isis, and
Horus—this was the Trinity he worshipped. Osiris, the Supreme;
Isis, the All-Mother; Horus, the Child, sacrifice for human sin. He knew
God as your sacred historian revealed Him, in terms borrowed from
Egypt—I am the I am—the Universal Essence; the Source of Life and Light.
This title of Jehovah, Moses borrowed from the priests of Thebes.
What was the original name?
I AM THE I AM.
He who inspires this communication was Prophet of Ra, at On, the City of
which the Greeks call Heliopolis,
City of the Sun, and he lived sixteen hundred and thirty years before
the era which you call Christian. His name was Chom, and he speaks to
you a witness for immortality from the ages that have long passed. And I
bear him witness that his testimony is true.
inquired if there were any available records of Egyptian theology to
which I could get access.]
It is not necessary. All that remains of the old Hermaic books is little.
The writings in the mummy cases from the Ritual of the Dead are
excerpts from them. The care for the body, we have said, was the
distinguishing mark of Egyptian religion. The funeral ceremonies were
very long and minute, and the writings on the tombs and on the caskets which enshrined the bodies of
the departed are the earliest records of Egyptian
You will not need to dive into these
matters. It is needful only that you see and grasp this great truth, and
despised knowledge of the past had its germ of truth.
Nay, more. Religion was to the Egyptian
the master principle of daily life, to which all else was subservient.
Art, literature, science, were the handmaids of religion, and the daily
life itself was an
elaborate ritual. The faith in
which he lived was incorporated in every act. The Sun-God, as it arose
and set, typified the life which was then but beginning and which in the
twin Sothriac cycles would return again after three thousand years of
progressive education to earth, only to be absorbed at last in the pure
beams of Ra, the source and spring of life and light.
The ceremonial purifications of worship pervaded his daily work, and gave
a tone of spirituality to the businesses of life. All that the Egyptian
did had reference to the life hereafter on which his steadfast gaze was
fixed. Every day had its special presiding spirit, or deity, under who
protection it was
placed. Every temple had its great staff of prophets, priests, pontiffs, judges,
scribes. These were versed in mystic lore, and spent lives of purity and
chastity in penetrating into nature’s hidden secrets and the mysteries
of spirit intercourse. They were a pure, learned, spiritual race, albeit their
knowledge of some things known to men now was but
slight. But we may say to you that in deep, philosophical knowledge, in
clearness of spiritual perception, your wise men have no claim to rank
Nor in practical religion can your people equal the old Egyptians. We
have learned long since to estimate man’s religion by acts rather than by
words; and we pay little heed to the character of that ladder by which
man climbs heavenward. False faiths abound still. Man now, as
heretofore, befogs himself with foolish imaginings which he calls Divine
Revelation. And though the faith of Egypt
was erroneous in much, it possessed that which redeemed its errors and ennobled the lives of
its professors. They at least had not clothed their
lives with a dead materialism. They had not closed every avenue to the
higher life of spirit. They recognised their god in every act of daily
life, even though their idea of the god-principle was crude. They would
not buy and sell and trade with the deliberate purpose to defraud and overreach. They would not ignore
all else but dead matter, even though they did pay undue reverence to the
perishable and material.
You know how far it is true of your age, that it is material, earthy,
grovelling; that its thoughts and aspirations have been earth-bound; that it is
unspiritual, without lofty aspirations, without deep
spiritual insight, without active faith in spirit-life and intercourse.
You can draw the contrast yourself. In pointing it out we do not exalt
Egyptian religion, save to show you that what seems to you earthy and
vile was, in some of its aspects, a living faith, powerful in daily life, and possessing deep spiritual
Yes, in a way, no doubt. It seems that so much may be said for every
form of faith. They are all man’s groping after immortality, and vary in
degree of truth according to his enlightenment. But you are hardly fair
to this age. No doubt there is a deal of Materialism, but there is also
a deal of striving to avoid it. Few are Materialists from choice. And if
ever there was a time when thought about religion and God, and the
hereafter, might be said to be rife, it is now. It seems to me that your
strictures would suit better a bygone age of apathy than one which is at
least awake and alive to the momentous questions on which you speak.
It may be. There is, as you say, much tendency to look into these
matters; and where that exists there is hope. But there is also a strong
desire to exclude all reference to spirit as a factor in human
existence: to refer all to matter, and crush out all seeking into spirit
intercourse and the spirit life as at least unpractical, if not unreal
and delusive. It is, perhaps,
necessary that the temper of your age should take its tone from the
peculiar religious epoch through which you are passing. The transition
state that intervenes between one form of faith and its successor is
necessarily one of convulsion. The old is fading, and the new is not yet
clear. Man must pass through this, and it has a tendency to distort his
Yes. Things seems in a fluidic state, shifting and obscure. Then, of
course, there are many who do not want to be disturbed. They resent
being roused from their dreams. And some have dealt with matter so long
that they cannot bear to think that after all it is only the veil of
spirit. But this does not affect my belief that no age that I know of,
short of that grand era
in old Greece, shows anything like the same active and intelligent
seeking into deep spiritual and natural truths.
It is well that you think so; nor do we
desire to shake that opinion. We have but striven to
show you by a typical instance that there are truths hidden even in those faiths which to you
seem most gross and earthy.
I suppose the Jewish Lawgiver, “learned in all the wisdom of the
Egyptians,” incorporated a good deal of it into his code?
Yes, indeed. The ceremony of circumcision was borrowed from the Egyptian
mysteries. All the ceremonial purifications of the Jewish temple were
borrowed from Egypt.
From the same source came the linen dresses of the priests; the mystic
cherubim that guarded the mercy-seat: nay, the very idea of the Holy
place and the Holy of Holies, was but an adaptation of the plan of
Egyptian temples. But Moses, skilled as he was in the learning of the
priests by whom he was trained, did not in borrowing ritual borrow also
the spiritual ideas which it typified. The grand doctrines of
immortality and spirit agency find no real place in his writings. The
destiny of spirit, as you know, he never alluded to. The appearances of
spirits are mere phenomenal manifestations incidentally introduced, and the great
doctrine is untouched.
Yes. The rite of Circumcision existed in Egypt before the time of Moses?
Oh, yes. Bodies which were so
religiously preserved by them at a date previous to Abraham, and which
still exist among you, prove that, if you need proof.
I did not know that. Did he borrow any articles of faith?
The doctrine of the Trinity existed in
Egypt as well as in India. The Mosaic code reproduced much of the minute character of the Egyptian ritual without its
How comes it that such mines of knowledge as Egypt had should be closed
to us? Confucius, Buddha, Moses, Mohammed live. Why not Manes?
He lives only in the effect he had on others. The religion of
Egypt was confined to a favoured class, and was not sufficiently extended beyond the
country to be permanent. It was a religion confined to a priestly sect,
and it died with them. Its effects are seen in other faiths.
The idea of the Trinity, was it Indian or Egyptian?
The Trinity of Creative Power, Destructive Power, and Mediatorial Power
existed in India
as Brahm, Siva, Vishnu; in Egypt
as Osiris, Typhon, Horus. There were many Trinities in Egyptian
theology. The same existed in Persia
as Ormuzd, Ahriman, Mithra (the Reconciler).
Different parts of
Egypt had their different theologies. Pthah, the Supreme Father: Ra, the
manifestation of the Supreme: Amun, the Unknown God, were all various
manifestations of the
I thought you said that Osiris, Isis, Horus made the Egyptian Trinity?
We did but put in Isis
as the Productive principle—Osiris, Creator; Isis, Principle of
Fecundity; Horus, son of
Osiris and Isis. There were many developments of the idea of the
Trinity. It is not important, save that it bears upon the broad question.
Then did Egypt get its religion from India?
Partly: but on that point we have no one
who can speak.
[The foregoing was written February 28th, 1874.
On April 8th, the answer was written, much other matter having been given in the meantime.]
You inquired as to the connection
and Egypt. The religion of Egypt
was essentially a religion of body, as that of India was of spirit.
had multifarious acts of external ritual; India cultivated
contemplation. God to the Hindû was an undiscoverable essence; to the
Egyptian he was manifested in every type of animal existence. To the Hindû time was
nothing; eternity, all. To the Egyptian every passing
moment had its consecrated work. Egypt
was the antipodes of India.
Nevertheless, it is true that Egypt
received its first religious inspiration from India, even as did
Zoroaster in Persia.
We have told you before that the special grandeur of
Egypt’s faith was the consecration to religion of daily life. It was a faith which influenced
daily acts. Therein lay its power. It was a faith which
recognised God in all nature, and especially in all animal life. It was the mystery of
existence, the highest manifestation of Divine power that the Egyptian
worshipped, when, as you imagine, he bowed down before and idol graven
in the image of an ox....It would be well that the same care for the
body, the same present view of religious duty, the same perception of an
all-pervading Deity which formed the creed of ancient Egypt, and which
enters so largely into ours, should be again prevalent among you.
I suppose, in effect, that Egyptian theology was a reaction from Hindû
mysticism. You speak as if that elaboration of ritual was a good thing.
I should have thought that the Egyptian priest wasted a deal of time,
and that his punctilious washings and shavings were merely silly.
Not so. The ritual was necessary for the age and people. We are not
concerned with anything but the underlying idea. Art, literature, and science
laboured for religion: and so far from worship absorbing the work of
life, it was rather that every act of common life was raised to the
dignity of an act of worship. In this sense only is it true: and a
nobler truth can hardly be declared. To live in the presence of Deity—to
see His image all around, to consecrate every act to His service, to keep mind, spirit, body, pure as He is pure,
consecrated to Him, and to Him alone—this
is to lead the godlike life, even though it contain mistaken details.
No doubt prejudice hampers us greatly. But you would not say (would
you?) that a man’s faith is entirely indifferent in its substance, so he
honestly professes it. For instance, Egypt reproduced now would not be
the ideal you seem to paint.
Surely not. The world progresses, and gains higher knowledge. It may not
recur to that which was fitted for another people in an earlier stage of
development. But though the world has gained, it has lost also; and
among the things which it has lost is that which may belong equally to
all forms of faith, the devotion of self to duty and to God. This is no inseparable quality of
Egyptian faith. Rather was it amplified and exemplified in
a higher degree in the life and teaching of the Christ. But you have forgotten it—you have
lost that mark of true religion. It needs that you see that in this point you
were surpassed by those whom you despise and contemn.
We do say, we have always said, that man’s responsibility is in
proportion to the light which is in him; that man’s duty is not lessened
but increased by the quality of the revelation of which he is the
recipient. We tell you that many a soul has progressed in spite of its
creed by honesty and sincerity and singleness of purpose; and that
many a soul has been dragged
down by the very load of that faith in which its hopes were centred.
know that it
is so, and that man’s faith in its external presentment—the outer shell
which alone you can see—is of comparatively little moment. He must perforce take
that which falls to his lot, and according to the use he makes of it is his
progress. It is an accident whether an incarnated soul be Jew or Turk,
Mahommedan, Christian, Brahmin, or Parsee; but it is of the essence of
that soul’s progress whether it so uses its opportunities as to
progress, or so abuses them as to retrograde. Souls have different
opportunities here, and according as they use them they have increased
or diminished capacity for progress in the
state for which they have fitted
themselves. This you know; and the chance of progress may be as great
with the despised and humble soul on whom the Pharisaical Christian looks down with
contempt as with one incarnated amidst every influence of good
and ever opportunity of progress. It is a pure question of spirit, into which you
cannot yet enter. You are concerned with the husk here; you have not reached
But surely one who acts up to his knowledge as a Christian, that
knowledge being high, and the acts good and complete, according to
capacity and opportunity, gets a long start of the barbarous
fetish-worshipper, however honest he may
In this small fragment of existence it
is not possible that any gain be snatched which may not be readily made
up in another state. You are hampered by the limited nature of your
vision and knowledge. The accidents which seem to you such bars may be but the means selected
to bring out some needed quality—endurance,
patience, trust, or love; whilst the luxurious surroundings, the
poisonous flattery, the complacent self-satisfaction may be the engines of the adversaries who are
dragging down and stifling a soul.
You judge too hastily and imperfectly,
and from external signs only. Nor are you able to
see what the guardians intend, nor to make due allowance for temptation
and its results. These are questions which now are beyond your judgment.
Further, as to your question, it is a
bounden duty in each to accept and act up to the highest view of Divine
Truth which is revealed in him, and which he is able to accept. By this
his progress will be judged.
Do you teach a General Judgement?
No. The judgment is complete when the
spirit gravitates to the home which it has made for
itself. There can be no error. It is placed by the eternal law of
fitness. That judgment is complete, until the spirit is fitted to pass
to a higher sphere, when the same process is repeated, and so on and on
until the purgatorial spheres of work are done with, and the soul passes within the inner heaven of contemplation.
Then, in fact, there are many judgments?
Yes and no. Many and none. Judgment is
ceaseless, for the soul is ever fitting itself for its change. No such
arraignment before the assembled universe as is in your mind. That is an
In each stage of probation the spirit
builds up a character by its constant acts, which
fits it for a certain position. To that position it goes of necessity, without what you
mean as judgment. Sentence results at once; just as the total of a number
of items is ascertained without argument or judgment. There is no need
for the process of a court of justice as you understand it on earth. The soul is the
arbiter of its own destiny; its own judge. This is so in all cases of progress or
Is each entry into a new sphere or state marked by a change analogous to
Analogous, in that there is a gradual
sublimation or refinement of the spirit-body, until by degrees all gross
elements are purged away. The higher the sphere the more refined and
ethereal the body. The change is not so
material as that which you call death,
for there is no corporeal envelope to lay aside, but it
is analogous to it in that it is a process of development, the entry of the spirit
into a higher state of existence.
And when all the
gross elements are gone, the spirit enters the spheres of contemplation,
and is refined till all may be refined away?
Not so. It is refined until the dross is gone, and the pure spiritual
gold remains. We know not of its life in the inner heaven. We only know
that it grows liker and liker to God, nearer and nearer to His image. It
may well be, good friend, that the noblest destiny of the perfected spirit
may be union with the God into whose likeness it has grown, and whose
portion of divinity, temporarily segregated during its pilgrimage, it so
renders up to Him who gave it. These to us, as to you, are but
speculations. Leave them and be content to know that which is alone worth
knowing. Could you penetrate all mysteries there would be no longer
occupation for your mind. You know but
little here; but you can aspire, and in aspiring, raise your spirit above
the sordid cares of
earth to it truer home. May the blessing of the Blessed One rest on you!