This site focuses on Madame Blavatsky and her teaching - Theosophy. It features an introduction to Theosophy, study aids, research tools, original text, supporting evidence, membership, and visitor interaction.
THE YEAR IS DEAD, LONG LIVE THE YEAR!
From H.P.Blavatsky Theosophical Articles, Vol. I.
DECEMBER, 1888, AND JANUARY, 1889
Articles by HPB
LUCIFER sends the best compliments of the season to his friends and subscribers, and wishes them a happy New Year and many returns of the same. In the January issue of 1888, LUCIFER said: "Let no one imagine that it is a mere fancy, the attaching of importance to the birth of the year. The astral life of the earth is young and strong between Christmas and Easter. Those who form their wishes now, will have added strength to fulfill them consistently." He now repeats what was said and adds: Let no one mistake the importance and potency of numbers--as symbols. Everything in the Universe was framed according to the eternal proportions and combinations of numbers. "God geometrizes," and numbers and numerals are the fundamental basis of all systems of mysticism, philosophy, and religion. The respective festivals of the year and their dates were all fixed according to the Sun--the "father of all calendars" and of the Zodiac, or the Sun-god and the twelve great, but still minor gods; and they became subsequently sacred in the cycle of national and tribal religions.
A year ago, it was stated by the editors that 1888 was a dark combination of numbers: it has proved so since. Earthquakes and terrible volcanic irruptions, tidal waves and landslips, cyclones and fires, railway and maritime disasters followed each other in quick succession. Even in point of weather the whole of the past year was an insane year, an unhealthy and uncanny year, which shifted its seasons, played ducks and drakes with the calendar and laughed at the wiseacres who preside over the meteorological stations of the globe. Almost every nation was visited by some dire calamity. Prominent among other countries was Germany. It was in 1888 that the Empire reached, virtually, the 18th year of its unification. It was during the fatal combination of the four numbers 8 that it lost two of its Emperors, and planted the seeds of many dire Karmic results.
What has the year 1889 in store for nations, men and theosophy, and what for LUCIFER? But it may be wiser to forbear looking into Futurity; still better to pray to the now ruling Hosts of Numbers on high, asking them to be lenient to us, poor terrene ciphers. Which shall we choose? With the Jews and the Christian Kabalists, the number of their deity--the God of Abraham and Jacob--is 10, the number of perfection, the ONE in space, or the Sun, astronomically, and the ten Sephiroth, Kabalistically. But the Gods are many; and every December, according to the Japanese, is the month of the arrival, or descent of the Gods; therefore there must be a considerable number of deities lurking around us mortals in astral space. The 3rd of January, a day which was, before the time of Clovis, consecrated to the worship of Isis--the goddess-patroness of Paris who has now changed her name and become St. Geneviève, "she who generates life"--was also set apart as the day on which the deities of Olympus visited their worshippers. The third day of every month was sacred to Pallas Athene, the goddess of Wisdom; and January the 4th is the day of Mercury (Hermes, Budha), who is credited with adding brains to the heads of those who are civil to him. December and January are the two months most connected with gods and numbers. Which shall we choose?--we ask again. "This is the question."
We are in the Winter Solstice, the period at which the Sun entering the sign of Capricornus has already, since December 21st, ceased to advance in the Southern Hemisphere, and, cancer or crab-like, begins to move back. It is at this particular time that, every year, he is born, and December 25th was the day of the birth of the Sun for those who inhabited the Northern Hemisphere. It is also on December the 25th, Christmas, the day with the Christians on which the "Saviour of the World" was born, that were born, ages before him, the Persian Mithra, the Egyptian Osiris, the Greek Bacchus, the Phœnician Adonis, the Phrygian Athis. And, while at Memphis the people were shown the image of the god Day, taken out of his cradle, the Romans marked December 25th in their calendar as the day natalis solis invicti.
Sad derision of human destiny. So many Saviours of the world born unto it, so much and so often propitiated, and yet the world is as miserable--nay, far more wretched now than ever before as though none of these had ever been born!
January--the Januarius dedicated to Janus the God of Time, the ever revolving cycle, the double-faced God--has one face turned to the East, the other to the West; the Past and the Future! Shall we propitiate and pray to him? Why not? His statue had 12 altars at its feet, symbolizing the twelve signs of the Zodiac, the twelve great gods, the twelve months of the solar year and--the twelve Apostles of the Sun-Christ. Dominus was the title given to the Sun by the ancients; whence dies domini, dies solis, the "Sun-days." Puer nobis nascitur dominus dominorum, sing the Roman Catholics on Christmas day. The statue of Janus-January carried engraved on his right hand the number 300, and on his left, 65, the number of the days in the Solar year; in one hand a sceptre, in the other a key, whence his name Janitor, the door-keeper of the Heavens, who opened the gates of the year at its beginning. Old Roman coins represent Janus bifrons on one side, and a ship on the other.
Have we not the right to see in him the protoype of Peter, the fisherman of the celestial ship, the Janitor of Paradise, to the gates of which he alone holds the keys? Janus presided over the four seasons. Peter presides over the four Evangelists. In Occultism the potency and significance of Numbers and Numerals lie in their right application and permutation. If we have to propitiate any mysterious number at all, we have most decidedly to address Janus-Peter, in his relation to the ONE--the Sun. Now what would be the best thing for LUCIFER and his staff to ask from the latter for 1889? Our joint wishes are many, for our course as that of true love, does not run altogether smooth.
Thus addressing the bright luminary in perpetual abscondito beyond the eternal fogs of the great city, we might ask him for a little more light and warmth in the coming year than he gave us in the year 1888. We might entreat him at the same time to pour a little light into the no less befogged heads of those who insist on boycotting LUCIFER under the extraordinary notion that he and Satan are one. Shine more on us, O, Helios Son of Hyperion! Those on whom thou beamest thy greatest radiance must be, as in the legend of Apollo, good and kind men. Alas, for us. The British isle will never be transformed, in this our cycle, into the isle of Æa, the habitat of Helios, as of the children of that god and the Oceanide Perseis. Is this the occult reason why our hearts become, with every year, colder and more indifferent to the woes of mankind, and that the very souls of the multitudes seem turning into icicles? We ask thee to shed thy radiance on these poor shivering souls.
Such is LUCIFER'S, our Light-bearer's fervently expressed desire. What may be that of the Theosophical Society in general, and its working members in particular? We would suggest a supplication. Let us ask, Brethren, the Lord on High, the One and the SOLE (or Sol), that he should save us from the impudent distortion of our theosophical teachings. That he should deliver us in 1889 from his pretended priests, the "Solar Adepts" as they dub themselves, and their sun-struck followers, as he delivered us once before; for verily "man is born unto trouble," and our patience is well-nigh exhausted!
But, "wrath killeth the foolish man"; and as we know that "envy slayeth the silly one," for years no attention was paid to our ever increasing parodists. They plagiarized from our books, set up sham schools of magic, waylaid seekers after truth by deceiving them with holy names, misused and desecrated the sacred science by using it to get money by various means, such as selling as "magic mirrors" for £15, articles made by common cabinet makers for £1 at most. With them, as with all charlatans, fortune-tellers, and self-styled "Adepts," the sacred science of Theosophia had become when kabalistically read--Dollar-Sophia. To crown all, they ended by offering, in a most generous manner, to furnish all those "awakened" who were "disappointed in Theosophical Mahatmas," with the genuine article in the matter of adeptship. Unfortunately the said article was traced in its turn to a poor, irresponsible medium, and something worse; and so that branch of the brood finally disappeared. It vanished one fine morning into thin air leaving its disconsolate disciples thoroughly "awakened" this time, and fully alive to the sad fact, that if they had acquired less than no occult wisdom, their pockets, on the other hand, had been considerably relieved of their weight in pounds and shillings. After their Exodus came a short lull. But now the same is repeated elsewhere.
The long metaphysical articles borrowed from "Isis Unveiled," and the Theosophist ceased suddenly to appear in certain Scotch papers. But if they disappeared from Europe, they reappeared in America. In August 1887 the New York PATH laid its hand heavily on "The Hidden Way Across the Threshold" printed in Boston, and proceeded to speedily squelch it, as "stolen goods." As that Journal expresses itself about this pretentious volume, copied not written by its authors--"whatever in it is new is not true, and whatever true, is not new; scattered through its 600 pages, are wholesale thefts from 'Paracelsus,' 'Isis Unveiled,' the Path etc. etc." This unceremonious appropriation of long paragraphs and entire pages "either verbatim or with unimportant changes,"--from various, mostly theosophical authors--a list of which is given in the PATH (Vide August 1887, P. 159-160), might be left to its fate, but for the usual trick of our wretched imitators. In the words of the same editor, of the PATH: "the claim is made that it (the book) is inspired by great adepts both living and dead, who have condescended to relent and give out these 600 pages, with certain restrictions which prevent their going into any detail or explanation beyond those given by the unfortunate or unprogressed (theosophical) authors from whose writings they (the adepts) have either allowed or directed their humble disciple . . . to steal."
Before the appearance of modern Theosophical literature it was "Spirits" and "Controls" that were ever in the mouths of these folk; now the living "adepts" are served up with every sauce. It is ever and always Adepts here, Hierophants there. And this only since the revival of Theosophy and its spread in America in 1884, note well; after the great soap-bubble conspiracy between Madras and Cambridge against the Theosophical Society, had given a new impetus to the movement. Up to that year, Spiritualists, and professional mediums especially, with their "controls" and "guides," could hardly find words of vituperation strong enough to brand the "adepts" and deride their "supposed powers." But since the Herodic "slaughter of the Innocents," when the S.P.R. turned from the Theosophical to the Spirtualistic phenomena, most of the "dear departed" ones took to their heels. The angels from the "Summer Land" are going out of fashion just now, for Spiritualists begin to know better and to discriminate. But because the "adept" idea, or rather their philosophy, begins to gain ground, this is no reason why pretenders of every description should travesty in their ungrammatical productions the teachings, phraseology, and Sanskrit terms out of theosophical books; or why, again, they should turn round and make people believe that these were given them by other "Hierophants," in their opinion, far higher, nobler and grander than our teachers.
The great evil of the whole thing is, not that the truths of Theosophy are adopted by these blind teachers, for we should gladly welcome any spread, by whatever means, of ideals so powerful to wean the world from its dire materialism--but that they are so interwoven with mis-statements and absurdities that the wheat cannot be winnowed from the chaff, and ridicule, if not worse, is brought to bear upon a movement which is beginning to exercise an influence, incalculable in its promise of good, upon the tendency of modern thought. How shall men discern good from evil, when they find it in its close embrace? The very words, "Arhat," "Karma," "Maya," "Nirvana," must turn enquirers from our threshold when they have been taught to associate them with such a teeming mass of ignorance and presumption. But a few years ago, all these Sanskrit terms were unknown to them, and even now they repeat them phonetically, parrot-like, and without any understanding. And yet they will cram them into their silly books and pamphlets, and fill these with denunciations against great men, the soles of whose feet they are unworthy to gaze upon!
Though false coin is the best proof of the existence of genuine gold, yet, the false deceives the unwary. Were the "pretentions" of the T.S. in this direction founded on mere hypothesis and sentimental gush, like the identification of many a materialized spirit, the theosophical "Mahatmas" and their society would have dissolved long ago like smoke in space under the desperate attacks of the holy alliance of Missionaries and pseudo-Scientists, helped by the half-hearted and misinformed public. That the Society has not only survived but become thrice stronger in numbers and power, is a good proof again of its own intrinsic merit. Moreover, it has gained also in wisdom; that practical, matter-of-fact wisdom which teaches, through the mouth of the great Christian "Mahatma," not to scatter pearls before swine, nor to attempt to put new wine into old bottles.
Therefore, let us, in our turn, recite a heartfelt conjuration (the ancient name for prayer), and invoke the help of the powers that be, to deliver us from the painful necessity of exposing these sorry "make-believes" in LUCIFER once again. Let us ring the theosophical Angelus thrice for the convocation of our theosophical friends and readers. If we would draw on us the attention of Sol on High, we must repeat that which the ancients did and which was the origin of the R.C. Angelus. The first stroke of the bell announced the coming of Day; the appearance of Gabriel, the morning messenger with the early Christians, of Lucifer, the morning star, with their predecessors. The second bell, at noon, saluted the glory and exalted position of the Sun, King of Heavens; and the third bell announced the approach of Night, the Mother of Day the Virgin, Isis-Mary, or the Moon. Having accomplished the prescribed duty, we pour our complaint and say:
Turn thy flaming eye, O SOL, thou, golden-haired God, on certain trans-atlantic mediums, who play at being thine Hierophants! Behold, they whose brain is not fit to drink of the cup of wisdom, but who, mounting the quack's platform, and offering for sale bottled-up wisdom, and the homunculi of Paracelsus, assure those of the gaping mouths that it is the true Elixir of Amrita, the water of immortal life! Oh, bright Lord, is not thine eye upon those barefaced robbers and iconoclasts of the systems of the land whence thou risest? Hear their proud boasting: "We teach men the science to make man"(!). The lucrative trade of vendors of Japanese amulets and Taro cards, with indecent double bottoms, having been cut off in its full blossom in Europe, the Eastern Wisdom of the Ages is now abandoned. According to their declarations, China, Japan, old India and even the Swedenborgian "land of the Lost Word" have suddenly become barren; they yield no more their crop of true adepts; it is America, they say, the land of the Almighty Dollar, which has suddenly opened her bowels and given birth to full-blown Hierophants, who now beckon to the "Awakened." Mirabile dictu! But if so, why should thy self-styled priests, O great SUN, still offer as a bait a mysterious Dwija, a "twice born," who can only be the product of the land of Manu? And why should those pretended and bumptious servants of thine, oh Sûrya-Vikarthana, whose rich crop of national adepts, if "home-made," must rejoice as a natural rule in purely Anglo-Saxon and Celto-German names, still change their Irish patronymics for those of a country which, they say, is effete and sterile, and whose nations are "dying out"? Has another Hindu name and names been discovered in the Great Hub, as a peg and pegs whereon to hang the modest pretensions of the Solar Magi? Yea, they belie truth, O Lord, and they bend their tongues like quill pens for lies. But--"the false prophets shall become wind for the word is not in them."
TO DARE, TO WILL, TO ACHIEVE AND KEEP SILENT is the motto of the true Occultist, from the first adept of our fifth Race down to the last Rosecroix. True Occultism, i.e., genuine Raj-Yoga powers, are not pompously boasted of, and advertised in "Dailies" and monthlies, like Beecham's pills or Pears' soap. "Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes; for the wise man feareth and keeps silent, but the fool layeth open his folly."
Let us close by expressing a hope that our Theosophist brothers and sisters in America will pause and think before they risk going into a "Solar" fire. Above all, let them bear in mind that true occult knowledge can never be bought. He who has anything to teach, unless like Peter to Simon he says to him who offers him money for his knowledge--"Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of (our inner) God may be purchased with money"--is either a black magician or an IMPOSTOR. Such is the first lesson taught by LUCIFER to his readers in 1889.
H. P. Blavatsky
Lucifer, January, 1889