Initiation Into The Egyptian Mysteries

The following comes from a book called “A History of Secret Societies,” authored by Arkon Daraul and first published in 1961. It describes the content of a German document published in 1785, which details the procedures of an ancient Egyptian initiation. (A PDF scan of the document translated in English is provided in the supporting material. All emphasis added.)

The most detailed account on what was said to be the seven highest degrees of secret Egyptian initiation was first published in Germany in the eighteenth century. This strange and very exhaustive document combines many elements from the ancient mysteries…. It seems to come from Greek sources, because many of the words used are Greek; and it could well be that we have here the modern beginnings of an attempted revival of ancient mysteries. Whatever it is, it is not one of those fanciful and spurious ones which used to be printed merely to attract the credulous: because it is plausible in containing the sort of material which might well have formed the content of an initiation and mind-conditioning system.

The earliest version known is in the form of an anonymous pamphlet (probably not intended for public sale) of thirty-odd pages, which was printed in 1785. It was republished in a French translation thirty years later, purporting to be the ritual of the Master degree in Freemasonry. The French editor claims that it is a composite ritual, derived from the works of some fifteen Greek and Roman writers.

This degree, we are told, was open to Egyptian kings and priests alone; and only those specially recommended by an initiate could enter it. The usual procedure was that the Pharaoh himself introduced the candidate to the priests. By them he sent from Heliopolis [Note: which means “City of the Sun”] to the Memphis priests; from there he went to Thebes. He was circumcised, forbidden to eat pulse or fish; and generally had to abstain from wine. He was put for several months in an underground cave, and asked to write down his reflections. When he had done this, he was led to a passage supported by the pillars of Hermes where he had to learn certain things which were inscribed thereon. As soon as he was word-perfect, the Themorphous (introducer) came to him with a strong whip, to keep the uninitiated at bay. He was blindfolded, and his hands bounds with cords.

First Degree
Now follows the procedure from the first degree of this elect body. The candidate was led to the Gate of Men, where the introducer touched the shoulder of an apprentice (Portophorus) standing there on guard. He in turn knocked on the gate, which was opened. When the aspirant entered, he was questioned on various matter by the Hierophant, after which he was led around the Birantha in an artificial storm of wind, rain, thunder and lightning. If he showed no sign of fear, Menies the Expounder explained the laws of the Crata Repoa, to which he had to agree. He was then taken in front of the Hierophant, made to kneel, and vowed fidelity with a sword-point at this throat. As witnesses he called upon the sun, moon and stars.

Recall that, to the Mystery Schools, the sun represents Lucifer and his doctrine, the moon represents his priesthood order and organization, and the stars represent the individual initiates.

His eyes were then unbandaged, and he was placed between two spare pillars, called Betilies, where lay a ladder of seven steps, behind which were doors of different metals of gradually increasing purity. The Hierophant then addressing those present as Mene Musae, or children of the Work of Celestial Investigation, exhorted them to govern their passions and fix their thoughts upon God.

The candidate was taught that the ladder symbolized the wanderings of the soul; he was told the causes of wind, thunder and lightning; and given other valuable information, such as medical lore. He was given the password of recognition of this degree, which was AMOUN, meaning secrecy. He was taught a grip, given a pyramidal cap and an apron called Xylon. Around his neck was a collar; and he wore no other clothes. His duty was to guard the Gate of Men in his turn.

Second Degree
The Portophorus was now able, after showing his devotion, to proceed to the Second Degree. Following a prolonged fast he was taken to a dark chamber called Endimion, the invitation grotto. He was now of the degree of Neocoris. Handsome women brought him dainty food; they were the wives of the priests, who endeavored to excite his love.

If he resisted these advances, he was further lectured by the Master of Ceremonies and led into an assembly, where the Stolista (or water-bearer) poured water over him. Then a living serpent was thrown at him. The whole room was full of snakes, to test his courage. He was then led to two high pillars between stood a griffin driving a wheel before him. The pillars symbolized East and West, the griffin the sun and the wheel of four spokes the four seasons. He was taught the use of the level and instructed in geometry and architecture. He received a rod, entwined by serpents, and he received the password HEVE (meaning serpent), and was told the story of the fall of man. The sign consisted in crossing the arms over the chest and his duty was to wash the pillars.

This rod is called a “caduceus.” In Greek mythology, it was the staff carried by Mercury as messenger of the gods. Today, both the caduceus and the rod of Asclepius (a symbol of a single snake wrapped around a rod) are used extensively by the medical profession and the US Army Medical Corps. You see this symbol just about everywhere today, even on ambulances – it has become synonymous with health. Many say that it represents Moses' brass serpent entwined on a cross, which when the Israelites looked upon it, they were miraculously cured of their snake bites. This cannot be true, as these symbols used in the medical profession frequently appear with wings, or in other ways that are consistent with esoteric symbolism of Egyptian origin.

Third Degree
[When the candidate] was initiated into the Third Degree, the member was given the title of Melanophoris. He was led to an anteroom, over whose door was written 'Gate of Death'. The room was full of copies [Ed. note: reproductions?] of embalmed bodies and coffins. Here too were a number of dissectors, embalmers and so on. In the center stood the coffin of Osiris. The Melanophoris was asked if he had had a hand in the assassination of his master. On his denying the question, he was seized by two Tapixeites, or men who buried the dead, and led into a hall, where he found all the other Melanophores clothed in black. The King himself, who always was present on these occasions, addressed him in an apparently friendly way, begging him if he did not feel courage enough to undergo the test now to be applied to him, to accept the golden crown he was offering him.

He had already been coached to refuse the crown and tread it underfoot. At this 'insult' the King called for revenge. Raising his sacrificial axe he touched the head of the initiate. The two corpse-carriers threw him to the ground, and the embalmers wrapped him in bandages. All who were present wept. Now he was led to a gate over which was written Sanctuary of the Spirits. On its being opened, thunder and lightning struck the apparently dead man. Charon received him as a spirit into his boat and carried him to the judges of Hades. Pluto sat on his judgment seat, while Rhadamanthus and Minos as well as Aethon, Nycreus, Alaster and Orpheus stood beside him. Very severe questions were put to him as to his former life and finally he was sentenced to remain in these subterranean vaults.

The initiate could have been required to remain within these vaults for months or possibly even years.

The bandages were removed, and he was told never to desire blood, never to leave a corpse unburied; and to believe in the resurrection of the dead and the judgment to come. He was taught coffin-decoration and the peculiar hierogrammatical script. The sign was an embrace, to express the 'days of wrath'. He was kept in these underground chambers until thought fit to proceed to a higher degree.

These 'Days of Wrath' generally lasted for a year and a half, until the initiate was ready for promotion to the Fourth Degree: 'The Battle of the Shades'.

Fourth Degree
He was handed a sword and a shield and taken though dark passages. He met “certain persons, presenting a frightful appearances, carrying torches and serpents.” He was attacked, with the cry of PANIS! He defended himself bravely, but was taken prisoner, his eyes were bandaged and a cord placed around his neck. Dragging him into a hall, the specters disappeared. He was led into the assembly of initiates, and his eye unbandaged. Before him he saw a magnificent hall, decorated with beautiful paintings; the King and the highest dignitary—the Demiurgos—were present.

All were wearing their Alydei, and Egyptian Order composed of sapphires. Among those present were the Secretary, the Treasurer and the Master of Feats. The Orator made a speech, congratulating the new member on his fortitude. He was given a drink, called Cyce, which he drank to the dregs. This was probably the ritual drink of honey or milk, water, wine and gruel—and perhaps some hypnotic drug. He donned the boots of Anubis, took up the shield of Isis, put on the cloak and cap of Orcus. He was handed a sword and told that he must cut off the head of the next person he met in a cave and bring it back to the King.

This cave was pointed to him. Entering it, he saw what seemed to be a beautiful woman, but in reality was a model of one. [Note: Keep in mind that it is a woman.] He seized this by the hair and severed the head. This he brought back to the monarch, who praised him, telling him that he had symbolically won the head of the Gorgon, wife of Typhon, who had caused the death of Osiris.

Recall that Typhon represents Jesus Christ, and his wife represents his Kingdom, or in other words, his Church – represented in Biblical symbolism as the bride of Christ.

He was not permitted always to wear the dress which had been given to him, and he was entered in a book as one of the judges of the land. He was able to communicate at any time with the King, and received an allowance from the court. He was invested with an Order (that of Isis in the shape of an owl) and it was revealed to him that the secret name of the lawgiver was 'JOA', which was also the password of this Degree. But the password for the meetings of the Christophori (as the Fourth Degree initiates were called) was 'SASYCHIS'.

Fifth Degree
The Fifth Degree, that of Balahate, could not now be refused to the Christophorus. He was led to a hall to watch a play, at which he was the only onlooker. Other members of the degree went through the hall, as if looking for something. One drew this sword, and the terrible figure of Typhon appeared. He was slain. Now the new Balahate was told that Typhon represented fire, a terrible element which was at the same time indispensable. The password was 'CHYMIA', and the teaching was in chemistry [or alchemy].

Sixth Degree
In order to become an 'Astronomer at the Gate of the Gods'—the Sixth Degree—the candidate was taken to the hall of assembly, bound, and led to the Gate of Death. He was shown corpses which had been cast into water, and warned that he might be similarly treated if he broke his oath. He was given some teaching in astronomy, and taken back to the Gate of the Gods, where he looked at the pictures of the gods while their histories were explained to him. A priestly dance took place, symbolizing the course of the heavenly bodies; he saw a list of members of the Order throughout the world, and learned the password: 'IBIS', for watchfulness.

Realize that not until this sixth degree was conferred upon the initiate did he actually learn who belongs to the order. Only at this level are the identities of equal and lower initiates bestowed. And note that the initiates are spread “throughout the world.”

Seventh (and Highest) Degree
The last and the highest degree was that of 'Propheta', in which all secrets were laid bare. It was conferred following public processions, and when the permission of the King and all the highest members had been obtained. The members secretly left the city by night, “and retired to some houses built in a square and surrounded by pillars by the sides of which were placed alternately a shield and a coffin, whose rooms were painted with representations of human life.” These houses were called maneras, for the people believed them to be visited by the manes of departed men. On their arrival at these houses the new member, now called prophet or Saphennath Pancah (a man who knows the secrets), was given a drink called oimellas and told that now all trials were over. He received a cross of peculiar significance, which he was always to wear. He was clothed in a wide, white-striped dress, called etangi. The usual sign was crossing his arms in his wide sleeves. He could peruse all the sacred books written in the Ammonite language… his greatest privilege was having a vote in the election of a king and the password was 'ADON'.

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