The House of the Hidden Places, by W. Marsham Adams, , at sacred-texts.com
As the created light is the primary force manifested in the system of creation, so also is the Uncreate, or Self-Begotten Light (Kheper-Ra), the prime mover and creator whether of the visible or of the unseen universe. "Light Great Creator is his Name;" we read in one of the chapters added to the Egyptian Ritual at the Saite recension. And again in another ancient papyrus: "The God of the Universe is in the light above the firmament; and His symbols are upon the earth." Now it was with that divine Light, immortal, invisible, intolerable to mortal eye, the Light which none may look upon in the
flesh and live, that in the ancient creed of Egypt, as in that of Christendom, the holy dead was to be at last united, person with person, and indissoluble bond. No language less universal than that of faith can enable us to express this sublime belief. For in no other creed do we find that man never loses his individuality which is yet united personally with the Deity in so intimate an unity, that in the Ritual the Osiris-soul can with difficulty be distinguished from the Osiris-Godhead. "The sun is worshipping thy face;" says Osiris in the Ritual, to the soul new born into the divine existence; that is to say, the very splendour of creation, the source of light and life to the visible world, bows down in worship before him who has become a participator in the divinity of its creator. "He is I, I am he;" the soul responds, almost in the actual words of the Gospel.
Long and manifold was the process whereby, in the teaching of Egypt, the human
nature became united with the divine—an union effected, through the God-Man Osiris, not as in the gross and distorted myths of the classic nations, by the conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by the interior taking of the manhood into God. Without and within, the transfiguration was complete. The soul, instantly illumined by the fulness of the Godhead, became forthwith capable of corresponding with the divine Energy. The senses, restored to incorruption, were gradually fashioned into instruments capable of expressing the soul's assimilation to that infinite power, for which the bounds of space and time exist not, but past and future alike stand open in an endless present; that transcendent freedom, wherein Act is coincident with Will, and Will commensurate with Thought. In order then that the senses may be so quickened and irradiated as to perceive the action of the Creative Mind in the exterior universe, that progress must be made by the departed in
person, which, while still unreleased from subjection to the senses, the student of science makes dimly through the intellect. For whoever would understand the framework of the heavens, the structure of man's sacred dwelling place, must commence with the polestar, and tracing out the horizon of the point of Equinox, which equally divides the light from the darkness, must apprehend how the axis of the earth is for man the prime measure of space, and the standard rule of the Depths. If he would learn the secret of living form, the ocean will be his teacher, as he passes from shore to profoundest depths and fathoms the secret places of the teeming waters. The measure of the celestial orbits will be revealed to him by the moon, as from that companion orb he watches the rotation and the revolution of our planet. To understand not merely the motion but the evolution of our globe, he must dare the place of the earth's central fire, undismayed by the
cavernous glooms of the lurid abysses. And there, gazing backwards for uncounted ages, he will trace amid convulsions and cataclysms inconceivable the "Lord of Law" and the "Words of Order;" as the huge mountain chains rise higher and higher from the chaos, to prepare the surface of the globe for the dwelling-place of man. Before him next stretches the shadow of the earth, that dim and vast expanse; where the majesty of the open heaven is enshrouded in night; and he perceives how the conjunctions of eclipse are due to the same power as the orbits of illumination, and the hour of darkness is measured by the Giver of Light. That shadow traversed, a yet more awful vision, the terrible splendour of the solar fount in all its fulness, bursts upon his sight; and as he mounts the sevenfold ascent of the planetary spheres, he gazes undazzled on the stupendous jets and sprays of flame that dart on a sudden thousands and myriads of miles on high. Then far beyond in the
infinite depths of space, his eyes, now radiant "as the eyes of Athor," seek out the well-loved Sothis, the harbinger of the new dawn, the portal of the illimitable heavens, "that land of a million fortresses." And in anticipation of each successive stage of this amazing progress, this reconquest of the senses to the dominion of the reason, we may watch the course of the masonic postulant accepted by the "Master of the Secret," as he is inducted, chamber by chamber, into the Hidden Places in the Pyramid of Light.
Yet though a man understand the material forces of the universe, though he know all the phenomena of the heavens, and the composition of the most distant suns; nay, though he wield with so masterly a grasp the wand of science as to evolve at will an organic world from the atoms of the abysmal depths, all this, in the mind of Egypt, was not sufficient, even for initiation into the inner mysteries of divine realities. No mere expansion of the intellect,
however pure and lofty; not even the scientific definition of absolute truth, could suffice to open the secret things of God, any more than the most exact acquaintance with the features and the proportions of the Pyramid would disclose their interior signification without the teaching of the hidden Wisdom. And hence, at the commencement of the Ritual, in the heading of the first chapter, before a word of doctrine has been revealed, we are told how it proceeds from Thoth, "The Mind and Will of God," as the inscription of Hermopolis entitles him.
Now there are three modes in which such knowledge may be communicated to those prepared to receive it; namely, by simple instruction, by distant vision, or by personal participation. Each of these modes is, it is evident, an advance upon that which precedes, a preparation for that which follows it. No man can become a participator in the Divine Nature who has never been illuminated by its
contemplation. No man can contemplate the Deity who has not been instructed in Truth; nor can any receive that initiation until he be dead to the flesh. As, therefore, in the masonic induction the catechumen could ascend but a few steps in the light of common day, and passed, when the disc of the starry heaven was opened by the Master of the Secret, into the profound darkness of the Descending Passage; so too, when the great preparation of Death had been accomplished, when soul and spirit had been released from the dominion of the senses, when, by the sacred purification of embalmment, the corruptible body had put on incorruption, then "On the day of the funeral," we read, the Unseen Master commenced to instruct the catechumen in the stages which must be undergone preparatory to his initiation. And so closely does the masonic path in the Pyramid correspond with the path of the departed in the Ritual, that the traveller to-day who penetrates the recesses
of the mysterious building may follow, well-nigh step by step, the mystical progress of the departed through the unseen world. For to the Egyptian of old, to have mastered the secret of the House of the Hidden Places was to have mastered the secret of the tomb. For him the grave had no darkness, death held no terror; for he knew beforehand the starry path, wherein each step brought him nearer to the Creator-Light.
Ritual in hand, let us now take up our position once more at the foot of the exterior ascent, beneath the entrance of the star, along with the catechumen of the Secret; and with him let us forecast the time when, bereft of sense, of will, of life, he will go forth, dumb and helpless, to the mouth of the tomb, and commence "The entrance on Light" (chap. i.) while "borne to the land of the holy dead." Then, reciting chapter by chapter, as we mount step by step, we become informed, in the course of that brief but steep ascent, of the
preparation which awaits him when the last glimpse of earth is hidden from his sight. Thus we learn how (ii., iii.) * after death, the departed comes forth into the light of immortality, even as the sun when he sets, bursts forth in radiance on the world which is hidden from our view. Then, since the departed cannot yet bear the judgment of interior justice, he is warned beforehand (iv.) that when he has commenced the descent, he must "pass the Road above the Earth," the ascending passage concealed by the Hidden Portcullis behind the fourth exterior course. And behind that secret portal in the vignette illustrating the chapter, we descry the face of the Unseen Teacher, that countenance of which the holy dead, when initiation has begun, shall presently be strengthened to bear the distant but unveiled vision. Before that lintel can be
passed, and the road above the earth be traversed, many trials, he now learns, are waiting for him. There are tasks of justice to be fulfilled, if he omitted those good works on earth, the memorials of which may be his sponsors ("Ushabti") (v., vi.). Apep, too, the dark serpent that devours the hidden Light, as the winding darkness of the autumnal equinox devours the light of the year, lies in wait (vii.) to crush him in its multitudinous folds, while he treads the path where Light and Darkness balance. Still mounting upward, and at each step approaching nearer the grave, the catechumen is instructed how, when that serpent shall be passed, the Gate of the West (viii., ix.), the aperture of the western wall, will conduct him into the Well, or Chamber of the deep Waters, as the setting sun goes down into the deep waters of the western ocean and comes forth thence in triumph (x., xi.). Passing in silence over that which shall happen to him in the Well, since that knowledge cannot
yet be imparted, the Divine Teacher directs him, when the mystery of new life is accomplished, to retrace his steps to the Passage of the Heavenly Horizon; and, after entering and coming forth from (xii., xiii.) the Chamber of Ordeal, to approach once more the Lintel of Justice. For then, and then only, can he set foot upon the threshold of justification, when "the stains have been burnt from his heart" by the raging fire (xiv.).
On the fifteenth course now high above the horizon of the earth, our eyes (two courses higher than our feet) already face the double-arched gateway defined by the pole-star, the outer entrance of the secret places revealing the path of the Horizon of Heaven. And similarly in chapter xv. the departed comes towards the land of Eternity. "May I proceed," he continues, "as thou dost, without halt, like thy holiness, Ra, thou who hast no master, great traverser of waters, with whom millions of years are but a moment." Then,
as he bends his head towards the entrance of the Pyramid and gazes on the dark passage now open within, "I proceed to heaven," he says; "I kneel among the stars." And at the conclusion of the chapter he learns the words to recite when his sun is setting, and he kneels with his hands towards the land (of the unseen), "O height of Love, thou openest the double Gate of the Horizon."
With these sublime words of thanksgiving, the instruction of the catechumen comes to a close; sufficient knowledge having been imparted to direct his course as postulant to the places of Initiation and Ordeal, until which point be passed he can look no further into the mysteries. In the following chapter (xvi.), as we ascend the last course before quitting the outer light, the divine voice is for a season hushed; and the Ritual silently offers three pictures for our contemplation. On one of these the sole object presented is the sacred Scarab, a symbol of the Eternal One, the
[paragraph continues] Self-Created Being who knows no beginning and no end. On the second is the figure of the departed standing before Amen, the Hidden Deity. The third contains simply a blank stele or Egyptian form of tombstone. And that stele, as we learn from the very ancient papyrus of Unas, the "prophet of the Pyramid," was fashioned in the form of a false door for the pyramidal entrance, the entrance, that is to say, which lies on the seventeenth course of the northward face, and which is oriented by the northern star.
In that moment of silence, the departed is alone. The friends have left him. The sun of earth, which from his earliest years has greeted him, is for ever hidden. The "Gate of the Earth" is passed (xvii.); and the Catechumen of Wisdom has been accepted as the Postulant of Immortality. Dense, utter darkness is before him; but under the direction of Anup, the guide of souls, he passes on beyond that Gate of the Ascent, where the
divine Light lifts the disc of the tomb. "It is the region of his father Shu" (the Light), the Ritual continues: "he effaces his sins, he destroys his stains." Then as the departed advances through the darkness, and fearlessly commences the Descending Path, the inner Light, unseen by mortal eye, reveals itself in vision. He beholds the lower world (xvii.), the territory of Initiation, the entry of the Hidden Places, concerning which the divine Wisdom has instructed him, the place "wherein he must enter and from whence he must come forth," the transformations which he must desire to make, that he may be transformed into the likeness of God, the good works which he must do, the "throne" of the regenerate soul, and the blessed company of Osiris after the body has been laid to rest. In that same vision too he sees the whole lower world, the "Angle of Fire;" and "the Pool" or Well of Life, with its summit opening into the Double Hall of Truth (xvii.).
With the eighteenth chapter begins the "Book of Performing the Days," that is, the period of preparation for Initiation and Ordeal, the due performance of which entitles him to pass "the road above the earth" (xviii.), there to receive the Crown of Justification (xix., xx.), when his victory is assured. As he pursues the descending Passage of the Heavenly Horizon, the reconstruction of the inner man, the new creation to life immortal, slowly commences (xxi.). One by one his faculties are reawakened to spiritual life; his mouth (xxii.) is opened, that he may respond to the teaching of the divine voice; his mind and his name are restored (xxiv., xxv.); his heart (xxvi.) is given back to him, and he knows no more the icy numbness of the paralyzed affections. Gradually the new-formed body gathers force and substance; that is to say, not the natural body, which never bursts its sacred swaddling-bands till wakened in the last chapter of the Ritual and the last chamber
of the building by the Grand Orient of the open tomb, but the spiritual or astral body wherewith the man, already raised in incorruption yet still awaiting the open manifestation of Osiris's resurrection, converses with the "Starry Spirits," the intelligences of the transcendent spheres. With the new life commences the attack of his spiritual enemies, now rendered palpable to his sight (xxvii.–xxxii.), the dread inhabitants of the under world, that wage in man the great battle of contending light and darkness. Sloth, the tortoise, strives to delay his steps; the asps put forth their venom; crawling reptiles infest his path. From every side the raging passions, the devouring crocodiles which inhabit the waters of life, rush furiously to the attack; but he repels all those creatures of darkness by the astral brightness of his starry nature. "Back, Crocodile of the South," he exclaims; "I am Sothis"—the star of the Eternal Dawn. His foes, defeated by the divine
protection (xxxiii.–xli.), the body raised in in-corruption (xlii.) acquires in every limb and every feature the seal of God. His hair, from which the light glows forth in streams, is as "the hair of Nu," the sacred Nile glowing with the streams of life; his countenance, shining as the sun, is radiant as the face of Ra; his eyes, glorious as are eyes of Athor, gleaming with immortal beauty; his fingers are as the Uri, the insignia of the royal power; his feet burn with the fire of the Creator-Spirit Ptah; his humanity is as the humanity of Osiris, the incarnate God. "There is not a member of him," says the Ritual, "which is not divine."
Resplendently beautiful as is the astral body assumed by the new being, he is not yet prepared for initiation; but fresh trials still await him as he approaches the granite block which obstructs the descending passage. His self-dominion, the head of his glory, may be taken from him; he may incur the second
death of defilement from the creatures of darkness (xliii.–li.). But still, by the same guidance avoiding all these dangers, he comes forth as the day through the Gate of the West, to the passage which conducts him to the Well of Life; and as he passes that threshold, he is fed with the celestial food which they may not eat who are partakers of defilement (li.–lii.). "The enemies do not eat of my body," says Osiris, in another part of the Ritual. Avoiding defilement through the strength of that food (lii., liii.) he receives the breath of Ptah (liv.–lviii.), and drawing near to the Well of Life, is granted a first draught of its refreshing streams (lix.–lxiii.). In the depths of that well, wherein, as the Sai-an-Sinsin tells us, approach is made to Osiris, shall presently take place the regeneration of the renewed man (or "Ka"), by reunion with the new-born soul amid the living waters. "I give the waters of life to every mummy," says the Goddess Nout, who presides over
the waters, in the inscription on the vase of Osur-Ur (given in "Records of the Past"), "to reunite it with the soul, that it may henceforth be separated from it no more for ever. The Resident of the West has established thy person amid the sages of the divine Lower Region. He giveth stability to thy body, and causeth thy soul not to distance itself from thee. He keepeth remembrance of thy person, and saveth thy body now and for ever."
During this arduous preparation, while the departed passes from earth in absolute weakness to wage the prolonged conflict of light and darkness, the imperishable soul, restored to her native element, is born a second time in the Chamber of the Queen of the Pyramid, wherein was born the divine Osiris, at once her Son, her Maker, and her Spouse. "I am Yesterday," says Osiris, in the sixty-fourth chapter, said to be almost coeval with the Pyramid of Light; that is, "I am He who was before time began," since, however far
back in time a day may be, yesterday was always before it. "I am the Dawn," he continues, "the Light of the Second Birth, the Mystery of the Soul, Maker of the gods, by whom are fed the hidden ones of heaven." So in the inscription on the coffin of Anches-Ra-Neferab—that is, of her "whose life was the Sacred Heart of Ra"—we read concerning Isis, that is, she "who opens for thee the secret places by those mighty names of thine. Thy name is Infant and Old Man, Germ and Growth, Son of Heaven, who makes the road for thee according to his word. Thy name is Everlasting, Self-Begotten, the Dawn, the Day, the Evening, the Night, the Darkness. Thy name is the Moon, the Heart of Silence, the Lord of the Unseen World." And on another part of the coffin of the same holy queen, the spirits of Annu, called in the Ritual the "secret birthplace of the gods," are invoked as those "who preside over the sacred birth."
With the new birth of the soul comes also
the restoration of power in its original divine image. For as in the condition which is subject to decay the corruptible senses dominate and inform the soul, so according to the theosophy of Egypt, in the condition of immortality, does the illuminate spirit inform and dominate the regenerate senses. While we are subject to the flesh, the external universe impresses itself continually upon the mind, dimming and imprisoning the original "type" or image of the Deity, which feebly struggles to express itself in the masterpieces of poet or artist. But when the soul is born into new life, it regains that Creative Image, and is endowed with the power of co-operating with the divine Energy. For, as we learn from an exquisite chapter in the Ritual, it is the fragrance of Innocence, which perfumes the breath of the Creative Beauty. Hence, in the masonry on the eastern wall of that most secret Chamber of New Birth, we find expressed the fivefold dominion informed by
the soul, new-born in the sacred type of the image of the Queen. Now thus the senses themselves become so essentially divine, that the departed pays worship to his own faculties. "I have adored Touch and Taste," he says later on; for touch and taste are the channels whereby is communicated to man the food of immortality. From that Secret Chamber, the regenerate soul comes forth glorious as the day (lxv., lxvi.), and "opening the door" (lxvii.), once so carefully concealed, comes forth in full radiance to the fields of Aahlu (lxviii.–lxxii.), the territory of illumination: to take its seat (lxxv.) upon the lower throne above the head of the Well, between the Chamber of the Orbit and the Chamber of the Shadow. "The gates of heaven open to me," he says;" the gates of earth open to me."
That solemn enthronization being witnessed by the postulant in the depths below; he remembers that the time of ordeal draws near, and after praying, as instructed beforehand,
that his sin may be rubbed out, he celebrates the "festival of the soul passing to his body." But not immediately may that passage be accomplished. Raised though he be in incorruption, glowing as he is in every member with the immortal light, he cannot yet bear unveiled the overwhelming glory of the soul. Therefore, in the teaching of Egypt, around the radiant being which in its regenerate life could assimilate itself to the glory of the Godhead, was formed the "Khaibit" or luminous atmosphere, consisting of a series of ethereal envelopes, at once shading and diffusing its flaming lustre, as the earth's atmosphere shades and diffuses the solar rays. And at each successive transformation (lxxvii.–lxxxvii.) it descended nearer to the moral conditions of humanity. From the form of the golden hawk, the semblance of the absolute divine substance, the One Eternal, Self-Existent Being, it passes to the "Lord of Time," the image of the Creator, since with the Creation time
began. Presently it assumes the form of a lily, the vignette in the Ritual representing the head of Osiris enshrined in that flower; the Godhead manifested in the flesh, coming forth from immaculate purity. "I am the pure lily," we read, "coming forth from the lily of light. I am the source of illumination (the nostril of the sun) and the channel of the breath of immortal beauty (Athor). I bring the messages (of heaven), Horus (the Eternal Son) accomplishes them." Later the soul passes into the form of the Urœus, "the soul of the earth;" the serpentine path traced upon the earth irradiated by the vertical sun, as the senses are irradiated by the supreme illumination of the soul.
And finally it assumes the semblance of a crocodile; becoming subject, that is, to the passions of humanity. For the human passions, being part of the nature wherein man was originally created, are not intrinsically evil, but only become evil when insubordinate to
the soul. And thus the crocodile, which attacked the departed before new birth, is rendered divine in the regenerate form.. Therefore it was that the crocodile was held in high reverence by the Egyptians, for it spoke to them of the time when man should regain the mastery of his passions, and when the last barrier between himself and his glorious soul should be removed for ever.
Immeasurable as is the distance which thus separates the two beings which make up the perfect manhood, there is no hesitation or delay on the part of the soul. That radiant creature in its glory has not forgotten the frail companion in union with whom it dwelt during the days of its humiliation. Restored to its native purity, welcomed by the Almighty to a participation in his own energy, throned on its seat of absolute dominion, yet such is the ardour with which that soul returns the love of man, that like the Creator Himself it cannot rest satisfied with its own inexhaustible
bliss; but hastens to come down from its seat of power, that it may raise and glorify expectant humanity. And thus the vignette shows us the winged creature flying towards the postulant. Meanwhile the latter, from below watching its flight, prays in an ecstasy for the reunion. "O bringer," he cries, "O runner in his hall!"—the Hall of Truth, where the throne of the soul is erected. "Great God, let my soul go where it desires (lxxxix.). O conductors of the bark of millions of years, led through the gateway, clearing the path of heaven and earth, accompany ye the souls to the holy dead."
The prayer is granted. Leaving its throne on high, and passing through its various transformations, the soul descends the ladder of the well, as in the papyrus of Ani. Then the divine protection is obtained (xci.); and, amid the living waters in the pool of the Persea, the Tree of Immortality (as the Ritual elsewhere calls it), the earnest desire of the
postulant is fulfilled, and he is re-united with his living soul (xciii.); "My soul is front the beginning," he says, "from the commencement of time (reckoning of years). The eye of Horus "(the Divine Son) made for me my soul, preparing its substance. The darkness is before them; the arms of Osiris hold them. Open the path to my soul and my shadow (Khaibit) and my spirit, to see the great God within his sepulchre the day of making up the souls." If that knowledge is possessed, the Ritual adds, he enters on Light; he is not detained in the lower world.
That priceless gift conceded, the postulant, though he cannot yet participate in the divine splendour until his ordeal be passed, yet can he behold it openly from afar, and enter on his initiation into the sacred mysteries. Ascending, in the strength imparted to him by his soul, the ladder of the well, he offers a prayer to the Divine Teacher (xciv.), and, "holding in his hand the Sacred Mysteries," he turns
his opened eyes successively in the three directions which we saw indicated by the hieroglyph of the divine Initiator Thoth. First he gazes down "the opening where Thoth is," the Chamber of the Shadow, now no longer closed to his view, though not yet accessible to his person; and he beholds the secret Wisdom which gives to Truth its splendour (xcv., xcvi.), the countenance of the Divine Teacher, whose voice instructed the catechumen, and whose power protected the postulant. Then, as his eyes grow clearer, he offers a prayer to Anup (xcvii.), the starry guide, who has led him thus far towards his heart's desire; and, turning towards the Chamber of the New Birth, he discerns the Bark of Ra (xcviii.–cii.), the vessel of God, foretold to him before his entry on the path by the Divine Teacher—the vessel which shall bear him safely across the Deep Waters. Even while he looks, the whole interior of the building is lit with a sudden glow; and the masonry, pourtraying each portion
of the sacred vessel, reveals their mystical significance, which the Initiate must know before permission can be granted to embark. Within the Inner House the vast granite Triangle dominating the secret heights assumes for him the form of an "Anchor," with its central axis indicated, but not delineated, by the equality of the members: as we saw the central mystery of the Supreme Secret, the Unity of the divine Substance to be indicated but not defined by the equality of the Persons in the Egyptian Trinity. And that "anchor" firmly fixed, not in the depths below, but in the heights above the open sarkophagus, speaks to him of Osiris, "the
The Anchor and the Coffin of the Lord of Earth. (Sarkophagus and highest chamber.)
[paragraph continues] Lord of the earth in his coffin;" the vision
which awhile ago he prayed that he might behold on the Great Day of Reckoning. At the head of the Grand Gallery is the "seat" of the "Dweller in Space:" the radiant throne at the top of the long incline to which the Initiate now lifts his eyes. Right through the midst of the throne rises unseen the Axis of the Great House, the Central Ray of the Grand Light of Egypt, like a huge but impalpable mast towering from foundation to summit of the vessel of Light. That axis passes through the Chamber of New Birth below, and separates the Outer from the Inner House which lies beyond the throne, as the central but impalpable truth of Death separates the glory which now is from the glory which lies beyond. And in the truth of Death, to the Egyptian the "Completion-Beginning" of the New Birth, the Initiate discerns "the great bringer and taker away," as the Ritual calls the mast of the vessel of Ra. Aloft upon the same axis, above the solar throne, the roof of the
lustrous chamber, with its starry rays, images to him whose eyes are opened, the "Sail of the Firmament," which, by its starry grandeur,
The Sail of the Firmament.
draws the soul irresistibly to God. The Well reflects to him the "Paddle" shining in the invisible waters, as the image of the Creator shines invisibly in the Waters of Life: the "Planks," the rungs of the ladder whereby the soul came down to visit him, each guarded by a spirit of celestial intelligence. In the subterranean chamber he discerns the "hold" of "darkness," and in the Chamber of New Birth the Cabin, or Secret Place of the Divine Vessel. A remarkable instance of pyramidal allusion is supplied by the form of the cabin. For the roof proper was surmounted by another roof of the singular and apparently unmeaning shape given in the text. But if above the Chamber
of New Birth we indicate the throne of Ra, which immediately surmounts it, we shall have
the shape in question; so that the form implies the enthronization of the Uncreated Light upon the Mystery of the Divine Mother, Isis.
Chamber of New Birth, surmounted by Throne.
[paragraph continues] Upon that bark of safety take place both his present Initiation and the Illumination which is to come; and each of these ascents finds its appropriate expression in the masonry, the one in the place of New Birth, the other in the Chamber of the Splendour. And in the
vignettes of the Ritual, we see the vessel bearing upon it at one time a fivefold, at another a sevenfold staircase; the fivefold dominion of the regenerate senses, and the sevenfold elevation of the illuminate intellect.
Yet one more vision opens out to the Initiate. As he raises his eyes more upward yet to the extreme height of the Chamber of the Splendour, far removed from the head of the well, yet forming part of the same divine structure, he discerns the "opening where Athor is" (ciii.), the azure depths of ethereal loveliness leading to the secret heights above the Chamber of Grand Orient. For a moment he gazes in silent rapture on the far-off opening of the unimaginable vision, and then calls to his aid "the Opener of the Great Sanctuary" (cv., cvi.). "Oh, assistant—oh, assistant!" he exclaims; "I am among the servants of Immortal Beauty!"
Fortified then by that enduring remembrance, he turns from the scene of future
illumination, and descends towards the place of impending trial. Around him stand revealed the "Gods of the Western Gate" (cvii.), the Western opening to the Well of Life, where dwell the spirits who came unseen to his assistance at the hour when the sun of earthly life went down into the West. From the "Chamber of the Waters of Heaven" flows down the torrent of the "Celestial Nile" (cx.), and mingles at his side with the stream from the "Chamber of the Birthplace of the Gods"—that stream which waters the fields of Aahlu, the home of the regenerate. And high above, far as his quickened eyes can pierce, are assembled the bright companies of starry spirits from every quarter (cxi.–cxiv.) to assist at his victory, his judgment, and his coronation. In the memory of that unfading vision, and the strength of those protecting spirits, the Initiate enters and comes forth (cxvi.) from the subterranean Chamber of the Fiery Ordeal.
199:* If these numbers be placed on a print of the interior of the Pyramid, in the order here indicated, they will show how the titles here assigned to the different parts are obtained from the Ritual.