The Golden Star
“Divine miracles are produced by the same causes that generate effects of sorcery. Intense will and desire result in conscious or unconscious magic. The only difference rests on the good or evil effects aimed at, and on the actor producing them.
“In addition to the will there are other aids to the sorcerer, such as the incantations, magnetic passes, philtres, and so on, of which we read in the Greek manuscript entitled Philosophumena, the author of which is supposed to be St. Hippolytus of the Greek Church.
“In the time of Ramesses III of Egypt, there was the case of a man named Hai, a shepherd, who wanted to acquire power. He obtained possession of a book in which the formulæ of Ramesses Meri-Amen, his royal Master, were written. By means of these formulæ he succeeded in getting magical power, reading the future, and committing all sorts of horrors and abominations conceived in his mind. At last, he was discovered and ordered by the judges to die according to the order of Pharaoh, and according to what is written in the lines of the divine language. In other words he was destroyed by means similar to those he had employed for his evil purposes.
“In the Temple of Khonsu, at Thebes, the Temple of the God who has power over the elementaries, was an inscription—since presented to the National Library of Paris—in which there is found a complete romance of Magic.
“The difference between the Astral shells of the departed, the elementary demons, the planetary and the real Gods, was fully known in Egypt, and those wicked sorcerers who employed this knowledge in their dark pursuits were invariably killed upon discovery.
“Philo states: ‘The Mysteries were known to unveil the secret operations of Nature.’
“The prodigies accomplished by the priests of theurgic magic are so well authenticated and the evidence—if human testimony is worth anything at all—is so overwhelming that, rather than confess that the theurgists outrivalled the Christians in miracles, Sir David Brewster conceded to the former the greatest proficiency in physics and everything that pertains to natural philosophy.
“Herodotus, Thales, Parmenides, Empedoclus, Orpheus and Pythagoras, all went, each in his day, in search of the Wisdom of Egypt’s great Hierophants, in the hope of solving the problems of the Universe. Psellus says that: ‘Magic formed the last part of the sacerdotal science. It investigated the nature, power, and quality of everything sublunary; of the elements and their parts, of animals, of various plants and their fruits, of stones and herbs. In short, it explored the essence and power of everything.’
“Excesses of power, abuse of knowledge and personal ambition, very often led selfish and unscrupulous Initiates to Black Magic, Sorcery, or Witchcraft; and it was Black Magic that led finally to the abolition of the Mysteries, as we can read in Mommsen’s Römische Geschichte (History of Rome). As early as 560 B.C., the Romans had discovered an Occult Association, a school of Black Magic of the most revolting kind which celebrated mysteries brought from Etruria, and very soon the moral pestilence had spread all over Italy. More than 7,000 Initiates were prosecuted, and most of them were sentenced to death. Later on, Titus-Livius shows us another 3,000 Initiates sentenced during a single year for the crime of poisoning.”
The Messenger finished his discourse, and silence fell upon the three as Ma-u and Ma-uti meditated for a while on all they had seen and heard.
And it seemed as if a procession of shadowy forms arose upon the plain before them, and a weird light began to shine, illuminating the scene in a ghostly manner. Plainer and plainer became the shadowy shapes, until a succession of living actors performed a series of strange feats, illustrating in a remarkable manner the principles of magic and witchcraft discussed by Neteru-Hem.
There appeared the strange figure of Simon Magus, the great magician, making a man out of air and causing him to appear and disappear at will. Or he pierced stones with his fingers, as if they were made of clay, or turned them into bread. Anon he changed himself into a ram, or he flew in the air like a bird; and with a wave of his hands produced a heap of gold. Two-faced he was, like Janus, and at his behest a marble statue came to life and walked around.
There was the Bohemian sorcerer, Zyto, who made fat pigs out of bundles of straw, and caused antlers to grow on people’s foreheads when leaning out of windows to watch their neighbours, so that they could not draw their heads in again! A wicked-looking old hag sat muttering by a pool, beating the water with her finger in the name of her Master. In the sky above black clouds gathered, which the witch drove presently towards the cornfields of one of her enemies, which later could be destroyed by a hailstorm descending from these clouds.
Sitting on a fallen tree they beheld the majestic figure of Pythagoras, holding converse with his trained eagle. Dressed in the bodies of dead men they saw a number of demons, for demons, being the source of death, can have no human bodies of their own, but they have to steal them from the grave. There were also female forms of such elementals, and little demons with two horns on their foreheads; the offspring of incubus and succubus-demons and humans; the results of abnormal sin.
And riding upon staves and brooms, reeds and cleft sticks, distaffs and shovels, oxen, goats or dogs, came a great throng of witches, young and old.
They were those, deeply versed in the black arts, who knew how to attend the Sabbath in person, whilst at their homes they had left a double of their bodies, seemingly asleep. They lit a foul and horrid fire, and their president, the devil, sat on his throne in the shape of a huge and dreadful goat. Approaching him they did homage; some bending their knees as suppliants, others with their backs turned, some kicking up their legs so high that their heads bent back and their chins pointed to the sky. They offered him black candles, or infants’ navel cords, and a terrible noise proceeded from them, many running around like mad beings—which they certainly were. The majority were women, but there were men also. Tables were placed on which a host of serving demons placed food; but when the guests began to eat, the food was so bitter and obnoxious that they could not retain it, at which the devil became so angry that he could hardly refrain from tearing them to pieces. Black wine was also served from filthy drinking horns, but there was no bread or salt. The scene became one of great confusion. Then followed dances in circles, always turning to the left, and these dances gave no pleasure, but brought great labour and fatigue, as of the utmost toil. Each had his familiar spirit with him and blasphemous sentences were uttered in which Beelzebub himself is acclaimed the creator, giver, and preserver of all; and when addressing him they turned their faces to the ground, turned their backs, and approached him in a crab-like manner.
Up in a tree sat a herdsman playing the pipes to which the witches danced. As the dance proceeded, the witches crowed like cocks, clucked like hens, mewed like cats, barked like dogs or bleated like sheep. Others lowed, neighed or grunted, and the whole produced a hellish uproar, to the delight of the devil and his demons, who ran about amongst the crowd and stabbed the witches with pronged forks, to make them howl the louder. And gradually the mob increased in numbers and there appeared the fiery demons of the upper air, the aerial demons of the middle air, the terrestrial, the water-spirits, the subterranean, the lucifugous—who abhor and detest the light—and they appeared in many forms as dogs, cats, oxen and horned owls. They shrieked and groaned, or screamed with high-pitched whistling sounds, such voices as those of the bad elementals of the Egyptian priests, attached to tombs or statues, or objects of evil worship.
Around the fires that burned upon the plain sat wizards and witches, absorbed in their task of burning human corpses to collect the fat for magic salves, and to burn the bones to powder with which they sprinkle fields and orchards of their enemies so that the crops shall fail.
Others were making poisonous lotions, waters, powders, oils and unguents, with which to kill or bewitch for unholy gain.
And Pluto—in the shape of a fierce black man, a very Prince of Evil—once more appeared; and all the devils, demons and the witches gave him worship, fell to the ground and grovelled before him, tearing at themselves with their own teeth.
The dreadful form of Pluto swelled out and grew until it filled the sky. It rose and floated high above like a black cloud, and from the cloud his harsh voice rang forth like thunder, whilst lurid lightning split the air. A dreadful roar—and all that multitude of sin was blown away like a heavy cloud of dust towards the corners of the earth . . . .
Only a brooding silence remained within the ghostly light, and Ma-u and Ma-uti regarded the White Messenger, still seated upon that tree-trunk from which they had witnessed the strange scenes and listened to the teachings of the Fourth Vision.