Absolute Key To Occult Science, The Tarot Of The Bohemians
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This fully illustrated book is intended for initiates of the tarot. Papus is after a 'Theory of Everything', and finds evidence for it in the Tarot and a set of correspondences with everything from the tetragrammaton to numerology and astrology. Chapters include: Introduction To The Study Of The Tarot; The Sacred Word Yod-He-Vau-He; The Esoterism Of Numbers; Analogy Between The Sacred Word And Numbers; The Key To The Minor Arcana; The Key To The Major Arcana; Connection Between The Major And Minor Arcana; Symbolism In The Tarot; Introduction To The Study Of Symbolism; History Of The Symbolism Of The Tarot. Inquiry Into Its Origin; The Symbolical Tarot; Second Septenary. Arcana 7 To 13; Third Septenary. Arcana 13-19; General Transition. Arcana 19 To 21; General Summary Of The Symbolical Tarot; Applications Of The Tarot; General Key To The Applications Of The Tarot; The Astronomical Tarot; The Initiative Tarot; The Kabbalistic Tarot; List Of The Authors Who Have Interested Themselves In The Tarot; The Divining Tarot In Seven Lessons; and, Application Of The Tarot To Games.
This book has 326 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1892.
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Excerpt from 'Absolute Key To Occult Science, The Tarot Of The Bohemians'
WE are on the eve of a complete transformation of our scientific methods. Materialism has given us all that we can expect from it, and inquirers, disappointed as a rule, hope for great things from the future, whilst they are unwilling to spend more time in pursuing the path adopted in modern times. Analysis has been carried, in every branch of knowledge, as far as possible, and has only deepened the moats which divide the sciences.
Synthesis becomes necessary; but how can we realize it?
If we would condescend to waive for one moment our belief in the indefinite progress and fatal superiority of later generations over the ancients, we should at once perceive that the colossal civilizations of antiquity possessed Science, Universities, and Schools.
India and Egypt are still strewn with valuable remains, which reveal to archæologists the existence of this ancient science.
We are now in a position to affirm that the dominant character of this teaching was synthesis, which condenses in a few very simple laws the whole of the acquired knowledge.
But the use of synthesis had been almost entirely lost, through several causes, which it is important to enumerate.
Amongst the ancients, knowledge was only transmitted to men whose worth had been proved by a series of tests. This transmittal took place in the temples, under the name of mysteries, and the adept assumed the title of priest or Initiate. This science was therefore secret or occult, and thus originated the name of occult science, given by our contemporaries to the ancient synthesis.
Another reason for the limited diffusion of the higher branches of knowledge, was the length and difficulty of the journeys involved before the most important centres of initiation could be reached.
However, when the Initiates found that a time was approaching when these doctrines might be lost to humanity, they made strenuous efforts to save the law of synthesis from oblivion. Three great methods were used for this purpose--
1. Secret societies,, a direct continuation of the mysteries;
2. The cultus, a symbolic translation of the higher doctrines, for the use of the people;
3. Lastly, the people itself became the unconscious depository of the doctrine.
Let us now see what use each of these groups made of the treasure confided to it.
THE SECRET SOCIETIES.
The school of Alexandria was the principal source from which the secret societies of the West arose.
The majority of the Initiates had taken refuge in the East, and quite recently (in 1884) the West discovered the existence in India, and above all in Thibet, of an occult fraternity, which possessed, practically, the ancient synthesis in its integrity. The Theosophite Society was founded with the object of uniting Western initiation with Oriental initiation.
But we are less interested in the existence of this doctrine in the East, than in the history of the development of the initiative societies in the West.
The Gnostic sects, the Arabs, Alchemists, Templars, Rosicrucians, and lastly the Freemasons, form the Western chain in the transmission of occult science.
A rapid glance over the doctrines of these associations is sufficient to. prove that the present form of Freemasonry has almost entirely lost the meanings of the traditional symbols, which constitute the trust which it ought to have transmitted through the ages.
The elaborate ceremonials of the ritual appear ridiculous to the vulgar common sense of a lawyer or grocer, the actual modern representatives of the profound doctrines of antiquity.
We must, however, make some exceptions in favour of great thinkers, like Ragon and a few others.
In short, Freemasonry has lost the doctrine confided to it, and cannot by its self provide us with the synthetic law for which we are seeking.
The secret societies were to transmit in their symbolism the scientific side of primitive initiation, the religious sects were to develop the philosophical and metaphysical aspects of the doctrine.
Every priest of an ancient creed was one of the Initiates, that is to say, he knew perfectly well that only one religion existed, and that the cultus merely served to translate this religion to the different nations according to their particular temperaments. This fact led to one important result, namely, that a priest, no matter which of the gods he served, was received with honour in the temples of all the other gods, and was allowed to offer sacrifice to them. Yet this circumstance must not be supposed to imply any idea of polytheism. The Jewish High Priest in Jerusalem received one of the Initiates, Alexander the Great, into the Temple, and led him into the Holy of Holies, to offer sacrifice.
Our religious disputes for the supremacy of one creed over another would have caused much amusement to one of the ancient Initiate priests; they were unable to suppose that intelligent men could ignore the unity of all creeds in one fundamental religion.
Sectarianism, chiefly sustained by two creeds, equally blinded by their errors, the Christian and the Mussulman, was the cause of the total loss of the secret doctrine, which gave the key to Synthetic Unity.
Still greater labour is required to re-discover Synthesis in our Western religions, than to find it in Freemasonry.
The Jews alone possessed, no longer the spirit, but the letter of their oral or Kabbalistic traditions. The Bible, written in Hebrew, is marvellous from this point of view, for it contains all the occult traditions, although its true sense has never yet been revealed. Fabre d'Olivet commenced this prodigious work, but the ignorant descendants of the Inquisition at Rome have placed these studies on the list of those prohibited. Posterity will judge them.
Yet every cultus has its tradition, its book, its Bible, which teach those who know how to read them the unity of all creeds, in spite of the difference existing in the ritual of various countries.
The Sepher Bereschit of Moses is the Jewish Bible, the Apocalypse and the Esoteric Gospels form the Christian Bible, the Legend of Hiram is the Bible of Freemasonry, the Odyssey the Bible of the so-called polytheism of Greece, the Æneid that of Rome, and lastly the Hindu Vedas and the Mussulman Koran are well known to all students of ancient theology.