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The House of the Hidden Places

W. Marsham Adams

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There were many speculative attempts to explain the internal architecture of the Great Pyramid of Giza in the 19th century. Adams, on the other hand, thought that the blueprint for the Great Pyramid was the recently translated Egyptian Book of the Dead, a journey of the soul through the afterlife. He viewed this as an allegory of initiation, a precursor of Masonic rituals. When this book was initially published, it was taken seriously by many scholars and esoteric researchers. However, the lack of scholarly apparatus was a stumbling block for many. In addition, the Great Pyramid was constructed about 2500 BCE, and first versions of the Book of the Dead date to about 1500 BCE: a gap of nearly a thousand years. Although Adams drops hints about high-level Masonic themes in the Pyramid and Book of the Dead, he was not a member of any Masonic group. On the balance, some of Adams' ideas were ahead of his time, particularly his theory that the Egyptians were African in origin, not Asian, as most believed at the time.

This book has 111 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1895.

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Excerpt from 'The House of the Hidden Places'

THE singular correspondence which may be traced between the passage-chambers of the Grand Pyramid—called by the Egyptians of old The "Khut," or "Lights"—and the various stages traversed, according to the creed of that ancient nation, by the holy dead in passing from the light of earth to the light of eternal day, was first pointed out by me last year in the pages of the New Review. Previously to publication the article was submitted in substance to M. Maspéro and Professor Sayce; and I desire to express my sincere thanks to those eminent authorities for the recognition and encouragement which they afforded me, as well as to Mr. Mengedoht, the hieroglyphic scholar, for his revision of my work. In the present book the same analogy is worked out in much fuller detail—not completely indeed, for that may well need the labour of years; but sufficiently, I would hope, to present a clear basis for further investigation in either direction. In the case of the Ritual, we obtain what appears to me to be a consistent and intelligible analysis of that hitherto impenetrable creed, through the gradual transformation of the faculties in successive stages of illumination. With regard to the Pyramid, we are led to suggest a spiritual and most far-sighted purpose for its construction. For in that marvellous edifice, the very stones of which in their silent harmony seem to rebuke the idle charges of folly and pride heaped by ignorance upon the architect, we have nothing less than an indestructible and immutable symbol of the national religion.

The value of the general theory here proposed depends therefore, it is evident, upon the accuracy of the correspondence established, or sought to be established, between the path so jealously concealed within the interior of the Pyramid of Light and the path described textually in the well-known collection of sacred Egyptian writings, which is called by us the "Book of the Dead," but which claims for its own title the "Book of the Master of the Hidden Places." But those points of correspondence are so numerous in themselves, and form so severe, a system of checks upon each other, as to reduce almost to nothing the chance of their arising from mere coincidence; while no amount of ingenuity—the deadliest perhaps of all opponents to truth—could suffice to satisfy the innumerable conditions connected with the worship, the kalendar, and the civil constitution of the country which such a correspondence must fulfil.

Nor let it be supposed that an inquiry of this kind is merely of archæological interest, or that a determination of that early creed can have no greater value than to satisfy an idle curiosity. Very far from it. If there be a fact in the general development of nations which historical research has clearly demonstrated, it is the extreme tenacity of antique belief, and its enduring influence on the organization of society; since religion, far more than convention, appears to have been the basis of ancient law. Each generation, as it passes, modifies no doubt, but only to a very slight extent, the form of the social bond; and that not for itself, but for the generation which succeeds. If therefore we would trace more clearly the relation of man in his complex individuality to the yet more complex organism of human society, wherein each individual has his particular function, we cannot do better than examine thoroughly the creed of the earliest civilization on record. And the side-lights which such an investigation will be found to throw on the political and social constitution of that remarkable nation, illustrating, in point after point, peculiarities which hitherto have appeared to be anomalies, appear to me to be strong confirmation of the principle I have set forth. More striking still, the religions of other nations of the ancient world become suddenly luminous when held up to the Light of Egypt. And as chord after chord is struck, the full diapason of the creeds responds.

A singular circumstance, which may illustrate this remark, arises from the necessity of expressing the secret analogies between the references to the Light, which abound in the Ritual, and the Hidden Places of the Grand Pyramid, the "Light" of the Egyptian world. For in dealing with the ideas thus masonified, so to speak, in that mysterious structure, I have been led, or rather compelled, to employ phrases and symbols current among the Masonic brotherhood of the present day, such as Grand Arch, Purple Arch, Royal Arch, the Star, the Open Angle (the princes of which as well as the princes of the Circle, are mentioned in the Papyrus of Sinahit, of very high antiquity), and other insignia of the craft. Whenever therefore such expressions occur—and they run necessarily through the entire work—it should be remembered that they are here designed to refer to the actual masonry of the Grand Pyramid, and the analogous features in the Ritual of ancient Egypt. At the same time, whether any vestige of this secret doctrine of the Light may survive in the esoteric doctrine of which those subject to Masonic rules are not permitted to speak, is an interesting question which naturally suggests itself, though it evidently cannot be established by open discussion.

The consideration however, which to my own mind tends most strongly to confirm the evidence of a connection between Pyramid and Ritual is, I confess, of a somewhat personal character. For in order to detect such an analogy, if it be real, the chief qualification requisite is a certain patience in collating and analyzing the results which others have obtained in their respective departments of knowledge. But to call it into existence if not already latent; to construct in imagination the path of the just, and to express it in terms of the motions of light; to portray the mystery of the depths unseen by the mystery of the visible heavens, to shadow forth the features of light in the passages of profoundest darkness, and its motions in a building which for ages has remained immutable, that were an intellectual masterpiece which surely demands nothing less than a creative genius of the very loftiest order. So majestic is the outline of the conception as it rises solemnly on the view, so sublime is every feature of the prospect, now defining, now transcending, the utmost limits of space and time; with such graduated measure, yet such overwhelming splendour, does it illuminate mystery after mystery of the invisible world, that I cannot for a moment believe it to be the offspring of my own imagination. Far more probable does it seem that, though much of the moral and spiritual imagery still remain obscure, yet we have here a genuine clue to the most profound and fascinating enigma of the ancient world; and that the more closely we study the Path of Light in its Masonic form, the more deeply shall we penetrate the earliest wisdom of which man has left record, and understand the Egyptian belief concerning the dark passage of death and the Entrance on Eternal Day.

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