Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook
Pages (PDF): 57
Publication Date: 1899
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A work of fiction with an occult slant. From the Preface: "We are safe in saying that "Within The Temple of Isis" is unique and stands alone. There is no other book in print like it, and if Solomon of old had not said, "There is nothing new under the sun," we would be inclined to contradict him."Within the Temple of Isis" God's word was law as interpreted by his Hierophants; their oneness with the fountain of Being made them conscious of Nature's secret operations, and enabled them, as it does the wise ones of to-day, to enter the Temple of Isis and observe the hidden mysteries concealed behind the veil.
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Although the hour was very late, near midnight, the Priestess had just retired to her apartments for repose.
The Rites of the day had been extremely long and fatiguing, as they always were for a Priestess of Isis attendant upon the burial service of one in high rank; and a great nobleman of the land, as well as a near relative of the Priestess herself, had been buried that day.
Thus personal sorrow had mingled with and added weight to the impressive and solemn grandeur of the occasion, yet, strangely enough her mind was neither with the events of the day nor the dead, but her thoughts were resting now where they had wandered many times throughout the day, namely, to her little handmaid and special attendant, as well as Vestal in the Temple, Sarthia.
Sarthia, who at the very beginning of the Chants and Litany, had failed in her part and had, with such a pitiable moan and beseeching glance at her, been hastily withdrawn from the assembly and assisted to the private courts.
Poor child, she thought, the strain upon her emotions, the solemn occasion, was too great for her in view of the crisis, which all unknown to her, must be now impending. However, upon learning from an attendant that the young girl was resting quietly and apparently not ill, she had not herself personally visited her, but concluded to wait until morning. Once, twice, thrice, just as the Priestess had, as it were, passed the border-land of sleep the pale face, with its pleading eyes and plaintive cry, had started her back to vivid consciousness.
"Ah! this will never do," she said, springing to her feet. "Something is indeed wrong," and taking up her mantle she glided swiftly through the corridors, and a few moments later was bending over the silent and motionless form of Sarthia.
Noiseless as had been the approach of the Priestess some interior vibration had informed Sarthia of her coming and, with a quivering and swift movement, she sprang from her couch and threw herself impulsively into the arms of the Priestess.
"Ah! sweet Mother, well beloved of our blessed and divine Isis, hear me and help me," said the girl, in a whisper, tense and low, so low as only to reach the listening ear of the Priestess.
"Speak child," answered the Priestess, caressingly clasping Sarthia to her bosom with one strong arm, and with the other making soft, mesmeric passes over her trembling body.
"Ah! thank you, sweet Mother; this is so good and kind of you to come to me to-night. I have suffered so all day from your thought; you have been disappointed in your Sarthia and with reason, too. A Vestal, who all but faints at the sight of death, is not made of the stuff required in the Temple Service. But, believe me, dear Priestess, the trouble is far deeper than appears upon the surface. The Ritual this morning but furnished the occasion or, rather, hastened some crisis that was already near at hand. For some time now I am haunted by most potent premonitions of a violent death. Night after night, dark apparitions hang around my bed, and only last night I awoke to find the Bird of Nu, the Owl, from out the inner Sanctuary of the Temple, perched upon my pillow and shaking his head and croaking at me most mournfully."
"What!" exclaimed the Priestess. "The Bird of Nu. Ah! this is indeed very serious. The matter must be investigated at once. But, my child, if all these portents prove true, do you fear death? Have all our teachings been in vain? Have you made so little progress in knowledge and the philosophy of existence as to be overcome by dark shadows and grow faint in the presence of the sentiment and show of an external ceremony? The pageantry, which appeals so overwhelmingly to the emotions of the outside world, is the necessary means of teaching the people these awful and stupendous mysteries of life and death. But the Initiate should be sustained by actual experiences within these hidden realms and possess a knowledge of their inner nature which places him on a plane far above the reach of Fear; besides being endowed with that burning love for wisdom which calmly discerns good in evil, and immortal life in the shadow, called death. Do not think I am chiding you, my child. I am only seeking to recall my real Sarthia, who is incapable of Fear, back to this physical expression called body.
"There, already the bright soul shines again with its usual clear light. Hold it firmly and do not let it flicker so again, and now I must leave you to seek an interview with the chief of the Astrologers. The record and Horoscope of your birth must be carefully looked up, and the meaning of these portents determined. Good-night, my child."
With a kiss, fond and maternal, the Priestess withdrew. She proceeded leisurely and thoughtfully toward a distant part of the Temple, having first dispatched a messenger before her to announce her coming, seeking an audience, well knowing that at this now early hour of morning the Astrologer Priests would all be in the midst of their busiest studies, calculations and most profound observations.
But Sarthia, when left alone, although marvelously calmed and comforted by the tender presence and lofty words of her idolized Priestess could not compose herself to sleep.
Instead, she soon floated into a state of restful contemplation, drifting from one topic to another, until suddenly she found herself confronted by a most intensely vivid and startling vision. "Can it be?" Yes, true enough, there sat the venerable Astrologer holding in his hand before him, her chart of birth. Beside him, engaged in completing the necessary calculations, sat the scribe and youthful Astrologer Priest, Hermo. There was a strange pallor over his face and a compression of the lips which betrayed unusual emotion. The Priestess was partially facing them, composed, yet with a serious thoughtfulness of mien.