The Oracle at Delphi today
The Greek Oracles and the Mystery Schools
by Jeanne M. House
In the book, The Lives of the Alchemystical Philosophers, this secret ceremony is thus detailed:
“The divinity bore upon his breast a diamond pentagram of almost intolerable radiance. A majestic statue, white and diaphanous, upheld on the steps of the altar a vase inscribed, ‘Elixir of Immortality,’ while a vast mirror was on the wall, and before it a living being, majestic as a statue, walked to and fro. Above the mirror were these singular words ‘Storehouse of Wandering Souls.’ The most solemn silence prevailed in this sacred retreat, but at length a voice, which seemed hardly a voice, pronounced these words ‘Who are you? Whence come you? What would you?’
It was during his second visit to London that Count Cagliostro was initiated into Masonry after he had found a document dealing with the mysteries of Egyptian Masonry that abounded in magical and mystical references. He studied it closely and laid his plans carefully. While touring through Holland, Italy and Germany he made a visit to the Count de Saint Germain.
Comte de Saint Germain In his usual eccentric manner, Saint Germain arranged their meeting for the hour of two in the morning, at which time Cagliostro and his wife, robed in white garments, and cinctured by girdles of rose colour, presented themselves before the Count’s Temple of Mystery. The Count de Saint Germain sat upon an altar.
After being asked the above questions, Cagliostro replied, “I come to invoke the God of the Faithful, the Son of Nature, the Sire of Truth. I come to demand of him one of the fourteen thousand seven hundred secrets which are treasured in his breast, I come to proclaim myself his slave, his apostle, his martyr.”
“What does the partner of thy long wanderings intend?”
"To obey and server,”answered Cagliostro’s wife Lorenza.
A sharp cry was muttered back, “Woe who cannot stand the tests!”
In his e-book, Illustrations of Masonry, William Preston transcribes for us an original manuscript from a Freemason named Mr. Locke, dated 1795:
In his Book #3, it says that the records of the fraternity inform us that Pythagoras was regularly initiated into masonry; and being properly instructed by the mysteries of the Art, propagated the principles of the Order in other countries into which he traveled. He was the son of a sculptor and was educated under one of the great men of his time, Therecydes of Syrus, who first taught the immortality of the soul. Upon the death of his patron, he was determined to trace science to its source, and supply himself with fresh stores in every part of the world where these could be obtained. Animated by his desire for knowledge, he traveled into Egypt, and submitted to the tedious and discouraging course of preparatory discipline, which was necessary to obtain the benefit of Egyptian initiation.
In the first scenario, we see that Cagliostro and his wife, was given the mandate, “Woe to those who cannot stand the tests!” And in the second scenario, Pythagoras himself had to submit to tedious and discouraging courses of preparatory discipline. What kept these two souls going? It says that Pythagoras was animated by the desire for knowledge. Perhaps this was what kept them going, an inordinate passion to know Truth, which I call the Flame of Truth because a flame connotes the passion and desire to know Truth.
According to the book, MAN His Origin, History and Destiny by Schroeder, he says that the first Vestal Virgins, inspired by the Flame of Truth, were completely dedicated to magnetizing pure Truth. They were the mouthpieces of gods and goddesses such as Pallas Athena, Leto, Vesta, and Apollo.
He also recounted a time after the sinking of Atlantis, (an ancient civilization located in the Atlantic Ocean, that once experienced a Golden Age), that sacred priests and priestesses were alerted before the flood, to sail off to several respective places, and preserve their “sacred flame” of the various rays of God. While in Atlantis, these holy people tended a specific sacred flame in a specific sacred temple, because flames were only kept in sacred temples and maintained by a high priest or priestess. One boat under the direction of a priest named Hilarian, overshadowed by a goddess named Pallas Athena, headed for Crete with their Flame of Truth. Others went to France, Peru, Asia, Egypt, etc, with other flames such as, the ‘flame of love’ and the ‘violet transmuting flame’, which was probably overshadowed by the Archangel Zadkiel and the Priest Saint Germain. There were ten boats in all.
On page 103, he quotes one of the priests: ‘With our own bodies we cradled that Flame. Each one of us cradled the flame of our hearts within It and breathing the breath from our lips upon It, and the prayer of our souls and spirits kept It alive, for that hour when we landed.’
According to the Rosicrucian Society, Plato was a member of their Mystery school. Here people knew about Ancient civilizations. Plato also wrote about Atlantis. Toward the end of this civilization, it was rumored that only 500 out of 60 million gave credence to the word of Truth. The excavations of Sir Arthur Evans in Crete proved that the early settlers belonged to a highly cultured race. Their building skills and architectural skills surpassed the Egyptian pyramid builders.
The common mode of communication between the gods, (or Cosmic Beings), was through the priesthood or the oracles. I believe that, that was precisely what the Oracles provided The Spirit of Truth. However, not everyone can behold Truth, so it was given in code. It was up to the participants to take part in the unraveling of the Truth. This seems to be the way the way the Unknown is revealed. So only those who prove themselves worthy to know the Truth were initiated into the Sacred Mysteries. Thus secret societies throughout time provide the on-going link to the hidden world. Not everyone could be an Oracle. Only those who were pure of heart could receive the Sacred Flame of Truth.
At the Oracle of Delphi, the priestesses were called the Vestal Virgins of Delphi. The name Delphoi is connected with delphus or “womb” and may have been connected to the Earth Goddess at the site previous to it. The first oracle of Delphi was known, as Sibyl and that became the title of whichever priestess manned the oracle at the time. The priestesses were intoxicated by vapors in the earth before they gave their answers. This was a favorite site for political leaders and what we might think of as corporate leaders. Schroeder writes about the Golden Age of Greece on page 115. He describes a Spiritual Order of Delphi in Pallas Athena’s court. Any Divine Being could use an oracle at any time in order to give instruction to a group who gathered there. These priestesses were called Vestal Virgins of Delphi. They did draw forth and record the Truth of goddesses, Pallas Athena and Vesta. Pallas Athena supervised the priestesses, herself. In order for them to develop a “receptive consciousness,” they had to go through extreme disciplines and careful preparations and training. The Vestal Virgins take a “vow” to be in pure mind and body at any time of the day or night. They were attuned to listen to the God-Voice within.
According to Schroeder, for 700 years this fountain of wisdom maintained a state of perfection. But, the Temple of Truth was destroyed by those who rebelled against Truth and against the discipline of purity and harmony. Eventually, even the Vestal Virgins became corrupt and thus the downfall of the Oracle. In the Wikipedia, it says that in the 3rd century A. D., the oracle (perhaps bribed) declared that the god would no longer speak there.
Other famous oracles were at Dadona and Trophonius. The cult of Zeus and the sacred oak tree was brought to Dodona, according to the Hellenistic Ministry of Culture, by the Selloi, a branch of Thesprotian tribe, between the 19th and 14th century BC. Just like the Oracle of Delphi, it remains on a site dated from a prehistoric period of an Earth goddess. Zeus’ Oracle was the oldest in Greece, which was almost 2,000 years old, and mostly consulted by private individuals with personal problems. The clients scratched his question on a lead tablet and got a “yes” or a “no” by the three priestesses who called themselves “doves.” The god spoke either through the rustling of the oak leaves in the extensive woods surrounding the site or through the doves that were common there.
According to the Greek traveler Pauanias, a visit to the Oracle of Trophonius was a truly mind-bending experience! This is what happened when you went down to that holy place. First you were taken during the night to a river and rubbed with oil; then two priests escorted you to two streams. You first drank the water of one river, in order to forget your preoccupations and then you drank the water of the other in order to remember what you see. After that, you then proceeded to a man-made cave. But first you prayed to a god and then you climbed down a ladder until you found a horizontal hole and then you are sucked in. After you learn the future, you went back out the hole, feet first. Most were paralyzed with terror, but people soon recovered their laughter.
Two famous healing centers that come to mind are Attica’s Healing Center and the Sanctuary of Epidauros. In the 5th Century BC, a shrine was founded called “Attica’s Healing Center.” By the 4th century it was a thriving spa/religious center with a temple, a long colonnade, baths, hostels, shops, and a theatre. For about 600 years, the sanctuary was a favorite recourse for people seeking a solution to a problem or relief from an illness. The process of healing was to sacrifice a lamb and then to wrap up in the fleece. After you pick a god, (which in this case I would pick Jason or Hercules, since he was an Argonaut), you would go to sleep and wait for a dream. Then you would bath in the healing waters.
Another healing center was the sanctuary called Epidauros. In antiquity, people from all over Greece came to be healed by the god Asklepios, who was worshiped here continuously from 500 BC to the 5th Century AD. The ritual was a period of incubation or sleeping in the sanctuary, then the god appears in a dream to a supplicant who has gone to sleep in the Abaton. Later Asklepios was deemed the patron of physicians. The patients sought the god’s help after a general physician wasn’t able to cure him. This was called “Temple Medicine.” The trick of getting cured, however, was to have faith in Asklepios. This power cannot be demonstrated rationally, but it lends credence to the power of suggestion.
How were these oracles precursors to science and philosophy?
My theory is that when the oracles disappeared, we have the daunting task of becoming the oracles of living Truth, ourselves. The beacon of Universal Teachings was not for the faint-of-heart. Even though the oracles are gone, where would the gods go? Thus divine revelation. Led by the ‘Spirit of Inquiry’, it was up to the shamans, magicians and philosophers, of their time to lead the people to “Know Thyself.”
We are now human seekers of divine wisdom, seeking the Universal truths of the mysteries. Like the oracles of old, we must purify ourselves, take the necessary initiations of the gods and listen and act upon the “voice-within”. Didn’t Francis Bacon say that ‘we are not animals erect, but living gods?’ And those who did listen to the ‘voice-within’, were able to stand up against the prevailing dogma, in order to pave the way for on-going investigation of revelatory truth. Each of these individuals moved the whole of humanity up a notch.
The Oracle of Delphi once said that Socrates was the wisest man in Greece. To which Socrates said that if so, this was because he alone was aware of his own ignorance. This is the premise behind all scientific investigation or rational explorations. Not all philosophers and scientists are able to be as wise as Socrates. But I believe that those explorers that were as “wise as Socrates”, were somehow connected to a lineage of “Socratic Mysteries” that still exist today as a thread of contact in the form of mystery schools such as Freemasonry, the Rosicrucian’s, the Theosophy society and the like.
But these secrets would have to be carefully guarded. Truth would show up as nonsense. In his course The Wisdom Lovers, Dr. Raymond Moody discusses the concept of babbling and nonsense. He asserts that the concept of absolute Truth came from nonsense. For instance, one way shamans traversed the two worlds the ordinary and the non-ordinary reality, was through shamanic songs that sounded like babbling. While in a shamanic state, a shaman sees other non-worldly realities simultaneously. He can see spirits and souls and communicate with them; making magical flights to the heavens where he serves as an intermediary between the gods and his people; and descends to the underworld, the land of the dead.
Abaris was a Greek shaman. He was said to be the teacher of Pythagoras. He was a magician and Hermeticist of Scythiaan ancient culture on the shore of the Black Sea. He claimed to possess a golden arrow, (called the ‘dart of Abaris’), given to him by Apollo, (Abaris was one of his priests), by means of which he could travel through the air and be invisible. He did not need to eat or drink and he could foretell the future and banish disease. Songs like Abara Ca Dabara were actual spells of enchantment. It was used on amulets in order to cure illnesses.
Moody marvels at how just a handful of these ‘lovers of wisdom’ or philosophers, were responsible for the whole blossoming of Western civilization! And they inculcated this wisdom in less than 300 years. However, some of this wisdom did not take hold. Moody describes how we have lost a rational system of exploring the afterlife. This system was quite ubiquitous in Ancient and modern Greece. He describes several places called the Oracles of the Dead, where people took pilgrimages to, in order to meet and greet the spirits of loved one’s who had passed on. One, in particular, was in business for close to 1,000 years. He says that even Pythagoras himself incorporated a system in his Institute whereby fellow Pythagoreans created tombs for their friends and loved ones, and when they passed on, they would lie on them and communicate to the spirits of their departed kin. Pythagoras even had an underground cave built as part of the rituals he had set up for initiations with his pupils. (It was said that Pythagoras had gone underground in a cave himself for three years in order to glean ancient wisdom.) In the Mystery Schools, which I believe Pythagoras’ school was one, initiations took place in dark underground crypts, and were described as the “descent into Hades.”
Why didn’t this rational system of discerning the afterlife take hold? Well, all of Pythagoras’ teachings were oral, because that is how he was trained. And he had a strict ‘code of silence’ for all of his initiates. Also, his beautiful school at Crotona burned to the ground and within it, any records of his illustrious works.
But all was not lost. We think this system was lost, but nothing is really lost due to reincarnation it lies deep in our memories. And these past-life memories are precisely what link us to the hidden Mystery schools. An article from Theosophy, dated March 5, 1939, asks us, “How many of our scholars are aware of the fact that every science was originally imparted to men by Divine Teachers, thereby becoming sacred, and impossible of communication save different rites of initiations? How many realize that no initiated philosopher had the right to reveal his knowledge clearly, but was obliged by the law of the sanctuary to conceal the truth under the veil of allegory or symbol?”
So these seemingly lost teachings are just guarded mysteries, not to be given to the uninitiated. This is “very Pythagorean.” The above article goes on to say, “The first school of Greek philosophy was founded by Initiates who taught under these restrictions.” Clement of Alexandria says that the evolution of the entire universe was divulged in the Greater Mysteries, “for in them were shown the initiated, Nature and all things as they are.”
Contrary to popular belief, the Mysteries did not originate either n Egypt or in Greece, but can be traced at least to pre-Vedic India. Orpheus brought from India the archaic doctrine which itself is as old as the world. Herodotus informs us that the Mysteries that were introduced into Greece by Orpheus, the son of Apollo, from whom he received his seven-stringed lyre or the seven-fold initiation. He was the divine muse of Homer, he was behind the sublime theology of Pythagoras and he was the inspiration of Plato.
In an article called, “ANCIENT LANDMARKS, the Greek Mysteries" by the Theosophy Society, dated Feb 4, 1939, says that after the submersion of the last remnants of Atlantis some 12,000 years ago, an impenetrable “veil of secrecy” was thrown over the sacred teachings, lest again they be desecrated. It was this secrecy that lead to the reestablishment of the Mysteries, to preserve the ancient teachings for the coming generations under the veil of symbol and allegory. Within the sacred Crypts of the Mystery Schools the hidden secrets of Nature and man were unfolded.
The Greeks kept records for their fore-fathers in the form of myths. These myths were unacceptable to modern scholars. The word myth means oral tradition, one, which was passed from generation to generation by word of mouth. Luckily we have their myths, because the Greek Mysteries were the last surviving relics of the archaic wisdom enacted under the guidance of high Initiates, according to Theosophy.
Moody describes how some of these Ancient Greek philosophers like Thales, Anaxamenes and Anaxamander, grappled with the notion of security and the known (sense-world), while others, like Heraclitus, Parmenides, were drawn to more of a flux-approach to the world and the hidden (the unknown) side of things. They helped us to face opposites while at the same time grapple with the notion of an underlying unity. Or Logos/Law. This law was inexorable and could be looked at as the Oracle of Necessity (or karma) where we must rise above the attachment of the pairs of opposites the cause of strifeuntil we learn to work with the Law and embrace Unity, (Love), once again. We owe a great debt to ancient Greek philosophers for giving us the concept of the Impersonal Deity an abstract way for knowing an Unknown God.
Another philosopher, who we owe a great debt to, was, Xenophanes, who lived around 540 475 B.C., left home when he was about 25 years old and became a wandering rhapsodist. It was said that he made a living this way, by reciting poems in public until he was at least 92 years old. He stood for religious reform. On the nature of deity he was a pantheist believing that God is One. And he was the first to make the attempt to develop an abstract concept of the deity. He believed that if we knew the real truth, (not the truth of our senses) we would not be able to communicate it because even if we did know the real truth, we would not be aware of it.
Now, going back to our original question of how the Greek Oracles influenced science and philosophy, I thought we would embark on a journey through time and look at some of the infamous scientists and philosophers in order to detect a thread of influence. Keep in mind that, if a majority of Truth were kept secret in the Mystery Schools, then it would be up to the scientists or philosophers to tap into the ‘veiled mysteries’, in order to ‘unveil them.’ But then they would have to ‘veil them’ once again, in order for the mysteries to reach those who had eyes to see and ears to hear them. This was the paradox TO KNOW, TO DARE, TO DO, and TO BE SILENT.
When in 399 B.C., Socrates was put to death, the soul of Athens died with him, along with the thousands of temples serving to unite gods and man. And when Sparta defeated Athens at the close of the 5th Century B.C., the Mother of Greek Philosophy and Art was taken over by political figures who turned the once oral teachings into written laws and rules. The vigor and independence of the Athenian mind was on the decline and in its place lay apathy and resignation to the current circumstances of the day. Alexander had hoped that the “Spirit of Greece’ would radiate and conquer, but Asia’s deep-rooted and venerable traditions proved too much and the ‘soul of the East’ conquered the independent thinkers of the day. The oriental spirit of apathy and resignation found a ready soil in a decadent and despondent Greece.
Superstitious faith was reinforced and spread about until the Christian political ideal spread from Rome along with their ethics of self-denial and martyrdom. This was not the free-will spirit of surrendering and serving a greater cause for the collective humanity, but the spirit of free choice had been usurped by a communistic-like brotherhood of man. This unity demanded a common faith that was definite and defined dogma. It was like a shell cast around the adolescent mind of medieval Europe. This was the antithesis of the Socratic method, a question and answer format called the dialectic, in which argument was proposed, then either supported or destroyed during a process of give and take. I call this the Spirit of Inquiry.
Finally, by the 13th Century, Aristotle’s work surfaced through Arabic and Jewish translations. (The Ancient Greek language was not the same as the Greek language we know of today.) Aristotle taught that everything was based on motion, but something had to start the motion so he claimed that there had to be a First Mover or Prime Mover. The Christians later conceived this to be God. Aristotle’s cold logic of empiricism was a perfect fit for science, versus Plato’s notion of Ideals, which were better suited for eternal mysteries of the Infinite. Later, this took shape in Christianity as the conflict between reason and faith. The Christians used Plato’s concept of Ideal Forms, as a reason why we cannot perceive the essence of God.
Plato Plotinus called Plato’s Forms the Eternal One or the Good, who contemplated, but did not act. For the Neoplatonists, there was a descending ladder of reality, which originated from the Ineffable One, but became increasingly material, active and imperfect. The individual soul was still a part of the Greater Soul, but it was active. St. Augustine, a Neoplatonist, created a clear separation between the perfection of heavenly things and the corruption of the earth, which the church adopted.
With all of this, going on, where did mysticism go? Plato’s concept of Ideals smoky, indistinct, unknowable could easily descend into mysticism. And, mysticism had no hierarchy. It doesn’t take any special credentials to be a mystic. Anyone can speak to God, as a mystic; there is no training to receive a vision. So Plato would not do for the Church, since at this juncture it was set up to be in control. So it was still looking for a system that would assure its’ success in attaining Power.
What the Church needed was science, logic and learning; it needed Aristotle. Since 529, when the Academy in Athens closed, creative thought in Europe was eclipsed into what is known as the Dark Ages. During this time a method of teaching called Scholasticism was created from Aristotelian logic into the old Greek method of dividing curriculum into seven liberal arts. This was a proper way to teach Christians. It was a rote-based master lecture-student system. It was so one-sided that it was the teacher and not the method that was scholastic.
But finally, in the 10th Century, scholasticism began to acquire an intellectual pulse. The Socratic dialectic was reintroduced as a teaching vehicle. When students became involved the teachers had to find answers to more difficult questions and this lead to more thought and more research. But not for the Church, it remained uninterested in uncovering new knowledge. Philosophy to them was the handmaiden to their prescribed Theology. Now, Aristotle was relegated to prove the very arguments that he himself had spent his entire life trying to disprove.
But, just in the nick of time, more of Aristotle’s works were being translated his metaphysical works were being incorporated in only a few universities and lent itself to reexamination of heretofore, unquestioned precepts. This accelerated a new blaze of empirical thought and science in the Christian north.
Roger Bacon This was an awakening, which was further pronounced, by a man named Roger Bacon. Bacon challenged the subtlety of works such as Thomas Aquinas, who had studied law and figured out ways of reasoning where no one could disprove what he had written. Like a ‘spider working his web’, there was endless cobwebs but no substance or wisdom in it. Bacon studied under a man named Grosseteste at Oxford University, who began all experimental sciences. He divided scientific inquiry into three levels, the third being metaphysics, which was the science of God and the soul. He taught that scholars couldn’t prove truth with any degree of certainty, (just like Xenophones did)the study of God required divine inspiration.
Already, as a youth, Bacon trusted, what he believed in, instead of what he was told or what everyone else was doing. This would define his life and his legacy. His insatiable curiosity, lead him to want to know everything there was to learn. He would master every science. And he would master the languages of Greek and Hebrew as well. Like Pythagoras, Bacon believed that mathematics underlay everything in nature. It would be the great quest of his soul, a pilgrimage of truth through a comprehensive journey to science.
In the 1260’s he wrote, “During the twenty years in which I have labored especially in the study of wisdom, after abandoning the usual methods, I have spent more than 2,ooo pounds (a fortune) on secret books and various experiments, and instruments, and mathematical tables, etc.” Like the oral traditions, Bacon did not leave a lab book or notes so it was impossible to reproduce his experiments. He wrote about the possibility of enormous ships, of cars moving without the benefit of horses or oxen, of engines and of flying machines. He wrote of bridges that span vast rivers and about devices where hidden things became manifest. And many more things did he forecast. He studied optics and he contributed to the invention of glasses. And his greatest hope was to design a working astronomical model of longitude and latitude or a map for navigation.
In his work, The Wisdom of Keeping Secrets, he writes, “A man is crazy who writes a secret unless he conceals it from a crowd and leaves it so that it can be understood only by effort of the studious and wise.” Bacon was the first known European to describe the use of codes and ciphers since the Greeks. This finally takes us back to the issue from Dr. Raymond Moody’s concepts on nonsense, such as the term, Abra Ca Dabra. Bacon writes on magic symbols: “Certain of these irrational inscriptions have been written by philosophers in their works about Nature and about Art for the purpose of hiding a secret from the unworthy.” So, many magic spells were simply a scholar’s code, meant to protect a scientific secret.
According to Bacon, experimentation was a distinct discipline, because without experimentation, one could never be sure of truth. He wrote, “Without experience it is impossible to know anything completely.” His two modes of discovering knowledge were reasoning and experience. For Bacon, it was not enough to reason one’s way to truth, no matter how sophisticated the argument. Reason followed experiment and not the other way around. Bacon taught that experimentation must be an on-going process, that the search for truth does not end when one finds a convenient explanation that fits a predetermined conclusion. He fought for a new method of science to be implemented in the Church.
Bacon wanted a working hypothesis to be subject to experiment, experience and revision. Whereas, Thomas Aquinas insisted that arguments be accepted in the abstract and on faithin every sense of the word. But for Bacon, truth in science was a deeply religious act. He pushed for a code of scientific ethics in the search for empirical knowledge and called this Moral Philosophy. First you lay down the laws and then we are encouraged to act and live the laws. He tried to blend scientific curiosity into theology in, order to make it more, revelatory. He was a master of Sacred Theology!
A sixteenth century Oxford historian recorded in a royal manuscript that, after Bacon’s death in 1292 A.D., all of Bacon’s works were nailed to the walls of a monastery in Oxford to be left to rot. Later, some of Bacon’s works were plagiarized and published during the time period that Christopher Columbus was sailing to discover America. Columbus used the information on longitude and latitude along with his instincts and intuition to make his great discoveries.
Like Roger Bacon, he was said to prefer dead reckoning, over celestial navigation and was never comfortable relying completely on the devices for navigating like the astrolabe. He was masterful in interpreting the signs of nature, such as the behavior of birds, the smell of the air, the color of the sky, the condition of the seas, the pressure he felt in his joints, the appearance of the floating debris and more. Successful navigators survived by reading nature in this way. Columbus was expert at this and could even predict hurricanes.
Roger Bacon was rescued from obscurity by the efforts of one man, John Dee, born in 1527. He was a court magician for Queen Elizabeth and he was obsessed with Roger Bacon. In the sixteenth century folklore, Roger Bacon was a magician and a mystic. He used to show how rainbows appeared in crystals through the suns rays, create explosions, make magic potions, and he once made a talking brass head. He also was known for his unbreakable codes and ciphers. But Dee was driven by mathematics and its applications, so he sought after Bacon.
He tried to get the queen to pay for a Royal Library, but she was more interested in burning books then buying them, so he had to travel far and wide and beg, borrow, pillage and steal any documents of Bacon’s he could get his hand on. He scooped up as many ancient texts as he could get his hands on and finally accumulated the largest library in England, the Library Royal.
Out of 107 works of Bacons’, he managed to procure 37. And he also owned many manuscripts from Bacon’s own library. He saw himself as Bacon’s spiritual and intellectual disciple. (I wonder if there was any chance of Bacon showing him where to go in order to obtain these rare documents? It’s a mystery.)
Dee was a noted astrologer and mathematician. He, like Pythagoras and Bacon, believed, that everything in heaven and earth had a number assigned to it. He thought that if you could determine the number, you could control events. He also believed that the position of the stars affected life on earth. When he drew up a series of Copernican models of the heavens, he added a couple rings for spirits and angels. He was known to talk with the Angel Uriel.
He found an occult work that claimed to have incantations to conjure up spirits, but he knew that they were elaborate codes that were impossible to break without a key. He wanted to use magical incantations to contact the spiritual world and he wanted to understand the ciphering in order to unlock the secrets of the universe.
This library of John Dee’s, one no less than a plethora of ancient ideas spurred a revival of Greek ideas and his books were accessible to all the great thinkers of England at the time. This was to be the embryo of the Royal Society, a collection of great philosophers and scientific thinkers who credited Francis Bacon for its’ ideals that emulated his work called, The New Atlantis. In the book the “Friar and the Cipher,” by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone, (of which the majority of this history of science that I have put forth so far, is derived), they describe this document as a ‘utopian fable that combined a bit of Shakespeare, a bit of Thomas More, a dash of Plato and a healthy dollup of Roger Bacon.’
The idea of an institution devoted to the advancement of science had never been thought of before. It definitely reeks of the independent Spirit of Greece, gone by. For it encouraged free-thinkers who would devote themselves to the new experimental methods that would further humanity on a course to scientific inventions that would be applicable to everyday life. It would free humanity from tireless tasks and give them impetus to learn the Greater Wisdom. In 1645, The Royal society commenced with 10 members, for the Improving Natural Knowledge.
Francis Bacon Francis Bacon succeeded in achieving what Roger Bacon tried so desperately, but failed to attain. He became the spirit of the new scientific revolution Bacon’s methodology towards science, to challenge any piece of evidence that deemed spurious or obtained by incorrect method.
According to the Story of Philosophy, by Will Durant, philosophy, rather than science was in the long run Bacon’s love. The Baconian Spirit rang out in his words in “The Interpretation of Nature’: I believe myself born for the service of mankind….to shed some light on the present limits and borders so human discoveries would reveal and bring into clear view every nook and cranny of darkness….that discover would be the true Extender of the Kingdom of Man over the universe, the Champion of human liberty, and the exterminator of the necessities that now keep man in bondage. He felt that he had a ‘kinship and connection with truth.’ He was truly a Philosopher King!
To that end, I will close with a thought about the true purpose of the Spirit of Greece. Greek Mysteries were not designated merely to initiate a chosen few into the secrets of nature, setting them apart form mankind. Their true purpose was to give these ‘lovers of wisdom’, truths that they can teach and pass onto others. But the ‘others’ must make an age-old pledge first “I swear to give up my life for the salvation of my brothers, who constitute the whole of mankind, and, if called upon, to die in defense of truth.”
This age-old pledge above would win anyone the right to embark on a path of wisdom in order to become an ‘Oracle-within.’
Masonry and the Birth of Science, Robert Lomas, Fair Winds Press, 2004 An Encyclopedia of Occultism, Lewis Spence, Dover Publications, Mineola, New York, 2003
The Friar and the Cipher, Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone, Doubleday Books, New York, New York, 2005
MAN His Origin, History and Destiny, Werner Schroeder, Ascended Master Teaching Foundation, Mount Shasta, CA., 1984
E-Illustrations of Masonry, Robert Lomas, www.robertlomas.com
Wikipedia, www.wikipedia.com MTP:655
The Wisdom Lovers: Spiritual Origins of Western Thought, Dr. Raymond Moody, audio-cassette program, University of Philosophical Research, Los Angeles, CA, 2003
The Story of Philosophy, Will Durant, Simon Schuster, New York, New York, 1933
ANCIENT LANDMARKS, The Prehistoric Greeks, Theosophy, Vol.27, no. 3, January 1939, Article, pgs. 99-105, no. 47 in a 59-part series.
ANCIENT LANDMARKS, The First Greek Philosophers, Theosophy, Vol.27, no. 5, march 1939, Article, pgs. 196-2001, no. 49 of a 59-part series.