by Richard, Duc de Palatine
The present Grand Hierophant of the Order of the Pleroma is himself an Initiate of many of the Assemblies of Adepts, can truthfully claim to be in direct succession from the earliest known Mysteries of Light. It can be established without a shadow of doubt that Richard, Duc de Palatine is the successor of the ancient Mystery Schools, as we shall show. There is no need for us to fabricate any form of secret history in order to induce people to join the Pleroma, one has only to study the long line of Assemblies which have existed and perpetuated the Gnosis from the last days of Atlantis before it was submerged by the waters in 9,564 B.C.
History shows that there were to streams of the Wisdom Tradition deriving from Atlantis; the first migrating to central Asia and then into India and the Chaldean Mysteries, the second from Atlantis to Egypt (Mysteries of Isis and Osiris) and then to Greece (Mysteries of Eleusis) then into Asia Minor (Mysteries of Attis and Adonis) which were blended with the Mysteries of Mithra and the Essenes. In B.C. 120 to 70 Christ came to establish the "Mysteries of Jesus" which was a blend of all the earlier Mysteries. The successors of Christ were the Gnostics and the Essenes (Dead Sea Scrolls), from them came the Catholic Church which destroyed outwardly the Gnostic Movement in the 3rd Century.
The main elements then merged into the Manichaeans of North Africa and Luxor of Egypt, the Tradition then moved to Italy under the guise of the Paulicians and Cathari, thereafter it showed itself in the Orders of Chivalry and then the Templars. After the Templars were outwardly destroyed the Tradition reappeared in the Fratres Lucis or 'Brothers of Light' in Italy in 1498, then it showed itself in the Rose Cross in the 14th Century, and again in the 18th Century came the "UNKNOWN PHILOSOPHERS", Freemasonry and Luxor in America and then the Bavarian Illuminati which embodies the various illuminised Rose Cross, Alchemists and Masons. This same Order passed to England under Ill. Bro. John Yarker, Jr., and finally in 1961, was to become THE BROTHERHOOD AND ORDER OF THE PLEROMA.
Into this unbroken line of succession from the Mysteries in the person of Richard, Duc de Palatine was blended the apostolic Catholic Succession from the Gnostic Fathers. This means that all the lines of power and authority from the Mysteries of Antiquity now merge in the person of the present Grand Hierophant of the Pleroma, meaning that the authority is not vested in a group of people, but in a single individual - namely Richard, Duc de Palatine.
In all the Mysteries, both ancient and modern the central theme of the teachings was the Divine Nature of Man. This central fact has never changed from one century to the next, although the names and legends have been changed, the main theme is always the same, and unless an organisation embodies this Central Doctrine, we know that they are not in line with the Esoteric Tradition of the Ages.
OUTLINE OF OUR DOCTRINE
When the Gnostic Teachings were suppressed by the Christian Churches of the East and West, the Hierophants went underground and continued to give teaching and instruction to those who were proved worthy of receiving the same. After the 3rd Century the Pagan Mysteries were practically abolished by the Christian Emperors of the East and the Popes of the West, the Gnostics, who were the survivors of the Hierophants, divided themselves into three classes, varying in profession and technique and these classes survived to this day.
The three divisions of the Gnostic Mysteries were: The Sacerdotal, which told of the drama of the Immortal Soul into the Valley of Death where it enters a tempory trance-death; the second was The Military or Chivalric Orders which followed the drama of the murdered god, which to them symbolised the Immortal Soul of Man, these two orders were suppressed by the Christian Emperors of Rome, but continued their existence under the guise of "strolling priests", they became prominent during the Crusades and then as the Gnights Templars, the basic doctrine of all these was Gnostic Christianity.
We come now to the third class, that of The Artisan, they learned to 'close the lips' and as Art was vital to the Church, they were protected, from them came the body of masons who were guilds of workmen who wandered over the face of medieval Europe and were the descendants of the Dionysiac Artificers. In Rome they appeared as the Roman jCollegia and at the fall of Rome some moved to Arabia and another section moved into Lombardy and then into France. They also moved into India, China and Babylon by the way of old Egypt and Palestine.
The Secret Schools, that is to say the Inner Schools beyond the public Mysteries of Greece, Egypt and Rome were neither fraternal nor political, nor were their ideals the same as modern Masonry or Rosicrucians. They were essentially philosophic and religious institutions, those who were admitted in the Secret Schools were consecrated to the service of the Hidden Church of the Illuminati.
The Discipline used in the Hidden Churche was called The Arcane Discipline and was in definite practice in the Christian Church between the 1st and 4th Centuries. Those who followed it were known as the Arcane or Gnostic Christians and they kept their doctrines secret and taught the exoteric doctrines along the same lines as the ancient Mysteries. We know from the writings of many of the Christian Fathers that this system was divided into grades and they were known as: Catecomonois or learners, Pistoi or faithful; Photozomenoi, Illumined or baptised; Menuemenoi or initiated; and the Teleioumenoi or perfected.
Therefore within the Gnostic Arcanum this three-fold division was kept alive until the 16th Century when the Chivalric, Masonic and Sacerdotal were separated. Within the Arcane Church we have the division of 3 X 3 = 9, the name being the Perfected Man. These three were shown as the inner division, symbolised as baptism, communion and consecration by chrism, this division has been carried on into the Pleroma as purification, illumination and then perfection. The second division is comprised of the Deacon, Priest and Bishop, they are shown in the esoteric portion of the Gnostic Church as meaning that every initiate passes through these three stages, but when the Gnostics were finally suppressed, the Catholic Church reserved these three offices for their clergy. Finally, we have the third division as the monks, members and catechumens and they represent the exoteric division of the Church.
We must also remember that the Druids had this 3 X 3 = 9 division in their own system and when they were destroyed they re-appeared as the Culdees, and had rites which resembled the Pagan and Gnostic Mysteries. In the so-called Apostolican Constitutions, the curch is compared to a ship, the minister or bishop is the captain, the deacons become the mariners, and the congregation are the passengers. This is also shown in the Egyptian, Grecian, Chaldean, Ionic, Gnostic, Druidic and grail Mysteries, they all refer to the age-old three divisions within the Hidden Church.
In the Stromata of Clemens Alexandrinus the organisation of the Arcane Church is shown as "Degrees of Glory in Heaven corresponding with the dignities of the church below." Meaning that the 3 X 3 = 9 refers to the invisible anatomy of man -- the immortal spirit, the divine soul and the human soul, each aspect is mjade up of three vestures or Robes of Glory, these three sets of three Robes of Glory make up the whole man, which was also shown as the number Nine. Dionysus the Areopagite states that the divisions were based upon the heavenly and ecclesiastical hierarchies.
In the Catholic Gnostic Mass this three-fold division is called upon in the Preface as: Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones which comprise the powers of the Hidden Secret Church, then we have the Dominions, Virtues, and Powers making up the Esoteric Church and then Principalities, Arch-angels and Angels making up the Exoteric Church. In these one will see that the three sets of three represent the powers inhterent within the three aspects of man.
It is obvious that we can only skirt the exoteric and esoteric histories of the Hidden Church, but we will endeavour to give some hints for the reader to continue his own investigations. If there are any of our readers who are Masons, let them take note: The Speculative Masonry which came into being in 1717 is based upon spurious constitutions and they have changed the Legend from the drama of the Christos to that of Hiram Abiff, by doing so they have destroyed the last vestige of connection with the ancient Gnostics and the Mysteries.
The first three degrees which constitute the Craft or Blue Lodges should constitute the outer or exoteric aspect of the Hidden Church, then we have the 4th and the 18th Degrees which constitute the Esoteric Church and then the 28th to the 33rd you have the Hidden Chkurch. The word 'Lodge' is the same as Church or Ecclesia. Therefore, up to 1717 the Operative Masons were also divided into three classes patterned upon the divisions of the Mysteries.
Now it is obvious that there is a definite connection between the Pleroma and the Gnostic Mystery System, otherwise who could it be possible for the Pleroma to have direct connections with the Gnostics?
One of the most sacred and closely guarded secrets contained within the Mysteries and their successors was the knowledge of the Hidden Church which we know as the Invisible Empire of Light (Trans-Himalayan Brotherhood) and the methods whereby an advanced Initiate could gain admittance to the Empire. But although many seek the Path which leads to the Empire very few are chosen, simply because very few are prepared to undergo the superhuman tests of courage and fortitude. These tests are not symbolical as given in the speculative masonry of today, but they are, as they were in olden days, actual tests. Of the hundreds who wait at the doors for admission, very few realise their objective.
Before we can continue with our discussion we must try to trace the line of descent from the Mysteries to the present day Order of the Pleroma. The Kabbalists owe their system to Esdras and it was carried on to the time of the Roman occupation of Jerusalem, and Philo states: "the law of Moses is like a living creature whose body is the literal sense, but the soul is the more inward and hidden meaning, covered under the sense of the letter." The claim that the Kabbalah is divided into 'three veils' indicating the exoteric, esoteric and Hidden Church of the Kabbalah, or the Vestibule; the Holy Place; and in the third the Sanctum Sanctorum. These three are again divided into 3 X 3 = 9 and the One - the Ain Soph Aur, the Supreme Mystery, and so we have the Chaldean Book of Numbers and Mercaba; the Sepher Yetzirah and then the Mishna and Gemara, those books can be read three ways according to the ability of the student. They had their own passwords, signs and countersigns, somewhat similar to the present Masonic Royal Arch degree. From them came the Essenes. But it must be remembered that Moses or Moishe received his wisdom from that of the Egyptians blended with the Chaldeans from India.
The Essenes were a branch of the Assideans and Chasidim and were the Hierophants of the Egyptian Mysteries when Ahmasis ruined the sacred Temples, and they sought protection within the Temple Order at Basra. Their hidden records state that Jeshu be Pandira (Jesus), a nephew of Queen Salome the widow aof Alexandrinus or Alexander Jannuai II, King of Judaea, went to Egypt and became a Hierophant and then returned to the Essenes and proclaimed the Mysteries. He was stoned to death and hung on a tree at Lydia, about the year 71 B.C., as indicated in the Gemara. These Essenes were called the Jewish Gnostics, but this is not strictly correct, as they were influenced by the Mysteries of Mithra. It is logical, therefore, to state that Jesus tried to blend all these systems into what is known as the 'Mysteries of Jesus'. There is also evidence that when the Essene Church faded in about 300 A.D., beginning with the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in 78 A.D., the Catholic Church came into being. We leave the inference to the reader to work out!
There is also evidence to show that the Essenes were but a branch of a yet wider movement directed by a group of powerful Adepts, linked to them we also find the Therapeuktae of Egypt who flourished at Alexandria, the real birth place of Christian Gnosticism, then we have the Nazarenes, sometimes called Sabeans -- the followers of Sabius who lived on the shores of Galilee. The Ebionites whom Jerome called the genuine primitive Christians were linked to the Nazarenes in a common blond, and we find that Paul, Joseph, Samson and Samuel all claim to be NAzars. From them came the founders of the Christian form of the Arcane Discipline which had survived publicly until the end of the 4th Century, then faded from public knowledge to re-emerge in later centuries under different names and guises.
Secret History states the Jeshu ben Pandira (Jesus) founded the 'Mysteries of Jesus' in 74 B.C., and after his death in 71 B.C., the Mysteries remained secret until 46 A.D., when Paul of Tarsus became the Grand Hierophant, and there are many statements made by him which link him to the Hidden Church. In fact, his 'illumination' and the qualifications demanded for this power are identical to those taught in the Pleroma. From Paul came the Christian Gnostics themselves and this is evidenced by the statements of Marcion 136 A.D. Prodicus, 120 A.D. He was followed by Valentinius and Basilides about 130 A.D., then there were Simon Magnus, Menander, Cerenthius and Dostheus, and after them came Saturnius of Antioch.
If one will read Pistic Sophia in the three layers of meaning, one will find the exoteric, esoteric and the Arcane Discipline clearly shown. Later we find Clement of Alexandria, a pupil of Ammonius Saccas himself an Initiate of the Mysteries of Serapis and Isis, he transmitted his Gnosis to Origen and it was he who attempted to blend the Jewish and Egyptian into one.
The Ophites were a Gnostic Fraternity in Egypt. Their conception of Jesus was that he allowed the Immortal Spirit to descend into the Christos, who in turn descended into Jesus the Man, thus Jesus became the God-Man in the flesh, this teaching is again identical to that of the Pleroma. The Christos is the Eternal Pilgirm, and was always shown being overshadowed by a Living Serpent with three heads, the three-fold nature of the Soul, and they also claimed that the Good Serpent (soul) descends to earth.
The Gnostics also drew heavily upon the College of Rabbis at Babylon, who also held to the 3 X 3 = 9 system. The College was founded at Babylon after the destruction of Israel. Samuel was the chief of a College at Ramah; Elisha at Jericho and Hillel had a regular dual school and became the Founder of the Sect of Pharisees, hence we know the reason for the latter putting Jesus to death, being as we was a Hierophant of the hated Egyptian Mysteries. Then we have the Carpocratians of Alexandria, whose founder was a direct disciple of Jeshu ben Pandira and claimed that Jeshu derived the Mysteries of his religion from the temple of Isis in Egypt, they also had their grips, signs and words; symbols and degrees and used the 3 X 3 = 9 system of initiation.
Bardisanes was born at Edessa and taught a GNostic system composed of Indian, Chaldean and Egyptian mystery teachings, he also followed the earlier Gnostic sects in their degrees and initiatory system. From him, perhaps indirectly came Mani of Persia who became a Gnostic and derived teaching from Buddhist, Brahmin and Egyptian sources, he also had three grades made up of 3 X 3 = 9 and this Gnostics sect in common with the others had secret initiations and forms of recognition. In fact, the present three Masonic initiations possess the same grips and signs as the Manichaeans, such as 'sign, oris, manum et finis' or a word, the grip and of the the breast.
So the contest between the Catholic Christianity and the Gnostic Christianity can be resolved into this: The historical Jesus, the Christ of the Churc; and the second, the ancient Chrestos of the Cult of Serapis, with a spiritual Christos to be developed within the Soul of each Perfected Gnostic. So we find the Roman Section followed the views of Peter and the Jewish Gnostics. The Gnostics opposing the Church followed the teachings of Paul, Origen and the British Culdees. It was entirely due to the lack of the Arcane Discipline that a conflict ensued between the two opposing ideas, resulting in the Mythos being taken as literal history by one, and the Mythos being interpreted spiritually by the other. It was the Church, however, which won in the end combining the two aspects of the teaching both exoterically.
With the collapse of the State Mystery Systems, the Hidden Schools still continued in close secret until the time of Jeshu ben Pandira, who in order to perpetuate the Hidden Wisdom or the Gnosis, founded his own Mysteries. Then came the great Gnostic Doctors who gave to his Church a practical philosophy, they too drew upon all the existing Mystery Religions, as St. Augustine states: "What is nowadays called the Christian religion was in existence among ancient people, and has continually existed from the very origin of the human race . . ." When the Church destroyed the great Gnostic Movement and the last public sect, that of the Manichaeans, the Church took over and claimed that Christianity stemmed from the life and death of an unknown (to secular history) Jusus of Nazareth.
In the 6th Century the Manichaeans were put to the sword, some escaped Europe, others gave much to the Sufis and the Dervishes of Islam. In 657, the Gnostic Manichaeans re-appeared as the Paulicians in Armenia who followed the teachings of Paul, Marcion and Mani, but the Romish Church instigated their destruction by the sword. They emerged again as the Cathari in Southern France who were again exterminated by the Roman Inquisition. They perpetuated in close secret the Arcane Siscipline and Gnostic teachings. In the 8th Century St. Benedict founded his Order and retained many of the Gnostic teachings and discipline.
Some of the persecuted Gnostics took the names of the Euchites, the Bogomiles, Albigenses and later as the Lollards, they travelled all over Europe, seeking those who were spiritually worthy and continuing secretly to teach the Arcane Discipline and above all the grand Mythos of the Soul. In the 8th Century there appeared a Society calling itself the Holy Vehm of German Westphalia and then in Spain appeared a society designated the Hermandan. Both of these again followed the Arcane Discipline and held to the Gnostic Christos. Then came the Alchemists who were originally Gnostics and taught the Mystic Marriage of the Sun and Moon or the Divine Soul and the human Soul of Man.
Sufficient has been given to show with proof that up to the 8th Century Gnosticism survived in various forms from its inception many hundreds of years before the beginning of the Christian Era. It is obvious that the link between Masonry and other Secret Orders is to be found in Gnosticism and the Arcane Discipline.
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