Man: Whence, How and Whither

Turanian, in Ancient Chaldaea.

19,000 BCE

Turanian, in Ancient Chaldaea.


Another ancient civilization that fascinates us, much like Peru, is the one that rose in the region later known as Babylonia or Chaldaea. Both these great empires share a curious trait: in their decline, centuries after their peak, they were conquered by less advanced people who tried to adopt their sophisticated customs and religion. Just as Pizarro found a faded version of ancient Peru, the Babylonia known to archaeologists is a degenerate reflection of a once greater empire.

While the later Babylonian kingdom might have surpassed its predecessor in military power and territory, the older civilization excelled in simplicity, devotion to religion, and knowledge of nature.

Government and Society

Peru vs. Chaldaea:

  • Peru: The standout feature was its remarkable system of government, with religion playing a smaller role. Priests were more involved in civil functions like education, healthcare, and elder care.
  • Chaldaea: Religion dominated life, with no undertaking begun without religious reference. The system of government was ordinary, but religion permeated everything, much like among the Brahmanas of India.

Religious Practices:

  • Peruvian Religion: Simple, joyous sun-worship.
  • Chaldaean Religion: Complex, mystical, worshiping all celestial bodies. It included a detailed system of astrology.

Chaldaean Astrology


  • The planets themselves were not believed to influence human affairs directly. Instead, the solar system was seen as one great being, with each part representing different aspects of it.
  • This being had different types of matter at various levels (physical, astral, mental), each type affecting different aspects of life.

Astrological Influences:

  • Different types of matter in a person’s astral body responded to celestial influences based on their composition.
  • The influence of a planet was believed to affect emotions and tendencies, but not to dominate free will. Strong-willed individuals could resist these influences.

Rituals and Ceremonies

Daily Life:

  • Astrology guided daily life, agriculture, and medicine.
  • Special calendars dictated times for various activities and personal prayers.

Public Ceremonies:

  • Planetary festivals involved grand public ceremonies with processions and special garments.
  • The most significant ceremonies were held in the great temples, designed to represent the solar system.

Temple Architecture and Function

Temple Design:

  • The temples were arranged to symbolize the solar system, with the Sun temple at the center.
  • Smaller temples represented other planets, each with unique features and colors.

Ceremonial Practices:

  • Sacred fires and incense were used to focus planetary influences for healing.
  • Temples had mechanisms to track celestial movements and simulate constellations on the dome ceiling.

Education and Science


  • Education focused on character building, guided by planetary influences.
  • Schools were dedicated to different planets, each with specialized teachings.

Scientific Knowledge:

  • Priests studied astronomy, chemistry, agriculture, and medicine.
  • They used colored light to promote plant growth and experimented with new plant varieties.

Decline and Legacy

Cultural Transmission:

  • Chaldaea was eventually conquered by less advanced peoples who adopted and modified its customs.
  • The Akkads, who later formed the Babylonian Empire, tried to revive Chaldaean traditions, but their efforts produced only a pale imitation.

Final Thoughts:

  • The study of ancient civilizations like Chaldaea and Peru widens our understanding of human progress.
  • Despite their fall, these civilizations remind us of the potential for glory and beauty in human history and hint at the heights we might achieve in the future.

The Source

Man Whence How And Whither
by Annie Besant; Leadbeater, C. W

ANOTHER ancient civilisation which has interested us, in its way, almost as much as that of Peru, was one that arose in the part of Asia which was afterwards called Babylonia or Chaldaea. One curious point these two great Empires of old have in common— that each of them in the period of its decadence, many centuries later than the glorious prime at which it is most profitable to study them, was conquered by people much lower in the scale of civilisation, who nevertheless attempted to adopt as far as they could the customs, civil and religious, of the effete race which they had subdued. Just as the Peru discovered by Pizarro was in almost every respect a pale copy of the older Peru which we have tried to describe, so the Babylonia known to the student of archaeology is in many ways a kind of degenerate reflection of an earlier and greater Empire.

In many ways, but perhaps not in all. It is possible that at the zenith of its glory the later kingdom may have surpassed its predecessor in military power, in the extent of its territories or its commerce ; but in simplicity of life, in earnest devotion

to the tenets of the remarkable religion which they followed, and in real knowledge of the facts of nature, there is little doubt that the older race had the advantage.

Perhaps there could hardly be a greater contrast between any two countries than we find between Peru and Babylonia. In the former the remarkable system of government was the most prominent feature, and religion formed a comparatively small part of the life of the people — indeed, the civil functions of the priests as educators, as doctors, and as agents in the vast scheme of provision for old age, loom much more largely in the mind’s eye than their occasional work of praise or preaching in connection with the temple services.

In Chaldaea, on the other hand, the system of government was in no way exceptional; the chief factor of life there was emphatically religion, for no undertaking of any sort was ever begun without special reference to it. Indeed, the religion of the people permeated and dominated their life to an extent equalled perhaps only among the Brahmanas of India.

It will be remembered that among the Peruvians the religious cult was a simple but extremely beautiful form of Sun-worship, or rather worship of the Spirit of the Sun ; its tenets were few and clear, and its chief characteristic was its all-pervading spirit of joyousness.

In Chaldaea the faith was sterner and more mystical, and the ritual far more complicated. It was not the Sun alone that was reverenced there, but all the Host of Heaven, and the religion was in fact an exceedingly elaborate scheme of worship of the great Star-Angels, including within it, as a practical guide to daily life, a comprehen-

sive and carefully worked-out system of Astrology. Let us postpone for the moment the description of their magnificent temples and their gorgeous ritual, and consider first the relation of this strange religion to the life of the people.

To understand its effect we must try to comprehend their view of Astrology, and I think we shall find it on the whole an eminently common -sense view — one which might be adopted with great advantage by professors of the art at the present day.

The idea that it is possible for the physical planets themselves to have any influence over human affairs was of course never held by any of the priests or teachers, nor even, so far as we can see, by the most ignorant of the common people at the early period of which we are now speaking.

The theory given to the priests was an exceedingly elaborate mathematical one, probably handed down to them through an unbroken line of tradition from earlier teachers, who had direct and first-hand knowledge of the great facts of nature. The broad idea of their scheme is not difficult to grasp, but it seems impossible in our three dimensions to construct any mathematical figure which will satisfy the requirements of their hypothesis in all its details — at least with the knowledge at present at our disposal.

The entire solar system, then, in all its vast complexity, was regarded as simply one great Being, and all its parts as partial expressions of Him. All its physical constituents — the sun with his worderful corona, all the planets with their satellites, their oceans, their atmospheres, and the various ethers surrounding them — all these collectively made up His physical body, the expression of Him on the physical plane. In the same way the collective astral worlds (not only the astral spheres belonging to these physical planets, but also the purely astral planets of all the chains of the system — such, for example, as planets B and F of our own Chain) made up His astral body, and the collective worlds of the mental plane were His mental body — the vehicle through which He manifested Himself upon that particular plane.

So far the idea is clear, and corresponds closely with what we have ourselves been taught with regard to the great LOGOS of our system.

Now let it be supposed that in these ‘ bodies’ of His at their various levels there are certain different classes or types of matter fairly equally distributed over the whole system.

These types do not at all correspond to our usual division into subplanes — a division which is made according to the degree of density of the matter, so that in the physical world, for example, we get the solid, liquid, gaseous and etheric conditions of matter.

On the contrary, they constitute a totally distinct series of cross-divisions, each containing matter in all these different conditions, so that if we denote the various types by numbers, we should have solid, liquid, and gaseous matter of the first type, solid, liquid and gaseous matter

indeed, we may sat at once that the Chaldsean theory upon these subjects was practically that which is held by many Theosophists at the present day. Mr. C. W. Leadbeater, in A Textbook of Theosophy and The Hidden Side of Things, has made, as the result of his own investigations, a statement on planetary influences which is to all intents and purposes identical with the belief held thousands of years ago (as the result of similar investigations) by the Chaldaean priests of the second type, and so on all the way through.

This is the case at all levels, but for the sake of clearness let us for the moment confine our thought to one level only.

Perhaps the idea is easiest to follow with regard to the astral. It has often been explained that in the astral body of a man matter belonging to each of the sub-planes is to be found, and that the proportion between the denser and the finer kinds shows how far that body is capable of responding to coarser or more refined desires, and so is to some extent an indication of the degree to which he has evolved himself.

Similarly in every astral body there is matter of each of these types or cross-divisions, and in this case the proportion between them shows the disposition of the man — whether he is excitable or serene, sanguine or phlegmatic, patient or irritable, and so on.

Now the Chaldaean theory was that each of these types of matter in the astral body of the LOGOS, and in particular the mass of elemental essence functioning through each type, is to some extent a separate vehicle — almost a separate entity — having its own special affinities, and capable of vibrating under influences which might probably evoke no response from the other types.

The types differ among themselves, because the matter composing them originally came forth through different centres of the LOGOS, and the matter of each type is still in the closest sympathy with the centre to which it belongs, so that the slightest alteration of any kind in the condition of that centre is instantly reflected in some way or other in all the matter of the corresponding type.

Since every man has within himself matter of all these types, it is obvious that any modification in,

or action of, any one of these great centres must to some degree affect all beings in the system, and the extent to which any particular person is so affected depends upon the proportion of the type of matter influenced which he happens to have in his astral body.

That is to say, we find different types of men as well as of matter, and by reason of their constitution, by the very composition of their astral bodies, some of them are more susceptible to one influence, some to another.

The whole solar system, when looked at from a sufficiently high plane, is seen to consist of these great centres, each surrounded by an enormous sphere of influence, indicating the limits within which the force which pours out through it is especially active.

Each of these centres has a sort of orderly periodic change or motion of its own, corresponding perhaps on some infinitely higher level to the regular beating of the physical human heart.

But since some of these periodic changes are much more rapid than others, a curious and complicated series of effects is produced, and it has been observed that the movement of the physical planets in their relation to one another furnishes a clue to the arrangement of these great spheres at any given moment. In Chaldaea it was held that, in the gradual condensation of the original glowing nebula from which the system was formed, the location of the physical planets was determined by the formation of vortices at certain points of intersection of these spheres with one another and with a given plane.

The influences belonging to these spheres differ widely in quality, and one way in which this difference shows itself is in their action upon the ele-

mental essence both in man and around him. Be it ever remembered that this influence was supposed to be exerted on all planes, not only upon the astral, though we are just now confining our attention to that for simplicity’s sake. The influences may have, and indeed must have, other and more important lines of action not at present known to us ; but this at least forces itself upon the notice of the observer, that each such sphere produces its own special effect upon the manifold varieties of the elemental essence.

One, for example, greatly stimulates the activity and vitality of those kinds of essence which especially appertain to the centre through which it came, while apparently checking and controlling others; the influence of another sphere is strong over quite a different set of essences, which belong to its centre, while apparently not affecting the previous set in the least. There are all sorts of combinations and permutations of these influences, the action of one of them being in some cases greatly intensified, and in others almost neutralised, by the presence of another.

It will inevitably be asked here whether our Chaldaean priests were fatalists — whether having discovered and calculated the exact effect of these influences on the various types of human beings, they believed that these results were inevitable, and that man’s will was powerless to resist them.

Their answer to this latter question was always most emphatic; the influences have certainly no power to dominate man’s will in the slightest degree; all they can do is in some cases to make it easier, or more difficult, for that will to act along certain lines. Since the astral and mental bodies of man are practically

composed of this living and vivified matter which we now call elemental essence, any unusual excitation of any of the classes of that essence, or a sudden increase in its activity, must undoubtedly affect to some extent either his emotions or his mind, or both ; and it is also obvious that these influences must work differently on different men, because of the varieties of essence entering into their composition.

But it was moat clearly stated that in no case can a man be swept away by them into any course of action without the consent of his will, though he may evidently be helped or hindered by them in any effort that he chances to be making. The priests taught that the really strong man has little need to trouble himself as to the influences which happen to be in the ascendant, but that for all ordinary people it is usually worth while to know at what moment this or that force can most advantageously be applied.

They explained carefully that the influences are in themselves no more good or evil than any other of the forces of nature, as we should say now; like electricity or any other great natural force they may be helpful or hurtful, according to the use that is made of them. And just as we should say that certain experiments are more likely to be successful if undertaken when the air is heavily charged with electricity, while certain others under such conditions would most probably fail, so they said that an effort involving the use of the forces of our mental or emotional nature will more or less readily achieve its object according to the influences which predominate when it is made.

It was always understood, therefore, that these factors might be put aside as une quantite negligeable by the man of iron determination or the student of real Occultism; but since the majority of the human race still allow themselves to be the helpless sport of the forces of desire, and have not yet developed anything worth calling a will of their own, it was considered that their feebleness permitted these influences to assume an importance to which they had intrinisically no claim.

The fact of a particular influence being in operation can never make it necessary that an event should occur, but it makes it more likely to occur. For instance, by means of what is called in modern Astrology a Martian influence, certain vibrations of the astral essence are set up which tend in the direction of passion. So it might safely be predicted of a man who had by nature tendencies of a passionate and sensual nature, that when that influence is prominently in action he will probably commit some crime connected with passion or sensuality; not in the least that he is forced into such crime, but only that a condition comes into existence in which it is more difficult for him to maintain his balance. For ihe action upon him is of a double character; not only is the essence within him stirred into greater activity, but the corresponding matter of the plane outside is also quickened, and that again reacts upon him.

An example frequently given was that a certain variety of influence may occasionally bring about a condition of affairs in which all forms of nervous excitement are considerably intensified, and there is consequently a general sense of irritability abroad. Under such circumstances disputes arise far more readily than usual, even on the most trifling pretexts, and the large number of people who are always on the verge of losing their temper relinquish all control of themselves on even less than ordinary provocation.

It might even sometimes happen, it was said, that such influences, playing on the smouldering discontent of ignorant jealousy, might fan it into an outburst of popular frenzy from which widespread disaster might ensue.

Apparently the warning given thousands of years ago is no less necessary now ; for it was just in this way that the Parisians in 1870 were moved to rush about the streets crying “A Berlin !” and just so also has arisen many a time the fiendish yell of “Din! din!” which so easily arouses the mad fanaticism of an uncivilized Muhammadan crowd.

The Astrology of these Chaldaean priests therefore devoted itself chiefly to the calculation of the position and action of these spheres of influence, so that its principal function was rather to form a rule of life than to predict the future; or at least such predictions as it gave were rather of tendencies than of special events, while the Astrology of our own day appears to devote itself largely to the latter line of prophecy.

There can be no doubt, however, that the Chaldeans were right in affirming the power of ‘a man’s will to modify the destiny marked out for him by his karma. Karma may throw a man into certain surroundings or bring him under certain influences, but it can never force him to commit a crime, though it may so place him that it requires great determination on his part to avoid that crime. Therefore

it seems to us that what Astrology could do, then or now, is to warn the man of the circumstances under which at such and such a time he would find himself ; but any definite prophecy of his action under those circumstances can, theoretically, only be based upon probabilities — even though we fully recognise how nearly those probabilities become certainties in the case of the ordinary will-less man in the street.

The calculations of these priests of the old time enabled them to draw up a sort of official almanac each year, by which the whole life of the race was largely regulated.

They decided the times at which all agricultural operations could most safely be undertaken; they proclaimed the fit moment for arranging the breeding of animals and plants.

They were the doctors as well as the teachers of the race, and they knew exactly under what collocation of influences their various remedies could be most efficiently administered.

They divided their followers into classes, assigning each to what would now be called his ruling planet, and their calendar was full of warnings addressed to these different classes; as, for example:

“On the seventh day, those who worship Mars should be especially on the watch against causeless irritation ”

or :

“From the twelfth to the fifteenth days there is unusual danger of rashness in matters connected with the affections, especially for the worshippers of Venus, ‘ ‘ and so on.

That these warnings were of great use to the bulk of their people we cannot doubt, strange as such an elaborate system of provision against minor contingencies may appear to some of us at the present day.

From this peculiar division of the people into types, according to the planets which indicated the position of the centre of influence to which they were most readily susceptible, there arose an equally curious arrangement both of the public temple services and of the private devotions of the worshippers.

Certain daily hours of prayer, regulated by the apparent movements of the sun, were observed by all alike ; at sunrise, noon, and sunset, certain anthems or verses were chanted by the priests at the temples, and the more religious of the people made a point of being regularly present at these short services, while those who could not conveniently attend them nevertheless observed each of these hours by the recitation of a few pious phrases of praise and prayer.

But, quite apart from these observances, which seem to have been common to all, each person had his own special prayers to offer to the particular Deity to whom by birth he was attached; and the proper time for them varied constantly with the motion of his planet.

The moment at which it crossed the meridian appears to have been considered the most favourable of all, and next to that the few minutes immediately after its rising or immediately before its setting.

It might, however, be invoked at any time while above the horizon; and even while below it the Deity of the planet was not entirely out of reach, though in this case he was addressed only in some great emergency, and the whole ceremonial employed was entirely different.

The special calendars prepared by the priests for the worshippers of each of these planetary Deities contained full particulars as to the proper hours of prayer and the appropriate verses to be recited

at each. What might be described as a kind of periodical prayer-book was issued for each planet, and all those who were attached to that planet were careful to provide themselves with copies of it.

Indeed, these calendars were something much more than mere reminders as to hours of prayer; they were prepared under special stellar conditions (each under the influence of its own Deity) and were supposed to have various talismanic properties, so that the devotee of any particular planet always carried its latest calendar about with him.

It followed, therefore, that the religious man of old Chaldoea had not a regular hour of prayer or worship which was always the same, day after day, as would be the case now; but instead of this, his time for meditation and religious exercise was movable, and would occur sometimes in the morning, sometimes at noon, sometimes in the evening, or even at midnight.

But whenever it came he did not fail to observe it; however awkwardly the hour might clash with his business, his pleasure or his repose, he would have regarded it as a grave lapse from duty if he had omitted to take advantage of it. So far as we can see, there was no thought in his mind that the Spirit of the planet would in any way resent it if he neglected the hour, or indeed that it was possible for such a Spirit to feel anger at all ; the idea was rather that at that moment the Deity was pouring forth a blessing, and that it would be not only foolish but ungrateful to lose the opportunity so kindly offered.

These, however, were only the private devotions of the people; they had great and gorgeous public ceremonies as well. Each of the planets had as signed to it at least two great feast days in the year and the Sun and Moon appropriated considerably more than two.

Each planetary Spirit had his tern pies in every part of the country, and on ordinary occasions his devotees contented themselves wit! frequent visits to the nearest; but on the greate] festivals to which we have referred, enormous mul titudes assembled on a vast plain in the neighbor hood of their capital city, where there was a grou] of magnificent temples, which were absolutely unique.

These buildings were in themselves worthy of at tention as fine examples of a prehistoric style o architecture; but their greatest interest lay in th< fact that their arrangement was evidently intende< to represent that of the solar system, and that, whei the principle of this arrangement was understood it undoubtedly showed the possession by its design ers of a considerable knowledge of the subject. B: far the largest and the most splendid of all was th huge temple of the Sun, which it will presently b< necessary to describe somewhat more in detail. Th< others, erected at gradually increasing distance from this, might seem at the first glance to hav been built simply as convenience dictated, and no upon any orderly plan.

Closer examination, however, showed that ther was a plan, and a remarkable one — that not only th’ gradually increasing distances of these smaller tern pies from the principal one had a definite ratio an< a definite meaning, but even the relative dimension of certain important parts of these fanes were no accidental, for they typified respectively the sizes o the planets and their distances from the solar orb.

Now it is obvious to anyone who knows anything at all about astronomy that an attempt to construct to scale a model of the solar system in temples would be foredoomed to failure — that is to say, if the temples were to be available for worship in the ordinary way.

The difference in size between the Sun and the smaller members of his family is so immense, and the distances between them are so enormous, that unless the buildings were mere dolls ‘ houses no country would be large enough to contain the entire system.

How, then, did the Chaldaean Sage who designed this marvellous group of temples contrive to conquer these difficulties?

Precisely as do the illustrators of our modern books of Astronomy — by using two entirely different scales, but preserving the relative proportions in their delineation of each.

There is nothing in this wonderful monument of ancient skill to prove to us that its designer knew the absolute sizes and distances of the planets at all, though of course he may have done so ; what is certain is that he was perfectly well acquainted with their relative sizes and distances.

He had either been taught, or had himself discovered, Bode’s Law; how much further his knowledge went his buildings leave us to conjecture, except that he must certainly have possessed some information as to planetary magnitudes, though his computation of them differed in some ways from that now accepted.

The shrines devoted to the inner planets made a sort of irregular cluster which seemed quite close under the walls of the great Sun-Temple, while those of the giant outer members of the solar family were dotted at ever-increasing intervals over the plain, until the representative of far-away Neptune was almost lost in the distance.

The buildings differed in design, and there is little doubt that every variation had its special significance, even though in many cases we were unable to discern it.

There was, however, one feature which all shared ; each of them possessed a central hemispherical dome, which was evidently intended to bear a special relation to the orb which it typified.

All these hemispheres were brilliantly coloured, each bearing the hues which Chaldaean tradition associated with its particular planet. The principle upon which these colours were selected is far from clear, but we shall have to return to them later when we examine the great festival services.

These domes by no means always bore the same relation to the dimensions of their respective temples, but when compared one with another they were found to correspond closely to the sizes of the planets which they symbolised.

With regard to Mercury, Venus, the Moon, and Mars, the Chaldsean measurements of relative size corresponded precisely with our own ; but Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, though immensely larger than the inner group, were yet decidedly smaller than they would have been if constructed on the same scale according to our received calculations.

This may have been due to the use of a different standard for these huge globes, but it seems to us far more probable that the Chaldaean proportions were correct, and that in modern astronomy we have considerably over-estimated the size of the outer planets.

It is all but established now that the surface which we see in the case of Jupiter or Saturn is that of a deep, dense cloud-envelope, and not the body of the planet at all ; and if that be so, the Chaldaean representation of these globes is as accurate as the rest of their scheme.

Another point in favour of such a suggestion is that, if it were accepted, the extraordinarily low density commonly assigned by our astronomers to the outer planets would be brought more nearly into agreement with that of the other worlds within our ken.

A number of curious details combined to prove to us that thorough comprehension of the system which must have been possessed by the designer of these beautiful shrines.

Vulcan, the intra-Mercurial planet, was duly represented, and the place in the scheme where our earth should have come in was occupied by the temple of the Moon — a large one, though the hemisphere which crowned it seemed disproportionately small, being constructed exactly to the same scale as the rest.

Close by this Moontemple there arose an isolated dome of black marble supported by pillars, which from its size was evidently intended to typify the Earth, but there was no shrine of any kind attached to it.

In the space (quite correctly calculated) between Mars and Jupiter there appeared no temple, but a number of columns, each ending in a tiny dome of the usual hemispherical shape; these we presumed to be intended to represent the asteroids.

Every planet which possesses satellites had them carefully indicated by properly proportioned subsidiary domes arranged round the primary, and Saturn’s rings were also clearly shown.

On the principal festivals of any of the planets, all the votaries of the corresponding Deities (as we should say now, the people born under those planets) wore over or in place of their ordinary dress a mantle or cope of the colour considered sacred to the planet.

These colours were all exceedingly brilliant, and the material worn had a sort of sheen like satin, so that the effect was usually striking, especially as many of the colours had another tint underlying them, as in what is called shot silk.

A list of these colours will be of interest, although, as we have before remarked, the reason which dictated their choice is not always obvious.

The dress worn by the followers of the Sun was a beautifully delicate silken material, all interwoven with gold threads, so that it appeared a veritable cloth of gold. But cloth of gold, as we know it now, is of a thick, unbending texture, whereas this fabric was so flexible that it could be folded like muslin.

Vulcan’s hue was flame-colour, striking, gorgeous, and distinctive — possibly typical of the extreme propinquity of Vulcan to the Sun, and the fiery physical conditions that must obtain there.

Mercury was symbolised by a brilliant orange hue, shot with lemon-colour — shades not infrequently to be seen in the auras of his adherents as well as in their vestments ; but though in some cases the predominant auric colours seem a possible explanation of these selections, there are others to which this would hardly apply.

The votaries of Venus appeared in a lovely pure sky-blue, with an underlying thread of light green, which gave to the whole a quivering iridescent effect when the wearer moved.

The garments of the Moon were naturally of white material, but so interwoven with threads of silver that practically it might be called cloth of silver, as the Sun’s was cloth of gold. Yet in certain lights this Moon-robe showed beautiful pale violet shades, which much enhanced its effect.

Mars appropriately enough clothed his followers in a splendid brilliant scarlet, but with a strong crimson shade underlying it, and practically taking its place when seen from certain aspects. This colour was quite unmistakable, and totally distinct from those of Vulcan or Mercury. It may have been suggested either by auric appearances or by the ruddy hue of the physical planet.

Jupiter robed his children in a wonderful gleaming blue-violet material, dappled all over with tiny silvery specks. It is not easy to assign any reason for this, unless indeed it may again be attributed to auric associations.

Saturn’s votaries were clothed in clear sunset green, with pearl-grey shades underlying it, while those born under Uranus wore a magnificent deep rich blue — that unimaginable colour of the South Atlantic, which no one knows but those who have seen it.

The dress appropriated to Neptune was the least noticeable of them all, for it was a plain-looking dark indigo, though in high lights it too developed an unexpected richness.

On the principal festivals of any one of these planets, its adherents appeared in full dress, and marched in procession to its temple, decked with garlands of flowers, bearing banners and gilded staves, and filling the air with sonorous chanting.

But the grandest display of all was at one of the great feasts of the Sun-God, when the people came together, each robed in the gorgeous vestment of his tutelary Deity, and the whole immense multitude performed the solemn circumambulation of the Suntemple. On such an occasion the worshippers of the Sun filled the vast building to overflowing, while next to the walls marched the bands of Vulcan, next outside them those of Mercury, then the followers of Venus and so on, each planet being represented in the order of its position with reference to the Sun.

The whole mass of people, thus arranged in concentric rings of flashing colour, swept slowly, steadily round like a colossal living wheel, and, under the flood of living light poured down by that all but tropical Sun, they formed perhaps as brilliant a spectacle as the world has ever seen.

In order that some account may be given of the even more interesting ceremonies that took place on such occasions within that great temple of the Sun, it is necessary that we should attempt a description of its appearance and arrangement.

Its main plan was cruciform, with a vast circular space (covered by the hemispherical dome) where the arms of the cross met. We shall gain a more correct image if, instead of thinking of the ordinary cruciform church with nave, chancel and transepts, we picture to ourselves a great circular domed chamber like the reading-room of the British Museum, and then imagine four huge naves opening out of it towards the four quarters of the compass; for all the arms of its cross were of equal length. Having fixed that part of the picture firmly, we must then add four other great openings between the arms of the cross, leading into vast halls whose walls curved round and met at the extremity, so as to give their floors the shape of an immense leaf or the petal of a flower.

In fact, the ground-plan of the temple might be described as an equal-armed cross laid upon a simple four-petalled flower, so that the arms lay between the petals.

A man standing in the centre under the dome would therefore see long vistas stretching out from him in all directions. The whole structure was carefully oriented, so that the arms of the cross were accurately directed to the cardinal points.

The southern end remained open and constituted the principal entrance, facing the great altar which occupied the end of the northern arm. The eastern and western arms contained altars also, of enormous size from our point of view, though much smaller than the mnm erection at the northern end.

These eastern and western altars seem to have fulfilled something the same purpose as do those dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and to S. Joseph in a Catholic cathedral, fcr one of them was consecrated to the Sun and the other to the Moon, and some of the regular daily services connected with these two luminaries were celebrated at them.

The great northern altar was, however, that round which all the greatest crowds gathered, at which all the grandest ceremonies were performed, and its arrangements and furniture were curious and interesting.

On the wall behind it, in the place occupied by the ‘east window’ in an ordinary church — except that this was north — hung an immense concave mirror, far larger than any that we had ever before seen.

It was of metal, quite probably of silver, and was polished to the highest possible degree. Indeed it was observed that the care of it, the keeping it bright and free even from dust, was considered to be a religious duty of the most binding nature.

How such a huge speculum had been so perfectly cut, how it was that its own enormous weight did not distort it — these are problems that would be serious ones to our modern artificers, but they had been successfully solved by these men of long ago.

Along the centre of the roof of this huge northern arm of the cross there ran a narrow slit open to the sky, so that the light of whatever star happened to be exactly upon the meridian shone straight into the temple and fell upon the great mirror.

It is a wellknown property of the concave mirror that it forms in the air in front of it, at its focus, an image of whatever is reflected in it, and this principle was cleverly used by the priests in order, as they would probably have put it, to collect and apply the influence of each planet at the moment of its greatest power, A pedestal bearing a brazier was fixed in the floor beneath the focus of the mirror, and just as a planet was coming to the meridian and therefore shining through the slit in the roof, a quantity of sweet-smelling incense was thrown upon the glowing charcoal.

A pillar of light grey smoke immediately ascended, and in the midst of it gleamed forth the living image of the star. Then the worshippers bowed their heads, and the glad chant of the priests rang out ; in fact, this ceremony reminded us somewhat of the elevation of the Host in a Catholic church.

When necessary another piece of machinery was brought into action — a flat circular mirror which could be lowered from the roof by lines so as to occupy exactly the focus of the great mirror. This carught the reflected image of the planet, and by tilting it the concentrated light received from the co cave mirror could be poured down upon certain spots on the floor of the temple. On these spots were laid the sick for whom it was considered that that particular influence would be beneficial, while the priest prayed that the planetary Spirit would pour healing and strength upon them ; and undoubtedly cures did frequently reward their endeavours, though it may well be that faith played a large part in obtaining the result.

The lighting of certain sacred fires when the Sun himself crossed the meridian was achieved by means of the same mechanism, though one of the most interesting ceremonies of this nature was always performed at the western altar. Upon this altar burnt always what was called ‘ sacred Moon-fire,’ and this was allowed to go out only once a year, on the night before the spring equinox. The following morning the rays of the Sun, passing through an orifice above the eastern altar, fell directly upon that at the west end, and by means of a glass globe filled with water which was suspended in their path and acted as a lens, the Sun himself relit the sacred Moon-fire, which was then carefully tended and kept burning for another year.

The inner surface of the great dome was painted to represent the night-sky, and by some complicated mechanism the principal constellations were made to move over it exactly as the real stars were moving outside, so that at any time of the day, or on a cloudy night, a worshipper could always tell in the temple the precise position of any of the signs of the zodiac, and of the various planets in relation to them.

Luminous bodies were used to represent the planets, and in the earlior days of this religion, precisely as in the earlier days of the Mysteries, these bodies were real materialisations called into existence by the Adept Teachers, and moving freely in the air; but in both cases in later days, when less evolved men had to take the place of these exalted Beings, it was found difficult or impossible to make the materialisations work properly, and so their place was filled by ingenious mechanical contrivances — a kind of orrery on a gigantic scale.

The outside of this huge dome was thinly plated with gold ; and it was noteworthy that a peculiar dappled effect was produced on the surface, evidently intended to represent what are called the * willow-leaves ‘ or * ricegrains’ of the Sun.

Another interesting feature of this temple was an underground room or crypt, which was reserved for the exclusive use of the priests, apparently with a view to meditation and self-development.

The only light admitted came through thick plates of a crystallike substance of various colours, which were let into the floor of the temple, but arrangements were made to reflect the sun’s rays through this medium when necessary, and the priest who was practising his meditation allowed this reflected light to fall upon the various centres in his body — sometimes upon that between the eyes, sometimes upon the base of the spine, and so on.

This evidently aided in the development of the power of divination, of clairvoyance and of intuition ; and it was evident that the particular colour of light used depended not only upon the object sought, but upon the planet or type to which the priest belonged. It was also noticed that the thyrsus, the hollow rod charged with electric or vital fire, was used here, just as it was in the Grecian Mysteries.

An interesting part of the study of this old-world religion is the endeavour to understand exactly what its teachers meant when they spoke of the StarAngel, the Spirit of a star.

A little careful investigation shows that the terms, though sometimes synonymous, are not always so, for they seem to have included at least three quite different conceptions under the one title ‘the Spirit of a planet’.

First they believed in the existence, in connection with each planet, of an undeveloped, semi-intelligent yet exceedingly potent entity, which we can perhaps best express in our Theosophical terminology as the collective elemental essence of that planet, regarded as one huge creature.

We know how, in the case of a man, the elemental essence which enters into the composition of his astral body becomes to all intents and purposes a separate entity, which has sometimes been called the desire-elemental; how its many different types and classes combine into a temporary unity, capable of definite action in its own defence, as for example against the disintegrating process which sets in after death.

If in just the same way we can conceive of the totality of the elemental kingdoms in a particular planet energising as a whole, we shall have grasped exactly the theory held by the ancient Chaldaeans with regard to this first variety of planetary Spirit, for which ‘planetary elemental’ would be a far more appropriate name.

It was the influence (or perhaps the magnetism) of this planetary elemental which they tried to focus upon people suffering from certain diseases, or to imprison in a talisman for future use.

The priests held that the physical planets which we can see serve as pointers to indicate the position or condition of the great centres in the body of the LOGOS Himself, and also that through each of these great centres poured out one of the ten types of essence out of which, according to them, everything was built. Each of these types of essence, when taken by itself, was identified with a planet, and this also was frequently called the Spirit of the planet, thus giving another and quite different meaning to the term.

In this sense they spoke of the Spirit of each planet as omnipresent throughout the solar system, as working within each man and showing itself in his actions, as manifesting through certain plants or minerals and giving them their distinctive properties.

Naturally it was this 4 Spirit of the planet’ within man which could be acted upon by the condition of the great centre to which it belonged, and it was with reference to this that all their astrological warnings were issued.

When, however, the Chaldaeans invoked the blessing of the Spirit of a planet, or endeavoured by earnest and reverent meditation to raise themselves towards Him, they were using the expression in yet another sense.

They thought of each of these great centres as giving birth to and working through a whole hierarchy of great Spirits, and at the head of each of these hierarchies stood one great One who was called pre-eminently ‘The Spirit of the planet,’ or more frequently the Star-Angel.

It was His benediction that was sought by those who were more especially born under His influence, and He was regarded by them much as the great Archangels, the ” seven Spirits before the throne of God,” are regarded by the devout Christian — as a mighty Minister of the divine power of the LOGOS, a channel through which that ineffable splendour manifests itself.

It was whispered that when the festival of some particular planet was being held in that great temple, and when at the critical moment the image of the Star shone out brightly amid the incense-cloud, those whose eyes were opened by the fervour of their devotion had sometimes seen the mighty form of the Star-Angel hovering beneath the blazing orb, so that it shone upon his forehead as he looked down benignantly upon those worshippers with whose evolution he was so closely connected.

It was one of the tenets of this ancient faith that it was in rare cases a possibility for highly developed men, who were full of heartfelt devotion to their Angel, to raise themselves by stress of long-continued meditation out of their world into His — to change the whole course of their evolution, and secure their next birth not on this planet any more, but on His ; and the temple records contained accounts of priests who had done this, and so passed beyond human ken.

It was held that once or twice in history this had happened with regard to that still greater order of stellar Deities, who were recognised as belonging to the fixed stars far outside of the solar system altogether; but these latter were thought of as daring flights into the unknown, as to the advisability of which even the greatest of the high priests were silent.

Strange as these methods may seen to us now, widely as they may differ from anything that is being taught to us in our Theosophical study, it would be foolish for us to criticise them, or to doubt that, for those to whom they appeal, they may be as efficacious as our own.

We know that in the great White Brotherhood there are many Masters, and that though the Qualifications required for each step of the Path are the same for all candidates, yet each great Teacher adopts for His pupils that method of preparation which He sees to be best suited for them ; and as all these paths alike lead to the mountain-top, it is not for us to say which is the shortest or the best for our neighbour.

For each man there is one path which is shortest; but which that is depends upon the position from which he starts.

To expect everyone to come round to our starting-point and use our path would be to fall under the delusion, born of conceit and ignorance, which blinds the eyes of the bigoted religionist.

We have not been taught to worship the great Star-Angels, or to set before ourselves as a goal the possibility of joining the Deva evolution at a comparatively early stage; but we should always remember that there are other lines of Occultism besides that particular form of it to which Theosophy has introduced us, and that we know but little yet even of our own line.

It would perhaps be better to avoid the use of the word ‘ worship’ when describing the feeling of tihe Chaldaeans toward the Star-Angels, for in the West it always leads to misconception; it was rather the deep affection and veneration and loyalty which we feel towards the Masters of Wisdom.

This Chaldsean religion lay close to the hearts of its people, and undoubtedly produced in the case of the majority really good and upright lives. Its priests were men of great learning in their own way along certain lines; their studies in history and astronomy were profound, and they not unnaturally took these two sciences together, always classifying the events of history according to their supposed connection with the various astronomical cycles.

They were fairly well versed in chemistry also, and utilised some of its effects in their ceremonies. We noticed a case in which a priest was seen standing upon the flat roof of one of the temples and invoking in private devotion one of the planetary Spirits.1 He held in his hand a long staff tipped with some bituminous-looking substance, and he began his invocation by marking with this staff the astrological sign of the planet upon the pavement in front of him, the substance leaving a brilliant phosphorescent mark behind it upon the stone or plaster surface.

As a rule each priest took up a special line of study to which he more particularly devoted himself.

One group became proficient in medicine, constantly investigating the properties of various herbs and drugs when prepared under this or that combination of stellar influences ; another turned its attention exclusively to agriculture, deciding what kind of soil was best suited to certain crops, and how it could be improved — working also at the culture of all kinds of useful plants, and the production of new varieties, testing the rapidity and strength of their growth under differently-coloured glass, and so on.

This idea of the use of coloured light to promote growth was common to several of the old Atlantean races, and was part of the teaching originally given in Atlantis itself.

Another section constituted themselves into a kind of weather bureau, and foretold with considerable accuracy both the ordinary changes of weather, and also any special disturbances such as storms, cyclones, or cloud-bursts.

Later this became a sort of Government Department, and priests who predicted inaccurately were deposed as incapable.

Enormous importance was attached to pre-natal influences, and a mother was directed to seclude herself and to live a sort of semi-monastic life for some months both before and after the birth of a child.

The educational arrangements of the country were not, as in Peru, directly in the hands of the priests, although it was they who decided by their calculations — evidently aided in some cases by clairvoyant insight — to which planet a child belonged.

The children attached to a particular planet attended the school of that planet, and were under teachers of the same type as themselves, so that the children of

Saturn would by no means be permitted to attend one of the schools of Jupiter, or the children of Venus to be taught by a worshipper of Mercury.

The training appointed for these various types differed considerably, the intention being in each case to develop the good qualities and to counteract the weaknesses which long experience had prepared the instructors to expect in that especial kind of boy or girl.

The object of education with them was almost entirely the formation of character; the mere imparting of knowledge took quite a subordinate position.

Every child was taught the curious hieroglyphic script of the country, and the rudiments of simple calculation, but bevond this nothing that we should recognise as a school subject was taken up at all.

Numerous religious or rather ethical precepts were learnt by heart, all indicating the conduct expected from ‘a son of Mars,’ the planet — or Venus or Jupiter as the case might be — under various conditions that might arise ; and the only literature studied was an endlessly voluminous commentary upon these, full of interminable stories of adventures and situations in which the heroes acted sometimes wisely, sometimes foolishly.

These the children were taught to criticise, giving their reasons for the opinions they formed, and describing in what way their own action in similar circumstances would have differed from that of the hero.

Though children passed many years in the schools, the whole of their time was spent in familiarising themselves (not only theoretically, but as far as might be practically also) with the teachings of this unwieldy Book of Duty, as it was called. In order to impress the lessons upon the minds of the children, they were expected to impersonate the various characters in these stories, and act out the scenes as though in a theatre.

Any young man who developed a taste for history, mathematics, agriculture, chemistry or medicine, could, upon leaving school, attach himself as a kind of apprentice to any priest who had made a specialty of one of those subjects; but the school curriculum did not include any of these, nor provide any preparation for their study, beyond the general preparation which was supposed to fit everybody for anything that might turn up.

The literature of the race was not extensive.

Official records were kept with great care, transfers of land were registered, and the decrees and proclamations of the Kings were always filed for reference; but though these documents offered excellent even if somewhat dry, material for the historian there is no trace that any connected history was written.

It was taught orally by tradition, and certain episodes of it were tabulated in connection with the astronomical cycles; but these records were merely chronological tables, not histories in our sense of the word.

Poetry was represented by a series of sacred books, which gave a highly symbolical and figurative account of the origin of the worlds and of mankind, and also by a number of ballads or sagas celebrating the deeds of legendary heroes.

These latter, however, were not written down, but simply handed on from one reciter to another.

The people were exceedingly fond, like so many Oriental races, of listening to and improvising stories, and a great deal of traditional matter of this sort had been handed down through the centuries from what must obviously have been a remote period of far ruder civilisation.

From some of these earlier legends it is possible to reconstruct a rough outline of the early history of the race.

The great bulk of the nation were clearly of Turanian stock, belonging to the fourth sub-race of the Atlantean Root-Race.

They had apparently been originally a number of petty tribes, always at feud among themselves, living by agriculture of a primitive kind, and knowing little of architecture or culture of any sort.

To them in this semi-savage condition came, in B. C. 30,000, a great leader from the East, Theodoros, a man of another race, who after the Aryan conquest of Persia and Mesopotamia, and the establishment of the rule of the Manu over those districts, was sent as Governor by Him, under Corona, His grandson, who succeeded Him as Ruler of Persia.

From Theodoros descended the royal line of ancient Chaldaea — a line differing widely in appearance from their subjects, strong-faced, with bronzed complexion and deep-set gleaming eyes.

The far later Babylonian sculptures which we know give us a fair idea of this royal type, though at that date the Aryan blood had permeated almost the entire race, whereas in the time of which we are speaking it had scarcely tinged it at all.

After a long period of splendour and prosperity this mighty Empire of Chaldaea slowly waned and decayed, until at last it was utterly destroyed by the incursion of hordes of fanatical barbarians, who holding some ruder faith and hating with true puritanical fervour all evidence of a religious feeling nobler and more beautiful than their own, destroyed every trace of the glorious temples which had been erected with such loving care for that worship of the Star-Angels which we have tried to describe.

These spoilers were in their turn driven out by the Akkads from the northern hill-country — AtlanteanB still, but of the sixth sub-race ; and these, coalescing gradually with the remnants of the old race and with other tribes of Turanian type, made up the Sumiro Akkad nation out of which the later Babylonian Empire developed.

As it grew, however, it became more and more strongly affected by the mixture of Aryan jlood, first from the Arabian (Semitic) and then From the Iranian sub-races, until when we come to jvhat are commonly called historical times there is scarcely a trace of the old Turanian left in the faces that are pictured for us in the sculptures and mosaics of Assyria.

This later race had, in its beginnings at least, a strong tradition of its grander predecessor, and its sndeavour was always to revive the conditions and the worship of the past.

Its efforts were but partially successful ; tinged by an alien faith, hampered t>y reminiscences of another and more recent tradition of the predominant partner in the combination, it produced but a pale and distorted copy of the magnificent cult of the Star- Angels, as it had flourished in the Golden Age which we have been attempting to describe.

Faint and unreal as these pictures of the past must be except to those who see them at first-hand, yet the study of them is not only of deep interest to the occult student, but of great use to him.

It helps to widen out his view; it gives him now and then a passing glimpse into the working of that vast whole in which all that we can imagine of progress and evolution is but as one tiny wheel in a huge machine, as one small company in the great army of the King.

Something is it also of encouragement to him to know a little of the glory and the beauty that have been on this grand old earth of ours, and to know that that is but a pale forecasting of the glory and the beauty that are yet to be.

But we must not leave this trifling sketch of two vignettes from the Golden Age of the past— introduced, as an inset, into the huge picture of the worldstory — without referring to a thought that must inevitably occur to one who studies them.

We who love humanity — we who are trying, however feebly, to help it on its arduous way — can we read of conditions such as those of ancient Chaldsea, and perhaps still more of ancient Peru, conditions under which whole nations lived a happy and religious life, free from the curse of intemperance, free from the horror of grinding poverty — can we read of such conditions without a lurking doubt, without putting to ourselves the question: “Can it be that mankind is really evolving f Can it be for the good of humanity that when such civilisations have been attained, they should be allowed to crumble and fall, and leave no sign ; and that after them we should come to this?”

Yes; for we know that the law of progress is a law of cyclic change, and that under that law personalities, races, empires, and worlds pass away, and come not again — in that form; that all forms must perish, however beautiful, in order that the life within them may grow and expand.

And we know that that law is the expression of a Will — the divine Will of the LOGOS Himself; and therefore to the uttermost its working must be for the good of the humanity that we love.

None ever loved man as He does — He who sacrificed Himself that man might be ; He knows the whole evolution, from the beginning to the end ; and He is satisfied. It is in His hand — the hand that blesseth man — that the destinies of man are lying; is there any heart among us not content to leave them there— not satisfied to its inmost core to hear Him say, as a great Master once said to His pupil : “What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter “

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