There are authors who attribute the origin
of modern Free Masonry to the followers of
Pythagoras, because some of the speculations of that Philosopher concerning the meaning
of the numbers are to be found in the esoteric doctrines taught in the masonic lodges. Others, on account of the Christian symbols that have been incorporated in the decoration of things pertaining to Masonry, following the Swedish system, say that the Essenes and first Christians founded it. Others, again, make it originate in the building of Solomon's temple, many Jewish names, emblems and legends, taken from the Bible, having found their way into the rites of initiation to several degrees. Others, still, make it go back to Adam. Ask them why - they do not know. While not a few, and I among them, earnestly believe that Masonry existed before Adam was created. I   believe it, because I am convinced that this pretended ancestor of man is a myth and has never existed. Thomas Payne and those of his school say that the Druids were the fathers of his craft; they being worshipers of the sun, moon and stars: and these jewels of the firmament being represented on the ceilings of the M.·. Dance of Villoison speaks of Herculaneum as its birth place, because of the many similarties that existed between the collegia of the Romans and the lodges of the operative Masons of the middle ages. Michael Andrew Ramsay goidtlciitan, in a discourse delivered in Paris in 1740, suggested the possibility of the fraterniity origin, in the time of the crusades, among the Knights Templars, and he explains it in this way : -
The Pope Clement V., and Phillippe-le-bel, King of France, fearing the power of the Templars and coveting their immense wealth, resolved to destroy the Order. When, in 1308, Jacques do Molay, then Grand Master of the Order, was preparing an expedition to avenge the wrongs and disasters suffered by the Christians in the East, the Pope, who was the only power to which, in the spiritual, the Templars owned allegiance, enticed him to France.
On his arrival he was received with every mark of friendship: but, soon after, the King caused him to be arrested together with some of the other dignitaries,  accusing them of the most heinous crimes, imputing to them the secret rites of their initiation. By order of the Archbishop of Sens and his provincial council, Jacques de Molay, Guy of Auvergne and several other officers of the Order were burned alive on March 18, 1314.
The Pope, by a bull dated on the 2d of April, and published on the 2d of May 1312, that he issued on his own responsibility, the Council of Vienne, in Dauphine, being adverse to hasty measures, declared the Order abolished throughout the world. The execution of the Grand Master and his companions gave the coup de grace to the Order. Some of the Knights who had escaped to Portugal continued the Order. They assumed the title of Knights of Christ, which it bears to this day; but it never recovered its former prestige and power.
Jacques de Molay before dying had appointed Johan Marcus Larmenio as his successor to the office of Grand Master. The Knights who, fleeing from the persecution, had taken refuge in Scotland at the Court of King Robert Bruce, refused to recognize his authority; and pretending to reestablish the Order of the Temple, under the allegory and title of Architects, protected by the King, laid the foundation of the Order of Free and Accepted Masons of the Scottish Rite in 1314.
This new society soon forgot the meaning of the  execratory oath that the members were obliged to take at their initiation; the death of Clement V, of Phillippe-le-bel, of the accusers and enemies of Jacques de Molay and the other Knights who had been executed, having removed the object of their vengeance. Still they continuted to decorate their lodges with tokens commemorative, of the death of the Grand Master to imopse on all new members the it, which they signified by striking with an unsheathed dagger at unseen beings, his supposed murderers, although all their efforts were now directed to the restoration of the honor of their association. This allegory is well-known to the Knights of Kadosh. A century had scarcely elapsed when this idea also was abandoned, the founders and their disciples having passed away. The successors saw only allegories in the symbols of the Order, and the extensive use of words and tests from the Bible was then introduced. Of their work but little is positively known until the reign of Charles I of England, when their mysterious initiations began to attract attention.
The enemies of Cromwell and of the Republic, having, in view the reestablishment of the monarchy, created the degree of Grand Master to prepare the minds of the Masons for that event. King William III was initiated. Masonry, says Preston, was very much neglected as early as the reign of James  II, and even after this period it made but slow progress until 1714, when King George I. ascended the throne.
Three years later, in February 1717, the first Grand Lodge was established in London. A committee from the four lodges then existing in that city met at the tavern of the " Apple Tree " and nominated Anthony Sayer, who was elected Grand Master on the 24th of the following June, day of St. John the Baptist, that for this reason was selected as patron of the Order.
This origin of the craft is credited by many of the best authorities on the subject. They found their opinion on the fact that many of the ceremonies practiced by the Architects are still observed among the Masons; and that the Grand Lodge preserved, with the spirit of the ancient brotherhood, its fundamental laws. There are others, however, who likewise claim to be well informed, that pretend it did not originate in any order of chivalry, but in the building fraternities of the Middle Ages.
Be the origin what it may, the fact is that after the establishment of the Grand Lodge at "Apple Tree Tavern," Masonry spread over Europe at a rapid rate, notwithstanding the bitter opposition of the Church of Rome that fulminated against it its most terrible anathemas as early as 1738 at the instigation of the Inquisition. Pope Clement XII, on  the 28th of April of that year, caused a prohibitory bull to be issued against Free Masonry, entitled In Eminenti, in which he excommumicated all Masons; and the Cardnal Vicar of Rome, by edict in the name of the High Priest of the God of Peace and Mercy, decreed the penalty of death against them in 1739; and on May 181751, Pope Benoit XIV. renewed the bull of Clement XII by another beginning with these words: Proridus Romanorum Pontificum.
The Order was introduced in France in 1725, and on the 14th of September 1732, all Masonic Associations were prohibited by a decree of the Chamber of Police of the Chatelet of Paris.
In 1727, Lord Coleraine founded a lodge in Gibraltar and in the succeeding year in Madrid, the the strong-hold of the Inquisition.
But in 1740, in consequence of the bull of Clement XII, King Phillip V, of Spain, promulgated an ordnance against the Masons in his kingdom, many of were arrested and sent to the galleys. The took advantage of the opportunity to persecute the members of a lodge they discovered in Madrid. They caused them to be loaded with chains, to be obliged to row in the galleys without other retribution than scanty rations of victuals of the poorest quality, but an by, but an abundant supply of bastinade. Fernando VI renewed the ordinance on July 2 1751, making Masonry high treason.
 The brotherhood made its appearance in Ireland in 1730. It is not positively known if it existed in the country before that time.
In 1732 it crossed the Atlantic and was imported in America. In that year a lodge was held in "Tun tavern" in Philadelphia, the B.·. having previously met in Boston, which may be regarded as the birthplace of American Free Masonry. Henry Price was the first provincial Grand Master appointed by the Grand Lodge of England on April. 30th, 1733.
The same year witnessed its establishment in various cities of Italy. In 1735, the Grand Duke Francis of Lorraine was initiated. He protected the Masons, and the craft flourished in Italy until 1737, when Juan Gaston of Medicis, Grand Duke of Tuscany, issued a decree of prohibition against it. Soon after his death, which occurred the same year, the lodges which had been closed were reopened. It was not long, however, before they were denounced to the Pope Clement XII, who issued his bull of 28th of April 1738, and sent an inquisitor to Florence who caused various members of the society to be cast into dungeons. They were set at liberty as soon as Francis of Lorraine became Grand Duke of Tuscany. He not only protected the Masons, but founded lodges in Florence and other places in his estates.
In 1735 a lodge was established in Lisbon the capital of Portugal. It will be remembered that  some of the Knights Templars, under the title of "Knights of Christ," had kept alive the ancient order iii find t country in defiance of the Pope's thunderbolts.
Among the Masons initiated in England were a great many Germans as early as 1730. These seem to have met occasionally in traveling in Germany, or to have corresponded with each other; but no lodge is, known to have existed previous to the year 1737, when one without name was established in Hamburg, although Grand Master Lord Strathmore had authorized in 1733, eleven gentlemen and Brother's to open one.
In 1740, B. Puttman, of the Hamburg lodge, received a patent of Provincial Grand Master from and the lodge assumed the title of Absalom.
King Frederick II, denominated the Great, whilst still Crown Prince, had been initiated; and from the time of his initiation took great interest in the welfare of the brotherhood. Crowned King of Prussia, he continued to give it his support, assuming the title of " Great master universal, and Conservator of the ancient and most respectable association of ancient free masons or architects of Scotland." Masonry enjoyed under his reign such consideration, that many German princes, following his example, were initiated; and so many of the nobility joined  the society, that to belong to it came to be regarded as a mark of nobility and high breeding.
Notwithstanding his multifarious State duties, and the many wars that took place during his reign, which demanded his constant attention, he found time to frame a constitution to cement together again the Order that at one time, owing to external persecutions on the one hand, to internal dissensions, suscitated by the incorporation to it of the Rosicrucians and still more that of the Illuminati, on the other seemed on the eve of falling asunder. That constitution, signed by him in his palace at Berlin, on the 1st of May 1786, saved Free Masonry from annihilation in Germany for many regarding it with suspicion attacked and persecuted it: the Catholics because it came from Protestant England; the Protestant clergy looked upon it as hostile to Christianity, because of the teachings and symbols altogether Catholic of the 18th degree, those of Rosa Cruz, whose motto " we have the happiness of being in the pacific unity of the sacred numbers," and "in the name of the holy and indivisible Trinity," bespeaks its Jesuit origin. The people believed in the accusation, of witchcraft and sorcery, made against it by its enemies, because of the vail of secrecy thrown over their meetings.
Authors have endeavored to show that modern free-masonry is not derived from the mysteries  of the ancients. J. G. Findel, an advocate of this opinion, says: "Seeing that the ancient symbolical marks and ceremonials in the lodges bear a very striking resemblance to those of the mysteries of the ancients some have allowed themselves to be deceived, and led others astray imagining they can trace back the history of the craft into the cloudy mists of antiquity. Instead of endeavoring to ascertain how and when these ceremonies were introduced into our present system, they have taken it for granted that they were derived from the religious mysteries of the ancients."
Now, if we merely consider the tokens of recognition, the pass words and secret words, the decorations of the lodges, according to the degrees into which modern Masonry is divided, tokens, words and decorations nearly all taken from the Bible and symbolical of events, real or imaginary, some of which are said to have taken place in comparatively modern times, after the decline and final discontinuance of the ancient mysteries in consequence of the spread of Christianity; others having occurred in the early days of the Christian era; others at the time of the building of Solomon's Temple, all of which had certainly nothing to do with the religious mysteries of Egypt, Chaldea, Greece, Etruria, etc., that were instituted ages before the pretended occurrence of those events, then we may positively affirm that  it is not derived from these. But if, on the other hand, we observe, and it is difficult to overlook it, that these symbols are precisely the same that we find in the temples of Egypt, Chaldea, India, and Central America, whatever may have been the esoteric meaning given to them by the initiated of those countries, we are bound to admit that a link exists between the ancient mysteries and Free Masonry. It is for us to try to discover when that link was riveted and by whom.
If the theory of Chevalier Ramsay be true, that is, if modern Masonry had its beginning in the Society of Architects founded in Scotland under the protection of King Robert Bruce, and the title of "Ancient and Accepted Masons of the Scottish rite," seems to favor that opinion, then we may trace its origin to the order of Knight Templars; and through them to the ancient mysteries practiced in the East' from times immemorial. It is well known that one, of the charges made against Jacques de Malay and his associates by their accusers was that they used secret rites in their initiations. Their four oaths were well known; but not their rites of initiation. What were they?
We are told that the aim of the Society of Architects was to perpetuate the ancient Order of the Temple. It is therefore to be presumed that they continued to observe the rites and ceremonies  practiced in the chapters of the Templars, to use them at the initiations of members into the new Society, to whom they communicated the intimate meaning of their symbols. Were those rites analogous to those observed in the initiations to the symbolical degrees? These degrees were, it must be remembered, the only ones originally recognized by the brotherhood; as there are but three in the Society of Jesus; the Neophites - the Coadjutors - and the Profess; as there were anciently among the priests of the temples of Egypt, who indeed considered it it great honor to be, judged worthy of admission to the third degree; that is, to participation in the greater mysteries. Was their explanation of the symbols similar to that taught in M.·. lodges? The Templars were accused, as Masons are to day, by the Romish Church, since it has lost its hold and influence on the association, of the crime of heresy, and many Masons have suffered death by being burnt alive as heretics.
From whom did the Templars receive those symbols, and their esoteric meaning, in which we plainly trace the doctrine of Pythagoras? No doubt from the Christians who, like the Emperor Julian, the Bishop Synnesius, Clement of Alexandria and many other pagan philosophers, who had been initiated to the mysteries by the priests of Egypt, before being converted to Christianity. In that case the connection of modem Masonry with the ancient  religious mysteries of Egypt, consequently with those of Greece and Samothracia, is easily traced; and the resemblance of the symbolical marks and ceremonials of M.·. lodges with those of the mysteries naturally accounted for. Thus it is that many Masonic authors may have been led to trace the origin of the craft to followers of Pythagoras; and others to the Essenes and first Christians.
Krause, in his work, has endeavored to prove that Masonry originated in the associations of operative masons that in the Middle Ages travelled through Europe, and by whom the cathedrals, monasteries, and castles were built; whose fundamental laws, traditions, customs and tools are now used in the lodges in a figurative sense.
These associations may have sprung from the building corporations of the Romans: if so, we have a connecting link between the lodges of the Middle Ages and the mysteries of the ancients. The initiates of the architectural collegia of the Romans did not call themselves Brothers; this is a title that came into use only when the Christian Masonic fraternities adopted it. They styled themselves Collega or Incorporatus.
They worked in buildings apart or in secluded rooms; and the constitution of M.·. lodges, so far as the officers, their titles and duties, and the symbols are concerned, is so similar to theirs that one might  be inclined to believe that the early Masons imitated the Roman collegia.
This theory is not without semblance of plausibility. Rome, during several centuries, held sway over Gaul and Britain. Roman colonists settled in various parts of those countries. With their language and customs they imported many of their institutions and associations. That of the builders or collegia, as is manifest from the remains still existing of the magnificent roads and edifices of various kinds constructed by them. The Collega held their lodges wherever they established themselves; no doubt initiated new members. In the course of time, when those countries freed themselves from the yoke of Rome, these societies of builders became the associations of the itinerant operative masons which inherited the symbols, tokens and pass words of the Collega. These in all probability, had received them, either from the Chaldean magicians, who flocked to Rome at the beginning of the Christian era, when the progress of philosophical incredulity had shaken the confidence in legal divination; or from some of the priests of inferior order, all initiated to part of the lesser mysteries, that, when the sacerdotal class having lost in majesty, power and wealth, in order to preserve whole its numerous hierarchy, repaired to the Capital of the world to escape misery by levying contributions on the credulity and superstition of the people.
 The Christian Church, on the one hand, the Roman emperors on the other, fearing the influence of those magicians and priests, persecuted them even to death. These learned and wise men formed secret societies to preserve and transmit their knowledge. These societies lasted during the Middle Ages the Rosicrucians, the Theurgists, amoug them. Leibnitz, one of the greatest men of science that aver lived, who died in Hanover, in 1716, at the ago of seventy years, became a member of one of these societies; and there received an instruction he had vainly sought elsewhere.
Were their mysterious meetings remnants of the ancient learned initiations Everything tends to make us suspect it. The trials and examinations to which those who applied for initiation were obliged to submit; the nature of the secrets they possessed; the manner in which they were preserved. In these again may be found an explanation of why so many of the Pythagorean doctrines made their way into Masonry.
Of the ceremonies performed at the initiation into the mysteries of Egypt we know but little at present, for the initiated were very careful to conceal these sacred rites. Herodotus tolls that if any person vulged any part of them, he was thought to have called down Divine judgment upon his head, and it was accounted unsafe to abide in the same house  with him. He was even apprehended as a public offender and put to death.
Still, on reading the visions in the book of Henoch, and comparing them with what we know of the trials to which were subjected the applicants for initiation into the greater mysteries of Eleusis and Egypt. and those of Xibalba, one can scarcely refrain from believing that, under the title of Visions, the author relates his experience at the initiation, and what he learned in the mysteries before being converted to Christianity. That book is believed to have been written at the beginning of the Christian era, when, under the yoke of the Roman emperors, the customs and religion of the Egyptians fell into decadency; and the Christian bishops of Alexandria, such as George, Theophilus, Cyril, the murderer of the beautiful, learned and noble Hypathia, daughter of the mathematician Theon, persecuted the worshipers of Isis and Osiris, and converted their temples into Christian churches, after defacing and washing the ancient sculptures that covered their walls, on which they painted rough images of saints. It may be that its author, although having embraced Chistianity, still retained in his heart of hearts a strong love for the ancient institutions that were fast disappearing in the midst of the political and religious dissensions that were raging at the time. Fearing lest the learning of the priests of old and the  knowledge he had acquired by his initiation into the mysteries should become lost, the dread of death being removed by the new order of things, be put, for greater safety, in the mouth of Henoch, as instructing his son, what he had seen and learned in the secrecy of the temples.
Let us hope that further discoveries in the ruins of the temples, or in the tombs, may put into our possession sonic papyrus whose contents will throw light on the subject, and reveal these secrets. The Masonic objects found under the base of the obelisk, known as Cleopatra's needle, now? in Central Park, New York, show that many of the symbols pertaining to the rites of modern Free Masonry, where used in Egypt by building organizations and architects at least 1900 years ago. And although I do not agree with all the conclusions of Dr. Fanton, notwithstanding they are approved by some of the high masons at Cairo and Alexandria, I am ready to recognize many of the emblems, and admit that they belonged to the mysteries, if their meaning anciently wag not quite the same as we give them today.
The reluctance of the Egyptians to admit strangers to the holy secret of their mysteries was for a very long time insuperable. However, they seem to have relaxed rare intervals, in favor of personages noted for their wisdom and knowledge. So they admitted the great philosopher Thales, who went to  Egypt to learn geometry and astronomy, about 587 years before the Christian era. Eumolpus, king of Eleusis, who, on returning to his country, instituted the mysteries of that name in honor of the goddess Cores, that presided over the crops and other fruits of the earth. Orpheus, the celebrated Greek poet, obtained likewise the honor of the initiation, and established the Orphic ceremonies, which, according to Herodotus, were observed alike by the Egyptians and the Pythagoreans. It must be remembered that Pythagoras, after being submitted to extremely severe ordeals, to cause him to desist from his desire of being initiated, was, on account of his firmness, granted he privilege of initiation. Many of the rites and ceremonies were therefore brought from Egypt to Greece. Speaking of the Thesmophoria festival in honor of Ceres, next in importance to the mysteries of Eleusis, Herodotus says: "Theso rites were brought from Egypt into Greece by the daughters of Danaus, who taught them to the Pelagic women; but in the course of time they fell into disuse, except among the Arcadians who continued to preserve them. The Pelasgians had also initiated the inhabitants of Samothracia. They in turn taught the Athenians the mysteries of the'Cabiri."'
From that it results that if we desire to obtain an insight of the Egyptian mysteries, we must see what happened at the initiation into those of Greece.
 No one could he admitted to the greater unless they had been purified at the lesser, and one year at least had elapsed since they had become mystai or initiated.
The initiation to the greater mysteries when the Mystai took the degree of Eyhoroi, that is Inspector, by being instructed in the secret rites, except a few reserved for the priests alone, was as follows:
The candidate, being crowned with myrtle, which was used instead of the acacia, was admitted by night into an immense building called the Mystikos Sekos, that is the "mystical enclosure." At their entrance they purified themselves by washing their hands in holy water, being at the same time admonished to present themselves 'with minds pure and undefiled, without which external cleanliness of the body would by no means be accepted. After this the holy mysteries were read to them from a book called Petroima, because the book consisted of two stories fitly contented together. I have redered such stones last year, in the mausoleum of high pontiff Cuy, in the city of Chichen-Itza, in Yucatan. The priest who conducted the ceremonies was called hierophautes. He proposed certain questions, to which answers were returned in a set form. Then, strange and amazing objects presenited themselves. Sometimes the place they were in seemed to shake, as if an earthquake was occurring, or whirl round and  round as if carried away in a tornado. Sometimes it appeared bathed in bright and resplendent light, and flames seemed to issue from the walls, threatening to consume the temple; and all of a sudden they were extinguished by invisible hands, and the most profound obscurity succeeded to the dazzling radiance. Flashes of lightning, at intervals, broke forth with extreme brilliancy, only to make the darkness more dark, when peal after peal of thunder caused the building to shake to its very foundations. These were succeeded by loud cries for help and laments of persons in great agony; soon to be replaced by the most frightful noises and bellowings, and terrible apparitions. The nerves of the applicants were tried to the utmost, and required to be strung by the most indomitable will and moral as well as physical courage, to enable them to withstand to the last such awful trials.
All the faint hearted were invariably rejected and refused admission to the next degree, the Epopteia, or Inspection. Powerful narcotic drugs were administered to the timorous, that plunged them into a deathlike sleep, from which they emerged with but confused recollections, if not entire forgetfulness, of the terrible scenes they had witnessed, and which they believed to be produced by some frightful dream or dreadful nightmare.
I will now quote from the book of Henoch. Chap.  xiv. ver. 12. - "I saw a spacious habitation built with stones of crystal. The roof had the appearance of agitating stars and flashes of lightning. Flames burnt around its walls, its portals blazed with fire. This dwelling was hot as fire--cold as ice." Chap. xvii, ver. 1 - "They raised me up into a certain place where there was the appearance of burning fire, and when they pleased, they assumed the likeness of men, - (ver. 3) - and I beheld the receptacles of light and of thunder at the extremities of the place. There was a bow of fire and arrows in their quiver - a sword of fire and every species of lightning."
Chap. xxi. vers. 4. - "Then I passed to another terrific place - (ver. 5) - where I beheld the operation of a great fire blazing and glittering, in the midst of which there was a division--columns of fire struggled together to the end of the abyss and deep was their descent. (Ver G.) - This was the place of suffering."
Those who resisted to the last the trials of the Autopsia, as the initiation was called, were then dismissed with these three words : Kon-x Om Pan-x, which, strange to say, have no meaning in the Greek language. Captain Wilford, in his Essay on Egypt, says they correspond to the words Cansha Om Pansha, which the Brahmins pronounce every day to announce to the devotees that the religious ceremonies are over. They have been translated, " retire, O  retire, profane!" Corresponding to the ite missa est of the Catholic Church.
These words are not Sanscrit, but Maya. "Con-ex Oman Panes," go, stranger, scatter ! are vocables, of the language of the ancient inhabitants of Yucatan, still spoken by their descendants, the aborigines of that country. They were probably used by the priests of the temples, whose sumptuous and aweinspiring ruins I have studied during fourteen years, to dismiss the members of their mystic societies, among which we find the same symbols that are seen even today in the temples of Egypt as in the M.·. lodges.
I will endeavor to show you that the ancient sacred mysteries, the origin of Free Masonry consequently, date back from a period far more remote than the most sanguine students of its history ever imagined. I will try to trace their origin, step by step, to this continent which we inhabit, - to America - from where Maya colonists transported their ancient religious rites and ceremonies, not only to the banks of the Nile, but to those of the Euphrates, and the shores of the Indian Ocean, not less than 11,500 years ago.
But let us return to the mysteries of Eleusis. in the trials to which the Mystai were subjected to try their fitness to become Ephoroi, Masons no doubt recognize several of the ceremonies that took place  at their initiation into the craft. If Free Masonry had not its origin in the ancient Sacred Mysteries, how could these rites have found their way into it?
The Ephoroi were now prepared for the third degree, the Epphorteia - the most sacred of all. In this the Epoptai or "Inspectors of themselves " were placed in presence of the gods, who were supposed to appear to the initiated. Proclus, a philosopher, disciple of the divine 'Plato, in his commentaries on the Republic of his master, says: " In all initiations and mysteries, the gods exhibit themselves under many forms, and appear in a variety of shapes. Sometimes their unfigured light is held forth to view. Sometimes this light appears under a human form, and sometimes it assumes a different shape. " And again, in his commentaries on the first Alcibiades: "In the most holy of the mysteries, before the god appears, the impulsions of certain terrestrial demons become visible, alluring the initiated from undefiled good to matter." Then all the seductions that human mind can imagine to excite the passions were placed within the grasp of those who aspired to become Epoptai. They were invited to freely give way to voluptuousness, to the enjoyment of all kind of mundane pleasures, before they renounced them forever. -Nothing that could possibly entice applicants to fall from their state of moral and  physical purity was omitted; all that could be done to induce them to yield to temptation was resorted to. If in a moment of weakness they allowed their senses to obtain the mastery over their reason, woe to them ! for before they could realize their position, before they had time to recall their scattered thoughts, the bright surroundings disappeared as by magic; they were plunged in the most dense, obscurity; the ground gave way under their feet; and they were precipitated into a deep abyss, from which if they escaped with their life, they never did with their reason.
Theon of Smyrna, in his work Matematica, divides the mysteries into five parts.
1. The purification.
2. The reception of sacred rites.
3. The Epopteia, or reception.
4. End and design of the revelation, the building of the head and fixing of the crowns.
5. The friendship and interior communion with God, the last and most awful of all the mysteries.
It is supposed the prophet Ezekiel alludes to these initiations, when lie speaks of the abaminations committed by the idolatrous ancients of the house of Israel in the dark, every man in the chambers of its imagery.
Here again, I will quote from the book of Henoch: Chap. xxii.--" From thence I proceeded to another  spot where I saw on the West a great and lofty mountain, a strong rock and four delightful places. "
Chap. xiv. ver. 14. - "Then I went to another habitation more spacious than the former. Every entrance which was opened before me was erected in the midst of a vibrating flame. Ver. 18. - Its floor was on fire, above were lightning and agitated stars, whilst its roof exhibited a blazing fire. Ver. 21. - One of great glory sat upon the orb of the brilliant sun. Ver. 34. - A fire of great extent continued to rise up before him."
It is said that the ordeal through which the candidates were obliged to pass previous to admission into the Egyptian mysteries, were even more severe, and that Pythagoras, wise philosopber as he was, had a narrow escape from it.
The priests alone could arrive at a thorough understanding of the mysteries. So sacred were their secrets held that many of the members of the saccrdotal order, even, were not admitted to a participation of them; but those alone who proved themselves deserving of the honor; since Clement of Alexandria, tells us: "the Egyptians neither entrusted their mysteries to every one, nor degraded the secrets of divine matters by disclosing them to the profane, reserving them for the heir apparent to the throne, and for such of the priests as excelled in virtue and wisdom."
 From all we can learn on the subject, the mysteries consisted of two kinds, the greater and the lesser, divided into many classes. The candidate for initiation had to be pure, his character without blemish. He was commanded to study such lessons as tended to purify the mind. Great was the honor of ascending to the greater mysteries and it was difficult to attain to it. An inscription of a high priest at Memphis, says Mr. Samuel Birch, states: "That he knew the arrangements of the Earth, and those of Heliopolis and Memphis; that ho had penetrated the mysteries of every sanctuary; that nothing was concealed front him; that he adored God and glorified Him in all His works, and that lie hid in his breast all that he had seen." Had he not kept his secrets so carefully concealed, no doubt he would have told us that at one of the initiations the figure of the hod Osiris, in whose honor the mysteries were celebrated, and whose name the initiates did not dare pronounce, appeared to the candidate, as it did at Heliopolis to Peachy, king of Ethiopia.
At a later period, when the ancient customs had become relaxed owing to the invasion of the country by foreigners and to the government passing from the Lands of native ruler to those of Persian. of Greek or Roman govenors. many. besides the priests, came to be admitted to the lesser mysteries. But all had to pass through the different grades and  conform to the prescribed rules, as in the case of Thales, Eumolpus, Orpheus, Pythagoras, Plato, Herodotus and other.
I will not here describe at length the initiations to the mysteries in honor of the Sun God, Mitlra, instituted by Zoroaster, but only state that Purphyrius, on the testimony of Eubulus, says that this philosopher and reformer having selected a cavern in a pleasant locality in some mountains near Persia, dedicated it to Mithra, the Sun, creator and father of all beings; that he divided it into geometrical figures intended to represent the climates and elements; in a word that lie imitated in a small way the order and disposition of the universe by Mithra. After him, it became customary to consecrate caverns for the celebtation of mysteries; as we see yet in Japan and India.
The candidates for initiation to the Mithra mysteries were submitted to the most awful trialsamong which one was to try the docility and courage of the applicant. He was ordered by the priest to kill a man. According to Plutarch, in his life of Pompeius, these mysteries were brought to the Occident by Cilician pirates about sixty-eight years before the Christian era. They were well received by the Greco-Latin world, and the initiated were soon to be counted by thousands. In the time of the Emperor Adrian, the mysteries of Mithra had  become so popular that Pallas, a Greek writer, composed a poem on the subject, that Porphyrus has preserved in a special treatise on the abstinence from the use of animal flesh.
The mysterious initiations vividly impressed the imagination, as at times and by way of expiation, human victims were offered and immolated. The ceremonies of the priests consisted, says Origenes, in imitating the motions of the celestial bodies, those of the planets, in fact of the heavens. The initiated took the names of the constellations and dressed themselves as animals. A theology purely - astronomical was taught in these mysteries, in which they used the purification by water in honor of the goddess Ardvi coura anahila, "She of the celestial waters;" the confession f sins; and a sort of eucharist, or offering of bread, still observed by the Parsis or fire worshippers in India. It may be said that during the last years of the Roman Empire, the religion of Mithra had become the state religion. It is not, therefore, to be wondered at, if it extended to the Roman provinces of Gaul and Britain, and if some of its rites have found their way into Free Masonry, and are practised to the present day; thus again relating it with very ancient sacred mysteries, established by Zoroaster, the author of the ZondAvesta at least 1,100 years before Christ, although Hermippus, the Greek translator of his work, places him 5,000 years before the taking of Troy.
 If we go to Hindostan, there we will learn of a secret society of wise and learned men, whose object is the study of philosophy in all its branches, but particularly the spiritual development of man. The leading fraternity is established in Thibet; and the high pontiff and other dignitaries of the Lama religion belong to it. They are known throughout India by the name of Mahatmas or Brothers. To obtain this title it is necessary to suffer a long and weary probation, and pass through ordeals of tertible severity. Many of the Chelas, as the aspirants recalled, have spent twenty, even thirty years of blameless and arduous devotion to their task, and still they are in the earlier degrees, looking forward to the happy day when they may be judged worthy to have the title of Brother conferred upon them.
These Mahatmas re the successors of those secret societies of learned Brahmins, so celebrated for their wisdom, from very remote ages, in India; and of whose colleges or lodges, always built on the summit of high mounds, either natural or artificial, Alexander, the Great, when he achieved the conquest of that country, was never able to take possession. Phialstratus informs us, that their male of defense consisted in surrounding themselves with clouds, by means of which they could at will render themselves visible or not, and hurling from their midst tempests and thunder on their enemies. Evidently in those early  times they had discovered gunpowder, or some other explosives of like nature, and made use of them to explode mines and destroy their assailants. These same Bralmins claimed to have been the teachers of the Egyptians, who, according to that, would have received their civilization and scientific knowledge from them, as also did the Chaldeans. It is well known that the Magi were strangers who came to Babylon, possessors, says the prophet Daniel, not only of a special learning, but of a peculiar tongue. They formed a powerful society into which, at the beginning, none but those of their own people were admitted, as their science was both exclusive and hereditary. A certain religious character was attached to the whole body; every priest must he a Chaldean, but every Ghaldean was not a priest. They passed their whole lives in meditating questions of philosophy. Astronomy was their favorite study; but they acquired great, reputation for their astrology. They were versed in the arts of prophesying, of explaining dreams and prodigies, and the omens furnished by the entrails of victims offered in sacrifice. The parents taught the children. At their head was a high pontiff with the title of Rab-mag, Venerable, or according to its meaning in the Maya language, Lab-mac, " the old man." At Babylon they were the ruling order, the advisers of the King. Nothing is known today of their rites of initiation;  but they must have been very similar to those of the Egyptians, since the civilization of Chaldea and that of Egypt were twin sisters; offspring from the same parents.
I have endeavored in a cursory manner to show that the ancient sacred mysteries were established for the same purpose in every civilized nation of antiquity, that, is for the cultivation of science; the acquirement of knowledge; the bettering of man's moral and physical nature; the development of his intellectual and mental faculties; the understanding and study of the laws that govern the material and spiritual world, thus bringing him into closer contact with Deity. They kept their learning and discoveries a profound secret, surrounding them with mysterious allegories, and enigmatical symbols, for, as says Strabo: "to surround the things that are holy -with a mysterious obscurity is to make Divinity venerable, is to imitate its nature that escapes man's senses," or, as Gregory of Nazianze, wrote to Jerome: " the less ignorant men understand the more they admire," and as the priests of today, in fact of all times, of all religions, they wished to be regarded by the masses; as dispensers of the god's favors, as mediators between the Deity and man.
This similarity of the rites practiced in the initiations, the identity of symbols, proves that these rites and symbols had been communicated from one to  another, just as in modern Free Masonry the initiations are the same in the lodges, the world over, having been carried to the most distant lands, by travelers, colonists or missionaries, from the fountain head, the Grand Lodge of England.
But with respect to the ancient Sacred Mysteries, the query arises as to where they originated. We know that from Egypt and Chaldea they were brought to Greece and Rome. From whom did the Egyptians and Chaldeans receive them? The Brahmins asserted that the Magi and the Hierophants were their disciples.
Admitting this assertion to be true, may we not ask, from whom did the Brahmins learn them? No doubt, if we question them on the subject, they will answer that they are the originators of these mystic rites, and secret societies of learned men; and with difficulty we could gainsay their assertion, were it not that Plutarch and other Greek writer, who have described the Eleusinian mysteries, have taken care to preserve the words used at the closing of the ceremonies by the officiating priest; and also made known to us the name and shape they gave to their place of meeting.
It is well known that the Brahmins, in many of their religious ceremonies, make use of words that, are not Sanscrit, but are said to belong to a very ancient form of speech now dead the Akkadian,  spoken by the inhabitants of the countries situated along the banks of the Euphrates, near its mouth. Strange as it may appear, this language presents many affinities with the Maya, which is still the vernacular of the aborigines of Yucatan and other countries south of the Peninsula. The fact is that the words co-x-om-pan-x, mean nothing in Greek, but, as we have said, are pure Maya vocables, that have the same meaning as that given to cansha-om-Pansha by Captain Wilford.
That is not all. We are also told that the place or temple where the initiated assembled to perform their ceremonies, had the form of a rectangle, and that it represented the "Universe." Modern Masons have wrongly translated that idea by the Sanscrit word loga, from which the word lodge has been derived, and the form of M.·. lodges adopted.
The shape of the temples was that of the Egyptian letter M called "ma", a word that also means place, country and, by extension, the Universe. The Egyptians adopted it, therefore, not because they believed, as Dr. Fanton suggests, that the earth was square or oblong, for they knew full well it was spherical, but because the sign of the word ma, conveyed to their mind the idea. of the Earth, as the word earth represents it to ours. But ma is also the radical of Mayax; and likewise, in the Maya language, it means the country, the Earth. The Mayas selected the  oblong square to represent it, because it is the geometrical figure that is nearest in shape to the contours of the Yucatean peninsula.
So we have found a bridge to cross the vast expanse of water that lies between the Eastern and Western Continents - a clue that may lead us to the birth-place of the ancient sacred mysteries in those - "Lands of the West," - that "Land of Kui," the mother-land of the gods and of the ancestors of the Egyptians, where the god Osiris reigned supreme over the souls emancipated from the trammels of matter.
In the depths of the forests that cover the soil of Central America, lie hidden, under a cloak of verdure, the ruins of ancient cities. There, are to be seen the crumbling, awe-inspiring remains of grand old monuments; mementos of the power and civilization, of the scientific and intellectual attainments of the mighty races that erected them, and have disappeared forever in the abyss of time.
At Uxlnal, one of these ancient great metropolis in Yucatan, there exists an artificial mound of peculiar construction.
The entire structure measured 29 metres (about 95 feet) in height; 66 metres (214 feet 6 inches) in length at the base, and 33 metres (107 feet 3 inches) in width. The lower part is formed of the frustum of an elliptical cone 14 metres (45 feet 6 inches) in  height, divided into 7 gradients, each 2 metres high. On the upper plane of the firstum, which forms a terrace 35 metres long by 10 metres wide, are constructed the Sanctuary, or Holy of Holies, facing west, whose ground plan is made in the shape of a cross with a double set of arms; and a truncated rectangular pyramid 6 metres high, the upper plane of which supports the crowning edifice 6 metres high, 29 metres long and 7 metres wide.
This building emblem of the " Lands of the West," is composed of three separate apartments 2m. 25c. wide, having originally no communication with each other. Holes have been bored in the partition walls that have much weakened the construction; for  what purpose it is difficult to surmise, unless it be for the love of destruction.
The room at the extremities are of the same size, 5m. 50c. (about 17 feet 10 inches) long, while the middle chamber is 7m. 25c. in length. The door of this chamber faced west, and led, by means of a small stair, to a terrace formed by the roof of the sanctuary.
Front there the learned priests and astronomers, elevated above the mists of the plains below, could without hindrance follow the course of the celestial bodies, in the clear cloudless skies of Yucatan, where at times the atmosphere is so pure and transparent that stars are clearly visible to the naked eye, that require the aid of the telescope to be seen in other countries.
The doors of the other rooms faced East. The ceilings, like those of all the apartments in the monuments of Yucatan and Central America, form a triangular arch. This shape was adopted by the builders, not because they were ignorant of how to construct circular arches since they erected  edifices roofed with domes, but in accordance with certain esoteric teachings pertaining to the mysteries and relating to the mystic numbers 3.5.7.
This kind of arch is also found in the ancient tombs of Chaldea, at Mughier - in the center of the great pyramid of Ghizeh, in Egypt-in the most ancient monuments of Greece, as the treasure room at Mikene, in the tombs of Etruria and other places.
Here, again, we learn from the book of Henoch, that the subterranean building that he constructed in the land of Canaan in the bowels of the mountain, with the help of his son Mathusalath, was in imitation of the nine vaults that were shown to him by the Deity, each apartment being roofed with an arch, the apex of which formed a key-stone with mirific characters inscribed on it. Each of the nine letters, we are told, represented one of the nine names traced in characters emblematical of the attributes of Deity. Henoch then constructed two triangles of the purest gold, and traced two of the mysterious characters on each. One he placed in the deepest arch; the other he entrusted to Mathusalath, to whom he communicated important secrets.
 The triangular arches appear, therefore, as landmarks of ono and the same doctrine, practised in remote times, in India, Egypt, Chaldea, Greece, Etruria and Central America.
In the ceilings of the rooms situated at the north and south extremities of the building are carved in peculiar and regular order, in deep intaglio, semispheres, ten centimeters in diameter, intended to represent the stars that at night so beautify the firmament. Inside of the triangle formed at each end of said rooms by the converging lines of the arch are also several of these semispheres - those in the north room form a triangle (Fig. 1); while those in the south room, five in number, figure a trapezium (Fig. 2); with one of these half spheres in the middle.
The middle chamber is now devoid of decorations of any sort. Its length, seven meters, is today the only vestige which remains to indicate that in it, in former times, were practised rites and ceremonies pertaining to the third degree of initiation. This chamber could be reached by walking on the narrow terrace round the building; but I feel certain that those whose privilege it was to assemble within  its walls, got to it from the west side. There was a stairway nine metres wide, beautifully ornamented, leading from the court yard adjoining the priests' palace, to the entrance of the sanctuary. Thence another small stairway 2m. 40c. wide, situated on the north side of the sanctuary, led to the upper terrace, to the roof of that monument, and to the middle chamber. The access to the north and south rooms was by a grand stairway of ninety-six steps, each 20cm. high, that led to the upper terrace surrounding the whole edifice. This stairway, situated on the east side of the mound, is fourteen metres (45 feet 6 inches) wide, and, like that on the east side, so steep as to require no little practice and care to ascend and descend its narrow steps with comparative safety and ease.
A few centimetres above the lintel of the entrance to the sanctuary is a cornice that surrounds the whole edifice. On it are sculptured these symbols, many times repeated. On the under part of this cornice are small rings cut in the stone, from which curtains were suspended to hide the Holy of Holies from profane gaze.
The exterior of the monument was once upon
a  time ornamented with elaborate and beautifully executed
sculptures, which have now, in great part, disappeared. Still
those that adorn the exterior walls of tile sauctuary, remain
as specimens of the beautiful handiwork and of the great skill
of the artists; whilst the exquisite architectural proportions
of the whole edifice bespeak the mathematical and other scientific
attainments of the architects who planned the building and superintended
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