In spite of human prejudice to the contrary, there is but one religion and one truth, and all the great faiths of the world are parts or fragments of the Ancient Wisdom. The Scriptures of the world are the written records devised both to preserve and at the same time to conceal the mystery of Eternal Law. It naturally follows that there is certain interdependence between religious writings. To understand any one sacred book completely it is necessary to also understand all other sacred books.
The Christian Bible is possibly one of the greatest books in literature. But like most other great books, it must be approached with understanding, gentleness, and a sincere desire to find truth. The Bible as we know it today is a fragment of that truth.
How to Understand Your Bible goes a long way to explaining myth and history, spiritual and religious, fact and fiction, and is a must for truth seekers everywhere.
“The whole motion of the Universe is toward Truth. Truth is growing
up in everything, manifesting through all forms and natures. Truth,
therefore, may be called the hidden good, the secret God who
dwells in the temples that are built for it according to the law.”
~ Manly P. Hall
About the author
Manly P. Hall was born 1901 in Peterborough, Ontario to William S. Hall, a dentist, and Louise Palmer Hall, a chiropractor. In 1923 Hall moved from Canada to Los Angeles, California. In that year he was ordained to the Church of the People and published his first of over 150 works, The Lost Keys Of Freemasonry. Later in 1928, at the age of 27 years, he published The Secret Teachings of All Ages: An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy.
In 1934, Hall founded the Philosophical Research Society (PRS) in Los Angeles, California, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the study of religion, mythology, metaphysics, and the occult.
It is claimed that Hall was made a knight patron of the Masonic Research Group of San Francisco in 1953, although he was not raised as a Mason until 22 November 1954 into Jewel Lodge No. 374 , San Francisco. He later received his 32° in the Valley of San Francisco AASR (SJ). On December 8, 1973 (47 years after writing The Secret Teachings of All Ages), Hall was recognized as a 33° Mason (the highest honor conferred by the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite) at a ceremony held at the Philosophical Research Society (PRS)). The definitive Manly Palmer Hall Archive states that Hall received the 33°, “despite never being initiated into the physical craft.”
In his over 70-year career, Hall delivered approximately 8,000 lectures in the United States and abroad, authored over 150 books and essays, and wrote countless magazine articles.
THE word Israel is used in Genesis 50, v. 2, as a synonym for the name of Jacob. This verse reads:
“And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father: and the physicians embalmed Israel.” In the Cabala, there are seven keys to the meaning of Israel. Of these, the historical is the least significant. The word literally means, “God is a warrior.”
In Genesis 32 is described Jacob’s wrestling with the Angel. The Angel blesses Jacob and says, in the 28th verse, “Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel.” From this it is evident that the accepted translation of the word is hopelessly inadequate. The true meaning of Israel is, the objectified power of God, the divine power as manifested through the universe, of which the heavens with their stars is the highest visible part.
The cosmological key reveals that by Jacob we are to understand the sphere of the fixed stars, the same celestial world which Pythagoras calls the Parent of all terrestrial things. In the Greek mythology, the starry heavens are called Argus, god of many eyes. These eyes are the Archangels and the celestial hosts, for it is written that “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth.” The word earth, in this sense, means the world or the universe.
Jacob, or Israel, being the whole of the starry heavens, his immediate progeny are the twelve great constellations which form the Zodiacal belt. In the Biblical allegory these are figured as the twelve Sons; in the Cabalistic teachings the Zodiacal signs are the origins of twelve great streams of life which, flowing through all parts of creation, fill the world with their progeny. The stars are the races of heaven, the population of the firmament, and they are ruled by kings greater than any kings of the earth, even the kings of Edorn, the Lords of the stars. When we think of Israel, therefore, we have not only to consider a people or a tribe or nation, but of the whole life of nature, the gods of heaven whose shadows are upon the earth.
The second, key to the mystery of Israel interprets the fable anthropologically, in terms of man. The twelve heavenly races in the sky are reflected upon the surface of the earth as the twelve tribes of Israel.
The common notion that the twelve tribes of Israel make up the Jewish nation is quite incorrect, as Israel means all life; the tribes of Israel are all living things. Israel is a generic term for humanity as a collective whole, regardless of race or nation. When this collective humanity is signified by a single term it may be called Adam, or again Jacob. Both represent humanity. This is in the same sense that we use the word man to signify either one man or all men.
THE WANDERINGS IN THE WILDERNESS
The opening chapter of Exodus is devoted to an account of the oppression of the Jews in Egypt. Here again history becomes the instrument of a secret metaphysical tradition.
Egypt is not a country in this account but a condition of consciousness. The story of the wanderings of the twelve tribes is identical in meaning with the account of the Prodigal son who took his patrimony and went down to spend it in the fleshpots of Egypt.
Natural processes are accomplished by two cosmic motions. One of these is termed INVOLUTION, or the descent of life into form. In this process, units of radiant energy take upon themselves ever more of the material elements, until they are hopelessly obscured by the forms with which they have surrounded themselves. This state is typified by the seed, the hard shell, and the living germ within. The second cosmic motion is EVOLUTON. This is life releasing itself from form by the process of growth. It requires billions of years for the cosmic plant to grow up, but by the evolutionary process all things are ultimately released from form and are restored to their divine state.
The bondage in Egypt represents evolving life at its nadir, its low point. Involution has reduced the spiritual monads or germs to a condition of complete impotency by enmeshing them in material elements. Physically this corresponds to the period in the evolution of life when nature consisted entirely of monocellular organisms. Gradually, over a vast period of time, evolution released through these cells the entities which we now term plants, animals, and men. The wanderings of the twelve tribes therefore represent the ages of growth and development, the slow and painful courses of evolution.
The third key to this ancient allegory is truly mystical. The human soul in a state of complete materiality is in bondage in a land of darkness. Man searching for truth, humanity collectively searching for truth, is well represented by a nation wandering in the wilderness searching for the promised land. The promised land is always happiness, security, and the end of strife. It is the Nirvana, the peace which results from accomplishment. The Exodus of Israel is in part at least an ancient initiation ritual, depicting vividly the liberation of the human soul from bondage to its animal desires and appetites and those creature comforts most men live for.
This perspective enables us to approach the story of Moses with a fuller appreciation of its metaphysical significance.
The life of Moses is most obscure if considered historically, but the numerous Cabalistic legends and interpretations reveal clearly the place of Moses in the drama of the ages. The true name of the prophet will probably never be known, for the word Moses is a title, not a name. It is merely a rearrangement of the three Hebrew letters which form the word Shemmah, which means the Sun. In China the Zodiac is called the Yellow Road, and the Sun is called the Emperor of the Yellow Road. Moses, in relationship to the twelve signs of the Zodiac, has a similar meaning. The story of Moses being found in an ark of bulrushes in the Nile is definitely derived from the story of the Egyptian Osiris and is a key to the meaning of his life. We learn that Moses was an initiate priest of the Egyptian Mysteries and had received the Rites of Osiris. There is debate as to whether he was a Jew or an Egyptian. In all probability he was neither, but had his origin in Asia.
In the spiritual drama Moses plays many parts. Astronomically the sun, he is the symbol of the light-giver and the teacher. In the Eastern esoteric tradition he is the Mann, Lord of the race; and in all ancient Mystery rituals he appears as the conductor of candidates. In Parsifal he is the old knight Gurnemanz; in the Grail legends of King Arthur he is Merlin. He is always the preceptor, the same Chion who was the mentor of Achilles. He is not only the wise man, he is the principle of mind. Mind is the master of bodies, experience ever ready to guide youth, accumulated knowledge always at the disposal of him who would learn.
Infant humanity in its search for truth was never left without leadership. It has recently been stated that Michelangelo placed horns on his statue of Moses by mistake. In reality they are most significant. They are the horns of Jupiter Ammon, the same symbol which is later to appear again as the horns on the corners of the Hebrew altar. The horns are those of the celestial Ram, Aries, the leader of the flocks of heaven. The symbol traces from the fact that during the time of Moses the vernal equinox took place in the sign of the Ram, and the horned Sun was the symbol of truth. Ram, the mind-light god of the Egyptians, is likewise represented as wearing a helmet adorned with the curling horns of the ram.
In the racial evolution of man the patriarchal system was consummated by the Age of Prophets. Among primitive peoples the old men of the tribes are consulted as oracles. Great teachers, perfect in wisdom, are, so to speak, the old men of humanity, the wise ones, the patriarchs of the race. As the story develops it further appears that Moses is regarded as synonymous with the occult sciences themselves, and the everlasting order of initiate-priests who perpetuated them.
To the Egyptians, the Nile was the river of life, the sacred waters which flowed from heaven. These waters later appear in the Christ cycle, when the Messiah refers to himself as the living waters which come down from heaven. In the Mosaic cycle, Moses brings the water out of the rocks, a definite reference to the release of spiritual knowledge from literal symbols.
It is Moses who led the children of Israel out of Egypt. With them went also Aaron. When Moses desired to go before the Pharaoh he cried to the Lord “I am slow of speech and of a slow tongue!” (Exodus 4:10) Therefore the Lord bade him take with him his brother Aaron. When Moses complains that he is slow of speech, the reference is definitely to the Mystery Schools; for the secrets of the spirit cannot easily be communicated to men. For this reason the Egyptian god Harpocrates, keeper of the Mysteries, is depicted with his finger to his lips, commanding silence. Aaron is therefore the voice of Moses. He is the priesthood, the custodians of the Mysteries. It is the priest who must clothe the secrets in fables, that the foolish may learn something.
Pharaoh is the power referred to later by Jesus as “The prince of this world.” He is “worldly wisdom” of Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress. Pharaoh is the personification of temporal pomp and splendor, those diversified objects of selfishness, jealousy, and greed which keep men in bondage to the least parts of themselves.
The Lord ordered Moses to go unto Pharaoh and when Moses asked by what name God should be known to his children, the Lord said unto him: “I am that I am,” (Exodus 3:14). This is one of the most difficult of the Biblical secrets, and innumerable interpretations have been given by various sects. But it is plainly the only possible definition of First Cause. It reveals the impossibility of bestowing any qualifying or defining terms upon truth or reality. Plato said, “God is,” and inferred all else that could be said upon that subject as depreciatory. Buddha, when questioned about the ultimate truths of existence, affirmed the Reality of the Real and then remained silent. Socrates taught that to define God was to defile God. This is the true meaning of the “I AM”—truth is, what truth is. Even further definition is error.
When Moses went into the court of the Pharaoh, Aaron went with him and at the command of the Lord, Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and it became a serpent. Likewise did the magicians of Egypt and their rods also became serpents but the serpent of Aaron swallowed up the little serpents. The magicians of Pharaoh’s court, like the scientists of today, represent material knowledge, in itself miraculous and full of wonder, but not in harmony with divine wisdom. The rod of Aaron represents truth. The serpent form of it is the serpent of wisdom, and spiritual truth swallowed up or devoured all the false truth of the material world.
But the Pharaoh, regent of the dark sphere, is not thus easily converted. Like a rich man or a great prince he clings to his worldly possessions and denies the laws of the universe. As infirmity and misery come to the rich and the powerful, so the plagues descended upon the Pharaoh; but he remains adamant until his own son is stricken. In the same way, in a world filled with misery and sorrow, men think little of spiritual matters until their own personal possessions are endangered. The Pharaoh permits his whole land to be laid bare and he does not relent, but when his own is afflicted he cries in terror for mercy.
So Moses wisdom, brought about finally the release of his people, and Pharaoh let the people go, and the Lord (law) led them through the Red Sea and the wilderness, and Moses took the bones of Joseph with him. The Red Sea is a very apt symbol for man’s world of desire. After he overcomes his material nature (the escape from Egypt) he must still conquer his emotions. The way of liberation is through the conquest of desire. And wisdom led the people, and the sea opened, and the children of Israel passed through dry shod. Pharaoh, still desiring to destroy evolving humanity, went against the tribes with six hundred chariots; but the sea closed upon them and destroyed them all.
Strangely enough the mummy of the Pharaoh of the Exodus is now preserved in the Cairo Museum. He did not drown in the sea, but is believed to have died of the smallpox. Maybe this disease was the Red Sea that engulfed him.
Today in civilization a great economic age is drawing to a close. Pharaoh again sends forth his chariots, and again a Red Sea may swallow him up—a sea of war and social chaos. Selfishness, pride, and greed must always be destroyed by the flame in men themselves, devoured finally by the fire of their own passions.
The children of Israel, humanity, go forth on their wandering, forty years in the desert of waiting. This forty years has the same symbolical significance as the forty days and forty nights of the Deluge, and the forty days of Jesus’ fasting in the wilderness. The wilderness is this life, where oases of rest and peace are few and hardships many. The search is always for the promised land, Canaan, the place of rest.
In the Biblical mysticism, days and time periods are of great importance. It is written in the 19th chapter of Exodus that it was in the third month after the children of Israel had gone out of Egypt that they came to the wilderness of Sinai. It was from the top of the Mountain of the Law that the Commandments were given unto Moses.
THE TABLES OF THE LAW
The receiving of the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai is possibly the most dramatic incident in the Old Testament It is the subject of numerous commentaries and very profound metaphysical speculations. Most of these are entirely unknown to Bible students. Sinai, though pointed out to travellers in the Holy Land as a single peak in the desert, is no mountain of earth, but the mountain of the gods, the mysterious hill to the clouded summit of which the wisest of mystics have lifted their eyes. It is the mountain of illumination, the high place of realization. The mountain is symbolical of a state of consciousness, the highest degree of final consciousness to which man can ascend. It is the apex of the triangle of matter, the highest part of the world from the heights of which man’s inward perception perceives Reality.
The practice of metaphysical disciplines brings with it the sense of upliftment. The Yogi entering Samadhi feels himself lifted far above the world and its attachments. In one interpretation we learn that the laws that govern the race come from the highest part of the consciousness of the race itself. No actual hands placed the tablets in the hands of Moses, but the ever-living truth engraved with letters of living power the laws of the universe upon the two hemispheres of the brain. In the case of Moses as the wise man who leads the race, the Commandments are part of wisdom itself which Moses brings from the height of his own realization down to the valley where mortals dwell who cannot see the light.
At this point, the allegory is a supreme accomplishment in fable weaving. Moses descending the mountain perceives that the children of Israel have fallen into sin and are worshipping a golden calf. They are unworthy to receive the ten great truths of life, so Moses breaks the sapphire tablets, and substitutes them for two rough-hewn blocks of stone. The enlightened may perceive the preciousness of truth, but the multitudes must obey laws of stone.
In the Cabala it is written that Moses three times ascended Sinai, remaining forty days and forty nights upon each occasion. On the first ascent he was given the tablets which constituted the basis of the TORAH. Upon the second ascent he received the MISHNAH or the Unwritten Law for the priests. And upon the third ascent he received the CABALA, the soul of the Law which was given only to the initiates of the Mysteries. It is thus revealed that there are three codes of law, one for the foolish, one for the learned, and one for the illumined.
The fable continues that the stone upon which the Law was given was originally formed of heavenly dew and was set in the divine Stone. This stone was broken in half by the breath of God and the figures of the Law were drawn upon the two parts in black fire. The stone was a transparent sapphire and Moses was able to read the letters through the stone. It is this sapphire, the true Secret Doctrine, that Moses refused to reveal to the people.
The original tablets did not contain the Ten Commandments that we know, but ten mysterious words, the names of the ten parts of the universe. The sacred decade of the Pythagoreans here appears in the metaphysics of the Jews, ten, the perfect number, the basis of the decimal system, the summary of the nine units and the cipher, the mathematical tool by which every secret of nature can be discovered.
The stone tablets which Moses had substituted for the divine gem became an object of adoration, and after the building of the Tabernacle were enshrined in its Holy of Holies. Later they were placed in King Solomon’s Temple and finally, like nearly every vestige of truth that appears in this world, the tablets vanished entirely.
THE TABERNACLE IN THE WILDERNESS
The Tabernacle of the Jews was a temple patterned after the great shrines of the Egyptians. The original form and design of the Tabernacle was given by Moses. The children of the twelve tribes supplied the materials and ornamented the Tabernacle from the store of their possessions. This moveable temple is an appropriate symbol of religion itself. Truth is not given unto any one people or in any one place, but moves about the earth, entrusted to the noblest and wisest of human beings.
The general form of the Tabernacle is definitely derived from the temples of Karnak and Philae. The Egyptians built in everlasting stone, but nomadic shepherds found the tent more practical than the temple. Josephus gives an excellent description not only of the Tabernacle itself, but of its priests, its festivals, and its implements. The Cabalastic rites contribute a wealth of lore and mystical interpretation to every part of the Tabernacle and its equipment. The Cabalists agree that the Tabernacle in the Wilderness is a symbol or figure of the universe, a microcosm, or miniature representation of the vast sideral order.
These same learned rabbis also insist that the Tabernacle is man himself, not only his physical body, but his complete metaphysical constitution. As man is a miniature of the whole world, so the Tabernacle is an emblem or similitude of the whole world.
The ancient Greeks taught that the universe was the proper temple, and that man worshipping his God should contemplate upon the heavens and the earth. The universe is the living temple of the universal spirit, and man’s human body is the living temple of his own human spirit. The ancient commentaries declare that the Tabernacle of the Lord is in the Sun, and that in man the heart corresponds to the Sun, and is the dwelling place of the Most High.
The Tabernacle in the Wilderness consisted of three parts. First, an outer court consisting of a wall of curtains stretched between wooden uprights. Within this wall was an enclosure, and in the midst of this enclosure the Tabernacle itself, a tent like structure divided into two rooms. The larger or outer room was of the proportion of a double cube, and the proportion of the inner room was a single cube. The outer room was called the Holy Place and the smaller inner room the Holy of Holies. These three parts of the Tabernacle were symbolic of the three parts of the universe. The outer courtyard represented the elements, the symbols of material or mundane existence. The Holy Place, containing the seven-branched candlestick, was the sidereal world, the abiding place of the seven planets, the astral sphere. The smaller inner room corresponds to the sphere of the fixed stars, the heavens or constellational diffusion. The cherub figures woven upon the hangings of this inner room represented the star-angels, whose patterns filled with eyes are embroidered upon the curtains of heaven.
Paracelsus, the Cabalist, says that man’s spirit comes from the stars, his soul from the planets, his body from the elements. This is the arrangement set forth in the structure of the Tabernacle, and is an important key to the interpretation of all sacred places, shrines, and temples.
These three divisions also represent three states of consciousness. The lowest is ignorance, the second is knowledge, and the third is wisdom or illumination. In the Tabernacle rites these three states of consciousness are represented by classes of human beings: ignorance by the multitudes, knowledge by the priests, and wisdom by the high priest who alone could enter the Holy of Holies; for only perfect wisdom may gaze upon the face of the Infinite and live. The three parts of the Tabernacle correspond therefore to the three revelations made to Moses upon Sinai. The outer court is the Torah, or the written law; the Holy Place is the Mishnah, or soul of the law; and the Holy of Holies is the Cabala, the soul Of the soul of the law.
The three parts of the Tabernacle appear in nearly all of the ancient Mystery ritual systems. They are the three degrees of the Blue Lodge in Freemasonry; the three degrees of the Egyptian Mysteries of Osiris; and the three parts or dramas of the Eleusinian Rites. One of the first great initiation temples of the world was the Great Pyramid of Gizeh. This structure also contains three rooms, in order of ascent as follows: the pit or subterranean chamber; the Queen’s chamber; and the King’s chamber. Neophytes seeking the Master of the Secret House passed through elaborate rituals performed in these chambers and their connecting passageways.
The utensils of the Tabernacle are also significant. At the gateway to the outer court sat the Altar of Burnt Offerings, to which the unenlightened brought their sacrifices. This altar is symbolical of the literal aspect of the revelation. It is inevitable that ignorance should obey and fulfill the outer semblance of spiritual understanding. Within the court of the Tabernacle sat the Laver of Purification, its sides encrusted with the mirrors of the women of the twelve tribes. Purification is probationship, preparation for acceptance into the rite. Within the Holy Place of the temple itself sat three objects: the table of shewbread, the seven-branched candlestick, and the altar of burnt incense. The twelve loaves of the shewbread, stacked in two heaps of six each, represent the twelve departments of life which receive and bear witness to the twelve zodiacal hierarchies themselves. The seven-branched candlestick represents the planetary bodies, also the seven Elohim, the seven Days of Creation, the seven great laws of life, the seven races, the seven continents, the seven directions of space, and the seven parts of the human soul. The altar of burnt incense which stands at the entrance of the Holy of Holies signifies the breath and the sacred courses of the inner body atmosphere so familiar to students of Raja Yoga. It is also by its location the larnyx, the altar of the sacred Word, the incense representing the songs and chantings of the priests. The tables of the shewbread are placed at the North side of the Tabernacle and the seven-branched candlestick at the South side. This is because in ancient systems of philosophy the North was the abode of the Karmic gods. The candlestick was placed at the South because in the astronomical procedure the ancients taught that the planets never moved northward.
Certain Hindu schools teach that the five elements are symbolized by parts of the human body as follows: Earth from the feet to the knees; water from the knees to the waist; fire from the waist to the throat; air from the throat to the forehead; and akasha or ether to the crown of the head. The Tabernacle represents the human body in the same way. The altar of burnt offerings represents the earth; the laver of purification the water; the candlesticks and the shewbread are ascribed to fire representing the two extremes of the emotional nature; the altar of burnt incense is the air; and the Shekinah which hovers over the Ark of the Covenant is the akasha or ether.
Beyond the Holy Place, curtained off from the sight of the profane, was the Holy of Holies. In the midst of this stood the Ark of the Covenant, a box made of wood plated with gold. Upon the top of the ark knelt two cherubs facing each other, the tips of their wings meeting over the center of the ark. The space between the cherubs was termed the Mercy Seat. The ark was fitted with rings through which rods could be passed, and the sacred chest was lifted onto the shoulders of men to be carried from place to place. Within the ark itself were three sacred objects: the rod of Aaron that budded, the pot of manna that fell in the wilderness, and the tablets of the Law. When the migrations of Israel were finished and the ark finally came to rest in the Holy of Holies of Solomon’s Temple, the pot of manna and the rod of Aaron had disappeared, and only the tablets of the Law remained.
The spiritual triad is repeated in the three sacred objects contained within the ark. Manna represents spirit, or truth, or wisdom. It is the food which came down from heaven, for truly it said that “man doth not live by bread only . . . by every word that proceedeth, out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.” (Dent. 8:3) In the New Testament, Christ, the personification of wisdom, is made to say: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever.” (John 6:51). It should be evident to the most conservative Bible student that the manna is not precipitated dew, as some have suggested, or some transcendent form of bread; but, as the Greeks would have said, it is the food of the inner man who lives not upon the fruits of the earth but upon the fruits of righteousness.
In the 17th chapter of Numbers is described the budding of Aaron’s rod. Verse 8 reads:
“And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness: and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds.”
The metaphysician will realize the staff of Aaron to be the spine, and the blossoms upon it the ganglia and plexuses that are animated or caused to blossom by the disciplines of regeneration. In another form of metaphysics, the blossoming of the rod refers to the regeneration of the emotional nature, of which the flower is a peculiar symbol. The same allegory is used by Wagner in the story of Tannhauser. The repentant monk is not forgiven by the pope, but the staff blossoms to prove divine forgiveness.
The manna, the budded staff, and the tablets of the Law, thus represent the spiritual, emotional, and physical nature of man and the mysteries thereof. The loss of the manna and Aaron’s rod reveals that in the end the metaphysical secrets were lost, and only the body or physical interpretation of the law remained.
The cherubs upon the mercy seat represent the four fixed signs of the Zodiac, the four elements, and the four lower natures of man, mental, emotional, vital, and physical. The fifth element is in the midst of the other four, so the Shekinah, the mysterious light of splendour hovers over the cherubs guarding the mercy seat. In the Cabala, Shekinah is equivalent to the Virgin Sophia of the Gnosis; and is also the Virgin, the mother of the Messiah. It is written that the mystery of the Shekinah may not be written. Of course it is not a pillar or flame by night nor a column of smoke by day. This is merely an allegorical statement. Shekinah is the mystery of the Presence. It is the contact between the higher and the lower. It is the mother of mysteries, it is even the Great Mother of the Ephesians. The Cabalists insist that in the body of man the Shekinah is a subtle essence, the medium through which the spirit acts upon the blood. In the macrocosm, or the universe, the Shekinah is the mysterious field of energy by means of which the solar light acts upon nature. Its location in man is in the ventricular orifices of the brain. It is the nimbus about the head of the saint, the aureole of light, the witness of the Presence.
As the Tabernacle itself was a symbol of universal law, so the robes of the high priest likewise manifested the cosmic plan. The under-garment of the priest was a fine linen robe, identical in meaning with the one-piece white robe of the Nazarene. Over this was worn a colored garment that came to the knees, embroidered in various colors, usually with a design of pomegranates. Over this was worn a short jacket, the ephod, to which was fastened the breastplate bearing twelve jewels. On the shoulders of the ephod were two onyx stones, and these with other jewels upon the robes made altogether seven, in addition to the twelve in the breastplate. Upon his head the high priest wore a bonnet or helmet divided by a strip going from back to front. Upon the visor of this bonnet were the words: “Holiness unto the Lord.” His robe was hung with seventy-two pomegranates and golden bells, which represented seventy-two stars, six for each of the zodiacal signs.
The robes of the high priest represent the invisible spiritual bodies of man, the auras, the true garments of glory. The white linen garment is the purified physical body, the long colored garment the vital body, the ephod the emotional body, the helmet the mental body, the jewels the seven senses; and the twelve jewels of the breastplate the twelve celestial or zodiacal principles which reside in every human soul. The priest therefore represents the manifested glory of the microcosm, the divine man robed with power. It was this high priest, whose garments revealed him to be the perfected initiate, a divine man, who alone could enter the Holy of Holies and converse with the power that hovered over the mercy seat. In simple words: only the adept can perceive universal realities without the veils which obscure them from the eyes of ordinary mortals.
THE DEATH OF MOSES
In the 34th chapter of Deuteronomy is described the death of Moses. In verse 1 it is described how Moses went up “unto the mountain of Nebo.” The ancient Phoenician god of learning was Nebo. The word itself means height, in the sense of the height of wisdom or of learning. From the top of Mount Nebo, Moses saw the Promised Land, but he himself was not permitted to enter therein. “So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the Land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.” According to the commentaries, the Lord of Israel himself buried Moses and he hid the grave. “No man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.”
Moses was not permitted to go into the promised land for the reason that Moses represents the personification of the intellectual principle. He is the teacher. But although the mind shall reach the extremities of learning and perceive truth afar off, yet intellect shall never enter truth. This is a truly Oriental teaching. It is Buddhism in the Bible. The promised land represents peace, or Nirvana.
The broad plains “over against Jericho” and “all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea,” all this is but a symbol of the Reality at the end of questing, the consummation of the search for truth. The intellect cannot by its very nature participate in truth, for reality is higher than the mind. The reason may intellectually consider it, but never actually experience it. Illumination is the ceasing of the Self in Reality; so Moses the good man is taken unto the hill of Nebo, the highest point of wisdom; and there in the distance perceives the Real. But there mind must die, and be hidden in the unknown grave; as Kundry falls dead at the feet of the altar of the Grail, in the story of Parsifal. And the people of Israel wept for thirty days, and then the mournings for Moses were ended.
Publisher: White Crow Books
Published April 2016
Size: 229 x 152 mm