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Pagan Origin of Partialist Doctrines by Pitrat

And the poetry of mythological conceptions


used all imaginable means to give a supernatural character to their laws, and to make the people believe that they had this character. The imposing picture of the universe, and the poetry of mythological conceptions, gave to the legislators the subject of the varied and wonderful scenes which were represented in the temples of Egypt, of Asia, and of Greece. All that can produce illusion, all the resources of witchcraft and of theatrical exhibitions, which were but the secret knowledge of the effects of nature, and the art of imitating them; the brilliant pomp of festivities; the variety and riches of decorations and costumes; the majesty of the ceremonial; the captivating power of music; the choirs; the chants; the dances; the electrifying sounds of cymbals, calculated to produce enthusiasm and delirium, and more favorable to religious exaltation than the calm of reason, all was brought to action to attract the people to the celebration of the mysteries; and to create in their souls a want, a desire for them.

Under the charms of pleasure, of rejoicings and of celebrations, legislators and other rulers oftentimes concealed a salutary aim; and they treated the people like a child, which can never be more efficaciously instructed, than when he thinks that his preceptor intends only to amuse him. They resorted to great institutions to shape society; to form habits; and to direct public opinion and morals.

How magnificent

was the procession of those initiated advancing to the temple of Eleusis! The banners, the sacred chants, the music, the costumes, and the dances, had a rapturous effect on the masses. They thronged an immense temple; we say immense, for if we judge the number of those initiated by the number of those who assembled in the plains of Thriase, when Xerxes went to Attic, they were more than thirty thousand. The costly and glowing ornaments which decked the vast hall, the symbolic statues, which were master-pieces of sculpture, and the mysterious pictures which were symmetrically arranged in the rotunda of the sanctuary, filled the soul with amazement, and with a religious respect.

All that was seen in the temple, the decorations, costumes, ceremonies, splendor; and all that was heard, the sacred chants, the melody of instruments, the mythological teaching, the elevating poetry and the eloquence of orators, struck the spectators with wonder, produced and left in their souls the most profound impressions. Not only the universe was presented to their gaze under the emblem of an egg divided into twelve parts, representing the months of the year, but also the division of the universe into cause active and cause passive, and its division into the Principle of light, or good god, and the Principle of darkness, or bad god.

Varron informs us that the great gods adored at Samothrace were the heaven and the earth, considered, the first as the cause active, and the second as the cause passive of generation. In other mysteries the same idea was retraced by the exposition of the Phallus and of the Cteis. It is the Lingham of the Indians.

The same was done in regard to the division of the world into two Principles, the one of light, or good god, and the other of darkness, or bad god. Plutarch writes, that this religious dogma had been consecrated in the initiations, and in the mysteries of all nations; and the example which he puts forth, extracted from both the theology of the Chaldeans, and from the dogma of the symbolic egg produced by these two Principles, is a proof of it. In the temple of Eleusis there were scenes of darkness and of light, which were successively presented to the eyes of the candidates to initiation: those scenes retraced the combats of the Principle of light, or good god, and of the Principle of darkness, or bad god.

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