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Pagan Origin of Partialist Doctrines by Pitrat

What mystagogy exhibited in the sanctuaries


ARTICLE II.

_Tartarus._

When legislators, priests and philosophers had invented the doctrine of Metempsychosis, the mystagogues and the poets took hold of it, and endeavored to spread it among the people, in consecrating it, the ones in their chants, and the others in the celebration of their mysteries. They clothed it with the charms of poetry, and presented it with magical illusions. All united to deceive the people, under the specious pretext of bettering and governing them with a surer hand. The widest field was opened to fictions; and the genius of the poets, as well as the cunning of the priests, were inexhaustible in portraying the bliss of the righteous hereafter, and the horror of the horrible prisons wherein crime was to be punished.

Each one portrayed them according to his own fancy, and added new scenes and views to the descriptions of those unknown lands; of that world of new creation, which the imagination of poets peopled with shadows, chimeras and phantoms, for the purpose of frightening the people: for rulers wrongly thought that their minds could not rise up to the abstract notions of metaphysics and morals. The Elysium and the Tartarus were more pleasing and more vividly striking to the imagination of the people: therefore darkness and light were successively presented to the gaze of those initiated to the mysteries. To the darkest night, and to frightful

spectres, succeeded a bright day, whose light shone around the statue of the Deity: one could not help feeling a mysterious terror, when entering that sanctuary, where all was disposed to represent the Tartarus and the Elysium. It was in this sanctuary that the one initiated, being finally introduced, saw the picture of charming meadows, lighted by a pure sky: there he heard harmonious voices, and the majestic chants of sacred choirs. It was then that, entirely free, and rid of all evils, he joined the multitude of those initiated; and that, a crown of flowers on his head, he celebrated the holy orgies.

Thus the ancients represented here below, in their initiations, what was, they said, to happen hereafter to the souls, when they would be disengaged from their bodies; and would be liberated from the obscure prison, wherein fate had chained them by uniting them to terrestrial matter. In the mysteries of Isis, of which we hold the details from Apuleo, the candidate passed through the dark region of the empire of the dead; thence into a vast enclosure, which represented the elements; and then he was admitted into the bright region, where the brightest sun succeeded to the darkness of the night, namely, in the three worlds, the terrestrial, the elementary, and the celestial. He who had been initiated said: "I have approached the boundaries of death in treading the thresh hold of Proserpine; therefrom I have returned through the elements. Then I saw a bright light, and I found myself in the presence of the gods." This was the autopsy.

What mystagogy exhibited in the sanctuaries, poets, and even philosophers, in their fictions, publicly taught to the people: hence the descriptions of the Elysium and of the Tartarus found in Homer, Virgil and Plato, and all those given us by many systems of theology. We never had a description of the earth and of its inhabitants, a description as complete as that transmitted to us, by the ancients, about those countries of new creation, known under the names of Hell, Tartarus, and Elysium. Those men, whose geographical knowledge was so limited, have given us the minutest details of the abode of the souls beyond the grave; of the government of each one of the two empires, which form the domain of the shadows; of their habits; of their diet; of their pains and pleasures; and even of the costume of the inhabitants of these two regions. The same poetical imagination which had invented that new world, arbitrarily traced out its plan and distribution.


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