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Schuré - The Great Initiates – Isis and Osiris

Identifier

014100

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

A description of the experience

The Great Initiates – Edouard Schuré

Around the year 2,000 B.C. Egypt underwent the most dreadful crisis a people can experience: that of foreign invasion and partial conquest. The Phoenician invasion was itself the result of the great religious schism in Asia that had aroused the masses to insurrection. Led by shepherd-kings called Hyksos, this invasion rolled its flood over the Delta and Middle Egypt.

The schismatic kings brought with them a corrupt civilization, Ionian indolence, the luxury of Asia, the customs of the harem and crude idolatry. The life of Egypt was threatened, its culture and its universal mission were endangered. But Egypt possessed a spirit of life, that is, an organized body of initiates, depositaries of the ancient knowledge of Hermes and Ammon-Ra. And what did that spirit do? It withdrew to the heart of its sanctuaries, it gathered itself together, the better to resist the enemy. The priesthood outwardly bowed before the invasion and recognized the usurpers who brought the law of the Bull and the cult of Apis. But, hidden in the temples like a sacred depositary, the two councils kept their science and traditions, the ancient pure religion, and with it the hope of a restoration of the former dynasty.

It is at this period that the priests propagated among the people the legend of Isis and Osiris, of the dismemberment of the latter and his subsequent resurrection through his son Horus, who would find his scattered limbs, carried away by the Nile.

The imagination of the people was stimulated by the pomp of public ceremonies. Their love for the old religion was maintained by acting out the misfortunes of the goddess, her lamentation over the loss of her celestial husband and the hope she placed in her son Horus, the divine mediator. But at the same time the initiates deemed it necessary to place esoteric truth beyond attack by covering it with a threefold veil.

The spreading of the popular cult of Isis and Osiris corresponds with the inner scientific organization of the greater and lesser Mysteries.

Moral tests were invented, the oath of silence was required, and the penalty of death strictly inflicted upon the initiates who divulged the least detail of the Mysteries. Thanks to this strict organization, Egyptian initiation became not only the haven of esoteric doctrine, but also the crucible of the revival of Egypt and the school for future religions.

While the crowned usurpers ruled in Memphis, Thebes was slowly preparing the regeneration of the people. From his temple, from his solar ark, came the saviour of Egypt, Amos, who routed the Hyksos after nine centuries of domination, restoring Egyptian science and the religion of Osiris and Isis to their rightful place.

Thus the Mysteries saved the soul of Egypt under foreign tyranny, for the good of humankind. For such was then the strength of their discipline, the power of their initiation, that they contained Egypt's best moral force and highest spiritual achievement.

The source of the experience

Ancient Egyptian

Concepts, symbols and science items

Concepts

Rebirth

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Activities

Commonsteps

References