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Freemasonry, Pirates, The Jolly Roger, and Mithraism




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The Cosmos according to Mithra


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Masonry is a system of occult allegorical symbology. The bones refer to the occult power over death via the rebirth or "Born Again" ritual. The heart refers to the "Celestial Virgin" also symbolized by Venus and called Lucifer, which means "the light bearer". The hourglass refers to "Father Time, also known as Cronos and is symbolized by Saturn, and called Samael or Satan. Lucifer is trinitarian. "As above so below." He prefers to be known as "The God of Light and Liberty".



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Four Pirate Captain's Jolly Rogers; Note bones, heart, & hourglass symbols



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Table of Contents

The Mystery of Mithra, the Cilician Pirates Religion

Mithraism: Freemasonry and the Ancient Mysteries

The History of Mithraism

Mithradates Eupator, the Cilician Pirate King

Bro. H. Morgan and the Brethren of the Spanish Main

The Cosmic Mysteries of Mithras

AGNI USHAS MITRA - The Royal Secret of Freemasonry

Mithraic Mysteries: Hermetic Symbolism in a Masonic Engraving

Background Music: Overture, The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan


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THE MYSTERY OF MITHRA
by Harry Kenison M.M.
The Scottish Rite's New Age Magazine
April 1961

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MITHRAISM is of significant importance to Masons, for this early mystery religion contains much that is symbolic of Masonry, and it is quite possible that Mithraism has been a contributing factor to several facets of Masonic wisdom.

Mithra, the angel of god or heavenly light, as he was known in both the Vedas of India and old Persian documents, was also a war-like and conquering deity. He was special guardian of the "Great Kings," whom they involved prior to battle and to whom they bound themselves by strong oaths.

Mithraism expanded with the conquests of the Persian armies, and as the mighty Persian war machine spread victoriously through Syria, Chaldea, Galatia, and Asia Minor, the fame and influence of Mithra grew proportionately, Even after the defeat of Darius, the famed Persian ruler and general, Mithraism gained in popular acceptance in opposition to the Hellenizing culture of the Greeks.

Mithra was not too highly regarded or accepted in Greece. This lack of popularity was primarily based on the antipathy of the Greeks for the Persians as the result of early and well-remembered wars. This antipathy, however, was restricted almost exclusively to Greece, for the domain of Mithra by the beginning of the Christian era extended from the Indus River in the east to the Black Sea on the west and north. It was widely accepted in the plateau countries of Asia Minor, and came to be recognized by the Romans in the land of Paul's birth as the religion of the Cilician pirates.

The Roman, not being of the temperament to countenance for long the bold effrontery of the Cilician pirates, made short work of them, but the cult of Mithra was infectious, and the prisoners and slaves taken by the Romans quickly introduced the cult to the capital city. Thus, Mithraism, which was not widely acknowledged outside the Orient during the Hellenic period, had by about the beginning of the second century become known throughout all Italy. The gospel of Mithra was well-established in the city of Rome by the time Paul of Tarsus arrived there.

At approximately this same time there was a general acceptance of Mithra by the army, and homage was paid him by the soldiers of the Third Legion. Contact with those in the Roman provinces throughout Asia Minor had further introduced Mithraism to both Roman citizens and soldiers alike.

It was the mysteries of Dionysos that held an attraction for women at this time, largely because the ceremonies of Mithra were restricted to men. The cult of Mithra contained a special interest for Roman soldiers, for Mithra himself had been for centuries a god of battle, and his was a strong masculine cult appealing to reverential and superstitious soldiers. The soldiers required an assurance of divine protection and courage in their constant contact with the foe. As the legions advanced, so did Mithraism. It soon became the recognized religion of the Roman army and spread in two centuries to the farthest limits of the Roman Empire.

As the Roman legions forced their way into Germany, France and Britain, they were accompanied by groups of builders or masons who erected bridges, aqueducts, and fortifications as demanded by the soldiers or by the provinces they occupied. It is, then, possible that the similarity between some aspects of Masonry and Mithra could stem from this source.

Little is known of the secret ceremonies of Mithra, and much that we have on the mystery has been deduced from the little factual evidence and is not entirely reliable. We are aware, however, that the worship of Mithra was no simple ceremony or initiation. Knowledge of this has been taken from prejudiced Christian sources opposed to the competitive cult of Mithra. They have indicated Mithraism consisted of seven stages or degrees, ranging from the lowest, the Raven, to the highest, the Father or Pater. Between these two grades were the degrees known as Occult, Soldier, Lion, Persian, and Courier of the Sun.

The initiation ceremonies have been described as beginning somewhat as follows: In the first degree the initiate wears the mask of the raven, and, enveloped in total darkness, he enters a cavern which is intermittently illuminated by flashes of light representing lightning. In the occult ceremony he wears a veil and enters a door into a den of tigers, hyenas, and other simulated wild beasts. The initiate was presented a mask for each degree and conducted through several caverns in which methods were employed to instill fear and horror. In the seventh cavern, the darkness was changed to light, and the initiate was brought before the chief priest, who was seated on a splendid throne and surrounded by assistant dispensers of the mysteries. He was also subjected to a grim fast, required to swan a raging torrent, and exposed to the solitary terror of the desert wilderness. It is said that be was finally beaten with rods and then buried up to the neck in snow.

It is known that the Christian Fathers especially delighted in elaborating and condemning these rites and to expose them as "tortures" and the "eighty punishments" by water, fire, frost, hunger, thirst, and prolonged journeyings of increasing hardships and severity.

The candidates took oaths of binding secrecy and were given an obligation which included sacred words known only to the members of the cult. The initiate was presented with a conical cap, loose tunics on which were depicted the celestial constellations, a belt containing the representations of the Zodiac, a pastoral staff, and a golden serpent was placed on his bosom as a symbolic sign that he had been regenerated and initiated as a disciple of Mithra.

Outstanding among the ceremonies of Mithra was a simulated murder, apparently performed on the candidate. It is supposed that death was the logical preliminary to a renewal of life and the possible representation of a transvaluation of all values. The priests of the early regeneration ceremonies acknowledged that only the select few among the initiates could master the ultimate secrets embodied in them. Murder was an obvious start toward a regeneration, in fact so apparent that it is said the emperor Commodus polluted the rites by a real murder when a certain thing was to be done for the sake of inspiring terror, probably in the third, or soldier, grade of the initiation.

Also distinctive in the Mithraic ceremonies were baptism and ablutions of various sorts. Two types were the marking of the forehead and complete immersion, and it is believed that they promised purification from guilt. The Christian Fathers, quick to notice the similarity, charged the devil with plagiarism.

Provision was also made in the Mithraic ritual for the nourishing of a new spiritual life. At initiation, honey was placed in the mouth of the candidate, in both the Lion and the Persian grades of initiation. It was also customary to put honey in the mouths of new-born children; so in Mithraism the spiritually new-born were fed honey, it is said. Honey was of both mystical and practical value for the priests of Mithra.

There is archaeological evidence indicating a communion including bread and wine, of which the Mithraic initiates partook. The bread consisted of tiny leaves, each distinctively marked with a cross. The participants ate the bread and then drank the wine from a cup. The Christians of the day, noting the likeness, accused the demons of thievery. Both ceremonies, Christian and Mithraic, were believed to have been memorial services celebrating the divine, and it is known that Mithra, at the close of his redemptive career and just before his ascension to heaven, partook of a last supper with his companions.

The conception of Mithra himself was an ethical one, his name in Sanskrit meant "Friendship," and in the Avesta "Compact." As a result of Mithra's alliance with Zarathustra, his ethical character was accentuated and he was a special guardian of truth and light as opposed to evil or darkness. There were also certain commandments which the candidates were careful to observe to assure salvation with Mithra or the sun, with which he was identified.

Mithraism has shown that the cult offered its devotees the hope of immortality and an assurance of victory in the struggle for life. Feeding the initiate honey and his participation in a sacramental communion both stressed outwardly the idea that initiation was a rebirth to a new life.

We are aware that the priests retained the higher secrets of the mysteries for themselves or those chosen to receive them. It is possible that the mysteries of Mithra represented the rebirth of a new philosophy of life, long hidden among men and vitiated and obscured by them. It could be that this philosophy still awaits a time to emerge again, and bring out of the earth of materialism the living philosophy of a new age dedicated to the realistic rather then to the supernatural."

Resource:
Hiram's Oasis Masonic Files

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BY BRO. H. L. HAYWOOD
Editor, The Builder

THE BUILDER
May 1923

MITHRAISM: FREEMASONRY AND THE ANCIENT MYSTERIES

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THE THEORY that modern Freemasonry is in some sense a direct descendant from the ancient Mysteries has held a peculiar attraction for Masonic writers this long time, and the end is not yet, for the world is rife with men who argue about the matter up and down endless pages of print. It is a most difficult subject to write about, so that the more one learns about it the less he is inclined to ventilate any opinions of his own. The subject covers so much ground and in such tangled jungles that almost any grand generalization is pretty sure to be either wrong or useless. Even Gould, who is usually one of the soundest and carefullest of generalizers, gets pretty badly mixed up on the subject.

For present purposes it has seemed to me wise to attention to one only of the Mysteries, letting it stand as a type of the rest, and I have chosen for that purpose MITHRAISM, one of the greatest and one of most interesting, as well as one possessing as many parallelisms with Freemasonry as any of the others.

I - HOW MITHRA CAME TO BE A FIRST-CLASS GOD

Way back in the beginning of things, so we may learn from the Avesta, Mithra was the young god of the sky lights that appeared just before sunrise and lingered after the sun had set. To him was attributed patronship of the virtues of truth, life-giving, and youthful strength and joy. Such qualities attracted many worshippers in whose eyes Mithra grew from more to more until finally he became a great god in his own right and almost equal to the sun god himself. "Youth will be served," even a youthful god; and Zoroastrianism, which began by giving Mithra a very subordinate place, came at last to exalt him to the right hand of the awful Ormuzd, who had rolled up within himself all the attributes of all gods whatsoever.

When the Persians conquered the Babylonians, who worshipped the stars in a most thoroughgoing manner, Mithra got himself placed at the very center of star worshipping cults, and won such strength for himself that when the Persian Empire went to pieces and everything fell into the melting pot with it, Mithra was able to hold his own identity, and emerged from the struggle at the head of a religion of his own. He was a young god full of vigour and overflowing with spirits, capable of teaching his followers th e arts of victory, and such things appealed mightily to the bellicose Iranian tribesmen who never ceased to worship him in one form or another until they became so soundly converted to Mohammedanism centuries afterwards. Even then they did not abandon him altogether but after the inevitable manner of converts rebuilt him into Allah and into Mohammed, so that even today one will find pieces of Mithra scattered about here and there in what the Mohammedans call their theology.

After the collapse of the Persian Empire, Phrygia, where so many religions were manufactured at one time or another, took Mithra up and built a cult about him. They gave him his Phrygian cap which one always sees on his statues, and they incorporated in his rites the use of the dreadful "taurobolium," which was a baptism in the blood of a healthy young bull. In the course of time this gory ceremony became the very center and climax of the Mithraic ritual, and made a profound impression on the hordes of po or slaves and ignorant men who flocked into the mithrea, as the Mithraic houses of worship were called.

Mithra was never able to make his way into Greece (the same thing could be said of Egypt, where the competition among religions was very severe) but it happened that he borrowed something from Greek art. Some unknown Greek sculptor, one of the shining geniuses of his nation, made a statue of Mithra that served ever afterwards as the orthodox likeness of the god, who was depicted as a youth of overflowing vitality, his mantle thrown back, a Phrygian cap on his head, and slaying a bull. For hundreds of years this statue was to all devout Mithraists what the crucifix now is to Roman Catholics. This likeness did much to open Mithra's path toward the west, for until this his images had been hideous in the distorted and repellant manner so characteristic of Oriental religious sculpture. The Oriental people, among whom Mithra was born, were always capable of gloomy grandeur and of religious terror, but of beauty they had scarcely a touch; it remained for the Greeks to recommend Mithra to men of good taste.

After the Macedonian conquests, so it is believed, the cult of Mithra became crystallized; it got its orthodox theology, its church system, its philosophy, its dramas and rites, its picture of the universe and of the grand cataclysmic end of all things in a terrific day of judgment. Many things had been built into it. There were exciting ceremonies for the multitudes; much mysticism for the devout; a great machinery of salvation for the timid; a program of militant activity for men of valour; and a lofty ethic for the superior classes. Mithraism had a history, traditions, sacred books, and a vast momentum from the worship of millions and millions among remote and scattered tribes. Thus accoutered and equipped, the young god and his religion were prepared to enter the more complex and sophisticated world known as the Roman Empire.

II - HOW MITHRA FOUND HIS WAY TO ROME

When Mithridates Eupator - he who hated the Romans with a virulency like that of Hannibal, and who waged war on them three or four times - was utterly destroyed in 66 B.C. and his kingdom of Pontus was given over to the dogs, the scattered fragments of his armies took refuge among the outlaws and pirates of Cilicia and carried with them everywhere the rites and doctrines of Mithraism. Afterwards the soldiers of the Republic of Tarsus, which these outlaws organized, went pillaging and fighting all round the Mediterranean, and carried the cult with them everywhere. It was in this unpromising manner that Mithra made his entrance into the Roman world. The most ancient of all inscriptions is one made by a freedman of the Flavians at about this time.

In the course of time Mithra won to his service a very different and much more efficient army of missionaries. Syrian merchants went back and forth across the Roman world like shuttles in a loom, and carried the new cult with them wherever they went. Slaves and freedmen became addicts and loyal supporters. Government officials, especially those belonging to the lowlier ranks, set up altars at every opportunity. But the greatest of all the propagandists were the soldiers of the various Roman armies. Mithra, who was believed to love the sight of glittering swords and flying banners, appealed irresistibly to soldiers, and they in turn were as loyal to him as to any commander on the field. The time came when almost every Roman camp possessed its mithreum.

Mithra began down next to the ground but the time came when he gathered behind him the great ones of the earth. Antoninus Pius, father-in-law of Marcus Aurelius, erected a Mithraic temple at Ostia, seaport of the city of Rome. With the exception of Marcus Aurelius and possibly one or two others all the pagan emperors after Antaninus were devotees of the god, especially Julian, who was more or less addle-pated and willing to take up with anything to stave off the growing power of Christianity. The early Church Fathers nicknamed Julian "The Apostate"; the slur was not altogether just because the young man had never been a Christian under his skin.

Why did all these great fellows, along with the philosophers and literary men who obediently followed suit, take up the worship of a foreign god, imported from amidst the much hated Syrians, when there were so many other gods of home manufacture so close at hand? Why did they take to a religion that had been made fashionable by slaves and cutthroats? The answer is easy to discover. Mithra was peculiarly fond of rulers and of the mighty of the earth. His priests declared that the god himself stood at the right hand of emperors both on and off the throne. It was these priests who invented the good old doctrine of the divine right of kings. The more Mithra was worshipped by the masses, the more complete was the imperial control of those masses, therefore it was good business policy for the emperors to give Mithra all the assistance they could. There came a time when every Emperor was pictured by the artists with a halo about his head; that halo had originally belonged to Mithra. It represented the outstanding splendour of the young and vigorous sun. After the Roman emperors passed away the popes and bishops of the Roman Catholic Church took up the custom; they are still in the habit of showing their saints be-haloed.

Mithraism spread up and down the world with amazing rapidity. All along the coast of northern Africa and even in the recesses of the Sahara; through the Pillars of Hercules to England and up into Scotland; across the channel into Germany and the north countries; and down into the great lands along the Danube, he everywhere made his way. London was at one time a great center of his worship. The greatest number of mithrea were built in Germany. Ernest Renan once said that if ever Christianity had become s mitten by a fatal malady Mithraism might very easily: have become the established and official religion of the whole Western World. Men might now be saying prayers to Mithra, and have their children baptised in bull's blood.

There is not here space to describe in what manner the cult became modified, by its successful spread across the Roman Empire. It was modified, of course, and in many ways profoundly, and it in turn modified everything with which it came into contact.

Here is a brief epitome of the evolution of this Mystery. It began at a remote time among primitive Iranian tribesmen. It picked up a body of doctrine from the Babylonian star worshippers, who created that strange thing known as astrology. It became a mystery, equipped with powerful rites, in the Asia Minor countries. It received a decent outward appearance at the hand of Greek artists and philosophers; and it finally became a world religion among the Romans. Mithraism reached its apogee in the second century; it went the way of all flesh in the fourth century; and flickered out entirely in the fifth century, except that bits of its wreckage were salvaged and used by a few new cults, such as those of the various forms of Manicheeism.

III - THE MITHRAIC THEORY OF THINGS

After overthrowing its hated rival, the early Christian Church so completely destroyed everything having to do with Mithraism that there have remained behind but few fragments to bear witness to a once victorious religion. What little is accurately known will be found all duly set down and correctly interpreted in the works of the learned Dr. Franz Cumont, whose books on the subject so aroused the ire of the present Roman Catholic Hierarchy that they placed them on the Index, and warned the faithful away from his chapters of history. Today, as in Mithra's time, superstitions and empty doctrines have a sorry time when confronted with known facts.

The pious Mithraist believed that back of the stupendous scheme of things was a great and unknowable deity, Ozmiuzd by name, and that Mithra was his son. A soul destined for its prison house of flesh left the presence of Ormuzd, descended by the gates of Cancer, passed through the spheres of the seven planets and in each of these picked up some function or faculty for use on the earth. After its term here the soul was prepared by sacraments and discipline for its re-ascent after death. Upon its return journey it underwent a great ordeal of judgment before Mithra. Leaving something behind it in each of the planetary spheres it finally passed back through the gates of Capricorn to ecstatic union with the great Source of all. Also there was an eternal hell, and those who had proved unfaithful to Mithra were sent there. Countless deons, devils and other invisible monsters raged about everywhere over the earth tempting souls, and presided over the tortures in the pit. Through it all the planets continued to exercise good or evil influence over the human being, according as his fates might chance to fall out on high, a thing imbedded in the cult from its old Babylonian days.

The life of a Mithraist was understood as a long battle in which, with Mithra's help, he did war against the principles and powers of evil. In the beginning of his life of faith he was purified by baptism, and through all his days received strength through sacraments and sacred meals. Sunday was set aside as a holy day, and the twenty-fifth of December began a season of jubilant celebration. Mithraic priests were organized in orders, and were deemed to have supernatural power to some extent or other.

It was believed that Mithra had once come to earth in order to organize the faithful into the army of Ormuzd. He did battle with the Spirit of all Evil in a cave, the Evil taking the form of a bull. Mithra overcame his adversary and then returned to his place on high as the leader of the forces of righteousness, and the judge of all the dead. All Mithraic ceremonies centered about the bull slaying episode.

The ancient Church Fathers saw so many points of resemblance between this cult and Christianity that many of them accepted the theory that Mithraism was a counterfeit religion devised by Satan to lead souls astray. Time has proved them to be wrong in this because at bottom Mithraism was as different from Christianity as night from day.

IV - IN WHAT WAY MITHRAISM WAS LIKE FREEMASONRY

Masonic writers have often professed to see many points of resemblance between Mithraism and Freemasonry. Albert Pike once declared that Freemasonry is the modern heir of the Ancient Mysteries. It is a dictum with which I have never been able to agree. There are similarities between our Fraternity and the old Mystery Cults, but most of them are of a superficial character, and have to do with externals of rite or, organization, and not with inward content. When Sir Samuel Dill described Mithraism as "a sacred Freemasonry" he used that name in a very loose sense.

Nevertheless, the resemblances are often startling. Men only were admitted to membership in the cult. "Among the hundreds of inscriptions that have come down to us, not one mentions either a priestess, a woman initiate, or even a donatress." In this the mithrea differed from the collegia, which latter, though they almost never admitted women as members, never hesitated to accept help or money from them. Membership in Mithraism was as democratic as it is with us, perhaps more so; slaves were freely admitted and often held positions of trust, as also did the freedmen of whom there were such multitudes in the latter centuries of the empire.

Membership was usually divided into seven grades, each of which had its own appropriate symbolical ceremonies. Initiation was the crowning experience of every worshipper. He was attired symbolically, took vows, passed through many baptisms, and in the higher grades ate sacred meals with his fellows. The great event of the initiate's experiences was the taurobolium, already described. It was deemed very efficacious, and was supposed to unite the worshipper with Mithra himself. A dramatic representation of a dying and a rising again was at the head of all these ceremonies. A tablet showing in bas relief Mithra's killing of the bull stood at the end of every mithreum.

This, mithreum, as the meeting place, or lodge, was called, was usually cavern shaped, to represent the cave in which the god had his struggle. There were benches or shelves along the side, and on these side lines the members sat. Each mithreum had its own officers, its president, trustees, standing committees, treasurer, and so forth, and there were higher degrees granting special privileges to the few. Charity and Relief were universally practised and one Mithraist hailed another as "brother." The Mithraic "lodge" was kept small, and new lodges were developed as a result of "swarming off" when membership grew too large.

Manicheeism, as I have already said, sprang from the ashes of Mithraism, and St. Augustine, who did so much to give shape to the Roman Catholic church and theology was for many years an ardent Manichee, an through him many traces of the old Persian creed found their way into Christianity. Out of Manicheeism, or out of what was finally left of it, came Paulicianism, and out of Paulicianism came many strong medieval cults - the Patari, the Waldenses, the Hugenots, and countless other such developments. Through these various channels echoes of the old Mithraism persisted over Europe, and it may very well be, as has often been alleged, that there are faint traces of the ancient cult to be found here and there in our own ceremonies or symbolisms. Such theories are necessarily vague and hard to prove, and anyway the thing is not of sufficient importance to argue about. If we have three or four symbols that originated in the worship of Mithra, so much the better for Mithra!

After all is said and done the Ancient Mysteries were among the finest things developed in the Roman world. They stood for equality in a savagely aristocratic and class-riddled society; they offered centers of refuge to the poor and the despised among a people little given to charity and who didn't believe a man should love his neighbour; and in a large historical way they left behind them methods of human organization, ideals and principles and hopes which yet remain in the world for our use and profit. It a man wishes to do so, he may say that what Freemasonry is among us, the Ancient Mysteries were to the people of the Roman world, but it would be a difficult thing for any man to establish the fact that Freemasonry has directly descended from those great cults.

[Note: Kipling, who has never wearied of handling themes concerned with Freemasonry, often writes of Mithraism. See in especial his Puck of Pook's Hill, page 173 of the 1911 edition, for the stirring Song to Mithras.]

WORKS CONSULTED IN PREPARING THIS ARTICLE

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry, Vol. II, Waite. The Book of Acts, Expositor's Bible. Mystery Religions and the New Testament, Sheldon. Roman Society from Nero to Marcus Aurelius, Sir Samuel Dill. The Works of Franz Cumont. Le Culte de Mithra, Gasquet. On Isis and Osiris, Plutarch. Life of Pompey, Plutarch. Annals, Tacitus. Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum. Mythrasliturgie, Dielitch. De Corona, Tertullion. History of France, Vol. V, Vol. VI, Vol. VII, Duruy. Neoplatonism, Bigg. Roman Society in the Last Century of the Western Empire, Sir Samuel Dill. Menippus, Lucian. Thebaid, Statius. See bibliography in Hasting's Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Vol. VIII, p. 752. Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, Vol. III, p. 109; Vol. IV, p. 32; Vol. XIII, p. 90. The History of Freemasonry, Vol. I, Gould.

Mackey's Encyclopedia-(Revised Edition):

Allah, 46, Babylon, 89. Egyptian Mysteries, 232-233. Egyptian Priests, Initiations of the, 234. Gnostics, 300-301. Legend, 433. Manichaeans, 462. Mithras, Mysteries of, 485-487. Mohammed, 488. Mysteries, Ancient, 497-500. Mystery, 500. Myth, 501. Myth, Historical, 501. Mythical History, 501. Mythology, 501. Myth, Philosophical, 501. Ormuzd, 539. Persia, 558 Pike, Albert, 563. Roman Colleges of Artificers, 630-634.

THE BUILDER:

Vol. 1, 1915. - Symbolism, The Hiramic Legend, and the Master's Word, p. 285; Symbolism in Mythology, p. 296.

Vol. II, 1916. - Masonry and the Mysteries, p. 19; The Mysteries of Mithra, p. 94; The Dionysiacs, p. 220; The Mithra Again, p. 254; The Ritual of Ancient Egypt, p. 285; The Dionysiaes, p. 287.

Vol. III, 1917. - The Secret Key, p. 158; Mithraism, p. 252; Vol. IV, 1918. - The Ancient Mysteries, p. 223.

Vol. V, 1919. - The Ancient Mysteries Again, p. 25; The Eleusinian Mysteries and Rites, pp. 143, 172; The Mystery of Masonry, p. 189; The Eleusinian Mysteries and Rites, pp. 218, 240.

Vol. VI, 1920. - A Bird's-Eye View of Masonic History, p. 236.

Vol. VII, 1921. - Whence Came Freemasonry, p. 90; Books on the Mysteries of Isis, Mithras and Eleusis, p. 205.

Vol. VIII, 1922. - A Mediating Theory, p. 318; Christianity and the Mystery Religions, p. 322.

Resource:
Hiram's Oasis Masonic Files

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The History of Mithraism



Mithra slaying the bull,
bas-relief, 2nd century AD

The worship of Mithra, the Iranian god of the sun, justice, contract, and war in pre-Zoroastrian Iran. Known as Mithras in the Roman Empire during the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, this deity was honoured as the patron of loyalty to the emperor. After the acceptance of Christianity by the emperor Constantine in the early 4th century, Mithraism rapidly declined.

History.

Before Zoroaster (6th century BC or earlier), the Iranians had a polytheistic religion, and Mithra was the most important of their gods. First of all, he was the god of contract and mutual obligation. In a cuneiform tablet of the 15th century BC that contains a treaty between the Hittites and the Mitanni, Mithra is invoked as the god of oath. Furthermore, in some Indian Vedic texts the god Mitra (the Indian form of Mithra) appears both as "friend" and as "contract." The word mitra may be translated in either way, because contracts and mutual obligation make friends. In short, Mithra may signify any kind of communication between men and whatever establishes good relations between them. Mithra was called the Mediator. Mithra was also the god of the sun, of the shining light that beholds everything, and, hence, was invoked in oaths. The Greeks and Romans considered Mithra as a sun god. He was probably also the god of kings. He was the god of mutual obligation between the king and his warriors, and, hence, the god of war. He was also the god of justice, which was guaranteed by the king. Whenever men observed justice and contract, they venerated Mithra.

The most important Mithraic ceremony was the sacrifice of the bull. Opinion is divided as to whether this ceremony was pre-Zoroastrian or not. Zoroaster denounced the sacrifice of the bull, so it seems likely that the ceremony was a part of the old Iranian paganism. This inference is corroborated by an Indian text in which Mitra reluctantly participates in the sacrifice of a god named Soma, who often appears in the shape of a white bull or of the moon. On the Roman monuments, Mithra reluctantly sacrifices the white bull, who is then transformed into the moon. This detailed parallel seems to prove that the sacrifice must have been pre-Zoroastrian. Contract and sacrifice are connected, since treaties in ancient times were sanctioned by a common meal.

Beginning with Darius (522-486), the Persian kings of the Achaemenid dynasty were Zoroastrians. But Darius and his successors did not intend to create political difficulties by attempting to eradicate the old beliefs still dear to the heart of many nobles. Thus, the religion of Zoroaster was gradually contaminated with elements of the old, polytheistic worship. Hymns (the Yashts) were composed in honour of the old gods. There is a Yasht dedicated to Mithra, in which the god is depicted as the all-observing god of heavenly light, the guardian of oaths, the protector of the righteous in this world and the next, and, above all, as the archfoe of the powers of evil and darkness--hence, the god of battles and victory.

In the mixed religion of the later Achaemenid period, however, the Zoroastrian aspects clearly dominate the heathen aspects. The sacrifice of the bull, abhorred by every Zoroastrian, is never mentioned. When Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire in about 330 BC, the old structure of society appears to have broken down completely and about the worship of Mithra in Persia no more is heard.

Local aristocrats in the western part of the former Persian Empire retained their devotion to Mithra. The kings and nobles of the border region between the Greco-Roman and the Iranian world still worshipped him. When Tiridates of Armenia acknowledged the Roman emperor Nero as his supreme lord, he performed a Mithraic ceremony, indicating that the god of contract and of friendship established good relations between the Armenians and the mighty Romans. The kings of Commagene (southeast of Turkey) venerated Mithra. Mithradates VI of Pontus may have been a worshipper of the god, and his allies, the Cilician pirates, are known to have performed Mithraic ceremonies (67 BC). The worship of Mithra, however, never became popular in the Greek world, because the Greeks never forgot that Mithra had been the god of their enemies the Persians.

There is little notice of the Persian god in the Roman world until the beginning of the 2nd century, but, from the year AD 136 onward, there are hundreds of dedicatory inscriptions to Mithra. This renewal of interest is not easily explained. The most plausible hypothesis seems to be that Roman Mithraism was practically a new creation, wrought by a religious genius who may have lived as late as c. AD 100 and who gave the old traditional Persian ceremonies a new Platonic interpretation that enabled Mithraism to become acceptable to the Roman world.

Roman Mithraism, like Iranian Mithraism, was a religion of loyalty toward the king. It seems to have been encouraged by the emperors, especially Commodus (180-192), Septimius Severus (193-211), and Caracalla (211-217). Most adherents of Mithra known to us from inscriptions are soldiers of both low and high rank, officials in the service of the emperor, imperial slaves, and freedmen (who quite often were very influential people)--persons who probably knew which god would lead them to quick promotion.

Mithraic sanctuaries and dedications to Mithra are numerous at Rome and Ostia, along the military frontier, in Britain, and on the Rhine, the Danube, and the Euphrates. Few dedications are found in peaceful provinces; when they do occur the dedicator is usually a provincial governor or an imperial official. Within a few generations, the Roman world had completely assimilated the Persian god. When Diocletian attempted a renewal of the Roman state and religion, he did not forget Mithra. In AD 307, in a dedication from Carnuntum (at the Danube, near Vienna), Diocletian and his colleagues dedicated an altar to Mithra, as the patron of their empire (fautori imperii sui). But in 312, Constantine won the battle at the Milvian Bridge under the sign of the cross. Instantaneously, the dedications to Mithra ceased, even though there was no immediate public interdiction of Mithraic ceremonies. The worship seems to have collapsed quite suddenly when imperial favour ceased to be with the Mithraists. Dedications to Mithra appear again between about 357 and 387, but only at Rome. The dedicators all come from the old pagan aristocracy of the city of Rome, which in this period was in open opposition to the new Christian emperor at Constantinople. In these inscriptions, however, Mithra is only one of many traditional pagan gods. The Mithraic mysteries had gradually faded long before. And when the Roman opposition was defeated, pagan worship was suppressed altogether.

Resource: Encyclopedia Britannica.Com

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Mithradates Eupator, the Cilician Pirate King

mithra with lionhead

Mithradates VI Eupator
d. 63 BC, Panticapaeum [now in Ukraine]
byname MITHRADATES THE GREAT, king of
Pontus in northern Anatolia (120-63 BC). Under his energetic leadership, Pontus expanded to absorb several of its small neighbours and, briefly, contested Rome's hegemony in Asia Minor.

Life

Mithradates the Great was the sixth--and last--Pontic ruler by that name. Mithradates (often misspelled Mithridates and meaning "gift of [the god] Mithra") was a common name among Anatolian rulers of the age. When Mithradates VI succeeded his father, Mithradates Euergetes, in 120 BC, he was then only a boy, and for a few years his mother ruled in his place. About 115 BC, she was deposed and thrown into prison by her son, who thereafter ruled alone. Mithradates began his long career of conquest by dispatching successful expeditions to the Crimea and to Colchis (on the eastern shore of the Black Sea). Both districts were added to the Pontic kingdom. To the Greeks of the Tauric Chersonese and the Cimmerian Bosporus (Crimea and Straits of Kerch), Mithradates was a deliverer from their Scythian enemies, and they gladly surrendered their independence in return for the protection given to them by his armies. In Anatolia, however, the royal dominions had been considerably diminished after the death of Mithradates V: Paphlagonia had freed itself, and Phrygia (c. 116 BC) had been linked to the Roman province of Asia. Mithradates' first move there was to partition Paphlagonia and Galatia between himself and Nicomedes III of Bithynia, but next he quarreled with Nicomedes over Cappadocia. Successful at first on two occasions, he was on both deprived of his advantage by Roman intervention (c. 95 and 92). While appearing to acquiesce, he resolved to expel the Romans from Asia. A first attempt to depose Nicomedes IV of Bithynia, who was completely subservient to the Romans, was frustrated (c. 90). Then Nicomedes, instigated by Rome, attacked Pontic territory, and Mithradates, after protesting in vain to the Romans, finally declared war (88).

Nicomedes and the Roman armies were defeated and flung back to the coasts of the Propontis and the Aegean. The Roman province of Asia was occupied, and most of the Greek cities in western Asia Minor allied themselves with Mithradates, though a few held out against him, such as Rhodes, which he besieged unsuccessfully. He also sent large armies into Greece, where Athens and other cities took his side. But the Roman generals, Sulla in Greece and Fimbria in Asia, defeated his forces in several battles during 86 and 85. In 88 he had arranged a general massacre of the Roman and Italian residents in Asia (80,000 are said to have perished), in order that the Greek cities, as his accessories in the crime, should feel irrevocably committed to the struggle against Rome. As the war turned against him, his former leniency toward the Greeks changed to severity; every kind of intimidation was resorted to--deportations, murders, freeing of slaves. But this reign of terror could not prevent the cities from deserting to the victorious side. In 85, when the war was clearly lost, he made peace with Sulla in the Treaty of Dardanus, abandoning his conquests, surrendering his fleet, and paying a large fine.

In what is called the Second Mithradatic War, the Roman general Lucius Licinius Murena invaded Pontus without provocation in 83 but was defeated in 82. Hostilities were suspended, but disputes constantly occurred, and in 74 a general war broke out. Mithradates defeated Marius Aurelius Cotta, the Roman consul, at Chalcedon, but Lucullus worsted him outside Cyzicus (73) and drove him, in 72, to take refuge in Armenia with his son-in-law Tigranes. After scoring two great victories at Tigranocerta (69) and Artaxata (68), Lucullus was disconcerted by the defeat of his lieutenants and by mutiny among his troops. In 66 Lucullus was superseded by Pompey, who completely defeated both Mithradates and Tigranes.

Mithradates then established himself in 64 at Panticapaeum (Kerch) on the Cimmerian Bosporus and was planning an invasion of Italy by way of the Danube when his own troops, led by his son Pharnaces II, revolted against him. After failing in an attempt to poison himself, Mithradates ordered a Gallic mercenary to kill him. His body was sent to Pompey, who buried it in the royal sepulchre at Sinope, the Pontic capital.

Resource: Encyclopedia Brittancia.Com

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Bro. Henry Morgan and the Brethren of the Spanish Main

morgan


In the year 1655 England seized a weakly guarded Spanish Island: Jamaica, and converted it into an English colony. The guards defending the Island were generally taken from the streets, and represented the worst criminal elements. The guards were thieves, murderers, and cheats. From this band of criminals formed many groups of buccaneers who terrorized the region. At this time Henry Morgan began his overwhelming pirate career.

This gives the reader a background of what was to come of Henry Morgan: from an ordinary soldier, to a never crowned king of Jamaica. Morgan earned fame and respect among his friends and enemies alike thanks to his successful (and profitable) attacks on Vilahermosa (Capital of the Mexican province Tobasco), and Gran Granada (the silver mining center of Nicaragua).

Gran Granada, for those times considered a large and prosperous city, was located 200 kilometers inland on the shore of Nicaragua Lake. Access to the town was restricted by dense wild Jungle. Henry Morgan embarked on a difficult and daring escapade involving a long and dangerous journey through the unexplored jungle. This expedition was followed by a triumphant lightning assault on Gran Granada. The attack yielded enormous spoils, and was considered a great success for Henry Morgan.

Henry Morgan was pleasantly surprised upon his return to Jamaica: the island had a newly appointed commander of all English troops in the west Indies, this commander was Henry Morganís uncle.

So the continuing pirate career of Henry Morgan was so secured. After the death of Henry Morganís uncle (Edward Morgan), the governor of Jamaica chose Henry Morgan to become the commander of the militia in Port Royal. By 1668 Henry Morgan was already an English vice admiral of a fleet of 15 ships. At the same time pirates elected Henry Morgan to become the successor to Edward Mansfield (leader of all pirate activities in Jamaica). As an English officer and pirate general: Henry Morgan became the terror of all Spaniards in the West Indies.

In 1668 Morgan made two pirating ventures. Morganís attack on the inland city of Peurto Principe (pwert-o PREEN-the-pay), Cuba, was considered his first Major attack. Unfortunately for Morgan, his crew of pirates were ambushed along the way, and only took the city with bitter struggle and great loss. Things got worse for Morgan when word came that the cityís treasure had been hidden. Morgan and his crew were forced to settle for 50,000 pieces of eight in return for sparing their captives. Half of Morganís crew quit after the attack on Puerto Principle. Morgan was not discouraged, and announced plans for attacking the great treasure city of Porto Bello, Panama. Experienced sea pirates scoffed at the plan: Porto Bello was larger, better fortified, and had an army troop when compared to Puerto Principle. Morgan, however, had a plan. When he attacked Porto Bello, he arrived on canoes, silently, and under the cover of darkness, Morganís men slipped into the harbor before anyone knew they were there. The first two forts of Porto Bello both fell quickly, but the third withstood each attack the pirates implemented. Morgan finally devised a sinister plan: he used captured catholic priests and nuns to shield his crew as they climbed the walls of the fort. It was only a matter of time before the city fell into the hands of Henry Morgan, along with 250,000 pieces of eight, and 300 slaves. When word of this attack spread, Morganís force swelled to 15 ships and 900 men. Henry Morgan was quickly known by the nickname: Morgan "the terrible".

A year later Morgan led an expedition of 8 ships and 650 buccaneers to attack the Venezuelan cities of Marcaibo (a coastal city located at the mouth of an inland lake) and Gilbraltar (located on the other side of the lake). Compared with his last venture, the plunder was not comparable, and Morgan found the cities virtually deserted. The result: 50,000 English pounds, and slaves and goods of the same value. When the pirates tried to sail from the lake, they found that their exit had been blocked. Maracaiboís powerful fort had their gun trained on Morgan, and three huge Spanish men-o-war stood just outside the channel. Morgan offered the Spanish the option of surrender, instead of accepting, the Spanish laughed. Morgan decided to teach them a lesson they would, indeed, never forget. Morgan had his lead ship (a small sloop, covered with pitch, tar, and brimstone.) loaded with kegs of gunpowder, and had dummies (made of pumpkins and wood, dressed as buccaneers) placed at battle stations throughout his ship. While the Spanish still laughed the small vessel slowly approached them and suddenly burst into flames, it then exploded: sinking the first man-o-war, and burning the second to the hull. The remaining man-o-war was easily captured by the pirates. Once again Morgan offered the Spanish the option of surrender: once again the Spanish refused. Shrugging his shoulders Morgan had his crew embark for shore with longboats: upon seeing this the Spanish assumed the pirates were massing for a land attack. As a result the Spanish moved their cannon to the other side of the fort. Before the Spanish had a chance to move the cannon back into place, Morgan took advantage of the opportunity by safely sailing past the fort that night. Only then did the Spaniards finally realize that they had been tricked: instead of landing on the other side of the jetty, Morganís men had simply crouched below the gunwale and returned to their ships. After this battle, Henry Morgan was the undisputed king of the buccaneers.

In January 1670, Morgan set out after the largest venture of his career, to plunder the gold of Panama. Answering his call, 2000 buccaneers on 36 ships assembled to prepare for an attack on Panama. Once Morgan took over Fort San Lorenzo, he led his crew on a rough 16-day journey through dense almost impassable Jungle. The Spaniards were prepared for Morgan, and six hundred cavalry swooped down on the pirates. Thousands of muskets fired; both sides took their loses, but the pirates held their ground. A stampede of 2,000 Spanish bulls did not deter the pirates, and the Spanish finally fled in retreat. The city belonged to the buccaneers, and yielded 100,000 English Pounds. Unfortunately, at that time, England was no longer at war with Spain. Morgan was recalled to England and thrown into the dungeons to stand trial as a pirate. However, King Charles II, learning about Morganís great deeds, knighted him instead in 1673, making him lieutenant governor of Jamaica. Morgan was ordered to rid the seas from all buccaneers.

Morgan had done well in executing the Kings orders. When he died in 1688 there were almost no buccaneers left.

Henry Morgan was one of the most ruthless of pirates, his daring, brutality, and intelligence made him the most feared, and respected buccaneer of all time. Henry Morgan really was the king of all pirates.

Resource:
PiratesInfo.com

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AGNI USHAS MITRA, The Royal Secret of Freemasonry

The Cosmos according to Mithra


Key of the Royal Secret - Freemasonry's Divine Light, and Divine Word, their Ineffable Word in the ritual is -- AGNI -- USHAS -- MITRA.

The only words not spoken and not allowed in the tolerant Luciferian religion of freemasonry is Jesus Christ, Yeshua the Messiah. The reason is because freemasonry is MITHRAISM. MITRA or Mithra is the Persian god and the mystery religion devoted to his worship. Make no mistake about it, Mithra is Lucifer or Satan. The god Mitra or Mithra was originally a Persian deity considered to be the mediator between mankind and Ahura-Mazda, god of light. (Lucifer the light bearer 2 Cor 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.2 Cor 11:15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.)

This god overcame evil and brought life, both animal and vegetable, to humankind. Statues of Mithra characteristically show him holding a bull by the nostrils while plunging a knife into its neck. The Romans identified Mithra with the sun god. December 25 was celebrated as his birthday. Three traditions relate the birth of Mithra: (1) he was born of an incestuous relationship between Ahura-Mazda and his own mother; (2) he was born of an ordinary mortal; (3) Mithra was born from a rock. After his redemptive work on earth was finished, Mithra partook of a last supper with some of his devotees and then ascended to heaven, where he continues to assist the faithful in their struggle against demons.

From the freemason's own high level ritual we see MITRA identified and defined:

MITRA -- The fire, the dawn, the morning star. (Lucifer, not Yeshua or Jesus, is the god of freemasonry)

Make no mistake about it freemasonry is Mithraism, the worship of Mithra, which is one of the many names of Lucifer or Satan the devil. Isa 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning (Lucifer usurps Yeshua's title of the morning star)! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

AGNI is another part of the freemason's Ineffable Word.

From the 32nd degree ritual we are informed of AGNI who was borrowed from the Hindu worship of Lucifer or Mithra before the Persians named him Mitra. AGNI, INDRA, and VISHNU: Fire, Light, and Heat, the first trinity and their manifestation in the skies. The interpretations of these symbols will reveal the Holy Doctrine. The one great idea from which they have been unfolded is the Royal Secret.

Few appreciate as they should its (the Royal Secret of freemasonry) exalted morality making it the law for their daily lives, and fewer care for and value the great truth of its philosophy and religion. (Royal Secret - the religion of freemasonry worships Lucifer as god)

You are not doing an idle thing to learn the Royal Secret. The Aryan kinsmen of our ancestors .... so worshipping their Deities, and creating Light, what should ascend to the skies to invigorate and replenish INDRA, the universal light, the planets and stars that had once been men, their ancestors.

The symbols of Free Masonry conceal , even in the Master's Lodge, the Holy Doctrine and the Royal Secret.

As kinsmen of our Aryan ancestors sacrificed in Indra and Ahura, sacrifice thou with an offering of incense to the God in whom thou doest put thy trust. In the 14th degree the seeker of the Royal Secret was Baptized and hailed a Soldier of the Truth of Ahura-Mazda, one of Lucifer's many names and counterfeits of the True God. In the 32nd degree, Now you desire to become Priest and King. The 32nd degree gives the Royal Secret and make the initiate a Priest and King of Ahura-Mazda, one of Lucifer's many names. The Irano-Aryans sacrificed before dawn to Mitra, the morning star. As the kinsmen of our Aryan ancestors sacrificed to Serpenta Mainyu, the divine wisdom, sacrifice thou with an offering of incense to the God in whom thou doest put thy trust. Yes, the 32nd degree seekers of the Royal Secret of freemasonry offer incense to the Serpent god, Serpenta Manyu. Serpenta Mainyu is another of Lucifer's many names.

After offering more incense to Lucifer, the seeker of the Royal Secret, in his 32nd degree ritual makes more vows before he gets the Luciferian baptism of the 32nd degree. He vows:

I do most solemnly vow and promise, that I will be until I die the implacable enemy of all spiritual tyranny, (i.e.. conformity to the Authorized scriptures), over souls and consciences of men, resisting all claims of church, synagogue, and mosque to outlaw free conscience and enslave thought and opinion, and compel men to believe what it may prescribe.

The antichrist nature of such a vow is seen in many scriptures such as:

Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

1 Pet 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

1 Pet 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:

Titus 1:15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.

Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

2 Cor 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Then the seeker of the Royal Secret in the 32nd degree ritual receives the following pronouncement as he gets this Luciferian baptism of the 32nd degree:

As kinsmen of our Aryan ancestors were sanctified with the Zaothra, ( Zoroastrian religion is the same as the Luciferian polytheistic religion of Mazdaism, with its chief god being Lucifer going by his alias Ahura-Mazda), or consecrated water, and there-by devoted to the service of Ahura.

It is a baptism and consecration to the service of Ahura, Lucifer. The Royal Secret is that the 32nd degree freemason has been baptized and consecrated to the service of Lucifer, whether he knows it or not. If he has shown sufficient interest in the occult in his pursuit of the degrees, one in 20, or 5%, of the 32nd degree freemasons are invited to pursue their service to Lucifer in the Illuminati.

After this Luciferian baptism and consecration, the 32nd degree seeker of the Royal Secret is questioned as follows:

If you are ready to bind yourself to the strict, punctual, unremitting performance at all points, in every place, and at all times your duties as Perfect Elu, Prince of Jeru, Knight of Rose Croix, Knight of the Sun, St. Andrew and Kodosh and Master of the Royal Secret, as these have been declared you, go and stand at the west side of the Altar of Obligation facing the east.

The seeker of the Royal Secret in the 32nd degree thus position takes his 4 th vow of allegiance to this Luciferian religion. He then is voted OK by the other Masters of the Royal Secret, and is led to:

Kneel at the altar, laying thy left hand upon the book of constitutions and the symbol of Deity. (Lights go down and voices are heard saying)

One is three, three is one, Agni, Ushas, Mitra.>

One is three, three is one, Ahura, Mazda, Cepenta, Mainyu, Vohu-mano.

Other things are said which in biblical context and how they are performed in this ritual are blasphemous. Then the seeker of the Royal Secret of freemasonry in the 32nd degree ritual is told:

It will be explained to thee when thou shalt become entitled to the explanation. The voices thou hast heard, give thee the key of interpretation.

He then receives the emblems of his 32nd degree, the dark cordon and the Teutonic Cross of gold the jewel of the order. He is then told:

You now know the holy doctrine, and have the Royal Secret. If the mind, reason, intellect and intelligence of man is a part of the universal supreme mind, intellect, intelligence he may well have lofty aspirations and high ambition for he is capable of great things.

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