Saturday, September 4, 2010

William Cooper's Mystery Babylon: Part 08 – Initiation

Transcribed by frizshizzle/luckee1

You're listening to the Hour of the Time. I'm William Cooper.

(Intro music: Stardust, written by Hoagy Carmichael & Mitchell Parish)

From Tinkerbell to Artie Shaw to George Bush’s Thousand Points of Light, America has been mesmerized by stardust since its very inception. And now, America is beginning to learn what all these references to the star, the morning star, Wish Upon a Star, Stardust, really is all about.

[reading from: A History of Secret Societies, written by Arkon Daraul]:

"There was something [very] strange about the classical mysteries; something which attracted people to them and having attracted them made their initiates with very few exceptions permanent devotees. In Egypt, Greece, India, Rome and a dozen other places and countries, sacred initiations took place in specially prepared sanctuaries [William Cooper: usually in a cave or underground]. Priests of the mysteries enjoyed the profound respect of the masses, as well as that of kings and counselors."

[William Cooper]: And in those days there was nothing really secret about it except the initiations rites and the knowledge which they retained for themselves, giving only the exoteric to the people.

"What were the mysteries? Until relatively recently, and relying upon comparatively scattered fragments such as Apuleius' Golden Ass, historians and religious writers had formed an opinion of them which has been shown to be extremely naïve [William Cooper: if not, outright false]. They knew that at the ceremonies symbolical teaching took place, and hence inferred that the mysteries were a relic of the times when academic knowledge was guarded by the very few and scientific truths (such as Pythagorean theorems) were given only [and only] to the elect. They knew [also] that orgiastic drumming and dancing formed a part of many of the rituals, and therefore told their readers this was a degenerate form of religion, or a mere excuse for licentiousness. They found that stories of ancient gods and heroes were recited, and were sure the mysteries constituted little more than an underground survival of prehistoric religion, magic or tribal initiation."

[William Cooper]: Or maybe that’s exactly what they wanted us to believe, knowing full well that it was false. And, of course, if those who did the writing were members of the Mysteries, they would never have allowed the secrets to be revealed to the profane.

"But times have changed [folks]. The study of 'brainwashing' [William Cooper: and mind control] and conditioning the mind within the past decade [or so] has helped to lay bare the essence of the mysteries, and has answered the riddles which surrounded them. [You see,] in this process, those who have tried to keep the celebration of the mysteries alive, who have tried to revive them, have been shown up as relying upon the symbolic interpretation alone. And this revelation has been in its own way has been on of the most startling developments of contemporary religion. [You see, for] almost anyone, for instance, can get away with telling anyone else that he was an Egyptian priest in a former incarnation, because there is so very little verifiable material available to prove the reverse."

[William Cooper]: It becomes obvious, though, when you attend a party populated by these nuts. When six people introduce themselves as having been Abraham Lincoln in a past life.

"But let anyone attempt to celebrate any of the ancient mystery-cults' rituals, and unless he has a sound idea on how the human mind works, he is unlikely to escape the criticism of those physiologists who now see in the mysteries an almost open book.

"[So] let us return to a sketch of the conventional knowledge about the mysteries. In those of Eleusis, celebrated in Greece, the candidate had to undergo...fasting or abstinence from certain foods. There were processions, with sacred statues carried from Athens to Eleusis. Those who were to be initiated waited for long periods of time outside the hall in the temple [where] the rites were to be held [William Cooper: building up a tremendous tension of suspense]. Eventually a torchbearer led them within the precincts [William Cooper: usually underground]. The ceremonies [usually] included a ritualistic meal; one or two dramas; the exhibition of sacred objects; the 'giving of the word'; (Laughter) an address by the hierophant; and, oddly enough, closure with the Sanskrit words: 'Cansha om pacsha.'

"The elements included the clashing of cymbals, tension and a certain degree of debilitation, eating something, plus conditions which were all-inspiring, strange. The candidate was in the hands of, and guided by, the priesthood. Other factors: drinking a soporific draught; symbolic sentence of death; whirling around a circle.

"Initiation ceremonies of [certain] secret cults, the mystery-type invariably involve tests, sometimes most severe ones. The effect of certain experiences was a carefully worked programme of mind training which is familiar in modern times as that which is employed by certain totalitarian states to 'condition' or reshape the thinking of an individual."

[William Cooper]: Are you listening to me, all you Freemasons out there who think that you're so smart? Well, you're not.

"This process produces a state in which the mind is pliant enough to have certain ideas implanted: ideas which resist a great deal of counter-influence. This was the secret of the mysteries, this and nothing else. Echoes of such training are to be seen in the rituals of certain secret societies without mystical pretensions which survive to this day: trials, terror, expectancy, drinking and the rest.

"That this fact was known in the past[, folks,] is evidenced by the words of Aristotle, who was exiled because he was said to have revealed something about the mysteries; and he said [this]: 'Those who are being initiated do not so much learn anything, as experience certain emotions, and are thrown into a special state of mind.'

"[Well,] what was this special state of mind? [Folks,] it was a plasticity, in order that the conditioning might take permanent root. The psychologist William [Walters] Sargant, the greatest authority on this subject, says in his classic Battle For The Mind: 'It seems, therefore, that there are common final paths which all individual animals (though initial temperamental responses to imposed stresses vary greatly) must finally take -- if only stresses are continued long enough. This is probably the same in human beings. [And] if so...may help to explain why excitatory drumming, dancing and continued bodily movement are so much used in such a number of primitive religious groups. The efforts and the excitement of keeping the dance in progress for many hours on end should wear down and if need be finally subdue the strongest and most stubborn temperament, such as might be able to survive frightening and exciting talk alone for days or weeks.'"

[William Cooper]: Now, understanding what I just read to you, this quote from Battle for the Mind by William Sargant...can you still say that music plays no part of the conditioning of the mind? That the words in the music is not being entrapped by the subconscious of those young people who dance for hours listening to this music? If so, I think you'd better rethink that position. For it is a form of mind control, brainwashing.

"Dr. Sargant notes that Chinese experiments in mass-excitation, breaking down and reconditioning are based on same physiological principles as religious conversion and also individual and group psychotherapy treatments. [Folks,] these include the application of tension, fear, anxiety, conflict, to the point where subjects are uncertain. [And] in this state suggestibility is increased and the old pattern of behavior is disrupted.

"The fact that the devotees of the mysteries were thoroughly conditioned to them, and felt they were important in their lives, is seen in much historical evidence. Even in the fourth century of the Christian era, the Greeks were insisting that they 'would consider life unbearable if they were not allowed to celebrate those most sacred mysteries which unite the human race.'

"[Now] the work of those that pointed out the functions of mysteries as mind-training and conditioning has, of course, evoked no answer for those who still think [that] the rituals are mere symbolic representations of knowledge or facts."

[William Cooper]: And indeed they cannot admit this, simply because they would be admitting their own foolishness and stupidity in the process. So they will resist at all costs and continue to go to their meetings, for to do otherwise would be to confront their own fallibility, and in human nature that is one of the most difficult things for any individual to do. We all realize that.

"...It’s interesting to note[, folks,] that the ecstasy which is produced by excitatory methods and is followed by manipulation of the mind is still sought by members of many secret cults who are aware of the scientific explanation."

[William Cooper]: You see, irregardless, even when they know this, they still seek it out. Because for them it fulfills some terrible need, way down deep inside their gut.

"There reaction is that the experience may well be induced by physical methods; but in spite of that [William Cooper: and this is what they say] 'it is nothing less than actual spiritual communion with a supernatural power.' This is the point [at which] scientists and mystics cannot agree. The mystic feels sure [that] he has experienced something sublime."

[William Cooper: And who’s to say that they haven’t? Or, if you have not experienced it, you have no basis upon which to make a decision. But to experience it is to put yourself in a position to be controlled by others. So, we are in a quandary now. How do we explore this?

"The scientist tells [the mystic] that it is an illusion. He [just simply] will not believe it. The situation just reminds one of the time when someone produced the soul of a departed relative to tell a spiritualist, that there was no life after death. (Laughter) Although this is alleged to have happened in Ireland, one can visualize it taking place easily enough in the mutually heated atmosphere of scientist versus mystic anywhere [William Cooper: in the world].

"The orgiastic side of the mysteries [also] has a place in the sphere of psychology. The catharsis ([or the] cleansing of the mind) which the secret cult of the Cathari experienced after ecstasy is paralleled by the modern therapist's procedure in bringing his patient to a state of excitement and [then] collapse before an implanting what he considers more suitable ideas in the mind.

"Christianity [of course] was not been behind in its use of the mystery-system for initiates. [For] it was not until A.D. 692 that the every believer was ordered to be admitted to the worship of the Christians, following the period when it was thought advisable to celebrate certain parts of worship in secret."

[William Cooper]: You see, Christianity in the beginning, was a secret society itself. And the correct name for it was the friendly, open secret society, although in the beginning there was nothing open about it.

"Traces of this survive in such customs as that of the Greek Orthodox Church, where the priest celebrates divine worship behind a curtain, which is only taken away during the elevation of the Host, 'since at that moment the worshipers prostrate themselves and are not supposed to see the holy sacrament.'

"The reason given for the secrecy of the practice of the Christian cult gives a clue in explaining that the celebrant must be prepared by expectation. St. Augustine laid down that secrecy was essential because: the mysteries of Christianity were incomprehensible to human intellect, and should not be derided by the uninitiated; secondly, because this secrecy produced greater veneration for the rites; thirdly, that the 'holy curiosity' of those to be initiated into the experience of Christianity should be increased, in order that they might attain to a perfect knowledge of the faith."

[William Cooper]: And to you all, quite frankly, folks, in my study of mind control, the Christian church would swell, well beyond any conception or imagination of what their numbers could be, if they had continued their [laughter] secrecy.

"St. Basil (De Spiritu Sancto, cap [let me see, that's 17? *note: it's actually 27.] xxvii) [William Cooper: that’s a writing, folks) tells how the Fathers of the Church 'were well instructed to preserve the veneration of the Mysteries in silence. For how could it be proper publicly to proclaim in writing the doctrine of those things which no unbaptized person may so much as may look upon?'"

[William Cooper]: Now this all sounds silly to us today. But believe me, folks, there is nothing silly about it. And if it were practiced today as it was then, the Christian church would be more powerful then you can possibly conceive.

[William Cooper]: Now, remember, this is the results of our research. I myself consider myself to be a Christian. And that I follow the teachings, the words of Jesus Christ in my daily life. Not the dogma of any church, not the preaching of any minister or priest. But simply and only the words of Christ. Seated upon the foundation of that which God gave us in our history, the moral code called the Ten Commandments as they were originally given to Moses, and not as they were changed by man in the form of the Pope.

"The origin of mystery ceremonies seems to be India: or, at least, the place in time when the Brahman priesthood started its initiations. The ceremonies were based upon the Hindu myths; but the procedure followed in training the aspirant as strikingly similar in Egypt. And Egypt profoundly influenced Greece."

[William Cooper]: Now what's left out here, and the reason it’s usually left out, is because any mention or discussion of the Babylonian Mysteries or the Babylonian religion is usually met with much criticism and derision by those who believe that it was a terrible institution. The Mysteries definitely came from the East, and the East in the Mysteries still survives today. When one Freemason greets another and he is not sure if he is really a Freemason, he will ask if he is a "traveler", or if he is "traveling" or if he is a "fellow traveler". All, I might add, were the same code of identification used by the Communist party in this country, because Communism and the Mysteries are the same entity, as are Socialism and the Mysteries.

[William Cooper]: When they meet and this exchange takes place, the one being queried, if he is indeed a member of the Mystery Religion, will say, "Yes, I’m a traveler," to which the first, or the inquirer, will respond with, "Where are you going?" or "Where are you traveling, from where to where?" And the answer will be, "From west to east," for the east is the position of the rising sun, where the knowledge comes from. You see? For an early history, it certainly can be proven to have come from the east. And the sun was the symbol of the intellect . It began by being the symbol of the unseen god of the universe and slowly transformed into the symbol of the intellect, the light, Osiris, Ra, Lucifer.

"Prayer, fasting, and study were the first requirements, when the Indian candidate prepared himself for the trials which were before him, [William Cooper: All of this, folks, originated in Babylon at the dawn of civilization.] for the actual sight for the Great Gods, and the final 'word' ([or] teaching) which would be implanted in his mind when it had become sufficiently prepared to receive it. [And] if the weather was cold, he would have to sit in the snow or rain, naked. In the torrid heat, he sat in the full blaze of the sun with four fires built around him to give additional heat. This was the first part of the undertaking; while he repeated prayers and repetitions which included the invocation for his complete conversion. This latter concentration [folks] upon the desires of the candidate is applied in more than one of the mysteries. [William Cooper: Some of the initiations ceremonies were cruel and painful.] Coupled with the 'word' which is given during the ceremonies, it means that the power of suggestion is being applied continuously, and should penetrate into the mind at every moment when it is able to receive it.

"This period of dedication was succeeded by one in which he visited the underground cave of initiation."

[William Cooper]: And when it wasn’t in a cave, it was in a tomb or a crypt, such as the pyramids of Egypt, which were never tombs of pharaohs, but were, from the beginning until the end of their use, they were temples of initiation.

"Passing through a tunnel of complete darkness, [the initiate] emerged into the cavern, where three priests, dressed as gods, awaited him in resplendent and intimidating array. After being addressed and partaking in the oration of prayers, [the initiate] walked rapidly around the temple several times [William Cooper: this called circumambulation] and was then carried through several subterranean and unlit caves. During this time there were wails[, wails, screams] and shouts from every side, while illuminated specters and other horrors abounded. At the end of this terrible experience, the aspirant came to two doors which, when thrown open to the sound of the sacred conch trumpet the conch [William Cooper: folks, is a shell], revealed a scene of brilliance and glory. This hall was full of every delight in the form of pictures, music, and perfume. [The initiate] walked to the altar in the room where he was again harangued, and presented with his sevenfold cord, which was marked his passing through the initiation.

"[Now,] if we compare these proceedings with those that were said to be carried out among the Egyptians, the parallelism is startling [even today]. The candidate was taken to a well, which he had to descend until it came to a tunnel. Torch in hand, he passed through a door, which closed with a resounding noise [William Cooper: as if never to be opened again]. He was met by frightful figures, which offered him a last chance of going back. [Then] he passed through a fire, swam through a dangerous underground stream. [And] as soon as he reached a door and touched a ring to open it, a blast of air blew out the lamp which gave the only available light. [Some type of] machine swung him over a bottomless pit. [And] just as he was on the point of exhaustion, and ivory door opened, and he found himself on the threshold of a resplendent Temple of Isis. Here the priests received him into their company. [He would go through a] series of tests, he had to undergo fasting and what would nowadays be called indoctrination, before he could be considered completely initiated into even the first degree. The foregoing experiences were followed by the higher degrees, those of Serapis and Osiris."

[William Cooper]: And, in the process, the wives of the priests would tease him and cajole him and try to get him to make love to them. And if he had successfully resisted, then he could say that he had passed all the tests. But if he succumbed to their advances, he was not considered worthy.

"It is needless to outline the beliefs and methods used in the Chinese, Japanese, South American and other mysteries; because while the legends which are inculcated [may] vary [in some way -- they are all essentially and basically the same], the training hardly varies at all. The real mystery of the mysteries[, folks,] is how and when man first discovered and the use certain procedures to condition other men [William Cooper: and thus rule them and control them], and whether the discovery was instantaneous or gradual, or simultaneous or at different times or places. But one cannot date doctrines as one can archaeological finds, by radioactive carbon [dating].

[William Cooper]: And, so, you have reached another milestone in your education into the Mysteries. And this program has only half completed. And, again, I must remind you we have just begun, for we are essentially covering six thousand years of the history of a hidden religion, known simply as the Mysteries. To Christians, it is Mystery Babylon; to others, it is called the Invisible College. In all cases, it belongs to those who consider themselves in possession of the only truly mature minds, and thus the only ones capable of knowing certain advancements in technology, sociology and many, many other things. They call themselves of the "Guardians of the Secrets of the Ages." And I can assure you, folks, they are in complete control of all elements of our society, military, and government at this time. So it is essential that you learn these facts about them and their organization, so that we can decide our future.

[William Cooper]: Don't go away, folks. We've got to take a short break. I'll be right back after this pause.

(break music: unknown, dramatic instrumental music)

[continuing reading from: A History of Secret Societies, written by Arkon Daraul]:

"The cult of Mithra, the intercessor between man and the Persian divine power Ormuzd, was once an extremely widespread one [William Cooper: for it is the original cult of the sun]. From its origins in Persia, the faith spread to Babylononia, Greece and finally the Roman Empire, where it struggled against Christianity at the latter’s inception. Christianity won, with the decline the material virtues of the Romans, but there are people who worship the solar deity [today], and even London has its Mithra temple.

"Mithra was said to give his worshipers success in this world as well as security and happiness in the next. [William Cooper: Sound familiar, Freemasons?] He was originally a genie, the worldly representative of the invisible power which ruled the affairs of men. Later (and the cult probably has a history of over six thousand years) he became thought of by his devotees as not being just one of the twenty-eight genii, but the only one which mattered, and the only one who could cater to the wishes and needs of the people. Thus it was that the ancient Aryan worship of Ahura-Mazda, the supreme being, was displaced by that of one of his representatives. Now, one way, folks, you can tell who, or which corporations, or which businesses, or societies belong to these cults, is look at these names. Such as Saturn, Mazda, etc. Ahura Mazda, the supreme being, was displaced by that of one of his representatives. Although archaeological research has produced little to give a clear picture of the rituals and beliefs of the Mithraists, a considerable amount of secret lore still survives in the east -- from India to Syria -- which gives one a good idea of exactly how the members of the cult thought, and [just exactly] what their magical ceremonies were.

"Three ritualistic objects are used by Mithraists: the crown (equivalent to the sun, and power of the supernatural kind), the hammer or club (symbolizing creative activity of mankind) and the bull, which stands for nature, virility, [and] increase. By the proper understanding of these objects and [just exactly] what they represent, Mithraists have it that the ordinary man can transcend his environment, can become great, or successful, or can achieve what he wants to do; and enters a delightful after-life. What must he give in exchange? Nothing but worship to the principle which presides over all destiny [William Cooper: and control to the priests of the religion]. "

[William Cooper]: Now let’s regress just a moment, and let me explain to you why the bull. Throughout the ancient world you see the symbology of the bull. Now you have to remember, this history goes back six thousand years. The first two thousand, of which, looking back, is the Christian era. Now, remember, this is the age of Pisces, or the two fish. The six thousand year period started in antiquity when the sun was in Taurus, or the Bull. That is the meaning of Baal, the golden calf...was the representation of the house of the sun, or the age of the bull, or Taurus. It was really the same old Mystery Religion, the worship of the unseen God of the universe, represented by the sun which, over the centuries and the millennia, has become the worship of the intellect, with the sun the representation of the light, or Lucifer, the one who gave man the gift of intellect.

[William Cooper]: Now after the age of Taurus came the Goat, or the Ram. And this was symbolized by the symbol of the goat, or the goat of Mendes, for in Mendes there was a temple erected to the worship of the Mysteries, and since the sun was in the house of the goat, or the ram, the object of the exoteric worship by the masses was the goat.

[William Cooper]: When the sun passed into the house of Pisces, or the two fishes, the Christian era began. We are now on our way out of the age of Pisces into the age of Aquarius. Once you understand that the ancient religion was a religion of the worship of the heavens then everything begins to come together. And when you understand that they ceased believing in an all-powerful unseen God, or hidden God of the universe, and became essentially pantheous (believing everything is God), they call this nature or the natural way. Then you can understand how man became to worship the intellect. The intellect. And the symbol that used to represent the unseen God of the universe came to represent the intellect. The use of which will bring man to the state of Apotheosis, where man himself will become God. And then you begin to look at all the things that are happening today and you see their symbology everywhere. Nowhere will you see it more prominently than in the Loony Tune fringe element calling themselves, "Ufologists." You will see that everything to do with the so-called UFO phenomena, comes right out of the Mystery Schools.

"One reason[, folks,] for the loss of importance of the cult [of Mithras] undoubtedly is that admission was restricted to those who were thought worthy to receive the blessings which would come through the proper beliefs and use of the magical powers presided over by the Mithra priests. Christianity, for instance, was open to a far greater section of the population, even although the Christian mysteries were not accessible everywhere to all to until relatively late [in our history]. At the same time, some of the Mithras ceremonials were of such obvious emotional appeal that scholars are agreed, that the purely ritualistic side of Christianity owes much to those of the sun-god of the Persians."

[William Cooper]: And if you have been listening to this program, you already know that: that Christianity was actually merged with the religion of the worship of the sun into what is now known as the Vatican.

"The lowest degree of initiation was known as the Sacrament, and could be administered to anyone, theoretically, who could be relied upon to keep a secret, and would develop into a regular and devout worshiper This degree was called that of The Crow, and it symbolized, according to the present-day Mithras, the death of the new member, from which he would arise reborn as a new man [William Cooper: and today The Crow is known as a phoenix]. This death [or symbolic death] spelt the end of his life as an unbeliever and canceled his allegiance to former and unaccepted beliefs. The use of the word ‘crow’ probably derives from the ancient Persian practice of exposing their dead to be eaten by carrion birds -- which is still carried on by the Parsi community in India, who follow parts of ancient Iranian religion as supposedly taught by Zoroaster. But if the crow symbolized death, it was also delegate privileged to take over the human body after death. [Of course,] in a sense, it was superior to humanity. Thus it was that the member of the cult was superior to the ordinary run of mortals."

[William Cooper]: They believed themselves to be a separate race of man and still do.

"The candidate descended seven steps into the temple, which was an underground one, fashioned in the shape of a cavern, and made to look as much as possible like a natural cave. Initiation tests now took place. The newcomer was pursued by 'wild beasts' (priests in animal skins), 'demons' and all sorts of terrors. He had to fast for three days. [And] in this debilitated, altered and plastic state, he was given a lecture by a priest on the responsibilities which were now his. Among these were the necessity to call brother only those who had been initiated."

[William Cooper]: In the words of a Freemason today, whose son I happen to know: "If you are not one of us, you are nothing." Those words were spoken to his son when he asked his father why the Freemasons that he knew and his father were persecuting a local business man and trying to drive him out of business. Now, bear in mind that his son was not a Freemason. Let me say those words again for you, folks: "If you are not one of us, you are nothing."

"All family ties were severed; nothing mattered but doing one’s job well and carrying out the worship of Mithra. The final ceremony took place amid the clash of cymbals, the beating of drums and the unveiling of a statue of Mithra himself. This latter showed Mithra as a man, carrying a bull by the hind legs. Now the symbolism of this piece of sculpture was explained to him. The bull, in addition to symbolizing fecundity, was representative of animal passion [William Cooper: and it was also the house in which the sun dwelt in the first two thousand years of the religion]. It was through invocations to Mithra that mankind first discovered how to overcome this force, and how to discipline himself. Therefore the secret of religion was partly that the worshiper must restrain himself physically in order to obtain power over himself and over others."

[William Cooper]: And this is the mystery of the Sphinx that man has been trying to decipher since man discovered the Sphinx in the modern world. It is simply this: that man is nothing but an animal with a brain, with an intellect. It is to remind us, folks. It is to tell us that no matter what you think or how high you get, you are still nothing but an animal with an intellect. Period.

"This graphic teaching of the diversion of sexual power into psychic channels shows that the Mithraists followed in essence the pattern of all [Mystery Schools] which believed in the production of power through discipline. In this they are clearly distinguished from the more primitive and the less important of the orgiastic schools, which merely practiced indiscriminate indulgence, mass immorality and so on.

"The neophyte [in this initiation] then drank a little wine from the cymbal, to show that he realized that the cymbal is the means whereby ritual ecstasy comes, which puts him in touch with the 'higher powers'.

"[Now] two long lines of initiates knelt on either side of the low stone benches which traversed the crypt..."

[William Cooper]: Remember, George Bush was initiated in the crypt, or the tomb, at Yale University, into what is known as the Skull and Bones, the Russell Trust, the Brotherhood of death.

"[Now, remember,] two lines of initiates knelt on either side of the low stone benches which traversed the crypt, [and] as the new member, accompanied by the priests who were initiating him, walked along the central isle for the Eating of the Bread. A number of pieces of dried bread were placed on a drum, similar to those which were being softly beaten by one of the priests. The candidate ate one morsel, signifying that he accepted Mithra as the source of his food. This bread, according to their beliefs, had been exposed to the rays of the sun to absorb some of its quality; and thus the worshiper was partaking of the nature of the sun itself in this ritual observance."

[William Cooper]: But it goes deeper than that that, folks, because the sun is what enables all life to exist on this planet. Being that the planet is at the perfect balance, where it is neither too hot, nor too cold. And that the planet is tilted upon its axis, creating the seasons, which enable food to be grown in the more northern latitudes, than if the earth was stable on an axis where only one portion of the globe always was in direct alignment with the sun. Then it would be too hot at the equator; there would be one narrow band in the northern, southern hemisphere where crops could be grown; and it would be too cold in the northern and southern hemispheres. So, this ritual observance has scientific fact behind it, in that the bread, indeed, did come from the sun.

"[And] now [the initiate] was taught the password of the cult, which was to identify him to other members, and which he was to repeat to himself frequently, in order to maintain the thought always in his mind: 'I have eaten from the drum and drunk from the cymbal; and I have learned the secret of religion.'

"This is the cryptic phrase an early Christian writer, Maternus, reports as being taught to the Mithraists 'by a demon.'

"The second phase of initiation was called The Secret, and during this the candidate was brought to a state of ecstasy in which he was somehow made to believe that he had actually seen the statue of the god actually endowed with life. [Folks,] it’s not likely that there was any mechanical method by which this was done, because no such apparatus has been found in Mithraic temples unearthed. The candidate was brought up to the idol, to which he offered a loaf of bread and a cup of water. [And] this was to signify that he was a servant of the god, and that [he was] 'By what sustains my life I offer my entire life to your service.' The grade of Soldier may show that the military arts were responsible for a good deal of the power of Mithra worship in ancient Persia. Certain it is, in any case, that this degree greatly appealed to the Roman warriors who formed a very large part of the rank and file of the cult during its Western expansion. A sign similar to a cross, signifying the sun, was made on the forehead of the initiate, who was thus marked as being owned by the deity. A crown was placed before him, hanging from the point of a sword. This he took and placed it aside with the words: 'Mithra alone is my crown.'"

[William Cooper]: And this, folks, this takes place, in every, every mystery that there have ever been. Remember when Christ had went into the desert for forty days and forty nights and was tempted by Satan? Satan offered Him the crowns of any, or all, of the nations of the earth, if He [Christ] would just follow him [Satan]. And Christ rejected it. The same thing happens in the Mystery School: the initiate is always offered a crown, sometimes by the king or emperor himself. And if he accepts the crown, he is considered unworthy and, being as it would be interpreted as a threat to the real wearer of the crown, probably would have been executed. He was considered only worthy if he rejected the crown symbolic of the ruler, the ruling of the nation, or people, or area.

"The Persian crown, it will be remembered, from which pattern all present-day crowns are eventually derived, is a golden sun-disc with a hole in the centre for the head. [It’s] jagged at the edges (representing the sun’s rays) [William Cooper: just like that worn by the Statue of Liberty], and these projections are turned up, to make what is still known in Western heraldry as the Oriental crown."

[William Cooper]: You can also see this representation as the halo in Christian art.

"Now the candidate has to prove himself in a mock combat with soldiers and animals in a number of caves. When the Emperor Commodus went trough this degree of initiation, he actually killed one of the participants, although he was supposed to only make a symbolic slaying.

"Passed through the Soldier degree, the Mithras was eligible, after a lapse of time, to be promoted to the rank of Lion. He was taken again to the cavern, and honey was smeared upon his brow, as opposed to water that had been used in his acceptance into the earlier degree -- his 'baptism.' The degree of Lion was taken only by those who had decided to dedicate themselves completely to the cult, and who would henceforth have no truck with the ordinary world. The Lion was then, a sort of priest, but rather more of a monk. He was trained into the rites of the cult and told certain secrets.

"The degree of Lion of Mithras could only be conferred only when the sun was occupying [in] the Zodiacal sign of Leo ([and that is] about July 21st to August 20th) during the Persian month of Asad, The Lion. [Now,] there is a good deal of astrological lore in Mithraism, and also an admixture with cabbalistic numerology. The Greek branch of the Mithraists, for example, worked out that the numerical equivalent of the name (spelt by them Mitrus) was 365, and thus corresponded [of] the days in the solar year."

[William Cooper]: Well, since the deity was the sun, then this is exactly what it should have been.

"In the purely magical sense, Mithraism has it that both the name of the god and the rank which the individual holds in the cult have magical power. Thus, if a person wants to achieve anything, he has to concentrate upon the word 'Mithra', while preparing for himself the ceremonial repast and beating alternately a drum and cymbals.

"That the effect of initiation was to produce someone of an upright character is amply evidenced by literature of Roman times, in which the Mithraists were generally considered to be thoroughly trustworthy and improved people. Even their enemies could reproach their own followers [that showed the] vitality of the Mithras creed. Tertullian, in his De Corona [William Cooper: which is Latin for, 'The Crown'], which he composed in the third Christian Century, upbraids the Christians, inviting their attention to the Mithrists as examples:"

[William Cooper: De Corona actually means, "the Crown of Thorns."

"'You, his fellow-warriors, should blush when exposed by any soldier of Mithra. When he is enrolled in the cave, he is offered the crown, which he spurns. And he takes his oath upon this moment, and [he] is to be believed. Through the fidelity of his servants the devil puts us to shame,' [he said.]

"[Now] there were seven degrees of initiation in all, although there are some branches of the ecstatic side of the lore which includes certain others, making the total twelve. After Lion came the Persian, then the Runner of the Sun, then Father, and finally, Father of Fathers. The twelfth degree, it is said, is King of Kings, [William Cooper: and where have we heard that before?] and properly, this can be held only by the supreme king, and preferably the Shahinshah (King of Kings) of Persia.

"This very ancient cult, from which more than one present-day secret society [is] derived, is thus seen to contain many of the elements which underlie organizations of this sort. [You see folks,] it is a training system; it attempts to produce in its members a real or imagined experience of contact with some supreme power. The magical element is there too, shown in the belief in the power of certain names to achieve things which cannot be done by men. Mithraism was not an anti-social society, in the sense that it did not conflict in its aims with the objectives of the countries in which it flourished. And hence it did not threaten the established order. It was tolerant of other creeds."

[William Cooper]: Just like Freemasonry is now. You can belong to any religion and join at the lowest level. But I guarantee you that, when you reach the highest level, you will only belong to one religion.

"[The tolerance] of other creeds...meant that [it] did not intend to supplant them. Its greatest festival, the Birth of the Sun, on the 25th of December, became Christianized; and it is claimed by those that still believe in the mysteries and celebrate them, that Christianity did not so much supplant Mithraism as absorb it, accepting some of its externals and diverting to its own use [William Cooper: and that is exactly what has happened]. Perhaps incongruously, a present-day follower of Mithra in England recently likened this phenomenon to the eclipse of the Liberal Party, 'because the two other Parties have taken over its objectives, and widened the basis. Only the actual initiates of Mithra know what has been lost in the process.' So the young man in the Phrygian bonnet, sometimes seen as the conqueror of the bull, or even as a man with a lion's head, still has his devotees. And [folks] the sun still shines."

[William Cooper]: So, what does all this got to do with stars and stardust? Many people believe that Venus is the morning star and, in the ancient days, they say that it was Sirius that rose before the sun with a red cast to it, and then turned a brilliant white as it rose up into the heavens. Well, folks, if you really think about it, the sun is the morning star.

Good night, and God bless each and every one of you.

(closing music: continuation of Stardust?)

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