Introduction To The Study Of The Tarot

Approaching End of Materialism--Synthesis--The Occult Science—The Secret Societies--The Cultus--The People, Organ of the Transmission of Esoterism--The Gypsies--The Sacred Word of Freemasonry--Our Work.

"Therefore you must open the book and carefully weigh the statements made in it. Then you will know that the drug within is of very different value from the promise of the box, that is to say, that the subjects treated in it are not so frivolous as the title may imply."--RABBLAIS.

WE are on the eve of a complete transformation of our scientific methods. Materialism has given us all that we can expect from it, and inquirers, disappointed as a rule, hope for great things from the future, whilst they are unwilling to spend more time in pursuing the path adopted in modern times. Analysis has been carried, in every branch of knowledge, as far as possible, and has only deepened the moats which divide the sciences.

Synthesis becomes necessary; but how can we realize it?

If we would condescend to waive for one moment our belief in the indefinite progress and fatal superiority of p. 4

later generations over the ancients, we should at once perceive that the colossal civilizations of antiquity possessed Science, Universities, and Schools.

India and Egypt are still strewn with valuable remains, which reveal to arch^ologists the existence of this ancient science.

We are now in a position to affirm that the dominant character of this teaching was synthesis, which condenses in a few very simple laws the whole of the acquired knowledge.

But the use of synthesis had been almost entirely lost, through several causes, which it is important to enumerate.

Amongst the ancients, knowledge was only transmitted to men whose worth had been proved by a series of tests. This transmittal took place in the temples, under the name of mysteries, and the adept assumed the title of priest or Initiate. 1 This science was therefore secret or occult, and thus originated the name of occult science, given by our contemporaries to the ancient synthesis.

Another reason for the limited diffusion of the higher branches of knowledge, was the length and difficulty of the journeys involved before the most important centres of initiation could be reached.

However, when the Initiates found that a time was approaching when these doctrines might be lost to humanity, they made strenuous efforts to save the law of synthesis from oblivion. Three great methods were used for this purpose--

1. Secret societies,, a direct continuation of the mysteries;

2. The cultus, a symbolic translation of the higher doctrines, for the use of the people;

3. Lastly, the people itself became the unconscious depository of the doctrine.

Let us now see what use each of these groups made of the treasure confided to it.

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