THE FOLLOWING is an attempt to systematise alike the data of mysticism and the
results of comparative religion.
The sceptic will applaud our labours, for that the very catholicity of the symbols
denies them any objective validity, since, in so many contradictions, something must
be false; while the mystic will rejoice equally that the self-same catholicity all-
embracing proves that very validity, since after all something must be true.
Fortunately we have learnt to combine these ideas, not in the mutual toleration of sub-
contraries, but in the affirmation of contraries, that transcending of the laws of
intellect which is madness in the ordinary man, genius in the Overman who hath
arrived to strike off more fetters from our understanding.
The savage who cannot
conceive of the number six, the orthodox mathematician who cannot conceive of the
fourth dimension, the philosopher who cannot conceive of the Absolute—all these are
one; all must be impregnated with the Divine Essence of the Phallic Yod of
Macroprosopus, and give birth to their idea.
True (we may agree with Balzac), the
Absolute recedes; we never grasp it; but in the travelling there is joy.
Am I no better
than a staphylococcus because my ideas still crowd in chains?
But we digress.
The last attempts to tabulate knowledge are the
of Knorr von
Rosenroth (a work incomplete and, in some of its parts, prostituted to the service of
dogmatic interpretation), the lost symbolism of the Vault in which Christian
Rosenkreutz is said to have been buried, some of the work of Dr. Dee and Sir Edward
Kelly, some very imperfect tables in Cornelius Agrippa, the “Art” of Raymond Lully,
some of the very artificial effusions of the esoteric Theosophists, and of late years the
knowledge of the Order Ros æ Rube æ et Aure æ Crucis and the Hermetic Order of the
Unluckily, the leading spirit in these latter societies
found that his
prayer, “Give us this day our daily whisky, and just a wee drappie mair for luck!” was
sternly answered, “When you have given us this day our daily Knowledge-lecture.”
Under these circumstances Daath got mixed with Dewar, and Beelzebub with
But even the best of these systems is excessively bulky; modern methods have enabled
us to concentrate the substance of twenty thousand pages in two score.
The best of the serious attempts to systematise the results of Comparative Religion is
that made by Blavatsky.
But though she had an immense genius for acquiring facts,
she had none whatever for sorting and selecting the essentials.