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  1. Pavel Axentiev

    Regarding the references, the work of Franz Joseph Molitor (or, alternatively, Joseph Franz Molitor) seems significant. HPB quotes a Howitt’s translation of his “Philosophy of History and Traditions,” but it is nowhere to be found. I found what looks like the German original on, but that’s about it. (W. Howitt has also translated J. Ennemoser’s “History of Magic,” which is much more widely available; the translation is sometimes ascribed to his wife, Mary Howitt, the famous poetess.) By the way, the year of Molitor’s birth should read “1779,” of course.

  2. Pavel Axentiev

    I would also argue against the all-too-common allegations of HPB’s works being “hard to follow.” As she herself alludes to Intuition being a higher faculty of cognition, the sublime logic of the writings opens itself to the one who manages to combine the intelligence of the Heart with that of the Mind. In other words, and in my own experience, the texts should be studied with an attitude of reverence and/or fascination (somewhat natural to those Theosophists, who are characterized by a deep veneration of HPB and the Masters), and they should be studied methodically.

    Really, no synopsis will provide one with a full understanding of the texts (or, any text). Personal determination is a prerequisite.

  3. Pavel Axentiev

    A synopsis of the chapter by paragraph:

    1 Illustration of Adam from Sefer Dzeniouta
    2-3 Hermetic view on the “evolution” of man from previous races
    4 Divine and spiritual races of man, according to Popol Vuh, Philo Judaeus, Gnostic writers and Plato
    5 Earlier races according to the Kalmucks and Siberian tribes; shamans
    6 Ebers Papyrus
    7 Forty-two books of Hermes
    8 An accidental (?) encounter leading to the discovery of the papyrus
    9 Modern science concurs with the notion of ancient origin of man
    10-11 Science may be misinterpreting the evidence from ancient human fossils, ascribing them to the “uncultivated past”; Max Muller concurs with the contrary view
    12 Science vs. “scientists”
    13-14 Call for more open investigation
    15 The ancient theory of cycles; archaeological evidence in defense
    16 Arts and sciences were already degenerating in the times of the Ptolemies (the Hellenistic period); discovery of relics of pre-dynastic Egypt
    17 The excavations of Troy; proposition of higher knowledge of psychology in ancient times
    18 !- The cycles “do not embrace all mankind at one and the same time.” Science consents.
    19 Geometry the basis of Platonic doctrine; true mathematics pertaining to spirit as much as to matter
    20 Mathematics applied to the theory of cycles
    21 Contemporary physiology being at the lowest point of its cycle
    22 Mochus the Sidonian, the teacher of Pythagoras’s teachers
    23 Ancient knowledge covered by the “impenentrable veil of arcane secrecy”; metaphysics of Plato and its misrepresentation by modern-day translators
    24 General contempt of ancient philosophers by modern critics
    25 The contrary opinion
    26 Metempsychosis – Pythagoras – Aitareya Brahmana / The sacred meaning of number 4
    27 Metempsychosis provides ‘missing links’ to the theory of evolution / Knowledge of the Heliocentric system in the Vedas
    28 The Serpent-Mantra from Aitareya Brahmana and its presumed reference to evolution
    29 Knowledge of the Archaic geology indicated by the Vedic text
    30 !- The knowledge of the Sun’s movement alluded to in the text (“The sun never sets nor rises.”)
    31 Remark by Dr. Haug
    32 More evidence of the advanced knowledge of astronomy in ancient Hindu writings / Dating of the Vedas and the Chinese ‘Book of Odes’
    33 Chaldean astronomy and the fixing of the Roman calendar
    34 The accuracy of the Aztec (Mayan?) calendar
    35 The Zoroaster vs. the Brahmans contention
    36 Chronology remark by Dr. Haug
    37 Belief in the metempsychosis through the centuries (Brahmans, Buddhists, Pythagoras, Socrates, Origen, Clement Alexandrinus et al.) / Panentheistic beliefs / The doctrine of two souls espoused by Aristotle, Zeno and others
    38 Mistranslation of the verse in Genesis I, 30
    39 Other errors in the translations of the Bible / El means Sol (Sun), not Deus (God) / Jehovah=Sun
    40 Misapprehension of the modern science / Platonic views as to the arithmetic nature of the soul
    41 Confession of Tyndall
    42 The Kabbalistic key
    44 Darwin’s imaginative breakthrough
    45 Darwin at the threshold
    46 Criticism of Huxley and, more broadly, the materialistic view of the origin of life
    47 Theosophic counterargument
    48 “The ancient Kabalist rested upon no hypothesis till he could lay its basis upon the firm rock of recorded experiment.”
    49 The origin of materialism (in Aristotle’s times)
    50 Hermes’ prophecy / Hierophants and hermetists predecessors to the Essenes
    51 Present-day philosophers can see only “her physical forms,” when lifting ‘the Veil of Isis’ / Need to use intuition – “the eye of the soul”
    52 Supreme Power vs. Supreme Being / The misconception of the masses / Kabbalistic view
    53 Pure chance cannot explain the universe
    54 !- The Jewish vs. Oriental Kabala / Descriptions of adepts
    55 Maimonides / “It is an insult to human nature to brand magic and the occult science with the name of imposture. To believe that for so many thousands of years, one-half of mankind practiced deception and fraud on the other half, is equivalent to saying that the human race was composed only of knaves and incurable idiots.”
    56 Occult knowledge of the East (Tibet, Japan, China) and the West (the Druids)
    57 “Magic is as old as man.” / Odin vs. the Volvas / Zoroaster
    58 The story of Apollonius of Tyana / Skepticism towards the Masons
    59-60 The medical knowledge in the ‘Kabala’ / Criticism of modern medicine / Examples of ancient medical arts
    61 Other modern discoveries predated by the ancients / Prof. John W. Draper’s ‘Conflict between Religion and Science’ / !- Astronomical knowledge of the ancient Chaldeans and Babylonians
    62 Further quote on Mesopotamian astronomy
    63-64 Where the world of eternal truths is to be discovered: Prof. Draper’s assertion (knowledge of geometry, “practical interrogations of nature”) and response to it (cf. the Mysteries and ancient Pyramid builders)
    65 The significance of symbols
    66 Mr. Felt’s discoveries
    67 Schweigger et al. / Mesmerism and the “iron finger”
    68 Bart: the Phrygian Dactyls and Cabeirian Theurgists / Guidance by spirits
    69 Ancient monotheism (“American statues to their god Washington”) / Mistakes of modern investigators as to the esoteric meaning of the ancient symbols
    70 Champollion defends the view that Egypt was monotheistic / Ennemoser traces all Greek knowledge to “Egypt and the East” / Addition of Moses and Jesus to the list
    71 Ennemoser on lack of data on the Mysteries / Burning of Numa’s books
    72 Magic (in the ancient world) as a divine science
    73 The source of knowledge of Moses and Joseph
    74 Ancient scientific knowledge superior to the modern
    75 Moses’ transmission of secret knowledge to seventy elders
    76 Jewish teachers of mysticism
    77 Quote by Prof. Moliter on the ancient knowledge of Israel
    78 The attitude of Christian churches
    79 Mediumistic phenomena “have manifested themselves at all times in Russia as well as in other countries.”
    80 Mediumism of the Pope, Pius IX.
    81 Quote from ‘Richard III’
    82 Mediumism and psychic powers of Prince of Hohenlohe
    83 !- The Russian mediums “Klikouchy” and “Yourodevoy” / Protest against the Roman and Protestand clergy
    84 !- Self-extrication from any irreverence or blasphemy / Appeal to the “CENTRAL SPIRITUAL SUN”
    85 Comparison of theologians and scientists with ancient geographers
    86 !- Critique of the contemporary Rosicrucians and Freemasons
    87 Introduction to the presentation of the theory of cycles (?)
    88 !- The great/Heliacal year / Periodic shifts of the Poles, Cataclysms and Deluges / Length of the Solar Year (10,800-13,984) / Giants that built Babylon (after surviving a Deluge) the alleged originators of the knowledge
    89 !- Hindu/Buddhist kalpas and yugas / “We are now … in the Kali-yug of the twenty-eighth age of the seventh manwantara of 308,448,000 years”
    90 – Corroborations by modern orientalists; the secret cycle; the key to the secret cycle (432,000) / Chaldean Book of Numbers
    91 The length of the great year: 21,000 or 24,000? (Higgins) / Precession of the equinoxes
    92 – Errors in the calculation; the origin of Jewish/Christian eschatology
    93 Cycles within cycles (day, year, Great Saros)
    94 !- Correspondence of physical “revolutions”/cycles with those “in the world of intellect”
    95 Brief rehashing of the theory in relation to human history
    96 Cycles (Ages) in the traditions of different peoples
    97 Historical personages as “but reflexed images of human types which had existed ten thousand years before”
    98 _”As above, so it is below. That which has been will return again. As in heaven, so on earth.”_
    99 Astronomical discoveries of Galileo and Copernicus are predated by the knowledge of ancient sages
    100 Quote by Hargrave Jennings
    101 Spiritualists vs. Theosophists
    102 Occultists vs. scientists and theologians / The Ego knows there is God in nature
    103 Knowledge of God and afterlife “one innate, irrepressible craving” of man
    104 Manes, anima, and umbra of the Ancient Greeks and Romans
    105 The necessity of reviewing the accepted analysis of ancient texts; “the method of extreme necessarianism” / Adepts
    106 Spiritualism and materialism surrogates of knowledge
    107 Prophecy of the new age of knowledge


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