The Occult Anatomy
In Scripture we are told that God made man in his own image. It is so stated not only in the Christian Bible but also in the holy writings of nearly all enlightened people. The Jewish patriarchs taught that the human body was the microcosm, or little cosmos, made in the image of the macrocosm, or the great cosmos. This analogy between the finite and the infinite is said to be one of the keys by the aid of which the secrets of Holy Writ are unlocked. There is no doubt that the Old Testament is a physiological and anatomical textbook to those capable of reading it from a scientific viewpoint. The functions of the human body, the attributes of the human mind, and the qualities of the human soul, have been personified by the wise men of the ancient world, and a great drama has been built around their relationships to themselves and to each other. To the great Egyptian demigod, Hermes, the human race owes its concept of the law of analogy. The great Hermetic axiom was, That which is above is like unto that which is below, and that which is below is like unto that which is above.
The building of temples in the form of the human body is a custom common to all peoples. The Tabernacle of the Jews, the great Egyptian Temple of Karnak, the religious structures of the Hawaiian priests, and the Christian churches laid out in the form of the cross, are examples of this practice. If the human body were laid out with the arms spread in the shape of any of these buildings, it would be found that the high altar would occupy the same relative position in the building that the brain occupies in the human body.
All the priests of the ancient world were anatomists. They recognized that all the functions of nature were reproduced in miniature in the human body. They, therefore, used man as the textbook, teaching their disciples that to understand man was to understand the universe. These wise men believed that every star in the heavens, every element in the earth, and every function in nature, was represented by a corresponding center, pole, or activity within the human body. These wise ones realized that there was a great deal more involved in religion than the chanting of mantras and the singing of hymns; they realized that the path of salvation could be walked successfully only by those who had practical, scientific knowledge of the occult function of their own bodies.
The Three Worlds
According to the Mystery Schools the human body is divided into three major parts, and in analogy with this the universe without is said to be composed of three worlds: heaven, earth, and hell. Heaven is the superior world and for some unknown reason is supposed to be above, although Ingersoll proved conclusively that owing to the rotation of the earth, up and down are always changing places. Nearly all religions teach that God dwells in the heavens. Their members are taught to believe that God is above them, so they raise their hands in prayer and lift their eyes to the heavens when they implore or petition him. Among some nations he is supposed to dwell on the tops of mountains, which are the highest places of the world. Wherever he is and whatever he is, his place of domicile is above, overshadowing the world below.
Between heaven above and hell beneath is the earth which the Scandinavians call Midgard, or the middle garden. It is suspended in space and forms the dwelling place of men and other living creatures. It is connected to the heavens by a rain-bow bridge down which the gods descend. Its volcanic craters and fissures are said to connect it with hell, the land of darkness and oblivion. Here, “twixt heaven and earth dominion wielding,” as Goethe said, exists nature. The green grass, the flowing rivers, the mighty ocean, exist only in the middle world, which is a sort of neutral ground where the hosts of good and evil fight their eternal battle of Armageddon.
Below, in darkness and flames, torment and suffering, is the world of Hell, which we have interpreted as hell. It is the great beneath; for as surely as we think of heaven as up, we think of hell as down, while this middle place (earth) seems to be (he dividing line between them. In hell are the forces of evil, the tearing, rending, destroying powers which are always bringing sorrow to the earth and which struggle untiringly to overthrow the throne of the gods in heaven.
The story of Jacob’s Ladder is an ancient allegorical biblical tale, describing the alchemical process of reaching complete Gnosis, or what some may call Sainthood, Buddhahood or enlightenment. A symbolic ladder that we all must climb if we wish to reach the spiritual heights of the divine in the heavens while we are encased in the physical matter here on earth. As we climb, we must purify ourselves, our thoughts, habits and actions, so that we may reach that seventh and final step of our ascent, in order to activate all of our seven senses and DNA.
The first step of Jacob’s ladder is the personal purification of your body, mind and soul which is represented by the moon. The second rung on the ladder is education intelligence managed by Mercury. The third step is beauty represented by Venus. The fourth rung is the sun, which is the life-giver. The fifth is a competition by mars to help us fight the good fight. The fight against darkness with light. Against lies with truth. The sixth rung in the ladder is Jupiter which is the symbol of intellectual maturity and judgment. The seventh and last step of the ladder is Saturn which represents the true sage, adept and master of Wisdom. The perfect balance of spiritual and material laws. All greatness is service and we must obey the laws of leadership.
The entire system is an anatomical myth, for the heaven- world of the ancients—the domed temple on the top of the mountain—was the skull with its divine contents. This is the home of the gods in man. It is termed up because it occupies the northern end of the human spine. The temple of the gods who rule the earth is said to be at the North Pole, which also, by the way, is the home of Santa Claus, because the North Pole represents the positive end of the spinal column of the planetary lord. Santa Claus, coming down the chimney with his sprig of evergreen (the Christmas tree) at the season of the year when nature is dead, has a fine Masonic interpretation for those who wish to study it.
The same is true of the manna that descended to feed the Children of Israel in the wilderness, for this manna is a sub-stance that comes down the spinal cord from the brain. The Hindus symbolized the spine as the stem of the sacred lotus; therefore the skull and contents are symbolized by the flower. The spinal column is Jacob’s ladder connecting heaven and earth, while its thirty-three segments are the degrees of Masonry and the number of years of the life of Christ. Up these segments, the candidate ascends in consciousness to reach the temple of initiation located on the top of the mountain. It is in this domed room with a hole in the floor (foramen magnum) that the great mystery initiations are given. The Himalayas mountains rise above the earth, representing the shoulders and upper half of the body. They are the highest mountains of the world. Somewhere upon their summit stands the temple, resting (like the heavens of the Greeks) upon the shoulders of Atlas. It is interesting to note that the atlas is the upper vertebra of the human spine upon which the condyles of the skull rest. In the brain, there are a number of caves (ventricles and folds), and in them (according to Eastern legends) live the wise men—the yogis and hermits. The caves of the yogis are said to be located at the head of the Ganges river. Every religion has its sacred river. To the Christians it is the Jordan; to the Egyptians it is the Nile; while to the Hindus it is the Ganges. The sacred river is the spinal canal, which has its source among the peaks of the mountains. The holy men in their retreats represent the spiritual sight in the human brain and are the seven sleepers of the Koran who must remain in the darkness of their caves until the spirit fire vitalizes them.
In the cerebellum, or posterior brain—which has charge of the motive system of the human body and is the only brain developed in the animal—is to be found a little tree-like growth which has long been symbolized by a sprig of acacia and as such is referred to in the Masonic allegory. The two lobes of the cerebrum were called by the ancients Gain and Abel, and have much to do with the legend of the curse of Cain, which is literally the curse of unbalance. For the murder of the spirit of equilibrium, Cain is sent forth a wanderer upon the face of the earth. I have in my possession a very remarkable skull that originally rested on the shoulders of a homicide. It is of high organic quality, but bears the curse of Cain. This individual had a grudge which he nursed very carefully. Nursed grudges sometimes become very dangerous things. This person swore that when he met a certain man he would cut his heart out and throw it in his face. A number of years passed, his hatred grew, and at last meeting his enemy he attacked him and fulfilled his threat. He was hanged for the crime, but the skull bearing the testimony to the brain reveals a very interesting fact. The right half of the brain is under the control of Mercury—the planet of intelligence—and as a result of the crossing of the brain nerves at the base of the skull it rules the left side of the body. The left half of the brain, under the control of Mars—the spirit of anger and impulse—rules the right side of the body and likewise the strong right arm. As the result of his hatred and the rulership of Mars which grew out of that hatred, the left rear side of the brain is fully twice the size of the right side. The individual allowed Mars to control his nature. The impetuosity of Mars-ruled him, and he paid with his life for the mark of Cain. Science knows there is a very narrow line between genius and insanity; for any dominating vice or virtue, man must pay with unbalance. Unbalance always distorts the view- point, and distorted viewpoints are unfailingly productive of misery.
Every organ of the physical body is reproduced in the brain, where it can be traced by the law of analogy. There are two embryonic human forms, one male and the other female, twisted together in the brain. These are the Yin and the Yang of China, the black and white dragons biting each other. One of these figures has as its organ of expression the pineal gland, and the other the pituitary body. These two ductless glands are well worth consideration, for they are very important factors in the unfolding of human consciousness. It is known that these glands are larger and more active in higher grades of mentality than in those of lower quality, and in certain congenital idiots they are very small. These two little glands are called the head and the tail of the dragon of wisdom. They are the copper and zinc poles of an electric circuit that has the entire body as a battery.
The pituitary body (which rests in the sella turcica of the sphenoid bone directly behind and just a little below the bridge of the nose and connected to the third ventricle by a tiny tube called infundibulum) is the feminine pole, or negative center, which has charge of the expressions of physical energy. Its activity also regulates to a large degree the size and weight of the body. It is also a thermometer revealing disorder in any other of the chain of ductless glands. Endocrinology (the study of the ductless glands and their secretions) is still in its experimental stage, but someday it will be revealed as the most important of all medical sciences. The pituitary body is known under the following symbols by the ancient world: The alchemical retort, the mouth of the dragon, the Virgin Mary, the Holy Grail, the lunar crescent, the laver of purification, one of the cherubim of the Arch, the Isis of Egypt, the Radha of India, and the fish’s mouth. It may well be called the hope of the glory of the physical man. At the opposite end of the third ventricle and a little, higher is the pineal gland, which looks not unlike a pine cone (from which it secured its name).