The Book of Job: An Allegory of Initiation

The Book of Job, found in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and the Old Testament of the Christian Bible, is openly acknowledged by most Christians – even the fundamentalists and literalists – to be the oldest and most anciently written book in the Bible.

Theosophy maintains that like numerous other ancient spiritual texts it is in reality describing aspects and experiences of the process of initiation.

This term “initiation” is used a lot by Theosophists and other esotericists but what does it actually mean?

In its most basic meaning, initiation is the expansion of the soul into a new and higher level of consciousness.

But in its deeper meaning, initiation is also a Path undergone over the course of numerous lifetimes by one who aspires to join that hidden esoteric Brotherhood which guides and watches over the spiritual evolution and advancement of humanity. Such initiation – presided over in its higher levels by some of the Masters belonging to the Brotherhood – confers knowledge, powers, and perceptive insight, upon the successful candidate, and all for the entirely unselfish, selfless, altruistic work of helping, guiding, and teaching one’s fellow human beings.

Schools of initiation were often known as “Mystery Schools” and their presence and existence was documented by history throughout the whole world.

What they propounded was a noble form of Occultism, which term means nothing more than “hidden Knowledge,” but which has been demonised by modern Christians to become falsely synonymous with “evil” and “darkness.”

In “The Theosophical Glossary” H. P. Blavatsky provides these brief definitions:

Initiate. From the Latin Initiatus. The designation of anyone who was received into and had revealed to him the mysteries and secrets of either Masonry or Occultism. In times of antiquity, those who had been initiated into the arcane knowledge taught by the Hierophants of the Mysteries; and in our modern days those who have been initiated by the adepts of mystic lore into the mysterious knowledge, which, notwithstanding the lapse of ages, has yet a few real votaries on earth.”

Initiation. From the same root as the Latin initia, which means the basic or first principles of any Science. The practice of initiation or admission into the sacred Mysteries, taught by the Hierophants and learned priests of the Temples, is one of the most ancient customs. This was practised in every old national religion. In Europe it was abolished with the fall of the last pagan temple. There exists at present but one kind of initiation known to the public, namely that into the Masonic rites. Masonry, however, has no more secrets to give out or conceal. In the palmy days of old, the Mysteries, according to the greatest Greek and Roman philosophers, were the most sacred of all solemnities as well as the most beneficent, and greatly promoted virtue. The Mysteries represented the passage from mortal life into finite death, and the experiences of the disembodied Spirit and Soul in the world of subjectivity. In our own day, as the secret is lost [i.e. lost to modern Freemasonry but not lost to all], the candidate passes through sundry meaningless ceremonies and is initiated into the solar allegory of Hiram Abiff, the “Widow’s Son”.”

As well as calling the Book of Job “the poem of initiation par excellence” in “Isis Unveiled” Vol. 2, p. 364, HPB also speaks of it as –

* “that suggestive allegory of Karmic purification and initiatory rites” (“The Dual Aspect of Wisdom” article)

* “a recognized treatise on Initiation” (“The Dual Aspect of Wisdom”)

* “a Kabalistic treatise on Egypto-Arabic Initiation, the symbolism of which conceals the highest spiritual mysteries” (“The Kabalah and The Kabalists” article)

* “an allegorical narrative of the Mysteries and initiation therein of a candidate” (“Isis Unveiled Vol. 2, p. 351)

* “the allegorical and double record of (1) the Egyptian sacred mysteries in the temples and (2) of the disembodied Soul appearing before Osiris, and the Hall of Amenti, to be judged according to its Karma” (Footnote to an article titled “Bhagavad-Gita”)

And she also speaks, in the posthumously published “Preliminary Survey,” of “the deeply significant and poetical language of Job, the Arabian Initiate.”

Naturally, the text as we have it today is not the pure original but that is not to say we cannot gain anything of value from it.

In the literature of the modern Theosophical Movement the place where it is discussed at greatest length is HPB’s first book, “Isis Unveiled,” which bears the subtitle “A Master-Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology.” Volume One of “Isis Unveiled” is titled “Science” and the second volume “Theology.” It is in the second volume that HPB explores the Book of Job, in Chapter 10 titled “The Devil-Myth.”

The following is reproduced from that chapter:

The story of Satan in the Book of Job is of a similar character.  He is introduced among the “Sons of God,” presenting themselves before the Lord, as in a Mystic initiation.  Micaiah the prophet describes a similar scene, where he “saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of Heaven standing by Him,” with whom He took counsel, which resulted in putting “a lying spirit into the mouth of the prophets of Ahab.” [1 Kings, xxii. 19-23] The Lord counsels with Satan, and gives him carte blanche to test the fidelity of Job.  He is stripped of his wealth and family, and smitten with a loathsome disease. In his extremity, his wife doubts his integrity, and exhorts him to worship God, as he is about to die.  His friends all beset him with accusations, and finally the Lord, the chief hierophant Himself, taxes him with the uttering of words in which there is no wisdom, and with contending with the Almighty.  To this rebuke Job yielded, making this appeal: “I will demand of thee, and thou shalt declare unto me: wherefore do I abhor myself and mourn in dust and ashes?”  Immediately he was vindicated.  “The Lord said unto Eliphaz . . . ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.”  His integrity had been asserted, and his prediction verified:  “I know that my Champion liveth, and that he will stand up for me at a later time on the earth; and though after my skin my body itself be corroded away, yet even then without my flesh shall I see God.”  The prediction was accomplished: “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee. . . .  And the Lord turned the captivity of Job.”

In all these scenes there is manifested no such malignant diabolism as is supposed to characterize “the adversary of souls.” . . .

The allegory of Job, which has been already cited, if correctly understood, will give the key to this whole matter of the Devil, his nature and office; and will substantiate our declarations.  Let no pious individual take exception to this designation of allegory.  Myth was the favorite and universal method of teaching in archaic times. Paul, writing to the Corinthians, declared that the entire story of Moses and the Israelites was typical; [First Epistle to the Corinthians, x. 11.: “All these things happened unto them for types.”] and in his Epistle to the Galatians, asserted that the whole story of Abraham, his two wives, and their sons was an allegory. [Epistle to the Galatians, iv. 24: “It is written that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bond-maid, the other by a freewoman . . . which things are an allegory.”]  Indeed, it is a theory amounting to certitude, that the historical books of the Old Testament were of the same character.  We take no extraordinary liberty with the Book of Job when we give it the same designation which Paul gave the stories of Abraham and Moses.

But we ought, perhaps, to explain the ancient use of allegory and symbology.  The truth in the former was left to be deduced; the symbol expressed some abstract quality of the Deity, which the laity could easily apprehend.  Its higher sense terminated there; and it was employed by the multitude thenceforth as an image to be employed in idolatrous rites.  But the allegory was reserved for the inner sanctuary, when only the elect were admitted.  Hence the rejoinder of Jesus when his disciples interrogated him because he spoke to the multitude in parables.  “To you,” said he, “it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance; but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.”  In the minor Mysteries a sow was washed to typify the purification of the neophyte; as her return to the mire indicated the superficial nature of the work that had been accomplished.

“The Mythus is the undisclosed thought of the soul.  The characteristic trait of the myth is to convert reflection into history (a historical form).  As in the epos, so in the myth, the historical element predominates.  Facts (external events) often constitute the basis of the myth, and with these, religious ideas are interwoven.”

The whole allegory of Job is an open book to him who understands the picture-language of Egypt as it is recorded in the Book of the Dead.  In the Scene of Judgment, Osiris is represented sitting on his throne, holding in one hand the symbol of life, “the hook of attraction,” and in the other the mystic Bacchic fan.  Before him are the sons of God, the forty-two assessors of the dead.  An altar is immediately before the throne, covered with gifts and surmounted with the sacred lotus-flower, upon which stand four spirits.  By the entrance stands the soul about to be judged, whom Thmei, the genius of Truth, is welcoming to this conclusion of the probation.  Thoth holding a reed, makes a record of the proceedings in the Book of Life.  Horus and Anubis, standing by the scales, inspect the weight which determines whether the heart of the deceased balances the symbol of truth, or the latter preponderates.  On a pedestal sits a bitch — the symbol of the Accuser.

Initiation into the Mysteries, as every intelligent person knows, was a dramatic representation of scenes in the underworld.  Such was the allegory of Job.

Several critics have attributed the authorship of this book to Moses.  But it is older than the Pentateuch.  Jehovah is not mentioned in the poem itself; and if the name occurs in the prologue; the fact must be attributed to either an error of the translators, or the premeditation exacted by the later necessity to transform polytheism into a monotheistic religion.  The plan adopted was the very simple one of attributing the many names of the Elohim (gods) to a single god.  So in one of the oldest Hebrew texts of Job (in chapter xii. 9) there stands the name of Jehovah, whereas all other manuscripts have “Adonai.”  But in the original poem Jehovah is absent. In place of this name we find Al, Aleim, Ale, Shaddai, Adonai, etc.  Therefore, we must conclude that either the prologue and epilogue were added at a later period, which is inadmissible for many reasons, or that it has been tampered with like the rest of the manuscripts.  Then, we find in this archaic poem no mention whatever of the Sabbatical Institution; but a great many references to the sacred number seven, of which we will speak further, and a direct discussion upon Sabeanism, the worship of the heavenly bodies prevailing in those days in Arabia.  Satan is called in it a “Son of God,” one of the council which presents itself before God, and he leads him into tempting Job’s fidelity.  In this poem, clearer and plainer than anywhere else, do we find the meaning of the appellation, Satan.  It is a term for the office or character of public accuser. Satan is the Typhon of the Egyptians, barking his accusations in Amenthi; an office quite as respectable as that of the public prosecutor, in our own age; and if, through the ignorance of the first Christians, he became later identical with the Devil, it is through no connivance of his own.

The Book of Job is a complete representation of ancient initiation, and the trials which generally precede this grandest of all ceremonies. The neophyte perceives himself deprived of everything he valued, and afflicted with foul disease.  His wife appeals to him to adore God and die; there was no more hope for him.  Three friends appear on the scene by mutual appointment:  Eliphaz, the learned Temanite, full of the knowledge “which wise men have told from their fathers — to whom alone the earth was given”; Bildad, the conservative, taking matters as they come, and judging Job to have done wickedly, because he was afflicted; and Zophar, intelligent and skilful with “generalities” but not interiorly wise.  Job boldly responds: “If I have erred, it is a matter with myself.  You magnify yourselves and plead against me in my reproach; but it is God who has overthrown me.  Why do you persecute me and are not satisfied with my flesh thus wasted away?  But I know that my Champion lives, and that at a coming day he will stand for me in the earth; and though, together with my skin, all this beneath it shall be destroyed, yet without my flesh I shall see God. . . .  Ye shall say: ‘Why do we molest him?’ for the root of the matter is found in me!”

This passage, like all others in which the faintest allusions could be found to a “Champion,” “Deliverer,” or “Vindicator,” was interpreted into a direct reference to the Messiah; but apart from the fact that in the Septuagint this verse is translated:

“For I know that He is eternal
Who is about to deliver me on earth,
To restore this skin of mine which endures these things,” etc.

In King James’s version, as it stands translated, it has no resemblance whatever to the original. [See “Job “ by various translators, and compare the different texts.] The crafty translators have rendered it, “I know that my Redeemer liveth,” etc.  And yet Septuagint, Vulgate, and Hebrew original, have all to be considered as an inspired Word of God.  Job refers to his own immortal spirit which is eternal, and which, when death comes, will deliver him from his putrid earthly body and clothe him with a new spiritual envelope.  In the Mysteries of Eleusinia, in the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and all other works treating on matters of initiation, this “eternal being” has a name.  With the Neo-platonists it was the Nous, the Augoeides; with the Buddhists it is Aggra; and with the Persians, Ferwer.  All of these are called the “Deliverers,” the “Champions,” the “Metatrons,” etc.  In the Mithraic sculptures of Persia, the ferwer is represented by a winged figure hovering in the air above its “object” or body.  It is the luminous Self — the Atman of the Hindus, our immortal spirit, who alone can redeem our soul; and will, if we follow him instead of being dragged down by our body.  Therefore, in the Chaldean texts, the above reads, “My deliverer, my restorer,” i.e., the Spirit who will restore the decayed body of man, and transform it into a clothing of ether.  And it is this Nous, Augoeides, Ferwer, Aggra, Spirit of himself, that the triumphant Job shall see without his flesh — i.e., when he has escaped from his bodily prison, and that the translators call “God.”

Not only is there not the slightest allusion in the poem of Job to Christ, but it is now well proved that all those versions by different translators, which agree with that of king James, were written on the authority of Jerome, who has taken strange liberties in his Vulgate.  He was the first to cram into the text this verse of his own fabrication:

I know that my Redeemer lives,
And at the last day I shall arise from the earth,
And again shall be surrounded with my skin,
And in my flesh I shall see my God.”

All of which might have been a good reason for himself to believe in it since he knew it, but for others who did not, and who moreover found in the text a quite different idea, it only proves that Jerome had decided, by one more interpolation, to enforce the dogma of a resurrection “at the last day,” and in the identical skin and bones which we had used on earth.  This is an agreeable prospect of “restoration” indeed.  Why not the linen also, in which the body happens to die?

And how could the author of the Book of Job know anything of the New Testament, when evidently he was utterly ignorant even of the Old one?  There is a total absence of allusion to any of the patriarchs; and so evidently is it the work of an Initiate, that one of the three daughters of Job is even called by a decidedly “Pagan” mythological name. The name of Kerenhappuch is rendered in various ways by the many translators.  The Vulgate has “horn of antimony”; and the LXX has the “horn of Amalthea,” the nurse of Jupiter, and one of the constellations, emblem of the “horn of plenty.”  The presence in the Septuagint of this heroine of Pagan fable, shows the ignorance of the transcribers of its meaning as well as the esoteric origin of the Book of Job.

Instead of offering consolations, the three friends of the suffering Job seek to make him believe that his misfortune must have come in punishment of some extraordinary transgressions on his part.  Hurling back upon them all their imputations, Job swears that while his breath is in him he will maintain his cause.  He takes in view the period of his prosperity “when the secret of God was upon his tabernacles,” and he was a judge “who sat chief, and dwelt as a king in the army, or one that comforteth the mourners,” and compares with it the present time — when vagrant Bedouins held him in derision, men “viler than the earth,” when he was prostrated by misfortune and foul disease. Then he asserts his sympathy for the unfortunate, his chastity, his integrity, his probity, his strict justice, his charities, his moderation, his freedom from the prevalent sun-worship, his tenderness to enemies, his hospitality to strangers, his openness of heart, his boldness for the right, though he encountered the multitude and the contempt of families; and invokes the Almighty to answer him, and his adversary to write down of what he had been guilty.

To this there was not, and could not be, any answer.  The three had sought to crush Job by pleadings and general arguments, and he had demanded consideration for his specific acts.  Then appeared the fourth; Elihu, the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram. [The expression “of the kindred of Ram” denotes that he was an Aramæan or Syrian from Mesopotamia.  Buz was a son of Nahor “Elihu son of Barachel” is susceptible of two translations. Eli-Hu — God is, or Hoa is God; and Barach-Al — the worshipper of God, or Bar-Rachel, the son of Rachel, or son of the ewe.]

Elihu is the hierophant; he begins with a rebuke, and the sophisms of Job’s false friends are swept away like the loose sand before the west wind.

“And Elihu, the son of Barachel, spoke and said: ‘Great men are not always wise . . . there is a spirit in man; the spirit within me constraineth me. . . . God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.  In a dream; in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon man, in slumberings upon the bed; then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction.  O Job, hearken unto me; hold thy peace, and I shall teach thee WISDOM.’”

And Job, who to the dogmatic fallacies of his three friends in the bitterness of his heart had exclaimed: “No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you. . . .  Miserable comforters are ye all. . . .  Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God.  But ye are forgers of lies, ye are physicians of no value!” The sore-eaten, visited Job, who in the face of the official clergy — offering for all hope the necessarianism of damnation, had in his despair nearly wavered in his patient faith, answered:  “What ye know, the same do I know also; I am not inferior unto you. . . .  Man cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not. . . . Man dieth, and wasteth away, yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? . . . If a man die shall he live again? . . . When a few years are come then I shall go the way whence I shall not return. . . .  O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbor!”

Job finds one who answers to his cry of agony.  He listens to the WISDOM of Elihu, the hierophant, the perfected teacher, the inspired philosopher.  From his stern lips comes the just rebuke for his impiety in charging upon the SUPREME Being the evils of humanity.  “God,” says Elihu, “is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice; HE will not afflict.”

So long as the neophyte was satisfied with his own worldly wisdom and irreverent estimate of the Deity and His purposes; so long as he gave ear to the pernicious sophistries of his advisers, the hierophant kept silent.  But, when this anxious mind was ready for counsel and instruction, his voice is heard, and he speaks with the authority of the Spirit of God that “constraineth” him: “Surely God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty regard it. . . . He respecteth not any that are wise at heart.”

What better commentary than this upon the fashionable preacher, who “multiplieth words without knowledge!”  This magnificent prophetic satire might have been written to prefigure the spirit that prevails in all the denominations of Christians.

Job hearkens to the words of wisdom, and then the “Lord” answers Job “out of the whirlwind” of nature, God’s first visible manifestation: “Stand still, O Job, stand still! and consider the wondrous works of God; for by them alone thou canst know God. ‘Behold, God is great, and we know him not,’ Him who ‘maketh small the drops of water; but they pour down rain according to the vapor thereof’”; [xxxvi. 24-27.] not according to the divine whim, but to the once established and immutable laws.  Which law “removeth the mountains and they know not; which shaketh the earth; which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars; . . . which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number. . . . Lo, He goeth by me, and I see him not; he passeth on also, but I perceive him not!” [ix 5-11.]

Then, “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” [xxxviii. 1 et passim.] speaks the voice of God through His mouthpiece — nature.  “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.  Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest?  When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? . . . Wast thou present when I said to the seas, ‘Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further; and here shall thy proud waves be stayed ?’ . . . Knowest thou who hath caused it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man. . . . Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? . . . Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee, ‘Here we are?’” [Job xxxviii. 35.]

“Then Job answered the Lord.”  He understood His ways, and his eyes were opened for the first time.  The Supreme Wisdom descended upon him; and if the reader remain puzzled before this final PETROMA of initiation, at least Job, or the man “afflicted” in his blindness, then realized the impossibility of catching “Leviathan by putting a hook into his nose.”  The Leviathan is OCCULT SCIENCE, on which one can lay his hand, but “do no more,” [Ibid., xli. 8.] whose power and “comely proportion” God wishes not to conceal.

“Who can discover the face of his garment, or who can come to him with his double bridle?  Who can open the doors of his face, ‘of him whose scales are his pride, shut up together as with a closed seal?’  Through whose ‘neesings a light doth shine,’ and whose eyes are like the lids of the morning.”  Who “maketh a light to shine after him,” for those who have the fearlessness to approach him.  And then they, like him, will behold “all high things, for he is king only over all the children of pride.” [Ibid., xli. 34.]

Job, now in modest confidence, responded:

“I know that thou canst do everything,
And that no thought of thine can be resisted.
Who is he that maketh a show of arcane wisdom,
Of which he knoweth nothing?
Thus have I uttered what I did not comprehend —
Things far above me, which I did not know.
Hear!  I beseech thee, and I will speak;
I will demand of thee, and do thou answer me:
I have heard thee with my ears,
And now I see thee with my eyes,
Wherefore am I loathsome,
And mourn in dust and ashes?”

He recognized his “champion,” and was assured that the time for his vindication had come. Immediately the Lord (“the priests and the judges,” Deuteronomy xix. 17) saith to his friends: “My wrath is kindled against thee and against thy two friends; for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.”  So “the Lord turned the captivity of Job,” and “blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning.”

Then in the judgment the deceased invokes four spirits who preside over the Lake of Fire, and is purified by them.  He then is conducted to his celestial house, and is received by Athar and Isis, and stands before Atum, [Atum, or At-ma, is the Concealed God, at once Phtha and Amon, Father and Son, Creator and thing created, Thought and Appearance, Father and Mother.] the essential God.  He is now Turu, the essential man, a pure spirit, and henceforth On-ati, the eye of fire, and an associate of the gods.

This grandiose poem of Job was well understood by the kabalists.  While many of the mediæval Hermetists were profoundly religious men, they were, in their innermost hearts — like kabalists of every age — the deadliest enemies of the clergy.  How true the words of Paracelsus when worried by fierce persecution and slander, misunderstood by friends and foes, abused by clergy and laity, he exclaimed:

“O ye of Paris, Padua, Montpellier, Salerno, Vienna, and Leipzig! Ye are not teachers of the truth, but confessors of lies.  Your philosophy is a lie.  Would you know what MAGIC really is, then seek it in St. John’s Revelation. . . .  As you cannot yourselves prove your teachings from the Bible and the Revelation, then let your farces have an end.  The Bible is the true key and interpreter.  John, not less than Moses, Elias, Enoch, David, Solomon, Daniel, Jeremiah, and the rest of the prophets, was a magician, kabalist, and diviner.  If now, all, or even any of those I have named, were yet living, I do not doubt that you would make an example of them in your miserable slaughter-house, and would annihilate them there on the spot, and if it were possible, the Creator of all things too!”

That Paracelsus had learned some mysterious and useful things out of Revelation and other Bible books, as well as from the Kabala, was proved by him practically; so much so, that he is called by many the “father of magic and founder of the occult physics of the Kabala and magnetism.” (“Isis Unveiled” Vol. 2, p. 485-486, 493-500)

We conclude by sharing a couple of passages from two of HPB’s articles, which also shed some light upon the esoteric nature of this mystical scripture:

“But now as then, we have a right to analyze the terms used and enquire in the words of the Book of Job, that suggestive allegory of Karmic purification and initiatory rites:

“Where shall (true) wisdom be found? where is the place of understanding?” and to answer again in his words: “With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding” (Job, xxviii, 12, and xii, 12).

“Here we have to qualify once more a dubious term, viz: the word “ancient,” and to explain it. As interpreted by the orthodox churches, it has in the mouth of Job one meaning; but with the Kabalist, quite another; while in the Gnosis of the Occultist and Theosophist it has distinctly a third signification, the same which it had in the original Book of Job, a pre-Mosaic work and a recognized treatise on Initiation. Thus, the Kabalist applies the adjective “ancient” to the manifested WORD or LOGOS (Dabar) of the forever concealed and uncognizable deity. Daniel, in one of his visions, also uses it when speaking of Jahve – the androgynous Adam Kadmon. The Churchman connects it with his anthropomorphic Jehovah, the “Lord God” of the translated Bible. But the Eastern Occultist employs the mystic term only when referring to the re-incarnating higher Ego. For, divine Wisdom being diffused throughout the infinite Universe, and our impersonal HIGHER SELF being an integral part of it, the atmic light of the latter can be centered only in that which though eternal is still individualized – i.e., the noetic Principle, the manifested God within each rational being, or our Higher Manas at one with Buddhi. It is this collective light which is the “Wisdom that is from above,” and which whenever it descends on the personal Ego, is found “pure, peaceable, gentle.” Hence, Job’s assertion that “Wisdom is with the Ancient,” or Buddhi-Manas. For the Divine Spiritual “I,” is alone eternal, and the same throughout all births; whereas the “personalities” it informs in succession are evanescent, changing like the shadows of a kaleidoscopic series of forms in a magic lantern. It is the “Ancient,” because, whether it be called Sophia, Krishna, Buddhi-Manas or Christos, it is ever the “first-born” of Alaya-Mahat, the Universal Soul and the Intelligence of the Universe. Esoterically then, Job’s statement must read: “With the Ancient (man’s Higher Ego) is Wisdom, and in the length of days (or the number of its re-incarnations) is understanding.” No man can learn true and final Wisdom in one birth; and every new rebirth, whether we be reincarnated for weal or for woe, is one more lesson we receive at the hands of the stern yet ever just schoolmaster – KARMIC LIFE.

“But the world – the Western world, at any rate – knows nothing of this, and refuses to learn anything. For it, any notion of the Divine Ego or the plurality of its births is “heathen foolishness.” The Western world rejects these truths, and will recognize no wise men except those of its own making, created in its own image, born within its own Christian era and teachings.” (“The Dual Aspect of Wisdom”)

“In the Book of Job, a Kabalistic treatise on Egypto-Arabic Initiation, the symbolism of which conceals the highest spiritual mysteries, one finds yet this significant and purely materialistic verse: “Man that is born of a woman is . . . like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not” (xiv. 1, 2). But Job speaks here of the personality, and he is right; for no Initiate would say that the personality long survived the death of the physical body; the spirit alone is immortal. But this sentence in Job, the oldest document in the Bible, makes only the more brutally materialistic that in Ecclesiastes, iii, 19, et seq., one of the latest records. The writer, who speaks in the name of Solomon, and says that “that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even . . . as the one dieth, so dieth the other . . . so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast,” is quite on a par with the modern Haeckels, and expresses only that which he thinks.” (“The Kabalah and The Kabalists”)

Job 38:31 famously contains the phrase “the sweet influences of the Pleiades” and anyone who has ever wondered what this might really mean or be referring to will gain much from our article Theosophy on The Pleiades. It begins with HPB’s statement that “These Pleiades are the most occult constellations that exist. . . . They are very occult, because they are connected with all the Rishis, too; they have an interchange of thought with the Rishis,” “Rishi” being a Sanskrit term for great Sages and Adepts.

An article which relates closely to this present one is Initiation in St. John’s Gospel.

That real and powerful centres of occult initiation still exist in certain parts of the world – albeit secretly and inaccessibly to all but the few who are ready and deserving – and that they are closely linked with the “Masters of Wisdom” behind H. P. Blavatsky and the Theosophical Movement, can be seen from the article Damodar and The Hall of Initiation.

Finally, William Q. Judge’s words on The Daily Initiation remind us that whilst we are still failing to pass successfully and triumphantly through even the little trials, tests, and challenges, of ordinary daily life, it is both futile and conceited to imagine that we are somehow already worthy of becoming initiated by the Masters. But this does not mean we shouldn’t aspire towards that as an eventual goal, provided that the motive behind it is solely to become of the utmost possible help and service to humanity.

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