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Title: Sacred Mysteries Among the Mayas and the Quiches, 11,500 Years Ago
Author: Le Plongeon, Augustus
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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       *       *       *       *       *


Sacred Mysteries



11,500 YEARS AGO.



In Times Anterior to the Temple of Solomon.




Author of "A Sketch of the Ancient Inhabitants of Peru, and their
Civilization;" "Vestiges of the Mayas;" "Essay on Vestiges of Antiquity;"
"Essay on the Causes of Earthquakes;" "Religion of Jesus compared with the
Teachings of the Church;" "The Monuments of Mayax and their Historical



Entered according to Act of Congress, March 15, 1886, by
in the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.


_All Rights Reserved._





Is Respectfully Dedicated,



NEW YORK, MAY 20TH, 1886.



The forests of Yucatan and Central America are to-day, for the majority of
the people of the United States, even those who call themselves scientific
and well informed, as much a _terra incognita_, as America was to the
inhabitants of Europe before its discovery by Cristobal Colon in 1498, when
for the first time he came in sight of the northern coast of South America,
and navigated along it from the mouth of the river Orinoco to _Porto
Cabello_ in the _Golfo Triste_.

A few, having perused the books of J. L. Stephens, Norman, and other
tourists who have hurriedly visited the ruins of the ancient cities that
lie hidden in the depths of those forests, have a vague idea that there
exist the remains of stone houses built some time or other before the
discovery, aver authoritatively that "their builders were but little
removed from the state of savagism, and that none of their handwork is
worth the attention of the students of our age. Their civilization, they
confidently say, was at best very crude. They were ignorant of the art of
writing; and the scanty records of their history chronicled on deer-skins,
in pictorial representations, are well nigh unintelligible. They had no
sciences, no mental culture or intellectual development. They were in fact
a race whose intelligence was for the most part of lower order. From what
they did nothing is to be learned that has any direct bearing on the
progress of civilization." In no wise can they be compared with the
Egyptians or the Chaldees, much less with the Greeks or Romans; it is not,
therefore, worth our while to spend time and money in researches among the
ruins of their cities. It is to Greece, it is to Egypt, to Chaldea, that
Americans must go in order to make new discoveries. In those countries must
be established schools for study of Greek, or Egyptian, or Chaldean
archæology: and American schools have been established at Athens and
Alexandria, and expeditions sent to Syria, to the shores of the Euphrates.

But the European scientists, who for many years past have explored those
old fields in order to obtain relics to fill the shelves of the museums of
their capitals and turned up the soil of the Orient in search of
archæological treasures, now look to the Western continent in quest of the
origin of those ancient civilizations which they have been unable to find
in the countries where they once flourished; and they look with that
reverence which true learning begets, on those ancient American temples and
palaces that are objects of contempt for some modern American scientists.

Thus we see established in Paris the "_Société des Américanistes_" whose
sole object is the study of all things pertaining to ancient American
civilization. That Society, composed of students, spares no efforts to
obtain knowledge respecting the architecture, the sciences, the arts, the
language, and the civilization of the people who inhabited, in remote ages,
the various countries of this Western continent. A premium of 25,000 francs
has been offered for the discovery of an alphabet or key to the
inscriptions carved on the walls of the monuments in Yucatan and Central
America. M. Désiré Charnay has been sent to obtain molds of the sculptures
and other precious relics that lie hidden and lost in the recesses of the
Central American forests. Casts have been made from such squeezes as he
obtained. These casts adorn the Trocadero Museum at Paris, duplicates of
the same having been presented to the Smithsonian Institute at Washington
by Mr. Pierre Lorillard of New York. This gentleman is the only American
who has ever contributed with his wealth and influence (he has spent 25,000
dollars) in expeditions for the recovery of facts and objects that may
throw light on the ancient history of America.

Then again we have in Europe the international "Congrès des Américanistes"
that convenes every four years in one of the capitals of Europe for the
purpose of collecting all new data, obtained in the interval, concerning
ancient American civilization.

In England, at Cambridge, there is in the University a large building
especially dedicated to Central American archæology. There are to be seen,
as I am informed by General Sir Henry Lefroy, the casts and photographs
obtained by Mr. Maudslay, a wealthy gentleman who has devoted his time and
wealth to the work of obtaining _fac-similes_ in plaster and photographs of
the ancient monuments of Honduras and Guatemala.

But what have we in New York, in the United States, in fact, to offer to
students of American archæology?

True, Mr. George Peabody, among his many benefactions, left a sum of money
for the foundation of a museum to be specially dedicated to the collection
of objects pertaining to American archæology. Such museum exists at the
University of Cambridge, Massachusetts. It bears his name. Does it contain
anything that may throw light on the history of the ancient inhabitants of
this Western Continent? I once wrote to an influential gentlemen connected
with the University asking him to propose to the trustees the purchase of a
copy of my collections of casts and mural paintings. His answer dated July
23d, 1885, was: "I will send your letter to one of the trustees, enjoining
him to accept its offer, but I fear they will treat that proposal as they
have so many others and say _no_! The collection of tracings they ought to
secure. The time has come when such things should be got at any cost. We
shall soon be as they are in India, hunting everywhere for things which
were easily to be had a few years ago."

My correspondent has visited the ruined cities of Yucatan; he knows the
value of my collections.

I have done all in my power to call the attention of American scientists,
of the men of leisure and money, to the fact that in New York perfect
fac-similes of the palaces and temples of the Mayas could be erected in
Central Park, both as ornament to the place, and object of study for the
lovers of American archæology who may not have the means, nor the time, nor
the desire, to run the risk of submitting to the privations and hardships
that those who wish to visit the ruined cities, must inevitably encounter.

But alas! all in vain.

Three years ago I had casts made from some of the stereotyped moulds made
by me of the sculptures at Uxmal and offered them for exhibition in the
Metropolitan Museum of Art in Central Park. They have been placed in the
cellar, out of the way, "for want of space against the wall." The public
has never seen them. I once remonstrated with one of the trustees, and
proposed to sell to the museum a copy of the collection of fresco paintings
from Chichen Itza, last remnants of ancient American art. The answer of the
gentleman was "No! those things are not appreciated, they are looked upon
as of no value." Nevertheless, some of the illustrations in this book are
photographs of the same despised casts and mural paintings.

During the last lecturing season I offered to several literary, scientific
and historical societies, to give lectures illustrated with views made by
us of the monuments, and enlarged with the stereopticon. In every instance
I received the same answer. "Our people are not interested in such a
subject." What! Americans not interested in American antiquities! in
ancient American history! in ancient American civilization!

Desiring to make the subject known before the lecture season was over, _en
desespoir de cause_, I asked Dr. John Stoughton Newbury, of the School of
Mines at Columbia College, if he could give me a chance to present the
subject before the members of the New York Academy of Science. I had no
hope of a favorable answer; but to my great surprise Professor Newbury
received my offer enthusiastically. Mrs. Le Plongeon lectured on the
monuments of Yucatan on the 2nd of March last, at Columbia College. Let the
ladies and gentlemen who were present say if the facts and views presented
to them were of sufficient interest to command their attention. A lady,
Mrs. Francis B. Arnold, residing at 21 West 12th Street, New York, was so
pleased that she asked Mrs. Le Plongeon to lecture at her own house to a
select party of friends. Let again the ladies and gentlemen who were
present at Mrs. Arnold's house, say if there is nothing worth seeing and
studying in the remains of ancient American civilization.

Let Mrs. Arnold and Dr. Newbury accept our heartfelt-thanks for affording
us an opportunity of presenting ancient America to a few appreciative
minds, if no more.

Mrs. Le Plongeon and I have written two works on Yucatan. One is:
"Monuments of Mayax, and their historical teachings." The other: "Yucatan,
its ancient palaces and modern cities; life and customs of the Aborigines."
We have offered them to several publishing houses, but the same answer has
been given by all. "There is no money in the publication of such books;
American readers do not care for this subject."

Notwithstanding such rebuffs, I made up my mind to present to American
readers some of the historical facts that have been brought to light by
deciphering the bas-reliefs and mural inscriptions, by means of the ancient
hieratic Maya alphabet discovered by me. I offer them in this small volume
that I take pleasure in dedicating to Mr. Pierre Lorillard, as the most
worthy of it among the Americans, for his generous help to students of
American archæology.

[Illustration: Ancient Maya Hieratic alphabet according to mural

[Illustration: Egyptian Hieratic alphabet according to Messrs. Champollion
le Jeune and Bunsen.]

If the perusal of this book fails to awaken in this country an interest in
ancient American civilization and history, then I will follow the advice
said to have been given by Jesus of Nazareth to his disciples when sending
them on their mission of spreading the gospel among the nations: "And
whomsoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence,
shake off the dust under your feet...." St. Mark, chap. vi., verse 11—for I
shall consider it useless to spend more time, labor, and money on the
subject in the United States, remembering the fate of Professor Morse, when
he asked Congress for permission to introduce his electric telegraph in
this country.

In this small book (which two of the most prominent firms in New York have
positively refused to publish believing it to be a bad speculation), I
present only such facts as can be proved by the works of well-known writers
ancient and modern, and by the inscriptions carved on stone by the Maya
learned men and historians. It is for you, Reader, to judge if they are
worthy your consideration.




  Symbolical stone found in the Mausoleum of high
  pontiff Cay at Chichen.                                            19

  View of the pyramid called "House of the Dwarf,"
  at Uxmal,                                                          34

  Ground plan of the Sanctuary,                                      35

  Ground plan of the Temple of Mysteries,                            36

  Part of cornice surrounding the Sanctuary,                         39

  Cross bones and skeletons carved on the cornice of the
  Sanctuary,                                                         39

  Part of a statue with apron on which is sculptured the
  image of an extended hand. (From Uxmal.)                           40

  Symbolical slab with title of the high pontiff,                    45

  Symbols from the turret dedicated to the high pontiff
  Cay in the palace of King Can, at Uxmal,                           65

  Tableau of the creation, from the east façade of the
  palace at Chichen-Itza,                                            72

  Prince Coh in battle (from mural paintings at Chichen-Itza),       78

  Prince Coh's body laid out for cremation (from mural
  paintings at Chichen-Itza),                                        80

  Slab from Prince Coh's Mausoleum, at Chichen, leopard
  eating the heart of his enemies,                                   85

  Dying leopard with human head, from Prince Coh's
  Mausoleum at Chichen-Itza,                                         86

  Priest of Osiris making an offering (from the tombs of
  Thebes),                                                           86

  Statue of Prince Coh, found in his Mausoleum at
  Chichen-Itza, now in the National Museum in the
  City of Mexico,                                                    87

  Slab from Prince Coh's Mausoleum at Chichen, representing
  Queen Moo, under the figure of a macaw,
  eating the heart of her enemies,                                   88

  Tableau of the Mastodon worship, at Chichen,                       93

  Small terra cotta heads from British Honduras,                    104

  Sculptures on monolith gate at Tiahuanuco (Peru),
  from a model in the museum of the Long Island
  Historical Society in Brooklyn,                                   104

  Bas-reliefs from small room at the foot of Prince Coh's
  monument at Chichen-Itza,                                    115, 118

  Symbols of lower Egypt (from Sir Gardner Wilkinson's
  works on Egypt),                                                  115

  Plate XVII, part II. of Troano M.S.,                              116

  Plate XXV. part II. of Troano M.S., head dress of
  mother Earth,                                                     118

  Maps of the Maya Empire,                                          120

  Yaxche, sacred tree of the Mayas,                                 124

  Plate VI., part II. of Troano M.S.,                               126

  Worship of sacred tree (Papaya) from a Mexican M.S.,
  in the library of the British Museum,                             134

  Plate XXIV., part I., Troano M.S.,                                137

  Sons of King Can, represented under the symbol of
  deer-heads, totem of the country, plate XVI, part
  II. of Troano M.S.,                                               139




There are authors who attribute the origin of modern Free Masonry to the
followers of Pythagoras, because some of the speculations of that
Philosopher concerning the meaning of the numbers are to be found in the
esoteric doctrines taught in the masonic lodges. Others, on account of the
Christian symbols that have been incorporated in the decoration of things
pertaining to Masonry, following the Swedish system, say that the Essenes
and first Christians founded it. Others, again, make it originate in the
building of Solomon's temple, many Jewish names, emblems and legends, taken
from the Bible, having found their way into the rites of initiation to
several degrees. Others, still, make it go back to Adam. Ask them why—they
do not know. While not a few, and I among them, earnestly believe that
Masonry existed before Adam was created. I believe it, because I am
convinced that this pretended ancestor of man is a myth—and has never
existed. Thomas Payne and those of his school say that the Druids were the
fathers of the craft; they being worshipers of the sun, moon and stars: and
these jewels of the firmament being represented on the ceilings of the M⸫
lodges. Dance of Villoison speaks of Herculaneum as its birth place,
because of the many similarities that existed between the collegia of the
Romans and the lodges of the operative Masons of the middle ages. Michael
Andrew Ramsay, a Scotch gentleman, in a discourse delivered in Paris in
1740, suggested the possibility of the fraternity having its origin, in the
time of the crusades, among the Knight Templars, and he explains it in this

The Pope, Clement V., and Phillippe-le-bel, King of France, fearing the
power of the Templars and coveting their immense wealth, resolved to
destroy the Order. When, in 1308, Jacques de Molay, then Grand Master of
the Order, was preparing an expedition to avenge the wrongs and disasters
suffered by the Christians in the East, the Pope, who was the only power to
which, in the spiritual, the Templars owed allegiance, enticed him to

On his arrival he was received with every mark of friendship: but, soon
after, the King caused him to be arrested together with some of the other
dignitaries, accusing them of the most heinous crimes, imputing to them the
secret rites of their initiation. By order of the Archbishop of Sens and
his provincial council, Jacques de Molay, Guy of Auvergne and several other
officers of the Order were burned alive on March 18, 1314.

The Pope, by a bull dated on the 2d of April, and published on the 2d of
May, 1312, that he issued on his own responsibility, the Council of Vienne,
in Dauphiné, being adverse to hasty measures, declared the Order abolished
throughout the world. The execution of the Grand Master and his companions
gave the _coup de grace_ to the Order. Some of the Knights who had escaped
to Portugal continued the Order. They assumed the title of Knights of
Christ, which it bears to this day; but it never recovered its former
prestige and power.

Jacques de Molay, before dying had appointed Johan Marcus Larmenio as his
successor to the office of Grand Master. The Knights who, fleeing from the
persecution, had taken refuge in Scotland at the Court of King Robert
Bruce, refused to recognize his authority; and pretending to reëstablish
the Order of the Temple, under the allegory and title of Architects,
protected by the King, laid the foundation of the Order of Free and
Accepted Masons of the Scottish Rite in 1314.

This new society soon forgot the meaning of the execratory oath that the
members were obliged to take at their initiation; the death of Clement V.,
of Phillippe-le-bel, of the accusers and enemies of Jacques de Molay and
the other Knights who had been executed, having removed the object of their
vengeance. Still they continued to decorate their lodges with tokens
commemorative of the death of the Grand Master, to impose on all new
members the obligation of avenging it, which they signified by striking
with an unsheathed dagger at unseen beings, his supposed murderers,
although all their efforts were now directed to the restoration of the
honor of their association. This allegory is well-known to the Knights of
Kadosh. A century had scarcely elapsed when this idea also was abandoned,
the founders and their disciples having passed away. Their successors saw
only allegories in the symbols of the Order, and the extensive use of words
and texts from the Bible was then introduced. Of their work but little is
positively known until the reign of Charles I. of England, when their
mysterious initiations began to attract attention.

The enemies of Cromwell and of the Republic, having in view the
reëstablishment of the monarchy, created the degree of Grand Master to
prepare the minds of the Masons for that event. King William III. was
initiated. Masonry, says Preston, was very much neglected as early as the
reign of James II., and even after this period it made but slow progress
until 1714, when King George I. ascended the throne.

Three years later, in February, 1717, the first Grand Lodge was established
in London. A committee from the four lodges then existing in that city met
at the tavern of the "Apple Tree" and nominated Anthony Sayer, who was
elected Grand Master on the 24th of the following June, day of St. John the
Baptist, that for this reason was selected as patron of the Order.

This origin of the craft is credited by many of the best authorities on the
subject. They found their opinion on the fact that many of the ceremonies
practiced by the _Architects_ are still observed among the Masons; and that
the Grand Lodge preserved, with the spirit of the ancient brotherhood, its
fundamental laws. There are others, however, who likewise claim to be well
informed, that pretend it did not originate in any order of chivalry, but
in the building fraternities of the Middle Ages.

Be the origin what it may, the fact is that after the establishment of the
Grand Lodge at "Apple Tree Tavern," Masonry spread over Europe at a rapid
rate, notwithstanding the bitter opposition of the Church of Rome that
fulminated against it its most terrible anathemas as early as 1738 at the
instigation of the Inquisition. Pope Clement XII., on the 28th of April of
that year, caused a prohibitory bull to be issued against Free Masonry,
entitled _In Eminenti_, in which he excommunicated all Masons; and the
Cardinal Vicar of Rome, by edict in the name of the High Priest of the God
of Peace and Mercy, decreed the penalty of death against them in 1739; and
on May 18, 1751, Pope Benoit XIV. renewed the bull of Clement XII. by
another beginning with these words: _Providas Romanorum Pontificum_.

The Order was introduced in France in 1725, and on the 14th of September,
1732, all Masonic Associations were prohibited by a decree of the Chamber
of Police of the Chatelet of Paris.

In 1727, Lord Coleraine founded a lodge in Gibraltar, and in the succeeding
year in Madrid, the capital of Spain, the strong-hold of the Inquisition.

But in 1740, in consequence of the bull of Clement XII., King Philip V., of
Spain, promulgated an ordinance against the Masons in his kingdom, many of
whom were arrested and sent to the galleys. The Inquisitors took advantage
of the opportunity to persecute the members of a lodge they discovered in
Madrid. They caused them to be loaded with chains, to be obliged to row in
the galleys without other retribution than scanty rations of victuals of
the poorest quality, but an abundant supply of bastinade. Fernando VI.
renewed the ordinance on July 2, 1751, making Masonry high treason.

The brotherhood made its appearance in Ireland in 1730. It is not
positively known if it existed in the country before that time.

In 1732 it crossed the Atlantic and was imported in America. In that year a
lodge was held in "Tun tavern" in Philadelphia, the B⸫ having previously
met in Boston, which may be regarded as the birthplace of American Free
Masonry. Henry Price was the first provincial Grand Master appointed by the
Grand Lodge of England on April 30th, 1733.

The same year witnessed its establishment in various cities of Italy. In
1735, the Grand Duke Francis of Lorraine was initiated. He protected the
Masons, and the craft flourished in Italy until 1737, when Juan Gaston of
Medicis, Grand Duke of Tuscany, issued a decree of prohibition against it.
Soon after his death, which occurred the same year, the lodges which had
been closed were reopened. It was not long, however, before they were
denounced to the Pope Clement XII., who issued his bull of 28th of April
1738, and sent an inquisitor to Florence who caused various members of the
society to be cast into dungeons. They were set at liberty as soon as
Francis of Lorraine became Grand Duke of Tuscany. He not only protected the
Masons, but founded lodges in Florence and other places in his estates.

In 1735 a lodge was established in Lisbon the capital of Portugal. It will
be remembered that some of the Knight Templars, under the title of "Knights
of Christ," had kept alive the ancient order in that country in defiance of
the Pope's thunderbolts.

Among the Masons initiated in England were a great many Germans as early as
1730. These seem to have met occasionally in traveling in Germany, or to
have corresponded with each other; but no lodge is known to have existed
previous to the year 1737, when one without name was established in
Hamburg, although Grand Master Lord Strathmore had authorized in 1733,
eleven gentlemen and Brothers to open one.

In 1740, B. Puttman, of the Hamburg lodge, received a patent of Provincial
Grand Master from England, and the lodge assumed the title of Absalom.

King Frederick II., denominated the Great, whilst still Crown Prince, had
been initiated; and from the time of his initiation took great interest in
the welfare of the brotherhood. Crowned King of Prussia, he continued to
give it his support, assuming the title of "_Great master universal, and
Conservator of the most ancient and most respectable association of ancient
free masons or architects of Scotland_." Masonry enjoyed under his reign
such consideration, that many German princes, following his example, were
initiated; and so many of the nobility joined the society, that to belong
to it came to be regarded as a mark of nobility and high breeding.

Notwithstanding his multifarious State duties, and the many wars that took
place during his reign, which demanded his constant attention, he found
time to frame a constitution to cement together again the Order, that at
one time, owing to external persecutions on the one hand, to internal
dissensions, suscitated by the incorporation to it of the Rosicrucians and
still more that of the _Illuminati_ on the other, seemed on the eve of
falling asunder. That constitution, signed by him in his palace at Berlin,
on the 1st of May, 1786, saved Free Masonry from annihilation in Germany,
for many regarding it with suspicion, attacked and persecuted it: the
Catholics because it came from Protestant England; the Protestant clergy
looked upon it as hostile to Christianity, because of the teachings and
symbols altogether Catholic of the 18th degree, those of Rosa Cruz, whose
motto "we have the happiness of being in the pacific unity of the sacred
numbers," and "in the name of the holy and indivisible Trinity," bespeaks
its Jesuit origin. The people believed in the accusation of witchcraft and
sorcery, made against it by its enemies, because of the vail of secrecy
thrown over their meetings.

Authors have endeavored to show that modern free-masonry is not derived
from the mysteries of the ancients. J. G. Findel, an advocate of this
opinion, says: "Seeing that the ancient symbolical marks and ceremonials in
the lodges bear a very striking resemblance to those of the mysteries of
the ancients some have allowed themselves to be deceived, and led others
astray imagining they can trace back the history of the craft into the
cloudy mists of antiquity. Instead of endeavoring to ascertain how and when
these ceremonies were introduced into our present system, they have taken
it for granted that they were derived from the religious mysteries of the

Now, if we merely consider the tokens of recognition, the pass words and
secret words, the decorations of the lodges, according to the degrees into
which modern Masonry is divided, tokens, words and decorations nearly all
taken from the Bible and symbolical of events, real or imaginary, some of
which are said to have taken place in comparatively modern times, after the
decline and final discontinuance of the ancient mysteries in consequence of
the spread of Christianity; others having occurred in the early days of the
Christian era; others at the time of the building of Solomon's Temple, all
of which had certainly nothing to do with the religious mysteries of Egypt,
Chaldea, Greece, Etruria, etc., that were instituted ages before the
pretended occurrence of those events, then we may positively affirm that it
is not derived from these. But if, on the other hand, we observe, and it is
difficult to overlook it, that these symbols are precisely the same that we
find in the temples of Egypt, Chaldea, India, and Central America, whatever
may have been the esoteric meaning given to them by the initiated of those
countries, we are bound to admit that a link exists between the ancient
mysteries and Free Masonry. It is for us to try to discover when that link
was riveted and by whom.

If the theory of Chevalier Ramsay be true, that is, if modern Masonry had
its beginning in the Society of Architects founded in Scotland under the
protection of King Robert Bruce, and the title of "Ancient and Accepted
Masons of the Scottish rite," seems to favor that opinion, then we may
trace its origin to the order of Knight Templars; and through them to the
ancient mysteries practiced in the East from times immemorial. It is well
known that one of the charges made against Jacques de Molay and his
associates by their accusers was that they used secret rites in their
initiations. Their four oaths were well known; but not their rites of
initiation. What were they?

We are told that the aim of the Society of Architects was to perpetuate the
ancient Order of the Temple. It is therefore to be presumed that they
continued to observe the rites and ceremonies practiced in the chapters of
the Templars, to use them at the initiations of members into the new
Society, to whom they communicated the intimate meaning of their symbols.
Were these rites analogous to those observed in the initiations to the
symbolical degrees? These degrees were, it must be remembered, the only
ones originally recognized by the brotherhood; as there are but three in
the Society of Jesus; the Neophites—the Coadjutors—and the Profess; as
there were anciently among the priests of the temples of Egypt, who indeed
considered it a great honor to be judged worthy of admission to the third
degree; that is, to participation in the greater mysteries. Was their
explanation of the symbols similar to that taught in M⸫ lodges? The
Templars were accused, as Masons are to day, by the Romish Church, since it
has lost its hold and influence on the association, of the crime of heresy,
and many Masons have suffered death by being burnt alive as heretics.

From whom did the Templars receive those symbols, and their esoteric
meaning, in which we plainly trace the doctrine of Pythagoras? No doubt
from the Christians who, like the Emperor Julian, the Bishop Synnesius,
Clement of Alexandria and many other pagan philosophers, who had been
initiated to the mysteries by the priests of Egypt, before being converted
to Christianity. In that case the connection of modern Masonry with the
ancient religious mysteries of Egypt, consequently with those of Greece and
Samothracia is easily traced; and the resemblance of the symbolical marks
and ceremonials of M⸫ lodges with those of the mysteries naturally
accounted for. Thus it is that many masonic authors may have been led to
trace the origin of the craft to followers of Pythagoras; and others to the
Essenes and first Christians.

Krause, in his work, has endeavored to prove that Masonry originated in the
associations of operative masons that in the Middle Ages travelled through
Europe, and by whom the cathedrals, monasteries, and castles were built;
whose fundamental laws, traditions, customs and tools are now used in the
lodges in a figurative sense.

These associations may have sprung from the building corporations of the
Romans: if so, we have a connecting link between the lodges of the Middle
Ages and the mysteries of the ancients. The initiates of the architectural
collegia of the Romans did not call themselves Brothers; this is a title
that came into use only when the Christian Masonic fraternities adopted it.
They styled themselves _Collega_ or _Incorporatus_.

They worked in buildings apart or in secluded rooms; and the constitution
of M⸫ lodges, so far as the officers, their titles and duties, and the
symbols are concerned, is so similar to theirs that one might be inclined
to believe that the early Masons imitated the Roman collegia.

This theory is not without semblance of plausibility. Rome, during several
centuries, held sway over Gaul and Britain. Roman colonists settled in
various parts of those countries. With their language and customs they
imported many of their institutions and associations. That of the builders
or collegia, as is manifest from the remains still existing of the
magnificent roads and edifices of various kinds constructed by them. The
Collegæ held their lodges wherever they established themselves; no doubt
initiated new members. In the course of time, when those countries freed
themselves from the yoke of Rome, these societies of builders became the
associations of the itinerant operative masons which inherited the symbols,
tokens and pass words of the Collegæ. These, in all probability, had
received them, either from the Chaldean magicians, who flocked to Rome at
the beginning of the Christian era, when the progress of philosophical
incredulity had shaken the confidence in legal divination; or from some of
the priests of inferior order, all initiated to part of the lesser
mysteries, that, when the sacerdotal class having lost in majesty, power
and wealth, in order to preserve whole its numerous hierarchy, repaired to
the Capital of the world to escape misery by levying contributions on the
credulity and superstition of the people.

The Christian Church, on the one hand, the Roman emperors on the other,
fearing the influence of those magicians and priests, persecuted them even
to death. These learned and wise men formed secret societies to preserve
and transmit their knowledge. These societies lasted during the Middle
Ages—the Rosicrucians, the Theurgists, among them. Leibnitz, one of the
greatest men of science that ever lived, who died in Hanover, in 1716, at
the age of seventy years, became a member of one of these societies; and
there received an instruction he had vainly sought elsewhere.

Were their mysterious meetings remnants of the ancient learned initiations?
Everything tends to make us suspect it. The trials and examinations to
which those who applied for initiation were obliged to submit; the nature
of the secrets they possessed; the manner in which they were preserved. In
these again may be found an explanation of why so many of the Pythagorean
doctrines made their way into Masonry.

Of the ceremonies performed at the initiation into the mysteries of Egypt
we know but little at present, for the initiated were very careful to
conceal these sacred rites. Herodotus tells that if any person divulged any
part of them, he was thought to have called down Divine judgment upon his
head, and it was accounted unsafe to abide in the same house with him. He
was even apprehended as a public offender and put to death.

Still, on reading the visions in the book of Henoch, and comparing them
with what we know of the trials to which were subjected the applicants for
initiation into the greater mysteries of Eleusis and Egypt, and those of
Xibalba, one can scarcely refrain from believing that, under the title of
Visions, the author relates his experience at the initiation, and what he
learned in the mysteries before being converted to Christianity. That book
is believed to have been written at the beginning of the Christian era,
when, under the yoke of the Roman emperors, the customs and religion of the
Egyptians fell into decadency; and the Christian bishops of Alexandria,
such as George, Theophilus, Cyril, the murderer of the beautiful, learned
and noble Hypathia, daughter of the mathematician Theon, persecuted the
worshipers of Isis and Osiris, and converted their temples into Christian
churches, after defacing and whitewashing the ancient sculptures that
covered their walls, on which they painted rough images of saints. It may
be that its author, although having embraced Christianity, still retained
in his heart of hearts a strong love for the ancient institutions that were
fast disappearing in the midst of the political and religious dissensions
that were raging at the time. Fearing lest the learning of the priests of
old and the knowledge he had acquired by his initiation into the mysteries
should become lost, the dread of death being removed by the new order of
things, he put, for greater safety, in the mouth of Henoch, as instructing
his son, what he had seen and learned in the secrecy of the temples.

Let us hope that further discoveries in the ruins of the temples, or in the
tombs, may put into our possession some papyrus whose contents will throw
light on the subject, and reveal these secrets. The masonic objects found
under the base of the obelisk, known as Cleopatra's needle, now in Central
Park, New York, show that many of the symbols pertaining to the rites of
modern Free Masonry, were used in Egypt by building organizations and
architects at least 1900 years ago. And although I do not agree with all
the conclusions of Dr. Fanton, notwithstanding they are approved by some of
the high masons at Cairo and Alexandria, I am ready to recognize many of
the emblems, and admit that they belonged to the mysteries, if their
meaning anciently was not quite the same as we give them to-day.

The reluctance of the Egyptians to admit strangers to the holy secret of
their mysteries was for a very long time insuperable. However, they seem to
have relaxed at rare intervals, in favor of personages noted for their
wisdom and knowledge. So they admitted the great philosopher Thales, who
went to Egypt to learn geometry and astronomy, about 587 years before the
Christian era. Eumolpus, king of Eleusis, who, on returning to his country,
instituted the mysteries of that name in honor of the goddess Ceres, that
presided over the crops and other fruits of the earth. Orpheus, the
celebrated Greek poet, obtained likewise the honor of the initiation, and
established the Orphic ceremonies, which, according to Herodotus, were
observed alike by the Egyptians and the Pythagoreans. It must be remembered
that Pythagoras, after being submitted to extremely severe ordeals, to
cause him to desist from his desire of being initiated, was, on account of
his firmness, granted the privilege of initiation. Many of the rites and
ceremonies were therefore brought from Egypt to Greece. Speaking of the
Thesmophoria festivals in honor of Ceres, next in importance to the
mysteries of Eleusis, Herodotus says: "These rites were brought from Egypt
into Greece by the daughters of Danaus, who taught them to the Pelagic
women; but in the course of time they fell into disuse, except among the
Arcadians who continued to preserve them. The Pelasgians had also initiated
the inhabitants of Samothracia. They in turn taught the Athenians the
mysteries of the 'Cabiri.'"

From that it results that if we desire to obtain an insight of the Egyptian
mysteries, we must see what happened at the initiation into those of


No one could be admitted to the greater unless they had been purified at
the lesser, and one year at least had elapsed since they had become
_mystai_ or initiated.

The initiation to the greater mysteries when the _Mystai_ took the degree
of _Ephoroi_, that is Inspector, by being instructed in the secret rites,
except a few reserved for the priests alone, was as follows:

The candidate, being crowned with myrtle, which was used instead of the
acacia, was admitted by night into an immense building called the _Mystikos
Sêkos_, that is the "mystical enclosure." At their entrance they purified
themselves by washing their hands in holy water, being at the same time
admonished to present themselves with minds pure and undefiled, without
which external cleanliness of the body would by no means be accepted. After
this the holy mysteries were read to them from a book called _Petrôma_,
because the book consisted of two stones fitly cemented together. I have
discovered such stones, last year, in the mausoleum of high pontiff _Cay_,
in the city of Chichen-Itza, in Yucatan. The priest who conducted the
ceremonies was called _hierophantês_. He proposed certain questions, to
which answers were returned in a set form. Then, strange and amazing
objects presented themselves. Sometimes the place they were in seemed to
shake, as if an earthquake was occurring, or whirl round and round as if
carried away in a tornado. Sometimes it appeared bathed in bright and
resplendent light, and flames seemed to issue from the walls, threatening
to consume the temple; and all of a sudden they were extinguished by
invisible hands, and the most profound obscurity succeeded to the dazzling
radiance. Flashes of lightning, at intervals, broke forth with extreme
brilliancy, only to make the darkness more dark, when peal after peal of
thunder caused the building to shake to its very foundations. These were
succeeded by loud cries for help and laments of persons in great agony;
soon to be replaced by the most frightful noises and bellowings, and
terrible apparitions. The nerves of the applicants were tried to the
utmost, and required to be strung by the most indomitable will and moral as
well as physical courage, to enable them to withstand to the last such
awful trials.

All the faint hearted were invariably rejected and refused admission to the
next degree, the _Epopteia_, or Inspection. Powerful narcotic drugs were
administered to the timorous, that plunged them into a deathlike sleep,
from which they emerged with but confused recollections, if not entire
forgetfulness, of the terrible scenes they had witnessed, and which they
believed to be produced by some frightful dream or dreadful nightmare.

I will now quote from the book of Henoch. Chap. xiv. ver. 12.—"I saw a
spacious habitation built with stones of crystal. The roof had the
appearance of agitating stars and flashes of lightning. Flames burnt around
its walls, its portals blazed with fire. This dwelling was hot as fire—cold
as ice." Chap. xvii. ver. 1.—"They raised me up into a certain place where
there was the appearance of burning fire, and when they pleased, they
assumed the likeness of men,—(ver. 3)—and I beheld the receptacles of light
and of thunder at the extremities of the place. There was a bow of fire and
arrows in their quiver—a sword of fire and every species of lightning."

Chap. xxi. vers. 4.—"Then I passed to another terrific place—(ver. 5)—where
I beheld the operation of a great fire blazing and glittering, in the midst
of which there was a division—columns of fire struggled together to the end
of the abyss and deep was their descent. (Ver 6.)—This was the place of

Those who resisted to the last the trials of the _Autopsia_, as the
initiation was called, were then dismissed with these three words: _Kon-x
Om Pan-x_, which, strange to say, have no meaning in the Greek language.
Captain Wilford, in his Essay on Egypt, says they correspond to the words
_Cansha Om Pansha_, which the Brahmins pronounce every day to announce to
the devotees that the religious ceremonies are over. They have been
translated, "retire, O retire, profane!" Corresponding to the _ite missa
est_ of the Catholic Church.

These words are not Sanscrit, but Maya. "_Con-ex Omon Panex_," go,
stranger, scatter! are vocables, of the language of the ancient inhabitants
of Yucatan, still spoken by their descendants, the aborigines of that
country. They were probably used by the priests of the temples, whose
sumptuous and awe-inspiring ruins I have studied during fourteen years, to
dismiss the members of their mystic societies, among which we find the same
symbols that are seen even to-day in the temples of Egypt as in the M⸫

I will endeavor to show you that the ancient sacred mysteries, the origin
of Free Masonry consequently, date back from a period far more remote than
the most sanguine students of its history ever imagined. I will try to
trace their origin, step by step, to this continent which we inhabit,—to
America—from where Maya colonists transported their ancient religious rites
and ceremonies, not only to the banks of the Nile, but to those of the
Euphrates, and the shores of the Indian Ocean, not less than 11,500 years

But let us return to the mysteries of Eleusis. In the trials to which the
_Mystai_ were subjected to try their fitness to become _Ephoroi_, Masons no
doubt recognize several of the ceremonies that took place at their
initiation into the craft. If Free Masonry had not its origin in the
ancient Sacred Mysteries, how could these rites have found their way into

The Ephoroi were now prepared for the third degree, the _Epopteia_—the most
sacred of all. In this the _Epoptai_ or "Inspectors of themselves" were
placed in presence of the gods, who were supposed to appear to the
initiated. Proclus, a philosopher, disciple of the divine Plato, in his
commentaries on the Republic of his master, says: "In all initiations and
mysteries, the gods exhibit themselves under many forms, and appear in a
variety of shapes. Sometimes their unfigured light is held forth to view.
Sometimes this light appears under a human form, and sometimes it assumes a
different shape." And again, in his commentaries on the first Alcibiades:
"In the most holy of the mysteries, before the god appears, the impulsions
of certain terrestrial demons become visible, alluring the initiated from
undefiled good to matter." Then all the seductions that human mind can
imagine to excite the passions were placed within the grasp of those who
aspired to become Epoptai. They were invited to freely give way to
voluptuousness, to the enjoyment of all kind of mundane pleasures, before
they renounced them forever. Nothing that could possibly entice applicants
to fall from their state of moral and physical purity was omitted; all that
could be done to induce them to yield to temptation was resorted to. If in
a moment of weakness they allowed their senses to obtain the mastery over
their reason, woe to them! for before they could realize their position,
before they had time to recall their scattered thoughts, the bright
surroundings disappeared as by magic; they were plunged in the most dense
obscurity; the ground gave way under their feet; and they were precipitated
into a deep abyss, from which if they escaped with their life, they never
did with their reason.

Theon of Smyrna, in his work Matematica, divides the mysteries into five

1. The purification.

2. The reception of sacred rites.

3. The Epopteia, or reception.

4. End and design of the revelation, the building of the head and fixing of
the crowns.

5. The friendship and interior communion with God, the last and most awful
of all the mysteries.

It is supposed the prophet Ezekiel alludes to these initiations, when he
speaks of the abominations committed by the idolatrous ancients of the
house of Israel in the dark, every man in the chambers of its imagery.

Here again, I will quote from the book of Henoch: Chap. xxii.—"From thence
I proceeded to another spot where I saw on the West a great and lofty
mountain, a strong rock and four delightful places."

Chap. xiv. ver. 14.—"Then I went to another habitation more spacious than
the former. Every entrance which was opened before me was erected in the
midst of a vibrating flame. Ver. 18.—Its floor was on fire, above were
lightning and agitated stars, whilst its roof exhibited a blazing fire.
Ver. 21.—One of great glory sat upon the orb of the brilliant sun. Ver.
24.—A fire of great extent continued to rise up before him."

It is said that the ordeal through which the candidates were obliged to
pass previous to admission into the Egyptian mysteries, were even more
severe, and that Pythagoras, wise philosopher as he was, had a narrow
escape from it.

The priests alone could arrive at a thorough understanding of the
mysteries. So sacred were their secrets held that many of the members of
the sacerdotal order, even, were not admitted to a participation of them;
but those alone who proved themselves deserving of the honor; since Clement
of Alexandria, tells us: "the Egyptians neither entrusted their mysteries
to every one, nor degraded the secrets of divine matters by disclosing them
to the profane, reserving them for the heir apparent to the throne, and for
such of the priests as excelled in virtue and wisdom."

From all we can learn on the subject, the mysteries consisted of two kinds,
the greater and the lesser, divided into many classes. The candidate for
initiation had to be pure, his character without blemish. He was commanded
to study such lessons as tended to purify the mind. Great was the honor of
ascending to the greater mysteries and it was difficult to attain to it. An
inscription of a high priest at Memphis, says Mr. Samuel Birch, states:
"That he knew the arrangements of the Earth, and those of Heliopolis and
Memphis; that he had penetrated the mysteries of every sanctuary; that
nothing was concealed from him; that he adored God and glorified Him in all
His works, and that he hid in his breast all that he had seen." Had he not
kept his secrets so carefully concealed, no doubt he would have told us
that at one of the initiations the figure of the god Osiris, in whose honor
the mysteries were celebrated, and whose name the initiates did not dare
pronounce, appeared to the candidate, as it did at Heliopolis to Pianchi,
king of Ethiopia.

At a later period, when the ancient customs had become relaxed owing to the
invasion of the country by foreigners and to the government passing from
the hands of native rulers to those of Persian, of Greek or Roman
governors, many, besides the priests, came to be admitted to the lesser
mysteries. But all had to pass through the different grades and conform to
the prescribed rules, as in the case of Thales, Eumolpus, Orpheus,
Pythagoras, Plato, Herodotus and others.

I will not here describe at length the initiations to the mysteries in
honor of the Sun God, Mithra, instituted by Zoroaster, but only state that
Porphyrius, on the testimony of Eubulus, says that this philosopher and
reformer having selected a cavern in a pleasant locality in some mountains
near Persia, dedicated it to Mithra, the Sun, creator and father of all
beings; that he divided it into geometrical figures intended to represent
the climates and elements; in a word that he imitated in a small way the
order and disposition of the universe by Mithra. After him, it became
customary to consecrate caverns for the celebration of mysteries; as we see
yet in Japan.

The candidates for initiation to the Mithra mysteries were submitted to the
most awful trials—among which one was to try the docility and courage of
the applicant. He was ordered by the priest to kill a man. According to
Plutarch, in his life of Pompeius, these mysteries were brought to the
Occident by Cilician pirates about sixty-eight years before the Christian
era. They were well received by the Greco-Latin world, and the initiated
were soon to be counted by thousands. In the time of the Emperor Adrian,
the mysteries of Mithra had become so popular that Pallas, a Greek writer,
composed a poem on the subject, that Porphyrius has preserved in a special
treatise on the abstinence from the use of animal flesh.

The mysterious initiations vividly impressed the imagination, as at times
and by way of expiation, human victims were offered and immolated. The
ceremonies of the priests consisted, says Origenes, in imitating the
motions of the celestial bodies, those of the planets, in fact of the
heavens. The initiated took the names of the constellations and dressed
themselves as animals. A theology purely astronomical was taught in these
mysteries, in which they used the purification by water in honor of the
goddess _Ardvi çoura anâhita_, "She of the celestial waters;" the
confession of sins; and a sort of eucharist, or offering of bread, still
observed by the Parsis or fire worshippers in India. It may be said that
during the last years of the Roman Empire, the religion of Mithra had
become the state religion. It is not, therefore, to be wondered at, if it
extended to the Roman provinces of Gaul and Britain, and if some of its
rites have found their way into Free Masonry, and are practised to the
present day; thus again relating it with very ancient sacred mysteries,
established by Zoroaster, the author of the Zend-Avesta at least 1,100
years before Christ, although Hermippus, the Greek translator of his work,
places him 5,000 years before the taking of Troy.

If we go to Hindostan, there we will learn of a secret society of wise and
learned men, whose object is the study of philosophy in all its branches,
but particularly the spiritual development of man. The leading fraternity
is established in Thibet; and the high pontiff and other dignitaries of the
Lama religion belong to it. They are known throughout India by the name of
_Mahatmas_ or Brothers. To obtain this title it is necessary to suffer a
long and weary probation, and pass through ordeals of terrible severity.
Many of the _Chelas_, as the aspirants are called, have spent twenty, even
thirty years of blameless and arduous devotion to their task, and still
they are in the earlier degrees, looking forward to the happy day when they
may be judged worthy to have the title of Brother conferred upon them.

These _Mahatmas_ are the successors of those secret societies of learned
Brahmins, so celebrated for their wisdom, from very remote ages, in India;
and of whose colleges or lodges, always built on the summit of high mounds,
either natural or artificial, Alexander, the Great, when he achieved the
conquest of that country, was never able to take possession. Philostratus
informs us, that their mode of defense consisted in surrounding themselves
with clouds, by means of which they could at will render themselves visible
or not, and hurling from their midst tempests and thunder on their enemies.
Evidently in those early times, they had discovered gunpowder, or some
other explosives of like nature, and made use of them to explode mines, and
destroy their assailants. These same Brahmins claimed to have been the
teachers of the Egyptians, who, according to that, would have received
their civilization and scientific knowledge from them, as also did the
Chaldeans. It is well known that the Magi were strangers who came to
Babylon, possessors, says the prophet Daniel, not only of a special
learning, but of a peculiar tongue. They formed a powerful society, into
which at the beginning none but those of their own people were admitted, as
their science was both exclusive and hereditary. A certain religious
character was attached to the whole body; every priest must be a Chaldean,
but every Chaldean was not a priest. They passed their whole lives in
meditating questions of philosophy. Astronomy was their favorite study; but
they acquired great reputation for their astrology. They were versed in the
arts of prophesying, of explaining dreams and prodigies, and the omens
furnished by the entrails of victims offered in sacrifice. The parents
taught the children. At their head was a high pontiff with the title of
_Rab-mag_, Venerable, or according to its meaning in the Maya language,
_Lab-mac, "the old man."_ At Babylon they were the ruling order, the
advisers of the King. Nothing is known to-day of their rites of initiation;
but they must have been very similar to those of the Egyptians, since the
civilization of Chaldea and that of Egypt were twin sisters; offspring from
the same parents.

I have endeavored in a cursory manner to show that the ancient sacred
mysteries were established for the same purpose in every civilized nation
of antiquity, that is for the cultivation of science; the acquirement of
knowledge; the bettering of man's moral and physical nature; the
development of his intellectual and mental faculties; the understanding and
study of the laws that govern the material and spiritual world, thus
bringing him into closer contact with Deity. They kept their learning and
discoveries a profound secret, surrounding them with mysterious allegories,
and enigmatical symbols, for, as says Strabo: "to surround the things that
are holy with a mysterious obscurity is to make Divinity venerable, is to
imitate its nature that escapes man's senses," or, as Gregory of Nazianze,
wrote to Jerome: "the less ignorant men understand the more they admire,"
and as the priests of to-day, in fact of all times, of all religions, they
wished to be regarded by the masses as dispensers of the god's favors, as
mediators between the Deity and man.

This similarity of the rites practiced in the initiations, the identity of
symbols, proves that these rites and symbols had been communicated from one
to another, just as in modern Free Masonry the initiations are the same in
the lodges, the world over, having been carried to the most distant lands,
by travelers, colonists or missionaries, from the fountain head, the Grand
Lodge of England.

But with respect to the ancient Sacred Mysteries, the query arises as to
where they originated. We know that from Egypt and Chaldea they were
brought to Greece and Rome. From whom did the Egyptians and Chaldeans
receive them? The Brahmins asserted that the Magi and the Hierophants were
their disciples.

Admitting this assertion to be true, may we not ask, from whom did the
Brahmins learn them? No doubt, if we question them on the subject, they
will answer that they are the originators of these mystic rites, and secret
societies of learned men; and with difficulty we could gainsay their
assertion, were it not that Plutarch and other Greek writers, who have
described the Eleusinian mysteries, have taken care to preserve the words
used at the closing of the ceremonies by the officiating priest; and also
made known to us the name and shape they gave to their place of meeting.

It is well known that the Brahmins, in many of their religious ceremonies,
make use of words that are not Sanscrit, but are said to belong to a very
ancient form of speech—now dead—the _Akkadian_, spoken by the inhabitants
of the countries situated along the banks of the Euphrates, near its mouth.
Strange as it may appear, this language presents many affinities with the
Maya, which is still the vernacular of the aborigines of Yucatan and other
countries south of the Peninsula. The fact is that the words
_con-x—om—pan-x_, mean nothing in Greek, but, as we have said, are pure
Maya vocables, that have the same meaning as that given to
_can-sha—om—Pansha_ by Captain Wilford.

That is not all. We are also told that the place or temple where the
initiated assembled to perform their ceremonies, had the form of a
rectangle, [Symbol: long hollow rectangle] and that it represented the
"Universe." Modern Masons have wrongly translated that idea by the Sanscrit
word _loga_, from which the word _lodge_ has been derived, and the form of
M⸫ lodges adopted.

The shape of the temples was that of the Egyptian letter _M_ called "_ma_",
a word that also means place, country and, by extension, the Universe. The
Egyptians adopted it, therefore, not because they believed, as Dr. Fanton
suggests, that the earth was square or _oblong_, for they knew full well it
was spherical, but because the sign of the word _ma'_, conveyed to their
mind the idea of the Earth, as the word _earth_ represents it to ours. But
_ma_ is also the radical of Mayax; and likewise, in the Maya language, it
means the country, the Earth. The Mayas selected the oblong square [Symbol:
long hollow rectangle] to represent it, because it is the geometrical
figure that is nearest in shape to the contours of the Yucatean peninsula.

So we have found a bridge to cross the vast expanse of water that lies
between the Eastern and Western Continents—a clue that may lead us to the
birth-place of the ancient sacred mysteries in those [Symbol: two signs
with roofs] "Lands of the West," [Symbol: sign with hills] that "Land of
_Kui_," the mother-land of the gods and of the ancestors of the Egyptians,
where the god Osiris reigned supreme over the souls emancipated from the
trammels of matter.

In the depths of the forests that cover the soil of Central America, lie
hidden, under a cloak of verdure, the ruins of ancient cities. There, are
to be seen the crumbling, awe-inspiring remains of grand old monuments;
mementos of the power and civilization, of the scientific and intellectual
attainments of the mighty races that erected them, and have disappeared
forever in the abyss of time.

At Uxmal, one of these ancient great metropolis in Yucatan, there exists an
artificial mound of peculiar construction.


The entire structure measured 29 metres (about 95 feet) in height; 66
metres (214 feet 6 inches) in length at the base, and 33 metres (107 feet 3
inches) in width. The lower part is formed of the frustum of an elliptical
cone 14 metres (45 feet 6 inches) in height, divided into 7 gradients, each
2 metres high. On the upper plane of the frustum, which forms a terrace 35
metres long by 10 metres wide, are constructed the Sanctuary, or Holy of
Holies, facing west, whose ground plan is made in the shape of a cross with
a double set of arms; and a truncated rectangular pyramid 6 metres high,
the upper plane of which supports the crowning edifice 6 metres high, 29
metres long and 7 metres wide.


This building emblem of the "Lands of the West," is composed of three
separate apartments 2m. 25c. wide, having originally no communication with
each other. Holes have been bored in the partition walls that have much
weakened the construction; for what purpose it is difficult to surmise,
unless it be for the love of destruction.

The rooms at the extremities are of the same size, 5m. 50c. (about 17 feet
10 inches) long, while the middle chamber is 7m. 25c. in length. The door
of this chamber faced west, and led, by means of a small stair, to a
terrace formed by the roof of the sanctuary.


From there the learned priests and astronomers, elevated above the mists of
the plains below, could without hindrance follow the course of the
celestial bodies, in the clear cloudless skies of Yucatan, where at times
the atmosphere is so pure and transparent that stars are clearly visible to
the naked eye, that require the aid of the telescope to be seen in other

The doors of the other rooms faced East. The ceilings, like those of all
the apartments in the monuments of Yucatan and Central America, form a
triangular arch. This shape was adopted by the builders, not because they
were ignorant of how to construct circular arches—since they erected
edifices roofed with domes, but in accordance with certain esoteric
teachings pertaining to the mysteries and relating to the mystic numbers

This kind of arch is also found in the ancient tombs of Chaldea, at
Mughier—in the center of the great pyramid of Ghizeh, in Egypt—in the most
ancient monuments of Greece, as the treasure room at Mikéné, in the tombs
of Etruria and other places.

Here, again, we learn from the book of Henoch, that the subterranean
building that he constructed in the land of Canaan in the bowels of the
mountain, with the help of his son Mathusalath, was in imitation of the
nine vaults that were shown to him by the Deity, each apartment being
roofed with an arch, the apex of which formed a key-stone with mirific
characters inscribed on it. Each of the nine letters, we are told,
represented one of the nine names traced in characters emblematical of the
attributes of Deity. Henoch then constructed two triangles of the purest
gold, and traced two of the mysterious characters on each. One he placed in
the deepest arch; the other he entrusted to Mathusalath, _to whom he
communicated important secrets._


  Thou art Bait (the soul); thou art Athor, one of the Bia; and thou art
  Akori. Hail, father of the world! hail, triform God!

The triangular arches appear, therefore, as landmarks of one and the same
doctrine, practised in remote times, in India, Egypt, Chaldea, Greece,
Etruria and Central America.

In the ceilings of the rooms situated at the north and south extremities of
the building are carved in peculiar and regular order, in deep intaglio,
semispheres, ten centimeters in diameter, intended to represent the stars
that at night so beautify the firmament. Inside of the triangle formed at
each end of said rooms by the converging lines of the arch are also several
of these semispheres—those in the north room form a triangle (Fig. 1);
while those in the south room, five in number, figure a trapezium (Fig. 2);
with one of these half spheres in the middle.

[Illustration: FIG. 1.] [Illustration: FIG. 2.]

The middle chamber is now devoid of decorations of any sort. Its length,
_seven_ meters, is to-day the only vestige which remains to indicate that
in it, in former times, were practised rites and ceremonies pertaining to
the third degree of initiation. This chamber could be reached by walking on
the narrow terrace round the building; but I feel certain that those whose
privilege it was to assemble within its walls, got to it from the west


There was a stairway nine metres wide, beautifully ornamented, leading from
the court yard adjoining the priests' palace, to the entrance of the
sanctuary. Thence another small stairway 2m. 40c. wide, situated on the
north side of the sanctuary, led to the upper terrace, to the roof of that
monument, and to the middle chamber. The access to the north and south
rooms was by a grand stairway of ninety-six steps, each 20cm. high, that
led to the upper terrace surrounding the whole edifice. This stairway,
situated on the east side of the mound, is fourteen metres (45 feet 6
inches) wide, and, like that on the east side, so steep as to require no
little practice and care to ascend and descend its narrow steps with
comparative safety and ease.

A few centimetres above the lintel of the entrance to the sanctuary is a
cornice that surrounds the whole edifice. On it are sculptured these


many times repeated. On the under part of this cornice are small rings cut
in the stone, from which curtains were suspended, to hide the Holy of
Holies from profane gaze.

The exterior of the monument was once upon a time ornamented with elaborate
and beautifully executed sculptures, which have now, in great part,
disappeared. Still those that adorn the exterior walls of the sanctuary,
remain as specimens of the beautiful handiwork and of the great skill of
the artists; whilst the exquisite architectural proportions of the whole
edifice bespeak the mathematical and other scientific attainments of the
architects who planned the building and superintended its erection.

The ornaments that cover these walls are remarkable in more than one sense.
They are not only inscriptions in the Maya language, written in characters
identical with, and having the same meaning and value as those carved on
the temples of Egypt; but among them are symbols known to have belonged to
the ancient sacred mysteries of the Egyptians, and to modern Free Masonry.
In August 1880, among the débris, at the foot of the mound just described,
I found pieces of what once had been the statue of a priest. The part of
the statue, from the waist to the knee, particularly attracted my
attention. Over his dress the personage wore an apron with an extended
hand, as seen in the adjoining illustration. A symbol that will easily be
recognized by members of the masonic fraternity.


We must not forget that Plato informs us that the priests of Egypt assured
Solon, when he visited them 600 years before the Christian era, that all
communications between their people and the inhabitants of the "Lands of
the West" had been interrupted for 9,000 years, in consequence of the great
cataclysms, during which, in one night, the large island of Atlantis
disappeared, submerged under the waves of the ocean. Are we not then right
if we surmise that the monuments of Mayax existed 11,500 years ago, and
that mysteries, similar to those of Egypt, were celebrated in them? To
support that belief we have the symbols already mentioned as existing in
the chambers, the construction of the chambers themselves, the sculptures
carved on the cornice that surrounds the sanctuary, representing cross
bones and skeletons, with arms and hands uplifted, tokens that many of the
Masons again cannot fail to recognize; besides other emblems that I will
endeavor to explain, which exist on the walls of the residence of the
priests, an edifice adjoining that temple. This may be considered the
oldest known edifice in the world consecrated to secret rites and
ceremonies; and its builders the founders of the sacred mysteries, that
were transported from Mayax to India, Chaldea, Egypt, Etruria, by colonists
or missionaries.

What the ceremonies of initiation were among the Mayas, it is difficult to
surmise at present, all their books, except four that still exist, having
been destroyed by the monks who came with the Spanish adventurers, or soon
after the conquest.

But they must have been similar to the rites of initiation practiced by the
_Quiches_, a branch of the Maya nation, at _Xibalba_, a place in the heart
of the mountains of Guatemala. We learn from the _Popol-Vuh_, sacred book
of the Quiches, that the applicants for initiation to the mysteries were
made to cross two rivers, one of mud, the other of blood, before they
reached the four roads that led to the place where the priests awaited
them. The crossing of these rivers was full of dangers that were to be
avoided. Then they had to journey along the four roads, the white, the red,
the green and the black, that led to where the council, composed of
_twelve_ veiled priests, and a wooden statue dressed and wearing ornaments
as the priests, awaited them. When in presence of the council, they were
told to salute the King; and the wooden statue was pointed out to them.
This was to try their discernment. Then they had to salute each individual,
giving his name or title without being told; after which they were asked to
sit down on a certain seat. If, forgetting the respect due to the august
assembly, they sat as invited, they soon had reason to regret their want of
good breeding and proper preparation, for the seat, made of stone, was
burning hot. Having modestly declined the invitation, they were conducted
to the "Dark house," where they had to pass the night, and submit to the
second trial. Guards were placed all round, to prevent the candidates from
holding intercourse with the outer world. Then a lighted torch of pine wood
and a cigar were given to each. These were not to be extinguished. Still
they had to be returned whole at sunrise, when the officer in charge of the
house came to demand them. Woe to him who allowed his torch and cigar to
get consumed! Terrible chastisements, death, even, awaited him.

Having passed through this second trial successfully, the third was to be
suffered in the "House of Spears." There, they had to produce four pots of
certain rare flowers, without communicating with any one outside, or
bringing them at the time of their coming; and had also to defend
themselves, during a whole night, against the attacks of the best spearmen,
selected for the purpose, one for each candidate. Coming out victorious at
dawn, they were judged worthy of the fourth trial. This consisted in being
shut for a whole night in the "Ice house," where the cold was intense. They
had to prevent themselves from being overcome by the cold and frozen to

The fifth ordeal was not less terrible. It consisted in passing a night in
company with wild tigers, in the "Tiger house," exposed to be torn to
pieces, or devoured alive, by the ferocious animals. Emerging safe from the
den, they had to submit to their sixth trial in the "Fiery house." This was
a burning furnace where they had to remain from sunset to sunrise. Coming
out unscorched, they were ready for the seventh trial, said to be the most
severe of all, in the "House of the bats." The sacred book tells us it was
the house of _Camazotz_, the "God of the bats," full of death-dealing
weapons, where the God himself, coming from on high, appeared to the
candidates and beheaded them, if off their guard.

Do not these initiations vividly recall to mind what Henoch said he saw in
his visions? That blazing house of crystal, burning hot and icy cold—that
place where were the bow of fire, the quiver of arrows, the sword of
fire—that other where he had to cross the babbling stream, and the river of
fire—and those extremities of the Earth full of all kinds of huge beasts
and birds—or the habitation where appeared one of great glory sitting upon
the orb of the sun—and, lastly, does not the tamarind tree in the midst of
the earth, that he was told was the Tree of Knowledge, find its simile in
the calabash tree, in the middle of the road where those of Xibalba placed
the head of Hunhun Ahpu, after sacrificing him for having failed to support
the first trial of the initiation? Even the title [Symbol: 6 letter-like
signs] _Hach-mac_, "the true, the very man," of the high priest in Mayax,
that we see over the bust of High Pontiff, prince _Cay Canchi_, son of King
_Can_ at Uxmal, recalls that of the chief of the Magi at Babylon.


These were the awful ordeals that the candidates for initiation into the
sacred mysteries had to pass through in Xibalba. Do they not seem an exact
counterpart of what happened, in a milder form at the initiation into the
Eleusinian mysteries? and also the greater mysteries of Egypt, from which
these were copied? Does not the recital of what the candidates to the
mysteries in Xibalba were required to know, before being admitted, in order
to distinguish the wooden statue pointed out to them as the King from the
veiled Brothers; to avoid seating themselves on a burning hot stone seat;
to keep lighted the torch and cigar and prevent them from being consumed;
to produce the flowers asked from them while isolated from the world in a
guarded chamber; to defend themselves from the attacks of dexterous
spearmen; to protect themselves against the intense cold of the "Ice
house;" to remain unhurt amidst wild tigers; or unscorched in the middle of
a burning furnace; recall to mind the wonderful similar feats said to be
performed by the _Mahatmas_, the Brothers in India, and of several of the
passages of the book of Daniel, who had been initiated to the mysteries of
the Chaldeans or Magi which, according to Eubulus were divided into three
classes or genera, the highest being the most learned?

Will it be said that the mysteries were imported from Egypt or Chaldea or
India, or Phœnicia to America? Then I will ask when? By whom? What facts
can be adduced to sustain such assertion? Why should the words with which
the priest at the conclusion of the ceremonies in the Eleusinian mysteries,
and the Brahmins at the end of their religious ceremonies, dismiss the
assistants, be Maya instead of Greek or Sanscrit words? Is it not probable
that the dismissal continued to be uttered in the language of those who
first instituted and taught the ceremonies and rites of the mysteries to
the others? That sacred mysteries have existed in America from times
immemorial, there can be no doubt. Even setting aside the proofs of their
existence, that we gather from the monuments of Uxmal, and the description
of the trials of initiation related in the sacred book of the Quiches, we
find vestiges of them in various other countries of the Western Continent.

Garcilasso de la Vega informs us that in Peru, it was illicit for any one
not belonging to the nobility to acquire learning. There again, as in
Egypt, in Chaldea, Etruria, India, Mayax, science was the privilege of the
priests and kings. The sacerdotal class held the pre-eminence. Sacerdotal
orders were conferred only upon young men who had given proofs of
sufficiency for such important office; and before they could be received
into the Society of the _Amautas_ or wise men, which was considered a great
honor, they had to submit to very severe ordeals. The rites and ceremonies
of initiation were imported in Peru by the ancestors of Manco Capac, the
founder of the Inca dynasty, who were colonists from Central America, as we
learn from an unpublished MS., written by a Jesuit father, Rev. Anello
Oliva, at the beginning of the year 1631, in Lima; and now in the library
of the British Museum in London. The name _Quichua_, of the general
language of Peru, points directly to the _Quiches_ as the branch of the
Maya nation that carried civilization to that country.

If from South America we go to New Mexico, there we find the Zuñis, and
other Pueblo Indians. Having preserved their independence by shaking off at
an early period the yoke of the Spaniards, they have been little
influenced, if at all, by the civilization of the Europeans, and live
to-day as their ancestors did many centuries back; preserving with great
care, not only the purity of their language, which they teach their
children to speak correctly, but their customs, traditions, and ancient
religious rites and observances.

Mr. Frank Cushing, who was commissioned by the Smithsonian Institution, at
Washington, to make a study of their customs and manners, has been adopted
by the tribe, and has now become one of their most influential chiefs.
Among the many interesting things discovered by him, not the least is the
existence of _twelve sacred orders_, with their priests, their initiations,
their sacred rites, as carefully guarded as the secrets of the ancient
sacred mysteries to which they bear great resemblance. He has been
initiated into many of them, having had to submit to ordeals almost as
severe as those of Xibalba from which no doubt they are derived, having
been brought among them by Maya colonists and afterward Nahualt invaders.
The Nahualts invaded and for a long time held sway over Mexico and some of
the northern portions of Central America. The aborigines of those countries
at last expelled them from their territories, when they scattered in all
directions, about the beginning of the Christian era. Some reached as far
north as the gulf of California and Arizona. The Yaqui Indians, neighbors
of the Mayos, and who inhabit the countries watered by the rivers Yaqui and
Mayo in Sonora, are descendants of a Nahualt tribe, from which in all
probability, the adjoining nations, the inhabitants of the seven cities of
Cibola, the Zuñis among them, learned many of their religious practices;
and the institution of the _twelve_ sacred orders, that recall the _twelve_
priests who presided at the initiation into the sacred mysteries at

Seeking for the origin of the institution of the sacred mysteries, of which
Masonry seems to be the great-grandchild, following their vestiges from
country to country, we have been brought over the vast expanse of the blue
sea, to this western continent, to these mysterious "Lands of the West"
where the souls of all good men, the Egyptians believed, dwelt among the
blessed. It is, therefore, in that country, where Osiris was said to reign
supreme, that we may expect to find the true signification of the symbols
held sacred by the initiates in all countries, in all times, and which have
reached us, through the long vista of ages, still surrounded by the veil,
well-nigh impenetrable, of mystery woven round them by their inventors. My
long researches among the ruins of the ancient temples and palaces of the
Mayas, have been rewarded by learning at the fountain-head the esoteric
meaning of some at least of the symbols, the interpretation of which has
puzzled many a wise head—the origin of the mystification and symbolism of
the numbers 3, 5, and 7.

Whoever has read history knows that in all nations, civilized as well as
uncivilized, from the remotest antiquity, the priests have claimed learning
as the privilege of their caste, bestowed upon them by special favor of the
Ruling Spirit of the universe. For this reason they have zealously kept
from the gaze of other men their intellectual treasures, and surrounded
them with the veil of mystery. They have carefully hid all their
discoveries, scientific or artistic, under the cover of symbols, reserving
their esoteric or secret meaning for the initiated; giving to the people
only such exoteric or public explanation of them as best suited their
purpose. They put into practice the principle, that "It was necessary to
keep the discoveries of the philosophers in the works of art or nature from
those unworthy of knowing them," enunciated by the erudite and celebrated
English monk Roger Bacon, one of the most learned men of his time, who was
confined during many years in a prison cell by his ignorant brethren on
account of his great erudition. This same principle is yet closely adhered
to by the Brahmins, the Buddhist priests of Thibet, the Adepts of India,
and I might add the Jesuits among the Christians, although they are very
inferior in knowledge to the others; the secrecy they have observed for
centuries, and do still observe, being their best guarantee of power and

Judging from the numerous devices and emblems that formed the ornamentation
of the temples and palaces in the ancient ruined cities of Yucatan, the
priests of Mayax seem to have been as addicted to symbology as their
congeners in India, Egypt, Chaldea and other countries. Among these devices
and symbols, several belong clearly to their sacred mysteries.

The study of the relics of ancient Maya civilization has made manifest to
my mind the source of many of the primitive traditions of mankind, which
have reached us through the sacred books of the Hindoos, the Chaldeans, the
Egyptians, and the Jews. These, having received them from both the Chaldees
and the Egyptians, have consigned the relation in the Pentateuch, a book
long attributed to Moses, but now believed by Matthew Henry and other
commentators, who pride themselves upon their orthodoxy, to have been
written in times subsequent to the foundation of the Hebrew monarchy. Might
it not be possible that, in Mayax also, could be found the origin of the
mystification of the numbers 3, 5, and 7, regarded as mystic by all
civilized nations of antiquity all over the earth?

Surely this mystification must have originated with one of these nations
and been carried to the others either by colonists, missionaries, or
travelers. It is not admissible, or even presumable, that the same idea and
mysticism has been attached to these numbers by all these different peoples
without being communicated from one to another. Such abstruse speculations
respecting the ontological properties of numbers can not be ascribed to the
first workings of the human mind in its incipient steps toward intellectual
development. In its awakening, human intellect, still unable to comprehend
the causes of the natural phenomena that take place, as everyday
occurrences, in the material existence of man, does not soar in the
elevated regions of metaphysics or of philosophical and abstract theories.
Do we not see, even in our midst, that men who live in ignorance ascribe
the manifestations of the powers of nature to unseen, mighty beings, of
whom they continually stand in awe; to whom they tribute homage, and
address prayers filled with the superstitious fears that these fancies of
their untutored imagination inspire in them? Abstract conceptions,
numerical combinations, metaphysical speculations, philosophical
hypothesis, are productions of highly cultivated intelligences, of minds
accustomed to reason on causes and effects, to deduce things unseen from
things seen.

The mysticism with which these numbers have been invested, their
symbolization in the sacred mysteries, must have had its origin in material
causes, palpable to physical senses, the memory of which became lost in the
course of ages, altered by being transported among peoples living far away
from the nation that conceived the idea, by passing from mouth to mouth, in
the secrecy of initiations, generation after generation. The idea of a sole
and omnipotent Deity, who created all things, seems to have been the
universal belief in early ages, among all the nations that had reached a
high degree of civilization. This was the doctrine of the Egyptian priests.
They called the Divine Intelligence _Kneph_, and placed him above and apart
from the Triads. Damascius, an eclectic philosopher, who taught in the
schools of Athens, about the year 526 of the Christian era, in his
"Treatise on Principles," says that "they asserted nothing of the first
principle of all things, but celebrated it as a thrice unknown darkness,
transcending all intellectual perception." Proclus, platonic philosopher,
director of the school of Athens in 450 after Christ, says: "the Demiurgos
or Creator is triple, and the three intellects are the three kings, he who
exists, he who possesses, he who beholds." These three intellects,
therefore, he supposes to be the Demiurge; the same as the _three kings_ of
Plato, and as the three whom Orpheus celebrates under the names of Phænes,
Ouranos, and Kronos, kings of the great "Saturnian continent," in the
Atlantic ocean.

In Chaldea, the twin sister of Egypt, daughter of _Poseidon_, king of the
"Lands beyond the sea" and Lybia, we find that notwithstanding the apparent
polytheistic character which, from the earliest times, religion had
assumed, it was possible for the priests and learned men, if we give
credence to Pythagoras, Democritus, and other philosophers, to account by
esoteric explanation for the multiplicity of their gods, resolving them
into the powers of nature, thus reconciling the whole scheme with
monotheism. In fact, above and apart from the personages which peopled
their Pantheon and were reverenced with equal respect by kings and people,
they recognized a superior deity, Ra, so far removed from their first
triad, that they did not know how to worship it. The meaning of the name RA
seems to have been unknown to the historians. They only assert that it
means God emphatically; but its origin still remains a mystery. In Egypt
they gave that name to the "Sun" particularly, as the fount of all things,
the life-giver and sustainer of all that exists on earth. LA, in the Maya
language, means "that which has existed forever. The eternal truth."

So it is evident that the ancient Chaldeans recognized a supreme being, a
divine essence, _Ra_, to which the Triads were subordinate.

The same conceptions about Deity existed in India from the remotest
antiquity. H. T. Colebrooke, in his notice on "the Sacred Books of the
Hindoos" says: "In the last part of the _Niroukta_, dedicated exclusively
to the divinities, it is thrice affirmed that there are only _three gods_;
and that these three gods designate _one sole deity_. The gods are _three_
only, whose mansions are the Earth, the intermediate regions and heavens;
that is the fire, the air, and the sun; but _Pradjapati_, the Lord of all
creatures, is their collective God. In fact there is but one God, the
"great Soul" _Maha-atma_. It is called the "SUN," because the sun is the
soul of all beings, of all that moves, and of all that does not move. The
other gods are only parts or fractions of his person." The belief in a
Triune God has also existed from very early ages among the Chinese
philosophers. Lo-pi, a Chinese writer, who flourished toward the eleventh
century of the Christian era, during the Songs dynasty, explaining certain
passages of the _Hi-Tse_, says: That the "Great Term," is "the Great Unit"
and the great Y. That the Y has neither body or shape. That all that has
body and shape was made by that which has no body or shape. Tradition
recounts that the "Great Term" or the "Great Unit" comprehends three; that
one is three and three are one.

_Hiu-Chin_, who lived under the dynasty of the Hans, is the author of a
Chinese dictionary called _Choueven_ in which he has preserved many ancient
traditions. He wrote about the beginning of the Christian era. Explaining
the character Y he says: In the first beginning reason subsisted in unity.
Reason made and divided Heaven and Earth; converted and perfected all
things. And _Tao-Tse_, a contemporary of Confucius, who wrote the
_Tao-te-King_, a book reputed very profound, said more than five hundred
years before Christ: "That reason, _Tao_, produced one. That one produced
two, that both produced three; and that three had produced all things." All
early writers who have given an account of the religion of the ancient
Peruvians, tell us that they worshiped a mighty unseen being who they
believed had created all things, for which reason they called him
_Pacha-camac_. He, being incomprehensible, they did not represent under any
shape or figure, although they raised a magnificent temple in his honor on
the sea coast that rivaled in wealth and splendor those dedicated to the
Sun at Titicaca and Cuzco. We are also informed that He stood at the head
of a trinity composed of Himself—_Pacha-camac_—_Con_—and _Uiracocha_.

In this conception of a Supreme Being, Creator of all things, we see
reflected the teachings of the _Popol-vuh_, Sacred book of the Quiches, in
which we read, "that all that exists is the work of _Tzakol_—the
Creator—who by his will caused the Universe to spring into existence, and
whose names are _Bitol_—the maker—_Alom_—the engenderer—_Qaholom_—He who
gives being."

The fact that the same doctrine of a Supreme Deity composed of three parts
distinct from each other, yet forming one, was universally prevalent among
the civilized nations of America, Asia and the Egyptians, naturally leads
to the inference that at some time or other, communications and relations
more or less intimate have existed between them. They must, then, have
imparted their traditions, metaphysical speculations, and intellectual
attainments one to another.

In fact, all historians agree with Philostratus and admit that commercial
intercourse did exist between Egypt and India. Nay more, Eusebius asserts
that in the reign of Memnon, king of Ethiopia, a body of Ethiopians from
the countries about the Indus river migrated and settled in the valley of
the Nile. And the many Chinese bottles, with inscriptions in that language,
found in the tombs of Thebes, prove, beyond the least doubt, that
communications have existed between the inhabitants of China and the
Egyptians in times very remote, as is conjectured from the inferior quality
of the bottles, that some seem to believe were manufactured before the art
of making objects of porcelain reached the high degree of perfection to
which it attained afterward.

On the other hand, the vase with Chinese inscriptions found by Dr.
Schliemann in the lowest stratum of his excavations at Hissarlik,
inscriptions that were partly deciphered by the eminent indianist Mr. Emile
Burnouf and afterward thoroughly interpreted by the great Chinese scholar
Fi-Fangpao, when ambassador at Berlin, and proved to mention the fact of
the vase having contained samples of Chinese gauze, shows that active
commercial intercourse was carried on by the Chinese with Greece and Asia
Minor even before the siege of Troy.

These conceptions concerning the Triune God have come down through the
vista of ages, to the present day, preserved in the works of the
philosophers, and are still held sacred by many among Christians and
Brahmins. But we do not learn from their sacred books where, when or how
said doctrine originated. Whatever may have been the source from which it
sprang, it is certain that the priests and learned men of Egypt, Chaldea,
India, or China, if they still knew the true history of its origin at the
time they wrote, kept it a profound secret, and imparted it only to a few
select among those initiated in the sacred mysteries.

We need not seek for information among the fathers of the Christian Church,
for they are as silent as the tomb on the subject. They admitted into their
tenets the notion of a Triune God as taught by the pagan philosophers, and
appropriated it, as they have many other of their teachings and theories,
without knowing, without inquiring, concerning their origin. The councils
pronounced them revelations from on high; unfathomable mysteries not to be
investigated; and imposed them as dogmas, to be implicitly believed, with
blind faith, as they are to-day, by the followers of the Romish Church.
Through their adherents the idea of the three persons in the Godhead has
found its way into Free Masonry, and on the columns that adorn the temple,
in the working of one of the degrees, we read these inscriptions: "_In the
name of the holy and indivisible Trinity_;" and further down, "_We have the
happiness to dwell in the pacific unity of the sacred numbers_."

To those initiated to the lesser mysteries the doctrine was presented under
the garb of the complicated metaphysical speculations with which it has
reached us. Such explanations of the symbolical nature of the mystic
numbers were given to them so as to make it well-nigh impossible to obtain
a fair understanding of their purport. By the perusal of the extracts just
quoted it is easy to see that all the reasonings concerning the mystic
value of number 3 and its relations to a Supreme Deity are mere fancies of
the imagination, vague speculations, fallacious cavils; meaningless for
practical and inquiring minds. So far as explaining the nature of the Deity
all philosophers agree in admitting that it transcends the intelligence of
man since man is finite; and what is finite will never be able to
comprehend that which is infinite.

Some of the Greek philosophers reflected in their teachings, as well as in
their writings, the doctrines they had learned from their teachers, the
priests of Heliopolis, Memphis and Thebes. From them we may gather a
glimmer of dim light pointing toward the origin of the symbolization of the
numbers. We have said that Proclus asserts that the three component parts
of the triple deity were three intellects or _three Kings_—a fact
corroborated by Plato, who also had been admitted to the mysteries, and by
Orpheus, who celebrated these _three Kings_, in the ceremonies instituted
by him, that Herodotus says were identical with the Egyptian mysteries.

Pythagoras, who had received his knowledge of the numbers and their meaning
from the Egyptians, taught his disciples that God was number and harmony.
He caused them to honor numbers and geometrical diagrams with the names of
the gods. The Egyptians likened nature to the equilateral triangle, the
most perfect and beautiful of all triangles; and according to Servius,
assigned the perfect number 3 to the great God.

The Chaldees symbolized the Eusoph or great light, by an equilateral
triangle; and in the _Sri-Santara_ or cosmogonical diagram of the Hindoos,
which has served as model for many of their temples, the nameless, the
great _Aum_ that dwells in the infinite, is figured as an equilateral
triangle. The Egyptians held the equilateral triangle as the symbol of
"Nature" beautiful and fruitful. In the hieroglyphs it was the emblem of
worship. We see, over the main altar, in all the ancient Catholic churches,
the representation of an equilateral triangle containing the all-seeing eye
of Osiris, as symbol of Deity. The same emblem is familiar also to those
who visit masonic lodges as one under which is figured the "Great Architect
of the Universe."

If from those countries that we have been accustomed to consider as the
"Old World," and guided by the three words of dismissal used by the
Brahmins, and the officiating priests of Eleusis, at the closing of their
religious ceremonies, words we have shown to belong to the Maya language,
we carry our inquiries into the "Lands of the West," there again we will
find that the triangle was also symbolical among the Mayas and their

We see it in the position of the three semispheres carved, as already said,
at each end of the northern chamber of the building above the sanctuary at
Uxmal. We next meet with it in the triangular arches that form the ceilings
of the apartments in all the temples and palaces, in fact in all the
edifices of Mayax, as well as in those of Palenque and other localities of
Central America.

The general plan of these edifices is the same everywhere; not because they
were built by the same architects, or at the same period, but because their
construction was in accordance with certain teachings pertaining to the
mysteries. In all the buildings, whatever their size, the ground plan was
in the shape of an oblong square [Symbol: long hollow rectangle], that is
of their letter M, pronounced _Ma_. Ma is the contraction of _Mam_, the
ancestor, as they denominated the Earth, and by extension the Universe.
_Ma_ is also the radical of _Ma-yax_, the name of the Yucatecan peninsula,
in ancient times, whose shape, no doubt, suggested that of the letter _M_,
both to the Mayas and to the Egyptians. In fact, in Egypt and in Mayax, the
figure [Symbol: long hollow rectangle] in the hieroglyphs, stands for Earth
and Universe. It will be noticed by examining their plans, that this was
also the shape of the apartments in the temples and palaces of Chaldea, of
Egypt and Greece; that of the tombs of the Etruscans; hence, no doubt, was
assigned to the masonic lodges in our days.

The triangular ceiling in those countries, and there is no reason for
doubting that it was the same in the "Lands of the West," was symbolical of
the Triune God, the Ruling Spirit of the Universe, supposed to reside in
the heavens, above all things. (This accounts for the constellations of the
firmament being represented on the ceilings).


According to Zoroaster, He is the fire, the sun, the light; that the later
Platonists have described as power, intellect, soul, or spirit; and the
ancient theologians, who invoked the sun in their mysteries, according to
Macrobius, as power of the world, light of the world, spirit of the world;
that Plutarch gives as intelligence, matter, kosmos, beauty, order, the
world; of these three he says, "universal nature may be considered to be
made up, and there is reason to conclude that the Egyptians were wont to
liken this nature to what they called the most beautiful and perfect


It will be noticed that the geometrical figure formed at the ends of each
of these apartments, by the lines of the ceilings, sides, and floor, is a
pentagon, symbol of the mystic number 5 whose name, _penta_, in Greek also
conveys the idea of Universe; whilst _Ho_ in Maya, meaning 5, is also the
radical of _Hool_, the head, hence the Deity.

Then, lastly, the number of planes forming the rooms—the two of the
ceilings, the two of the sides, the two of the ends, and that of the
floor—_seven_ in all, shows conclusively not only why the builders adopted
the triangular arch instead of the circular, but also that the plan of
their buildings was conceived in strict adherence to the mystic numbers 3,
5, 7, or their multiples, as we see by the height of the pyramids; the
number of courses of the stones forming the walls; that of the terraces on
which the temples stood; that of the degrees of the stairs by which they
were reached.

Only two edifices of different construction have been found among the
ancient cities of the Mayas. One, now completely ruined, having been
shattered by a thunderbolt in 1848, was in Mayapan. That place was
destroyed, according to Bishop Landa, in the year 1446 of the Christian
era, by the lords and nobles of the country, to put an end to the dynasty
of the Cocomes that governed with tyrannical rule. The other, still
standing, although much injured by the action of time and vegetation, is to
be seen in the most ancient city of Chichen. These buildings were
consecrated to the study of astronomy; no doubt also to the performance of
certain religious ceremonies connected with the worship of the sun, moon,
and other celestial bodies. They were circular; their ground plan formed
three concentric circles representing the Zodiac, and their vertical
section, in its general outlines, conveys to the mind that, in their inward
or esoteric construction placed before the eyes of the masses yet hidden
from them, the architect wished to represent the figure of the mastodon,
which was venerated by the people as image of Deity on Earth—probably
because this pachyderm was the largest and most powerful creature that
lived in the land.

Among the ornaments which beautified one of the seven turrets that adorned
the south façade of the north wing of the ancient palace of King CAN, and
were dedicated to each of the seven members composing his family, on that
set apart to commemorate the name of his eldest son Cay (Fish), the high
pontiff, are seen these symbols:

[Illustration: FIG. 1.] [Illustration: FIG. 2.]

My knowledge of the symbols and sacred characters used by the learned
priests of Mayax, in the mural inscriptions and ornaments of their temples
and palaces, enables me to understand their exoteric meaning. The first
(Fig. 1) is composed of an equilateral triangle with the apex downward;
through it passes a ribbon tied in a knot. The triangle seems here to
represent the whole country, the "Lands of the West," composed of _three_
great continents, "North and South America" of to-day, and "the great
island," called Atlantis by Plato, that disappeared in the midst of an
awful cataclysm, under the waves of the ocean, as described by the author
of the Troano MS., who thus confirms the account of it given by the priests
of Egypt, to Solon. The ribbon tied in a knot would indicate that the
initiates, to whom the esoteric explanation of the symbol had been
imparted, were bound to each other, to secrecy and to their oath. Its
hidden meaning may have been that the equilateral triangle represented
Deity ever watchful, always creating—Nature in which we move, and live and
have our being, in which all things are bound.

The second emblem (Fig. 2) seems to have belonged more particularly to the
highest degree of the sacred mysteries, since we find it among other
symbols sculptured on the slabs that formed the external casing of the
mausoleum raised to the memory of the high pontiff _Cay_. This second
emblem is also a ribbon, tied up so as to form three loops, each occupying
one angle of an oblong square, image of the Universe; the fourth angle
being adorned with flat folds, that are emblematic of Mayax the seat or
head of the government, so arranged as to form the steps—5 in number—of a
throne. This accounts for their being placed at the upper angle. The
_three_ round loops are symbolical of the _three_ great parts composing the
"Lands of the West," that the Greek mythologists figured by the trident of
Poseidon, their god of the sea. As to the sign [Symbol: circle with a dot
in the middle], in Mayax as in Egypt, it was meant to represent the sun. It
was placed in the middle of the square simply to signify that as the sun
was the centre of the universe, the vivifying soul of all things, so his
representative the "_Child of the Sun_," the high priest, was the light
that illumined the secrets of the sacred mysteries by his wisdom; and whose
knowledge made him the fit ruler of the country. [Symbol: circle with a dot
in the middle] Is also the first letter of the Maya and Egyptian alphabets,
corresponding to our Latin letter A, initial of _Ah_, maya masculine
article, denoting strength, power—_Ah_ being likewise the first syllable of
the word _Ahau_ King.

We know as yet too little of the religious tenets of the ancient priesthood
of Mayax, to venture upon an explanation. All we can assert positively is
that number 7 was the particular appendage of the third degree of the
mysteries. It was considered as endowed with great potentiality; was as
Pythagoras says, the vehicle of life, containing soul and body.

What motives may have induced the founders of the mysteries in Mayax to
select the numbers 3, 5, 7, as symbols of the various degrees into which
they divided them, we can at present only surmise. It is probable that
certain natural causes, or the commemoration of important events which had
taken place in the life of the nation, or in that of the family of the
founders of the dynasty that governed it, suggested their adoption. The
fact is that the _seven_ members of that family were collectively
symbolized by the emblem of the _Ah-ac-Chapat_ or _Seven_ Headed Serpent.
It is difficult to prognosticate if we shall ever obtain an insight into
the secret teachings of the Mayas, even if we had access to their
libraries; for it is to be presumed that they did not confide them to the
papyrus of their books.

Landa, in his "Relation of the things of Yucatan," says: "The sons or the
nearest relatives succeeded to the high priest in his dignity; with him was
the key of their sciences, and in that they most concerned themselves,
because it was the priests who gave advice to the lords and answered their
queries.... It was the high priest who nominated the priests for cities or
villages which had none, examined them as to their proficiency in sciences
and ceremonies. He entrusted to them the things of their office, and bade
them give good example to the people. The priests employed themselves in
the service of the temple and in teaching their divers sciences,
particularly how to write the books that contained them. They taught the
sons of the other priests and the younger sons of the princes who were sent
to them in their childhood, if they saw them inclined for that profession."

In order to understand the explanation of the possible origin of the
mystification of the numbers 3, 5, and 7, it is necessary to know something
of the people among whom it seems to have originated.

If we start from the mouths of the Mississippi River and travel due south,
across the Gulf of Mexico, at a distance of exactly four hundred and eighty
miles, we come to the northern coast of the Yucatecan Peninsula. Its
north-easternmost point, Cape Catoche, is one hundred and twenty miles from
Cape San Antonio, the western end of the island of Cuba. Yucatan divides
the Gulf of Mexico from the Caribbean Sea. It is comprised between the 17°
30' and 21° 50' of latitude north, and the 88° and 91° of longitude west
from the Greenwich meridian. Its length is, therefore, 260 miles from north
to south, and its breadth 180 miles from east to west. The whole country is
a fossiliferous limestone formation, elevated a few feet only above the
sea; its maximum height in the interior being about 70 feet. Although its
rocky surface, bare for the most part, is, in places only, covered with a
few inches of tillable loam, formed by the detritus of the stones and the
decomposition of vegetable matter, its soil is of surprising fertility.

The whole country is now covered with well-nigh impenetrable forests. A
bird's eye view of it from the top of one of the lofty pyramids, that seem
like light-houses in the midst of that ocean of foliage, impresses the
beholder with the idea that he is looking on an immense sea of verdure
having for boundary the horizon, and whose billows come to die, with gentle
murmur, at the foot of the monument on which he stands. Not a hill, not a
hillock even, breaks the monotony of the landscape, which is only relieved
by clusters of palm trees that loom here and there, as islets, above the
dead green level.

Anciently, this country, now well nigh depopulated, was thickly peopled by
a highly civilized nation, if we are to judge by the great number of large
cities whose ruins exist scattered in the midst of the forests throughout
the country, and by the stupendous edifices, once upon a time temples of
the gods, or palaces of the kings and priests, whose walls are covered with
inscriptions, bas-reliefs, and other interesting sculptures that equal in
beauty of design and masterly execution those of Egypt and Babylon.

The author of the Troano MS.—a very ancient treatise on geology, one of the
four known books which escaped destruction at the hands of Bishop Landa and
other fanatical Catholic monks who accompanied the Spanish invaders, when,
after a struggle of twenty years, they at last, in 1541, became masters of
the country—tells us that anciently the peninsula was called MAYAX; that
is, the primitive land, the _terra firma_. It gave its name to the whole
empire of the Mayas, that comprised all the countries known to-day as
Central America, from the isthmus of Darien on the south, to that of
Tehuantepec on the north. The site of the government was at Uxmal; but the
great emporium of their arts and sciences, the heart, consequently, of that
marvellous civilization, was at Chichen-Itza; that became a vast
metropolis. In its temples pilgrims from all parts came to worship, and
even offer their own persons as a sacrifice to the Almighty, by throwing
themselves into the sacred well from which the city took its name. There
also came the wise men from afar, to consult the _H-Menes_, learned
priests, whose college still exists. Among these foreigners, were bearded
men whose features vividly recall those of the Assyrians of old, and the
Afghans of to-day.

From Chichen this great civilization seems to have extended its influence
to the remotest parts of the Earth, and to have exercised its controlling
power among far distant and heterogeneous nations. The fact is, that we
meet with the name Maya in many countries of Asia, Africa, Europe, as well
as of America, and always with the meaning of wisdom and power attached to
it. Wherever we find it, there also are found vestiges of the language, of
the customs, of the religion, of the cosmogonical and historical traditions
of the people of Mayax. Many of these traditions have been recorded in the
sacred books of various nations and have come to be regarded as the
primitive history of mankind. To quote a few instances. The creation of the
world, according to their conceptions, is sculptured, and forms an
interesting tableau over the door-way, on the east façade of the palace at

It might serve as illustration for the relation of the creation, as we read
of it at the beginning of the first chapter of the Manava Dharma Sastra, or
ordinances of Menu; a book compiled, says the celebrated indianist, H. T.
Colebrooke, about 1300 years before the Christian era, and from other and
more ancient works of the Brahmins. Said relation completed, however, by
the narrative of the myth according to the Egyptians as told by Eusebius in
his work _Evangelical Preparations_.

Effectively, in the tableau we see represented a luminous egg, emitting
rays, and floating in the midst of the waters where it had been deposited
by the Supreme Intelligence. In that egg is seated the Creator, his body
painted blue, his loins surrounded by a girdle; he holds a sceptre in his
left hand; his head is adorned with a plume of feathers; he is surrounded
by a serpent, symbol of the Universe.

Porphyrius, speaking of Jupiter, the Creator in the Orphic mysteries, says,
"the philosophers, that is the initiated, represented him as a man,
_seated_, alluding to his immutable essence; _the upper part of the body
naked_, because it is in its upper portions (in the skies) that the
Universe is seen most uncovered; _clothed from the waist below_ because the
terrestrial things are those most hidden from view. _He holds a sceptre in
his left hand_ because the heart is on that side, and the heart is the seat
of understanding that regulates all the actions of man."


And again, "the Egyptians call Kneph the intelligence, or creative power."
_Kneph_, or be it _Kaneh_, seems a cognate of _can-hel_, a Maya word the
meaning of which is serpent (dragon); they say that this god threw from his
mouth an egg in which was produced another god called _Phtha_, (_Thah_ is
another Maya word, it means the worker—hence the Maker, the Creator); and
Eusebius asserts, "That they represented Kneph, or the Efficient Cause, as
a man of a blue color, with a girdle round his loins, a sceptre in his
hand, a crown on his head, adorned with a plume of feathers; and that
emblematically they figured him under the form of _a serpent_."

Will any one with common sense pretend that these conceptions concerning
the Creator, we find not only identical, but expressed in like manner and
with the same symbols, by the philosophers of India, of Egypt, and of
Mayax, are mere coincidences? If they are not the result of hazard, they
must have been conceived by the wise men of one of these countries, that,
no doubt, in which the civilization was the oldest, and communicated to
others; these, in turn, taught them to their neighbors, as we know the
Egyptians did to the Greeks.

Again, we read in Genesis that at a very early period in man's history, a
certain man murdered his brother through jealousy. The victim we are told
was named ABEL, his murderer Cain.

No doubt the writer of the book simply repeated the story he had learned
from the Egyptian priests, concerning the murder of Osiris (_in whose honor
the mysteries were instituted_), by his brother _Set_, through jealousy;
making such alterations in his narration as not to divulge the secrets he
had sworn to keep.

If any of those initiated to the higher mysteries were still acquainted
with the true history of the murder, they kept it a profound secret; and
only gave of it such exoteric explanations as best suited their purpose.
Very little can be learned from the ancient historians. Herodotus always
excuses himself from speaking on the subject; although he asserts he is
well acquainted with what pertained to the mysteries: and what we gather
from the book of Plutarch, de _Iside et Osiride_, is a version invented to
satisfy the initiates of the lower degrees. In it Osiris is represented as
having become the culture hero of Egypt. After ascending the throne, having
taught his subjects the arts of civilization, he undertook an expedition
from Egypt, in order to visit and dispense the same benefits to the
different countries of the world. He left his wife and sister Isis in
charge of the affairs of the kingdom which she administered aided by the
counsels of her friend and preceptor Thoth. Isis, being extremely vigilant,
_Set_, her other brother, had no opportunity for making innovations in the
government. Still he desired to sit on the throne. After the return of
Osiris, he conspired against him and persuaded seventy-two other persons to
join with him in the conspiracy, together with a certain queen of Ethiopia
named _Aso_ who happened to be in Egypt at the time. He invited his
unsuspecting brother to a banquet, and caused a beautiful chest to be
brought into the banqueting-room. It was much admired by all. He then, as
if in jest, offered to give it to the person it fitted best. All tried
getting into it one after another, but it did not fit any as well as Osiris
when he in turn laid himself down in it. Then Set, aided by the
conspirators, closed the lid and fastened it on the outside with nails.

This story of a brother being slain at the request of another brother,
through jealousy, is also related in Valmiki's ancient Sanscrit poem, the
"Ramayana." We are not informed by the author from where he obtained it;
but the victim was called BÂLI, and MAYA is represented as being his enemy.
The recital of this event being identical with that archived in the
sculptures and mural paintings still existing on the walls of certain
edifices at Chichen-Itza, and with the account of it recorded in the second
part of the Troano MS. would seem to indicate that the relation of the
fratricide was brought to India by some Maya traveler or missionary; or
maybe by the colonists from Mayax that Valmiki tells us took possession of
and settled, in very remote ages, in the countries, at the south of the
Indo-Chinese peninsula, known to-day as _Dekkan_. They, of course, brought
to their new home with the language and customs, the civilization,
traditions, and folk-lore from the mother country. Among these the
tradition that, in very ancient times, the son of one of their primitive
rulers murdered his brother through jealousy, in order to possess himself
of his wife, with whom he had fallen in love, and of the reins of the

In the inflated style of the Hindoo poets Valmiki recounts the murder of
Bâli. The story is as follows. There were two princes named Bâli and
Sougriva, sons of a king of the Monkey nation. After the death of their
father, Bâli the eldest was called to the throne, being elected sole
monarch and supreme lord by the people. A terrible feud had originated
between Bâli and Maya on account of a woman they both coveted. Maya
challenged Bâli to mortal combat and allured him into an ambush. Bâli not
returning after a time was believed to have succumbed, and his brother
Sougriva ascended the throne. Bâli returned however, and finding his
brother installed in his place accused him of treason in the council of the
nobles and before the people. He charged him with causing the news of his
death to be circulated in order to usurp the reins of the government. Then
he banished him from court, sent him adrift without means, depriving him of
his home, his wife and his social position.

Sougriva met Rama; besought his help to avenge his wrongs. Having received
his promise to kill Bâli, strong in the protection of such an ally, he
challenged his brother to mortal combat, although he knew that alone he was
not a match for him. During the encounter that ensued, Rama who was
present, seeing that Sougriva was being badly beaten, sent an arrow through
the breast of Bâli and killed him. The last word of that prince to his
slayer who was standing by him, were: "What glory dost thou expect to reap
from the death thou hast given me whilst I was not even looking toward
thee? Hidden thou hast wounded me in a cowardly manner while my attention
was engrossed in that duel." _And so Bâli was treacherously slain._

We learn from the sculptures and mural paintings that adorn the walls of
the palaces at Chichen-Itza and Uxmal that king _Can_ (Serpent) the
founder, or maybe the restorer, of these ancient cities, had three sons
whose names were _Cay_ (Fish), _Aac_ (Turtle), and _Coh_ (Leopard), and two
daughters, _Moo_ (Macaw), and _Nicté_ (Flower).

It was the law among the Mayas that the youngest of the brothers should
marry the eldest of the sisters to insure the legitimate and divine descent
of the royal family. This same custom of princes of royal blood marrying
their sisters existed among the Egyptians from the earliest days, and it
became in after times general; such alliance being considered fortunate. It
also prevailed with the Ethiopians, the Greeks, those of Mesopotamia in the
time of the patriarchs, the Peruvians, and many other nations. Prince _Coh_
was a brave and successful warrior; at the head of his followers, whom he
had often led to victory, he had conquered many nations and greatly added
to the glory and extent of the Maya empire. Being the youngest of the
brothers, he was the one who had to marry Moo, the eldest of the sisters.
She, on her part, loved him dearly and was proud of his exploits. After the
death of King Can, their father, the country was parcelled among his
children. Moo became the queen of Chichen, and many of the lords swore
allegiance to her. After her death she received the honors of apotheosis;
became the goddess of fire, and was worshiped in a magnificent temple,
built on the summit of a high and very extensive pyramid whose ruins are
still to be seen in the city of Izamal.


_Aac_, the second son of king Can, was also in love with her. To his lot
had fallen the ancient metropolis _Uxmal_, "the three times rebuilt." His
headless and legless statue is still to be seen over the main entrance on
the façade of the palace known as the "House of the Governor," at that
place. The flayed bodies of his two brothers and his eldest sister are at
his feet; their heads hang from the belt round his waist: and the ruins of
his private residence, ornamented with turtles,—his totem—yet exist at the
northwest corner of the second of the three terraces on which the palace is
built. The law of the land and her own predilection for Coh were
insurmountable barriers that prevented Aac from marrying Moo. He was not a
warrior but a courtier. He spent his life in idleness amidst pleasures and
frivolities. Still he was envious of the fame won by his younger brother;
jealous of him because of the love of the people, and still more of that of
his sister and wife. He allowed his evil passions to gain the mastery over
his better feelings. He incited a conspiration against the friends of his
childhood, with the object of killing his own brother, to obtain forcible
possession of the sister he so much coveted, seize the reins of the
government, and become the supreme lord of the whole empire.

In the carvings on the wooden lintels over the entrance of Coh's funereal
chamber, in the paintings that adorn its walls, and in which that part of
the life of the personages concerned in these events is portrayed, Aac is
represented full of wrath, holding three spears in his hand, engaged in a
terrible altercation with Coh. From the sculptures that adorned his
mausoleum we learn that he was murdered treacherously by being stabbed with
a spear three times in the back; and the author of the Troano MS. in giving
an account of that murder and its consequences, has recorded this fact and
illustrated it in the first section of plate xiv., in the second part of
his work. [When I disinterred his statue, I found in an urn his heart,
partially cremated, and the flint head of the spear with which he was
slain.] In one of the tableaux of the mural paintings the body of Coh,
surrounded by his wife, his sister _Nicté_, his children and his mother, is
being prepared for cremation; the heart and other viscera having been
extracted to be preserved in urns. A similar custom prevailed among the
Egyptians of high rank whose bodies were embalmed according to the most
expensive process. The internal parts of the body having been removed, were
cleansed, embalmed in spices and various substances, then deposited in four
vases that were placed in the tomb with the coffin.


At the death of Coh the whole country became involved in a civil war. The
conspirators, partisans of Aac, striving to seize the reins of the
government, the friends of Prince Coh fighting to avenge his death and in
defense of their queen. The goddess of war favored at times one party, then
the other. Aac, in order to obtain the preponderance, had recourse to
diplomacy. He renewed his suit for the hand of his sister. He sent
messengers to her, with a present of fruits, begging her to accept his love
now that she was free. The scene is vividly pictured in the mural

Queen Moo is represented seated in her house situated in the middle of a
garden. At her feet, but outside of the house to indicate that she does not
accept it, is a basket full of oranges. Her extended left hand shows that
she declines to listen to the messenger who stands before her in an
entreating posture, and that she scorns the love of Aac who is seen on a
lower plane, making an obeisance. Over his head is a serpent, typical of
his name, _Can_, looking as lovingly as a serpent can be made to look, at a
_Macaw_ perched on the top of a tree and above the figure of the queen
whose totem it is. The tree is guarded by a monkey in a threatening
attitude. This monkey here, as in Egypt the cynocephalus, is the emblem of
the preceptor of _Moo_, symbol therefor of wisdom.

This tableau is most interesting and significant, since in it we have a
natural explanation of the myth of the temptation of the woman by the
serpent. Here we have the garden, the woman, the temptor, and the fruit.
The story of this family incident passing from mouth to mouth, from
generation to generation, from country to country, has become disfigured
probably by peoples that did not hold woman in as high esteem, or did not
honor her as much as the Mayas did. Perhaps, also, an old misanthropical
bachelor, hater of the fair sex, wrote a distorted account of the tradition
out of spite at having been jilted by his lady-love, and his version was
accepted by the author of Genesis, if he himself did not make the
alteration. The fact is that the author of the Troano MS.—(Plate xvii.,
part second) as the artist who painted the scene just described—asserts
that she refused to listen to _Aac's_ entreaties, in consequence of which
the civil war continued. At last _Moo_ and her followers succumbed. She
fell into the hands of Aac who, after ill-treating her, put her to death
together with _Cay_ the high pontiff, his elder brother, who had sided with
the queen of Chichen, with right and justice. In token of his victory,
_Aac_ caused his statue—the feet resting on the flayed bodies of his kin,
their heads being suspended from his belt—to be placed over the main
entrance of the royal palace at Uxmal, where, as I have said, its remains
may be seen to-day.

I may add here in explanation of the tableau of the scene in the garden,
that the present of a basket of oranges was the offer of marriage made by
_Aac_ to _Moo_. It is usual with the aborigines of Yucatan, that yet retain
many of the customs of their forefathers, when a young man wishes to
propose marriage to a girl to send by a friend as a present, a fruit, or
flower, or sweetmeat. The acceptance of the present is the sign that the
proposal of the suitor is admitted, and from that moment they are
betrothed; whilst the refusal of the present means that he is rejected. A
similar custom exists in Japan. When a young lady expects a proposal of
marriage a convenient flower-pot is placed in a handy position on the
window-sill. The lover plants a flower in it. If next morning the flower is
watered he can present himself to his lady-love knowing that he is welcome.
If on the contrary, the flower has been uprooted and thrown on the
side-walk, he well understands he is not wanted.

The family name of the kings of Mayax was _Can_ (serpent) as _Khan_ is
still the title of the Kings of Tartary and Burmah, and of the governor of
provinces in Persia, Afghanistan and other countries in Central Asia. _Can_
was therefore the family name of Aac. The meaning of the writer of Genesis
when he says that the serpent spoke to the woman and seduced her with a
fruit is now easily understood.

The account of the fratricide in Genesis, in the Ramayana, or in the papyri
of Egypt, is nothing more or less, with a slight variance, than the story
of the feuds of king Can's children. This story, treasured by the priests
of Egypt and India, consigned in their sacred books and poems, has been
handed down to us among the primitive traditions of mankind.

Nowhere, except in Mayax, do we find it as forming part of the history of
the nation. Nowhere, except in Mayax, do we find the portraits of the
actors in the tragedy. There, we not only see their portraits carved in
bas-reliefs, on stone or wood, or their marble statues in the round, or
represented in the mural paintings that adorn the walls of the funereal
chamber built to the memory of the victim, but we discover the ornaments
they wore, the weapons they used, nay, more, their mortal remains.

The following is the certificate of Charles O. Thompson, Principal and
Professor of Chemistry at the Worcester Free Institute, who made the
chemical analysis of part of the cremated remains found in the stone urn
that was near the chest of the statue that occupied the centre of the
mausoleum raised to the memory of the famous warrior Coh, twenty feet below
the upper plane of the monument.

  WORCESTER, Mass., Sept. 25, 1880.

  "Stephen Salisbury, Jr., Esq., submits an unknown solid for qualitative


  "Under microscope it presents a certain compactness and horny aspect
  characteristic of animal matter which has been charred in a close vessel,
  it loses 9 per cent. when dried at 100° and 9 per cent. more by
  combustion. After calcination, a dross and residue remains which contains
  3 per cent. fenic oxide, a little alumina and much silica. Warm water
  exposed to action of residue shows traces of potash and soda.

  "These results are consistent with the theory that the mass was once part
  of a human body which has been burned with some fuel."


There is a fact certainly worthy of notice, and this is that the names of
the personages mentioned in the various accounts of the fratricide are
precisely identical, or are words having the same signification. May not
that be regarded as unimpeachable proof that they all refer to the same

No one who has any knowledge of philology will ever deny that
A-bel—A-bal—Bal-_i_—_Balam_ are identical words.

A, contraction of _Ah_, is the Maya masculine article, _the_. _Bal_ is the
radical of Bal_am_. Balam is for the superstitious aborigines, even to-day,
the _Yumil Kaax_—the "Lord of the fields" the "_Leopard_" which they also
call _Coh_—the totem of the victim of Aac is the leopard—and it is so
represented in the bas-reliefs and sculptures.

In Egypt, the spotted skin of the leopard, usually without the head, but
sometimes with it, was always suspended near the images and statues of
Osiris. The skin of a leopard was worn as a mantle over the ceremonial
dress of his priests.


Besides, when represented as King of the Amenti—of the "West"—the symbol of
Osiris was always a crouching leopard with an open eye over it.


We must not lose sight of the fact that the leopard's skin worn by Nimrod
and Bacchus was a sacred appendage to the Mysteries. It was used in the
Eleusinian as well as in the Egyptian mysteries instituted in honor of
Osiris. It is mentioned in the earliest speculations by the Brahmins on the
meaning of their sacrificial prayers the _Aytareya Brahmana_, and is used
in the _agnishtoma_ the initiation rites of the _Soma_ mysteries. When the
neophyte is to be born again he is covered with a "leopard skin," out of
which he emerges as from his mother's womb. A leopard skin is worn by the
African warriors, who are so fortunate as to possess one, as a charm to
render them invulnerable to spears according to the French traveler Paul du


It would seem as if the manner in which _Coh_ met his death, by being
stabbed with a spear, had been known to their ancestors, and that they
imagined that wearing his totem would save them from being wounded with the
same kind of weapon used in killing him. That the inhabitants of Africa had
communications with those of the Western Continent there can be no doubt,
since populations of black people existed on the isthmus of Panama and
other localities at the time of the first arrival of the Spaniards; besides
their pictures can be seen in the mural paintings at Chichen.

As to the name _Osir_, or be it _Ozil_, it would seem to be a nickname
given to _Coh_ on account of the great love his sisters, and the people in
general, professed for him. _Ozil_ is a Maya verb that means to desire
vehemently. He, therefore, who was very much desired—dearly beloved.

_Osiris_ in Egypt, _Abel_ in Chaldea, _Bali_ in India, are myths. _Coh_, in
Mayax, is a reality—a warrior whose mausoleum I have opened; whose weapons
and jade ornaments are in my possession; whose heart I have found, and a
piece of which was analyzed by Professor Thompson; whose statue, with his
name inscribed on the tablets occupying the place of the ears, I have
unearthed, and which is now in the National Museum in the City of Mexico,
one of the most precious relics in that institution, having been robbed
from me, by force of arms, by the Mexican authorities.

_Isis_ was the wife and sister of Osiris. The word _Isis_ may simply be a
dialectical mode of pronouncing the Maya word _iↄin_ (idzin) _the younger
sister_. Her headgear, as a goddess, was a vulture. That bird was her totem
and the peculiar type of maternity.


Isis was often called the great mother-goddess _Mau_; a word certainly as
suggestive of the name _Moo_, sister and wife of Coh and queen of Chichen,
as the _vulture_ is of the _Macaw_. It must not be forgotten that one of
the titles of Isis was the _royal wife and sister_.


Authors, who of course know nothing of the facts in the ancient history of
Mayax, revealed to me by the sculptures and the mural paintings of the
temples and palaces of the Mayas, and contained in the pages of the Troano
MS., do not believe that Osiris and his sister Isis were deified persons
who had lived on earth, but fabulous beings, whose history was founded on
metaphysical speculations, and adapted to certain phenomena of nature. But
the primitive rulers of the Mayas, whose history is an exact counterpart of
that of the children of _Seb_ and _Nut_, were deified after their death and
worshiped as gods of the elements. My object is not here to enter into long
explanations on these historical disclosures. I refer the reader who wishes
to know more of the subject to my work, "The Monuments of Mayax and their
Historical Teachings."

As to the names _Cain_, _Set_, _Sougriva_, _Aac_, they all convey the idea
of something belonging to or having affinity with water.

_Cain_, by apocope, gives _Cay_, the Maya word for "fish."

_Set_ is a cognate word of the Maya _Ze_, to ill-treat with blows. Can a
name be more appropriate to designate one who has killed his brother with
three thrusts of his spear; and his sister by kicking her to death, as
_Aac_ is represented doing by the author of the Troano MS.?

_Set_, after being treated with the same honor as the other members of the
family of Seb, came to be regarded as the Evil principle and was called
_Nubti_, that is, according to the Maya language, the _adversary_, from
_nup_ adversary and _ti_ for. He also was the Sun God, the enemy of the
serpent. Here again we have a most singular resemblance, to say the least.
_Aac_, in the sculptures of Mayax, is always pictured surrounded by the sun
as his protecting genius; while the serpent, emblem of the country, always
shields _Coh_ and his sister-wife within its folds. The escutcheon of the
city of Uxmal shows that the title of that metropolis was the "Land of the
Sun." In the bas-reliefs of the queen's chamber at Chichen, the followers
of _Aac_ are seen to render homage to the _Sun_; the friends of _Moo_ to
the serpent. So in Mayax as in Egypt, the _Sun_ and the _Serpent_ were
inimical. In Egypt this enmity was a myth; in Mayax a dire reality.

The hippopotamus and the crocodile were emblems of Set. Plutarch says "that
at Hermopolis there was a statue of Set, which was a hippopotamus with a
hawk upon its back fighting with a serpent." Both the hippopotamus and the
crocodile are amphibious animals, having consequently much affinity with

Aac, in Maya, is the name for the turtle, also an amphibious animal.

The name Sougriva, of the brother of Bâli, is a word composed of three Maya
primitives, _zuc_, _lib_, _ha_, _zuc_, quiet, tranquil; _lib_, to ascend,
and _ha_, water—"He who tranquilly rises on the water" as the turtle does.

The universal deluge is another tradition of the early days that was
credited by certain civilized nations of antiquity.

The Egyptian priests who, from times immemorial, had kept in the archives
of the temples a faithful account of all events worthy of being remembered,
derided the Greek philosophers when they spoke of the deluge of Deucalion
and the destruction of the human race. Their answer was that as they had
been preserved from it the inundation could not have been universal; they
even added that the Hellenes were childish in attaching so much importance
to that event, as there had been several other local catastrophes
resembling it. They told Solon that the greatest cataclysm on record in
their books was that during which Atlantis disappeared under the waves of
the ocean, in one day and night, in consequence of violent earthquakes and
volcanic eruptions; that from that time all communications between their
people and the inhabitants of the "Lands of the West" had become
interrupted; the occurrence having taken place 9,000 years before his visit
to Egypt.

An account of that fearful event was also preserved by the learned men of
Mayax who give of it a description identical with that given by the
Egyptians. Nearly all the nations living on the western continent have kept
the tradition of it, but they do not pretend that all mankind was

In Mayax the learned priests caused a relation of it to be carved in
intaglio on the stone that forms the lintel over the interior doorway in
the rooms on the south side of their college. The building is known to this
day by the name of _Akab-ↄib_, the dark, or terrible writing.

The author of the Troano MS., a work, I have already said, on geology,
dedicates several pages at the beginning of the second part to the recital
of that fearful cataclysm, and the phenomena which then took place. This
leaves no longer room for doubting that a large continent existed in the
middle of the Atlantic ocean, and which was destroyed within the memory of
man; and that the narrative by Plato of the submersion of Atlantis is, in
the main, correct. The Maya author represents the lost land by the figure
of a black man with red lips, which would imply that it was mostly
inhabited by a race of black men. In this case, the presence of
black-skinned populations on the Western continent, anterior to the advent
of the Spaniards, would be easily accounted for. The Mayas like the
Egyptians, represented the world as an old man. Plutarch says they called
East the face, North the right side, South the left side; this conception
has reached our days, only we reckon the East as the right hand, West the
left, North the face.


When the author of the Troano MS., speaks of the "Master of the land" par
excellence, that is king Can deified, he pictures him sometimes with a
human body, painted blue, and the head of a mastodon. On the façade of the
building at Chichen Itza called by the natives _Kuna_, the house of God, to
which Stephens, in his work on Yucatan, gives the name of _Iglesia_, is a
tableau representing the worship of that great pachyderm, whose head, with
its trunk, forms the principal ornament of the temples and palaces built by
the members of king Can's family.

This tableau is composed of a face intended for that of the mastodon. Over
the trunk and between the eyes formerly existed a human head, which has
been destroyed by malignant hands. It wore a royal crown. This is still in
place. On the front of it is a small portrait cut in the round of some very
ancient personage. On each side of the head are square niches containing
each two now headless statues, a male and a female; they are seated, not
Indian fashion, squatting, but with the legs crossed and doubled under
them, in a worshiping attitude. Each carries a symbol on their back; totem
of the nation or tribe by which the mastodon was held sacred. Under these
figures, are two triangles [Symbol: triangles pointing upwards] emblems of
offerings and worship in Mayax as in Egypt. So also was the other symbol
[Symbol: honeycomb] image of a honey-comb, an oblation most grateful to the
gods, since with the bark of the Balche tree, honey formed the principal
ingredient of _Balche_, that beverage so pleasing to their palate: the same
that under the name of nectar, _Hebe_ served to the inhabitants of Olympus.
It is the _Amrita_, still enjoyed, on the day of the full moon, by the
gods, the manes and the saints, according to the Hindoos; although it was
the cause of the war between the gods and the Titans, and is the origin of
many sanguinary quarrels among the tribes of equatorial Africa even in our

These symbols leave no doubt as to the fact that the personages represented
by the statues are in the act of worshiping the mastodon.

The corona of the upper cornice, that above the mastodon's head, is formed
of a peculiar wavy adornment often met with in the ornamentation of the
monuments erected by the Cans. Emblematic of the serpent, it is composed of
two letters N juxtaposed, monogram of Can [Symbol: wavy lines]. The corona
of the lower cornice is made of two characters [Symbol: spiral and steps]
that read in Maya _Ah ↄam_, He of the throne—the monarch.

In Japan the seven members of the Can family, deified and figured by the
same symbols as in Mayax, are worshiped to-day in the shrine of the palace
at Tokio, dedicated to the goddess symbolized by a bird. This goddess calls
to mind the goddess _Moo_ of the Mayas, or Isis of the Egyptians. In the
upper part of the shrine, over and above all the other attendants who have
wings and beaked noses, is seen an elephant couchant, the god of fire
standing on his back. In the midst of the flames that surround him is the
head of a bird. So in Chichen we see the followers of queen Moo, who, we
are informed by the author of the Troano MS. became the goddess of fire,
carrying her totem, a bird, in their head-gears.

The Japanese claim to be offspring of the gods, and produce two different
genealogical tables in support of their assertion. These gods amounting to
_seven_, are said to have reigned an almost incalculable number of years in
the country; although they assert that these primitive gods were spiritual
substances, incorporeal. They were succeeded by _five_ terrestrial spirits,
or deified heroes, after whom appeared the Japanese themselves.

Here again we have a reminiscence, as it were, of the _twelve_ gods, that
the Egyptians told Herodotus, had governed their country, an incalculable
number of years, before the reign of Menes their first terrestrial king.
These gods were converted by the Greeks into the _twelve_ deities, dwellers
of the Olympus. The _twelve_ serpent heads, brought to light by me in
December, 1883, from the center of the mausoleum of the high-pontiff Cay,
at Chichen-Itza, are emblematic of the _twelve_ rulers, who had reigned in
Mayax in times anterior to the great cataclysm when Atlantis was submerged;
whose portraits, with the sign _cimi_, dead, adorn the east façade of the
palace with the tableau of creation, showing that they existed in very
early times. Of these rulers we again find a dim tradition in China in the
_Tchi_, also called _che-cull-tse_—the _twelve_ children of the emperor of
Heaven, _Tien-Hoang_, who had the _body of a serpent_. Each of these _Tchi_
are said to have lived eighteen thousand years, and to have reigned in
times anterior to _Ti-hoang_, sovereign of the _country in the middle of
the land_.

From this short digression let us return to the worship of the mastodon
which we find very prevalent in India in that of the elephant _Ganesha_,
the god of prudence, of wisdom, of letters, represented as a _red colored_
man with the head of an elephant. He is invoked by the Hindoos of all sects
at the outset of any business. No one would dream of writing a letter or a
book without previously saluting Ganesha. His image is seen at the crossing
of the roads, oftentimes decorated with a garland of flowers, the offering
of some pious devotee. Architects place it in the foundation of every
edifice. It is sculptured or painted at the door of every house as a
protection against evil; at one of the entrances of every Hindoo city, that
is called _Ganesha-pol_, as well as in some conspicuous door of the palace.
We have already seen that in the most ancient edifices of Mayax the
mastodon's head with its trunk is the principal and most common ornament.
Are these mere coincidences? The name _Ganesha-pol_ would be according to
the Maya language, the _head of Ganesha_; _pol_, in Maya, being the head.
If I wished to go further I might say that in _Ganesha_ we have a
dialectical pronounciation of _Can-ex_, "the serpents." No deity in the
Hindoo pantheon is so often addressed; and his titles are so numerous that
like Osiris it might be named _Myrionymus_ "with ten thousand names."

So many are the legends accounting for the elephant head, it may be safely
assumed that its origin is unknown. May not its worship have been
introduced in India, with many other customs, that for instance of carrying
the children astride on the hip; of printing an impression of the human
hand, dipped in red liquid, on the walls of the temples and other sacred
buildings by devotees etc.; by colonists from Mayax where these customs
prevailed, and the worship of the mastodon was widely spread if not
general? This surmise assumes the semblance of probability when we consider
that the body of Ganesha is painted red, the color characteristic of the
American race, and the symbol of nobility of race among the Egyptians.

The elephant was not among the animals worshiped by them. They do not seem
to have been much acquainted with it. But the imprint of the red hand, so
commonly seen on the walls of the temples of Mayax and India, has never
been observed in the temples of Egypt; neither did the Egyptian women carry
their children astride on their hip, as do still those of India and
Yucatan, although many other customs were common to the people of these
countries. It is probable that the colonists from the "Lands of the West"
who settled in the valley of the Nile, replaced the worship of the
mastodon, which did not exist in the country, by that of the bull, the
largest and most useful of their domestic animals; and that this was the
origin of their veneration for the bull Apis, as those who were initiated
into the mysteries of Osiris well knew, being told that Apis ought to be
regarded as a fair and beautiful image of their soul.

From the remotest antiquity the serpent was held by every people in the
greatest veneration as the embodiment of divine wisdom. We have already
said that Eusebius asserts that the Egyptians figured emblematically
_Kneph_, the Creator, as a serpent; and that the Maya learned priests
represented the engendered, the ancestor of all beings, in the sculptures,
protected within the coils of the serpent. Mr. Stanyland Wake, in his book
on the origin of the serpent worship writes: "the student of mythology
knows that certain ideas were associated by the people of antiquity with
the serpent, and that it was the favorite symbol of peculiar deities; but
why that animal rather than any other was chosen for that purpose is yet

The late Mr. James Fergusson in his work on "Serpent and Tree Worship," a
work so full of erudition and interesting researches, whilst he
conclusively shows that these worships were common to all civilized and
half civilized nations of antiquity, fails to indicate the country where
they originated. All authors who have written on the subject, admit that
their origin is still an impenetrable mystery; although they agree that
they are so intimately connected as to make it impossible not to believe it
must have been the same.

The limited scope of this book does not allow me to give the matter all the
space it deserves. I will therefore content myself, with bringing forth
such facts as will conclusively show, at least to unprejudiced minds, that
the serpent and tree worship indeed originated on this "Western continent,"
and from the same cause; "the love of the country," from the _amor-patriæ_,
still so firmly rooted in the heart of the aborigines, that it is difficult
to induce them to leave the spot where they are born, even to better their
condition. Everywhere on the Eastern continents serpent worship is
connected with mythological narratives, metaphysical speculations, or
astronomical conceptions, far above the intellectual and scientific
attainments of the mass of people among whom it prevailed.

These were mere fictions invented by the priests and learned men, to
conceal either the real facts, or may be, their own ignorance of them.
Still, anxious to maintain the preponderance and power that knowledge gave
them over the multitudes, and having to satisfy their curiosity, they
imagined such explanations as best suited the notions current in their
times and the ideas of the people.

In early days the serpent, emblem of Kneph, the Creator, was the
_agathodæmon_, the good genius. It is still so regarded by the Chinese, who
consider it one of their most beautiful symbols. Later, when it became
emblematical of _Set_ or Typho, the slayer of Osiris, it was looked upon
with horror, as the evil principle, the destroyer, the enemy of mankind. It
has ever since continued to be so held by the Jews, the Christians, the
Mahometans, in fact by all peoples whose religious tenets are founded on
the Bible. If the tree and serpent were worshiped throughout the Eastern
continents from the shores of the Atlantic ocean to those of the Pacific,
from Scandinavia to Egypt and the Asiatic peninsulæ, their worship was not
less spread amongst the nations that inhabited the "Lands of the West." We
find vestiges of it everywhere on the Western continent; from the banks of
Brush creek, in Adams county, in the State of Ohio, where still exists, on
the crest of a mound, the effigy of a great serpent 700 feet long, entirely
similar to that discovered by Mr. John S. Phené in Glen Feechan,
Argyleshire, in Scotland, to the ancient city of Tiahuanuco, whose ruins
are 13,500 feet above the level of the Pacific on the shores of lake
Titicaca, near the frontier of Bolivia, on the high plateau of the Andes.
There is yet to be seen a very remarkable doorway formed out of a single
monolith 13 feet 5 inches long, 7 feet high above the ground, and 18 inches
thick. This monolith has attracted the attention of d'Orbigny and the other
travelers who, like myself, have been struck with astonishment by the
beauty of the sculptures that adorn its south-eastern façade. Mayas, no
doubt, were the unknown builders of that great city; since in the
sculptures mentioned, we find, as in the temples of Japan, the totem of
prince _Coh_, of his wife and sister _Moo_, and of their father king CAN

I will make here a short digression in order to describe these sculptures,
that with the knowledge we possess to-day of the history of the founders of
the principal ruined cities of Mayax, afford us another proof that the
builders of that city of Tiahuanuco belonged to a then highly civilized
nation, which sent colonists to the remotest parts of the earth, as the
English do to-day, and to whose historical annals may be traced many of the
primitive traditions of mankind. This city was already in ruins when Manco
Capac laid the foundation of the Inca's empire, and had been constructed by
_giants before the sun shone in heaven_, as the natives said to the
Spaniards when questioned as to its antiquity.

We have seen that the members of the family of king _Can_, are still
worshiped in the temples of Japan, as of old they were in those of Egypt;
we now meet unimpeachable records of them, carved on very ancient
monuments, on the shores of lake Titicaca, at the foot of the great
glaciers of Sorata and Illimani, as we have found them in mythological lore
of India and Greece. Will it be said that these are mere coincidences?


The front of this monolithic gate was once upon a time as highly polished
as the material, trachite, will permit. The whole space above the doorway
is divided into four bands about eight inches high. The lower band contains
seventeen small heads, in low relief, adorned in a somewhat similar manner
to that of the central figure. _Seven_ of these, those directly under that
figure wear, like it, a badge that seems to be a plume composed of _three_
feathers. These small heads are separated by _grecques_ having macaw's
heads at their salient sides; these _grecques_ are the symbol of power and
strength. In the ancient Maya and Egyptian alphabets the _grecque_ is
equivalent to our latin letter H. _Ah_ is the Maya masculine article, and
it conveys to the mind the idea of might and power; this, taken in
connection with the _macaw's_ head, totem of Moo, the queen of Chichen,
signifies the mighty, the powerful Moo.

The other bands are divided into squares of the same size, except in the
center over the doorway, where there is a figure 32 by 21 inches.

Its head, the form of which is not only conventional, as its square eyes
and mouth indicate, but likewise emblematical, consists of _three_
superposed layers in the shape of escutcheons, the uppermost of which is
sculptured so as to represent a human face. These _three_ escutcheons as
the _three_ feathers of the plume that adorns it, the _triple_ throne on
which the figure seems to stand, the _three_ dots on each cheek, the
_three_ oblong squares on the breast-plate, the _three_ macaw's heads at
the extremities of the _triple_ sceptre it holds in its hands, are
symbolical of the _three_ great western regions that the Egyptians
designated by the generic name of "_Lands of the West_" and represented by
the character [Symbol: three-pointed crown] which is an image of the crown
worn by some of the high chiefs in Mayax. That the central figure was meant
to represent these countries, the sign [Symbol: long hollow rectangle],
that stands in lieu of the mouth, indicates. It is the letter _M_,
pronounced _Ma_, of the Maya and Egyptian ancient alphabets. It is the
radical of _Mayax_, name of the Maya empire. But _Ma_ in Egypt as in Mayax,
is a word that signifies land, country, and by extension universe; and in
Mayax as in Egypt [Symbol: long hollow rectangle] is one of the signs for


The head is surrounded by rays divided into groups of four; four on the
top, four on each side, and four on the under part. Each ray is terminated
by a circle with a dot in the center [Symbol: circle with a dot in the
middle], a sign very often met with on the monuments of Mayax; particularly
on the trunk of the mastodon's heads. It is the first letter of the ancient
Maya and Egyptian alphabets, and correspond to our letter A, the initial of
the Maya word _Ahau_, king.


This would indicate that the central figure was likewise symbolical of the
king _par excellence_, ruler of the empire, whom the kneeling personages
that surround it, are in the act of worshiping as shown, not only by their
posture, but also by the sign [Symbol: hanging fronds], carved on the neck
of the macaw-headed figures, the followers of the queen _Moo_ (macaw),
which again in Mayax as in Egypt is the symbol of offering, worship, and
adoration. The name of this great king we read in the four heads of
leopards, terminating the rays at the upper angles, and those in the middle
on each side of the escutcheon, and in the four rays of each group.
Translating these symbols by means of the Maya language, we find that _Can
Coh_ was the name of the potentate; and that he was a member of the _Can_
family, rulers of Mayax. This fact is indicated by the serpent heads at the
lower angles of the escutcheon, those at the extremities of the
breast-plate, the four oblong squares carved on the ribbons that support
it, and the number of rays forming each group round the head.

In Maya _four_ is _can_; but can also means _serpent_, likewise power.
Number _four_ according to Pythagoras, was particularly connected with
Mercury, the _Thoth_ of the Egyptians, as the deity who imparted
intellectual gifts to man. The _Tetraktus_ or number four represented the
mystic name of the Creative Power; and in later times it meant _intellect_,
_wisdom_, _all that is active_. Pythagoras asks: "How do you count?"
Mercury: "one, two, three, four." Pythagoras: "Do you not see that what are
four to you are ten and our oath? those (1, 2, 3, 4,) added together,
forming ten, and four containing every number within it." The four leopard
heads are his totem, _Kancoh, Coh_ being leopard. Further on, I will refer
more in detail to these personages, and to the rôle they have played in the
civilization of the world, having been, and being still, worshiped in many
countries under different names. The peculiar shape of the sceptre held in
the left hand of the figure, the upper part of which is bifurcated, each
end terminating with the head of a _macaw_, totem of the queen _Moo_ of
Chichen-Itza, sister and wife of _Coh_, and its undulations, like those of
a serpent in motion, seem intended as an emblem of the three great regions
that composed the empire that is likewise portrayed in the three rows of
kneeling winged personages. The upper portion of said sceptre is symbolical
of the Western continent, divided into two great parts united by the
Isthmus of Panama. The lower was meant to represent that extensive island
that sunk beneath the waves of the Atlantic ocean, about 11,500 years ago.

The sceptre held in the right hand of the central figure being whole, would
show that the entire country was governed by a potentate to whom the rulers
of the seventeen nations, into which the empire was divided, paid homage
and acknowledged as their suzerain. These seventeen divisions of the empire
are indicated by the seventeen small heads sculptured on the lower band,
and the seventeen signs of land that adorned the arms, the breastplate, and
the ribbon from which it is suspended.

Of the small kneeling winged figures, those of the middle row are portrayed
with the heads of macaws to signify that they are the particular adherents
of queen Moo, that here, as in Mayax, carry her totem as a badge or sign of
recognition; whilst the others have human heads, but wear on their crowns
her totem, in token that they recognize her as their _suzerain_. All these
figures are ornamented with _twelve_ serpents, arranged in groups of
_three_, whilst the sash they carry across their body from the shoulder to
the waist on the opposite side, terminates in a peculiar knot adorned with
the four circles, that we have said stood for the word _Ahau_, that is
king, indicating that their lord paramount is a member of the _Can_
(serpent) dynasty. The whole tableau recalls vividly, that presented by the
kneeling beaked nosed personages in attendance at the shrine of the bird
deity at Kioto.

Mr. Angrand, the well known French archæologist, finds, and with reason, a
coincidence between these sculptures and those of Central America, having a
corresponding symbolical significance. In them he sees the proof of the
identity of origin, of the intimate relationship of the builders of
Tiahuanuco and those of Palenque, Ocosingo, and Xochicalco. He might have
added, and be nearer to the truth, those of the cities of Mayax, that were
founded many centuries before those mentioned by him.

In Mayax, it is where, indeed, the image of the serpent, as a symbol, is
most commonly met with. We see it on almost every edifice in every city. It
is one of the favorite ornaments, especially at Chichen-Itza, of which
place it seems to have been the particular protecting genius. There it is
found everywhere. It guards the entrance of all public edifices. It is at
the foot of their grand stairways, as if defending the ascent. The columns
that support their porticos are representations of it. Its head forms the
base, its body the shaft. The nobles and other personages of high rank wore
adornments made in the shape of serpents. Chichen may indeed be called the
"_City of Serpents_" par excellence. If we, therefore, wish to know the
true meaning of the serpent as a symbol, if we desire to inquire as to the
motives that led to its worship, it is necessary to question the learned
priests of that city; to consult the books in which the philosophers of
Mayax have consigned their knowledge and their esoteric doctrines.

The origin of the "Serpent Worship" they tell us, can be traced to two
apparently distinct causes. One, the esoteric, taught only to a few select
of those initiated in the greater mysteries, is the homage to be tributed
by the creature to the Creator. The other, the exoteric, inculcated on the
uninitiated, was the love of the country, and the respect due by the
subjects to their rulers, living images and vicars of the Deity on earth.

In order to comprehend the first, or esoteric, we must recall to mind that
Eusebius says that the Egyptians represented emblematically _Kneph_ the
Creator, and the world also, under the figure of a serpent, which,
Horapollo asserts, was of a blue color with yellow scales; but they fail to
inform us as to what may have been their motives for thus symbolizing the
First Cause; or from whom they had received this symbol, that was the same
used by the Mayas. A clue to this mystery can no doubt be found in the
cosmogonical notions prevalent among the ancient civilized nations; for,
strange to say, they seem to have been alike with all. We read in the
_Manava-dharma-sastra_ that the visible universe in the beginning was
nothing but darkness. Then the great, self-existing Power dispelled that
darkness, and appeared in all His splendor. He first produced the waters;
and on them moved _Narayana_ the divine spirit.

Berosus, recounting the ancient legend of the creation according to the
Chaldeans, says: "In the beginning all was darkness and water; and therein
were generated monstrous animals and strange and peculiar forms.... A woman
ruleth them all." Her name in Chaldee is _Thalath_, in Greek _Thalassa_
(the sea), that is in Maya _Thallac_ (a thing without steadiness).

Genesis recounts that: "In the beginning the Earth was without form and
void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the spirit of God
moved upon the face of the water. And God said, Let there be light and
there was light."

In _Primander_, that modern critics consider the most ancient and authentic
of the first philosophical books of Egypt, attributed to Hermes
Trismegistus, in the dialogue between _Thoth_ and Primander, the Supreme
Intelligence, we read these words of _Thoth_. "I had then before my eyes a
most prodigious spectacle. All things had resolved themselves into light. A
marvellous, pleasing and seducing sight it was to contemplate. It filled me
with delight. After a while a horrid shadow, which ended in oblique folds,
and assumed a humid nature, agitated itself with terrific noise. From it
escaped smoke with uproar, and a voice was heard above the din. It seemed
as the voice of the light; and the verb came forth from that voice of
light; that verb was carried upon the humid principle. Out of it came forth
the fire pure and light, and rising, it was lost in the air that,
spirit-like, occupies the intermediate space between the water and the
fire. The earth and the water were so mixed that the surface of the Earth
covered by the water appeared nowhere."

And in what are termed the modern Hermetic books, the origin of things is
thus explained: "The principle of all things existing is God, and the
intellect, and nature, and matter, and energy, and fate, and _conclusion_,
and _renovation_. For there were boundless darkness in the abyss, and
water, and a subtile spirit, intellectual in power, existing in chaos. But
the holy light broke forth, and the elements were produced from among the
sand of a watery essence."

In the _Popol-Vuh_, the sacred book of the Quiches, we read: "This is the
recital of how everything was without life, calm and silent, all was
motionless and quiet; void was the immensity of the heavens; the face of
the Earth did not manifest itself yet; only the tranquil sea was, and the
space of the heavens. All was immobility and silence in the darkness, in
the night; only the Creator, the Maker, the Dominator, the Serpent covered
with feathers, they who engender, they who create, were on the waters as an
ever increasing light. They are surrounded by green and blue, their name is

We have already said how the Maya sages have taken care to perpetuate their
cosmogonical conceptions, by causing the narrative of the creation to be
carved, in high relief, over the doorway of the east façade of the palace
at Chichen-Itza, and that these conceptions were identical with those of
the Hindoos and the Egyptians. It cannot be argued that this identity of
ideas about the origin of things, arrived at by the wise men of India,
Egypt, and Mayax, and expressed in as nearly the same words as the genius
of the vernacular of these various countries admits, is purely accidental;
or, that they have arrived separately at the same conclusions on the
subject, without communicating one with the other. The notion and its
explanation must have originated with one, and been taught to the others
just as our modern scientific discoveries, or religious beliefs, are
carried from country to country, even the most remote, and made known to
their inhabitants. What should we think of the man who would pretend that
the railway, electric telegraph, and many other of the latest inventions,
instead of having originated in one particular country, nay, more, in the
brain of a particular man, have sprung simultaneously among all the various
nations which make use of them? Would not that man be regarded as a born
idiot or a fit subject for a lunatic asylum? We can easily understand how
these cosmogonical notions have passed from the Egyptians to the Chaldees
or to the Hindoos or _vice versa_; but who brought them to the "Lands of
the West" and when? Who can say they did not arise among the inhabitants of
the "Western continent;" and were not conveyed by them to the other

In my work "The Monuments of Mayax," I have shown how the legends
accompanying the images of several of the Egyptian deities, when
interpreted by means of the Maya language, point directly to Mayax as the
birthplace of the Egyptian civilization. How the ancient Maya hieratic
alphabet, discovered by me, is as near alike to the ancient hieratic
alphabet of the Egyptians as two alphabets can possibly be, forcing upon us
the conclusion that the Mayas and the Egyptians either learned the art of
writing from the same masters, or that the Egyptians learned it from the
Mayas. There is every reason to believe that the cosmogonical conceptions,
so widely spread, originated with the Mayas, and were communicated by them
to all the other nations among which we find their name.

An analysis of the tableau of creation, carved on the façade of the palace
at Chichen-Itza, cannot fail, therefore, to prove interesting. In it we
shall find a proof of the scientific attainments of its designers; and also
the reason why the serpent came to be worshiped all over the Earth.

The philosophers of Mayax must have known that the waters cover the
greatest part of the globe (about three fifths); and that water being a
combination of gases (oxygen and hydrogen), the most subtile of fluids,
must have been the first form of matter produced. This is why on each side
and on the top of the tableau they placed the symbol of water [Symbol:
three wavy lines]; taking care to leave without it, at the upper part, a
portion equal to two-fifths of its length. In the midst of the waters they
represented the figure of an egg, that is a germ. Why an egg and not any
other seed? Is it because their study of physiology had made them
acquainted with the fact, that no being exists on Earth, but that is born
from an egg? They represented the egg emitting rays. The rays of the light
into which says Thoth, all things resolved themselves; that, says the
Quiche, author of the Popol-Vuh, appeared on the water as an increasing
brightness that bathed the Creator, the _feathered serpent_, the _Kneph_,
as the Egyptians would name it, in green and azure. It is well to notice
that the symbols of water terminate with the head of serpents; because they
compared the waves of the ocean to the undulations of the serpent's body
while in motion.


For this reason the Mayas named the sea _Canah_, the great, the powerful
serpent: and in the Troano MS., the sea is always designated by a serpent's
head. This explains why the Quiches, the Mayas, the Egyptians, the Hindoos,
represented the world, and, by extension, the maker of it, as a serpent.
Thus it is that they placed a serpent within the egg, behind the creator to
indicate that this symbol is the totem of the ancestor of all beings. And
here we have one of the origins of the serpent worship: that is, the
adoration of the Creator.

[Illustration: FIG. 1.] [Illustration: FIG. 2.]

In Egypt the goddess _Uati_, the genius of the lower country, is at times
represented as a serpent with inflated breast, the body standing erect over
a basket or sieve, the lower part resting against a figure resembling our
numeral 8. At times again, as a winged serpent, with inflated breast,
wearing on its head a cap or crown of peculiar shape, that it is said to be
the crown of lower Egypt. Why the Egyptians selected such symbols to
represent the lower country, we are not informed; and it is doubtful if the
learned Egyptologists could explain the motive.

Now it is a most remarkable fact, that these are the very symbols used by
the Maya hierogrammatists and artists to figure their own motherland, the
Maya empire.


The author of the Troano MS., sometimes pictures Mayax as a serpent with an
inflated breast (Plate. XVII., Part II.), at other times as a serpent with
part of the body bent in the shape of the Yucatan peninsula,[2] and the
artists who executed the paintings in the funereal chamber of Prince _Coh_,
typified the country as a winged serpent, with the back painted green, the
belly yellow, wearing a blue crown on the head, its tail ending with a
peculiar dart resembling in general contour the southern continent of

This is not the place to give minute explanations of these symbols which I
have considered in another work, I simply wish to consign here such facts
as cannot be attributed altogether to hazard. So the peculiar twist against
which rests the body of the serpent, emblem of the lower country, is
exactly the same that forms the symbol [Symbol: glyph] used in the Troano
MS., to represent the gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean sea, whose waters
bathe the peninsula of Yucatan, that seems as if standing erect between
them as the serpent in the Egyptian sign.


As to the sieve, it is called, by the natives of that country, MAYAB. Mayab
was, in past ages, one of the names of the peninsula. The crown of Lower
Egypt [Symbol: Egyption crown], is precisely that worn by certain
chieftains, whose portraits we see in the bas-reliefs at Chichen-Itza.
There the peak was worn in front; in Egypt at the back: may be as a mark of
respect on the part of the Egyptians toward their mother country, to
signify that as the child, Egypt must stand behind its parent, as it is
customary for children to do among the aborigines of Yucatan.

Since the Egyptians and the Mayas used identical signs as symbols of the
country in which they lived, may it not be inferred that the same cause
prompted their selection? We must not lose sight of the fact that the
winged serpents introduced into the paintings of Egypt, are merely
emblematic representations connected with the mysterious rites of the dead,
and the mode of being in Amenti; that is, in the "Lands of the West" where
the souls of the departed were supposed to return and exist, after being
liberated from their mortal body.


In early days _Uati_ or _Mati_, the country of Mayax, was one of the
divinities, worshiped by the settlers on the banks of the Nile; and the
asp, not any other snake, played a conspicuous part in the religious
mysteries, and was universally honored.

Here, again, we may ask why? What possible relation can exist between the
asp and the country; between the asp and the office of king or the
attributes of Deity? Still it was the badge of royalty, worn as an ornament
on the head-dress of kings and gods. Is the selection of the asp as a mark
of distinction to be ascribed to a mere whim? May not that predilection be
assigned to the fact that, when angry, it dilates its breast; and when in
that condition it recalled to the minds of the colonists, the geographical
contours of the land of their forefathers in the West, and the way it was
represented in the books, from which they had studied in their childhood?
If we look at a map of the Western continent, it will be easy to perceive
that the contours of Central America—that is the Maya empire of old—figure
a serpent with an inflated breast, in a position similar to that of the
emblem of lower Egypt (Figs. 1 and 2, p. 115.), the head being the
peninsula of Yucatan, anciently the seat of the government; and that the
southern continent would be the dart of its tail, as pictured by the Maya
artists. The green color of its back, the verdant, tropical forests that
cover the land; the yellow belly, the internal volcanic fires, that cause
the surface to wriggle like a serpent; the blue crown on its head, the blue
canopy of heaven above; the wings, the smoke of the volcanoes; the fins,
the high peaks of the chain of mountains that traverses the country from
north to south, part of the Cordilleras, that are as the backbone of the


The intense love of their country is one of the most striking
characteristics of the aborigines to the present day. That love may be said
to amount to fanaticism. In it we find another origin of the serpent
worship, emblem of the motherland.

In the Serpent mantra, in the _Aytareya Brahmana_, a passage speaks of the
Earth as the _Sarpa Rajni_, the queen of the serpents, and the mother of
all that moves, still worshiped by the Nayas, dwellers in the valley of

In Mayax the primitive rulers derived their title CAN (serpent) from the
shape of the contours of their empire, as the priests of the sun received
theirs from the name _Kin_ of that luminary. Their emblem however, was not
a winged serpent, with a dart at the end of the tail, but a rattlesnake
covered with feathers; image of the feathered mantle used by the king, the
high-pontiff, and other high dignitaries, as ceremonial dress. This
feathered rattlesnake adorns the walls of the royal mansions. It is seen at
Uxmal, on the east façade of the west wing of king _Can's_ palace and at
other places. After their death these rulers, images of Deity on earth,
received the honors of apotheosis. They became gods and goddesses and were
worshiped as such. In Assyria the symbol of the winged serpent was replaced
by that of the winged circle, emblem of Asshur, the supreme deity of the
Assyrians; and this symbol is seldom found in the sculptures except in
immediate connection with the monarch. It seems to be also closely related
with the sacred or symbolical tree.

Here again, is another origin of "Serpent Worship," in that of the kings of
Mayax under the symbol of the "feathered serpent." One of the names for
rattlesnake, in Maya, is _Ahau-Can_, the royal serpent. In the sculptures
the king is often represented by this emblem with _seven_ rattles at the
end of the tail; seven having been the number of the members of king
_Can's_ family. In Egypt the kings and queens were honored as gods after
their death. In Greece and other countries, the heroes were deified and
worshiped as divinities.

From all antiquity and by all nations, the tree and serpent worship have
been so closely identified, as to guarantee the inference that their origin
is the same, although it seems difficult to comprehend what possible
analogy may exist between them, without a knowledge of the place where they
originated, of the people that first instituted it, of their traditions and
peculiar notions. Many learned students have published the results of their
researches on the subject. None, however, has yet assigned a birthplace to
the tree or serpent worship.

The late Mr. James Fergusson tells us that he is inclined to believe that
it was in "the mud of the lower Euphrates, among a people of Turanian
origin, and spread thence to every country of the old world." This is truly
indefinite. Then comes the query: what about the tree and serpent worship
among the inhabitants of the Western continent? For they also had their
sacred trees; and with them as with the natives of the Eastern world, the
tree was symbolical of eternal life.

The oak tree was dedicated to _Baal_, the chief god of the Phœnicians and
other eastern nations. Under it the Druids performed their most sacred
rites in honor of _Œseus_, the Supreme Being. The ash was venerated by the
Scandinavians. The inhabitants of the island of Delos believe the gigantic
palm tree to be the favorite production of Latona. The people of Samos,
Athens, Dodona, Arcadia, worshiped in sacred groves, as those of Canaan. In
India the worship of the tree is of very ancient date, as in the island of
Ceylon: in the courtyard of every monastery a bo-tree (ficus Indicus) is
planted. Nowhere, however, do we find the origin of that worship mentioned.

Mr. Fergusson advises us to look to the Egyptians, these being the most
ancient civilized people, for an explanation of it, averring that it
undoubtedly prevailed among them before the multifarious Theban pantheon
was elaborated. In Egypt the tamarisk was the holy tree chosen to
overshadow the supposed sepulchre of Osiris, the king of Amenti. The
_persea_ was sacred to Athor, the regent of the West, often identified with
Isis. The sycamore was consecrated to Nut, mother of Isis and Osiris,
frequently represented in the paintings of the tombs, standing in its
branches, pouring from a vase, a liquid which the soul of the departed,
under the form of a bird with a human head, catches in his hands. It is the
water of eternal life. So the trees were particularly sacred to the deities
connected with Amenti, that is, to the deified kings and queens from the
"Lands of the West."

We are told that the sacred tree was an emblem found in frequent
association with the "winged circle" in Assyria. As this symbol is always
met with in immediate connection with the monarchs, it would seem that the
worship of the tree bears a close relation to, if it is not typical of,
that of the deified heroes and kings.

To understand the relationship between the tree, the winged serpent or
"circle" and the "monarchs" it is again necessary to consult the annals
left carved in stone or written in their books by the wise men of Mayax.
From them we learn that the Mayas held certain trees sacred, Landa,
Cogolludo, and other early writers tell us that, even as far down as the
time of the Spanish conquest, the aborigines believed in the immortality of
the soul, that would be rewarded or punished in the life beyond the grave,
for its deeds whilst in the body.


Their reward was to consist in dwelling in a delectable place, where pain
was unknown, where there would be an abundance of delicious food, which
they would enjoy, with eternal repose, in the cool shade beneath the
evergreen and spreading branches of the _yaxché_ (ceiba tree), which is
found planted, even to-day, in front of the main entrance of the churches,
throughout Yucatan and Central America. Sometimes the churches are built in
the midst of groves of ceiba trees, that in some localities are replaced by
the gigantic palm tree (_Palma real_).

The Maya empire was of old, according to the author of the Troano MS.,
figured as a tree, planted in the continent known to-day as South America,
its principal branch being formed by the Yucatecan peninsula. (See map,
page 120.) Here we have the key to the origin of the tree worship, and its
intimate relation to the winged serpent and the king. It is again the
worship of the country symbolized by a tree, as it also was by a serpent,
or by the Ruler. Thus we find a natural explanation of the tradition
current among the ancient nations, that the TREE _par excellence_, the tree
of life, that is of civilization, of knowledge, was placed in the middle of
the land, of the garden, of the primitive country (_Mayax_) of the race;
the empire of the Mayas being placed between the two great continents,
North and South America, forming the "Lands of the West."[3]

This relation of the tree, the serpent and the country in the middle of the
World, is confirmed by the Chinese writers, commentators on the
_Chou-king_, one of the most ancient literary monuments of China. Speaking
of the Tien-Hoang or kings of heaven, Yong-chi says: _Tien-hoang had the
body of a serpent. He was the origin of letters._ _He gave names to the
ten_ KAN, _and to the twelve Tchi, in order to determine the place of the
year_; and _Yuen-leao-fan_, another writer, says that KAN _means the trunk
of a tree, and that_ TCHI _are the branches, reason why they are called_
CHE-CULL-TSE, _the twelve children_. It is well to remark here that the
children of king _Can_ were called CAN-CHI, which is still a family name
among the aborigines.

TI-HUANG, king of the Earth, is also called _Hoang-kiun_, that is, he who
reigns sovereignly in the middle of the earth, and also TSE-YUEN, or the
son principle, the engendered, the _Brahma_ of the Hindoos, the _Kneph_ of
the Egyptians, the _Mehen_ of the Mayas.

The cross is another sacred symbol much reverenced by all nations,
civilized and semi-civilized, ages before the establishment of
Christianity: and although we find representations of it in almost every
part of the world, from its mere delineation scratched on the rock, to the
stately temples and admirably hewn caves of Elephanta in India, still
nowhere do we learn of its origin. There are several varieties of crosses,
but all may be traced back to the primitive form which resembles the Latin

Among the earliest type known on the Eastern continents is the "Cruz
Ansata," called the "Key of the Nile." It was the "symbol of symbols" among
the Egyptians, the Phœnicians and the Chaldees, being the emblem of the
_life to come_. It was placed on the breast of the deceased, sometimes as a
simple [Symbol: T cross] on the fulcrum _of a cone_; sometimes represented
as supported on a heart. It is also seen adorning the breasts of statues
and statuettes in Palenque, Copan, and other ancient cities of Guatemala,
Nicaragua, and various localities of Central America. Everywhere it was
associated with _water_. In Babylon it was the emblem of _water deities_.
In Egypt, Assyria, and Britain, it was emblematical of _creative power and
eternity_. In India, China, and Scandinavia of _heaven and immortality_. In
Mayax of _rejuvenescence and freedom from physical suffering_. The cross,
as a symbol, was placed on the breast of the initiate after his new birth
was accomplished in the Bacchic and Eleusinian mysteries.

Remesal and Torquemada assert, in their respective works, that when in
1519, the Spaniards, under Hernan Cortez, landed at the island of Cozumel,
they found crosses which the natives worshiped as gods in their temples.
After them many writers, on their authority, have affirmed the same thing.
This, however, seems to have been a mistake. Bernal Diaz del Castillo, who
accompanied Cortez, does not mention the existence of such symbols in
Cozumel, but emphatically says that Cortez, having ordered the destruction
of the idols that were in the sanctuaries, caused an image of the Virgin
Mary to be placed in their stead, and near it a wooden cross, made by two
of his carpenters, to be erected, recommending the natives to take great
care of them when he left. Dr. Pedro Sanchez de Aguilar, another of the
early writers, maintains that the stone crosses found afterward in the
island were made in imitation of that of Cortez; and Bishop Landa, although
a most zealous missionary, intent on converting the aborigines to the
Catholic faith, does not mention the existence of crosses in Cozumel before
the advent of the Spaniards; a fact he would certainly have taken advantage
of in his predication of the gospel, and would not have failed to mention
in his work, had he been satisfied that the symbol really existed.

There can be no doubt that in Mayax, in very remote ages, the cross was an
emblem pertaining to the sacred mysteries. No external vestiges of the
symbol are to be found among the remains of the temples and palaces of the
Mayas, such as those seen at Palenque and other places of Central America.
Only one image of a perfect cross have I ever met with in the ancient
edifices of Yucatan besides the ground plan of the sanctuary at Uxmal. (See
page 35.) It forms part of the inscription carved on the lintel of the
doorway of the east façade of the palace at Chichen. Still tradition tells
us that the cross was symbolical of the "_God of Rain_." If so, they made
no image of it, nor did they celebrate any festival in honor of it at the
time of the conquest, but held it simply as a notion of their forefathers.

The ancient Maya astronomers had observed that at a certain period of the
year, at the beginning of our month of May, that owes its name to the
goddess MAYA, _the good dame, mother of the gods_, the "_Southern Cross_,"
appears perfectly perpendicular above the line of the southern horizon.
This is why the Catholic church celebrates the feast of the _exaltation of
the holy cross_ on the third day of that month, which it has consecrated
particularly to the _Mother of God_, the _Good Lady_, the virgin _Ma-R-ia_,
or the goddess Isis anthropomorphised by Bishop Cyril of Alexandria.

In all localities situated within the 12th and 23d degree of latitude
north, about the beginning of January, the dry season sets in and no more
rain falls during several months. In May and April in the countries like
Yucatan, where there is no water on the surface of the ground, all things
become parched; the trees and shrubs lose their leaves, nature looks
desolate, all living beings thirst for a drop of moisture, the birds and
other wild creatures, mad with thirst, lose their characteristic shyness
and venture near the haunts of man, imperiling their lives in search of
water; death, for want of it, seems to threaten all creation.

But four bright stars appear in the south. A shining cross stands erect
above the southern horizon. It is the heavenly messenger that brings good
tidings to all, for it announces that the flood-gates of heaven soon shall
be open; that the so longed for rain will shortly descend from on high, and
with it joy and happiness, new life to all creatures. Man hails with
thankful heart, welcomes with songs of gladness, this brilliant harbinger
of the _life to come_, for indeed it is a god for him, the GOD OF RAIN that
_rejuvenates nature, frees man and all other creatures from physical
sufferings, brings felicity to them—heaven therefore_—and, with renewed
life, _immortality_. Is it not the creative power that is eternally
renovating and revivifying all things on the surface of the earth? Is it
then strange that all nations, in every age, should have worshiped the
cross as symbol of the _life to come_ and _immortality_, and held it in so
great veneration? It must be remembered that all the civilized nations in
the "Lands of the West" and in the "Eastern Continent," dwelt in latitudes
where the constellation known as "the Southern Cross" is visible during the
month of May, and that the first showers soon follow its apparition above
the horizon. From these of course it was transmitted to the others further
north, that accepted the symbol, without understanding its meaning, and in
aftertimes many speculations have been indulged in concerning its origin:
but the unsophisticated natives, in the midst of their forests to-day,
rejoice at the sight of the "Southern Cross" and prepare to sow their


The origin and meaning of the mystical [Symbol: T cross], that symbol of
"hidden wisdom" as it has been denominated by scholars of our days, found
on all Egyptian monuments, in the temples, in the hands of the gods, in the
tombs on the breast of the mummies, also met with in the ancient edifices
of Mayax, and on the statues and altars in the temples at Palenque, has
given rise to many speculations on the part of modern savants. They have
not reached yet any conclusion, although its name TAU says plainly, that it
is nothing more or less than a representation of the "_God of Rain_" the
"Southern Cross." Effectively _tau_ is a Maya word composed of the three
primitives _ti_, here, _a_ for _ha_, water, and _u_ month, which translated
freely means "_This is the month for water_;" hence for the resurrection of
nature—for the new life to come.

The complex form of the mystical [Symbol: T cross] which is formed of a
cone with two arms extending, one each side, and an oval placed immediately
above them, has been denominated by the Egyptologists _cruz-ansata_. It is
not of Egyptian origin. It has its prototype in the conoidal pillar,
surmounted by a sphere, used by the Babylonians as symbol of life and
death; death being but the beginning or nursery of life. This emblem was
only a reminiscence of the _yaxche_, the sacred tree of the Mayas, under
the roots of which, the natives assert, is always to be found a source of
pure cold water. The trunk of the yaxche, from the foot to the top, forms a
perfect cone from which the main branches shoot in an horizontal direction.
Its leafy top, seen from a distance, presents the appearance of a half
sphere of verdure. The _cone_, the _tau_ and the _cruz-ansata_ were for
those initiated to the mysteries the same symbol, emblematical of Deity, of
the life to come, of the dual powers, of fertility. The Mayas and other
peoples of Central America, in the sculptures or paintings, always
represented their sacred trees with two branches shooting horizontally from
the top of the trunk, thus presenting the appearance of a cross or tau.

[Illustration: From a Mexican MS. in British Museum. (Add. MS. b. m.

In straying apparently so far from the main object of these pages, and
tracing to their true origin the primitive traditions of mankind and many
of the religious symbols common to all the civilized nations of antiquity,
by dispelling the mists that have accumulated around them in the long vista
of ages, my aim has been to show that they all emanated from one and the
same source, and that this source was the country of Mayax, in the "Lands
of the West." Ancient sacred mysteries, have been celebrated in the temples
of Egypt, Chaldea, and India, from ages so remote that it is no longer
known by whom or where they were first instituted. Herodotus tells us that
the daughters of Danaus instituted the Thesmophoria in honor of the goddess
Ceres, in imitation of the mysteries celebrated in Egypt in honor of Isis,
and taught them to the Pelasgic women. That Eumolpus, king of Eleusis,
instituted in his own country the Eleusinian mysteries on his return from
Egypt, where he had been initiated by the priests as Orpheus who founded in
Thracia those that bear his name; but who taught the rites of initiation,
the use of the symbols and their meaning, to the Hierophants of Egypt, to
the magi of Chaldea, to the Gymnosophists of India?

The mode of initiation, the use of the same symbols, with an identical
signification ascribed to them, by peoples living so far apart whose
customs and manners were so unlike, whose religion, so far at least as
external practices were concerned, differed so widely, show that these
mysteries originated with one people, and were carried to and promulgated
among the others. As we do not find it mentioned anywhere that they
originated either with the Egyptians, Chaldees, or Hindoos, and we have
seen that their primitive traditions have been derived from the history of
the early rulers of Mayax, is it not natural that we should look for the
institution of the mysteries among the Mayas, since we find the same
mysterious symbols, used by the initiates in all the other countries,
carved on the walls of the temples of their gods, and the palaces of their
kings? Their history may afford the clue to the original meaning of said
symbols, as their language has given us the true signification of the words
used by the celebrating priest to dismiss the initiates in the Eleusinian
mysteries, or by the Brahmins at the end of their religious ceremonies, and
as it has revealed the so long hidden mystery of the mystical TAU.

That sacred mysteries were celebrated from times immemorial in the temples
of Mayax, Xibalba, Nachan (Palenque of to-day), Copan and other places of
Central America there can be no doubt, since besides the symbols sculptured
on the walls of the temples and palaces, in two distinct instances, we see
the rites and the trials of initiation described in the Popol-Vuh; and as
these rites and trials were identical with those to which the applicants to
initiation in the mysteries of Egypt, Greece, Chaldea and India were
subjected, we are justified in seeking in Mayax for the causes that may
have induced the founders of the sacred mysteries to select the odd numbers
3, 5, and 7, instead of the even 2, 4, and 6 for mystic numbers.

The symbolization of number 3 may possibly be accounted for in two
different ways. One is suggested by the sceptre of Poseidon, that Plato
says was the first king of Atlantis, and is represented by the Greek
mythologists as being a son of Kronos; his three-pronged trident being an
allusion to the _three_ great islands that formed his kingdom, North and
South America and Atlan, that now lies buried under the waves of the
Atlantic ocean. The emblem [Symbol: trident with wiggly prongs] placed in
the hands of _Vul_ the god of the atmosphere in the Chaldean mythology,
found also in those of the Hindoo gods, may likewise represent the three
worlds or great regions that the Egyptian and Maya hierogrammatists
designed by the character [Symbol: three-pointed crown] in the hieroglyph
for the name of the "Lands of the West," which the latter also figured as
the sacred tree with three branches,[4] a simile of which we find in
Scandinavia, in the _three roots_ of the sacred ash Yggdrasil, mystic-world
tree, and the _three_ heavens, and the three worlds whose destruction, by
water, was prophesied by Vishnu.


The deification of the "World" composed of three parts forming a great
whole, may have been the origin of the Trimourti, or Triune god, so
prevalent among the ancient nations of antiquity, and probably led to the
mystification of number 3. We find it symbolized all over the earth, in
every nation. We see it in Mayax in the three platforms on which are raised
the most ancient edifices; in the three rooms that formed the temple where
the mysteries were performed; in the three steps that led to the first or
lower platform in all sacred edifices; in the 21 metres (3 × 7) of all the
principal pyramids in Yucatan; in the three concentric circles of the
Zodiac. We meet with it constantly in India, in the _vyahritis_ or three
sacred words; the three ornaments or _saranas_; the three principal
classes; the three ways of salvation; the three fetters of the soul or
_gunas_; the three eyes in Siva's forehead; the three strands of the sacred
cord worn by the initiates of the three principal classes; the three
letters of the sacred word A.u.m. In Egypt the three thonged flagelum of
Osiris; the triple phallus carried in procession at the festival of the
Paamylia in honor of the birth of Osiris, and also the triads, as likewise
in Chaldea.

Another way of accounting for the mystification of number 3, is by taking
heed of the indications of Orpheus, Plato, Proclus, and the other Greek
philosophers who had been admitted to the participation of the secrets
communicated in the mysteries to those worthy of being entrusted with them.
They tell us that the _three_ intellects of the Demiurgos, of the triple
deity, were "_three kings_."

[Illustration: [5]]

The author of the Troano MS., relates at some length the history of the
three sons of king _Can_; and of the troubles that arose among them when,
after the death of their father, the reins of the government fell into
their hands. Of that fact a faint tradition, very much distorted, seems to
have still existed among the aborigines of Central America at the time of
the Spanish conquest; for Bishop Landa states: "That it was said that once
upon a time three lords, brothers, governed the country together." Those
three brothers, sons of king _Can_, are realities, personages who have
certainly lived a mundane existence, since we not only have their
portraits, their weapons, and their ornaments, but also their mortal
remains. They recall vividly the three sons of Adam, the three sons of Seb,
and the three sons of Kronos. The author of the Troano MS., informs us that
the members of the family of king _Can_ were deified after their death, and
worshiped in temples, the ruins of which still exist buried in the depths
of the forests of Yucatan under a shroud of verdure. It is not at all
improbable that _Cay_, the elder brother and high-pontiff having instituted
with his father the sacred mysteries, took as symbol of the various degrees
into which they divided them, the number of the members of their family, in
order to perpetuate their name and history through the coming ages. This
explanation seems the more plausible, if we remember that Eusebius tells us
that the Egyptians represented the supreme Deity under the shape of a
serpent (Canhel) that was as superior to the triads, as the father is to
his children in whom he rejoices. "_Numero Deus impare gaudet_." In this
connection the _three Hoang-ti_, of Chinese mythological times, might also
be mentioned. They too had the shape of serpents.

Among the ancient civilized nations of the eastern continents number 5 was
also considered mystic. Frequent mention is made of it in their sacred
books. In China it occupies a conspicuous place among the celestial or
perfect numbers, as 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, are called in the _y-king_, or Canonical
book of Changes; a very ancient work, so highly esteemed by the wise
philosopher Confucius (Kong-fou-tse) that he was seldom seen without it.
There we read of the five elements, water, fire, wood, metal, and earth; of
the five kinds of grain; of the five colors, black, red, green or blue,
yellow and white; of the five tastes, salt, bitter, sour, acid, and sweet;
of the five tones in music; of the five relations of life between men;
those between a king and its ministers, a father and his children, a
husband and his wife, elder and younger brothers, and between friends; of
the five virtues, philanthropy, uprightness, decorum, prudence, fidelity;
of the five organs of the body, kidneys, heart, liver, lungs, and spleen;
of the five Chang-ti, or elementary generations; of the five parts that
form the heavens; of the five seasons of the year; of the five genii that
govern the five elements; of the five principal mountains of the empire; of
the five tutelary mountains.

In India number 5 is also very prevalent in things pertaining particularly
to psychological conceptions or religious observances; so they speak of the
five organs of intelligence, by means of which the external objects are
perceived; of the five organs of action; the five elements, the five great
oblations; of the five great sacrifices; the five great fires, etc. In
Mayax it was likewise a mystic number, since we find this simbol [Symbol:
five dots] carved at each end of the southern apartment in the edifice
consecrated to the celebration of the sacred mysteries. It appears in the
number of steps leading from the courtyards or terraces to the principal
apartments in the "House of the Governor," "the palace of king _Can_" and
other edifices at Uxmal, and in other buildings. It is the number
particularly set apart for the second of the three platforms that compose
the base on which all the ancient temples and palaces of the Mayas are
raised. In the rites of modern Freemasonry, it is still the sacred number
related to the second degree. In the Troano MS., the legends of all the
compartments into which the work is divided, as in chapters, are composed
of five characters, to indicate that said legends are the headings, that is
_ho-ol_, the beginning, the head.

This number may have become sacred, in the mysteries, among the Mayas, in
remembrance of the number of the children of king _Can_; for besides his
three sons _Cay_, _Aac_, and _Coh_, he had, by his wife _Zoo_, two
daughters, _Moo_ and _Nicte_, whose names bear a striking resemblance to
_T-Mau_, one of the names of Isis and _Nike_ her sister. So king _Can_ by
his wife _Zoↄ_, had five children, just as _Seb_ had by his wife _Nut_ in
Egypt; these being _Aroeris_, _Set_, _Osiris_, _Isis_, and _Nike_. Strange
coincidence, that may, however, give us a knowledge of the origin of the
mystification of number five.

SEVEN seems to have been the sacred number _par excellence_ among all
civilized nations of antiquity. Why? This query has never been
satisfactorily answered. Each separate people has given a different
explanation, according to the peculiar tenets of their religion. That it
was the number of numbers for those initiated to the sacred mysteries there
can be no doubt. Pythagoras, who had borrowed his ideas on numbers from the
Egyptians, calls it the "Vehicle of life," containing body and soul, since
it is formed of a quartenary, that is: _Wisdom and Intellect_; and a
_trinity_ or _action_ and _matter_. Emperor Julian, in _Matrem_ and in
_Oratio_, expresses himself thus: "Were I to touch upon the initiation into
our secret mysteries, which the Chaldees bacchised, respecting the
_seven-rayed_ god, lighting up the soul through him, I should say things
unknown to the rabble, very unknown, but well known to the blessed

Whatever that knowledge may have been, and their esoteric explanation of
the cause of the mystification of number seven, can only be surmised
to-day; but it is not improbable that it was to be found in some event in
the early history of the race whose traditions we find scattered broadcast
over the Earth. We have seen that the family of king _Can_ was composed of
_seven members_, who became rulers of the _seven_ cities that bear their
names, the ruins of which still exist in the forests of Yucatan, and by the
beauty and richness of the ornamentation, the massiveness and finish of the
walls of their temples and palaces, excite the admiration of the beholder.
These personages, deified after their death, have been worshiped in various
countries, and are yet in some, under different names. May not the
remembrance of the existence of these _seven_ ancient rulers of Mayax, have
been the origin of the tradition of the _seven_ divine rulers of Egypt; of
the _seven Manous_ that according to the Brahmins, governed the world in
the night of times; of the _seven Richis_ or holy personages who assisted
them; of the _seven princes_ of the Persian court; and the _seven
councillors_ of the king; of the _seven Ameshaspants_ or first angels; of
the _seven great gods_ of the Assyrians; or the _seven primitive gods_
regarded by the Japanese as their ancestors and said by them to have
governed the world during an incalculable number of years; of the _seven
Cabiri_, worshiped by the Pelasgians at Lemnos and Samothracia; the _seven_
great gods in theogony of the Nahuatls? Do we not see a simile of the _Ah
Ac chapat_ or _seven-headed_ serpent of the Mayas, totem of their _seven
primitive Rulers_, that is of the _seven members_ of king _Can's_ family,
in the _seven-headed heavenly Serpent_ on which rests Vishnu, the Indian
creator, that corresponds to the Egyptian _Kneph_ or the _Mehen_ (_Canhel_)
of the Mayas; or in the _seven_ serpents that form the crown of _Siva_; or
again in the _Seven-rayed god Heptaktis_, of which the emperor Julian was
so reluctant to speak?

It would seem that the duration of certain religious festivals was fixed to
commemorate the existence on Earth of these _seven_ primitive gods or
rulers, the tradition of which we find in all countries where we meet with
vestiges of the Mayas. So we see the _seven days_ of the festival of the
Eleusinian mysteries; the _seven days_ of the festival in honor of the bull
Apis, a symbol of Osiris; the _seven days_ of the feast of the tabernacles.
The septenary system was also adopted for the same purpose no doubt, in
Mayax, since we find the _seven_ cities dedicated to each of the members of
king Can's family; the _seven_ pyramids that adorned the city of Uxmal; the
_seven_ turrets that ornamented the south façade of the north wing of king
Can's palace at Uxmal, each turret inscribed with the name of one of the
members of his family; those dedicated to the females being on the east end
of the wing. The _seven gradients_ into which is divided the third or
uppermost of the three platforms that serve as a substructure to the
temples and palaces; the _seven superposed gradients_, forming all the
pyramids calling to mind the _seven terraces_ of the temple of the _seven_
lights at Borsippa, the most perfect form of Chaldee "temple tower," and
the "pyramid degrees" at Sakkara, although in this Egyptian pyramid the
gradients are more numerous. The _seven rooms_ built on the west side of
the conical mound that supports the temple in which the mysteries were
performed at Uxmal: each room again being dedicated to one of the members
of king Can's family; the bust of the person to whom it was consecrated
being affixed over the doorway. The _seven courses_ of the stones used in
the construction of the walls and of the triangular arches that form the
ceilings of the rooms. The same system prevails in the arrangement of the
grand gallery in the centre of the great pyramid at Ghizzeh in Egypt. In
that monument as in all the antique edifices of Mayax, the proportional
scale followed by the architects in the drawing of their plans is in
accordance with the numbers 3, 5, 7, and their multiples.

The predilection of the nations of antiquity in which the sacred mysteries
were celebrated, for number _seven_ appears in many ways. The _seven days_
that the rainfall that produced the deluge lasted, according to the
Chaldeans, is reproduced in the _seven days_ of the prophesy of the deluge
by Vishnu to Satyravata, as we read of it in the _Bhagavata purana_; and
the _seven days_ of the prophesy of the same event, made by the Lord to
Noah, according to Genesis; on account of the _seven days_ of rainfall the
Babylonian priests used _seven vases_ in the sacrifices; and in the
hierarchy of Mazdeism, the _seven Marouts_ or genii of the winds; the
_seven rounds_ of the ladder in the cave of Mithra. The Aryans had the
_seven horses_ that drew the chariot of the sun; the _seven Apris_ or
shapes of the flame; the _seven rays of Agni_; the _seven steps_ of Buddha
at his birth. The Egyptians had divided their nation into _seven classes_;
the week into _seven days_: according to them the creation was completed in
_seven days_. Among the Hebrews, we find the _seven lamps_ of the ark, and
of Zacharias vision; the _seven branches_ of the golden candlestick; the
_seven days_ of the feast of the dedication of the temple; the _seven years
of plenty; and the seven years of famine_. In the Christian dispensation,
the _seven churches_ with the _seven angels_ at their head; the _seven
golden candlesticks_; the _seven heads_ of the beast that rose from the
sea; the _seven seals_ of the book; the _seven trumpets_ of the angels; the
_seven vials_ full of the wrath of God; the _seven last plagues_ of
Apocalypse. In Greek mythology, the _seven heads_ of the hydra killed by
Hercules, the _seven islands_ sacred to Proserpine mentioned by Proclus.

The prevalence of _seven_ as a mystic number among the inhabitants of the
"Western Continent" is not less remarkable. It frequently occurs in the
_Popol-Vuh_. We find it besides in the _seven families_ said by Sahagun and
Clavigero to have accompanied the mystical personage named _Votan_, the
reputed founder of the great city of Nachan, identified by some with
Palenque. In the _seven caves_ from which the ancestors of the Nahualts are
reported to have emerged. In the _seven cities_ of Cibola, described by
Coronado and Niza, the site of which has been accurately fixed by Mr. Frank
Cushing in the immediate neighborhood of the village of Zuñi. In the _seven
Antilles_; in the _Seven heroes_ who, we are told, escaped the deluge.

Can it be maintained that this acceptation of _seven_ as a mystic number by
nations so heterogeneous and living so far apart, and from the remotest
ages, is purely accidental? The origin of its mystification has never been
explained. It has been transmitted to us by our predecessors, who
themselves had accepted it from theirs, without knowing why it was made the
sacred number of the third degree in the rites of initiation into
Freemasonry. True, in receiving the degree the initiated are told the
esoteric meaning attached to it in modern times; but this meaning does not
give the origin of its mystification. In fact, it is an invention of our

That it was the sacred number of the highest degree of the sacred mysteries
in Mayax is evident. We have seen that 3 was the number of the male
children of king Can; 5 that of his sons and daughters; 7 was consequently
that of the members of the whole family. It is not therefore improbable
that to commemorate that fact, 7 was made the sacred number of the third
degree of their sacred mysteries, and that this was the origin of its

In these pages I have presented, without commentaries, a few of the facts
that twelve years researches among the ruins of the antique temples and
palaces of the Mayas, a knowledge of their language (still spoken by their
descendants, and in some places, as in the vicinity of Peten, in all its
pristine purity); the deciphering of certain mural inscriptions; the study
of the sacred book of the Quiches, and the interpretation of passages in
the Troano MS., have disclosed to me concerning the history, civilization,
cosmogonical conceptions, religious tenets and practices of the ancient
inhabitants of Yucatan.

It is for you, reader, to judge if such facts are worthy your
consideration, and of the truthfulness of my assertion that a knowledge of
the history of the primitive dwellers in these "Lands of the West" will
help to raise the veil that has covered during so many centuries the origin
of the first traditions of mankind. Although in the first annual report of
the executive committee of the "Archæological institute of America," we
read that: "The study of American archæology relates indeed to the
monuments of a race that never attained to a high degree of civilization
and that has left no trustworthy records of continuous history. It was a
race whose intelligence was for the most part of a low order, whose
sentiments and emotions were confined within a narrow range, and whose
imagination was never quickened to find expression of itself in poetic or
artistic forms of beauty. From what it was or what it did, nothing is to be
learned that has any direct bearing on the progress of civilization." With
all due respect for the learning of the gentlemen who have attached their
names to so astounding an assertion, I beg to differ from their opinion
expressed so emphatically. I differ because I have seen and photographed
the constructions left by the mighty races that have preceded us on this
continent. They have not. Because I have studied for years, _in situ_,
these monuments that attest to the high civilization of their builders.
They have not. Because I have learned the language in which they have
consigned part at least of their history in inscriptions carved on stones,
and read some of said inscriptions. They have not. Indeed, on this
continent, not far from New Orleans, exist the relics of past generations
which are as interesting, if not more so, as those of Egypt, Babylonia,
Greece, and Italy; as deserving the attention of all students of
archæology, of history, of ethnology, and philology. It is time yet to save
from utter destruction the last records of ancient American history, that
are crumbling every day more and more, and are being destroyed by the hand
of ignorance and cupidity. A few years more, and all intelligible traces of
them will have disappeared. Will nothing be done in this country to
preserve what remains of the ancient American civilization? of that
civilization which seems to have been the fountain-head at which the
philosophers of all nations, in the remotest antiquity, have come to
acquire knowledge and drink inspiration from the learning and wisdom of the
Maya sages.

Americans have established in Athens schools for the study of Greek
Archæology; in Alexandria, for the decipherment of the inscriptions carved
on the walls of the temples, on the obelisks, and in the papyri found in
the tombs in Egypt; is it not time that students in United States should
direct their attention to the ancient history of the continent on which
they live? It is not altogether lost, and the tongue in which it is written
is not a dead language. Maya is one of the oldest forms of speech, cöeval,
if not anterior to Sanscrit. The names Alpha, Beta, Gamma, etc., etc., of
the letters of the Greek alphabet, form a curious epic poem in that
language. There are many interesting inscriptions in it that only await
decipherment to illumine the past records of the race in America. Many of
these precious documents exist in the City of New York. They will reveal
the history of the mighty nations that have dwelt on this "Western
Continent;" they will tell us of the origin of many of our primitive
traditions. Why then not found in Yucatan, in the midst of the ruins of the
temples and colleges of the learned priesthood of Mayax, a school where
students of American archæology can learn with their language, what the
Maya sages knew of man's origin, of his intellectual development, of the
past of their people, of the colonists they sent to other parts of the
world, where they carried the arts, sciences, and religion of the mother
country and its civilization from which our own is descended?

After twelve years of incessant labors and great hardships, unaided by any
government or scientific society, having to encounter opposition, and
surmount countless difficulties placed maliciously in our way by those
whose duty it should have been to afford us all protection, robbed of our
finds by the Mexican government which has even refused to indemnify us for
the money expended in making these discoveries, Mrs. Le Plongeon and
myself, after saving from destruction many important documents and relics,
have at last found a key that will unlock the door of that chamber of
mysteries. Shall it be allowed to remain closed much longer? We have
lifted, in part at least, the veil that has hung so long over the history
of mankind in America in remote ages. Shall it be allowed to fall again?
Will no efforts be made by American students, by men of wealth and leisure
in the United States, to remove it altogether?




  _Aac_, his history, 78-79.
  — protecting genius of, 90.
  — offer of marriage by, 83.

  _Abel_, murder of, 74.
  — meaning of the name of, 85.

  _Adam_, a myth, 1.

  _Adrian_, Emperor, 27.

  _Ah-ac-chapat_, seven-headed serpent, its meaning, 67.

  _Akkadian language_, 33.

  _Alom_, the creator, 56.

  _Alexander the Great_, 29.

  _Amautas_, 47,

  _Angrand_, quoted, 108.

  _Arch_, triangular, 37.

  _Architects_, foundation of society of, 3.

  _Ardvi çoura anahita_ (goddess), 28.

  _Asp_, badge of royalty, why, 119.
  — figure of Central America, 120.

  _Atlantis_, submerged, 41.
  — record of submersion of, in Egypt and Mayax, 91.
  — figured as a black man, 92.
  — its destruction, 11,500 years ago, 106.

  _Aum_, figured as an equilateral triangle, 60.

  _Auvergne_, (Guy of) burned alive, 3.


  _Bacon_, Roger, quoted, 50.

  _Balche_, nectar, amrita, beverage of the gods, 94.

  _Bâli_, murdered, 77.

  _Bearded men_ in Mayax, 71.

  _Benoit_ (Pope), renews bull of excommunication, 6.

  _Berosus_, on the creation of the world according to the Chaldees, 110.

  _Bird deity_ at Kioto, Japan, 107.

  _Birch_, Samuel, quoted, 26.

  _Bitol_, creator, 56.

  _Black_ populations in America, 87.

  _Bottles_, Chinese, found in the tombs of Egypt, in the ruins of
      Hissarlik, 57.

  _Brahmins_, 29-32.

  _Brothers_ (in India), 29.

  _Bruce_, Robert, gives protection to the Knights Templars, 3.

  _Building Associations_, Roman, 14.

  _Burnouf_, Emile, 57.


  _Cabiri_ (mysteries), 18.

  _Camazotz_, god of bats, 44.

  _Can_, king of Mayax, 45.
  — his family, 77.
  — royal titles of, 83.
  — deified, and represented with a mastodon's head, 93.
  — members of his family worshiped in Japan, 95.

  _Cay_, high pontiff, 19, 45.

  _Chamber_ of Police of Paris, prohibit Freemasonry, 6.

  _Charles_ I., King, 4.

  _Chichen-Itza_, the city of serpents, 108.

  _Christians_, first, 1.

  _Church_ of Rome opposes Freemasonry, 5.
  — accuses M⸫ of heresy, burns them alive, 12.
  — persecutes Chaldean magicians and Egyptian priests, 14.

  _Cibola_, seven cities of, 48.

  _Cilician_ pirates, 27.

  _Circular_ buildings in Yucatan, their use, 64.

  _Clement_ V. (Pope), abolishes the order of Knights Templars, 3.
  — entices Jacques de Molay to Paris, 2.
  — death of, 4.

  _Clement_ XII. (Pope), excommunicates all Freemasons, 6.
  — persecutes them, 7.

  _Clement_ of Alexandria, quoted, 25.

  _Cogolludo_, quoted, 124.

  _Coh_, murdered by his brother, 80.
  — who was, 78.
  — analysis of remains of, 84.
  — statue of, robbed by Mexican Government, 87.

  _Colebrook_, H. T., quoted, 54, 72.

  _Collegia_ of Romans, 2, 13.

  _Coleraine_, Lord, founded a lodge in Gibraltar and another in Madrid, 6.

  _Communications_ between Egypt and India and China, 57.

  _Conceptions_ concerning  a Triune God, 53, 54, 55, 56, 58.

  _Confucius_, 56.
  — quoted, 144.

  _Coronado_, quoted, 148.

  _Creation_ of the world, myth found in Chichen-Itza, 72.
  — myth of, in various countries, 109.
  — its origin traced to Mayax, 111.
  — portrayed on East façade of Palace at Chichen-Itza, 112.
  — tableau of, explained, 114.

  _Cromwell_, 4.

  _Cross_, as sacred symbol of water deities among all nations, of the life
      to come, and eternity, 128.
  — as symbol in Bacchic and Eleusinian mysteries, 129.
  — symbol of the, in America, 129.
  — god of rain, 130.
  — southern, 132.

  _Crown_ of lower Egypt, the same as that worn by kings in Mayax, 118.

  _Customs_, many similar in India, Mayax, and Egypt, 97.

  _Cushing_, Frank, quoted, 47, 148.

  _Cyril_, (Bishop) murderer of Hypathia, persecuted the worshipers of Isis
      and Osiris, 16.


  _Damascius_, quoted, 53.

  _Danaus'_ Daughters, 18.

  _Daniel_, prophet, quoted, 30, 45.

  _Degrees_ (3) in Freemasonry, among the Jesuits, and the Egyptian
      priests, 12.

  _Deluge_, tradition of, common to all nations where the name Maya is
      found, 90.
  — what the Egyptians said of, 91.
  — relation of, in Troano M.S. and mural inscriptions, 92.

  _Democritus_, 54.

  _Druids_, 2.


  _Egyptian_ civilization, birthplace of, 113.

  _Emperors_, Roman, persecuted the Chaldean magicians and Egyptian priests
      to death, 15.

  _Ephoroi_, 19, 22.

  _Epoptai_, 23.

  _Essenes_, 1.

  _Eubulus_, quoted, 27, 46.

  _Eumolpus_, initiated to Egyptian sacred mysteries instituted those of
      Eleusis, 18.

  _Eusebius_, quoted, 57, 72, 99.

  _Eusoph_, equilateral triangle, 60.


  _Fanton_, (Dr.) opinion of, 17, 33.

  _Fergusson_, James, quoted, 99, 122, 123.

  _Fernando_, VI., of Spain, makes Freemasonry high treason, 6.

  _Fi-Fangpao_, 57.

  _Findel_, J. G., opinion of, 10.

  _Four_, number, its meaning, 105.

  _Francis_ of Lorraine (Duke) initiated, protects masons, founds lodges,

  _Fratricide_, account of the same in Genesis, Ramayana, papyri of Egypt,
      inscriptions of Mayax, 84.

  _Freemasonry_, various opinions concerning origin of, 1, 2.
  — persecuted, 5, 6.
  — established in France and Spain, 6.
  — in Ireland, Italy, America, Lisbon, 7.
  — in Germany, 8.
  — origin of, traced to America, 22.

  _Frederick_ II. of Prussia, initiated, assumes the title of G⸫ M⸫
      Universal, frames a constitution, 8, 9.


  _Ganesha_, god of letters, its representation, its worship, 96.
  — origin of its elephant head, 97.

  _Garcilasso de la Vega_, quoted, 46.

  _George_ I. ascends the throne, 5.

  _George_ (Bishop), persecutes the worshipers of Isis and Osiris, 16.

  _Gods_, twelve, of Egyptians, Greeks, Mayas, Japanese, Chinese, 96.

  _Grand Master_, degree of, created, 4.

  _Grand Lodge_, first established in London, 5, 32.

  _Gregory_ of Nazianze, quoted, 31.

  _Gucumatz_, winged serpent, the creator, 112.


  _Hach-mac_, 45.

  _Henoch_, book of, quoted, 16, 21, 24, 25, 37, 44.

  _Herodotus_, quoted, 15.
  — concerning the Thesmophoria, 18, 60.
  — quoted, 74, 134.

  _Hermippus_, 28.

  _Hermetic_ books, relation of creation in modern, 111.

  _Hierophantes_, 19, 32.

  _Hiu-chin_, quoted, 55.

  _House_, dark, 43.

  _House_ of spears, 43.
  — ice, 43.
  — tiger, 44.
  — fiery, 44.
  — of bats, 44.

  _Hunhun Appu_, 44.


  _Illuminati_, incorporated into Freemasonry, 9.

  _Initiations_ into Egyptian mysteries, but little known, 16.
  — into Eleusinian mysteries, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24.

  _Inquisition_ persecutes Masons, 5.

  _Isis_, meaning of the name, 87.
  — her title, her totem, 88.
  — believed to be a fabulous being, 89.


  _James_ II., 4.

  _Japanese_, offspring of the twelve gods, 95.

  _Jerome_, Saint, 31.

  _John the Baptist_, St., selected patron of the M⸫ Order, 5.

  _Juan Gaston_ of Medicis, (Duke) persecutes Masons, 7.


  _Khan_, titles of kings in Asia, origin of it, 83.

  _Kings_, three, 60.

  _Kneph_, name of the creator, 53.

  _Knights of Christ_, order of, founded, 3.

  _Knights Templars_, take refuge in Scotland and Portugal, 3.
  — refuse to recognize the authority of J. M. Larmenio, 12.
  — received their symbols from Christians initiated into Egyptian
      mysteries, 12.

  _Krause_, quoted, 13.

  _Kronos_, king of the "Lands of the West," 53.


  _La_, meaning of the word, 54.

  _Lab-mac_, title of high priest among the Mayas, 30.

  _Landa_ (Bishop), quoted, 64, 68, 70, 124.

  _Larmenio_, Johan Marcus—appointed Grand Master of the K. Templars, 3.

  _Leibnitz_, initiated into Freemasonry, 15.

  _Leopard skin_ as a symbol, 86.

  _Lopi_, quoted, 55.


  _Ma_, the world, 33.

  _Macrobius_, his meaning of the triangular arch, 63.

  _Magi_, 30, 32.

  _Maha-atma_, the great soul, 55.

  _Maha-atmas_, the brothers, 29, 45.

  _Manco Capac_, founder of the Inca empire, 47.

  _Marriage_, custom among the Mayas, 78.

  _Maria_, Virgin, goddess Maïa-Isis anthropomorphised, 131.

  _Mastodon_, worship of, 93.
  — explanation of tableau representing the worship of, 94.

  _Maya_, name found in various countries, 71.
  — challenges Bâli, 76.
  — empire figured as a serpent, 116.
  — empire figured as a tree, 125.
  — empire the land of the deer in the middle of the earth, 126.
  — according to the Chinese represented as a tree, 127.

  _Mayax_, description of the country of, 69.

  _Matthew_, Henry, 51.

  _Mathusalath_, 37.

  _Memnon_, King of Ethiopia, 57.

  _Menes_, wise men of the Mayas, 71.

  _Mithra_, mysteries of, 27.

  _Moo_, who she was, 78.
  — history of conspiracy, against, 81.
  — rejects the love of Aac, 82.

  _Molay_, Jacques de, enticed to Paris and arrested, 2.
  — burnt alive, 3.
  — appoints his successor, 3.

  _Moses_, 51.

  _Mystai_, the initiated, 19.


  _Nahuatls_, 48.

  _Names_, various, of Cain explained, 89.

  _Niroukta_, 54.

  _Niza_, 148.

  _Number_ 3, origin of its symbolization, 136.
  —5, origin of its symbolization, 141, 142.
  —7, origin of its symbolization, 143, 149.


  _Oblong Square_, its meaning, 34.
  — its origin as symbol, 62.
  — forms the ground plan of temples and palaces, 62.

  _Oliva_, Annello, Fath., 47.

  _Origenes_, quoted, 28.

  _Orpheus_, initiated into Egyptian sacred mysteries founds the orphic,
      18, 53, 60, 135.

  _Orphic Mysteries_, 72.

  _Osiris_, 34, 49.
  — murder of, 74.
  — culture hero, 74.
  — his history, 75.
  — meaning of the name, 87.
  — believed to be a mythical being, 89.

  _Ouranos_, 53.


  _Pachacamac_, 56.

  _Pallas_, 28.

  _Parsis_, 28.

  _Payne_, Thomas, 2.

  _Pentagon_, as a symbol, its meaning, 63.

  _Pentateuch_, not written by Moses, 51.

  _Petroma_, 19.

  _Phillippe-le-bel_, causes the arrest of J. de Molay, 2.
  — death of, 4.

  _Philip V. of Spain_, persecutes masons, 6.

  _Philostratus_, quoted, 29, 57.

  _Phœnes_, 53.

  _Pianchi_, King of Ethiopia, initiated, 26.

  _Plato_, quoted, 41, 53.
  — relation of submersion of Atlantis correct, 92.

  _Plates_ from Troano M.S., explanation of, 117 (note), 126 (note), 137
      (note), 139 (note).

  _Plutarch_, quoted, 27, 32, 63, 74, 90, 93.

  _Pompeius_, 27.

  _Popol-vuh_, initiations described in, 42, 56.
  — creation of the world in, 111.

  _Porphyrius_, quoted, 27, 28.
  — his explanation of the image of the creator, 72.

  _Poseidon_, 53.

  _Pradjapati_, 55.

  _Preston_, J. G., 4.

  _Price_, Henry, first American Grand-master, 7.

  _Primander_, most ancient Egyptian book, also Supreme Intelligence, 110.

  _Proclus_, quoted, 53, 60.

  _Proposal of marriage_, mode of, in Mayax and Japan, 83.

  _Puttman_, B., first Grand-master in Germany, 8.

  _Pythagoras_, 1.
  — his narrow escape when initiated, 25, 54.
  — God number and harmony, according to, 60.
  — on number four, 106.


  _Qaholom_, name of the creator, 56.

  _Quichua language_, 47.


  _Ra_, meaning of the name, 54.

  _Rab-mag_, name of the chief of the Magi, 30.

  _Ramsay_, Michael Andrew, 2.
  — origin of Freemasonry according to, 11.

  _Rooms in temples_, their shape symbolical, 63.

  _Rosicrucians_, their incorporation into Freemasonry, 9.


  _Salisbury_, Stephen, 84.

  _Sanctuary at Uxmal_, description of, 35.

  _Schliemann_, Henry, quoted, 57.

  _Set_, meaning of the name, 89.
  — becomes the evil principle, 89.
  — enemy of the sun, 89.
  — his protecting genius, 90.
  — his emblem, 90.

  _Serpent_, 98.
  — origin of its worship unknown, 100.
  — when considered an evil genius, 100.
  — image of the creator, 100-109.
  — traces of its worship all over the world, 101.
  — origin of its worship according to the Maya priests, 109.
  — symbol of the country in Mayax and in Egypt, 116.
  — worshiped still in India, 121.
  — title of the Kings of Mayax, 121
  — origin of, and tree worship in America, 123.

  _Solon_, 41.

  _Soul_, Maya belief in immortality of the, 124.

  _Sougriva_, causes the death of Bâli, 77.
  — meaning of the name, 90.

  _Strabo_, quoted, 31.

  _Strathmore_, Lord, Grandmaster, 8.

  _Symbols_, masonic, identical in the temples of Egypt, Chaldea, India,
      and Central America, 11
  — masonic, in Uxmal, 65, their meaning, 66, 67.
  — found under the base of Cleopatra's needle, 17.
  — of worship, the same in Mayax, Egypt, and Peru, 94, 105.

  _Symbolization_ of number three, 136.
  — of number five, 142.
  — of number seven, 149.


  _Tao-tse_, 55.

  _Tau_, meaning of mystic, 132.
  — complex form of, its origin, 132

  _Temple_ of mysteries at Uxmal, 36.

  _Temptation_, origin of temptation of the woman in the garden, 82, 83.

  _Thales_, initiated to Egyptian sacred mysteries, 18.

  _Theon_, of Smyrna, quoted, 24.

  _Theophilus_ (Bishop), persecutes the worshipers of Isis and Osiris, 16.

  _Thesmophoria_, mysteries of Ceres, 134.

  _Thompson_, Charles O., certificate of chemical analysis, 84, 85.

  _Thoth_, god of letters in Egypt, his description of the creation, 110.

  _Tiahuanuco_, explanation of sculptures on Monolith-gate, at, 102.

  _Ti-Hoang_, king of the country in the middle of the land, 96.

  _Tien-Hoang_, his twelve children, 96.

  _Tree worship_ in America, 123, 124.
  — by the Phœnicians, Druids, Scandinavians, the inhabitants of Delos,
      Samos, Athens, Dodona, Arcadia, Canaan, India, Ceylon, 123.
  — — Egypt, Assyria, 124.
  — relationship between the serpent and tree worship, 124.
  — sacred, among the Mayas, 124.

  _Triangle_ as a symbol, 60.
  — its meaning among the Mayas, 61.
  — its meaning among the Egyptians, 63.

  _Triangular Arches_, symbols of a Triune God, 62.


  _Uati_, goddess, genius of lower Egypt, its symbols, 115.

  _Uiracocha_, god, 56.


  _Valmiki_, quoted, 75, 76.

  _Villoison_, Dance de, quoted, 2.


  _Wake_, Stanyland, quoted, 99.

  _Wilford_, Captain, quoted, 33.

  _William_ III., King of England, initiated into Freemasonry, 4.

  _Winged circle_, symbol of, 124.

  _Words of dismissal_, 21.
  — their meaning, 22, 33.

  _Worshipers of Isis and Osiris_ persecuted by Bishops George, Theophilus,
      Cyril, 16.


  _Xibalba_, 42, 45, 48, 49.


  _Yaqui_ nation, 48.

  _Yaxché_, sacred tree among the Mayas, 124.
  — origin of the cruz-ansata, of the cone as symbol of the mystic Tau,


  _Zend-avesta_, 28.

  _Zoroaster_, institutes the mysteries of Mithra, 27, 28.
  — his explanation of the triangular arch, 62.

  _Zuñi_ Indians, 47, 48.



[1] From drawings and photographs made by the author, and engraved by the
    Moss Engraving Co., by the new process of Mr. John C. Moss.

[2] An interpretation of the Maya legend explanatory of the illustration
    may not be amiss, inasmuch as it shows that the serpent was the symbol
    of the country. Beginning at the top of the column, it reads as

                           [Symbol]   [Symbol] [Symbol] [Symbol]  [Symbol]
                           _Ahau_       _Eb_    _Kan_    _cib_    _Lamat_
                           _A-ha-u_     _Heb_  _Kanaan_  _cib_   _Lam-a-ti_
      that is literally: He-water-Basin turn   abundant  fluid    submerge
                                                                  the land.

    Freely translated,

    _The Master of the basin of water turns it: abundant fluid submerges
    the land._

    A glance at the illustration will suffice to show that the
    interpretation is correct. In my work "The Monuments of Mayax," etc., I
    give a more complete explanation of it.

[3] [Illustration]

    The legend reads commencing from the top of the left hand column—

      [Symbol]  [Symbol]    [Symbol]     [Symbol]      [Symbol]  [Symbol]
      _Can_      _Ahau_      _Cimen_   _eb_ for _heb_  _Ezanab_   _Kan_
               the King       dead      forcing its   earthquake has risen
           master of the basin             way
               of water

               (beginning again at the top of the second column)
      [Symbol]  [Symbol]  [Symbol]  [Symbol]  [Symbol]       [Symbol]
      _Can_      _oc_      _cib_      _ik_    _lamat_          _ix_
                 foot      sank    air—wind   filled up   crater—or bosom
                                                          of the volcanoes

      [Symbol]  [Symbol]     [Symbol]  [Symbol]   [Symbol]     [Symbol]
      _uac_    _luumilob_    _umukan_    _can_    _kak-mul_    _Timanik_
       six    fertile lands   umukan     four      volcano      Timanik

      Freely translated:

    Can, the master of the basin of water, who was dead, forcing his way by
    means of the earthquake, has risen.  Can's foot sank, the air having
    filled up the crater of the volcano. Six fertile lands have appeared in
    Umukan (Cuba) and four volcanoes in Timanik (one of the small

    The Maya writers, as the author of the Troano, etc., sometimes
    represented the Earth under the figure of an old woman and called it
    _mam_—the grandmother. She is here represented holding in her left hand
    the sign of the smoke, and darting a javelin emblem of the volcanic
    energy, and in her right hand she holds the symbol of the "Land of the
    Scorpion" "_Zinaan_," the West India Islands of our days. The deer head
    represents the Maya Empire.

[4] The legend literally translated reads as follows:

              [Symbol]        [Symbol]                         [Symbol]
      that is: _PPeu_, _caban_ for _cabahaan_ has struck again—_bat_—ax.

    Freely translated: _PPeu has struck again the tree with his ax_. PPeu
    was the name of one of the twelve ancient rulers who governed the
    country in times anterior to the great cataclysm during which the
    Atlantic island was submerged. Deified after his death he became one of
    the protecting genii of the land, whose effigies still adorn the east
    façade of the palace at Chichen Itza, where they are placed, between
    the eyes, over the trunks of the mastodon's head, and surrounded with
    an aureola.

[5] Symbol of the three sons of King Can—represented under the emblem of
    the three deer heads—_Uluumil ceh_, "the land of the deer," being one
    of the names of the country of the Mayas.

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