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    Default Chapter XVI. Stones or Columns as the Deity


    The God-Idea of the Ancients (or Sex in Religion)

    By Eliza Burt Gamble

    Chapter XVI. Stones or Columns as the Deity

    “Throughout all the world, the first object of idolatry seems to have been a plain unwrought stone, placed in the ground as an emblem of the generative or procreative powers of Nature."157

    In the language of symbolism the upright stone prefigures either a man, reproductive energy, or a god, all of which at a certain stage in the human career had come to mean one and the same thing; namely, the Creator.

    In the earlier ages of male worship, upright stones as emblems of the Deity were plain unwrought shafts, but in process of time they began to be carved into the form of a man–a man who usually represented the ruler or chief of the people, and who, as he was the source of all power and wisdom, was supposed by the ignorant masses to be an incarnation of the sun. Thus arose the spiritual power of monarchs, or the “divine right of kings.”

    Wherever obelisks, columns, pillars, attenuated spires, upright stones or crosses at the intersection of roads are found, they always appear as sacred monuments, or as symbols of the Lingham god.

    The Chaldean Tower of which there are extant traditions in Mexico and in the South Sea Islands; the Round Towers of Ireland; the remarkable group of stones known as Stonehenge, in England; the wonderful circle at Abury through which the figure of a huge serpent was passed; the monuments which throughout the nations of the East were set up at the intersection of roads in the center of market- places, and the bowing stones employed as oracles in various portions of the world, have all the same signification, and proclaim the peculiar religion of the people who worshipped them.

    Whether as among the Jews in Egypt, a pillar is set up as a “sign” and a “witness” to the Lord, or whether as with the Mohammedans these figures appear as minarets with egg shaped summits, or as among the Irish they stand forth as stately towers defying time and the elements, or as among the Christians they appear as the steeple which points towards heaven, the symbol remains, and the original significance is the same.

    The Lord of the Israelites who was wont to manifest himself to his chosen people in a “pillar of smoke by day” and a “pillar of fire by night” is said to be none other than a reproductive emblem, as was also the “Lord” which “reposed in the ark of the covenant.” Monuments set up to symbolize the religion of the Parsees or fire-worshippers after they had succumbed to the pressure brought to bear upon them by the adorers of the male principle were each and all of them, like their great prototype the tower of Babel, typical of the universal creative power which was worshipped as male.

    Notwithstanding the fact that the male energy had come to be recognized as the principal factor in reproduction, it is observed that wherever these monuments or other symbols of fertility appear, there is always to be found in close connection with them certain emblems symbolical of the female power; thus showing that although the people by whom they were erected had become worshippers of the masculine principle, and although they had persuaded themselves that it was the more important element in the deity, they had not become so regardless of the truths of Nature as to attempt to construct a Creator independently of its most essential factor.

    Protestant Christianity, probably the most intensely masculine of all religious schemes which have claimed the attention of man, has not wittingly retained any of the detested female emblems, yet so deeply has the older symbolism taken root, that even in the architecture of the modern Protestant church with its ark-shaped nave and its window toward the rising sun, may be detected the remnants of that early worship which the devotees of this more recently developed form of religious faith so piously ignore.

    The large number of upright columns, circles of stone, cromlechs and cairns still extant in the British Isles, bears testimony to the peculiar character of the religious worship which once prevailed in them. Of these shrines perhaps none is more remarkable than that of Stonehenge, in England. Although during the numberless ages which have passed since this temple was erected many of the stones have fallen from their original places, still by the light of more recently established facts concerning religious symbolism, it has been possible, even under its present condition of decay, for scholars to unravel the hitherto mysterious significance of this remarkable structure. Stonehenge is composed of four circles of mammoth upright shafts twenty feet high, the one circle within the other, with immense stones placed across them like architraves.

    In ancient symbolism the circle was the emblem of eternity, or of the eternal female principle. Mountains were also sacred to the gods. It has been said that a ring of mountains gave rise to these circular temples. Faber assures us that a circular stone temple was called the circle of the world or the circle of the ark, that it represented at once the inclosure of the Noetic Ship; the egg from which creation was produced; the earth, and the zodiacal circle of the universe in which the sun performs its annual revolutions through the signs. Stonehenge is said to be the temple of the water god Noah, who, as we have seen, was first worshipped as half woman and half fish or serpent, but who finally came to be regarded as a man serpent (or fish) Deity.

    On approaching Stonehenge from the Northeast, the first object which engages the attention is a rude boulder, sixteen feet high, in a leaning posture. This stone has been named the Friar’s Heel, but until recently its signification has been wholly unknown.

    Regarding the upright shaft which stands sentinel over the mysterious circles of mammoth stones called Stonehenge, Forlong says that it is no Friar’s Heel, but an emblem of fertility dedicated to the Friday divinity. It is represented as the “Genius of Fire,” not the genius of ordinary fire, “but of the super-sensual Divinity, celestial fire.”

    Regarding these remarkable stones to which the Lingham god is a mere introduction, Forlong says:

    “No one who has studied phallic and solar worship in the East could make any mistake as to the purport of the shrine at Stonehenge . . . yet the indelicacy of the whole subject often so shocks the ordinary reader, that, in spite of facts, he cannot grant what he thinks shows so much debasement of the religious mind; facts are facts, however, and it only remains for us to account for them. Perhaps indeed in these later times an artificial and lower phase of sensuality has taken the place of the more natural indulgence of the passions, for procreative purposes, which principally engrossed the thoughts of early worshippers."158

    Higgins is of the opinion that Stonehenge is the work of the same era with the caves of India, the pyramids of Egypt, and the stupendous monument at Carnac–a structure which, it is claimed, must have required for its construction an amount of labor equal to that of the pyramids.

    Undoubtedly there has never been a religious shrine which has excited more curiosity than has Abury, of which, unfortunately, nothing now remains, although in the early part of the eighteenth century enough had been preserved to prove the identity of its signification with other ancient religious monuments both in the British Isles and in the countries of the East. Perhaps there is no way by which this shrine can be better understood than by quoting the exact language of those who have written upon the subject. Especially is this true concerning the testimony of those who, after personal investigation, have given to the public the results of their research.

    In the History of Wiltshisre, published by Sir R. Colt Hoare, Bart., appears the following from Dr. Stukeley:

    “The situation of Abury is finely chosen for the purpose it was destined to, being the more elevated part of a plain, from whence there is almost an imperceptible descent every way. But as the religious work in Abury, though great in itself, is but a part of the whole (the avenues stretching above a mile from it each way), the situation of the whole design is projected with great judgment, in a kind of large, separate plain, four or five miles in diameter. Into this you descend on all sides from higher ground. The whole Temple of Abury may be considered as a picture, and it really is so. Therefore the founders wisely contrived that a spectator have an advantageous prospect of it as he appeared within view. When I frequented this place, which I did for some years together, to take an exact account of it, staying a fortnight at a time, I found out the entire work by degrees. The second time I was here, an avenue was a new amusement; the third year another. So that at length I discovered the mystery of it, properly speaking, which was, that the whole figure represented a snake transmitted through a circle. This is an hieroglyphic or symbol of highest note and antiquity.

    “In order to put this design in execution, the founders well studied their ground; and to make their representation more natural, they artfully carried it over a variety of elevations and depressions, which, with the curvature of the avenues, produces sufficiently the desired effect. To make it still more elegant and picture-like, the head of the snake is carried up the southern promontory of Hackpen Hill, toward the village of West Kennet; nay, the very name of the hill is derived from the circumstance. . . . Thus our antiquity divides itself into three great parts, which will be our rule in describing this work. The circle at Abury, the forepart of the snake leading toward Kennet, which I call Kennet Avenue; the hinder part of the snake leading toward Beckhampton, which I call Beckhampton Avenue; for they may be well looked on as avenues to the great temple at Abury, which part must be most eminently called the Temple.

    “The plan on which Abury was built, is that sacred hierogram of the Egyptians and other ancient nations, the circle and snake. The whole figure is the circle, snake, and wings. By this they meant to picture out, as well as they could, the nature of the Divinity.”


    The temple which represents the body of the snake is formed by a circular agger of earth having its ditch withinside. As this is contrary to the mode adopted in works of defence, it is thought to prove the religious character of Abury. In a description given of this shrine by Higgins is the following:

    “These ramparts inclose an area of 1400 feet in diameter, which on the edge nearest the ditch was set round with a row of rough, unhewn stones, and in the center was ornamented with two circular temples, composed of the same native stones."159

    The space of ground included within the vellum has been estimated at twenty-two acres, and the outward circumvallation was computed at 4800 feet. The number of stones that formed this outer circle was originally one hundred, of which, in the year 1722, there were eighteen standing, and twenty-seven thrown down.

    In the village of Rudstone in Yorkshire there stands a huge stone, the significance of which, at the present time, is by scholars clearly understood. Its depth below the surface of the ground is said to be equal to its height above, which is twenty-four feet. It is five feet ten inches broad, and two feet thick, its weight being upwards of forty tons.160

    The gigantic rocking stones found in nearly every quarter of the globe are now known to be religious monuments of remote antiquity. Not long ago I saw a description of one of these oracles in Buenos-Ayres, South America, and a few months later there appeared the following account of a similar stone found in Sullivan Co., N. Y.:

    “At first sight it would scarcely attract attention, but a closer observation reveals the remarkable position which it occupies. The total weight of the immense boulder has been variously estimated at from forty to fifty tons, and its bulk at from 500 to 700 cubic feet. It is almost perfectly round, much resembling a huge orange, and so nicely balanced on a table of stone as to be easily set in motion by a single man, providing the operator exerts his strength on the north or south sides. On either of the other sides the combined strength of forty elephants would not be sufficient to cause the least oscillation. Although it is easily rocked, we are assured that as many men as could surround it would be unable to dislodge it from the pivot on which it rests."161

    The writer of the above, who was evidently ignorant of the extent to which these monuments are scattered over the earth, seemed to regard it as a singular freak of Nature with no significance other than that of a natural curiosity.

    The round towers of Ireland, over the origin of which there has in the past been so much controversy, are now pretty generally admitted to be analogous in their use and design to Stonehenge, Abury, and other extant monolithic structures.

    Many writers have endeavored to prove that these towers were belfries used in connection with Christian churches; others that they were purgatorial columns or penitential heights, similar in design to the pillar of St. Simeon Stylites. Others again have argued that they were used as beacons and others that they were intended simply as receptacles for the sacred fire known to have formerly been in use in the British Isles. Although numberless arguments have been brought forward to refute these theories, it is thought that the expensive architecture alone of the elegant and stately columns known as Round Towers contradicts all these “guesses,” and that their grandeur and almost absolute indestructibility proclaim for them a different origin from that of the lowly and miserable huts which in a later age were erected beside them for purposes of worship by the Romish Christians. The same objection is made also against the theory that these monuments were erected in memory of the several defeats of the Danes. As an answer to the argument that they were erected by the Danes to celebrate their victories, it is declared that such is the character of the hieroglyphics upon them as to make this theory worthless. Besides, throughout the country of the Danes and Ostmen, there is nowhere to be found an example of architectural splendor such as is displayed in the construction of these columns. In the north of Scotland was one of these monuments upon which were depicted war-like scenes, horses and their riders, warriors brandishing their weapons, and troops shouting for victory, while on the other side was a sumptuous cross, beneath which were two figures, the one evidently female, the other male.

    In Cordiner’s Antiquities of Scotland is a description of an elaborately carved obelisk. On one side of this column appears a mammoth cross, and underneath it are figures of uncouth animals. Among these carvings are to be seen the Bulbul of Iran, the Boar of Vishnu, the elk, the fox, the lamb, and a number of dancing human figures. In fact all the configurations are not only in their nature and import essentially Eastern, but are actually the symbols of the various animal forms under which “the people of the East contemplated the properties of the Godhead.”

    Carnac, in upper Egypt, is a monolith of the same symbolic character. It is hewn from a solid block of black granite and is eighty feet high.

    Henry O’Brien, a cultured Irishman, who when in London became, in his own line of investigation, one of the chief contributors to Fraser’s Magazine while at its best, in response to a call by the Royal Irish Academy for productions relating to the origin and use of the Round Towers, declared that they were erected by a colony of Tuath-de-danaans, or Lingham worshippers from Persia, who had left their native land because of the victories gained over them by their rivals–the Pish de-danaans–a sect of Yoni worshippers; in other words, the sect which recognized the female element as the superior agency in reproduction, and who, therefore, worshipped it as divine. In the devastating wars which swept over Persia and the other countries of antiquity prior to the age of the later Zoroaster, the Pish-de danaans were victorious, and, driving from the country the Tuath-de danaans, or male worshippers, succeeded in re-establishing, and for a time maintaining, the old form of worship. O’Brien claims that the Tuath-de-danaans who were expelled from Persia emigrated to Ireland, and there continued or preserved their favorite form of worship, the Round Towers having been erected by them in conformity to their peculiar religious views. This writer assures us that the old Irish tongue bears unmistakable evidence of the relation existing between these countries. In addition to the similarity of language which is found to exist between ancient Ireland or Iren, and Persia or Iran, the same writer observes that in all their customs, religious observances, and emblems, the resemblance is preserved.

    Much regret has been expressed by all the writers who have dealt with this subject that at an earlier age when Stonehenge, Abury, and various other of the ancient monumental shrines of the British Isles were in a better state of preservation, and before bigotry and religious hatred had been aroused against them, more minute observations of their character and of all the details surrounding them could not have been made; yet, notwithstanding the late date at which these investigations were begun, it is believed that a fair amount of success has crowned the efforts which have been put forth to unravel the mysteries bound up in them.

    When we remember that every detail connected with the sacred monuments of the ancients was full of significance that their religious ideas were all portrayed by means of symbols which appeared in connection with their sacred edifices–the extent to which a thorough understanding of these details would assist in revealing the mysteries involved in the universal religious conceptions may in a measure be realized.

    The identity of the symbols used to express religious ideas, and the extent to which the conceptions of a creative force have been connected in all portions of the globe, are set forth in the following from Barlow:

    “A complete history of religious symbolism should embrace all the religions of antiquity no less than the Christian, and it would require as thorough a knowledge of their tenets as of our own to explain satisfactorily its influence in regulating the practice of art."162
    157 Celtic Druids, ch. vi., p. 209.
    158Rivers of Life, vol. ii., p. 233.
    159 Celtic Druids. Description of plates, p. xx.
    160 See Rivers of Life.
    161 The St. Louis (Mo.) Republican.
    162Symbolism, p. 10.

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    Default Chapter XVII. Sacrifices


    The God-Idea of the Ancients (or Sex in Religion)

    By Eliza Burt Gamble

    Chapter XVII. Sacrifices

    Although the sun was formerly worshipped as the source of all good, at a certain stage in the human career it came to be regarded as the cause of all evil. When Typhon Seth comprehended the powers of Nature, as the Destroyer and Regenerator she was the author of all good; but later, after the truths underlying Nature worship were lost, Typhon, the hot wind of the desert, was feared rather than worshipped.

    In the history of an earlier age of existence, there is not to be found the slightest trace of human sacrifice to atone for the sins of the people, or to appease the wrath of an offended God. On the contrary, throughout the traditions and monumental records of the most ancient nations, sacrifices to the Deity– the God of Nature–consisted simply in the acknowledgment of earth’s benefits by means of a free-will offering of the bounties which she had brought forth.

    That the sacrifice either of human beings or of animals was not offered in an earlier age of religious faith is confidently asserted and, I think, proved by various writers. Of this Higgins says: “I think a time may be perceived when it did not exist even among the Western nations.” This writer states also that it was not always practiced at Delphi. Mention is made of the fact that among the Buddhists, to whom belongs the first book of Genesis, no bloody sacrifices were ever offered.

    It was doubtless under the worship of Muth, Neith, or Minerva, the first emanation from the deity and the original Buddha, that the first book of Genesis or Wisdom was written. In this book may be observed the fact that the slaughter of animals is forbidden. It is thought that with Crishna, Hercules, and the worshippers of the sun in Aries, the sacrifice of human beings and animals began. In the second book of Genesis, which is said to be a Brahmin work, animals are first used for sacrifice, and in the third book, or the book of Generations or Re-generations of the race of man or the Adam, which was written after the pure doctrines connected with the worship of Wisdom had been corrupted, they are first allowed to be eaten as food.

    It is supposed that the practice of sacrificing human beings and animals took its rise in the western parts of the world after the sun entered Aries, and that it subsequently extended even to the followers of the Tauric worship, among whom it was carried to a frightful extent. It is also thought that the history of Cain and Abel is an allegory of the followers of Crishna to justify their sacrifice of the yajna or lamb “in opposition to the Buddhist offering of bread and wine, or water, made by Cain and practiced by Melchizedek."163

    It is now positively known that all over the world, during a certain stage of religious belief, either human beings or animals were, at stated seasons, sacrificed to the Deity. Of the universality of this practice Faber says:

    “Throughout the whole world we find a notion prevalent that the gods could be appeased only by bloody sacrifices. Now this idea is so thoroughly arbitrary, there being no obvious and necessary connection, in the way of cause and effect, between slaughtering a man or a beast, and recovering of the divine favor by the slaughterers, that its very universality involves the necessity of concluding that all nations have borrowed it from some common source."164

    Dr. Shuckford is constrained to admit that the sacrifices and ceremonies of purification practiced by Abraham and his descendants and those of surrounding peoples, were identical, with only “such trifling changes as distance of countries and length of time might be expected to produce.” The substitution of a lamb in the place of Isaac would seem to indicate a change from child-slaughter to that of animals.

    Sacrifices were offerings to the god of pro- creation. Certain representatives of the life which he had bestowed must be returned to him as a free-will gift. In many countries, the victims offered to the deity were captives taken in war; but, as prisoners of war and slaves were not permitted to join in the battles of their captors, their lives were of little value; hence, later, it is observed that the sacrificial victim must be a prince or an individual whose life was of great importance to the tribe.

    As in all hot countries the heat of the sun is the most destructive agency against which mankind have to contend, it is not perhaps singular, at a time when superstition had usurped the functions of the reasoning powers, that the sun-god should have been invested with the attributes inspired by terror, and that so far as possible, mankind should have deemed it necessary to propitiate its wrath, and, by rendering to it suitable offerings and sacrifices, they should have hoped to avert the calamities incident to its displeasure. Neither is it remarkable when we remember the peculiar circumstances surrounding the Jews, and the fact that the offerings demanded by their god was the life which he had bestowed, that the sacrifices offered to Moloch, the fire god, should have been the members of their own household–namely, their children.

    We must not forget that the reward promised this people by prophet, priest, and diviner for godliness was extreme fruitfulness of body. We have seen that to obtain this mark of godly favor, or, under pretense of serving their god, the form of worship prescribed by their priests, and adopted both in their households and in their temples was pre-eminently sensual, and calculated to stimulate and encourage to the highest extent their lower or animal nature.

    As the size of a man’s family, or his power to reproduce, was an index to his favor with the Almighty the pleasure of the “Lord" in this matter being but the reflection of his own desires, the result as might reasonably be expected was overpopulation to such an extent that the means of subsistence within the small boundary of Judea was inadequate to supply the demands of the swarming masses of “God’s children"–children which had been created for his honor and glory. Surely some plan must be devised whereby these difficulties might be adjusted, and that, too, to use a modern expression, without flying in the face of Providence. As the Lord had been honored and man blessed in the mere bringing forth of offspring, what better scheme, so soon as such blessings became too numerous, than to return a certain number of them to the giver, the god of Moloch? It is true that by this process children were born only to be delivered over to the ravages of the fire- god, but by it, was not their deity both served and appeased at the same time that population was kept within the bounds of subsistence? That great numbers were thus sacrificed is only too apparent from the accounts in the Jewish scriptures–Abraham’s acts and those of Jephtha being examples of the manner in which this god was propitiated.

    In Micah, vi. chap., 7th verse, occurs an interrogation which furnishes something more than a hint of the practice among the Jews of child sacrifice. “Shall I give my first born for my transgressions, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”

    Although there is sufficient evidence to prove the enormous extent to which the practice of child sacrifice prevailed among the Jews, it is believed that much more proof would be found, had it not, in later times, with a view to concealing the extent of this practice, been expunged from their sacred writings. Moloch was to the Jews what Siva came to be to the Hindoos, namely, the Terrible. It is plain, however, that Siva was not formerly feared in India, but next to Vishnu was the best beloved of all their gods. Siva was originally the androgyne god who was not only the Destroyer, but the beneficent Regenerator and purifier. It was the cold of winter and the heat of the sun. It was a conception which was a direct outgrowth of Nature worship or of that religious idea which was portrayed by a mother and her child.

    The conception involved in sacrifice seems to be that of a payment for services rendered, or desired. The Amazulus, when going to battle, sacrifice to the manes of their ancestors, who, as older branches of the tree of life, appear to constitute their god-idea. This is done that their gods “may have no cause of complaint, because they have made amends to them and made them bright.” On appearing before the enemy they say: “Can it be, since we have made amends to the Amadhlozi, that they will say we have wronged them by anything?"165

    At a certain stage in human history the various peoples of the globe depended upon excessive numbers for their prosperity, hence the most precious offering to the god of pro-creation was that of human victims.

    In India, when a new colony or city was founded, in order to insure its prosperity, large numbers of children were delivered over as a bribe or offering of reconciliation to the god of virility. The enormous extent to which human sacrifice has prevailed in India, in Egypt, in Mexico, among the Carthaginians, the Jews, the Druids, and even among the Greeks and Romans, is well attested.

    From the records of extant history, it would seem that human sacrifice usually accompanies a certain stage of sun-worship. Among the Aztecs in Mexico, a country in which the sun was a universal object of reverence and in which one of the prescribed duties of the boys trained in the temple was that of keeping alive the sacred fires, the immolation of victims became the most prominent feature of their public worship. We are distinctly told, however, that human sacrifice was not formerly practiced in Mexico, but that finally here as elsewhere, the idea became prevalent that by sacrificing human victims to the god of Destruction, his wrath might be appeased and the people saved from his vengeance. It is stated that human sacrifices were adopted by the Aztecs early in the fourteenth century, about two hundred years before the conquest. “Rare at first, they became more frequent with the wider extent of their empire; till, at length, almost every festival was closed with this cruel abomination.”

    Notwithstanding these atrocities, in their conceptions of a future state of existence, and especially in their disposition of the unregenerate after death, are to be observed certain traces of human feeling and refined sensibility which are difficult to reconcile with the cruelty practiced in their religious rites, and which bear a striking contrast to the physical torture, to which after death the wicked are subjected not only in Mexico, but in countries professing a high stage of civilization and culture.

    Of their religious observances, those which had doubtless been inherited from an older civilization, Prescott, quoting from Torquemada and Sahagun, says:

    “Many of their ceremonies were of a light and cheerful complexion, consisting of the national songs and dances, in which both sexes joined. Processions were made of women and children crowned with garlands and bearing offerings of fruits, the ripened maize, or the sweet incense of copal and other odoriferous gums, while the altars of the deity were stained with no blood save that of animals. These were the peaceful rites derived from their Toltec predecessors."166

    Prior to the days of Montezuma, the Aztec priests had engrafted upon these simple ceremonies not only a burdensome ceremonial, and a polytheism similar to that of Eastern nations, but, as we have seen, human sacrifices and even cannibalism had become prominent features in religious worship. Throughout the entire ceremonial and religious conceptions of the Aztecs may be observed a display of the savage and brutal elements in human nature, in close connection with unmistakable evidence of a once higher stage of culture and refinement.

    In the later ages of Aztec history their most exalted deity was Huitzilopotchi, the Mexican Moses, the god of war. His temples were the most costly and magnificent among the public edifices in the country, and his image bedecked with ornaments was an universal object of adoration. At the dedication of his temple in the year 1486 more than seventy thousand captives are said to have perished.167

    A Deity which occupied a conspicuous place in the mythology, and which was probably an inheritance from more ancient times, was Quetzalcoatl, doubtless the same as the Eastern Goddess of Nature, or Wisdom. She was the “grain goddess,” and “received offerings of fruit and flowers at her two great festivals. She also took care of the growth of corn. She was doubtless the same as the Earth Mother of the Finns and Esths, she who “undertakes the task of bringing forth the fruits.” She is evidently the Demeter of the Greeks, the Ceres of the Romans, etc. She is also the goddess of Wisdom, for she had “instructed the nations in the use of metals, in agriculture, and in the art of government.” Under this Deity the

    “Earth had teemed with fruits and flowers without the pains of culture. An ear of Indian corn was as much as a single man could carry. The cotton, as it grew, took, of its own accord, the rich dies of human art. The air was filled with intoxicating perfumes and the sweet melody of birds. In short, these were the halcyon days, which find a place in the mythic systems of so many nations throughout the world. It was the golden age of Anuhuac.”

    We are given to understand that for some cause not explained the beneficent god Quetzalcoatl was banished, that he (or she) was deposed through the influence of some deity which had become more popular, or, at least, more powerful; but that when Quetzalcoatl departed from the country “in a winged skiff made of serpent skins,” it was with a promise to return to the faithful, which promise was sacredly cherished down to the time of the Spanish invasion.

    The Mexican Mars, Huitzilopotchi, was born of a virgin. His mother, a devout person, while at her devotions in the temple saw floating before her a bright colored feather ball, which she seized and placed in her bosom. She soon became pregnant, her offspring being a god, who like Minerva appeared full armed with spear and helmet.

    Although the exact manner in which the Mexicans sacrificed to their Deity to atone for the sins of the people differs somewhat from the modus operandi employed in the Christian vicarious atonement, still the likeness existing between them is sufficient to indicate the fact of their common origin and the similar manner of their development.

    The Mexicans were wont to select a young and handsome man from their midst, whom they invested with the dignity of a god. After having surrounded him with every luxury, and when they had showered upon him every attention, crowning him with flowers and worshipping him for a year or more as a Savior, they killed him, offering him as an atonement or sacrifice, in order that the rest of the people might escape the vengeance of their great Deity, who, it was claimed, is pleased with such offerings, and who demands sacrifices of this kind at the hands of his children. Within blood was contained life, hence the offering of a bloody victim was but the returning to their god, as a free-will gift that which he had bestowed, such sacrifice being regarded as the only acceptable means of grace or reconciliation.

    That the offering of a victim to the Jewish God was deemed necessary to the fulfilment of Christian doctrine is a fact which is clearly shown by numerous passages in the New Testament. “We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” “By one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified."168 “Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many."169

    That the Jewish Paschal feasts and the Eucharistic rites of Christians had their counterpart among the Mexicans is observed in the fact that shortly after the death of their god, cakes which had been prepared and blessed by the priests were offered by them to the people to be eaten as the veritable body of their sacrificed lord.

    The source whence the doctrine of an atonement –a bloody sacrifice which lies at the foundation of Christian theology–has proceeded is not at the present time difficult to determine, for we shall presently see that it, like all the leading doctrines contained in this later system, and which are regarded as exclusively Christian, had its origin in the religion of past ages, a religion which although originally pure, in course of time degenerated into the grossest phallicism and even into human sacrifice and cannibalism.

    Although among the Mexicans as among the Jews, human sacrifices were offered to the Deity, no hint of gross and sensual rites practiced in the temples of the latter is recorded. Hence, as the Mexicans had not arrived at that stage of religious progress (?) at which sensuality inculcated as a sacred duty, and at which moral and physical debasement was encouraged both in public and private life, we may reasonably conclude that their faith represents a somewhat earlier stage of development than does that of either Jew or Greek. In point of morality, as judged by the most ancient standards, or by the more modern, the Mexicans compare favorably with either of these nationalities. Indeed when we compare the social, religious, and civil conditions of Mexico as we find them under Montezuma with those of the Jews under David or Solomon, or with those of the Greeks under Solon, or even with those of the Christians during the Spanish Inquisition when thousands upon thousands, not of captives taken in war, but of the noblest and best of the land, were yearly slaughtered for “the glory of God,” there is quite as much to meet the approval of an enlightened conscience under the first named system as under that of any one of the other three.

    By priests the fact has long been understood that effects may be produced through appeals to the religious or emotional nature which under other circumstances would be impossible; and as, for thousands of years, it has been the special business of this class to formulate creeds for the ignorant masses, religious belief and the ceremonies connected with “sacred” worship, during certain periods of the world’s history, have assumed a grotesqueness in design unsurpassed by the most fanciful fairy tales which the imagination has ever been able to create, at the same time that they have portrayed a depth of sensual degradation capable of being reached only by that order of creation which alone has been able to develop a religion.
    163 Anacalypsis, vol. i., p. 101.
    164 The Origin of Pagan Idolatry, vol. i., book 2, p. 465.
    165 Viscount Amberley, Analysis of Religious Belief, vol. i., p. 32.
    166 See Conquest of Mexico, book I, chap. iii., p. 74.
    167 Torquemada.
    168 Hebrews, x., 10, 14.
    169 Ibid., ix., 28.

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    Default Chapter XVIII. The Cross and a Dying Savior


    The God-Idea of the Ancients (or Sex in Religion)

    By Eliza Burt Gamble

    Chapter XVIII. The Cross and a Dying Savior

    In Egypt, the cross when unaccompanied by any other symbol signified simply creative energy both female and male, but whenever a distinctively female emblem was present it denoted the male power alone. The Ibis, which is represented with human hands and feet, bears the staff of Isis in one hand and the cross in the other. There is scarcely an obelisk or monument in Egypt upon which this figure does not appear. The symbol or monogram of Venus was a circle and a cross, that of Saturn was a cross and a ram’s horn.

    Plato declared that the son of God was expressed upon the universe in the form of the letter X, and that the second power of the supreme God was figured on the universe in the shape of a cross.

    There is little doubt that the early Christians understood full well the true meaning of the cross, and that it was no new device. In later ages, however, every monument of antiquity marked with this symbol was claimed by the Church and by it believed to be of Christian origin.

    It is related that when the temple of Serapis at Alexandria was overthrown by one of the Christian Emperors, beneath its foundation was discovered the monogram of Christ. The Christians made use of this circumstance to prove the divine origin of their religion, “thereby making many converts.” The Pagans, on the contrary, were of the opinion that “it should forever silence the claim put forward by the devotees of Christianity.” It is plain, however, that the Christians had the better of the argument for “the cross being uneasy under the weight of the temple overthrew it.”

    On the coins of Decius, the great persecutor of the Christians, is to be observed the monogram of Christ which is also the monogram of Osiris and Jupiter Ammon. On a medal proved to be Phoenician appear the cross, the rosary, and the lamb. There is another form of the same monogram which signifies DCVIII. These devices although in use hundreds of years prior to the Christian era are all said to be monograms of Christ. At the present time they may be seen in almost every church in Italy.

    In the cave of Elephanta, in India, appears the cross in connection with the figure which represents male reproductive power. Inman relates that a cross with a rosary attached has been found in use among the religious emblems of the Japanese Buddhists and the lamas of Thibet, and that in one of the frescoes of Pompeii, published at Paris, 1840, is to be seen, vol. v., plate 28, the representation of a phallic cross in connection with two small figures of Hermes.170

    The Rev. Mr. Maurice adds his testimony to that of other investigators to show the universality of this emblem. He says that the principal pagodas in India, viz., those of Bernares and Mathura, are built in the form of a cross.

    In the museum of the London University is a mummy upon whose breast is a cross “exactly in the shape of a cross upon Calvary.”

    The true significance of this emblem, and the reason for its adoration are not, at the present time, difficult to understand; but whence comes the symbol of a dead man on a cross, and what is its true meaning?

    Perhaps there is no problem connected with ancient symbolism, or with mythical religion, which is more difficult to solve, than is the representation of a dying Savior on a cross. It is stated by those who have investigated this subject, that although the sun, or the fructifying power within it, was adored by all the historic nations, no hint of a cross is to be found amongst the most ancient Nature worshippers. We must then look for a solution of this problem to those ages in which the higher truths of an older race were partially forgotten, and to a time when phallic worship had supplanted the adoration of Light or Wisdom. The cross doubtless came into use as a religious emblem at a time when the sexes in union began to stand for the god-idea, the lower end of the upright shaft being transfixed to the horizontal bar.

    As soon as the male energy became god, the cross gradually grew into the figure of a man with arms extended. It became the original “life giver,” it was Adam, the creator of the race. Doubtless for ages Adam represented the god-man-phallus-Tree of Life, or cross idea. He was the progenitor of the race. From this same idea sprang ancestor worship, or the deification of the past vital spark. The adoration paid to the Lares and Penates, the household gods of the Romans, on the first of May, is an example of this worship, as is also the homage paid by the Chinese to their progenitors.

    Of religious emblems R. P. Knight says that one of the most remarkable among them is a cross in the form of the letter T which was used as an emblem of creation and generation before the church adopted it as a sign of salvation. To this representation of male reproductive power “was sometimes added a human head, which gives it the appearance of a crucifix, as it has on the medal of Cyzicus.”

    Originally the figure of a dead man on a cross typified creation and destruction or the operations of the creative forces in Nature. Everything dies only to live again. Although man dies, and although the individual man becomes but a dead branch on the tree of life, still the tree lives. Through the cross- phallus idea, or through man’s power to create, existence on the earth continues. Although the sun dies in winter, in spring it revives again to quicken and enliven Nature and make all things new.

    There is much evidence to show that a dying figure on a cross was no new conception at the advent of Christianity. Crishna, whose history as we have seen is almost identical with that of Christ, and Ballaji, from whom the thorn-crowned figures of Jesus have doubtless been copied, are illustrations of this mythical figure of a crucified savior in India.

    It seems altogether probable from the facts at hand that the Romans worshipped a cross with a dying figure of a man upon it. Minucius Felix, a Christian father, in defense of his religion, has the following passage:

    “You certainly, who worship wooden gods, are the most likely people to adore wooden crosses, as being parts with the same substance as your deities. For what else are your ensigns, flags, and standards but crosses gilt and purified? Your victorious trophies not only represent a simple cross, but a cross with a man upon it. When a pure worshipper adores the true God with hands extended, he makes the figure of a cross. Thus you see that the sign of the cross has either some foundation in Nature, or in your own religion, and therefore not to be objected against Christians.”

    Higgins says that it is proved as completely as it is possible to prove a fact of this kind that the Romans had a crucified object of adoration, and that this could be no other than an incarnation of the God Sol, represented in some way to have been crucified.

    An ancient medal found in Cyprus has upon one of its sides the figure of a crucified man with the chaplet or rosary, the same as those now in use by Romanists. From the style of workmanship it is thought that this medal must have been anterior to the Macedonian conquest.

    There is little doubt that the early fathers and the bishops in the Christian church recognized in the cross the ancient emblem of fertility, but as the idea of a spiritual life had begun to take root, it was deemed proper to conceal its real significance; hence from a symbol representing the continuity of existence on the earth the cross now prefigured eternal life or existence after death. Henceforward although man was dead in transgressions, through the cross, or through the crucified Christ, he received eternal life.

    That the original signification of this symbol was understood by early Christians is apparent from the fact that the Emperor Theodosius, between the years 378 and 395, issued a decree prohibiting the sign of the cross being sculptured or painted on the pavements of churches. Tertullian also, after declaring that the devil made the sign of the cross on the foreheads of the followers of the Persian Mithra, accused the Christians of adoring the same emblem.

    In 280, A. C. Porphyry, referring to crosses, asked why theologists give passions to the gods, erect Phalli and use shameful language; to which the Christian Iamblichus in the year 336 replied: “Because Phalli and crosses are signs of productive energy, and provocative to a continuance of the world.”

    It was not until the second century, or until after the days of Justin Martyr, that the instrument upon which Jesus was executed was called a cross. But whatever may have been its form, as soon as the myths of former religious worship began to attach themselves to his history, he became the symbolical dead man on a cross, the original sacrifice to Mahadeva. He portrayed the same idea as did Crishna, Ballaji, the dying Osiris, and all the other sun-gods. He, like each of these, represented a new sun at the beginning of a new cycle. He was a risen savior, and to him were finally transferred all the festivals, seasons, symbols, and monograms of former solar deities. That the figure of a dead man on a cross was a familiar emblem throughout Asia and various portions of Europe, and that numberless crucified gods–incarnations of the sun–have been worshipped throughout the East, is a fact which it has been the aim of the initiated among the Christian clergy to conceal, but one which no one who has examined the evidence with a mind free from prejudice attempts to deny.

    In Italy, on many of the earlier pictures of Christ, may be observed the words Deo Soli, which inscription signifies either “to the only God,” or “to the God Sol.”

    Of the various so-called Christian antiquities which cover the walls of the Vatican, we are assured by those who have acquainted themselves with the signification of pagan symbolism that “they have no more reference to Christianity than they have to the Emperor of China.” The same may be said with reference to the representations on the walls of the Catacombs.

    Crishna, who was the equinoctial sun in Aries, appeared 2160 years after the first Buddha, who was the equinoctial sun in Taurus. According to Plutarch they were both modern gods when compared with the deities which gave names to the planets. Buddha, or the sun in Taurus, was worshipped in the form of a bull. Crishna, or the sun in Aries, was adored under the figure of a ram with a man’s head. The true significance of these figures was the fructifying sun or reproductive energy as manifested in animal life, and this meaning to those who worshipped them was identical with the carved figures on the caves of India, the Lares and Penates of the Romans, and the stone pillars or crosses in the market-places and at the intersection of roads in Brittany.

    Eusebius says that at Elephanta they adored a Deity in the figure of a man in a sitting posture painted blue, having the head of a ram with the horns of a goat encircling a disk. The Deity thus described is said to be of astronomical origin, denoting the power of the sun in Aries.

    This figure, which was one of the representations of the sun-god Crishna, was worshipped both in India and in Egypt. In various of the manifestations of this Deity he appears in the act of killing a serpent. He was the dead man on a cross and also the sun, which although continually dying is constantly being revived again. Various incarnations of this God have appeared as crucified saviors.

    Of the avatar of Crishna known as Ballaji or Baal-Jah little is positively known. Indeed there seems to be some impenetrable mystery surrounding this figure, which makes it impossible for scholars to absolutely prove that which by means of the evidence at hand amounts almost to a certainty.

    A print by Moore of this god represents him in the shape of a Romish crucifix, but although there is a nail hole in his foot he is not transfixed to a wooden cross. Instead of a crown of thorns a Parthian coronet encircles his head. As all the avatars of Crishna are represented with coronets, this fact has caused several writers to observe that the effigies of Ballaji have furnished the copies for the thorn-crowned Jesus. Through the ignorance of the early Christians who in the second century adopted the religion of Crishna, the true significance of this coronet was not understood, hence the thorns upon the head of Christ. In referring to the effigy of a crucified savior found in Ireland the author of The Round Towers says that it was not intended for our Savior for the reason that it wore the Iranian regal crown, instead of the Jewish crown of thorns.171

    Regarding this effigy, Higgins remarks that the crucified body without the cross reminds one that “some of the ancient sects of heretics held Jesus to have been crucified in the clouds.”

    Moore, who has produced several prints of Ballaji, says he is unable to account for the pierced foot of a crucified figure in India. He endeavors to prove, however, that this crucifix cannot be Hindoo “because there are duplicates of it from the same model.” As the mould is made of clay, he contends that only one cast may be made from it. This argument falls to the ground, however, so soon as it is found that duplicates, or copies of these brass idols which may not be distinguished from the originals, are seen in the museum at the India House, and also in that of the Asiatic Society.

    The admission of Moore that “great influence was brought to bear upon him to induce him not to publish the prints of Ballaji for fear of giving offense,” serves as a hint in determining the cause for the lack of information respecting this god.

    It is believed that, were the development of truth upon this subject rather than its concealment the object of Christian missionaries, the temples of Ballaji would have furnished more important information to the Christian world than would those of any other of the Hindoo gods; but while numberless pilgrimages have been made to Juggernaut and other shrines devoid of interest to the student, we have heard little concerning the shrines of this deity, although at the time Moore wrote, Terputty was in the possession of the English who made a profit of L15,000 a year from the temple.

    On the Brechin Tower in Ireland are two arches one within the other in relief. At the top of the arch is a crucifix, and about midway from top to bottom on either side are two figures which, according to Romanist Christians, represent the Virgin Mary and St. John. At the bottom of the outer arch are two couchant beasts, the one an elephant and the other a bull. The figure on the cross has a Parthian coronet. The appearance of a crucifix on the towers of Britain and Ireland has in the past led many writers to ascribe to these singular structures a Christian origin. To the critical observer, however, the first question which presents itself is whence comes the elephant–an animal not found within these countries?–and again why should these beasts have been placed here as Christian emblems? The facts in the case as revealed by unprejudiced investigators are, that the towers in Ireland are not Christian monuments, and that the crucifix found on them is not that of Christ but of Ballaji, or of some one of the avatars of Crishna.

    The fact that the figure of Crishna as a crucified god was found in the ruins of a temple at Thebes in Egypt, is sufficient to prove his antiquity; still, as we have seen, he represents the god-idea at a much later date than did Buddha. Regarding the evidence furnished by the Rev. Mr. Maurice of the ten avatars of the Indian sun-god, Higgins observes:

    “The only fact worthy of notice here is, that Buddha was universally allowed to be the first of the incarnations; that Crishna was of later date; that, at the era of the birth of Christ, eight of them had appeared on the earth, and that the other two were expected to follow before the end of the Caliyug, or of the present age.”

    With reference to the fact that the Hindoo God originally represented Wisdom or the Logos, the same writer says:

    “Then here is DIVINE WISDOM incarnate, of whom the Bull of the Zodiac was the emblem. HERE he is the Protagonos, or first begotten, the God or Goddess Mhtis of the Greeks, being, perhaps, both male and female. Buddha, or the wise, if the word were not merely the name of a doctrine, seems to have been an appellation taken by several persons, or one person incarnate at several periods, and from this circumstance much confusion has arisen."172

    Concerning the religion of an ancient race the following facts have been ascertained, namely:

    The first of the Buddhas or Incarnations of the Deity was Minerva, and her mother, who was the sun, was the mother of all the Buddhas. She was Mhtis, Mubt or Mai, “the universal genius of Nature, who discriminated all things according to their various kinds of species.”

    In the earliest ages she comprehended not only matter but the moving force in the universe. She was the Deity which by a very ancient race was represented by the mother idea–Perceptive Wisdom. She was the sun and the first emanation from the sun. She was the Divine Word, the Logos, the Holy Ghost which in the time of Christ was again by various sects recognized as female. The allegory of the Greeks concerning Jupiter taking Mhtis (Wisdom) to wife and from this union with her producing Minerva from his head, is seen to be closely connected with the doctrine of Buddha (Wisdom) or of the Rasit of Genesis. According to Faber, the import of the Greek word Nous and of the Sanscrit Menu is precisely the same: each denotes mind or intelligence, and to the latter of them the Latin Mens is nearly allied. “Mens, Menu, and perhaps our English mind are fundamentally one and the same word.” All these terms in an earlier age meant Buddha, Wisdom, or Minerva.

    Later, with the worship of the sun in Aries, appeared a crucified savior. During the earlier ages of Crishnaism, the ideas typified by a dying savior were still those pertaining to the processes of Nature. Matter was still believed to be indestructible and seeming death but a preparation for renewed life, or for birth into another state of existence Subsequently this dying sun-god, which disappeared in winter only to return again to re-animate Nature, became a veritable man–a man on a cross who must be sacrificed to Mahadeva in order that humanity might be saved. Here we have the origin of the doctrine of a Vicarious Atonement. Later, under the system called Christianity, woman, who had previously become identified with the evil principle, became the Tempter. She was the cause of sin in the world and wholly responsible for the evil results arising from desire. Indeed, according to the doctrines annunciated by the Christian Church, had woman, who was an after thought of the Almighty, never been created, man would have lived forever in a state of purity and bliss, free alike from the toils, pains, and temptations of life, and from the crafts and assaults of the Devil.

    Through the over-stimulation of the animal instincts man had become wholly unable to overcome the evil in his constitution, hence the adoption of the doctrine of Original Sin and the necessity for an Atonement, or for a crucified savior, who would take upon himself the sins of poor, weak human nature. By simply believing on this crucified redeemer, man would be saved, not from sin itself, but from the penalty of sin. To bolster up the belief in original sin and the necessity for an atonement, the allegory of the fruit tree and the serpent in Genesis was taken literally.

    The more the religion of the past is studied the more plainly will the fact appear, that not only have the ceremonies, symbols, festivals, and seasons adopted by Christianity been copied from India and Persia, but also that all the leading doctrines of the so-called Christian Church originated in those countries. The belief in a Trinity, the Incarnation of the Deity, a Crucified Savior, Original Sin and a Vicarious Atonement, the last three having been elaborated after the ancient natural truths underlying sun worship had been forgotten, are all to be found in the East.

    The doctrine of a Trinity is supposed to have been received directly from the Platonists, who had learned it from the Persians; while that of a Crucified Savior, and also that of the seed of the woman bruising the serpent’s head, belong, as we have seen, to the religion of Crishna.

    Concerning Original Sin, which is the foundation of the doctrine of the “Atonement,” it is plain that it was not known to the earlier followers of Christ, but that it was subsequently copied from the corrupted religion of the Hindoos.

    The symbolical meaning of the serpent and the Tree of Life was doubtless understood by the earliest adherents to the Christian faith; it is not surprising, therefore, that by them there is no mention of the doctrine of Original Sin. Their theory to account for evil in the world was the same as that of an ancient and almost forgotten race. The belief that the soul of man is a spark from, or a part of the universal soul, that at the death of the body it returns to its source, and in process of time appears as the animating principle in other bodies, was believed by Pythagoras, Aspasia, Socrates, and Plato and, in fact, for thousands of years it was entertained by the best and wisest of the human race. It was a part of the early Christian doctrine and is still believed by the followers of Buddha and by the Theosophists of Europe and America.

    Doubtless the doctrines of Re-incarnation and Karma were set forth by those very ancient philosophers who were the near descendants of the inventors of the Neros and the Metonic cycle–those who believed in the indestructibility of matter, and that spirit proceeds from or is evolved through it. It was an effort on their part to solve the problem of the existence of evil, and was far more satisfactory to the reasoning mind than was the literal translation of the story of the woman, the forbidden apple, and the talking serpent in Genesis.

    Original sin of which woman is said to be the cause, and the necessity for a spiritual (male) savior to deliver man from the wretchedness which she had produced, are doctrines which took their rise in the grossest ignorance, and in an entire misconception of the natural truths which had previously been set forth by the figure of a dying sun-god. Original Sin and a Vicarious Atonement–doctrines by means of which man has attempted to evade moral responsibility and the legitimate results of evil-doing–have, by weakening his moral sense, and by shifting the responsibility of his deeds upon another, resulted in greatly lowering the standard of human conduct.

    Science teaches that the penalty for sin is inherent in it, and that virtue is its own reward; the so-called Christian doctrines assert that although a man’s sins be as scarlet, they may, simply through a certain belief, become white as wool. It has been claimed that a belief in original sin caused all the human sacrifices in ancient times and that it “converted the Jews into a nation of cannibals.”

    That the system which has borne the name of Christianity is an outgrowth of Sun, Serpent, and Phallic faiths is so plainly proven by the facts brought out by later research as no longer to be a matter of reasonable doubt to those who have given any considerable degree of attention to this subject. The more exalted ideas which from the time of Zoroaster to that of Jesus had been struggling for existence, and which through various means had been gradually gaining a foothold, were, by the influx of Crishnaism, soon choked out, and mythical Christianity, which was but a gathering in of the grosser forms of the prevailing Hindoo faith, mounted the throne of the Roman Empire.

    During the nineteen hundred years that have elapsed since the inauguration of this system, little has been understood concerning the real philosophy of Christ–a philosophy which is seen to be simply a recognition of those higher scientific truths enunciated by an ancient race.

    The fact is observed in these later times that the altruistic principles involved in these teachings contain the highest wisdom–that they form the basis of a true social science, and that a high stage of civilization will never be reached until these principles are recognized as the foundation of human conduct Unselfishness, purity of life, and the brotherhood of man will never be realized so long as man shifts the responsibility of his wrong-doing upon another.

    Quite recently the fact has been proved that the progressive principle originated in the female constitution; that in sympathy, a character which has its root in maternal affection, lies the key to human progress. Conscience and the moral sense are outgrowths of sympathy; therefore, that which distinguishes man from the lower orders of life originated in and has been developed through the female organization.

    When these plain scientific truths, which are so simple as scarcely to need demonstration, become popularized, doubtless our present god-idea will undergo a process of reconstruction, and the later development will probably involve conceptions more in keeping with science and human reason. Surely a scientific age will tolerate no religious conception whose principles are not founded on truth. The worship of a male god as the sole creator and sustainer of the universe is as unphilosophical as it is unreasonable and unscientific.

    As in many ways at the present time, mankind seems inclined to retrace its steps, and as upon its onward march humanity is beginning to manifest a willingness to return to truer and more primitive methods of thought and action, it is not impossible that in the not distant future, Perceptive Wisdom and the altruistic principles, together with the power to give life, may again be divinely enthroned in the place so long usurped by physical force and virile might.
    170 Inman, Ancient Faiths Embodied in Ancient Names, vol. i., p. 408.
    171 The Round Towers of Ireland, p. 298.
    172 Anacalypsis, book v., p. 201.

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