The Crata Repoa, written by Karl Fredderich Von Koppen and Johann Wilhelm Bernhard claims to detail the initiatory practices of the ancient Egyptians. Whether there is any truth as to whether this book really did detail the initiatory practices of the Ancient Egyptians must remain moot, however it is far more likely that it reflects more the general initiatory practices of the Freemasons who claim ancestry as far back as Ancient Egypt.
This book’s purpose was to connect Freemasonry to Ancient Egypt for the purposes of providing a hitherto secret organization whose roots stretch back to Kabbalah practicing 11th Century Jews and Ismaili Hashashin, revealing itself to its particular public of royals, wealthy parvenus, and agitated revolutionaries, a sense of continuity, pedigree and even moral authority to their order.
The cover image for the 18th Century French translation of the original German manuscript shows an image which might be familiar to fans of 21st Century pop music.
It is doubtful that the Crata Repoa has any authenticity and is little more than an 18th century fantasy. Its descriptions of the Ancient Egyptian initiate being given a sword and a shield has rather too much of Teutonic Germanic romanticism or a hint of Spartan military to reflect the reality of the mystical purity of Ancient Egypt. Still, the descriptions are interesting in that they evoke what kind of fantasies might be enacted in the Masonic Lodge and the kinds of theatricalities which probably took place in the mysteries of Ancient Greece, with its initiations which have become the stuff of myth and legend with its labyrinths and descriptions of supernatural beasts.
The first degree, strangely named ‘Christphoris’ or ‘Chris’ I suppose to his friends, describes the initiate being forgotten and left to his anger for 18 months, when he is suddenly taken up and delivered into a labyrinth and assailed by agents with terrifying masks and flaming torches in their hands, while screaming the word ‘Panis’ which again makes me think of the Greek mysteries and the cult of Pan, from which we have the word Panic, and initiations into his mysteries were probably a cross between The Skull and Bones society and a Club 18-30 holiday.
The initiate tries to battle the hordes but is overpowered by the sheer number, after which he is blindfolded and a cord put around a neck like a yoke, as result of which he is brought to the ground. This is surely more an echo of the activity of the German Masonic lodge or even the Bavarian Illuminati than having anything of remote antiquity in it. After which there are more screams. He is then taken into the presence of a bright light in a richly decorated room and given a drugged beverage which he must empty to the dregs.
He is then ordered by a King to go into a room nearby and chop the head off a person who is found there. When he gets into the room he finds a beautiful woman, what is apparently a puppet made of skins and inflated cushions, so well made it appears to be alive. He removes the head of the puppet or it may even be a living woman, who really knows with these people, and presents it to the king.
He is then told that this is the head of the Gorgon (which symbolically represents his own ego and sense of self). In this story it is the Gorgon who is the wife of Typhon (Set) who was responsible for the death of Osiris.
In the same volume I found a text called ‘The Initiation of Plato’ apparently written or compiled or who knows what, signed by Marconis de Negre. Jacques-Etienne Marconis de Negre was a Freemason born in 1795 and was the founder of the French rite of Memphis, an Egyptian rite of ‘invisible’ Freemasonry, or at least he put his name to it.
On a similar level of banal idiocy is the Masonic tale of the Initiation of Plato. I am extremely surprised by this text. Surprised that the ancient mysterious initiation of Plato seemed to resemble a cross between a scene from an Indiana Jones movie and a ride on the fun fair ghost train. It is possible that the account in the text is entirely fabricated, in which case I am surprised that Manly P Hall was taken in by it, if indeed the account is accurate, then I am surprised by the nature of the ancient mysteries and how paltry they were and seemingly wholly lacking in any supernatural element which cannot be managed by men in funny costumes.
Apparently Plato starts by entering a narrow path in a deep cave, which may be supposed to be the Great pyramid since his initiation is said to have taken place in Egypt. Though Ancient Egypt had no shortage of narrow paths and deep caves of various sorts so the initiation could have taken place anywhere, however there is a romantic notion that the initiation took place in the Great Pyramid and for such a personage as esteemed as Plato, no other venue would appear worthy.
Now there is a possibility that the initiation took place as described, within the various complexes of the Giza plateau, but one would hope at least for decency’s sake that the mysterious majesty of the ruins of ancient Egypt which evoke such awe and evocative contemplation of time of grandeur and majesty which we can scarcely comprehend, were not so sullied as to have been the venue of what seems to be little more than some kind of dungeons and dragons fun-fair adventure game.
Apart from looking deep within the Giza plateau for the much vaunted hall of records of the ages maybe they might one day also find a hall of mirrors, and a fossilized freak show. At least if the account is anything to go by.
It is suggestive of the kind of activity which day trippers to Blackpool might have experienced in the heydays of the 50’s holiday seasons and the myriad entertainments devised for the working classes for a couple of old pennies.
To continue the account, Plato moved a metal grill in order to enter another chamber, which closed after him. This was the cue for poor Plato to be assailed by the cast of the fun-fair haunted house and no sooner had he entered a second door, and with his flaming torch sees winged dragons, horrible scorpions, and even larvae.
Then his light went out and he is plunged into darkness. Then a voice called down to Plato to ask him if he was scared yet, and Plato bravely said no. Shadows, scorpions and even larvae didn’t shake Plato, he wasn’t the type of chap to scare easily. He continued on his path and then saw a beautiful temple lit by lamps and a voice lectured him on some nebulous banalities about how the universal cause acts to one end by different laws, and how the whole world of nature and matter presses towards a common goal toward the general good.
There can be no doubt that the text known as the Initiation of Plato is a fanciful recreation informed by the rituals and focus towards materialism and Neo Platonism of the 18th Century. There appears to be of little of interest in the dialogue between Plato and the unknown locutor of the mysteries, except the imparting of the idea that genius is born of the immortal spirit and is facet of the soul, and that divinity is the source of creative genius, and to become an angel one has to cease to be a man.
The voice then asks him if he wants to go back, but our brave hero replies no, he is not afraid. He wasn’t shaken by larvae, nor was he frightened by interminably pretentious new-age discourse. So he continued until he came to a burning furnace which he could cross only by walking along a narrow metal grill, at then end of which apparently was a torrent of water which he could only cross by swimming. So basically it was a little bit like It’s a Knockout and We Are The Champions, if anyone remembers that show.
And the text rather feebly describes this as a double peril, a shuffle along a narrow metal causeway may be somewhat perilous but swimming? Perhaps swimming wasn’t really a thing back then, who knows, and perhaps one only experienced the idea of crossing water while physically moving parts of your body during secret ancient initiations. Maybe swimming itself is one of the great revelatory mysteries of the ancient world.
But the text tells us that the worse is yet to come. A stairway of a few steps led to a door of ivory, Plato crossed the threshold only to find the floor crumble under him, just like in the movies. After which huge metal wheels moved with great speed being pulled by great chains, again, just like in the movies. Then the neophyte is taken by a powerful arm and taken to a ruined chapel where fallen columns everywhere block his progress.
A man with a severe countenance is sat at a table lit by a lamp who then instructs Plato to rummage amongst a bunch of ancient tombs full of dust and delivers a dreary discourse on how fleeting life is and how sad it is to be dead. Hardly the discourse of an enlightened spiritual master, much more likely the kind of sad and dreary materialistic nonsense which comes from our age and our learned fear of death. This is yet another reason to suppose that this text is in no way an authentically ancient account but something dreamed up in the 18th Century as it has all the materialistic and atheistic baggage of that age, when people abandoned the mysteries of spirit for the sureties of science, and we entered our present spiritual dark-age with its world wars and weekly atrocities delivered fresh to a work-sodden half living mass of humans who spend most of their time on the treadmill of doing and have forgotten their being.
After which Plato is presented with a golden horn, and yet more wise old people take their cues in the scene and start yet more interminable dialogue about sublime architects of the universe, force, power beauty and proportion. Could there be any hell worse than discovering that God was indeed an architect and was fussily poring over blueprints and dangling plumb lines while peering disinterestedly at humanity over his eye-glasses? Only the Masons in their peculiar sado-masochism could invent such an appallingly degraded vision of God. How about going one further and saying God works for the council, or is the chair of the Chamber of Commerce?
The three old men continue and slip into something like school masters, delivering lectures on topics as diverse as the elliptical nature of the orbit of the planets around the sun as well as the moons of Jupiter. The moons of Jupiter were first observed by Galileo in the 17th Century and prove beyond doubt the dubious nature of this account.
It is particularly interesting that this account was written by a very high level French Freemason who is one of the major figureheads of European Esoteric Freemasonry which went on to influence American Freemasonry. Since he was so able and willing to pass fantasy fictions of as secret historical esoteria how much more of Freemasonry is nothing but fanciful deception and, to be blunt, bullshit.
Plato’s haunted house fun-fair adventure culminates, as with the previous Ancient Egyptian Initiation, with Plato being ordered to decapitate what the text says is a puppet made so cunningly of skin and inflated bladders, so as to appear lifelike. This is highly suggestive and disturbing. What would be the purpose behind decapitating what appears to be a human body if it were just a cunningly designed dummy? Aside from the suggestion that the head represents ego, what purpose would removing the head from a puppet’s body serve, particularly since it seems to be the culmination of what prior to this has after all, only been, old men reading university lectures by flickering candle light and the odd guy wearing a scary mask.
The Initiation only really makes sense as being a profound, disturbing and transformative ceremony, about which the initiate is sworn to secrecy, if the murder were in fact real or at the very least, the initiate was led to believe it was. But how does one make skin and inflated pigs bladders appear lifelike? Such an appearance would most likely make a mockery of the ceremony in the initiate's eyes and reduce what already seems a ghost train farce to a pantomime. What ethical scruple would there be to prevent the architects of the mysteries from using a real person, likely someone who was drugged and would not be missed? Someone from the streets or even from another district.
We can assume that the authors of the mysteries are the very people who rule our world and have always done so, have they ever shied away from bloodletting? Have they ever shown themselves unwilling to commit atrocities and butcher people? Of course not, history is an endless red sea of blood and the greater the human development the better the means the rulers of the world have to extract more and more blood and kill more and more people. In fact to an outside observer from a benign and civilized race from a distant star, they might observe that this seems to be the most pronounced activity and chief legacy of this human race. Bloodletting on an industrial scale.
For this reason I am ready to assume that the ancient mysteries and Freemasonry did and does in fact involve the murder of an unfortunate victim. This could have been useful as a way in which the cults removed their enemies, while simultaneously being a test of the initiate's devotion to the cause and additionally, making him complicit in the crime and forever knitted to the order by his crime and the possible use of threats of blackmail of the unmasking of his crime, since it was he and he alone who committed the deed, despite doing it under instruction. This is exactly how the modern black street gang initiations unfold. In fact the initiate may well be told that the figure is a dummy and that the verisimilitude to a living person is all the skill of the art of the mystery school.
But it is clear that the possibility of using a living victim renders so many more useful possibilities to the group and knowing how easily states and religions spill blood there is no reason to assume that a secret organization which is the very essence and distillation of the power of the state political group and the state religion, would hold back under cover of darkness. It is far more likely that here they would abandon themselves to every excess they consider useful to their aims. Furthermore, and perhaps even more crucially might be the working on the mind of the initiate of his guilt at having murdered someone in cold blood for no motive.
My point behind all this is that until very recent times, Freemasonry was nothing but a society dealing with ridiculous mythological enactments and fancy dress costumes, with the possible hint of danger with some kind of ritual murder which may or may not be anything worse than bursting a pig's bladder made to resemble a human head.
However what we have within Freemasonry now is of a very different complexion to those early fools. It was probably someone like Aleister Crowley who decided that the rituals were so much more effective and the Gods all the better invoked if real murders took place...