Rosicrucian Writings Online

The Lost Tribes of Mystics


By Frater Royle Thurston
[From The Rosicrucian Digest December 1930]
MUCH has been written and said in the past about the lost tribes of Israel. Very often, a writer on this subject will deal almost exclusively with the religious or theoretical points involved, but there are other points of equal interest, and which are perhaps more fascinating to the student of mysticism.
The name "Israel" should be divided so that it reads as Isra-el. It was originally an Egyptian term, conferred upon the peoples who came into Egypt from strange lands and dwelt there a while, only to pass on to other lands. In the name Isra-el, we find the key-notes to the ancient mystical beliefs of these people. And, we need only read of their traditional experiences, even in the Christian Bible, to understand that these people were of various divisions of one race who had come together through their mystical understanding and mystical development. Nearly all that is said of them in the Christian Bible is symbolical, allegorical, and mystical. If the accounts of them are read as history unveiled, we do not find anything peculiar about them, except what seems to be contradictions and apparent inconsistencies. If, on the other hand, we read about them with the understanding that the facts given are allegorical and mystical, we plainly realize a great picture of a beautiful nature.
The question rises instantly as to where these people finally dwelt and what became of their great knowledge, and their great powers. We cannot believe these tribes, as they were called, went to Palestine or Syria, or the surrounding countries, and there remained forever, being absorbed into other races or tribes, and not only their individuality as a race completely lost or molded into a new race, but their great knowledge and mystical powers completely lost to all future races. That would be truly a mystery in civilization, and it is no wonder that those who believe this sort of thing point to this situation as being one of the unsolved mysteries of history. It is a mystery only when misunderstood and no longer is a mystery when we realize the real facts.
One of the greatest of these Israelites was Akiba, who became what we would call today, a Rabbi among his people, or in other words, a master of their philosophy and mystical teachings. He says in one of his ancient writings that they adopted a very strict law regarding ceremonialism and ritualistic practice in their religious work, solely to exclude any possibility of idolatry entering into the thoughts of their people. They had but one God, the ever-living God, as their idol. They called this God Jehovah. Originally, the final "h" was not a part of the name, and even the vowel sounds of the name are not identical today with the ancient name, for the ancient name was never pronounced except under certain conditions within the great tabernacle. Moses was not their spiritual guide, but a prophet who interpreted the signs of the times and revealed to them the meaning of certain things.
After these people had passed through Egypt and had come into contact with the various priesthood beliefs of that country, they were astonished to find in Palestine and Syria many other religious beliefs, each contesting for supremacy. They had great difficulty in holding their younger people steadfast to the ancient teachings, which they knew were true, and which had saved them in many unusual circumstances. Therefore, they attempted to consolidate themselves into a secret organization or a separate people, preventing as much as possible any contact between the younger generation of their tribes and the adults of the pagan nations.
In order to hold themselves strictly within their own teachings, they adopted the strictest rules and regulations that have ever been placed upon any people voluntarily in connection with religion or the philosophy of life. Yet, the circumstances of the country and the conditions under which these Israelites had to live forced them to separate and live in various communities widely apart and to finally spread to the border of other lands. This left the doorway open to contamination so far as the younger generations were concerned, and the ultimate result was that many of the younger people wandered away into foreign lands and adopted foreign customs of living.
So successful had been the work of establishing the principles of the mystical teachings in the minds of the younger people, however, that even though these youths joined caravans and journeyed into distant countries, and went upon the seas, and in other ways gradually left the land of their fathers, they did not forsake all of their teachings nor forget the marvelous knowledge which was their inheritance.
Astronomy was one of the great sciences in which they had become interested after their contact with the wise men of Egypt, but their greater knowledge pertained to healing and the laws of nature in addition to their very intimate knowledge of spiritual laws. The teachings of Apollonius of Tyana, who conducted a school at Symrna, also modified some of the Israelite principles and widened their knowledge of mystical laws.
As years passed by, the older members of the Israelites passed to the beyond and only the younger generations, widely scattered, remained to carry on the ideals and teachings of their forbears. By intermarriage, a new race was rapidly developing, constituting the Jewish race of the present day. But this Jewish race was not of the pure blood of the Israelites, but merely descendants from them as a branch from a tree. The mystery of the youths who wandered far and wide remained unsolved until some years ago the first clues to the solution of the mystery were found here in America.
Some eminent student of the life of the American Indians discovered some astonishing facts, and these facts may some day tell a greater story than any one has suspected. We know that the tribe or race commonly called the American Indians has been found to have existed in many parts of the Western world. We know also that this race of people is unique and unlike any other race known to man. While this race is divided into tribes and each tribe had a language that was almost totally different from that of an adjoining tribe, nevertheless, the racial characteristics and the many common bonds which united them proved that they all descended from one original race. Thus the Indians, which Columbus met when he first landed in the southern part of the American continent, and the Indians found later in Canada and on the shores of the Pacific in Central America, along the Ohio River and upper New York state, or down in South America, were undoubtedly related to one branch of the human tree and had many customs and habits in common.
The great diversity in language, however, among these various tribes or groups of Indians, keep the students of Indian life from ever attempting to compare those things which were common to all of them. When once this was broken, however, the revelations were startling. It was found, for instance, that among those tribes of Indians, separated by an entire continent, and who could never have been in any intercourse with each other, and whose language and even general customs and habits were widely different, there were certain holidays, religious days, fete days, and Sundays, which were common to all of them, even to those who lived far in the south of the country and even in South America. This proved that in the matter of religious holidays and astronomical holidays, they had a common understanding. Then it was found that in their religious ceremonies and in many other ritualistic performances of a definite nature, there were other identities common to all of the tribes.
This proved at once that the essential points of their rituals and ceremonies had one original source, and that the modifications were due to environment through changes, losses, additions through newer generations, and through contact with other peoples. Then it was also found that certain words of a religious significance and certain mystical principles, and certain vowel sounds in their chants and mantras were identical in all of the tribes. This proved a common origin or one original source for these things.
After all of these facts had been accumulated and carefully tabulated, the next point was to find the source of these outstanding coincidences. You may be surprised to learn that it was found that these various points in holidays, rituals, vowel sounds, names, and ceremonies common to all of the Indian tribes were identical with those practiced by the people of Isra-el.
Realizing that the American Indians could not have had any intercourse in later years with the people of Palestine, Syria, and nearby countries, indicated some other method of contact. The study and examination of this problem required many years, but the ultimate conclusion was that the peoples of the Western world called the American Indians were direct descendants of those youths of Isra-el, who wandered from their native lands and eventually reached into foreign countries.
Further investigation has clearly indicated the possibility and probability of the American Indians being descendants of the so-called lost tribes of Israel. This being probable, we stand on the threshold of many other wonderful revelations, which will probably throw great light upon the many mystical laws, and principles which the American Indians used so successfully, and which have always been a fascinating study for the people of the Western world. We may find, after all, that the Indian medicine man and his reputed superstitious practices were the same identical scientific and mystical laws used by the Essenes and the mystical brotherhoods in pre-Christian times.
We may find also that the many other wonderful scientific facts known to the American Indians were principles passed by word of mouth through various generations from the time of Moses to the present day. The Indian, himself, says little, not because he knows little, but because he knows much, and we find in his silence and his reluctance to speak a further exemplification of the ancient practices of the mystics to see all, hear all, know all, but say nothing. Now that research has opened the door to a new field of study, we will watch for further investigations and some day the real story contained in the ancient mystic manuscripts will become known to the public at large and strange mysteries will be solved.

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