Rosicrucian Writings Online

Strange Egyptian Traditions

By Frater Royle Thurston, F. R. C.
[From The Rosicrucian Digest April 1930]
THE recent transition of another one of the eminent men associated with the exploration of King Tut's tomb has again revived interest in the old tradition that the early Egyptians had placed a "curse" upon those who dared to enter their sacred tombs with any other motive than that of sincere reverence.
The newspapers here in America vie with one another in inventing weird stories and grotesque explanations of the strange course of events which have made it appear that there is some fatal power or influence resident in the early tombs and which manifests itself by bringing death to the body of each person who enters these tombs. According to the most popular story and the one which is commonly believed, the ancient Egyptians sealed their tombs and placed on each sacred door a symbol and by this token established a strange influence which would destroy any person or group of persons who entered the sacred tomb except in accordance with the ancient religious rituals used by the Egyptians.
It is a fact that nearly all of those who were engaged in the expedition that broke open the sealed tomb of King Tut, have passed through transition because of an unusual form of illness that came upon them one at a time. The leader of the expedition was the first to be stricken with the strange malady and since then, every year has seen one or two of the party succumb to an unusual or peculiar form of fatal illness. When the first one was thus stricken, the newspapers of the world called attention to the fact that once again the old "curse" was at work because in nearly every case in past centuries where sacred tombs have been violently opened and the contents violently removed, the explorers have suffered early death and unexpected illnesses of a fatal nature. The Egyptians point out that this strange influence has manifested itself for hundreds of years and that it is an unwritten law that never fails to operate.
Scientists smiled at these stories some years ago, but when the very eminent and healthy persons forming the exploring party of King Tut's tomb became afflicted, science thought it was time to make some investigation and offer a rational explanation. The idea of a "curse" was tabooed by science as a superstition and unworthy of any consideration or investigation. But the fact remained that persons were being afflicted and suffering from some peculiar illness as a result of their visit to the inner secret parts of these sacred tombs. The only explanation arrived at by science was that either the odors and germs created in the tomb by the presence there for so many years of a mummy or lifeless body or germs contained in the tomb by some chemical placed there when the tomb was sealed were responsible for the strange illnesses contracted by the explorers. This explanation is not satisfactory, however, inasmuch as in those cases where tombs have been entered and nothing removed or nothing taken from the tomb for commercial profit, nobody has suffered any illness. This one point would indicate, therefore, that it is not the mere entrance into the tomb or the fact that the tomb is opened and visited by these explorers that brings upon them the serious malady but the motive back of such visitations to these tombs is important. And this is precisely what the ancient traditions of the tombs predict. The oldest of these traditions plainly states that "he who shall pilfer or rob the sacred chambers of a tomb shall have the curse of the Egyptian gods upon him."
From our own personal experience we know that there is a great difference in the motives back of some of the explorations made in recent years, and AMORC is well acquainted with excavations and explorations made in Egypt. For many years, AMORC has been interested in the excavating of more secret and sacred chambers and tombs than any of these exploring parties have been associated with, and our contact with the Egyptian Rosicrucians and members of the secret brotherhood of Egyptians enables us to understand just what occurs in connection with some of these so-called scientific explorations.
When the marvelous tombs, temples, and home of the Pharaoh Amenhotep the fourth along the banks of the Nile were located by some German scientists many years ago, the scientific world was made extremely happy because of the rare knowledge that was sure to result from any excavations made in that locality. Since then the AMORC has helped to finance the excavations of the sacred temples and tombs of this great Pharaoh and in its museum in San Jose it has some of the rarest relics that have ever come from Egypt, including the famous benediction stone, which was a part of the lentil over the doorway of the Pharaoh's temple and under which Moses stood when he received the famous benediction that enabled him to take the tribes of Israel out of Egypt into Palestine with miraculous assistance. Not a single one of the scientists associated with the excavating, opening, and exploring of those very sacred places has ever suffered from the so-called "curse" of Egypt and those who have in recent years spent much time in exploring these places are still living and are healthy and hopeful of continuing their work for many years to come. Out of the explorations made at Amenhotep's city have come the famous Roseta stone, the famous Armana tablets and many other important scientific relics and out of the sacred temple of this Egyptian king have come many sacred, mystical relics that are in our own AMORC Egyptian museum in San Jose and in a few other similar museums in other parts of the world. When these sacred places were explored by the scientists engaged in the work, there was no thought on the part of the explorers to commercialize their activities and to turn the whole operation into a money-getting, profit-making scheme. In fact, the excavations were financed by such organizations as AMORC and by such museums as ours solely for the purpose of voluntarily contributing to the advancement of science without any hope of material or financial remuneration. Therefore, the motive back of the explorations in such a case were non-commercial, sacred, and scientific.
Such was not the case, however, with the exploration of King Tut's tomb. From the very start the exploration was planned to be a purely commercial venture. Money was raised for the cost of operations much like the selling of stock and shares of interest for the financing of a new oil well or copper or gold mine. Everything found in the tomb was to be sold to the highest bidder and all who were members of the profit-making corporation were to have dividends returned on their investments. Few of those who bought shares of stock or contributed their money were interested in either the sacredness or scientific nature of the tombs and their contents. Therefore, the venture was purely commercial and it constituted the pilfering and robbing of a sacred place solely for the sake of money, in the view of the Egyptians. Therefore, the ancient "curse" was surely destined to be upon those who participated in the venture.
The Egyptians in Egypt call attention to the fact that not even due respect and reverence for the sacredness of these tombs was shown by any of the commercial explorers who have extracted valuable things from so many places in Egypt. The Egyptians say that these commercial explorers break into the sacred doors and enter the sacred chambers much like a gang of thieves would break into an empty palace. And with no more respect for the antiquity, sacredness, and unquestioned sanctity of the place than one would expect to find at the hands of robbers, these explorers have seized hold of everything within the tombs that had been placed there in accordance with sacred rituals, with a prayerful hope that they would remain there eternally.
How different were the explorations conducted by those men who entered the sacred places of Amenhotep's city! These men went reverently about their work, realizing that they were going into places that had been held sacred and holy for many ages by devout men and women who had every reason to believe that the places they had built and the things they had put into them would remain safe and intact as are the altar, paraphernalia, and sacred things in our modern cathedrals. In describing to us the manner in which the sacred relics were taken from Amenhotep's temple and shipped to our museum in San Jose, the leader of the exploration committee told us how they stopped at the threshold of the sacred temple, pausing for a moment in reverence and asking the God of all beings to be with them in their search for that illumination, that knowledge, and scientific data which the Egyptians said they were preserving in their tombs for future races of man. They tell in their letters how they went about their work in quietness and with deep emotion and how they covered their hands with gloves and laid cotton batting around each sacred object before they picked it up so that its ancient vibrations might not be contaminated by the touch of their flesh and how these things were laid reverently into boxes and carefully packed to ship to us and to a few other places without price and without any commercial feature attached to the entire process. The artists in the party copied the paintings from the walls with no intention of selling their pictures but of preserving for the future the beauty and richness of the new art and the grandeur of the story being told. In the heart and mind of each person being engaged in the exploration there was continuous respect and admiration for the sacred beliefs and customs of those who had built the temples and tombs and had placed the rare relics therein. Is it any wonder then that none of these explorers suffered from the so-called "curse"? And is it any wonder that they have learned from their expeditions some of the most beautiful revelations of spiritual and natural law?
Well may we ask as to the nature of the "curse" that the ancient Egyptians placed upon their tombs. Of this we may never know anything except that it was of no material nature, no chemical composition, or no form of disease germ. They claimed that it was a Cosmic agreement made through their gods and holy contacts. According to the ancient interpretation of such a statement, it means that they established a Cosmic agreement that the temples were to remain intact and the sacred things in them preserved for the future to be used only for sacred or educational purposes, and that whosoever would violate the sanctity of these places would bring upon himself the wrath of the Cosmic or the wrath of the hosts of their gods. Whether we, of today, can agree with their understanding of how such a condition could be established or not, there is one thing that we are in agreement with so far as the whole matter is concerned. We know that when we build mausoleums and tombs today in which we place the remains of those we loved and honored, we look to God and all of the Cosmic laws to help us protect these sacred things from unholy intrusion and any form of commercial pilfering. We would not be surprised if we read that those who had wrongly forced their way into a sealed tomb of the present time had suddenly suffered the attack of some strange disease and found the hand of retribution changing their living bodies into those of lifelessness. We would say it was not the wrath of God but the will of God and that He had made manifest His displeasure at such unwarranted procedure. Should we be called superstitious for believing thus in these modern times? Then why should we feel that the ancient Egyptians were superstitious or that the present day Egyptians are superstitious when they proclaim that the ancient injunction against entering these tombs shall not be violated except with the penalty of sudden transition? To the ancient Egyptians their religion, their sacred rituals, their holy beliefs were just as divine and just as heavenly as our religions and beliefs are to us today, and it is no less a violation of the sanctity of the holy places to enter an ancient tomb and rob it of its religious relics than it is to enter a modern cathedral or church and disrobe it of its adornments and its caskets. The law of Karma knows no creed, no race, no nationality, and no other law than the law of justice and neither time nor location make any difference in such matters. What was once holy and sacred to the human mind remains so eternally and the passing of time does not transfer the lordship of holy places from those who were rightful owners to those who autocratically seize hold of that which does not belong to them.

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