Is it conceivable that the people of the ancient world knew things we have forgotten?
Is there something fundamental missing from our way of life? Have you ever felt that our civilization is in some way incomplete? That our lives are dominated by trivial concerns and lack any connection to a greater, more meaningful reality?
If so, you may find some of the answers you are seeking here.
The ancient wisdom, if it ever existed, calls to us from a past long dead. Only traces, vestiges, remain. It is something elusive, alien to our way of thinking, difficult to capture. We can only seek it in what little remains, in the monuments, myths and occasional texts bequeathed by our ancestors. If they knew something we don’t, they did their utmost to ensure it would survive the passage of time.
The Ancient Wisdom of Egypt
The Western esoteric tradition has always insisted that the fount of the ancient wisdom was in Egypt, and it is here that we must begin our quest. The Egyptians understood that the medium of eternity was stone, so they embedded their greatest secrets in a monument that would be virtually indestructible: the Great Pyramid. Five thousand years later, it is still standing, ready to reveal its wisdom to those who seek. The greatest stone workers ever to exist, the later Egyptians sought to build imperishable repositories of knowledge throughout their long history , from the great temples of Luxor and the tombs of the Valley of the Kings to their swansong in the Temple of Isis at Aswan.
The ancients knew they were but a small part of a much greater whole, and they sought to express this awareness in their understanding of the skies. Ancient astronomy and religion were intimately linked. Astronomer-priests tracked the movements of stars over the aeons and thereby came to understand the cyclical nature of time –that there were cycles within cycles within cycles. They sought to express their awareness of space by constructing temples according to the universal laws of number, harmony and proportion enshrined in sacred geometry. And they expressed their understanding of life and death in pyramids and tombs whose symbolism described the journey of the soul in the world beyond.
They found connections between the great cycles of the universe and the cyclical process of life, death and rebirth in nature and society. These, too, were revealed in their myths and monuments.
This holistic understanding of space and time, life and death, shaped and sustained the great civilizations of the ancient world for thousands of years. It survived in partial form into the world of classical Greece, as we see in the Greek Mystery cults, Homer’s Odyssey, and the teachings of Pythagoras.
But there came a time when the sacred knowledge was displaced by people whose concern was with power rather than knowledge. The struggle between the old order and the new emerges in many ancient myths, such as those of the Garden of Eden or Noah’s Ark, as well as in the historical struggles between different groups, such as Hebrews and Egyptians, or Gnostics and Christians. It was only through such underground movements as the Hermetic circles that traces of the teaching eventually filtered down into Western civilization.
Here, then, is the story of the ancient wisdom. Find in it what you will.