The Ancient Mysteries is a modern term invented for the purpose of gathering under a single specific classification all the curious rites, ceremonies, and ritualistic allusions of pre-Christian ages which are described to us in classic works. None of these documents enlighten us upon other than the externals. They tell us far less of what transpired in the ancient Temples of Initiation than the curious bystander may learn of modern Masonry by mere dint of keeping his ears open.
While analogies without end are discernible, between our own secret work and some of the traditions of ancient initiations, what has been held back for the advancement of science during our present age to reveal, has been the fundamental philosophy of which these ceremonies were merely illustrative.
Up to a few years ago, the dramatic action of the Ancient Mysteries was, so far as any one was able to give a reasonable explanation of it, completely devoid of sense; but the penetration of European savants into the wealth of Oriental sacred and philosophical literature has unlocked a mine of precise information heretofore unimaginable.
No matter who or what constituted the prehistoric population of ancient Europe and Asia Minor, the fact is that it was always inferior to and doomed to disappear or be absorbed by the great Indo-Germanic invasions, which swarmed westward, at intervals, from a central home, somewhere at the foot of the Hindu-gush Mountains. Extensive invasions of both white and yellow Asiatics were successive and continuous, over many hundred years. The last on record was that of the Huns under Attila, if we except the Turks.
They must have begun, however, at least 5,000 to 7,000 years before the Christian era. It was when this Aryan people was still locked in the bosom of central Asia that the mind of man first began to speculate in the higher mathematics and the beginning of science began to supplant mere childish wonder and barbarous fetishism. Mathematics and geometry, joined to an ardent pursuit of astronomy in regions most favorable to observation where only the naked eye was to be depended on, were made the basis of all human speculation upon the nature and attributes of the Infinite. It must be remembered that it was only well within the Christian era that every human consideration was supposed to be so dependent upon planetary influences that the entire science of medicine consisted in the selection of plant, animal, and mineral substances, which because of their planetary affinities would counteract human ills.
For thousands of years nothing could be began, pursued, or finished without consulting the stars for propitious occasions, and so a vast system of philosophy was gradually built up of those three scientific ingredients.