by Aubrey Cole Odhner|

An Address given to the General Faculty of the Academy of the New Church, November 11, 1971
by Aubrey Cole Odhner

        Myth, magic, allegory and symbolism have intrigued mankind through the ages. Their dynamic powers have broken forth into wild shrieks and ritual chants in at least three dramatic periods of history.
        The first and greatest was somewhere during the decline and fall of the Ancient Church: the night was very dark when that church fell. Perhaps it was because the contrast was so great, and the night so black, that the true remnants, the wise men from that church, were able to see the Star in the East.
        It is during the Middle Ages that we next see the witches heating up their cauldrons and the alchemists stirring their brews; chiromancy, cartomancy, astrology and homo-signorum were their ever-so-serious sports right up to the burning of the witches at Salem and the dawn of the Age of Enlightenment. By no mere coincidence this was the darkness which came before the giving, of the New Revelation which told of the science of sciences, known to the ancients and yet lost till that day.
       The third period in history where we see the perversions of correspondences appearing in much of their ancient and medieval horror is at this very day. The witches are dancing again on Salisbury Plain; the horoscopes are seriously watched by more people than would care to admit it; astrology is said to be the most popular science in America; many ancient amulets, like the crux anchata, are being worn by hippies. The signs of the zodiac are being sold in every form imaginable in the shops where incense and candles burn. There is nothing new in the drug cult, it's as old as the ancient hells.  
        And yet it is not just from fear that I feel we must hasten to give out the news about the true nature of correspondences, but because I think the receptive field is there, ready, waiting. The idea of correspondence is even more vital and appealing to the young people of today than it has been for several centuries.
        Why are these ideas so appealing? I think it is because deep within every man is the instinctive knowledge that there is a God, that He is one, and that He will communicate with His people.

       The spiritual world is real to our young people and they are trying to throw off our heavy yoke of materialism. Are we going to let them follow false witch doctors to the spirit world or are we going to show them the orderly way through discrete degrees and the science of correspondences to the true knowledge of good and evil?
        How did Swedenborg feel about this? I have a letter from him:

            "It is well known that in Egypt there were Hieroglyphics, and that these were inscribed on the pillars and walls of the temples, etc. and it is known, likewise, that no one at the present day knows what things were signified by them. But they are nothing else than the correspondences of natural and spiritual things, which were cultivated by the Egyptians in their times more than by any of the people in Asia. The earliest inhabitants of Greece composed their fables according to these correspondences, and the most ancient style was none other than this.

            "I shall add here this new information, that all the things which appear before angels and spirits in the spiritual world, are nothing else than correspondences. For this reason also the whole of the Sacred Scripture was written by correspondences in order that by means of it, and because it is such, there may be a conjunction of the men of the church with the angels of heaven. But because the Egyptians -- and with them others in the kingdoms of Asia--began to turn these correspondences into idolatries, to which the children of Israel were prone, therefore the latter were forbidden to recall these for any use among themselves, as appears clearly from the first precept of the Decalogue.
            " 'Thou shalt not make unto thee the sculpture of any figure which is in the heavens above, or which is in the earth beneath, or which is in the waters under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them, for I am Jehovah thy God' (Deut. 5: 8, 9) besides many other things elsewhere.
            "From that time the Science of Correspondences fell into oblivion and, indeed, gradually to such an extent that scarcely anyone at the present day knows that there ever was such a science, or that it is of any importance. But as the Lord is now about to establish a New Church, which is to be founded on the Word, and which is meant by the New Jerusalem in the Apocalypse, it has pleased the Lord to reveal that science, and thus to open the Word such as it is interiorly in its bosom, i.e., in its internal sense. This was done through me in the Arcana Coelestia, published at London, and afterwards in the Apocalypse Revealed, published at Amsterdam.
           "Inasmuch as this Science of Correspondences was the Science of Sciences among the ancients, whence their wisdom was derived, it is of
    importance that someone of your Academy should devote labor upon this science, which may be done especially from the correspondences disclosed in the Apocalypse Revealed and there demonstrated from the Word. If it should be so desired, I am willing to explain the Egyptian Hieroglyphics, which are nothing else than correspondences, and to publish the explanation.

      (Signed) em. swedenborg 1769"

        Modern scholars say the tradition of thinking allegorically, incanting spirits of another world, belief in magic, all began in Ancient Egypt. This should be no surprise to us, for the Writings teach that the Ancient Church was in Canaan, Syria, Assyria and Egypt and that the people of that church thought and wrote in correspondences.
        Erik Iversen, a Dane, who recently wrote a comprehensive book on the allegorical tradition in Western thought, says the history of the study of hieroglyphics through the ages has been a kind of barometer of the interest in magic, myth, and allegory. Although his whole thesis is that the allegorical interpretation of the hieroglyphics has been a fake and a fraud through the ages, and has only served to postpone the translation of the hieroglyphics, which he says have been purely phonetic from the start, still much of what he says, because he is scientific and objective, seems to give more evidence to support our thesis. He complains about how the Egyptians and then the Greeks and later Renaissance man persisted in their allegorical interpretations when anyone can plainly see from the outcome that the hieroglyphics have always been merely phonetic! Listen to his description of the Egyptian mind and thought:

            "It is obvious that the Egyptians had exactly the same means, and the same abilities, for empirical observations of the objects and the phenomena of their world as we have in ours, and fundamentally seen their mental faculties were neither inferior nor different from those of the Greeks or our own, but they had, due to their all-pervading belief in the magical nature of things and in magic as a basic and ever active force of nature, an entirely different conception of the dynamic processes of the cosmos.
            "They were perfectly able to follow empirically, and to account for, any ordinary sequence of cause and effect, but the ultima ratio, the dynamic force which originated any process, was in their conception, always magical in its nature, and this basic belief influenced the very chain of their reasoning and made it dependent on laws of logic which are incompatible with ours and those of the post-Platonic Greeks from whom we have inherited them.
            "The difficulties arising from these fundamental divergencies are accentuated by another peculiarity of Egyptian thought: its reluctance to form and use abstract concepts, and its characteristic use of concretions, that is tangible concrete words and pictures, to express what we should consider abstract notions and ideas, which again resulted in its dependence on concrete mythical representations in all efforts to form and express a theoretical conception of the nature of things.
            "Every object and creation had to the Egyptian mind beside its ordinary existence in the material world a mythical existence of its own, dependent on the object or being with which it was identified and the explanation of it expressed in the appropriate legends, and only as mythical manifestations did the material things to the Egyptian mind reveal their true nature."

    It is thrilling to me how often we find in recent studies of the religion of the ancient Egyptians, traditionally viewed as gross, external, death-preoccupied, a sudden insight into the true nature of the Egyptian religion.

    One scholar, describing the various gods, comes to Maat, the goddess who wears a single feather as her crown. We can picture the frown on his face as he states in a wondering sort of way "This Maat, she's not a goddess at all, she's a pure abstraction, simply the personification of truth!"

    The myriad weird animal deities, cat cults, strange combinations of animal parts are a nightmare until we read the description of Swedenborg's visit to the Heaven of the Silver Age:

    "We descended the hill to cross the valley, and we saw here and there on either side images of wood and stone carved in the likeness of men, and of various beasts, birds, and fishes. I asked the angel What are these? Are they idols?

    "He replied, 'Certainly not! They are figures representative of various moral virtues and spiritual truths. With the people of that age there was a knowledge of correspondences; and as every man, beast, bird, and fish corresponds to some quality, therefore each sculptured form represents some aspect of virtue or truth, and a number of them together represent the virtue or the truth itself in a general comprehensive form. These in Egypt, were called hieroglyphics!' "


Real scholars, like Prof. Layard when he uncovered the great winged sphinx at Nimrud, seem to see the truth when their search is sincere.

"I used to contemplate for hours those mysterious emblems, and muse over their intent and history. What more noble forms could have ushered the people into the temple of their gods? What more sublime images could have been borrowed from nature by men who sought, unaided by the light of the revealed religion, to embody their conception of the wisdom, power, and ubiquity of a Supreme Being? They could find no better type of intellect and knowledge than the head of a man; of strength than the body of a lion; of rapidity of motion than the winged bird. These winged, human-headed lions were not idle creatures, the offspring of mere fancy; their meaning was written upon them."       

        And the horrors of 7000 different deities become beautiful when you see them through a New Church student's eyes: "the ancient Egyptians in all their meticulous, scientific care recording and categorizing 7000 different aspects of the One God, 7000 different ways He appears to men!"   

        Just as the ancient Hebrew scholars were meticulous about copying every jot and tittle of the Hebrew Word, so were the ancient Egyptians meticulous and faithful for millenia to the copying of symbols like the anch, symbol of eternal life, always the same. Later the same serpent, uraeus, becomes the symbol of Egypt. And think how consistently the Writings speak of Egypt as representing the sensual, the ultimate scientific. Think again how consistently the Writings mention the serpent as representing the sensual. As far as I know the Writings don't directly connect the serpent with Egypt, but miraculously, after Swedenborg's time, when most of the Egyptian treasures were uncovered, most male divinities and pharaohs were found to have Uraeus, the serpent, uppermost in their crown. One New Church lady suggests that perhaps we could date the decline and fall of the Ancient Church by discovering when the serpent was raised to the highest point in the crown, for the decline of a church occurs when the sensual dominates. Egyptians, meticulous and faithful to the accuracies of their symbols, were probably faithful even to the very death of their church.


"And in Greece they turned correspondences into fables."

        Isolated in the pristine purity of their sun drenched, wave-washed islands, the Greeks were able to watch the horrible fall of the Ancient Church in Asia. Separated from the active perversions, they were able to watch objectively as Ishtar of Babylon descended into hell and the snake goddess of Crete writhed and danced for the last time. They turned the correspondences into myths and the allegorical thinking of the Egyptians into philosophy.   

        Those who write about the history of philosophy today say that the concepts of dualism and the ideal world started with Plato. Swedenborg would therefore be called a Platonist or, because Christianity was mystically intertwined with his system, a neo-Platonist. But we know that Plato was a johnny-come-lately on the scene of systematic, allegorical thinking.  

        How great was the purity of thought of the Ancient Greeks and how complete has been its perversion, I think is dramatically characterized by the complete reversal of meaning of the word myth. In Homer's time mythos and logos meant the same thing, what Word means to us, Truth itself. Later Logos grew to mean the inward constitution, as well as the outward form of thought, and consequently became the expression of exact thought--which is exact because it corresponds to universal and unchanging principles. Later in Greek history mythos, from meaning Truth itself, came to mean the telling of truth. Now in our modern world, where the existence of Truth itself or Absolute Truth is usually denied, logos means merely an exact science, a far cry from Truth in its Essence, and mythos has suffered a far worse fate. From meaning Truth itself, it became the telling of truth; now it means falsity, false belief. Please don't let me hear anyone say "it's only a myth."
        So to the very ancient Greeks the myths were not only true they were the highest truth. This was their idea of correspondences. Let's see what Iversen says about it:
        "The tenacity with which the classical authors stick to their erroneous interpretations and as it were deliberately disregard all evidence which could conflict with their preconceived allegorical ideas is indeed astonishing."

Although Iversen asserts that there was continued and lively intercourse between Hellas and Egypt in the 7th and 6th centuries B.C. and that the Greeks claimed complete dependence on Egyptian thinking; still he says "the Greeks did not understand Egyptian writings and refused to acknowledge that they were phonetic."

In fact, the Greeks were certain that it was allegorical. Diodorus--1st century B.C.--says:

"The Egyptian writing does not express the intended concept by means of syllables joined one to another but by means of the signification of the objects which have been copied and by its figurative meaning which has been impressed upon the memory by practice. For instance they draw a picture of a hawk and that signifies everything swift and a crocodile signifies everything evil."
        According to Plutarch the hieroglyphics were not ordinary writing at all but "pictorial, rebus-like expressions of divine ideas and sacred knowledge."

        According to Plotinus, 3rd century A.D., "these pictures were not merely ordinary images of the things they represented but were endowed with certain symbolic qualities which revealed the ideal world of the soul."
        An Alexandrian scholar named Claireiron wrote a treatise on hieroglyphics in which he says the allegorical method used in writing the hieroglyphics was the same as the method used by Homer.


        During the first few centuries A.D., really the height of the Christian Church, ancient Egypt became just a dark memory. But one wonders if the ancient truth of one God, which surfaced in Egypt at the time of Achnaten, again surfaced to help the people of the early Christian Coptic Church, centered in Alexandria, to build the Monophysite doctrine which tried to explain the nature of Christ, that He was the supreme manifestation of the Logos and essentially God.
        The next scene in the history of correspondences opened in Florence, 1439, where Cosimo de Medici founded the Platonic Academy in order to encourage the historical approach to scientific and philosophical problems. Here, according to Iversen, "the Egyptian wisdom, Neo-Platonic philosophy and the humanistic studies become in this way consecutive links in an unbroken chain of tradition joined together and united with Christianity by their common aim, the knowledge and revelation of God."
        Latent interest in Egyptian matters was kept alive in French humanist circles by the strong wave of Neo-Platonism which spread from Italy to France during the 15th century. The French revived Coptic studies. Francis Quarles, in the early 17th century, said "before letters God was known by Hieroglyphics and indeed what are the Heavens, the Earth, nay even creation, but Hieroglyphics and Emblems of His Glory!" This reminds us of Baudelaire who said much more recently, "Everything is hieroglyphics."
        Discussions on the original race and language of mankind caused several Swedes to claim the existence of a system of symbolic and hieroglyphic writing with the ancient Scandinavians. One interesting title, by Michael Maier, in 1622 was Arcana Arcanissima Hoc Est Hiero-glyphica. Olaus Rudbeck wrote a treatise on the subject, called Atlantica published at Upsala 1698.
         Perhaps the most interesting writings, to us, would be those of Athanasius Kircher, German scholar of the 17th century, whose system, Iversen says, represents one of the last deliberate efforts to combine the total religious, philosophic, and scientific knowledge of a whole period into a grandiose vision of a living cosmology, still governed by the doctrines of Christianity.
        Leibnitz, Wolff, Locke, Newton, most of the enlightened philosophers, were deeply involved with allegorical systems for interpreting the universe. Certain metals, signs of the zodiac, mythological characters tied in with their systems. And then:
        "If God died in the 18th century" Iversen says, "one of the greatest symptoms was the demise of neo-Platonism. In abolishing the influence of Neoplatonic thought, which until then had permeated its religion, its philosophy, and its science as an often hidden and disguised but always inspiring and dynamic force, European culture severed one of its strongest traditions and one of the most immediate bonds connecting it with its own origin and classical past. A new world was born, revealed truth was replaced by scientific truth. As hitherto the hieroglyphic studies reflected the change."
        The Rosetta Stone was found, the hieroglyphics were deciphered in 1822 and found to be a phonetic language. An all-time low for the idea of correspondences!


        But we have news, God didn't die in the 18th century. He was born again, and the story of the science of correspondences was retold, sparking an endless chain of inspiration of poets, artists, psychologists, philologists, and a small group of men and women who were forming the nucleus of the New Church.
        In preparation for this retelling a lonely Swedish nobleman pondered hard and long about how to break through to gain knowledge of the soul; perhaps he could develop a mathematical philosophy of universal concepts. It would not be enough, he said, unless we could achieve such a high level of understanding that all branches of science could be combined in a universal science, with the help of which all particulars could be restored to their universals. Again he says:
        "Nature mounts through degrees to the highest region of the body where the soul resides. There is no mortal language to describe the essence of the soul, therefore one should evolve a universal mathematical philosophy to express what words cannot--such a philosophy, correctly interpreted, could become the science of sciences." Later he hints that this universal philosophy would be identical with the language of the angels.
        He shifts, in his search for this language, from a mathematical system to a verbal system and talks of using the sort of images we see in our dreams, the parables and fables "like those of the period immediately after the Golden Age." And, he says, "it will then be the task of the mind to interpret obscure sayings of the oracle, communicated by the Pythian priestess from the Delphic tripod."
        He believes that ancient Egyptian wisdom embraced a similar theory of correspondences and that these correspondences designated hieroglyphics which could express not only natural phenomena but at the same time spiritual things.
        He outlines four kinds of correspondences: harmonica, allegorica, typica, and fabulosa. The harmonic correspondences are those which have a relationship between their functions, like light, intelligence, and wisdom; the allegorical correspondences are like the Biblical parables; typical correspondences are, as I understand them, like the archetypes of Jung--prototypes or prophetic parables: as the story of the near sacrifice of Isaac is prophetic of the crucifixion of the Lord; fabulous correspondences would be like those involving myths and poetry.

        It is very likely from Swedenborg's third kind of correspondence, correspondentia typica, that several modern psychiatrists and mythologists have received their inspiration. The archetype of the priest-king, the lost child, the maiden goddess, the hero who slays the dragon; these, they say, are in our nighttime dreams and our unconscious minds, as well as in our legends. They say the modern child, whenever he wants to touch home base for security, to find out where he came from, goes through a process of "grounding," best described by the German word "begrunden." The process he goes through, the pictures he draws, are the same processes and pictures described by the ancients when they grounded or founded cities.
        The distinguished Hungarian scholar, Karoly Kerenji sounds as if steeped in correspondences when he talks of the symbology of the founding of ancient cities, which were originally the dwelling places of the gods. They were little universes, microcosms, drawn in a circle first, then quartered within. The circle, he says, represents infinity, the quartering represents the uniting of that infinity. Cities were laid out this way, ancient amulets are found inscribed with this design, and modern children draw this picture when they are searching for their origins.
        What food for the New Church man's thoughts when coupled with the latest theories about the Stonehenge and Avebury megoliths. Now it is theorized that those great stones were carefully placed at exact intervals, pillars of great astronomical observatories, giant computers, which could tell countless things about the positions of the sun, moon and stars, built by people long predating the Druids and of inestimable scientific ability.  Perhaps these were not just for learning natural science, perhaps they were some sort of symbolic microcosms built by the ancients for much more interior purposes than we can imagine.
        Out there, in the Church Universal, scholars are thinking deep, deep thoughts about these things. Are we equipped in any scholarly way to join hands with them and share what we know?


        The final revelation concerning the science of correspondences has within it the potential for endless scholarship and inspiration. Many stalwarts in the early days of the New Church were set afire with this knowledge that a new key had been given for higher understanding than had heretofore been possible. And many, only inspired through permeation have put us to shame.
        The early magazines of the Convention and Conference, from 1812 on, were filled with articles on correspondences in nature, in myth; why we should study them, how we should study them, the imperative need to do research in these areas.
        One of our early giants, William H. Benade, made some amazing studies of Egypt, Palestine, and Assyria. Right at about the time he became acquainted with the Writings he gave a series of talks to the American Philosophical Society meeting in Philadelphia in 1842 and 1843. One talk was on Egyptian Ethnography. Some of us may think we are scientific, but just hear this: Bishop Benade wanted to know who these Ancient Egyptians really were before he started studying their culture. Having a warm friendship with the United States Consul to Cairo, he persuaded the Consul, a Mr. Gliddon to commence a search to Nubia as far as the second cataract. Mr. Gliddon procured 137 human crania, of which 100 belonged to ancient inhabitants of Egypt.
        At the instance of Mr. Gliddon, 17 of these crania were sent to William H. Benade by the distinguished surgeon in chief to the Viceroy of Egypt. "Some were sent in original wrappings first opened by me." (W.H.B.). There follow careful charts in Bishop Benade's beautiful handwriting: "55 from the catacombs of Thebes, 4 from Abydos, 2 heads of lunatics; so many Semitic, so many Negroid, so many Caucasoid."
        Much later, on a trip to Turin in 1878, where the latest Egyptian finds were being catalogued and organized, Bishop Benade made arrangements to buy the famous Lanzone collection of Egyptian mythological artifacts. He mentioned, in a letter to Mr. John Pitcairn that if Mr. Pitcairn didn't think we could buy it, he was sure his friend Mr. Drexel of Philadelphia would buy it and we could use it. At the time it was considered to be the finest mythological collection in America. The collection is in our museum; Bishop Benade's lectures are in the Archives; but I haven't been able to locate the 17 crania anywhere!
        Some of the most exciting work done in the General Church on the mythological implications of correspondences was done by the Rev. Carl Theophilus Odhner. As a writer to the new church herald wrote: "I am impressed indeed with the almost uncanny ability with which Mr. Odhner conjures the latest idea out of figures and fables seemingly too grotesque to contain any: he is an alchemist and transmutes dross into gold."
        The ancients told profound truths in story form. Most of us today pride ourselves in our ability to think abstractly, but sometime try the correspondence key to an ancient myth and see what abstract doctrine comes to life like Athena out of the head of Zeus. But always, as C.T.O. advises, use the correspondences as your key and the rational doctrine as your guide. There are so many beautiful examples of decodings done by C.T.O.; and since this paper has been about the traditions handed down through the Egyptians from the Ancient Word, I would like to give you some confirmation, including more recent data, of his interpretation of what scholars call the Hermetic Tradition.
        C. T. Odhner says the ancient Egyptian God Thoth represents the Ancient Word.
        Plato tells in Philebus that Theuth was the first to observe that the "infinity of sound" could be divided into distinctive categories, vowels, consonants; he became the discoverer of the concept of letters. The Phaedra says the same thing, Thoth was an ancient Egyptian god, the one whose sacred bird is called the Ibis. He is also called the Egyptian Hermes. Remember him with his writing tablet and pen and described in a recent Encyclopedia of Mythology--"Lord of Holy words, endowed with complete knowledge and wisdom, rules 3,226 years, sails in the boat of 10,000 years; invented all arts and sciences, arithmetic, surveying, geometry, astronomy, soothsaying, magic, medicine, surgery, music with wind instruments and strings, drawing, and above all writing, without which humanity would have run the risk of forgetting his doctrines and of losing the benefit of his discoveries." His disciples boasted that they had access to the crypt where he had locked up his books of magic and they undertook to decipher and learn these formulas which commanded all the forces of nature and subdued the very gods themselves. It is because of this infinite power that he is called, Thoth, Three Times Very, Very Great--which the Greeks called Hermes Trismegistos. He was the keeper of the divine archives and at the same time the patron of history. He was the clerk or scribe of the gods. "Ra has spoken, Thoth has written." The texts often couple him with, guess which goddess out of many thousands: Maat, the goddess of truth and justice.
        Marcilio Ficinio, who lived and wrote at the Florentine court of Cosimo de Medici, said Hermes Trismegistos was a sage in Egypt at the time, or a little before the time, of Moses and that his knowledge even surpassed that which was revealed by the Hebrew prophets. (Recall that it was Moses, undoubtedly in Egypt, who copied the first eleven chapters of Genesis from the Ancient Word.) Pythagoras had become acquainted with his teachings while in Egypt and through his intermission they had been transmitted to Plato who had based his own philosophy on the doctrine of Hermes Trismegistos!
        The Greeks said Thoth was their Hermes.
        Hermes. Remember Thoth's pen, Maat's feather, now consider Hermes, sometimes called Hermes Logos, feather wings on his cap, wings on his sandals, messenger from God to man, the Word. Recall his caduceus, symbol of medicine and healing. "The Son of Man comes with healing in his wings."

        We depart from C.T.O.'s ideas now and embark on our own speculation:
        The Greek Hermes becomes Mercury to the Romans. Caesar describes the chief god of the Celtic Gauls as being like the Roman Mercury. Tacitus equated the Teutonic god of spiritual life with their
        Odin. Mercury: Woden was the magician--god of the other world. In the far North Woden was called Odin, god of intelligence, who spoke with such ease and eloquence that all he said seemed true to those who heard him. He liked to express himself in verse; he ordained the laws which ruled human society. God of wisdom, poetry, and rules of conduct which he taught men. He knew the magic formulas which cured illness; he was lord of the runes which he invented. He got his wisdom from Mimer's fountain. He had to give up one eye in exchange for wisdom. (One of my students suggested that it was probably the right eye he gave up and the left eye he retained.) There are wings on his cap, his birds were thought and memory. Remember Pegasus, the winged horse, breaking open the fountain with his hoof? Think of the meanings of intelligence, wisdom, eyes, wings, fountains, words, horses.
        The last of C. T. Odhner's books, the Mythology of the Greeks and Romans was published after his death. The several reviews of that book in new church life, now look like obituaries of a once great study in the New Church.
        Our General Church theologians have made magnificent studies using the science of correspondences to draw doctrine from the Old and New Testaments and those parts of the Ancient Word which are in Genesis.  But since CTO the search has stopped there. They have done an unparalleled job of shouldering an essential responsibility of the Church Specific, keeping doctrine pure. But let's not forget the profound power of that earliest Word, the Ancient Word. Surely it would have the same effect on the human race as those earliest remains of good and truth have on the individual. What is the Ancient Word? Where is the Ancient Word? Let's find it and read it.
        I think we're afraid to because we think it is vague and unscientific; and yet how can we ignore the clear teaching of the Writings that it is not only science, but the science of sciences. When I think of the magnitude of the challenge we are not accepting, I can only weep with Asclepius at this prophecy of Hermes Trismegistos, translated in 1924.
        "There will come a time when it will be seen that in vain have the Egyptians honored the deity with heartfelt piety and assiduous service, and all our holy worship will be found bootless and ineffectual. For the gods will return from earth to heaven. Egypt will be forsaken, and the land which was once the home of religion will be left desolate, bereft of the presence of the deities. Do you weep at this Asclepius? There is worse to come. Egypt herself will have yet more to suffer--O Egypt, Egypt, of thy religion nothing will remain but an empty tale, which thine own children in time to come will not believe; nothing will be left but graven words, and only the stones will tell of thy piety. And so the gods will depart from mankind."
        Quoting Swedenborg's letter about heiroglyphics again:
        "It is of importance that someone of your Academy should devote labor upon this science."

[Author's Note: Much of the material for this paper was taken from:
        The Myth of Egypt and its Hieroglyphs in European Tradition, by Erik Iversen, Gad Publishers, Copenhagen, 1961.
        Emanuel Swedenborg, by Inge Jonsson, Twayne Publishers, Inc., N. Y. 1971.
        Essays on the Science of Mythology, by Jung & Kerenji, Princeton University Press, 1949, Paperback 1969.]