“Clement of Alexandria describes a figure of Serapis compounded from the following elements: First, filings of gold, silver, lead, and tin; second, all manner of Egyptian stones, including sapphires, hematites, emeralds, and topazes; … Some of the statues of Serapis must have been formed of extremely hard substances, for when a Christian soldier, carrying out the edict of Theodosius, struck the Alexandrian Serapis with his ax, the instrument was shattered… Occasionally Serapis is depicted with horns or a coronet of seven rays. These evidently represented the seven divine intelligences manifesting through the solar light. … The Egyptian secret school of philosophy was divided into the lesser and the greater mysteries, the former being sacred to Isis and the latter to Serapis and Osiris.” ~Manly P. Hall
I have to admit that I had never heard of the ancient Egyptian god Serapis until I read the section of Hall’s book quoted above. Not a lot seems to be known about him and the teachings of his school, but most experts think he was a solar deity. This makes sense when you read that he was sometimes depicted with a coronet of seven rays which is something often associated with solar deities.
I decided to write about him after reading the next part of the quoted text. The full text indicate that statues of this god were common and made of various materials, but the detailed description of the one made of a mixture of metals and gems caught my attention. Some who call themselves Christians these days, even though they rarely follow the teachings of Jesus, laugh at the New Age types who carry crystals, gems and metal objects to help them with spiritual development. Yet, there is ample evidence that this idea, rather than being something invented by the New Age folks, is a belief common among ancient religions and spiritual schools, and not just the so-called pagan faiths. The Bible tells us the Throne of God is made of gold, which generally symbolizes the sun, and an assortment of gems in various colors. The Breastplate of Aaron, the brother of Moses is described as having an assortment of gems and stones attached. This was not for simple decoration, or an indication of wealth as with many modern ministers and priests. The very spiritual sect of Israel known as the Essenes carried various stones and gems for healing and protection from evil. The very name, Essene, comes from the healing stones they carried and used to aid sick people. Continue reading “Gems, Light, and Gnosis”