ORC Papers & Articles
Reflections On Prayer
Until recent times the spiritual ethos that sustained prayer had never really been disturbed by the political changes in religion, thus prayer had never been called upon to justify or define itself, for it was always a part of the fabric of the human life. However, the same cannot be said of society today. The end of the Second World War proved to be in many ways the end of an era, and out of its ashes a new world order emerged whose immediate appetite was fundamentally material. This appetite, once unfettered, gave rise to an unprecedented growth in world consumerism, which, along with related developments in science and technology has effected a profound change in the intellectual life of our civilization. Society has since become permeated with a materialistic philosophy that often assumes the name of Humanism, but in fact is frequently a mask for an extreme form of Materialism1 that is hostile to the spiritual life and all spiritual thinking; a philosophical stance that is radically different from that of Renaissance luminaries such as Erasmus, Thomas More and Ficino, who with other spiritually minded thinkers founded the great intellectual movement known as Humanism.
Humanism emerged in Renaissance Italy during the early part of the 15th century. Its
originators sought to revive the study of classical Greco-Roman thought, embodied in ancient
texts that had been lost to the major part of the western world for centuries. The movement
was called Humanism because it provided a basis for an education in Humanitas (better
known today as the Humanities). Its philosophical focus was the intrinsic worth of Man,
emphasising human welfare and the fulfilment of human interests in this life without undue
reference to the transcendental or spiritual world. The main exponents of Renaissance
Humanism were concerned with promoting religious and social tolerance. One of the chief
advocates, Desiderius Erasmus2, campaigned for many years for peaceful reform within the
undivided Church, rather than the internecine conflicts that came with the Reformation.
Another, Sir Thomas More3, revealed to the world in his Utopia a model society based on the
natural reasoning power of humanity without spiritual revelation, whilst Ficino,4 protégé of
Cosimo Medici and head of the New Academy of Florence, translated for the first time the
complete works of Plato into Latin as well as various other works on Neoplatonism.
Humanism was a movement conceived within Christianity by Christians and nurtured by
Christians. Today, those who call themselves humanists are almost all either agnostics,
materialists, or avowed atheists.
However, this is conceptually far removed from our general understanding. Indeed, for
most of us, our understanding of prayer rarely transcends the notion of pleading or asking for
a special favour from a divine source. Indeed, the etymological root of the word ‘prayer’ is
derived from the Latin prex, which means an entreaty or request, particularly from a god;
however, no matter how correct this definition might be, it is insufficient to describe the vital
role that prayer plays in the soul's intimate relationship with God, which is far more than
begging or plea-bargaining with divinity. It is an act of friendship, of love, of sharing with the
source and destiny of our being what we can never share with another person. It is
communion of the most intimate and essential kind, a communion initiated by the soul and
reciprocated by God. It is then not surprising that from the earliest times prayer has been
central to the spiritual life of humanity, indeed, many of the most ancient writings that have
survived the course of time are prayers and hymns to the Divine.
To the people of Ancient Egypt life on this earth meant far more than mere survival, they
recognised that the end of a human life was but a beginning of another superior life. That
much is obvious, even from a casual examination of the records they left on the walls of the
earliest Pyramids. The ‘Pyramid texts’, as they are called, date from the 3rd millennium BC
and constitute the oldest corpus of religious literature available to us. They contain a vast
amount of information concerning the Egyptian understanding of the spiritual life. Without
doubt many of the prayers of ancient Egypt, as of any other culture, were prayers of need, or
at least perceived need. As, for example, this excerpt from a prayer accredited to a certain
Nebensi, a scribe and artist of the Temple of Ptah8:
The following is attributed to the scribe Mes-em-neter, a servant of the God Amen:
The prayers of ancient Egypt span several millennia, uniquely enshrining an intimate relationship between the soul of the people and God. For the Egyptian the spiritual world and the mundane world permeated each other in the perpetual rhythm of life, thus establishing meaning at the very root of human existence, and it seems difficult to imagine today that for thousands of years a whole civilisation was grounded in a spiritual ethos that gave certainty to the meaning of existence. Yet Egypt was not alone in its convictions. In the fertile lands of Mesopotamia that lie between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates, civilisations were established one upon another. The ancient culture of Sumer gave way to the founders of Babylon who in due course gave way to the Assyrians. Each one rooted, as Egypt, in a world that had both a mundane and spiritual dimension. In a Sumerian epic the following hymn occurs:
Close in spirit to this Sumerian hymn is a prayer addressed to the god Bel by an Urigalla
or high priest on the second day of the Babylonian New Year Festival. It is a plea for the
protection and well being of the people of Babel.
In the foregoing prayers it is easy to see that the concerns of the high priest are for the
well being of the people and for the administration of society. In principle they are no
different from the prayers of our own generation. The concerns are the same – for peace,
prosperity, good government, and the general health and humour of the people and their
In the prayers of ancient Israel the same principal concerns are addressed. The most
important scriptural reference point is the Bible, particularly the first five books, known as
the Pentateuch and or the Torah (Law). They contain divine instruction given by God to the
people of Israel about how they should live in the world and how they should order their lives
around God. Later books of the Bible contain many prayers and hymns that demonstrate the
intimate and dynamic nature of Israel’s relationship with God, particularly concerning the
Torah. For example, in the first Book of Kings it is written that Solomon stood before the
altar of the Lord in the presence of the assembled people of Israel and prayed thus:
The prayers of ancient Israel are probably nowhere better enshrined than in the Psalms,
many of which are traditionally attributed to King David, the father of Solomon. The Book of
Psalms consists of 150 hymns and prayers of which two examples are given below; the first
describes an ethical basis that must be a fundamental pre-requisite for any wholesome and
sustainable society, the second, Psalm 23 ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’, is probably the most
familiar of all of the psalms. For many people it has been a guiding light throughout their
lives, and a constant source of comfort in difficult times:
It is clear that the golden thread of spiritual understanding, which from ancient times
connected us to the spiritual world, wove its way down through ancient Egypt to Moses and
the people of Israel, and then into Christianity. As Christianity emerged out of Judaism it was
inevitable that early Christian religious life would continue to some degree the same practices
and disciplines of Israel, consequently, many of the prayers used by early Christians were
prayers used in common by both Jew and Christian. Thus, apart from the teachings of Jesus
and His Apostles, the scriptures were then, as now, a major source of inspiration for many
Christian prayers; indeed, the Liturgy, which is in itself a complex prayer, is made up almost
entirely from the scriptures. However, the most important prayer in Christian terms has ever
been, and always will be, the prayer taught by Jesus Christ himself.
The same golden thread, which passed through ancient Egypt and Israel and then into
Christianity, also flowed via Orpheus, Solon and Pythagoras into the world of classical
Greece, and thus to Rome. It is an obvious thread, yet it has often been passed over unnoticed
by those seeking evidence of deeper things, evidence that indeed exists, although not
in the gloomy recesses of secret chambers full of cryptic symbolism, as some might suppose.
Rather it is found in the relationship that exists between humanity and the divine; and is more
commonly beheld in the highs and lows of daily life, for as creatures subject to the whims of
fate, confronted with threats to our existence that appear in the forms of disease, poverty,
war, and famine, we are more inclined to commune with the divine in celebration of our
triumphs or when under pressure or threatened; as so much of our history testifies. It is, then,
in the heart of our daily life that we find the material of great spiritual mysteries. The
following hymns from ancient Greece are typical of that relationship, in that they are
concerned with establishing and continuing a harmonious rapport between the gods and the
community, that peace, prosperity and health may be maintained.
In the above prayer, as with all of the foregoing, the relationship between humanity and
the divine is clearly an important part of daily life. It may be argued that this is simply
because in the ancient world life was precarious, and people sought every advantage,
alternatively, perhaps it is because there is something within each of us that intuits another
realm of existence, and desires knowledge and experience of it, no matter how clumsy or
naïve the means. How we describe that something has probably been a subject of ongoing
discussion since the beginning of time, and doubtless it will continue, but to all intents and
purposes there is an innate need within us all to live our life in a spiritually meaningful
context, which the rewards and distractions of this world do not, indeed cannot fulfil, for the
desire to commune with the divine is not so much a conceit or a delusion as a primary instinct
lying at the very roots of our being.
Thus, from a personal perspective prayer is far more meaningful than any dictionary or encyclopedia might suggest. It may be understood on one level as the natural expression of our need to commune with God, sharing our most intimate thoughts, hopes, aspirations, intentions, fears and doubts with our creator in the same way as children commune with parents, or lovers with one another. And as we have seen, at a mundane level the prayers of humanity are generally concerned with very human needs. After all, we are gregarious creatures seeking fulfilment in communion with each other, so why not with God? It is a matter of fact that deprived of human company we sicken because communication is fundamental to a healthy and meaningful life, the lack of which can result in loneliness, depression and other psychological disorders. The same may be said regarding a meaningful spiritual life. Deprived of the opportunity to commune with the divine essence that we call God, who is the very source, ground and destiny of our existence, we have no benchmark or polestar to set our life’s course by, and ill health may well occur in the form of self-obsession and the inevitable addiction to the basic human failings of avarice, gluttony, anger and lust.
On the other hand, to know that we may commune unhindered with the essence of the created universe; to know that essence as God, who is ever attentive and sympathetic to our concerns; to know that we will always be heard in absolute confidentiality; to know that there is nothing that stands between us and God other than our own inhibitions, is to know that we are anchored securely and meaningfully in the cosmos. In this knowledge we can unfold our lives in a context that has purpose and meaning both within and beyond the constraints of the mundane world, and furthermore, that we may live in harmony with every other creature that inhabits creation. But, such communication requires of us that we not only speak well but that we also listen well, and that we listen attentively with an inward ear, otherwise there is little possibility of the soul hearing the voice of the divine because the spiritual world does not announce its presence noisily, ‘as the babbling of baboons’, but silently, like the falling of snow.
If, then, we would hear the voice of the spirit then we must disconnect, if only for a moment, from the internal chatter of the mind and listen attentively in the silence that ensues. In heeding this we may notice, as did St. Paul, that Man consists of two parts: the first part a terrestrial, mortal being and the second part a celestial, immortal being, the first a creature of earth and the second a creature of spirit, St. Paul alludes here to a great mystery concerning the means whereby the “Man of dust” is transformed into the “Heavenly man”. It is a mystery that applies not only to our earthly life but also to our spiritual life, and prayer is essential to both, thus:
Thus far we have only looked at prayer as it applies to our earthly life. However, when
viewed in another light, those with eyes to see will know that prayer embodies both an art and
a science. As an art it is the secret language of the soul – a language synthesizing thought,
image and emotion in a manner best described as an alchemical process, enabling the soul to
transcend the limitations of mundane existence, an existence defined by the experiences we
have via the senses, which shape both what we feel and what we think. It is the life of “the
man of dust” alluded to by St. Paul. As a science it defines the formulae and techniques
required to transcend that world of the senses and all that such implies. And to those who
have the eyes to see, the Fama, is a veiled expression of that science.
This same insight is implied in the writings that were compiled by the followers of
Orpheus, who understood that human nature consists of two distinct parts – a mortal physical
nature, derived from the Titans, and an immortal spiritual nature derived from Dionysus.
Legend has it that the Titans, encouraged by the goddess Hera, slew the infant god Dionysus
and consumed him, for which terrible deed Zeus slew them with his thunderbolt. From their
remains man was created: part immortal and part mortal. From this premise they taught that
the body was the tomb or prison of the soul, and that salvation was only to be attained by
overcoming the mundane world, of which the body is a part. Consequently, the soul could
A comparable understanding is to be found in ancient Egypt, Indeed the Pharaoh was
known as the Lord of the two lands, of Lower and Upper Egypt, a title that has also been
described as a metaphor concerning the terrestrial and celestial world. Indeed, the larger part
of the religious life of Pharaonic Egypt was concerned with the relationship between them,
and it is a matter of fact that no other civilisation has demonstrated so much interest in the comings and goings of the soul between them. In ancient Egypt it was understood that when a
body died a spiritual body could be raised up from it, through the power of prayer. This art
was known only to the sacerdotal orders, whose rites and the teachings concerning this
process, were maintained in the strictest secrecy. Few people were privy to their mysteries,
although it is on record that several non-Egyptians were given access to them, Moses being
one,21 Orpheus another.22
Similarly, in Ancient Greece, the Eleusinian Mysteries,25 ancient before Pythagoras was
born, were concerned with the philosophical death and subsequent regeneration of the soul as
a spiritual or divine being. The sacred rites of Eleusius were so honoured and respected
throughout the ancient world that no-one ever broke the code of silence imposed upon those
initiated into these Mysteries thereof, although fortunately they were alluded to in a veiled
way by several writers such as Aristophanes, Plato and Plotinus. The following Hymn
concerns these mysteries. It is attributed to Orpheus, the acclaimed reformer of the Eleusinian
Mysteries, and the version given here is the translation by Thomas Taylor:
This hymn speaks plainly now of what was once a great mystery revealed only in
metaphors and allegorical tales. Perhaps this was for the best. Perhaps, at first, it was the only
way the integrity of the teaching, the liturgy, and the religious calendar, could be sustained in
a world where literacy was generally irrelevant. After all, the world had survive for
millennia without the need for a literate society; relying instead on historians, priests and
poets who maintained reasonably accurate records in the form of stories and poems.
However, times change, and with the introduction of an effective alphabet during the 6th or 7th
century BC onwards more and more people learnt the art of reading and writing.
Plotinus’s model of the cosmos is significant, in that he describes in literal terms what previously had been taught through metaphor and allegory and only experienced by the initiate during the celebration of the Mysteries. At the centre of this celebration, with all of its pomp, ceremonial and drama, the consciousness of the initiate would have been elevated through the use of evocative prayer to experience the World Soul in the form of Demeter, and then after a different fashion, to experience the Divine Nous in the form of Dionysus. Plotinus believed that it was possible for individual souls, through the practice of Contemplation, to rise to the level of the Divine Nous, and there, in spiritual union, be absorbed back into the One.
Plotinus describes what are undoubtedly the most important objectives of the Mystery
Schools, direct experience of, and union with God. The first part, often thought of as the
‘Lesser Mysteries’, was in all probability concerned with the separation of the soul from the
carnal nature of the physical body. The second part, described in one way or another as the
‘Greater Mysteries’, was essentially concerned with the elevation of the soul beyond the
phrenic nature of the psychic world into the presence of divinity. Similar processes may be
discovered in the Mysteries of many cultures, but such processes are particularly obvious in
the western line that flowed out of Ancient Egypt.
In places, this line, or tradition, interacted with other traditions. One such interaction was with the cult of Mithras, a cult that originally emerged out of the Zoroastrian religion of ancient Persia. In Rome the two merged and the Mithraic Mysteries became a fundamental part of Roman life. Little evidence remains of the Mithraic cult and its Mysteries, other than the sculptures and inscriptions preserved in the ruins of its temples, and little of its liturgy has survived. Yet, Mithraism was once the religion of the Roman army with centres throughout the Empire. Indeed, it can be argued that if Constantine had failed in his objectives, Mithraism, and not Christianity would most probably have become the religion of the Empire. However, Christianity triumphed and in the centuries succeeding Constantine Mithraism faded into obscurity, albeit with some assistance from the Church. The following prayer is taken from what is accepted as a rare surviving ritual from the Mithraic Liturgy; it contains elements found in Egyptian, Judaic and Greek prayers and hymns that suggest a comparable understanding of the inherent spirituality of man.
It is obvious that from ancient times humanity recognised the spiritual dimension of life and sought to come into contact with it – an aspiration that inevitably evolved unique forms of expression according to the varying natures of different cultures. However, that was all to change as the ancient world was irrevocably transformed by the empire building of Alexander the Great, who gave the ancient world a new focal point and a common language that enabled the philosophical and religious beliefs of many cultures to interact. Alexander opened up the world in a way that was to have far reaching effects for within a century of his passing Rome became the focal point of the known world and succeeded to much of Alexander’s empire; subsequently, for more that five hundred years, ‘civilisation’ meant Roman civilisation. During the first centuries of our era the Roman Empire had become a melting pot of countless speculative ideas and belief systems, many of which were a potpourri of spiritual ideals and dynamics compiled from many sources and traditions. Out of this melee Christianity emerged as the dominant religious and political system. As times changed the schools of the Mysteries disappeared, partly proscribed, and partly absorbed into the mainstream of public religion; some moving beyond the immediate reach of the administration. The following hymn, written in the late fourth century by St. Gregory Nazianzen of Constantinople, clearly echoes something of the Mystery Schools:
If there was a place where the ethos of the Mysteries survived it was in the monasteries
that appeared with so much force and vitality during the latter part of the fourth century.
Nurtured at first in the deserts of the Levant by small communities of people dedicated to a
life of prayer and meditation, communities that in essence furthered the spiritual aspirations
of the Mystery Schools, albeit after a different fashion. Alas, little of the schools has survived
the test of time, except perhaps, in the writings of the Pseudo-Dionysius, who is thought to
have been a Syrian monk whose life spanned the end of the fifth and beginning of the sixth
century. His work, the Dionysian Corpus, consists of five titles The Divine Names, The
The influence of Plotinus, and indeed of much of the ancient world is obvious in the
Dionysian Corpus. Indeed, it may be said that through Dionysius the ancient world was able
to pass on a most important legacy – as many have since discovered. His work is a call to a
life of prayer and meditation beyond the reaches of the mundane world, but this does not
exclude the majority of us from engaging in prayer, nor of benefiting from what he has to
say. Remember, prayer is communing with God and the only pre-requisite is that we engage
attentively and with respect. However, prayer does also lie at the heart of a sacred science of
spiritual development barely known beyond the quiet waters of the sanctuary. This sacred
science requires spiritual tools and methods, and in prayer we have the most useful and
effective tool that we can ever hope for, because it is part of us and is both readily available
and immediately accessible. Prayer is the means by which we can open the doorway of the
sanctuary that lies within the hidden temple of the heart. Thus it is said “Invoke often and
inflame thyself with prayer” – a simple truth known to those who frequent its cloisters, and
without which the work of spiritual regeneration would be virtually impossible.
The obstacles that stand in the way of entering that inner temple and engaging in such
prayer are the attitudes and preconceptions that form the major part of our self-image and
world-view inherited from our family values and convictions concerning spiritual things; our
environment, schooling and social connections contribute further. Inevitably some of this
conditioning, which at some point was useful to us, is now redundant, yet we continue to hold
onto it. Unfortunately, much of this redundant conditioning gleaned indiscriminately during
formative years is little more than a medley of misconceptions and half-truths that have been
maintained since childhood with such loyalty and determination that even in adulthood we
frequently and often successfully, defend them against all reason. We forget, perhaps, that
However, the kind of prayer that opens the door of the inner temple requires something more than superstitious sentimentality and a vague belief in deity. It requires more than the mindless repetition of vaguely understood words, because prayer is first and foremost a personal relationship between the soul and God, therefore, the clearer the concept the soul has of ‘God’ the more able is the soul to focus upon God. Such an undertaking, when approached in the right way, is capable of releasing the soul from its prison of self-image, consequently, one of the most important tasks we can undertake is the conscious development of a more mature concept of God. But, if we are to do this, then we must begin with acknowledging that God is not some vague abstraction or distant entity, but the source, ground and destiny of our being, and that creation is both sane and full of love, proceeding in every detail as God planned it, and as such it is perfect. We may not understand that perfection, but then do we have a clear idea of what we mean by the term ‘perfect’? The word describes that which is complete and without flaw and as such in its absolute sense applies to God alone, for God is by definition that which is perfect. Unfortunately, all we can rely on to assist our judgement are relative correspondences and reference points gleaned from our life experiences, which are as yet insufficient for comprehending the absolute nature of God, and because of our incomplete understanding there is always the possibility of assuming that creation is like God - in a state of absolute perfection, a condition that is obviously untrue.
Nevertheless, it is true to say that creation functions precisely as God intends, which is to say that the will of God is completely fulfilled in and by creation. If we understand this concept then we can accept that creation is in perfect harmony with divine will and as such is completely without error, consequently without flaw, although it has yet to attain a state of ultimate or absolute Perfection. This idea is not so difficult to understand if we accept that the Will of God is fulfilled in creation through the process we currently know as ‘Evolution’, a word that means ‘to unfold’, although it is commonly used today by the exponents of Materialism as a term to describe the progressive development of creation from simple to more complex forms. Nevertheless, from a spiritual perspective creation fulfils the Will of God by evolving to a predetermined goal as yet barely comprehended by humanity, for humanity like the rest of creation is evolving in accordance with God’s Will, but has yet to attain the final state of absolute perfection that can give a complete understanding of the purpose and meaning of existence.
Prayer is also an art, an art that combines thought and feeling in a manner that is best
summed up in the ancient formula; ‘Enflame thyself with prayer and invoke often’. This
means that one should involve real feeling when praying, for such prayer is a vehicle that
will, under the right conditions, bear the soul aloft to higher and more sublime levels of
consciousness. Yet, for so many people emotions are rarely experienced other than as a
reaction to a specific event, and more often than not in association with powerful and very
Self-less or non-selfish emotions, however, invariably involve giving – the joy felt when
a gift is well received or when a deed is commended – and this elevates the soul. The simple
pleasure experienced by everyday kindness inspires not only personal wellbeing but also the
desire for the wellbeing of others, which is only a short step away from fulfilling the Lord’s
wish that we “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Fulfilling this
commandment is perhaps one of the most liberating steps we can take. It frees our thoughts
and emotions from the selfish instinctive urges that dominate our life and engenders the
realisation that inasmuch as we are part of creation, we are a part of the Divine. It is in this
ideal state that we can best direct our combined thoughts and feelings towards God. This
chemistry of the very substance of the soul drives prayer, like Cupid’s arrow, straight to its
object of love – God.
In prayer the motive is of fundamental importance because when prayer is directed
towards spiritual development its potential for effect is maximised, but when directed
towards material objectives its potential is minimised. This must be understood in the context
of the purpose of our existence, which we are taught is to seek the kingdom of Heaven32.
Seeking the ‘kingdom’ is essentially an inner or transcendental quest that takes the seeker
beyond the world of the senses into realms where there are more important factors to be
considered than the demands of our worldly needs. In this interior world the soul discovers
how its earthly experience is merely a reflection of events taking place therein. However,
expecting changes to be made in the exterior world of the senses through our prayers would
be imprudent, as that would require altering the patterns established by Natural Law, which is
most unlikely to succeed directly. That it is noble to pray for the material well-being of others
- praying for the health and safety of people, praying that they may have sufficient for their
needs or that they may live in peace without threat or hindrance, is highly commendable and
not to be under-estimated, for although our prayers may not have any obvious or direct effect
they still have the power to influence - indirectly.
One of the most ancient methods of prayer is known today by the name ‘Lectio Divina’.
It is an ancient spiritual discipline that originated in the pre-Christian Greco-Roman world.
This method describes four stages of prayer: Lectio, Meditatio, Oratio and Contemplatio. It
consists of the slow repetitive reading of a passage of scripture until it is known by heart,
followed by meditating on its significance. Traditionally, the reading, or Lectio, was read
aloud with the emphasis being upon the act of listening, and repeated continually until the
passage became known ‘by heart’. If the sacred text was to be read by another person it was
important for those listening to repeat the words with their lips, under their breath as it were.
This listening was no mere act of hearing; rather it is an act of paying attention with the
whole of one’s mind, engaging as much of one’s being in the reading as possible, thereby
cultivating the ability to perceive something of the soul of the text. This attending or listening
was called Meditatio or meditation.
The response to the Meditatio varied, but often took the form of spontaneous extemporary
prayer, singing etc. This was known as Oratio. At other times Oratio took the form of
inspired writings that in some way related to the Lectio and Meditatio. Those who persevered
with this discipline found that the Oratio subsided into a quiet state of rest in what has been
described as the ‘presence’ of God and was traditionally called ‘Contemplatio’ or
contemplation. Abiding in that ‘presence’ is the basis of true contemplation and the
experience of that presence is the bedrock of unshakeable faith. Lectio Divina is one of the
oldest methods of prayer used in the Church. It is embodied in the works of Philo of
Alexandria and is clearly expressed in the work of the Pseudo-Dionysius particularly in his
book On the Divine Names. It was enshrined in the Rule of St. Benedict and became one of
the distinctive features of monastic life. The fathers of the Church originated Lectio Divina,
with Jerome especially giving it structure. Benedict incorporated it into his monastic rule, and
in the 12th century Guigo II (the ninth prior of the Grande Chartreuse) wrote an important
letter on it entitled The Ladder of Monks. Furthermore, the system it embodies lies at the
heart of Mystical Kabbalah – its methodology being applied by many renowned Kabbalists.
1 The basic premise of Materialism is that physical matter is all that there is - it is the only reality. Consequently,
all aspects of the universe, including Life in its many forms, are explicable in material terms.
3 Sir Thomas More (1478-1535), later canonized St. Thomas More, is famous for his book Utopia (1515) andfor his martyrdom. As Chancellor to Henry VIII he refused to sanction Henry's divorce of Queen Catherine, and
was imprisoned, tried and executed. More was a friend of such Renaissance humanists as Erasmus, John Colet
and Thomas Linacre.
8 Sir E.A. Wallis Budge (Trans.), The Book of The Dead, London, 1899, p327
9 The Book of The Dead, p63
10 Stephen Langdon, The Mythology of All Races - Semitic Mythology, Boston, 1931 p.125
11 S. H. Hooke, Babylonian & Assyrian Religion. Oxford 1962 p101-2
12 1 Kings 8:23 – 29.
13 Matt. 6:9 - 13
14 Adalbert Hamman (Ed.), Early Christian Prayers, Chicago1961 p62-3
15 Jane Harrison Themis, Merlin Press, London 1963. p.8-9
16 J. Cashford (Trans.), The Homeric Hymns Penguin Classics, 2003, Hymn XIII, p112
17 Marcus Pocrius Cato, 234-149 BC, Roman Tribune.
18 Quoted in James Hastings, Encyclopaedia of Religion & Ethics. Vol. X. Edinburgh, 1918 p200
19 Jane Harrison, Prolegomena. London 1963 p479
20 Ibid p 573
21 St. Paul informs us that Moses was learned in all the wisdom of Egypt (Acts 7:22) also The Works of Philo
22 C.H. Oldfather Diodorus of Sicily, vol. 1, London, 1933 (Loeb Classical Library)
23 Sir E.A. Wallis Budge op. cit. p lviii.
24 Ibid p 47
25 Eleusinian Mysteries were based at Eleusius, the most important town in Attica after Athens and Piraeus.
Renowned throughout antiquity, the mysteries were celebrated in honour of Demeter, Persephone and Dionysus.
26 Thomas Taylor The Eleusinian & Bacchic Mysteries New York 1875 (Wizard’s Bookshelf ed., 1980) p166.
27 Stephen MacKenna & B.S. Page (Trans.) Plotinus The Six Enneads, Chicago 1952, Fifth Ennead, tractate VIII
Ch. 9 p245
28 G.R.S. Mead, Echoes From The Gnosis Vol. vi, A Mithriac Ritual. London, 1907, p18-21
29 Adalbert Hamman op. cit. p162
30 C.E.Rolt (Trans.) Dionysius the Areopagite. York, ME, Ibis Press 2004 p192
31 Ibid. p 194