Discover more from The Wisdom Tradition
The Birth of Philosophy
Pythagoras, the Mystery Schools, and the emergence of philosophy
This essay is part of an ongoing series investigating the hidden role that the institution of the Mysteries has played in guiding the long-term evolution of mankind.
In the previous article of this series, I delved into the arcane institution of the Mysteries and showed how it once thrived as a specialized institution of spiritual education dedicated to progressing and unfolding mankind toward the fulfillment of its divinely appointed evolutionary destiny.
This great School does its sacred work based on the simple but often overlooked fact that nature has blessed mankind with certain spiritual potentials that are, at present, latent within the average individual.
Through the institution of the Mysteries, an applied science of human evolution was cultivated. Here, esoteric disciplines, rituals, and meditations were developed that were aimed at transforming and advancing the soul within the body, activating its latent potentials and advancing its state of evolutionary progression.
In this article, we are going to investigate the close relationship that once existed between these Mystery Schools and the institution of philosophy, which first emerged during a historical period typically referred to as the Axial Age (~6th century BC).
In the course of a single century, philosophy emerged on the world stage, sprouting up in numerous key cultural zones spread throughout Eurasia. In these areas, philosophical schools were founded by sage-like initiates with links to the Mystery Schools of their region.
In this essay, I track the backstory behind how the institution of philosophy first emerged out of the Mystery Schools during the Axial Age. I argue that this development took form as a deliberate project of the highest order of the Mystery Schools. In my view, the ultimate aim and purpose of this project was to construct a new vehicle for the Mystery Schools to move into and operate out of, one that would remove the monopoly that the priesthood had over it while bringing its teachings closer to the life of the common man.
In subsequence articles, we will track how philosophy has progressed and developed through subsequent ages of world history and how it transformed the outer body of civilization in the process.
Before we delve into the details of philosophy’s backstory, a discussion that occupies much of this essay’s main body, I want to begin by discussing what exactly “philosophy” is. We’re all familiar with the word, but what exactly does it mean?
1. What is Philosophy?
If you go into a bookstore or library and head to the “philosophy” section, you will find a diverse array of titles by numerous authors, each advocating a different viewpoint on the topic. These viewpoints can be aggregated into a small handful of competing philosophical schools, which themselves are locked in millennia-long disagreements with each other about what the true purpose, meaning, and definition of philosophy actually is.
For a long time now, mankind has become mired in a “Babel” of opinion, where a “confusion of tongues” has cursed any attempt at formulating an inspiring long-term vision for human life.
When it comes to defining and understanding the key principles of life, everywhere we look, we find disagreement, polarization, fragmentation, competition, and disunity. When it comes to articulating abstract ideals, mankind cannot come to agreement.
Philosophy is one example of an abstract ideal that has become submerged within a deluge of opinion, misinformation, and confusion. Mired in this Babel of opinion, philosophy has ceased to be of value for mankind. We can’t agree on what it is, let alone how to put it into practice.
This wasn’t always the case, however; philosophy wasn’t always plagued by such confusion.
The word “philosophy” first emerged at a specific time, in a specific place, from a specific person. By tracking the story of its emergence, we can get a better idea of what it originally was intended to mean by the outstanding innovator who first gave us the word: the Greek sage Pythagoras.
During the 6th century BC, in present day Italy, Pythagoras founded the world’s first school of philosophy, an educational institution based around an original doctrine of spiritual teachings he had fashioned. This doctrine was a synthesis of the wisdom teachings he had been initiated into during his journeys and pilgrimages to the visit various priesthoods hosting the Mystery Schools in sites throughout Eurasia.
After the death of its founder, the advanced students and teachers of Pythagorean school perpetuated his teachings, keeping his school alive in a lineage that was patterned around the original master-pupil program that the founder had originally set up for his academy.
A generation or so after Pythagoras’s death, the great Athenian sage Plato became a student of Pythagoras’s teachings. He synthesized Pythagoras’s philosophical system with other influences in the effort of launching his own original academy of philosophy.
Much of what we now know of the original teachings of Pythagoras comes down to us through Plato, who synthesized elements of Pythagorean philosophy with the wisdom teachings of numerous Mystery Schools he had encountered during his own pilgrimages to the great temples of Greece, Egypt, and Mesopotamia.
Like Pythagoras, Plato used the knowledge attained in his initiations to found an academy dedicated to philosophical education. And, also like Pythagoras, after his death his students would perpetuate and gradually modify and evolve his corpus of teachings.
The key point is that Pythagoras and Plato, when they first put forward their doctrine of teachings, intended “philosophy” to mean something specific and to be practiced in a particular way. The task for the modern philosophical student is to reconstruct what exactly this original intention was so that we may recreate this system for the use of modern man.
In order to cut through the Babel of opinion that currently plagues the field of philosophy, we need to rediscover Pythagoras’s original definition of the term, recreating his mindset and analyzing what his direct influences were.
For a long time, philosophy has been bogged in a quagmire of “confused tongues”. To resurrect philosophy, we need a method for cutting through this Babel of opinion so that we may construct for ourselves a precise and detailed framework of what philosophy is and what it is not.
Our need is to formulate a “gold standard” definition of philosophy. We now have a plan and method for doing this: we are going to go back to the time and place of philosophy’s initial emergence and examine the historical context that informed its birth. In the process, we’re going to investigate the sage who is responsible for giving us the word - Pythagoras - and try to make sense of his life by fitting him into a larger historical pattern.
It is my proposition that, by analyzing the life and times of Pythagoras, we can disambiguate the correct meaning of philosophy and thereby solve our “confusion of tongues” dilemma.
2. Pythagoras and the Origins of Philosophy
The story of Philosophy begins with Pythagoras, the Greek savant and spiritual guru who first invented the word in the 6th century BC.
Pythagoras was born and raised in a Greek city-state that was connected to a larger system of empire, which was common at that time. This was a time of warring states, where a complex chemistry of social, political, and economic pressures were combining to sink Eurasian civilization into a state of perpetual warfare.
Despite the larger geopolitical pressures of the time, Pythagoras demonstrated great intellectual and mystical aptitude from an early age and was selected as a candidate for initiation into the State Mysteries of the Grecian state. After his initiation, Pythagoras spent much of his adult life undergoing extensive pilgrimages eastward to study with holy men, sages, and Mystery Schools sects across Eurasia.
Having earned and been granted initiation into the wisdom teachings of numerous cultures across Eurasia, including those of the Mediterranean, Mesopotamia, Persia, Egypt, and India, Pythagoras returned to his homeland and founded the world’s first formal school of philosophical education.
Pythagorean philosophy emerges as a synthesis of the various Wisdom traditions that Pythagoras was initiated into during his pilgrimages through the Mystery Schools held by priesthoods practicing within the various civilization zones of Eurasia.
As was done in the Mysteries, Pythagoras’s philosophical teachings were taught to students by degrees, with students and disciples exposed to the masters’s teachings in a well-organized sequence of progression.
Gradually, students worked to ascend the various levels of this degree system so as to elevate themselves to one day become great philosophical masters and initiates like the school’s founder, Pythagoras.
Pythagoras lived and taught during a critical period in human history, one that has frequently been given two titles by historians: the Axial Age and the Age of World Teachers.
The former name (“the Axial Age”) refers to the nonstop competition between empires that characterized this time period. During this age, a large-scale transmutation of institutions was taking place. This dynamic emerged as a direct result of the combustable chemistry that arose after long-isolated civilizations were thrown together during the economic and military development of early empires.
States and cultures were being thrown together through trade, empire, and conquest. In the long-term, these interactions would catalyze the blending of cultures across Eurasia. This dynamic would, in time, have a transformative effect on the future of world civilization: from this admixture, a new order of world institutions was soon to emerge with the onset of the Christian era.
The alternate name for this time period sometimes used by historians is “the Age of World Teachers”. This references the fact that, during this same period that great imperial conquests were taking place, there emerged, in various locales across Eurasia, a cohort of great philosophical teachers whose collective body of teachings would completely transform the future of human civilization.
Though the word “philosophy" was coined by Pythagoras, in truth each of the great sage-like teachers of this age were philosophers. Each developed a custom doctrine of philosophy designed to meet the needs and specifications of the unique blend of cultural institutions present in the civilization zones they were working within.
Although he is sometimes deemed “the First Philosopher” for having invented the term, Pythagoras was actually working in conjunction with a larger fraternity whose influence was also present in the founding of the schools that would embody the teachings of the other outstanding world teachers of the age, such as Buddha and Lao Tzu. These other schools are close in spirit to Pythagoras’s, are derived from a common source of inspiration, and are equally deserving of being titled “philosophy”. In other words, philosophy was a global movement, not just an invention of Pythagoras’s, although the word itself is derived from him.
The great world teachers of the 6th century BC lived simultaneously on the Eurasian continent in civilizations spread across its vast lands. Each formulated an original doctrine of teachings that were specially crafted to meet the needs of their people.
In their respective homelands, each established schools of philosophy dedicated to perpetuating their teachings. These schools would emerge and develop in time to establish philosophy as an important institution in human life.
Prior to 600 BC, the time when the Age of World Teachers first commenced, the spiritual knowledge of the Mystery Schools was held exclusively by a sacerdotal caste of priests. This was true in all ancient societies: everywhere, the priesthood held a monopoly on access to the Mystery School teachings.
Since the priesthood held exclusive access to esoteric knowledge, those who wished to gain access to the Mystery’s doctrines of spiritual instruction must do so by appealing to the priesthood.
With the emergence of philosophical schools like those of Pythagoras, Buddha, and Lao Tzu, we find spiritual knowledge being taught for the first time in a new context. Up to then, it had been held exclusively by the priesthood. Now, these teachings were moving outside the temple walls. The priesthood had lost their exclusive access to it.
During the age of the great world teachers - i.e. the Axial Age - esoteric knowledge was moved outside of the temple and brought into a new institutional vehicle: philosophy.
Philosophy gave the wisdom teachings a new form through which it could express itself in society. This new form was capable of capturing the essence of the spiritual teachings of the Mysteries and repackaging it in a new form, one suitable for the new age of civilization that mankind was on the cusp of entering into.
With philosophy, spiritual teachings were presented outside of the temple in a form potentially accessible to anyone.
Pythagoras and his fellow teachers worked to democratize spiritual knowledge, transporting it from the temple to the town square.
Throughout Eurasia academies of philosophy would emerge whose curriculum and organizational structure imitated that of the Mystery Schools.
In each case, the curriculum of teachings was divided into three degrees and taught to three levels of students. The outer level was open to the public and available to the novice student; the middle level was for dedicated students who were committed to the path; and the inner level was for the most advanced, disciplined, and accomplished students.
Disciples of these philosophical academies participated actively in the affairs of public life and worked to progress the overall welfare of the human estate, while also working with spiritual teachers of their own in the effort of elevating and progressing their own level of personal evolutionary development.
In this way, the Mystery Schools worked to elevate both the individual and the collective: it prepared and trained individuals to go out into the world and elevate the collective, which then could produce more candidates for the Mysteries and thereby reproduce and advance the cycle of the whole program.
Just as in the Mysteries, in these philosophical academies students progressed to higher grades only once they could demonstrate mastery over the curriculum of the lower degrees.
Through this method, one’s philosophical education prepares them to undergo the trials, tribulations, and initiations of life. As one’s education progresses, one is prepared to take on more and more of life’s responsibilities.
In esoteric philosophy, it is taught that the highest levels of esoteric instruction in the Mystery Schools take place not on the physical planet but in metaphysical fields surrounding Earth, which are only accessible through the mastery of certain occult disciplines and tantric meditational practices taught by the initiates of the Mystery Schools.
The Hierarchy - the highest level of spiritually evolved humans who reside at the apex of the Mystery School system - live and work outside of the material surface of the planet. Over the unfolding ages of man’s development, this Hierarchy attaches itself to different institutional forms in order to advance its plans for human evolution.
The forms it attaches itself to on Earth may evolve and transform over time, but the upper echelons of the Mysteries itself never changes, being itself spiritual in nature and outside of involvement in the polarity of birth and death.
From their throne in the temple of heaven, the highest order of spiritually advanced humans interface directly with a larger spiritual universe where the consciousness of Deity is permanently enthroned.
These evolved masters have outgrown the attachments and limitations that bind others to the cycle of birth and death and live fully awake to the ever-present light of God.
This Deity is the true King of the World and the Masters of Light abiding in the heavenly temple above Earth constitute the Invisible Government tasked with implementing the will of Deity in the affairs of man.
Here we come to my central thesis: that the original system of philosophy taught by Pythagoras was deliberately intended as a repackaging of the wisdom teachings of the Mystery Schools that Pythagoras had previously been initiated into, giving these teachings a new body that would suit its needs as the world transformed into a new astrological age, moving from Aries to Pisces sometime around 325 AD (according to Manly P. Hall).
Up to that time, mankind’s wisdom teachings were disseminated exclusively by priesthoods working within the innermost sanctums of society’s religious temples.
In his long spiritual pilgrimage, Pythagoras travelled extensively around Eurasia and was initiated by these priesthoods into the State Mysteries of numerous civilizations. The wisdom teachings of these cultures was well known to him.
After his travels, Pythagoras returned to the Mediterranean and founded his own original school of philosophy. The inspiration for the school and its curriculum came directly from the Mystery Schools he had encountered during his long journeys.
In essence, Pythagoras’s task was to formulate an original synthesis of the wisdom teachings that had been communicated to him by the priest-philosophers of the various Mystery Schools he encountered.
Based on his synthesis of philosophy, he was instructed to found a school to perpetuate and develop his teachings.
Through the growth of philosophy as an institution, a new force in society was unleashed which would, in time, grow in power to threaten the hegemony the priesthood held over the Mystery teachings, which they had jealously monopolized and often misused.
3. Philosophy and the Transition of Ages
The Mystery Schools Pythagoras encountered in his journeys not only offered him initiation; they also entrusted him with a task. Through him, the adepts and initiates of the Mysteries sought to reform the relationship between their institution and the lower castes of society.
The priesthood which controlled access to the Mysteries had ceased to fulfill its responsibilities to the lower castes of society in terms of promoting their evolutionary development and a new vehicle was needed for the wisdom teachings to move into so that this blockade could be broken.
With the coming of this new vehicle in the form of philosophy, the spiritual doctrines were brought outside the temple walls where they could exert their influence more closely in the common life of the larger community.
As an initiate of numerous Mystery Schools, Pythagoras was undoubtedly aided in his task by the sages, hierophants, and adepts of the various Mystery Schools he was initiated into.
When we survey the various schools of philosophy that were being established during this same time period, such as those in India, China, and Persia, we find, in each case, that the founder of the school, like Pythagoras, held intimate connections with the Mystery Schools of their culture zone.
In truth, the great philosophers of the Axial Age were instruments of the Mystery Schools. Each was tasked a specific mission as part of a larger project, which was to reform and transform the long-term evolution of human civilization.
Philosophy emerges within a larger social and historical context. This context is marked by the large scale transformation of institutions that was unfolding all over the world during the Axial Age.
In the timeline of world history, the emergence of philosophy, the complete collapse of the pagan era of civilization, and the onset of a new world order with the coming of the Christian Church all took place one after another in sequence.
An ancient age of civilization was coming to an end; social structures on the largest scales were in the process of transforming at every level of society. Overall, an entire age of world order was ending and in the process being reconfigured and reborn.
Philosophy was born as a response to these changes. It was formulated as a new vehicle into which an older system of sacred knowledge and wisdom teachings could be ported.
Philosophy first emerged at a critical point in world history. It was intended to function as a new instrument for the Mystery Schools to use to in their grand plan to democratize the wisdom teachings and bring the Mysteries to the entire body of mankind.
Pythagoras and his fellow world teachers all teach the way of the initiate.
Before them, this way was taught exclusively by the priesthoods. After the establishment of philosophical schools, it would become available to a larger swathe of mankind, with merchants, aristocrats, and farmers each gaining more access to at least some portion of the wisdom teachings.
Philosophy thus emerges as a deliberate project intended to reform and transform the Mystery School system, moving it away from the temples and its priesthoods and into a new, more adaptable form that was better suited to the new age that was shortly to come.
In its new vehicle, the spiritual teachings of the Mystery Schools were brought outside of the exclusive control of the priesthoods. They were “democratized”, meaning they were made more commonly available to outside segments of society that were not part of the sacerdotal caste.
In this way, philosophy emerged, at least in part, as a political project: it was designed to sever the hegemony that the priesthood held over the Mystery teachings.
This priesthood had fallen victim to the temptations of corruption, tyranny, and conspiracy and become politically involved in the imperialistic intrigues of the state. Philosophy emerges as a response to this corruption: it moves the wisdom teachings outside of the priesthood’s exclusive control and offers it a more mobile and adaptable platform to use in the new age.
This new platform (philosophy) would help these teachings navigate the chaotic social environment that resulted from the eventual destruction of the pagan religious institutions and the onset of the age of Christianity.
The collapse of the religious institutions of the pagan era and their replacement throughout Eurasia with a new institutional order indicated by the rise of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) came as a direct result of philosophy’s emergence during the Axial Age.
By the 6th century BC, an old institutional order had crystallized and was in the process of breaking down. In the age that was coming to an end, the power of the priesthood came from their monopolization of the sacred knowledge of the Mysteries.
With the emergence of philosophy, this monopoly would be broken. Consequently, the political leverage the priesthood held over the state was gradually destroyed.
The source of their power taken from them, the priesthood’s hegemony over the state was soon overthrown with the emergence of an oligarchy of powerful imperial interests. This oligarchy would eventually inspire the formation of the vast Roman Empire.
Overall, society was moving in a secular direction, one that was beginning to focus more and more on transforming mankind’s material relationship with life. Meanwhile, philosophy was rising in importance and governance was moving outside of the temple and into the hands of civil society.
The public at large - meaning, the lower castes of society outside of the priesthood and monarchy - were gradually beginning to take more control over the political, economic, and cultural governance of their society. The destiny of civilization was incrementally moving out of the hands of a ruling elite and into the hands of the people.
Zooming out and looking at things at the largest scales, an ancient age of paternalistic governance was coming to an end and things were gradually moving in the direction of democratic self-governance. This social transformation would not take place all at once. In fact, it is a process that is still unfolding to this day.
In the course of its long-term development, civilization gradually evolves in a pluralistic direction, moving from an initial paternalistic age when power is centralized within a monarchy to an intermediate age where an oligarchy of vested interests emerge to take control of the state. This motion finally concludes in the emergence of republics and democracies, where the responsibilities of governance are put explicitly in the hands of public-facing institutions.
The initial transition between the monarchial form of governance and the oligarchical form took place during the Axial Age, when an international aristocratic elite arose in Central Eurasia to seize power over the economic and political systems of numerous states at the same time, binding them together into a massive transcultural economic empire.
With this motion of monarchy moving into oligarchy, political power becomes increasingly secularized. Whereas before political agency was concentrated in the hands of a very small elite, notably the monarchy and its council of priestly advisors, now it was shifting into various branches of civil society and coming under the influence of powerful secular constituencies.
In the pluralistic social order that was emerging, administrative, legal, financial, and economic institutions began to gain prestige and influence, taking over various responsibilities of civic life that had previously been monopolized by the temple.
Rome was the last great empire to feature the old pagan religious institutions within its boundaries.
Rome emerges as basically a secular empire run by an oligarchy comprised of a coalition of financial, military, and aristocratic powers.
By this stage, religion had ceased to be a dominating influence in political affairs; the priesthood was no longer the dominant power center it once had been.
Rome was built largely as an economic project: it was a vast economic empire that would eventually collapse from widespread corruption, addiction to warfare, ongoing debt crises, populist uprisings, and barbarian invasions.
At the same time that religion was declining as an influence on Roman social and political life, philosophy was beginning to emerge as an influential factor among the noble classes.
Within Greece, philosophy became an influential intellectual movement. It grew to directly influence the worldview of the nobility and monarchy.
For example the Macedonian conquerer Alexander the Great emerged only a few centuries after philosophy’s initial birth. He was inspired to forge an empire spanning Eurasia, one he dedicated to the mission of furthering a set of philosophical ideals taught to him by Aristotle, his personal tutor.
This empire labored to spread the civic institutions of the Grecian States across the greater Eurasian theater. After the death of Alexander and the fall of his empire, later states would emerge to resurrect the institutions Alexander had seeded in their regions during his conquests, developing new empires that would, in their own way, further his mission of spreading civilization to all lands of the Earth.
To give another example of philosophy’s growing influence on human life, in India, Ashoka would rise in power to create an empire dedicated to the ideals of Buddhism. In spreading his empire throughout the greater region, Ashoka brought not only Buddhism but an entire body of civilizing institutions to regions that had previously been backwater territories populated by primitive tribal peoples. In time, these tribal peoples would cultivate the seeds of civilization that Ashoka has sowed and and use them to develop advanced states over their own.
In sum, the wholesale transformation of society that took place during the Axial Age was engineered as a deliberate project of the Mystery Schools.
The deconstruction of an old pattern of civilization was rapidly unfolding. The masters of the Mysteries were involved behind the scenes of this process, engineering this collapse as part of a greater strategic mission they were pursuing.
Human civilization was being globalized; powers from across Eurasia were gradually being integrated together and a new chemistry of political, cultural, and economic institutions was emerging. As this was taking place, the Mystery Schools were being moved outside of the temple walls into a new vehicle better suited to fit the era of globalized civilization that was to come.
With philosophy, the Mystery teachings were brought out from under the political umbrella of the priesthood and made accessible to new realms of society which they had previously been unavailable to. As a direct consequence of this project, rapid advances in the cultural institutions of mankind began to take place.
4. Philosophy as the Way of the Initiate
Simply put, philosophy is the way of the initiate.
Philosophy is not just a body of teachings; it is an entire way of life. The way of life it describes is that of the initiate.
At heart, philosophy teaches the way of life that the candidate of the Mysteries must follow if they are to pass all initiations and graduate from the School of the Holy Spirit.
The spiritual seeker should approach philosophy as a guidebook to follow as they pursue enlightenment through the various degrees of initiation required to attain it.
The philosopher, as he or she grows in wisdom, prepares themselves to pass successfully through the trials and tribulations of life.
Earth itself is a grand temple of initiation for souls that have journeyed here to become students in its great School of the Holy Spirit.
The tests we go through in life as residents of Earth are each, in their own way, trials and tests of initiation. By facing and overcoming these tests, our souls are stimulated into evolving and releasing the God power within.
At its core, philosophy involves the synthesis of religion and science.
As religion, philosophy is about serving God by become an active participant in the realization of a sacred Divine Plan. This Divine Plan is playing out at the level of the whole and encompasses all individual life forms. Being united within the whole, all life forms together share a common destiny: to become willing participants in the realization of a Divine Plan they are all a part of.
As science, philosophy is about understanding that God is imminently present within every form and process of nature. Therefore, the perfect religious scripture for mankind to worship and study is nature itself. Man accomplishes this worship through the correct philosophical use of science.
For the philosopher, science and religion merge in the mystical experience, where physical and psychological processes within the individual are scientifically stimulated in order to catalyze a religious experience of spiritual awakening.
For the philosopher, religion is primarily about a personal experience of God rather than a social institution dedicated to perpetuating scripture and rituals. Religion as a social institution has its place, but the philosopher is not dependent upon any one priesthood or religious sect to release the God power within.
The Mystery Schools were dedicated to developing and releasing an internal God power hidden within the body of mankind. For them, the true temple was the human body; this was the sacred vessel within which the great alchemical transmutation of the soul was to take place.
In philosophy, religion is treated as a personal experience of God that takes place as a mystical communion of the Soul with Spirit: a divine act that is not under the exclusive ownership of any one priesthood or system of religion.
The outer body of religion constantly changes and evolves; but the mystical core of religion always stays grounded in a direct experience of God that takes place within the human soul.
By use of tantric practices, the philosopher becomes the mystic and experiences God as a spiritual fact.
The power of God within the human soul must be unlocked using a secret science. Through the use of sacred tantric disciplines, the spiritual light of God is allowed to come into the Soul and take control of the body.
All advanced degrees of philosophical instruction involve the use of esoteric physical and mental disciplines. These disciplines are the prized possession of the Mystery Schools and involve awakening and releasing spiritual energies within.
Philosophy is ultimately about preparing the individual to be a useful instrument in the actualization of the Divine Plan.
Philosophy’s initial degrees are concerned with putting the mind and emotions in order through reason and discipline. With these tasks accomplished, the higher mind can take rulership over the body without interference from the emotions or bodily complexes and be allowed to direct the life of the person in a harmonious fashion.
When the candidate is ready, tantric practices are added to one’s philosophical studies. These specialized disciplines are designed to allow the soul to detach itself from the body in order to explore and release its own latent metaphysical and spiritual potentials.
Having now surveyed the history of philosophy and examined the various social, political, cultural, and religious factors that informed the period in world history when it first emerged, let’s now revisit our earlier question: “What is philosophy”?
Philosophy is an externalization of the initiate path taught in the Mysteries. Through philosophy, the citizens of earth are prepared to become initiates in the great Mystery School of the Holy Spirit.
The new student to philosophy is like the neophyte preparing to undergo their first trials in the Mysteries. As the pupil advances in their studies and in their mastery of the philosophical curriculum, they are gradually prepared to pass higher and more exacting initiations in the Mystery School of life.
Earth itself is the great temple of God and the tests of life are initiation trials for the soul. The human soul itself is the real candidate of the Mysteries. Philosophy is the method the soul is intended to use to pass through this School and attain graduation.
In this case, graduation means enlightenment. In philosophy, enlightenment is revered as the attainment of Wisdom, and Wisdom is regarded as the unique quality of Spirit. The philosopher, as a “lover of Wisdom”, prepares themselves by disciplined effort to become a vessel into whom the Light of this Wisdom may be poured.