PART VI: ANCIENT SECRETS
by Anthony Forwood (2011)
43: Rise of the Priests
Before we humans first developed into the first recognized civilizations, our early ancestors lived in small communities formed mainly by family groups, which would eventually develop into larger tribes as populations increased. The heads of these tribes were usually the elders of each family, or whoever held the greatest amount of wisdom from having lived longer and learned and experienced more than the others, and therefore had greater wisdom in matters of concern to the community. Those with the greatest amount of knowledge and experience became the natural leaders of people very early on in our history. Very often, individuals within these communities learned certain mystical arts that to us today might seem primitive and superstitious, but nevertheless provided benefits to the community. These were the shamen-priests, who were depended on for healing the sick as much as for predicting future events and outcomes that might affect the community or a particular individual who sought advice or the favor of a god.
As the number of people across the lands increased, and different communities came to be more and more in contact with each other and interacted together out of the mutual benefit of trade, greater organization developed, and many otherwise small communities that were critically located grew into larger communities than elsewhere, and eventually became cities – the main centers of commerce and the major hubs of civilization. These centers brought community or tribal elders together and they formed into tribal councils, and these councils would organize and direct matters of concern to the greater community. The shamen of the various communities were often included as part of these councils, or were otherwise consulted when the council could not come to a decision on a particular issue and needed their special services. What an ordinary citizen of that time might refer to as magical knowledge would often have been known and shared between the members of these councils, eventually developing into a body of knowledge with all of its gods and spirits, incantations, divinations, rituals, amulets, talismans, idols, etc.
Eventually the duties of the elders were divided up so that matters relating to different aspects of the community would be assigned to different elders to oversee. Those who had the greatest abilities in magical practices – the shamen – would have been selected as priests, and since all matters were seen to be reliant on the whim of the gods who represented the different forces of nature, it was the shaman-priests who had the greatest control over the affairs most important to the community and the individual. This put the priests in the highest position of power, since they came to be regarded as having the closest relationship with the forces that governed all matters affecting life and death, and had direct communication with the gods.
A priest or shaman who had strong psychic skills would be able to use his abilities to advance both the community and himself, and would also be able to better develop his craft and over time discover systems that worked best for his practice. These would become the methods of divination and the incantations that would be passed on over the generations and eventually form the religious rites and underlying belief systems that would later become popular. As in times past, these magical practices usually involved the use of mind-altering substances, which were believed to connect the practitioner with gods or spirits that existed in a non-physical realm. Rhythmic drumming and chanting were also used to induce a hypnotic trance in the participants, and wild dancing heightened the experience. The dance of the shaman has an intoxicating effect, as I described earlier. It induces an altered state of consciousness, while at the same time it’s a part of that induced state, created and carried by the rhythm of drumming and chanting.
Knowledge of all types was primarily the dominion of the ancient shaman-priests. Their specialty in being in communication with a higher level of reality and who were able to see what others could not made them the custodians of knowledge. Thus, the shaman-priests, knowing of their value, learned to keep certain knowledge to themselves. They came to possess many secrets that only increased their position of power. Among those secrets were the techniques that were learned to utilize psychic energy. This wouldn’t have been just the utilization of their own psychic energy, but the combined psychic energy of entire populations. For this purpose, they engaged entire communities in their ritualistic ceremonies, to increase the level of psychic energy playing on the forces of nature that they wished to control. Thus, for instance, we hear of certain Native American tribes that engage in rain dances in order to influence the weather.
Ritualistic ceremonies that involved whole communities were capable of amplifying the psychic energies and directing them towards affecting a unified result with great success. Sometimes these results were beyond what many of us today would be willing to accept as possible, and yet the evidence of this still exists today in the incredible structures of the ancient megaliths and the mystery of how their great stones were handled, which has yet to be properly explained in any more plausible way than through either psychic or sonic forces, or perhaps a combination of both. The shaman’s knowledge of these abilities might have originated from either Atlantis or Lemuria, since according to Edgar Cayce they are both said to have practiced the psychic arts, and knew the multiplicating factor of group efforts, using perhaps thousands of individuals in these activities.