Mystery Schools, founded by mystics, have been the caretakers of spiritual knowledge for thousands of years.  Virtually all of the surviving major religions base their tenets on the words and deeds of a great mystic being.

Such founders not identified as Masters in their lifetimes become so after death at the installation of a priesthood. Once deceased, the reputation, teachings, and personality characteristics of the departed Master become the property of a designated, or assumed priesthood who thereafter act as interpreters and arbiters of their Master's divine wisdom.

So, while mystic experience has spawned great religious systems, the caretakers of these systems have destroyed the mystic basis for further additions of knowledge, though they continue to maintain that their particular avatars or prophets possessed esoteric knowledge and mystic abilities. These mystics had direct access to Infinity.

The one thing the religious and academic communities can not change is the history left to us regarding mysticism, metaphysics, and the esoterica of previous generations. We have their work laced across the planet, stored in a systematic way, waiting for those who are particularly suited to gather that which has been scattered, and to return it to the public domain as general knowledge. It was mystics, metaphysicians, and esotericists who introduced the Divine sciences to humankind in the past, therefore the only possibility of recovering the fullness of this knowledge is to trace the flow of mysticism through recorded history from the present to its point of origin if we can.

If one starts on this path from the West, all roads lead to Egypt. In many cases in the ancient world of the Middle East, conquerors not only introduced their own laws and taxes, but also superimposed their own national religion on the conquered. Then as now, religion was highly political.

In the case of the Egyptian religion precisely the opposite became the norm. The Greeks, the Romans, and then unwittingly the Christian world adopted the principles and tenets of the Egyptian priesthood.

Early on, initiates who returned to their native lands after attending the Egyptian Mystery School (many of them Greek and Roman,) brought with them the secret teachings acquired in Egypt. These 500 or so initiated graduates introduced such a grandly refined and well presented body of knowledge that virtually all of the modern Western concepts of religion, law, philosophy and government can be traced to ancient Egypt.

Owing to the excellence of Egyptian understanding, both the Greeks and the Romans imported Egyptian priests into their households and communities. It is amazing to find that these two conquering societies were religious liberals. Liberal, of course, means having an open mind.

While the flow of priests is largely unknown, some of the finest Egyptian monuments, statuary, obelisks, and art now rest in Italy, France, England, Germany, and the U.S., in public squares at the Vatican, in the Louvre, in private collections, museums, and even Central Park. Virtually all of such treasures were either temple decorations, or part of the geodetic infrastructure by which the priesthood measured and mapped both heaven and earth.

During the dark and middle ages of Europe, many of the ancient Egyptian teachings were disguised in song, in poetry, literature, and art in such ways as to promulgate the principles without revealing their true esoteric nature. There were also a series of secret societies such as the Knights Templar who gave their light to the Masons, the Rosicrucians, the Knights Templar and others which became vessels for specific parts of the secret teachings of all ages. The preservation of symbols was an important part of their arcana.

The mystic trail is long, sometimes wide and watered down, sometimes very narrow and specific. Mysticism is tough to trace because in the political limitations forced upon it by emerging belief systems. The combination of alliances between churches and states have largely been successful in alternately expunging, or appropriating the accomplishments of great mystics from history itself. History, as we all know, is written by the victor.

In Egypt, it's hard not to stub your toe on things ancient and profound. The digging up of physical evidence is not the all in all however. What modern science has failed to understand is that the indigenous religion was an almost completely separate structure from the Great Mystery School at Giza.

The Pyramid complex at Giza was enclosed on all sides by high stone walls. The remnants of the perimeter are still visible today. Like its ancient predecessors, The Mystery School at Giza was an hermetically sealed environment, physically and mystically. Profane persons never entered inside the walls, much less the Temples. It was a world unto itself.

The lone exception was the person of the Pharaoh. According to Manly Palmer Hall, the Pharaoh participated in the initiation of the third degree. In this test, a candidate for initiation into the degree was first tempted by the Pharaoh, who offered his crown to the initiate in exchange for quitting the Mystery School. The candidate was said to have to discard the crown, and throw it on the ground to pass one of the tests of temptation.

As a political reality, he Mystery School respected the position of the Pharaoh who had jurisdiction over the indiginous laws, temple system, priesthood, and subjects. The mystery school probably shared enough of their mystic techniques for a Pharaoh to occasionally impress everybody. But the Mystery School at Giza never was a part of the native Egyptian religion. Some Pharaohs were interred in proximity to the Pyramids, but no Pyramid was ever used as a tomb for one.

The school and its teachings were preserved until the Roman occupation. The burning and destruction of the Library at Alexandria was the beginning of the end.

But much of the ancient wisdom was preserved in Gnosticism which originated in Egypt. The neo-platonic Gnostic school of Alexandria became its center in the first century A.D. From mystery teachings of the various Gnostics sprang Christianty, Middle –Eastern mysticism and Jewish gnosticism. The latter survived in the Jewish Kabbalah.

The various Gnostic sects played an important part in early Christianity and the formation of its myths and gospel. Their influence and tradition essentially came to an end when the Jesus myth was adopted by Rome. Faith became fused with the ruling power when Eemperor Constantine established a state religion in the fourth century A.D., uniting all religion under his rule. He forced all the religions of the Roman Empire to come together as one and agree on one set of teachings. All other religious organizations were outlawed.

Gnosticism and the ragged remnants of other Mystery Schools, remained a source of inspiration, however, for the few who knew of its ideas, which were kept secret. At the center was the belief that the seen and unseen world is the manifestation of the One Divine Being. Gnostic texts concern the fall of man from the divine to the material world. The spark of divine light imprisoned in man is to be set free so that it may return to God. Gnosis, the spiritual experience, is said to rank over analytical knowledge. It was said to be obtained by various initiations. Use of hallucinogens may have played a part in obtaining mystical experiences.

Gnosticism influenced many heretical West-European sects, such as the Kathars in the Middle Ages, who were fiercely persecuted, and mystics as Jacob Boehme(1575-1624).

In the eighth and ninth centuries A.D. Baghdad had become the great intellectual center of Arabic studies. Scientific and philosophical books were disseminated through the Moorish emirate of Cordoba, Spain. The universities of Granada and Saragossa made translations available of the great Greek classical works from Arabic into Latin.

On the basis of the few documents that have survived from later centuries scholars take it that a myth struck root around the Jewish wisdom teacher Joshua (in Greek Jesus). The Catholic Church absorbed these teachings along with the mystery teachings of the popular pagan religions of the day. The Biblical Jesus is a combination of the gods revered at the time. Osiris-Dionysus for instance, was considered a Son of God and was born to a virgin on the 25th of December before three shepherds.

Another tradition that reached Europe was that of Jewish mysticism. Their esoteric doctrine the Kabbalah appeared in Jewish mystic circles in Spain and Southern France in the 12th century. Its oldest part, the Sefer Jetsira, was written between the third and sixth century.

According to this belief God gave a second revelation to Moses together with the Law. It explained the secret meaning of the Law. This revelation is said to have been passed on down the ages by initiates. Kabbalistic studies in the Hebrew scriptures developed in a theosophical mystique and sometimes in a sort of unintended religious magic.

Shortly before the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 Pico della Mirandola in Florence conceived a Christian version of the Kabbalah. He associated the Kabbalistic truths with those of Greek Hermeticism, derived from the Egyptian mystics. Thus an amalgamy was introduced between the tradition attributed to the Greek Hermes Trismegistus and Jewish mysticism purportedly descending from Moses.