From an old Commentary: «…there was, we were told, in every country deserving to be called civilized, an esoterical Doctrine, a system called Wisdom and those who dedicated themselves to its study and its teaching were called Wise men…».
Pythagoras called this system Gnosis or Knowledge of the things that exist.
The old wise men of India, the Magi of Persia and Babylon, the Hierophants of Egypt and Arabia, the clairvoyants and prophets of Israel, the Greek and western philosophers gathered all the knowledge they considered divine under the noble denomination of Wisdom; they classified part of it in order to keep it and use it as an exclusive initiatory viaticum and the rest to be transmitted in an exoterical form. Major and minor Catechisms (or Mysteries) were born.
Sapiential Doctrine, after going through the filter of “by recognizing you will be recognized”, is at first transmitted orally from major to minor Initiate (pupil, disciple or chela). This occurs through the subtle method that in the “mysteric tradition” is called «…the lips on the ear and the word on the breath».
Other vehicles for knowledge are the inner, and therefore, esoterical meanings of the ideograms (hierograms, from Hierophant: initiator) and the symbols we must learn to distinguish and read like a new language.
Archaic symbols represent the meanings of what is today called the Great Work in a hermetic form.
The “symbolic handiworks” can be of different kinds. When they are transmitted through architecture, or engraved, written and drawn, they are decompositions of higher meanings that only the “science” of the initiate will be able to re-compose.
For this reason, the initiate must learn the languages used to transmit his Doctrine. It goes from the metaphorical to the pictorial language, from the hermetic to the architectonic one. They are all necessary in order to know the truths of old traditions.