Waite was interested in the higher grades of Freemasonry and saw initiation into Craft Masonry as a way to gain access to these rites. After joining the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia and the Knights Templar, Waite traveled to Switzerland in 1903 to receive the Regime Ecossais et Rectifie or the Rectified Scottish Rite and its grade of Chevalier Bienfaisant de la Cite Sainte (C.B.C.S.). Waite believed that the Rectified Scottish Rite, more than any other Masonic Rite, represented the "Secret Tradition" of mystical spiritual illumination.
Ethnomethodology was thus in the distinctive position at EuroPARC of fulfilling a Low Church strategic mission (engagement with users of ubiquitous technology) while presenting High Church styles of tactical conduct (doctrinal debate and guardianship of ritual). Whatever the personal motives of ethnomethodologists (and Lynch  protested that they did have strong ethical commitments, whether or not these were expressed through their work), this was not the primary concern of ethnomethodology. At EuroPARC, a fascinating choice arose between the Low Church path of radical design engagement with ubiquitous product users and the High Church of apparently hermetic rituals and doctrine.
Mithraism is usually regarded as a rival to nascent Christianity; but Nature Worship ruined its hopes of perpetuity. "Mithra remained", says S. Dill, "inextricably linked with the nature-worship of the past." This connexion cleft between it and purer faiths "an impassable gulf" which meant its "inevitable defeat" ("Roman Soc. from Nero to Aurel.", London, 1904, pp. 622 sqq.), and, "in place of a divine life instinct with human sympathy, it had only to offer the cold symbolism of a cosmic legend" (ibid.). Its very adaptability, M. Cumont reminds us, "prevented it from shaking itself free from the gross or ridiculous superstitions which complicated its ritual and theology; it was involved, in spite of its austerity, in a questionable alliance with the orgiastic cult of the mistress of Attis, and was obliged to drag behind it all the weight of a chimerical or hateful past. The triumph of Roman Mazdeism would not only have ensured the perpetuity of all the aberrations of pagan mysticism, but of the erroneous physical science on which its dogma rested." We have here an indication why religions, into which the astral element entered largely, were intrinsically doomed. The divine stars that ruled life were themselves subject to absolute law. Hence relentless Fatalism or final Scepticism for those sufficiently educated to see the logical results of their mechanical interpretation of the universe; hence the discrediting of myth, the abandonment of cult, as mendacious and useless; hence the silencing of oracle, ecstasy, and prayer; but, for the vulgar, a riot of superstition, the door new opened to magic which should coerce the stars, the cult of hell, and honour for its ministers — things all descending into the Satanism and witchcraft of not un-recent days. Even the supreme and solar cult reached not Monotheism, but a splendid Pantheism. A sublime philosophy, a gorgeous ritual, the support of the earthly Monocracy which mirrored that of heaven, a liturgy of incomparable solemnity and passionate mysticism, a symbolism so pure and high as to cause endless confusion in the troubled mind of the dying Roman Empire between Sun-worship and the adorers of the Sun of Righteousness — all this failed to counteract the aboriginal lie which left God still linked essentially to creation. (See F. Cumont, "Les religions orientales dans le paganisme romain", 2nd ed., Paris, 1909, especially cc. v, vii-viii; "Le mysticisme astral", Brussels, 1909, invaluable for references and bibliography; "Textes et Monuments . . . relatifs aux Myst resde Mithra", I, 1899, II, 1896; "Théol. solaire du paganisme rom.", Paris, 1909.) We do not hint that these elements which have been assigned as the origin of an upward revolution have always, or only, been a cause of degeneration: it is important to note, however, that they have been at times a germ of death as truly as of life.
Christianity first and alone of religions has preached, as one of its central doctrines, the value of the individual soul. What natural religion already, but ineffectually implied, Christianity asserted, reinforced, and transmuted. The same human nature is responsible at once for the admirable kindnesses of the pagan, and for the deplorable cruelties of Christian men, or groups, or epochs; the pagan religions did little, if anything, to preserve or develop the former, Christianity waged ceaseless battle against the latter. As for woman, the promiscuity which is the surest sign of her degradation never existed as a general or stable characteristic of primitive folk. In China and Japan, Buddhism and Confucianism depressed, not succoured her; in ancient Egypt, her position was far higher than in late; it was high too among the Teutons. Even in historic Greece as in Rome, divorce was difficult and disgraceful, and marriage was hedged about with an elaborate legislation and the sanctions of religion. The glimpses we have of ancient matriarchates speak much for the older, honourable position of women; their peculiar festivals (as in Greece, of the Thesmophoria and Arrephoria; in Rome, of the Bona Dea) and certain worships, as of the local Korai or of Isis, kept their sex within the sphere of religion. As long, however, as their intrinsic value before God was not realized, the brute strength of the male inevitably asserted itself against their weakness; even Plato and Aristotle regarded them more as living instruments than as human souls; in high tragedy (an Alcestis, an Antigone) or history (a Cloelia, a Camilla), there is no figure which can at all compare, for religious and moral influence, with a Sara, a Rachel, an Esther, or a Deborah. It is love for mother, rather than for wife, that Paganism acknowledges (see J. Donaldson, "Woman in anc. Greece and Rome, etc.... among the early Christians", London, 1907; C.S. Devas, "Studies of Family Life", London, 1886; Daremberg and Saglio, "Gynæceum", etc.).
Omnia plena deo: the nearer God is realized to be, the richer the efflorescence of religious art and ritual; and the purer the concept of His nature, the nobler the sense-worship that greets it. Hence the world's grandest art has grown round Christ's Real Presence, though Christ said no word of art. Thus, heresy has always been iconoclastic; the distant God of Puritanism, the disincarnate Allah of Islam must be worshipped, but not in beauty. To Hindus, gods were near, but vile; and their art went mad. To the Greeks, save to a smaller band of mystics, whose enthusiasm annihilated external beauty in the effort after spiritual loveliness, all comeliness was bodily; hence the splendid soulless statues of gods (though for a few choice perceptions — Pausanias, Plutarch — the Olympian Zeus had "expression", and conveyed divine significance); hence their treatment of the inanimate beauty of Nature was far less successful and profound than was that of the austere Hebrew, to whom, in his struggle against nature worship and idolatry, plastic art was forbidden, but whose nature-psalms rise higher than anything in Greek literature. The pure new spirit breathing in the art of the Catacombs disguises from us, at first, that its categories are all pagan — though in human models little was directly borrowed, the Orpheus, Hercules, Aristeas type are given to Christ; strange symbols (the disguised cross, the dolphin speared on trident) occur sporadically; "pagan" sarcophagi were doubtless bought direct from pagan warehouses; most startlingly is the difference felt in the spiritual treatment by early Christian Art of the nude (E. Müntz, "Etudes s. l'hist. de la peinture et de l'iconographie chrétienne", Paris, 1886; A. Pératé, "L'archéologie chrét.", Paris, 1892; Wilpert, "Roma Sotteranca: le pitture, etc.", Rome, 1903).
For an appreciation of pagan religions in themselves, and for an estimate of their pragmatic value in life, it should be noted that, in proportion as a pagan religion caught glimpses of high spiritual flights, of ecstacy, penance, otherworldliness, the "heroic", it opened the gates of all sorts of moral cataclysms. A frugi religio was that of Numa: the old Roman in his worship was cautissimus et castissimus. For him, Servus says, religion and fear (=awe) went close together. Pietas was a species of justice (filial, no doubt), but never superstitio. The ordinary man "put the whole of religion in doing things", veiling his head in presence of the modest, featureless numina, who filled his world and (as their adjective-names show — Vaticanus, Argentarius, Domiduca) presided over each sub-section of his life. Later the Roman virtues, Fides, Castitas, Virtus (manliness), were canonized, but religion was already becoming stereotyped, and therefore doomed to crumble, though to the end the volatile Greeks (paides aei) marvelled at its stability, dignity, and decency. So too the high abstractions of the Gâthâs (Moral Law, Good Spirit, Prudent Piety etc., the Amesha-spentas of the Avesta to be — Obedience, Silent Submission, and the rest), especially the enormous value set by Persian ethic upon Truth (a virtue dear to Old Rome), witness to lives of sober, quiet citizenship, generous laborious, unimaginative, just to God and man. Exactly opposite, and disastrous, were the tendencies of the idealistic Hindu, losing himself in dreams of Pantheism, self-annihilation, and divine union. Especially the worship of Vishnu (god of divine grace and devotion), of Krishna (the god so strangely assimilated by modern tendency to Christ), and of Siva (whence Saktism and Tantrism) ran riot into a helpless licence, which must modify, one feels, the whole national destiny. We cannot pass conventional judgments on these aberrations. It is easily conceded that pagans constantly lived better than their creed, or, anyhow, than their myth; blind terrors, faulty premisses, warped traditions originated, preserved, or distorted customs pardonable when we know their history: astounding contradictions coexist (the ritual murders and prostitution of Assyria, together with the high moral sense revealed in the self-examination of the second Shurpu tablet; the sanctified incest and gross myth of Egypt, with the superb negative Confession of the Book of the Dead). Even in Greece, the terrifying survivals of the old clithonic cults, the unmoral influence (for the most part) of the Olympian deities, the unexacting and far more popular cult of local or favourite hero (Herakles, Asklepios), are subordinate to the essential instincts of aidos, themis, nemesis (so well analysed by G. Murray, op. cit.), with their taboos and categorical imperatives, reflected back, as by necessity, to the expressed will of God. The religion of the ordinary man is perfectly and finally expressed in Plato's sketch of Cephalus (Republic, init.) whose instincts and traditions had carried him, at life's close, to a goal practically identical with that achieved by the philosophers at the end of their laborious inquiry. 781b155fdc