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Hermes Trismegistus

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  • Hermes Trismegistus

    Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus
    You may have heard about Hermes Trismegistus from mythology. He's the mythic figure who served as messenger of the gods. He was a master of reality manipulation and manifestation and was able to travel freely between the various realms and dimensions that existed. That original Hermes was the author of a vast amount of written material.

    The alleged teacher the magical system known as Hermetism of which high magic and alchemy are thought to be twin branches. The name Trismegistus means thrice greatest Hermes, and is the title given by the Greeks to the Egyptian god Thoth or Tehuti, a lord of wisdom and learning.

    At one time the Greeks thought two gods inseparable. Thoth governed over mystical wisdom, magic, writing and other disciplines and was associated with healing, while Hermes was the personification of universal wisdom and the patron of magic.

    The myths go further. Both gods are associated with sacred writings. As scribe for the gods, Thoth was credited with all the sacred books. In various Egyptian writings he is called "twice very great" and "five tmes very great." Hermes is credited with writing 20,000 books by Iamblichus (ca. 250-300 BC), a Neo-platonic Syrian philiospher, and over 36,000 books by Manetho (ca. 300 BC), and Egyptian priest who wrote the history of Egypt in Greek, perhaps for Ptolemy I.

    The combined myths of these gods report that both Thoth and Hermes revealed to humankind the healing arts, magic, writing, astrology, science, and philosophy. Thoth wrote the record of the weighing of the souls in the Judgment Hall of Osiris. Hermes led the souls of the dead to Hades.

    According to legend, Hermes Trismegistus is said to have provided the wisdom of light in the ancient mysteries of Egypt. "He carried an emarald, upon which was recorded all of philosophy, and the caduceus, the symbol of mystical illumination. Hermes Trismegistus vanguished Typhon, the dragon of ignorance, and mental, moral and physical perversion."

    Surviving Hermes Trismegistus is hte wisdom of the Hermetica, 42 books that have profoundly indluenced the development of Wester occultism and magick.

    O Egypt, Egypt, of thy religion nothing will remain but an empty tale which thine own children in time to come will not believe; nothing will be left but graven words, and only the stones will tell of they piety.

    "The thrice greatest Hermes," the name given by the Greeks to the Egyptian god Thoth or Tehuti, the god of wisdom, learning, and literature. Thoth was alluded to in later Egyptian writings as "twice very great" and even as "five times very great" in some demotic or popular scripts (ca. third century B.C.E.).

    As "scribe of the gods," Hermes was credited with the authorship of all Greek sacred books, which were thus called "hermetic." There were 42 of these, according to Clemens Alexandrinus, and they were subdivided into six portions, the first dealing with priestly education, the second with temple rituals and the third with geographical matters. The fourth division treated astrology, the fifth recorded hymns in honor of the gods and was a textbook for the guidance of kings, and the sixth was a medical text.

    It is unlikely that these books were all the work of one individual; more likely they represent the accumulated wisdom of Egypt, attributed in the course of ages to the great god of wisdom.

    As "scribe of the gods," Hermes was also the author of all strictly sacred writings. For convenience the name of Hermes was placed at the head of an extensive cycle of mystic literature produced in post-Christian times. Most of this hermetic or trismegistic literature has perished, but all that remains of it has been gathered and translated into English. It includes the Poimandres, (Shepherd of Men), the Perfect Sermon, or the Asclepius, excerpts by Stobacus, as well as fragments from the church fathers and from the philosophers Zosimus and Fulgentius.

    These writings were neglected by theologians, who dismissed them as the offspring of third-century Neoplatonism. According to the generally accepted view, they are eclectic compilations, combining Neoplatonic philosophy, Philonic Judaism, and Kabalistic Theosophy in an attempt to supply a philosophic substitute for Christianity. The many Christian elements to be found in these mystic scriptures were ascribed to plagiarism.

    Examination of early mystery writings and traditions has shown that the main source of the Trismegistic tractates is probably the wisdom of Egypt and that they "go back in an unbroken tradition of type and form and context to the earliest Ptolemaic times."

    Hermes Trismegistus
    (circa 1st Century CE)

    There will come a time when it will have been in vain that Egyptians have honored the Godhead with heartfelt piety and service; and all our holy worship will be fruitless and ineffectual. The Gods will return from earth to heaven; Egypt will be forsaken, and the land which was once the home of religion will be left desolate, bereft of the presence of its deities.

    They will no longer love this world around us, this incomparable work of God, this glorious structure which he has built, this sum of good made up of many diverse forms, this instrument whereby the will of God operates in that which he has made, ungrudgingly favoring man's welfare.

    Darkness will be preferred to light, and death will be thought more profitable than life; no one will raise his eyes to heaven; the pious will be deemed insane, the impious wise; the madman will be thought a brave man, and the wicked will be esteemed as good.

    As for the soul, and the belief that it is immortal by nature, or may hope to attain to immortality, as I have taught you; all this they will mock, and even persuade themselves that it is false. No word of reverence or piety, no utterance worthy of heaven, will be heard or believed.

    And so the Gods will depart from mankind, -- a grievous thing! -- and only evil angels will remain, who will mingle with men, and drive the poor wretches into all manner of reckless crime, into wars, and robberies, and frauds, and all things hostile to the nature of the soul.

    Then will the earth tremble, and the sea bear no ships; heaven will not support the stars in their orbits, all voices of the Gods will be forced into silence; the fruits of the Earth will rot; the soil will turn barren, and the very air will sicken with sullen stagnation; all things will be disordered and awry, all good will disappear.

    But when all this has befallen, then God the Creator of all things will look on that which has come to pass, and will stop the disorder by the counterforce of his will, which is the good. He will call back to the right path those who have gone astray; he will cleanse the world of evil, washing it away with floods, burning it out with the fiercest fire, and expelling it with war and pestilence.