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Hermes Trismegistus

Category: Mystic

Hermes Trismegistus is the source for the Hermetic Corpus, a series of sacred texts that are the basis of Hermeticism.  The Asclepius and the Corpus Hermeticum are the most important of the Hermetica which survive.

All of the texts are concerned with variations on spiritual experience, how to obtain it, how to interpret it,  how to control it and so on. A bit like this website only a million times better!  The Hermetica, for example contains ‘spells’ and initiatory induction procedures. In the dialogue called the Asclepius  there is the art of “imprisoning the souls of demons or of angels in statues with the help of herbs, gems and odors”, and means of achieving prophecy.  So it is potentially extremely relevant to this website.

Thrice great

Some people use the word 'author' of the Hermetic Corpus, but I use the word source, because the author may have been different from the source.  Given that Spirit helpers can appear any number of times to different people and help them, the ‘thrice great’ nature of this supplier of wisdom may simply allude to the fact that having twin horns and the jester's hat he was in touch with the Sun and Moon and the Stars - a god.

The word Hermes in the context of the name may simply mean a messenger.  But it may also be the Intelligence MERCURY.

MERCURY is connected with change and transformation, thus he is associated with both construction and creativity and destruction as the two have to go together – the old has to go for the new to appear. People are frightened of change, as such MERCURY [or Hermes] has a somewhat ambivalent image in myths and legend.  He is portrayed as both a terrifying destructive force and a powerful creative deity.  As such, if we believe the spirit helper to be MERCURY, the wisdom imparted was intended to fuel major change.

Hermes as Mercury helps during alchemy in bottling
Ida and Pingala

There appears to be some agreement that this spirit helper helped the Greeks, the Egyptians and possibly the Babylonians and as such the texts are a summary of the wisdom imparted.  A Mycenaean Greek reference was found on a Linear B clay tablet at Pylos to a deity called TI-RI-SE-RO-E, Trisheros (the "thrice or triple hero").  Fowden asserts that the name was used in the Athenagora by Philo of Byblos circa 64–141 CE.  What is perhaps equally interesting is that some Jewish traditions claim that Abraham acquired a portion of his mystical knowledge from this spirit helper (Kybalion).   Ibn Arabi [a Sufi]  mentioned Hermes Trismegistus in his writings.

So really the Hermetic Corpus is a collection of texts that have been imparted to numerous people over the years via spiritual experience and more importantly via one  Intelligence of extreme importance designed to provoke change of a major nature.  It is the collected wisdom from the spirit world.

As a divine source of wisdom, Hermes Trismegistus was credited with “tens of thousands of writings of high standing, reputed to be of immense antiquity”.  What we have now is thus a truly tiny fragment of what was once known.

Methods

The final link in this convoluted chain has to do with which particular form of spiritual experience Hermes Trismegistus had and which practises were used.  Hermes as Mercury traditionally carried a caduceus.    The caduceus is the emblem of the kundalini experience.  Thus we have our first answer, Hermes, also known as Mercury, gained his power by having a kundalini experience and the thrice great then refers to the three streams of energy found in a kundalini experience - Ida, Pingala and Sushumna.  

In terms of which practises he used, although stimulation of trigger points is an option, the main techniques are sexual - peaking, sexual stimulation and sex magick.

This is why Hermes Trismegistus is said to be the father or founder of alchemy.  An alchemist uses sexual techniques to provoke a kundalini experience.

Translations

Most of the translations of the Corpus Hermeticum are theoretically based on the version written in Greek in Alexandria between the first and third centuries AD.  This version was “rediscovered in the West in the fifteenth century when it was first translated into Latin by Marsilio Ficino”.

The trouble with all this is that translation has followed translation and by now when you read some of the English translations they make absolutely no sense at all – not even to someone who has had a reasonable amount of spiritual experience to use as a yardstick. For this reason, some scholars are attempting to find better versions and start from scratch.   Professor Mahe's translation of "The Definitions of Hermes Trismegistus to Asclepius" , for example, has been made from an old Armenian version and a recently rediscovered Greek manuscript in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

But there are parts even of the translations of translations of translations where one can still see a glimmer of the original and for that reason I have used it as a source.  Hopefully in the future some of these new initiatives may bear better fruit.

Observations

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