Methought a Being more than vast, in size beyond all bounds, called out my name and saith: What wouldst thou hear and see, and what hast thou in mind to learn and know? ~ The Corpus Hermeticum, Chapter I. “Poemandres, the Shepherd of Men,” line 1 (G.R.S. Mead translation)
The Corpus Hermeticum is a an incredibly important text within the canon of the Classical Hermetic tradition, along with great works, such as The Emerald Tablet and The Kybalion. According to Wikipedia, these texts date back to circa Second/Third Century AD, a time of multiculturalism under the domain of the Roman Empire which extended from Britain to Egypt, but the main cultures expressed in the texts are Graeco-Egyptian.
After the conquests of Alexander many hundreds of years before, the land of Egypt became Hellenized; in other words, the Greeks imposed their culture on the Egyptians. But this was not a period of religious intolerance, the Egyptian pantheon was allowed to survive and thrive as it had for thousands of years previously. This ancient religion had a massive impact on the Mediterranean world, perhaps not as much as the Phoenician one, but it is known that some members of the Greek elite were initiated into the Mystery cults of that land. Manly P. Hall, in his ever beloved The Secret Teachings of All Ages, quotes a document by Thomas Taylor:
Plato was initiated into the “Greater Mysteries” at the age of 49. The initiation took place in one of the subterranean hall of the Great Pyramid in Egypt. ~ pg. 162
Whether or not Plato was truly initiated is not relevant here, the point is that cultures mingled intimately. The birth of this cohabitation was ultimately the philosophy and religion of Hermeticism.
Before I can delve into the text, I must mention the main protagonist of Hermetic doctrine, Hermes Trismegistus. The thrice-blessed sage of sages is none other than Thoth, the Egyptian god of magic and knowledge. The former archetype is a Hellenized form of the latter, this is important to understand the texts, because there is a lot of Greek philosophy expounded.
Hermes: Thus is it, son: That which is upward borne like fire, yet is borne down like earth, that which is moist like water, yet blows like air… ~ TCH, Ch. XIII. “The Secret Sermon on the Mountain,” ln. 6
The previous quote is a particular significator of the admixture of Greek philosophy. The original concept of the four metaphysical elements, Fire, Water, Air, and Earth, was first posited by the pre-Socratic philosopher Empedocles. The saturation of these ideas spread all over the Western/Mediterranean world and its impact cannot be overstated in influencing the pagan communities before the exponential growth of Christianity. It might be accurate to say that Hermeticism is a look into the ideological Sunset of the Classical world.
These texts refer constantly to the idea of “logos.” It would be too laborious a task for me to describe the various meanings of this word, I will therefore refer to a note before the main body of text on chapter XII. “About the Common Mind”:
The Greek word logos — which means both “word” and “reason,” among other things — is central to much of the argument, and it’s unfortunate that English has no way to express the same complex of meanings. The praise of reason in parts 13-14 is also, and equally, a praise of human language, and this sort of double meaning plays a part elsewhere in this and other parts of the Hermetic literature.” ~ JMG
In many of the dialogues, which is the main form of writing that comprise the Hermetica, there is the idea of a word and a Word of God. This duplicity of meaning can be explained in that the capitalized version is a Platonic expression of the base word.
Holy art Thou, who didst by Word (logos) make to consist the things that are. ~ Ch. I. “Poemandres, the Shepherd of Men,” ln. 31
Asclepius: Thy argument (logos), Thrice-greatest one, is not to be gainsaid… ~ Ch. II. “To Asclepius,” ln. 12
In chapter XI. “Mind Unto Hermes,” there is a unique scenario that is not shared in the other Hermetic works. Here, the Man-Shepherd (Mind) converses with Hermes and begins to teach Him things regarding metaphysics and the Soul.
2. Mind: Hear [then], My son, how standeth God and All.
God; Aeon; Cosmos; Time; Becoming.
God maketh Aeon; Aeon, Cosmos; Cosmos, Time; and Time, Becoming [or Genesis]. ~ ln. 2
There is a clear thread in this conception. All things come from God (these people were monotheists, at least esoterically), God creates Aeon, which is “the timeless and spaceless realm of ideal being.” Aeon begets the Cosmos which is our universe, which begets Time, which begets Becoming, or birth and death and rebirth. Each progenitor of these Forms, contains within it the Form itself, therefore God contains all existence. But where do humans fit into this grand design?
10. But thus conceive it, then; that every living body doth consist of soul and matter, whether [that body be] of an immortal, or a mortal, or an irrational [life]. ~ ln. 10
Soul is the Logos encapsulated within the mind. “As above, so below.” God is within each of us, we are all apart of God, but isn’t matter separate from the divine?
Hermes: Matter, my son, is separate from God, in order that thou may’st attribute to it the quality of space. But what thing else than mass think’st thou it is, if it’s not energized? Whereas if it be energized, by whom is it made so? For energies, we said, are parts of God. ~ ln. 22
Yes, everything comes from God and is also energized by Him. But before I go further into my analysis, I must warn the reader to not confuse this God with Jehovah, Zeus, or any other deity that comes to mind. This is the God of the Neoplatonists, the One, the Bornless Deity who created everything. We can conform to the pattern laid out by Immortality and lead our spiritual destiny to its fate, or we can rebel like unmannered children and stray further into spiritual blindness until the concept of Light is utterly forsaken from us. There is choice and actions have consequences.
One thing I found really interesting, though disturbing, from chapter II. “To Ascelpius,” regarding human procreation which followed a dialogue concerning the sexes and their initial union in one body then separateness into male and female.
Wherefore child-making is a very great and a most pious thing in life for them who think aright, and to leave life on earth without a child a very great misfortune and impiety; and he who hath no child is punished by the daimones after death. ~ ln. 17
If only the Europeans, nowadays, had so ardent a belief in the genesis of their offspring as the old Hermeticists did (or as are assumed to have had) there would be no justification whatsoever by capitalists and globalists to flood their nations with third-worlders who breed like rats and work jobs for dirt. Our cultural ancestors scorn and curse us for not heeding their timeless warnings.
Ye earth−born folk, why have ye given yourselves up to Death, while yet ye have the power of sharing Deathlessness? Repent, O ye, who walk with Error arm in arm and make of Ignorance the sharer of your board; get ye out from the light of Darkness, and take your part in Deathlessness, forsake Destruction! ~ Ch. I. “Poemandres, the Shepherd of Men,” ln. 28