Apech

The Hermetic Tradition or Lineage

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The point has already been made in the thread in General Discussion that the idea of an 'unbroken' Hermetic lineage is a false one. And in the sense of a recorded line of authentic teacher to pupil transmission I think this must be the case as, as far as I am aware no such thing exists.

 

For a long time the Hermetic Texts themselves were viewed as a kind of neo-Platonic invention, whereby the ancient writers had falsely planted Ancient Egyptian origins on top of Neo-Platonist (therefore Greek thought) and so any tradition which suggested that hermeticism did indeed have its origin in Egypt and Sumer was an invention. However more recent academic examination of the Corpus and the discovery of Hermetic texts at Nag Hammadi has shown that there was a third strand of thought alongside early Christianity and Gnosticism attributed to Hermes Trismegistus and having recognisable and different world view. In fact even the early Church Fathers cited these texts as evidence that the ancients knew of the trinity before the Xtian church was founded.

 

The person of Hermes Trismegistus is now viewed as not necessarily a single author and indeed not even a 'human' source at all. Rather as in vajrayana Buddhism the origin of teachings is often quoted as a spiritual entity of some kind, so H.T. can be viewed. He is though also viewed as an ancient sage/magician with ante-diluvian wisdom passed down through he ages.

 

The tradition of the Corpus was preserved through the Middle Ages largely by Arabic scholars and rediscovered along with science and philosophy in the Renaissance. As a third stand of thought it is often overlooked ... although in those days there was less of a gap between say alchemy and chemistry ... a true difference did not emerge until the 18 century ... so the likes of Newton also studied astrology and so on ...

 

Two strands in Hermeticism were also separated geographically. In Italy a version more akin to Neo-Platonism was studied, based largely on the translations by Ficino while north of the Alps a more practical alchemical style based largely on the Emerald Tablet was developed.

 

The ideas pervaded western thought and culture in a way which contrasted but complemented the growth of Rationalism and the orthodoxy of the Church. Poets and artists particularly drew on it for inspiration .... everything from Shakespeare to the Magic Flute show influences which come directly from Hermeticism.

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Yes, teachings become apparent to the individual as deemed ready, from the unseen linage holders. The 'secret' nature of this work cannot be escaped, no matter what is said about teachings becoming open and available to all. "Real' initiation actually goes on at an unseen level.

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I would make a direct comparison with vajrayana where the text says this is transmitted by the Sambhoga Kaya 'deity' of Chenrezig or other ... in other words direct revelation and not historical transmission. This deity exists beyond serial time as we experience it. Hermes T. would stand as the 'person' through which this knowledge is transmitted by direct revelation.

 

As a side note the Egyptians themselves had two words for eternity ... nHH and djt ... when put to gether they are usually translated as for ever and ever , or through eternity and everlastingness. The first one is the continual cycling of energy as typified by the solar cycle and the second is the endless passage of time since the beginning (Zep Tawi = First Time). So there is a sense of eternal truths transmitted through serial time.

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I have heard that the entire Hermetic tradition and lineage is encoded in plain sight in the Gothic Cathedrals like Chartres and even Notre Dame. Some say Chartres is a temple to Isis just in another guise to avoid destruction by the Inquisition

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Well, I suppose the best thing is to start at the beginning ... the word Hermetic is from the Greek god Hermes and the Greeks were particularly fond of making equivalences between their gods and other peoples. There was no real religious division in those days since as polytheists they were quite happy to accept that different peoples worshipped different gods. But as I say the Greeks liked to make correspondences and the one we are concerned with is Hermes = Thoth (or Djehuti).

 

The reason this god is so important is that he is the god of wisdom and learning. And as such he was the god of the priest/king/scientists (as they have been called) of the ancient world. His learning and wisdom makes him the inventor - or the bringer to mankind of writing, mathematics, medecine and magic. He knew the words and how to utter them to effect magic. Magic in Ancient Egypt being called heka. So to the Egyptians Thoth was the god of doctors, scribes, architects and so on. This relationship between men and god gives rise to a particular importance in the 'project' of understanding ourselves and the world around us. In other words if they wanted revelation, truth and the secrets of how things work .. they would appeal to Thoth. The Greeks saw their equivalent Hermes as a helpful messenger between gods and men and a guide to the underworld ... just as Thoth was. Also the ancient books such as the Book of the Dead were said to be written by Thoth ... and so are in a way the very first Hermetic texts themselves. Indeed the oldest extended religious writing in the world are the Pyramid Texts ( c. 2350 BC) and these would be the oldest Hermetic Texts known.

 

As such the Pyramid Texts, the Middle Kingdom Coffin Texts and the New Kingdom Book of the Dead form a corpus of tradition spanning about 3000 years. They are all essentially guides to navigating the hidden realm of the Duat, or underworld as it is usually translated. All attributed to Thoth and all about helping those who sought the knowledge to journey in their consciousness through the Duat and become an akh or imperishable spirit. ( a form of immortality).

 

We know that these ancient civilisations and their knowledge were destroyed (or had become worn out) by the end of the Roman Empire and when Rome converted to Christianity they were actively persecuted. However before this happened there was a period mainly in the first few Centuries AD when in places like Alexandria the thinkers of that time were formulating new philosophies and mystical systems. These were mostly written in Greek which was the lingua franca of the Roman Empire and hence were attributed to Hermes (and not Thoth) ... but they actually mean the same god/person and they were attributed to someone who probably never existed called Hermes Trismegistus ... which means Hermes Thrice Great ... and the link is that Thoth also had this title of Thrice Great ... so in the guise of an ancient sage they were addressing Thoth himself.

 

So the Hermetic Corpus, the books written in Greek and attributed to Hermes Trismegistus were actually claiming to be the wisdom handed down from the ancient world ... not only of Egypt but also Sumer (Iraq) and Persia (Iran). On the Christian persecution and burning of books much of this was lost in Western Europe which descended into the so called Dark Ages but the Arabs kept the books in Greek and some in Latin and preserved them ... so that following the Crusades to the Holy Land the were refound .. translated and became used in Italy and Germany/Poland by the hermeticists and alchemists of the Middle Ages. These texts together with the philosophy and science of the Greek sparked the renaissance.

 

What has been called frequently into question is whether there really is a historical transmission of knowledge which goes with these documents and constitutes a genuine western hermetic tradition. Or is it a fabrication that, even if the texts are genuine, is merely a way to give legitimacy to whatever people are practicing.

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It seems to me that the transmission sometimes occurs via direct revelation to individuals .... here's an example of Jacob Boehme ...

 

Jakob Boehme (1575-1624) was a German religious mystic from the town of Goerlitz (Zgorzelec in Polish) in Silesia, on the Polish side of the Oder river just across from eastern Germany. A cobbler by profession, he was an autodidact much influenced by Paracelsus, the Kabbala, astrology, alchemy, and the Hermetic tradition (Peuckert, 1924 101; Merkel 302-310; Hvolbel 6-17). He experienced a seminal religious epiphany in 1600, when a ray of sunlight reflected in a pewter dish catapulted him into an ecstatic vision of the Godhead as penetrating all existence, including even the Abyss of Non-being. This and other mystical experiences caused Boehme to write a series of obscure but powerful religious treatises. According to him, negativity, finitude, and suffering are essential aspects of the Deity, for it is only through the participatory activity of his creatures that God achieves full self-consciousness of his own nature.
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Begat quietism begat Zinzendorf begat Moravians begat Methodists.

 

Shows how much begatting there was in those days!

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I knew a woman, daughter of a witch.   Apparently when the witch was dying she shared out her familiar spirits among her children - fearing that none was able to handle the whole group.

 

Is that a basis for a hermetic lineage - passing on familiar spirits?

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Not one I have heard of before .  That is, within any tradition of witchcraft I have been  in invoved with  ; I was a II0 Witch - a third is a High Priest of a covern, I have acted the part in ritual but never helped to run a coven  ( numerous covens ,  'festivities' and rites ;  a lot of contact and sharing with  PPPA  - Pan pacific Pagan Alliance ) .

 

But is witchcraft an 'hermetic lineage ' ? I would say not .

 

I am also involved with hermetics , I have never heard of this 'passing on' in that field either .

 

An accomplished magician would understand why this is not a good idea .

 

 

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On 2/28/2022 at 5:28 PM, Lairg said:

I knew a woman, daughter of a witch.   Apparently when the witch was dying she shared out her familiar spirits among her children - fearing that none was able to handle the whole group.

 

Is that a basis for a hermetic lineage - passing on familiar spirits?

In my experience: After my moms death I was able to acquire a certain number of my families trusted spirits. IMO: this had nothing to do with my lineage, but just my training at working with spirits.

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Posted (edited)
On 12/18/2012 at 12:04 AM, Apech said:

We know that these ancient civilisations and their knowledge were destroyed (or had become worn out) by the end of the Roman Empire and when Rome converted to Christianity they were actively persecuted. However before this happened there was a period mainly in the first few Centuries AD when in places like Alexandria the thinkers of that time were formulating new philosophies and mystical systems. These were mostly written in Greek which was the lingua franca of the Roman Empire and hence were attributed to Hermes (and not Thoth) ... but they actually mean the same god/person and they were attributed to someone who probably never existed called Hermes Trismegistus ... which means Hermes Thrice Great ... and the link is that Thoth also had this title of Thrice Great ... so in the guise of an ancient sage they were addressing Thoth himself.

 

You mean like this, "Holy Holy Holy"? Thrice Great = Thrice Holy?! The masons admit that the bible is the same old religion of egypt, just rebranded... They are its writers... The cross of "Christ" is allegory of neidan - accepting cristos/jing (celibacy, true christianity), leading it up the 33 vertebrates of the spine (age of mythical Christ's crucifixtion) into your golgotha ("place of skull")... this is about transmuting jing all the way up to the "Most High" (brain or upper dantien). Many hints are given how to do neidan properly - the parable of the 10 virgins: 5 foolish, 5 wise, talks about how the wise can enter when its dark (meditation) to see the king (God, Tao, emptiness)... its by having "oil" (cristos) in their "lanterns" - the foolish dont have oil, they have wasted it..

As per Jesus' sayings, "dont take thought (...) dont take thought (...) dont take thought (...)" - emptiness (xing) meditation or contemplative, centering prayer aka non-donig (stillness).

Jing + stillness -> wuji phenomenon of creating the golden elixier, which splits into 2 (ying and yang) which then mingles and produces the child (3rd) and this process is repeated until 10.000 (all of reality) is created.

Since reality is dualitstic, this happens in a dual fashion - 1st, on a macrocosmic scale (big bang type of deal), creation reality, 2nd on a microcosmic scale - inside of you, giving you the immortal/rainbow/glorified/incorruptible body...

 

"The yoke of Christ is easy", btw... you just let go, mainly of lust and of thoughts.. and with these two, all other things automatically fall away over time and you end up in the void or the dark abyss... staring into it, it will stare back... because its not 2, but 1 thing that is doing the staring - this is when duality awareness collapses into non-dual perception or unity consciousness... and...:

"At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you."

 

St Paul alluded to this through the allegory of the 1 body / church -- all are just part of the 1 and there is ultimately nothing but that 1 (Tao)... its the same old non-dual philosophy, just with different names, labels, branding and occultic cipher!

Edited by PalmBreather
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Thoth/Hermes being "the thrice greatest" has been read in various ways over time. In one interpretation, the title was given him on account of being the greatest king, philosopher, and priest. In another (of a later date, but viable in its own right), it alludes to his supreme mastery of the three major occult sciences: astrology, alchemy, and magic.

Edited by Michael Sternbach

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On 12/17/2012 at 10:03 PM, Apech said:

The tradition of the Corpus was preserved through the Middle Ages largely by Arabic scholars and rediscovered along with science and philosophy in the Renaissance

 

It seems that many of the ancient texts were rediscovered in the Middle Ages, translated and the originals immediately lost.

 

This might be just commercialism in the monasteries except that a lot of the "discovered" material is outstanding.

 

So another possibility is that the Renaissance occurred through the entry into the human race of some exalted beings that came to rescue the failing European civilization.  These exalted beings found it useful to attach ancient authors to their new writings to encourage acceptance.

 

If so, the question of continuous traditions may be superfluous.  It may be better just to test the writings

 

 

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24 minutes ago, Lairg said:

 

It seems that many of the ancient texts were rediscovered in the Middle Ages, translated and the originals immediately lost.

 

They weren't really lost, though. In many cases, the Greek and/or Arabic versions of those texts are still extant. Others were written in Latin to begin with, although based on the knowledge that reached Europe mostly via the translation schools in Toledo and Sicily. It seems likely that the Crusades played a role in its transmission as well.

 

Quote

This might be just commercialism in the monasteries except that a lot of the "discovered" material is outstanding.

 

So another possibility is that the Renaissance occurred through the entry into the human race of some exalted beings that came to rescue the failing European civilization.  These exalted beings found it useful to attach ancient authors to their new writings to encourage acceptance.

 

Here we must differentiate between the influx of Graeco-Arabic science in the Middle Ages on the one hand, and the beginning of the Renaissance on the other. The latter was boosted by Marsilio Ficino's translation of the Corpus Hermeticum in 1463, after a monk had brought the Greek original from Byzantine to Florence on behalf of Cosimo de' Medici.

 

I would agree that Divine Providence played a role nonetheless - it was meant to happen. :)

 

Quote

If so, the question of continuous traditions may be superfluous.  It may be better just to test the writings

 

 

 

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