Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Hermes Trismegistus

Hermes Trismegistus

“HERMES TRISMEGISTUS, ‘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 is 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. To him was attributed as ‘scribe of the gods’ the authorship of all sacred books which were thus called ‘Hermetic’ by the Greeks. These, according to Clemens Alexandrinus, were forty-two in number and were sub-divided into six portions, of which the first dealt with priestly education, the second with temple ritual, and the third with geographical matter. The fourth division treated of astrology, the fifth of hymns in honor of the gods and a text-book for the guidance of Kings, while the sixth was medical. It is unlikely that these books were all the work of one individual, and it is more probable that they represent the accumulated wisdom of Egypt, attributed in the course of ages to the great god of wisdom.

As ‘scribe of the gods’ Thoth was also the author of all strictly sacred writing. Hence by a convenient fiction 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’--virgin of the world--, ‘the Perfect Sermon,’ or the ‘Asclepius’ excerpts by Stobacus, and fragments from the church fathers and from the philosophers, Zosimus and Fulgentius. Hitherto these writings have been neglected by theologians, who have dismissed them as the offspring of third century Neo-Platoism. According to the generally accepted view they were eclectic compilations, combining neo-Platonic 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. By an examination of early mystery writings and traditions it has been proved with some degree of certainty that the main source of Trismegistic Tractates is the wisdom of Egypt, and that they ‘go back in an unbroken tradition of type and form and context to the earliest Ptolemaic times.’

The ‘Poimandres,’ on which all later Trismegistic literature is based, must, at least in its original form, be placed not later than the first century. The charge of plagiarism from Christian writings, therefore, falls to the ground. If it can be proved that the ‘Poimandres’ belongs to the first century, we have in it a valuable document in determining the environment and development of Christian origins.

Mr. G. R. S. Mead, author of ‘Thrice Greatest Hermes,’ says in an illuminating passage: ‘The more one studies the best of these mystical sermons, casting aside all prejudices, and trying to feel and think with the writers, the more one is conscious of approaching the threshold of what may well be believed to have been the true adytum of the best in the mystery traditions of antiquity, Innumerable are the hints of the greatnesses and immensities lying beyond that threshold--among other precious things the vision of the key to Egypt's wisdom, the interpretation of apocalypsis by the light the sun-clear epopteia of the intelligible cosmos.’”

Brown, Brian. “HERMES TRISMEGISTUS”. The Wisdom of the Egyptians. 1923. Internet Sacred Text Archive. 6 July 2006 [ ].

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Alchemy: A Definition

“The Meaning of Alchemy”

“Alchemy is generally understood to have been that art whose end was the transmutation of the so-called base metals into gold by means of an ill-defined something called the Philosopher's Stone; but even from a purely physical standpoint, this is a somewhat superficial view. Alchemy was both a philosophy and an experimental science, and the transmutation of the metals was its end only in that this would give the final proof of the alchemistic hypotheses; in other words, Alchemy, considered from the physical standpoint, was the attempt to demonstrate experimentally on the material plane the validity of a certain philosophical view of the Cosmos. We see the genuine scientific spirit in the saying of one of the alchemists: ‘Would to God . . . all men might become adepts in our Art--for then gold, the great idol of mankind, would lose its value, and we should prize it only for its scientific teaching.’[1] Unfortunately, however, not many alchemists came up to this ideal; and for the majority of them, Alchemy did mean merely the possibility of making gold cheaply and gaining untold wealth.

By some mystics, however, the opinion has been expressed that Alchemy was not a physical art or science at all, that in no sense was its object the manufacture of material gold, and that its processes were not carried of Alchemy out on the physical plane. According to this transcendental theory, Alchemy was concerned with man's soul, its object was the perfection, not of material substances, but of man in a spiritual sense. Those who hold this view identify Alchemy with, or at least regard it as a branch of, Mysticism, from which it is supposed to differ merely by the employment of a special language; and they hold that the writings of the alchemists must not be understood literally as dealing with chemical operations, with furnaces, retorts, alembics, pelicans and the like, with salt, sulphur, mercury, gold and other material substances, but must be understood as grand allegories dealing with spiritual truths.”[2]

[1] "EIRENÆUS PHILALETHES": An Open Entrance to the Closed Palace of the King (see The Hermetic Museum, Restored and Enlarged, edited by A. E. Waite, 1893, vol. ii. p. 178).
[2] H. Stanley Redgrove, Alchemy: Ancient and Modern (Trowbridge, Wiltshire: Harper and Row, 1973) 1-2.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Witchcraft - A Working Definition

Witchcraft is the practical means or system(s) by which one carries out spellwork, ritualwork, healing, alchemy, herbalism, etc. Witchcraft is indeed an arcane, esoteric art. In contrast, the religion of Wicca (with its many denominations) is a reconstruction of the practice of Witchcraft with a connective theological and thealogical basis, includes it own specific religious tenets (such as the Witches' Rede and the Witches' Creed), and does not adhere to any canon law as decreed by any overseeing secular or governing body.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Musings of Sifu H.A. Diop 07.19.06

The perfect way knows no difficulties
Except that it refuses to make preferences;
If you wish to see it before your own eyes
Have no fixed thoughts either for or against it.
~ Buddhist Scriptures ~

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Musings of Sifu H.A. Diop 07.15.06

Quatrain 32

There was the Door to which I found no Key:
There was the Veil through which I could not see:
Some little Talk awhile of Me and Thee
There seemed--and then no more of Thee and Me.

~ From The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (1859),
translated by Edward FitzGerald

Friday, July 14, 2006

Utterance 312

"To say:
The bread flies, the bread flies to my houses, the houses of the Lower Egyptian crown."

The Pyramid Texts (1952)
“A Series of Five Charms, Utterance 312”
Translation by Samuel A. B. Mercer

The Pagan History WebRing

It is our supreme pleasure to announce the formation of the Pagan History WebRing (TPHW):

This web ring (TPHW) welcomes websites about the history of Paganism. The terms Pagan and Paganism derive from the Latin word "paganus", meaning "country dweller, villager, rustic, or civilian"; and this term represents a broad spectrum of spiritual/religious belief systems and practices of earth-centered, polytheistic, and pantheistic theologies/thealogies. Your website must either study, research, and/or promote the history of Paganism in a positive manner in order to become a member of this ring.

To become a member or just to expand your mind intellectually, please visit with us at:

Saturday, July 8, 2006

Advanced Witchcraft Practicum

The ADVWCP is a forum for the advanced study, practice, and discussion of all aspects of the Craft. Study topics for discussion: Pagan Theology & Thealogy, Ceremonial Magick, Cosmology, History, Psychometry, Spellwork, etc. Familiarity with the nuts and bolts of the Craft is required for membership. This is a purposeful, think-tank e-group for experienced Pagans, Witches, Wiccans, and Alternative Religion and Spirituality (ARS) Seekers.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Today in History 07.06.06

"Jan Hus burned at the stake "

"1415: Czech religious reformer Jan Hus, whose criticisms of the church anticipated the Reformation by more than a century, was convicted of heresy at the Council of Constance and, on this day in 1415, was burned at the stake.

Jan Husborn c. 1370, Husinec, Bohemia [now in Czech Republic]died July 6, 1415, Konstanz [Germany]

Hus also spelled Huss the most important 15th-century Czech religious Reformer, whose work was transitional between the medieval and the Reformation periods and anticipated the Lutheran Reformation by a full century. He was embroiled in the bitter controversy of the Western Schism (1378–1417) for his entire career, and he was convicted of heresy at the Council of Constance and burned at the stake."

"Hus, Jan." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2006. Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service. 6 July 2006

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Gestalt (Entity)

For these metaphysical purposes, a gestalt (emergent property) is an entity (spirit or agent), physical, biological, psychological, symbolic being, configuration, and/or pattern composed of other “lesser” beings or elementals (subcomponents) which make up the sum of their whole and cannot be extrapolated or formulated from as basic summation of its parts.

Monday, July 3, 2006


"Kheper-i kheperu kheper-kuie [kheper-kuy] em kheperu
em kheperi kheper em sep tepi."

Sunday, July 2, 2006

Today in History 07.02.06

"Revolt aboard the slave ship Amistad"

"1839: On this day in 1839, a slave rebellion occurred on the ship Amistad, and the subsequent acquittal of the mutineers, who were deemed to be kidnap victims rather than merchandise, was a victory for American abolitionism."

For more information about the Amistad mutiny, visit the resource below.


Saturday, July 1, 2006

The Nature of Myth and Mythology

The nature of myth and mythology is closely related to social accord, harmony with the Universe, and archetypes of any culture from a societal and psychological perspective. In general, an archetype is an idealized construct or model of a person, object, or concept compared with a psychological archetype being a model of a person, personality (and sometimes a set of collective personalities), or behavior (and sometimes a set of collective behaviors).

Based on Jungian psychology, there are four specific archetypes (Jungian Archetypes):

The Self
The Shadow
The Anima
The Animus

There are other Jungian archetypes, images, and characters which will be explored later. For now, the focus will concern the above four psychic structures as they parallel to myth and mythology. Let us begin our journey with some definitions.

To be continued . . .