The Divine Pymander of Hermes
Translation by Dr. Everard, 1650 A.D.
HERMES TRISMEGISTUS: HIS FIRST BOOK
1. O MY SON, write this First Book, both for Humanity’s sake, and for
Piety towards god.
2. For there can be no Religion more true or just, than to know the
things that are; and to acknowledge thanks for all things, to Him that
made them, which thing I shall not cease continually to do.
3. What then should a man do, O Father, to lead his life well; seeing
there is nothing here true?
4. Be Pious and Religious, O my Son; for he that doth so, is the best and
highest Philosopher, and without Philosophy it is impossible ever to
attain to the height and exactness of Piety and Religion.
5. But he that shall learn and study the things that are, and how they
are ordered and governed, and by whom, and for what cause, or to what
end. Will acknowledge thanks to the Workman, as to a good Father, an
excellent Nurse, and a faithful Steward, and he that gives thanks shall be
Pious or Religious, and he that is Religious shall know both where the
truth is, and what it is, and learning that he will be yet more and more
6. For never, O my Son, shall, or can that soul, which, while it is in the
body, lightens and lifts up itself to know and comprehend that which is
good and true, slide back to the contrary. For it is infinitely enamoured
thereof, and forgetteth all evils; and when it hath learned and known its
Father and Progenitor, it can no more apostatize or depart from that
7. And let this, O Son, be the end of Religion and Piety; whereunto thou
art once arrived, thou shalt both live well and die blessedly, whilst thy
soul is not ignorant wither it must return, and fly back again.
8. For this only, O Son, is the way to Truth, which our Progenitors
travelled in; and by which making their journey, they at length attained
to the good. It is a venerable way and plain, but hard and difficult for
the soul to go in that is in the body.
9. For first must it war against its own self, and after much strife and
dissention, it must be overcome of the part; for the contention is of one
against two, whilst it flies away, and they strive to hold and detain it.
10. But the victory of both is not like, for the one hasteth to that which is
Good, but the other is a neighbour to the things that are Evil; and that
which is Good desireth to be set at liberty, but the things that are Evil
love bondage and Slavery.
11. And if the two parts be overcome, they become quiet, and are
content to accept of it as their Ruler; but if the one be overcome of the
two, it is by them led and carried to be punished by its being and
12. This is, O Son, the Guide in the way that leads thither; for thou must
first forsake the Body before thy end, and get the victory in this
contention and strifeful life, and when thou hast overcome, return.
13. But now, O my Son, I will by Heads run through the things that are.
Understand thou what I say, and remember what thou hearest.
14. All things that are moved, only that which is not is immoveable.
15. Every body is changeable.
16. Not every body is dissolveable.
17. Some bodies are dissolveable.
18. Every living being is not mortal.
19. Nor every living thing is immortal.
20. That which may be dissolved is also corruptible.
21. That which abides always is unchangeable.
22. That which is unchangeable is eternal.
23. That which is always made is always corrupted.
24. That which is made but once is never corrupted, neither becomes
any other thing.
25. Firstly, God; secondly, the World; thirdly, Man.
26. The World for Man; Man for God.
27. Of the Soul; that part which is sensible is mortal, but that part
which is reasonable is immortal.
28. Every Essence is immortal.
29. Every Essence is unchangeable.
Part 2 of 3
30. Everything that is, is double.
31. None of the things that are stand still.
32. Not all things are moved by a soul, but everything that is, is moved
by a soul.
33. Everything that suffers is sensible; everything that is sensible,
34. Everything that is sad, rejoiceth also; and is a mortal living
35. Not everything that joyeth is also sad, but is an eternal living thing.
36. Not every body is sick; every body that is sick is dissolveable.
37. The mind in God.
38. Reasoning (or disputing or discoursing) in Man.
39. Reason in the Mind.
40. The Mind is void of suffering.
41. No thing in a body true.
42. All that is incorporeal, is void of Lying.
43. Everything that is made is corruptible.
44. Nothing good upon Earth; nothing evil in Heaven.
45. God is good; Man is evil.
46. Good is voluntary, or of its own accord.
47. Evil is involuntary, or against its will.
48. The gods choose good things, as good things.
49. Time is a Divine thing.
50. Law is humane.
51. Malice is the nourishment of the World.
52. Time is the corruption of Man.
53. Whatsoever is in Heaven is unalterable.
54. All upon Earth is alterable.
55. Nothing in Heaven is servanted; nothing upon Earth free.
56. Nothing unknown in Heaven; nothing known upon Earth.
57. The things upon Earth communicate not with those in Heaven.
58. All things in Heaven are unblameable; all things upon Earth are
subject to reprehension.
Part 3 of 3
59. That which is immortal is not mortal; that which is mortal is not
60. That which is sown is not always begotten; but that which is
begotten always is sown.
61. Of a dissolveable body, there are two times; one for sowing to
generation, one from generation to death.
62. Of an everlasting Body, the time is only from the Generation.
63. Dissolveable Bodies are increased and diminished.
64. Dissolveable matter is altered into contraries; to wit, Corruption
and Generation, but Eternal matter into itself, and its like.
65. The Generation of Man is corruption; the Corruption of Man is the
beginning of Generation.
66. That which offsprings or begetteth another, is itself an offspring or
begotten by another.
67. Of things that are, some are in bodies, some in their IDEAS.
68. Whasoever things belong to operation or working, are in a body.
69. That which is immortal, partakes not of that which is mortal.
70. That which is mortal cometh not into a Body immortal; but that
which is immortal cometh into that which is mortal.
71. Operation or Workings are not carried upwards, but descend
72. Things upon Earth, do nothing advantage those in Heaven; but all
things in Heaven do profit and advantage all things upon Earth.
73. Heaven is capable, and a fit receptacle of everlasting Bodies; the
Earth of corruptible Bodies.
74. The Earth is brutish; the Heaven is reasonable or rational.
75. Those things that are in Heaven are subjected or placed under it,
but the things on earth are placed upon it.
76. Heaven is the first element.
77. Providence is Divine order.
78. Necessity is the Minister or Servant of Providence.
79. Fortune is the carriage or effect of that which is without order; the
Idol of operation, a lying Fantasie or opinion.
80. What is God? The immutable or unalterable good.
81. What is man? An unchangeable evil.
82. If thou perfectly remember these Heads, thou canst not forget those
things which in more words I have largely expounded unto thee; for
these are the contents or Abridgment of them.
83. Avoid all conversation with the multitude or common people; for I
would not have thee subject to Envy, much less to be ridiculous unto the
84. For the like always takes to itself that which is like, but the unlike
never agrees with the unlike. Such discourses as these have very few
Auditors, and peradventure very few will have, but they have something
peculiar unto themselves.
85. They do rather sharpen and whet evil men to their maliciousness;
therefore, it behoveth to avoid the multitude, and take heed of them as
not understanding the virtue and power of the things that are said.
86. How does thou mean, O Father?
87. This O Son: the whole nature and Composition of those living things
called Men, is very prone to Maliciousness, and is very familiar, and as it
were nourished with it, and therefore is delighted with it; now this
wight, if it shall come to learn or know that the world was once made,
and all things are done according to Providence or Necessity, Destiny or
Fate, bearing rule over all, will he not be much worse than himself,
despising the whole, because it was made? And if he may lay the cause of
Evil upon Fate or Destiny, he will never abstain from any evil work.
88. Wherefore we must look warily to such kind of people, that being in
ignorance they may be less evil for fear of that which is hidden and kept
The Divine Pymander of Hermes.
THE SECOND BOOK,
MY THOUGHTS being once seriously busied about things that are, and
my Understanding lifted up, all my bodily Senses being exceedingly
holden back, as it is with them that are heavy of sleep, by reason either
of fulness of meat, or of bodily labour: Methought I saw one of an
exceeding great stature, and of an infinite greatness, call me by my
name, and say unto me, What wouldst thou hear and see? Or what
wouldst thou understand to learn and know?
2. Then said I, Who are Thou? I am, quoth he, Poemander, the mind of
the great Lord, the most mighty and absolute Emperor: I know what
thou wouldst have, and I am always present with thee.
3. Then I said, I would learn the things that are, and understand the
nature of them, and know God. How? said he. I answered that I would
gladly hear. Then said he, Have me again in they mind, and whasoever
though wouldst learn, I will teach thee.
4. When he had thus said, he was changed in his Idea or Form, and
straightway, in the twinkling of an eye, all things were opened unto me.
And I saw an infinite sight, all things were become light, both sweet and
exceeding pleasant; and I was wonderfully delighted in the beholding it.
5. But after a little while, there was a darkness made in part, coming
down obliquely, fearful and hideous, which seemed unto me to be
changed into a certain moist nature, unspeakably troubled, which yielded
a smoke as from Fire; and from whence proceeded a voice unutterable,
and very mournful, but inarticulate, inasmuch as it seemed to have come
6. Then from that Light, a certain holy Word joined itself unto Nature,
and outflew the pure and unmixed Fire from the moist nature upwards
on high; it was exceeding Light, and sharp, and operative withal. And
the Air, which was also light, followed the Spirit and mourned up to Fire
(from the Earth and the Water), insomuch that it seemed to hang and
depend upon it.
7. And the Earth and the Water stayed by themselves so mingled
together, that the Earth could not be seen for the Water, but they were
moved because of the Spiritual word that was carried upon them.
8. Then said Poemander unto me, Dost thou understand this vision, and
what it meaneth? I shall know, said I. Then said he, I am that Light, the
Mind, thy God, who am before that moist nature that appeared out of
darkness; and that bright and lightful Word from the mind is the Son of
9. How is that, quoth I? Thus, replied he, understand it: That which in
thee seeth and heareth, the Word of the Lord, and the Mind the Father,
God, differ not one from the other; and the union of these is Life.
Trismeg.—I thank thee.
Pimand.—But first conceive well the Light in they mind, and know
10. When he had said thus, for a long time we looked steadfastly one
upon the other, insomuch that I trembled at his Idea or Form.
11. But when he nodded to me, I beheld in my mind the Light that is in
innumerable, and the truly indefinite ornament or world; and that the
Fire is comprehended or contained in, or by a great moist Power, and
constrained to keep its station.
12. These things I understood, seeing the word, or Pimander; and when
I was mightily amazed, he said again unto me, Hast thou seen in thy
mind that Archetypal Form which was before the interminated and
infinite Beginning? Thus Pimander to me. But whence, quoth I, or
whereof are the Elements of Nature made?
Pimander.—Of the Will and counsel of God; which taking the Word,
and beholding the beautiful World (in the Archetype thereof) imitated it,
and so made this World, by the principles and vital seeds or Soul-like
productions of itself.
13. For the Mind being God, Male and Female, Life and Light, brought
forth by his Word another Mind or Workman; which being God of the
Fire, and the Spirit, fashioned and formed seven other Governors, which
in their circles contain the Sensible World, whose Government or
disposition is called Fate or Destiny.
14. Straightway leaped out, or exalted itself from the downward
Elements of God, The Word of God, into the clean and pure
Workmanship of Nature, and was united to the Workman, Mind, for it
was Consubstantial; and so the downward born elements of Nature were
left without Reason, that they might be the only Matter.
15. But the Workman, Mind, together with the Word, containing the
circles, and whirling them about, turned round as a wheel, his own
Workmanships; and suffered them to be turned from an indefinite
Beginning to an indeterminable end, for they always begin where they
16. And the Circulation or running round of these, as the mind willeth,
out of the lower or downward-born Elements, brought forth
unreasonable or brutish Creatures, for they had no reason, the Air
flying things, and the Water such as swim.
17. And the Earth and the Water were separated, either from the other,
as the Mind would; and the Earth brought forth from herself, such living
creatures as she had, four-footed and creeping beasts, wild and tame.
18. But the Father of all things, the Mind being Life and Light, brought
forth Man like unto himself, whom he loved s his proper Birth; for he
was all beauteous, having the image of his Father.
19. For indeed God was exceedingly enamoured of his own form or
shape, and delivered unto it all his own Workmanships. But he, seeing
and understanding the Creation of the Workman in the whole, would
needs also himself fall to work, and so was separated from the Father,
being in the sphere of Generation or Operation.
20. Having all Power, he considered the Operations or Workmanships
of the Seven; but they loved him, and everyone made him partaker of his
21. And he learning diligently, and understanding their Essence, and
partaking their Nature, resolved to pierce and break through the
Circumference of the Circles, and to understand the power of him that
sits upon the Fire.
22. And having already all power of mortal things, of the Living, and of
the unreasonable creatures of the World, stooped down and peeped
through the Harmony, and breaking through the strength of the Circles,
so showed and made manifest the downward-born Nature, the fair and
beautiful Shape or Form of God.
23. Which, when he saw, having in itself the unsatiable Beauty, and all
the operations of the Seven Governors, and the Form or Shape of God,
he smiled for love, as if he had seen the shape or likeness in the Water, or
the shadow upon the Earth, of the fairest Human form.
24. And seeing in the Water a Shape, a Shape like unto himself, in
himself he loved it, and would cohabit with it, and immediately upon the
resolution ensued the operation, and brought forth the unreasonable
Image or Shape.
25. Nature presently laying hold of what it so much loved, did wholly
wrap herself about it, and they were mingled, for they loved one
26. And from this cause Man above all things that live upon earth is
double: Mortal, because of his body, and Immortal, because of the
substantial Man. For being immortal, and having power of all things, he
yet suffers mortal things, and such as are subject to Fate or Destiny.
27. And therefore being above all Harmony, he is made and become a
servant to Harmony, he is Hermaphrodite, or Male and Female, and
watchful, he is governed by and subjected to a Father, that is both Male
and Female, and watchful.
28. After these things, I said, Thou art my mind, and I am in love with
29. Then said Pimander, This is the Mystery that to this day is hidden
and kept secret; for Nature being mingled with man, brought forth a
Wonder most Wonderful; for he having the nature of the Harmony of
the Seven, from him whom I told thee, the Fire and the Spirit, Nature
continued not, but forthwith brought forth seven Men, all Males and
Females, and sublime, or on high, according to the Natures of the seven
30. And after these things, O Pimander, quoth I, I am now come into a
great desire and longing to hear; do not digress or run out.
31. But he said, Keep silence, for I have not yet finished the first speech.
32. Trism. Behold, I am silent.
33. Pim. The Generation therefore of these Seven was after this manner:
—The Air being Feminine and the Water desirous of Copulation, took
from the Fire its ripeness, and from the aether Spirit, and so Nature
produced Bodies after the species and shape of men.
34. And man was made of Life and Light, into Soul and Mind; of Life
the soul, of Light the Mind.
35. And so all the members of the Sensible World, continued unto the
period of the end, bearing rule and generating.
36. Hear now the rest of that speech thou so much desireth to hear.
37. When that period was fulfilled, the bond of all things was loosed and
untied by the will of God; for all living Creatures being
Hermaphroditical, or Male and Female, were loosed and untied together
with man; and so the Males were apart by themselves and the Females
38. And straightways God said to the Holy Word, Increase in increasing
and multiplying in multitude all you my Creatures and Workmanships.
And let him that is endued with mind, know himself to be immortal; and
that the cause of death is the love of the body, and let him learn all things
39. When he had thus said, Providence by Fate of Harmony, made the
mixtures and established the Generations, and all things were multiplied
according to their kind. And he that knew himself, came at length to the
Superstantial of every way substantial good.
40. But he that thro’ the error of Love loved the Body, abideth
wandering in darkness, sensible, suffering the things of death.
41. Trism. But why do they that are ignorant, sin so much, that they
should therefore be deprived of immortality?
42. Pim. Thou seemest not to have understood what thou hast heard.
43. Trism. Peradventure I seem so to thee; but I both understand and
44. Pim. I am glad for thy sake if thou understoodest them.
45. Trism. Tell me why are they worthy of death, that are in death?
46. Pim. Because there goeth a sad and dismal darkness before its
body; of which darkness is the moist nature, of which moist nature the
Body consisteth in the sensible world, from whence death is derived.
Has thou understood this aright?
47. Trism. But why, or how doth he that understands himself, go or
pass into God?
48. Pim. That which the Word of God said, say I: Because the Father
of all things consists of Life and Light, whereof man is made.
49. Trism. Thou sayest very well.
50. Pim. God and the Father is Light and Life, of which Man is made.
If therefore thou learn and believe thyself to be of the Life and Light,
thou shalt again pass into Life.
51. Trism. But yet tell me more, O my Mind, how I shall go into Life.
52. Pim. God saith, Let man, endued with a mind, mark, consider, and
know himself well.
53. Trism. Have not all men a mind?
54. Pim. Take heed what thou sayest, for I the mind come unto men
that are holy and good, pure and merciful, and that live piously and
religiously; and my presence is a help unto them. And forthwith they
know all things, and lovingly they supplicate and propitiate the Father;
and blessing him, they give him thanks, and sing hymns unto him, being
ordered and directed by filial Affection and natural Love. And before
they give up their bodies to the death of them, they hate their senses,
knowing their Works and Operations.
55. Rather I that am the Mind itself, will not suffer the operations or
Works, which happen or belong to the body, to be finished and brought
to perfection in them; but being the Porter or Doorkeeper, I will shut up
the entrances of Evil, and cut off the thoughtful desires of filthy works.
56. But to the foolish, and evil, and wicked, and envious, and covetous,
and murderous, and profane, I am far off, giving place to the revenging
Demon, which applying unto him the sharpness of fire, tormenteth such
a man sensible, and armeth him the more to all wickedness, that he may
obtain the greater punishment.
57. And such an one never ceaseth, having unfulfiled desires, and
unsatisfiable concupiscences, and always fighting in darkness; for the
Demon always afflicts and tormenteth him continually, and increaseth
the fire upon him more and more.
58. Trism. Thou hast, O Mind, most excellently taught me all things, as
I desired; but tell me, moreover, after the return is made, what then?
59. Pim. First of all, in the resolution of the material body, the Body
itself is given up to alteration, and the form which it had becometh
invisible; and the idle manners are permitted, and left to the Demon, and
the senses of the body return into their Fountains, being parts, and again
made up into Operations.
60. And Anger, and concupiscence, go into the brutish or unreasonable
nature; and the rest striveth upward by Harmony.
61. And to the first Zone it giveth the power it had of increasing and
62. To the second, the machinations or plotting of evils, and one
effectual deceit or craft.
63. To the third, the idle deceit of Concupiscence.
64. To the fourth, the desire of Rule, and unsatiable Ambition.
65. To the fifth, profane Boldness, and the headlong rashness of
66. To the sixth, Evil and ineffectual occasions of Riches.
67. To the seventh Zone, subtle Falsehood, always lying in wait.
68. And then being made naked of all the Operations of Harmony, it
cometh to the Eighth Nature, having its proper power, and singeth
praises to the father with the things that are, and all they that are
present rejoice, and congratulate the coming of it; and being made like
to them with whom it converseth, it heareth also the Powers that are
above the Eighth Nature, singing Praise to God in a certain voice that is
peculiar to them.
69. And then in order they return unto the Father, and themselves
deliver themselves to the Powers, and becoming Powers they are in
70. This is the Good, and to them that know, to be desired.
71. Furthermore, why sayest thou, What resteth, but that
understanding all men thou become a guide, and way-leader to them
that are worthy; that the kind of Humanity, or Mankind, may be saved
72. When Pimander had thus said unto me, he was mingled among the
73. But I, giving thanks, and blessing the father of all things, rose up,
being enabled by him, and taught the Nature of the Nature of the whole,
and having seen the greatest sight or spectacle.
74. And I began to Preach unto men, the beauty and fairness of Piety
75. O ye people, men, born and made of the earth, which have given
yourselves over to drunkenness and sleep, and to the ignorance of God, be
sober and cease your surfeit, whereunto you are allured and visited by
brutish and unreasonable sleep.
76. And they that heard me come willingly and with one accord; and
then I said further:
77. Why, O Men of the Offspring of Earth, why have you delivered
yourselves over unto Death, having power to partake of Immortality?
Repent and change your minds, you that have together walked in Error,
and have been darkened in ignorance.
78. Depart from that dark light, be partakers of Immortality, and leave
or forsake corruption.
79. And some of them that heard me, mocking and scorning went away,
and delivered themselves up to the way of Death.
80. But others casting themselves down before my feet, besought me
that they might be taught; but I, causing them to rise up, became a guide
of mankind, teaching them the reasons how, and by what means they
may be saved. And I sowed in them the Words of Wisdom, and
nourished them with Ambrozian Water of Immortality.
81. And when it was evening and the brightness of the same began
wholly to go down, I commanded them to go down, I commanded them
to give thanks to God; and when they had finished their thanksgiving,
everyone returned to his own lodging.
82. But I wrote in myself the bounty and benevolence of Pimander; and
being filled with what I most desired, I was exceedingly glad.
83. For the sleep of the body was the sober watchfulness of the mind;
and the shutting of my eyes the true sight, and my silence great with
child and full of good; and the pronouncing of my words the blossoms
and fruits of good things.
84. And thus it came to pass or happened unto me, which I received
from my mind, that is Pimander, the Lord of the Word; whereby I
became inspired by God with the Truth.
85. For which cause, with my soul and whole strength, I give praise and
blessing unto God the Father.
86. Holy is God, the Father of all things.
87. Holy is God, whose will is performed and accomplished by his own
88. Holy is God, that determineth to be known, and is known by his own,
or those that are his.
89. Holy art thou, that by thy Word has established all things.
90. Holy art thou, of whom all Nature is the Image.
91. Holy art thou, whom Nature hath not formed.
92. Holy art thou, that art stronger than all power.
93. Holy art thou, that art stronger than all excellency.
94. Holy art thou, that art better than all praise.
95. Accept these reasonable sacrifices from a pure soul, and a heart that
stretched out unto thee.
96. O unspeakable, unutterable, to be praised with silence!
97. I beseech thee, that I may never err from the knowledge of thee; look
mercifully upon me, and enable me, and enlighten with this Grace those
that are in Ignorance, the brothers of my kind, but thy Sons.
98. Therefore I believe thee, and bear witness, and go into the Life and
99. Blessed art thou, O Father; thy man would be sanctified with thee, as
thou hast given him all power.
The End of The Second Book, Called, POEMANDER…
The Divine Pymander of Hermes.
THE THIRD BOOK, Called THE HOLY SERMON.
THE glory of all things, God, and that which is Divine, and the Divine
Nature, the beginning of things that are.
2. God, and the Mind, and Nature, and Matter, and Operation or
Working, and Necessity, and Matter, and Operation or Working, and
Necessity, and the End, and Renovation.
3. For there were in the Chaos an infinite darkness in the Abyss or
bottomless Depth, and Water, and a subtle in Spirit intelligible in
Power; and there went out the Holy Light, and the Elements were
coagulated from the Sand out of the moist substance.
4. And all the Gods distinguished the Nature full of Seeds.
5. And when all things were interminated and unmade up, the light
things were divided on high. And the heavy things were founded upon
the moist Sand, all things being Terminated or Divided by Fire, and
being sustained or hung up by the Spirit, they were so carried, and the
Heaven was seen in Seven Circles.
6. And the Gods were seen in their Ideas of the Stars, with all their
signs, and the Stars were numbered with the Gods in them. And the
Sphere was all lined with Air, carried about in a circular motion by the
Spirit of God.
7. And every God, by his internal power, did that which was
commanded him; and there were made four-footed things, and creeping
things, and such as live in the water, and such as fly, and every fruitful
seed, and Grass, and the Flowers of all Greens, all which had sowed in
themselves the Seeds of Regeneration.
8. As also the Generations of Men, to the Knowledge of the Divine
Works, and a lively or working Testimony of Nature, and a multitude of
men, and the dominion of all things under Heaven, and the Knowledge
of good things, and to be increased in increasing, and multiplied in
9. And every Soul in Flesh, by the wonderful working of the Gods in the
Circles, to the beholding of Heaven, the Gods Divine Works, and the
operations of Nature; and for signs of good things, and the Knowledge of
the Divine Power, and to find out every cunning Workmanship of good
10. So it beginneth to live in them, and to be wise according to the
operation of the course of the circular Gods; and to be resolved into that
which shall be great Monuments and Rememberances of the cunning
Works done upon earth, leaving them to be read by the darkness of
11. And every Generation of living Flesh, of Fruit, Seed, and all
Handicrafts, though they be lost, must of necessity be renewed by the
renovation of the Gods, and of the Nature of a Circle, moving in
number; for it is a Divine thing that every worldly temperature should
be renewed by Nature; for in that which is Divine is Nature also
The End of the Fragments of the Third Book, THE HOLY
4th Book of The Divine Pymander of Hermes
The Divine Pymander of Hermes .
THE FOURTH BOOK, Called THE KEY
YESTERDAY’S Speech, O Asclepius, I dedicated to thee; this day it is
fit to dedicate to Tat, because it is an Epitome of those general Speeches
which were spoken to him.
2. God therefore, and the Father, and the Good, O Tat, have the same
Nature, or rather also the same Act and operation.
3. For there is one name or appellation of Nature or Increase, which
concerneth things changeable, and another about things unchangeable,
and about things unmoveable, that is to say, Things Divine and Humane;
every one of that which himself will have so to be; but action or
operation is of another thing, or elsewhere, as we have taught in other
things, Divine and Humane, which must here also be understood.
4. For his Operation or Act is his will, and his Essence, to will all things to
5. For what is God, and the Father, and the Good, but the Being of all
things that yet are not, and the existence itself of those things that are?
6. This is God, this is the Father, this is the Good, whereunto no other
thing is present or approacheth.
7. For the World, and the Sun, which is also a Father by Participation, is
not for all that equally the cause of Good, and of Life, to living
creatures. And if this be so, he is altogether constrained by the Will of
the Good, without which it is not possible either to be, or to be begotten
8. But the Father is the cause of his Children, who hath a will both to
sow and nourish that which is good by the Sun.
9. For Good is always active or busy in making; and this cannot be in
any other but in him that taketh nothing, and yet willeth all things to be;
for I will not say, O Tat, making them; for he that maketh is defective in
much time, in which sometimes he maketh not, as also of quantity and
quality; for sometimes he maketh those things that have quantity and
quality, and sometimes the contrary.
10. But God is the Father, and the Good, in being all things; for he both
will be this and is it, and yet all this for himself (as is true) in him that
can see it.
11. For all things else are for this, it is the property of Good, to be
known. This is the Good, O Tat.
12. Tat. Thou hast filled us, O Father, with a sight both good and fair,
and the eye of my mind is almost become more holy by the sight or
13. Trism. I wonder not at it, for the sight of Good is not like the beam of
the Sun, which being of a fiery shining brightness, maketh the eye blind
by his excessive Light, that gazeth upon it; rather the contrary, for it
enlighteneth, and so much increaseth the light of the eye, as any man is
able to receive the influence of this intelligible clearness.
14. For it is more swift and sharp to pierce, and innocent or harmless
withal, and full of immortality; and they are capable, and can draw any
store of this spectacle and sight, do many times fall asleep from the
Body, into this most fair and beauteous Vision; which thing Celius and
Saturn our Progenitors obtained unto.
15. Tat. I would we also, O Father, could do so.
16. Trism. I would we could, O Son; but for the present we are less
intent to the Vision, and cannot yet open the eyes of our mind to behold
the incorrputible and incomprehensible Beauty of that Good; but then
we shall see it, when we have nothing at all to say of it.
17. For the knowledge of it is a Divine Silence, and the rest of all the
senses; for neither can he that understands that, understand anything
else, nor he that sees that, see anything else, nor hear any other thing,
nor in sum move the Body.
18. For shining steadfastly upon and round the whole mind, it
enlighteneth all the Soul; and loosing it from the Bodily senses and
motions, it draweth it from the Body, and changeth it wholly into the
Essence of God.
19. For it is possible for the Soul, O Son, to be deified while yet it lodgeth
in the Body of Man, if it contemplate the beauty of the Good.
20. Tat. How does thou mean deifying, Father?
21. Trism. There are differences, O Son, of every Soul.
22. Tat. But how dost thou again divide the changes?
23. Trism. Hast thou not heard in the general Speeches, that from one
Soul of the universe are all those Souls which in the world are tossed up
and down, as it were, and severally divided? Of these Souls there are
many changes, some into a more fortunate estate, and some quite the
contrary; for they which are of creeping things are changed into those of
watery things; and those of things living in the water, to those of things
living upon the Land; and Airy ones are changed into men, and human
Souls, that lay hold of immortality, are changed into Demons.
24. And so they go on into the Sphere or Region of the fixed Gods; for
there are two choirs or companies of Gods, one of them that wander,
and another of them that are fixed; And so this is the perfect glory of
25. But the Soul entering into the body of a Man, if it continue evil, shall
neither taste of immortality, nor is partaker of the Good.
26. But being drawn back the same way, it returneth into creeping
things; And this is the condemnation of an Evil Soul.
27. And the wickedness of a Soul is ignorance; for the Soul that knows
nothing of the things that are, neither the Nature of them, nor that
which is good, but is blinded, rusheth and dasheth against the bodily
passions; and unhappy as it is, and not knowing itself, it serveth strange
bodies and evil ones, carrying the Body as a burden, and not ruling but
ruled: And this is the mischief of the Soul.
28. On the contrary, the virtue of the soul is Knowledge; for he that
knows is both good and religious, and already Divine.
29. Tat. But who is such a one, O Father?
30. Trism. He that neither speaks nor hears many things; for he, O Son,
that heareth two speeches, or hearings, fighteth in the shadow.
31. For God, and the Father, and Good, is neither spoken nor heard.
32. This being so in all things that are, are the Senses, because they
cannot be without them.
33. But Knowledge differs much from Sense; for Sense is of things that
surmount it, but Knowledge is the end of Sense.
34. Knowledge is the gift of God; for all Knowledge is unbodily, but
useth the Mind as an instrument, as the Mind useth the Body.
35. Therefore, both intelligible and material things, go both of them into
bodies; for, of contraposition, that is, setting one against another, and
contrariety, all things must consist. And it is impossible it should be
36. Tat. Who, therefore, is this Material God?
37. Trism. The fair and beautiful World, and yet it is not good; for it is
material, and easily passible, nay, it is the first of all passible things; and
the second of the things that are, and needy or wanting somewhat else.
And it was once made, and is always, and is ever in generation, and
made, and continually makes, or generates things that have quantity and
38. For it is moveable, and every material motion is generation; but the
intellectual stability moves the material motion after this manner.
39. Because the World is a Sphere, that is, a head, and above the head
there is nothing material, as beneath the feet there is nothing
40. The whole Universe is material: The Mind is the head, and it is
moved spherically, that is, like a head.
41. Whatsoever, therefore, is joined or united to the Membrane or Film
of the head, wherin the Soul is, is immortal, and as in the Soul of a made
Body, hath its Soul full of the Body; but those that are further from that
Membrane, have the Body full of Soul.
42. The whole is a living wight, and therefore consisteth of material and
43. And the World is the first and Man the second living wight after the
World, but the first of things that are mortal; and therefore hath
whatsoever benefit of the Soul all the other have: And yet for all this, he
is not only not good, but flatly evil, as being mortal.
44. For the World is not good, as it is moveable; nor evil, as it is
45. But man is evil, both as he is moveable, and as he is mortal.
46. But the Soul of Man is carried in this manner, The Mind is in
Reason, Reason in the Soul, The Soul in the Spirit, The Spirit in the Body.
47. The Spirit being diffused and going through the veins, and arteries,
and blood, both moveth the living creature, and after a certain manner
48. Wherefore some also have thought the Soul to be blood, being
deceived in Nature, not knowing that first the spirit must return into the
Soul, and then the blood is congealed, and the veins and arteries
emptied, and then the living thing dieth: And this is the death of the
49. All things depend of one beginning, and the beginning depends of
that which is one and alone.
50. And the beginning is moved, that it may again be a beginning; but
that which is one, standeth and abideth, and is not moved.
51. There are therefore, these three, God the Father, and the Good, the
World, and Man. God hath the World, and the World hath Man; and
the World is the Son of God, and Man as it were the offspring of the
52. For God is not ignorant of Man, but knows him perfectly, and will
be known by him. This only is healthful to man, the knowledge of God:
This is the return of Olympus; by this only the soul is made good, and
not sometimes good, and sometimes evil, but of necessity Good.
53. Tat. What meaneth thou, O Father?
54. Trism. Consider, O Son, the Soul of a Child, when as yet it hath as
yet received no dissolution of its body, which is not yet grown, but is
very small: how then if it look upon itself, it sees itself beautiful, as not
having been as yet spotted with the Passions of the Body, but as it were
depending yet upon the soul of the World.
55. But when the Body is grown, and distracteth the Soul, it engenders
forgetfulness, and partakes no more of the Fair and the Good, and
Forgetfulness is evilness.
56. The like also happeneth to them that go out of the Body: For when
the soul runs back into itself, the Spirit is contracted into the blood, and
the Soul into the Spirit. But the Mind being made pure, and free from
these clothings; and being Divine by Nature, taking a fiery body, rangeth
abroad in every place, leaving the soul to judgment, and to the
punishment it hath deserved.
57. Tat. Why dost thou say so, O Father, that the Mind is separated
from the Soul, and the Soul from the Spirit? When even now thou saidst
that the Soul was the clothing or apparel of the Mind, and the Body of
58. Trism. O Son, he that hears must co-understand, and conspire in
thought with him that speaks; yea, he must have his hearing swifter and
sharper than the voice of the speaker.
59. The disposition of these clothings or Covers is done in an Earthly
Body; for it is impossible that the Mind should establish or rest itself,
naked, and of itself in an Earthly Body; neither is the Earthly Body able
to bear such immortality: and therefore, that it might suffer so great
virtue, the Mind compacted, as it were, and took to itself the passable
Body of the Soul, as a covering or clothing. And the Soul being also in
some sort Divine, useth the Spirit as her Minister or Servant; and the
Spirit governeth the living things.
60. When therefore the Mind is separated, and departeth from the
Earthly Body, presently it puts on its Fiery Coat, which it could not do,
having to dwell in an Earthly Body.
61. For the Earth cannot suffer fire, for it is all burned of a small spark;
therefore is the water poured round about the Earth, as a wall or
defence, to withstand the flame of fire.
62. But the Mind being the most sharp or swift of all the Divine
Cogitations, and more swift than all the Elements, hath the fire for its
63. For the Mind, which is the Workman of all, useth the fire as his
Instrument in his Workmanship; and he that is the Workman of all
useth it to the making of all things, as it is used by Man to the making of
Earthly things only, for the Mind that is upon Earth, void or naked of
fire, cannot do the business of men, nor that which is otherwise the
affairs of God.
64. But the Soul of Man, and yet not everyone, but that which is pious
and religious, is Angelic and Divine. And such a soul, after it is departed
from the body, having striven the strife of Piety, becomes either Mind or
65. And the strife of piety is to know God, and to injure no Man; and
this way it becomes Mind.
66. But the impious Soul abideth in its own offence, punished of itself,
and seeking an earthly and humane body to enter into.
67. For no other Body is capable of a Humane Soul, neither is it lawful
for a Man’s Soul to fall into the Body of an unreasonable living thing:
For it is the Law or Decree of God to preserve a Human Soul from so
great a contumely and reproach.
68. Tat. How then is the Soul of Man punished, O Father, and what is
its greatest torment?
69. Herm. Impiety, O my Son; for what Fire hath so great a flame as
it? Or what biting Beast doth so tear the Body as it doth the Soul?
70. Or dost thou not see how many Evils the wicked Soul suffereth,
roaring and crying out, I am burned, I am consumed, I know not what to
say or do, I am devoured, unhappy wretch, of the evils that compass and
lay hold upon me; miserable that I am, I neither hear nor see anything.
71. These are the voices of a punished and tormented Soul, and not as
many; and thou, O Son, thinkest that the Soul going out of the Body
grows brutish or enters into a Beast; which is a very great error, for the
Soul punished after this manner.
72. For the Mind, when it is ordered or appointed to get a Fiery Body
for the services of God, coming down into the wicked soul, torments it
with the whips of Sins, wherewith the wicked Soul, being scorged, turns
itself to Murders and Contumelies, and Blasphemies, and divers
violences, and other things by which men are injured.
73. But into a pious soul, the mind entering, leads it into the Light of
74. And such a Soul is never satisfied with singing praise to God, and
speaking well of all men; and both in words and deeds always doing
good, in imitation of her Father.
75. Therefore, O Son, we must give thanks and pray that we may obtain
a good mind.
76. The Soul therefore may be altered or changed into the better, but
into the worse it is impossible.
77. But there is a communion of souls, and those of Gods, communicate
with those men, and those of Men with those of Beasts.
78. And the better always take of the worse, Gods of Men; Men of brute
Beasts, but God of all: For He is the best of all, and all things are less
79. Therefore is the World subject unto God, Man unto the World, and
unreasonable things to Man.
80. But God is above all and about all; and the beams of God are
operations; and the beams of the World are Natures; and the beams of
Man are Arts and Sciences.
81. And operations do act by the World, and upon Man by the natural
beams of the World, but Natures work by the Elements, and Man by
Arts and Sciences.
82. And this is the Government of the whole, depending upon the
Nature of the One, and piercing or coming down by the one Mind, than
which nothing is more Divine and more efficacious or operative; and
nothing more uniting, or nothing is more One. The Communion of Gods
to Men, and of Men to Gods.
83. This is the Bonas Genius, or good Demon: blessed soul that is fullest
of it! And unhappy soul that is empty of it.
84. Tat. And wherefore, Father?
85. Trism. Know, Son, that every Soul hath the Good Mind; for of that
it is we now speak, and not of that Minister of whom we said before, that
he was sent from the Judgment.
86. For the Soul without the Mind can neither say nor do anything; for
many times the Mind flies away from the Soul, and in that hour the Soul
neither seeth nor heareth, but is like an unreasonable thing; so great is
the power of the Mind.
87. But neither brooketh it an idle or lazy Soul, but leaves such an one
fastened to the Body, and by it is pressed down.
88. And such a Soul, O Son, hath no Mind; wherefore neither must such
a one be called a Man.
89. For Man is a Divine living thing, and is not to be compared to any
brute Beast that lives upon Earth, but to them that are above in Heaven,
that are called Gods.
90. Rather, if we shall be bold to speak the truth, he that is a Man
indeed is above them, or at least they are equal in power, one to the
other. For none of the things in Heaven will come down upon Earth,
and leave the limits of Heaven, but a Man ascends up into Heaven, and
91. And he knoweth what things are on high, and what below, and
learneth all other things exactly.
92. And that which is the greatest of all, he leaveth not the Earth, and
yet is above: So great is the greatness of his Nature.
93. Wherefore we must be bold to say, That an Earthly Man is a mortal
God, and that the Heavenly God is an immortal Man.
94. Wherefore, by these two are all things governed, the World and
Man; but they and all things else of that which is One.
THE END OF THE FOURTH BOOK, Called THE KEY….
POIMANDRES, THE VISION OF HERMES
Main text from http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/sta/sta08.htm with section headings from http://www.scribd.com/doc/80543871/Poimandres-WillisBarnstone
The Divine Pymander of Hermes Mercurius Trismegistus is one of the earliest of the Hermetic writings now extant. While probably not in its original form, having been remodeled during the first centuries of the Christian Era and incorrectly translated since, this work undoubtedly contains many of the original concepts of the Hermetic cultus. The Divine Pymander consists of seventeen fragmentary writings gathered together and put forth as one work. The second book of The Divine Pymander, called Poimandres, or The Vision, is believed to describe the method by which the divine wisdom was first revealed to Hermes. It was after Hermes had received this revelation that he began his ministry, teaching to all who would listen the secrets of the invisible universe as they had been unfolded to him.
The Vision is the most famous of all the Hermetic fragments, and contains an exposition of Hermetic cosmogony and the secret sciences of the Egyptians regarding the culture and unfoldment of the human soul. For some time it was erroneously called “The Genesis of Enoch,” but that mistake has now been rectified. At hand while preparing the following interpretation of the symbolic philosophy concealed within The Vision of Hermes the present author has had these reference works: The Divine Pymander of Hermes Mercurius Trismegistus (London, 1650), translated out of the Arabic and Greek by Dr. Everard; Hermetica (Oxford, 1924), edited by Walter Scott; Hermes, The Mysteries of Egypt (Philadelphia, 1925), by Edouard Schure; and the Thrice-Greatest Hermes(London, 1906), by G. R. S. Mead. To the material contained in the above volumes he has added commentaries based upon the esoteric philosophy of the ancient Egyptians, together with amplifications derived partly from other Hermetic fragments and partly from the secret arcanum of the Hermetic sciences. For the sake of clarity, the narrative form has been chosen in preference to the original dialogic style, and obsolete words have given place to those in current use.
Hermes, while wandering in a rocky and desolate place, gave himself over to meditation and prayer. Following the secret instructions of the Temple, he gradually freed his higher consciousness from the bondage of his bodily senses; and, thus released, his divine nature revealed to him the mysteries of the transcendental spheres. He beheld a figure, terrible and awe-inspiring. It was the Great Dragon, with wings stretching across the sky and light streaming in all directions from its body. (The Mysteries taught that the Universal Life was personified as a dragon.) The Great Dragon called Hermes by name, and asked him why he thus meditated upon the World Mystery. Terrified by the spectacle, Hermes prostrated himself before the Dragon, beseeching it to reveal its identity. The great creature answered that it was Poimandres, the Mind of the Universe, the Creative Intelligence, and the Absolute Emperor of all. (Schure identifies Poimandres as the god Osiris.) Hermes then besought Poimandres to disclose the nature of the universe and the constitution of the gods. The Dragon acquiesced, bidding Trismegistus hold its image in his mind.
The vision of creation
Immediately the form of Poimandres changed. Where it had stood there was a glorious and pulsating Radiance. This Light was the spiritual nature of the Great Dragon itself. Hermes was “raised” into the midst of this Divine Effulgence and the universe of material things faded from his consciousness. Presently a great darkness descended and, expanding, swallowed up the Light. Everything was troubled. About Hermes swirled a mysterious watery substance which gave forth a smokelike vapor. The air was filled with inarticulate moanings and sighings which seemed to come from the Light swallowed up in the darkness. His mind told Hermes that the Light was the form of the spiritual universe and that the swirling darkness which had engulfed it represented material substance.
Then out of the imprisoned Light a mysterious and Holy Word came forth and took its stand upon the smoking waters. This Word–the Voice of the Light–rose out of the darkness as a great pillar, and the fire and the air followed after it, but the earth and the water remained unmoved below. Thus the waters of Light were divided from the waters of darkness, and from the waters of Light were formed the worlds above and from the waters of darkness were formed the worlds below. The earth and the water next mingled, becoming inseparable, and the Spiritual Word which is called Reason moved upon their surface, causing endless turmoil.
Poimandres is light and mind
Then again was heard the voice of Poimandres, but His form was not revealed: “I Thy God am the Light and the Mind which were before substance was divided from spirit and darkness from Light. And the Word which appeared as a pillar of flame out of the darkness is the Son of God, born of the mystery of the Mind. The name of that Word is Reason. Reason is the offspring of Thought and Reason shall divide the Light from the darkness and establish Truth in the midst of the waters. Understand, O Hermes, and meditate deeply upon the mystery. That which in you sees and hears is not of the earth, but is the Word of God incarnate. So it is said that Divine Light dwells in the midst of mortal darkness, and ignorance cannot divide them. The union of the Word and the Mind produces that mystery which is called Life. As the darkness without you is divided against itself, so the darkness within you is likewise divided. The Light and the fire which rise are the divine man, ascending in the path of the Word, and that which fails to ascend is the mortal man, which may not partake of immortality. Learn deeply of the Mind and its mystery, for therein lies the secret of immortality.”
Where everything comes from
The Dragon again revealed its form to Hermes, and for a long time the two looked steadfastly one upon the other, eye to eye, so that Hermes trembled before the gaze of Poimandres. At the Word of the Dragon the heavens opened and the innumerable Light Powers were revealed, soaring through Cosmos on pinions of streaming fire. Hermes beheld the spirits of the stars, the celestials controlling the universe, and all those Powers which shine with the radiance of the One Fire–the glory of the Sovereign Mind. Hermes realized that the sight which he beheld was revealed to him only because Poimandres had spoken a Word. The Word was Reason, and by the Reason of the Word invisible things were made manifest. Divine Mind–the Dragon–continued its discourse:
Another mind, the demiurge or supreme mind
“Before the visible universe was formed its mold was cast. This mold was called the Archetype, and this Archetype was in the Supreme Mind long before the process of creation began. Beholding the Archetypes, the Supreme Mind became enamored with Its own thought; so, taking the Word as a mighty hammer, It gouged out caverns in primordial space and cast the form of the spheres in the Archetypal mold, at the same time sowing in the newly fashioned bodies the seeds of living things. The darkness below, receiving the hammer of the Word, was fashioned into an orderly universe. The elements separated into strata and each brought forth living creatures. The Supreme Being–the Mind–male and female, brought forth the Word; and the Word, suspended between Light and darkness, was delivered of another Mind called the Workman, the Master-Builder, or the Maker of Things.
“In this manner it was accomplished, O Hermes: The Word moving like a breath through space called forth the Fire by the friction of its motion. Therefore, the Fire is called the Son of Striving. The Workman passed as a whirlwind through the universe, causing the substances to vibrate and glow with its friction, The Son of Striving thus formed Seven Governors, the Spirits of the Planets, whose orbits bounded the world; and the Seven Governors controlled the world by the mysterious power called Destiny given them by the Fiery Workman. When the Second Mind (The Workman) had organized Chaos, the Word of God rose straightway our of its prison of substance, leaving the elements without Reason, and joined Itself to the nature of the Fiery Workman. Then the Second Mind, together with the risen Word, established Itself in the midst of the universe and whirled the wheels of the Celestial Powers. This shall continue from an infinite beginning to an infinite end, for the beginning and the ending are in the same place and state.
Mind, Father of All, gives birth to a primal human
“Then the downward-turned and unreasoning elements brought forth creatures without Reason. Substance could not bestow Reason, for Reason had ascended out of it. The air produced flying things and the waters such as swim. The earth conceived strange four-footed and creeping beasts, dragons, composite demons, and grotesque monsters. Then the Father–the Supreme Mind–being Light and Life, fashioned a glorious Universal Man in Its own image, not an earthy man but a heavenly Man dwelling in the Light of God. The Supreme Mind loved the Man It had fashioned and delivered to Him the control of the creations and workmanships.
“The Man, desiring to labor, took up His abode in the sphere of generation and observed the works of His brother–the Second Mind–which sat upon the Ring of the Fire. And having beheld the achievements of the Fiery Workman, He willed also to make things, and His Father gave permission. The Seven Governors, of whose powers He partook, rejoiced and each gave the Man a share of Its own nature.
The human descends into the world of nature
“The Man longed to pierce the circumference of the circles and understand the mystery of Him who sat upon the Eternal Fire. Having already all power, He stooped down and peeped through the seven Harmonies and, breaking through the strength of the circles, made Himself manifest to Nature stretched out below. The Man, looking into the depths, smiled, for He beheld a shadow upon the earth and a likeness mirrored in the waters, which shadow and likeness were a reflection of Himself. The Man fell in love with His own shadow and desired to descend into it. Coincident with the desire, the Intelligent Thing united Itself with the unreasoning image or shape.
Humankind is mortal and immortal
“Nature, beholding the descent, wrapped herself about the Man whom she loved, and the two were mingled. For this reason, earthy man is composite. Within him is the Sky Man, immortal and beautiful; without is Nature, mortal and destructible. Thus, suffering is the result of the Immortal Man’s falling in love with His shadow and giving up Reality to dwell in the darkness of illusion; for, being immortal, man has the power of the Seven Governors–also the Life, the Light, and the Word-but being mortal, he is controlled by the Rings of the Governors–Fate or Destiny.
Seven earthly humans are born
“Of the Immortal Man it should be said that He is hermaphrodite, or male and female, and eternally watchful. He neither slumbers nor sleeps, and is governed by a Father also both male and female, and ever watchful. Such is the mystery kept hidden to this day, for Nature, being mingled in marriage with the Sky Man, brought forth a wonder most wonderful–seven men, all bisexual, male and female, and upright of stature, each one exemplifying the natures of the Seven Governors. These O Hermes, are the seven races, species, and wheels.
“After this manner were the seven men generated. Earth was the female element and water the male element, and from the fire and the æther they received their spirits, and Nature produced bodies after the species and shapes of men. And man received the Life and Light of the Great Dragon, and of the Life was made his Soul and of the Light his Mind. And so, all these composite creatures containing immortality, but partaking of mortality, continued in this state for the duration of a period. They reproduced themselves out of themselves, for each was male and female. But at the end of the period the knot of Destiny was untied by the will of God and the bond of all things was loosened.
Male and female are created
“Then all living creatures, including man, which had been hermaphroditical, were separated, the males being set apart by themselves and the females likewise, according to the dictates of Reason.
“Then God spoke to the Holy Word within the soul of all things, saying: ‘Increase in increasing and multiply in multitudes, all you, my creatures and workmanships. Let him that is endued with Mind know himself to be immortal and that the cause of death is the love of the body; and let him learn all things that are, for he who has recognized himself enters into the state of Good.’”
“And when God had said this, Providence, with the aid of the Seven Governors and Harmony, brought the sexes together, making the mixtures and establishing the generations, and all things were multiplied according to their kind. He who through the error of attachment loves his body, abides wandering in darkness, sensible and suffering the things of death, but he who realizes that the body is but the tomb of his soul, rises to immortality.”
Life and death
Then Hermes desired to know why men should be deprived of immortality for the sin of ignorance alone. The Great Dragon answered:, To the ignorant the body is supreme and they are incapable of realizing the immortality that is within them. Knowing only the body which is subject to death, they believe in death because they worship that substance which is the cause and reality of death.”
Then Hermes asked how the righteous and wise pass to God, to which Poimandres replied: “That which the Word of God said, say I: ‘Because the Father of all things consists of Life and Light, whereof man is made.’ If, therefore, a man shall learn and understand the nature of Life and Light, then he shall pass into the eternity of Life and Light.”
Hermes next inquired about the road by which the wise attained to Life eternal, and Poimandres continued: “Let the man endued with a Mind mark, consider, and learn of himself, and with the power of his Mind divide himself from his not-self and become a servant of Reality.”
The place of the mind among the godly and godless
Hermes asked if all men did not have Minds, and the Great Dragon replied: “Take heed what you say, for I am the Mind–the Eternal Teacher. I am the Father of the Word–the Redeemer of all men–and in the nature of the wise the Word takes flesh. By means of the Word, the world is saved. I, Thought (Thoth)–the Father of the Word, the Mind–come only unto men that are holy and good, pure and merciful, and that live piously and religiously, and my presence is an inspiration and a help to them, for when I come they immediately know all things and adore the Universal Father. Before such wise and philosophic ones die, they learn to renounce their senses, knowing that these are the enemies of their immortal souls.
“I will not permit the evil senses to control the bodies of those who love me, nor will I allow evil emotions and evil thoughts to enter them. I become as a porter or doorkeeper, and shut out evil, protecting the wise from their own lower nature. But to the wicked, the envious and the covetous, I come not, for such cannot understand the mysteries of Mind; therefore, I am unwelcome. I leave them to the avenging demon that they are making in their own souls, for evil each day increases itself and torments man more sharply, and each evil deed adds to the evil deeds that are gone before until finally evil destroys itself. The punishment of desire is the agony of unfulfillment.”
The ascent of the soul through seven zones
Hermes bowed his head in thankfulness to the Great Dragon who had taught him so much, and begged to hear more concerning the ultimate of the human soul. So Poimandres resumed: “At death the material body of man is returned to the elements from which it came, and the invisible divine man ascends to the source from whence he came, namely the Eighth Sphere. The evil passes to the dwelling place of the demon, and the senses, feelings, desires, and body passions return to their source, namely the Seven Governors, whose natures in the lower man destroy but in the invisible spiritual man give life.
“After the lower nature has returned to the brutishness, the higher struggles again to regain its spiritual estate. It ascends the seven Rings upon which sit the Seven Governors and returns to each their lower powers in this manner: Upon the first ring sits the Moon, and to it is returned the ability to increase and diminish. Upon the second ring sits Mercury, and to it are returned machinations, deceit, and craftiness. Upon the third ring sits Venus, and to it are returned the lusts and passions. Upon the fourth ring sits the Sun, and to this Lord are returned ambitions. Upon the fifth ring sits Mars, and to it are returned rashness and profane boldness. Upon the sixth ring sits Jupiter, and to it are returned the sense of accumulation and riches. And upon the seventh ring sits Saturn, at the Gate of Chaos, and to it are returned falsehood and evil plotting.
Entering the eighth and becoming divine
“Then, being naked of all the accumulations of the seven Rings, the soul comes to the Eighth Sphere, namely, the ring of the fixed stars. Here, freed of all illusion, it dwells in the Light and sings praises to the Father in a voice which only the pure of spirit may understand. Behold, O Hermes, there is a great mystery in the Eighth Sphere, for the Milky Way is the seed-ground of souls, and from it they drop into the Rings, and to the Milky Way they return again from the wheels of Saturn. But some cannot climb the seven-runged ladder of the Rings. So they wander in darkness below and are swept into eternity with the illusion of sense and earthiness.
“The path to immortality is hard, and only a few find it. The rest await the Great Day when the wheels of the universe shall be stopped and the immortal sparks shall escape from the sheaths of substance. Woe unto those who wait, for they must return again, unconscious and unknowing, to the seed-ground of stars, and await a new beginning. Those who are saved by the light of the mystery which I have revealed unto you, O Hermes, and which I now bid you to establish among men, shall return again to the Father who dwelleth in the White Light, and shall deliver themselves up to the Light and shall be absorbed into the Light, and in the Light they shall become Powers in God. This is the Way of Good and is revealed only to them that have wisdom.
“Blessed art thou, O Son of Light, to whom of all men, I, Poimandres, the Light of the World, have revealed myself. I order you to go forth, to become as a guide to those who wander in darkness, that all men within whom dwells the spirit of My Mind (The Universal Mind) may be saved by My Mind in you, which shall call forth My Mind in them. Establish My Mysteries and they shall not fail from the earth, for I am the Mind of the Mysteries and until Mind fails (which is never) my Mysteries cannot fail.” With these parting words, Poimandres, radiant with celestial light, vanished, mingling with the powers of the heavens. Raising his eyes unto the heavens, Hermes blessed the Father of All Things and consecrated his life to the service of the Great Light.
Going forth to preach
Thus preached Hermes: “O people of the earth, men born and made of the elements, but with the spirit of the Divine Man within you, rise from your sleep of ignorance! Be sober and thoughtful. Realize that your home is not in the earth but in the Light. Why have you delivered yourselves over unto death, having power to partake of immortality? Repent, and change your minds. Depart from the dark light and forsake corruption forever. Prepare yourselves to climb through the Seven Rings and to blend your souls with the eternal Light.”
Some who heard mocked and scoffed and went their way, delivering themselves to the Second Death from which there is no salvation. But others, casting themselves before the feet of Hermes, besought him to teach them the Way of Life. He lifted them gently, receiving no approbation for himself, and staff in hand, went forth teaching and guiding mankind, and showing them how they might be saved. In the worlds of men, Hermes sowed the seeds of wisdom and nourished the seeds with the Immortal Waters. And at last came the evening of his life, and as the brightness of the light of earth was beginning to go down, Hermes commanded his disciples to preserve his doctrines inviolate throughout all ages. The Vision of Poimandres he committed to writing that all men desiring immortality might therein find the way.
In concluding his exposition of the Vision, Hermes wrote: “The sleep of the body is the sober watchfulness of the Mind and the shutting of my eyes reveals the true Light. My silence is filled with budding life and hope, and is full of good. My words are the blossoms of fruit of the tree of my soul. For this is the faithful account of what I received from my true Mind, that is Poimandres, the Great Dragon, the Lord of the Word, through whom I became inspired by God with the Truth. Since that day my Mind has been ever with me and in my own soul it hath given birth to the Word: the Word is Reason, and Reason hath redeemed me. For which cause, with all my soul and all my strength, I give praise and blessing unto God the Father, the Life and the Light, and the Eternal Good.
Praise to God the Father
“Holy is God, the Father of all things, the One who is before the First Beginning.
“Holy is God, whose will is performed and accomplished by His own Powers which He hath given birth to out of Himself.
“Holy is God, who has determined that He shall be known, and who is known by His own to whom He reveals Himself.
“Holy art Thou, who by Thy Word (Reason) hast established all things.
“Holy art Thou, of whom all Nature is the image.
“Holy art Thou, whom the inferior nature has not formed.
“Holy art Thou, who art stronger than all powers.
“Holy art Thou, who art greater than all excellency.
“Holy art Thou, who art better than all praise.
“Accept these reasonable sacrifices from a pure soul and a heart stretched out unto Thee.
“O Thou Unspeakable, Unutterable, to be praised with silence!
“I beseech Thee to look mercifully upon me, that I may not err from the knowledge of Thee and that I may enlighten those that are in ignorance, my brothers and Thy sons.
“Therefore I believe Thee and bear witness unto Thee, and depart in peace and in trustfulness into Thy Light and Life.
“Blessed art Thou, O Father! The man Thou hast fashioned would be sanctified with Thee as Thou hast given him power to sanctify others with Thy Word and Thy Truth.”
The Vision of Hermes, like nearly all of the Hermetic writings, is an allegorical exposition of great philosophic and mystic truths, and its hidden meaning may be comprehended only by those who have been “raised” into the presence of the True Mind.
Allikas: Dragon Dreaming.