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HERMES/THOTH AND HERMETICISM throughout the Ages

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Author Topic: HERMES/THOTH AND HERMETICISM throughout the Ages  (Read 7520 times)
Bianca
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« on: June 07, 2007, 11:40:44 pm »


THE GREEK HERMES



The British scholar R.F. Willetts wrote that "in many ways, Hermes is the most sympathetic, the most baffling, the most confusing, the most complex, and therefore the most Greek of all the Olympian gods."2 If Hermes is the god of the mind, then these qualities appear in an even more meaningful light. For is the mind not the most baffling, confusing, and at the same time the most beguiling, of all the attributes of life?

The name Hermes appears to have originated in the word for "stone heap." Probably since prehistoric times there existed in Crete and in other Greek regions a custom or erecting a herma or hermaion consisting of an upright stone surrounded at its base by a heap of smaller stones. Such monuments were used to serve as boundaries or as landmarks for wayfarers.

A mythological connection existed between these simple monuments and the deity named Hermes. When Hermes killed the many-eyed monster Argus, he was brought to trial by the gods. They voted for Hermes' innocence, each casting a vote by throwing a small stone at his feet so that a heap of stones grew up around him.
                              Hermes became best known as the swift messenger of the gods. Euripides, in his prologue to the play Ion, has Hermes introduce himself as follows:

Atlas, who wears on back of bronze the ancient
Abode of the gods in heaven, had a daughter
Whose name was Maia, born of a goddess:
She lay with Zeus, and bore me, Hermes,
Servant of the immortals.

Hermes is thus of a double origin. His grandfather is Atlas, the demigod who holds up heaven, but Maia, his mother, already has a goddess as her mother, while Hermes' father, Zeus, is of course the highest of the gods. It is tempting to interpret this as saying that from worldly toil (Atlas), with a heavy infusion of divine inspiration, comes forth consciousness, as symbolized by Hermes.

Versatility and mutability are Hermes' most prominent characteristics. His specialties are eloquence and invention (he invented the lyre). He is the god of travel and the protector of sacrifices; he is also god of commerce and good luck. The common quality in all of these is again consciousness, the agile movement of mind that goes to and fro, joining humans and gods, assisting the exchange of ideas and commercial goods. Consciousness has a shadow side, however: Hermes is also noted for cunning and for fraud, perjury, and theft.

The association of Hermes with theft become evident in the pseudo-Homeric Hymn to Hermes, which tells in great detail how the young god, barely risen from his cradle, carries off some of Apollo's prize oxen. The enraged Apollo denounces Hermes to Zeus but is mollified by the gift of the lyre, which the young Hermes has just invented by placing strings across the shell of a tortoise. That the larcenous trickster god is the one who bestows the instrument of poetry upon Apollo may be a point of some significance. Art is bestowed not by prosaic rectitude, but by the freedom of intuition, a function not bound by earthly rules.

While Hermes is regarded as one of the earliest and most primitive gods of the Greeks, he enjoys so much subsequent prominence that he must be recognized as an archetype devoted to mediating between, and unifying, the opposites. This foreshadows his later role as master magician and alchemist, as he was regarded both in Egypt and in Renaissance Europe.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2007, 01:40:14 am by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.


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