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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 08, 2007, 12:04:49 am »




THE HERMETIC CURRICULUM



Until comparatively recently there was very little information available concerning the method of spiritual progress that the Hermeticists may have followed. The Nag Hammadi Library, discovered in 1945, contains at least one scripture whose content is unmistakably Hermetic. This is Tractate 6 of Codex VI, whose title is usually translated as The Discourse on the Eight and the Ninth. On the basis of this discourse, one of its early translators suggested a scheme of progress that was followed by some of the schools of Hermeticists.4

A Hermetic catechumen would begin with a process of conversion, induced by such activities as reading some of the less technical Hermetic literature or listening to a public discourse. A period of probation, including instruction received in a public setting, was required before progressing to the next stage.

This phase would be characterized by a period of philosophical and catechetical studies based on certain Hermetic works. (The Asclepius and the Kore Kosmou may be examples of such study material.) This instruction was imparted to small groups.

The next step entailed a progress through the Seven Spheres or Hebdomad, conducted in a tutorial format, one student at a time. This seems to have been a process of an experiential nature, aided by inspiring topical discourses. In this progression, the candidate is envisioned as beginning his journey from earth and ascending through the planets to a region of freedom from immediate cosmic influences. (The planets were regarded mostly as influences of restriction, which the ascending spirit must overcome.) One may note a close resemblance of this gradual ascent to similar ascensions outlined in various Gnostic sources, as well as to the later Kabbalistic patchwork on the Tree of Life.
The final step was what may be called the Mystery Liturgy of Hermes Trismegistus, of which The Discourse of the Eighth and the Ninth is often regarded as a good example. Here the Hermeticist is spiritually reborn in a transcendental region beyond the seven planets. His status is now that of a pneumatic, or man of the spirit. (Note once again the similarity with Gnosticism.) This level entails an experience of a very profound, initiatory change of consciousness wherein the initiate becomes one with the deeper self resident in his soul, which is a portion of the essence of God. This experience takes place in a totally private setting. The only persons present are the initiate and the initiator (called "son" and "father" in this text). The liturgy takes the form of a dialogue between these two.

The Hermeticists had their own sacraments as well. These appear to have consisted primarily of a form of baptism with water and an anointing resembling "a baptism and a chrism" as mentioned in the Gnostic Gospel of Philip. The Corpus Hermeticum mentions an anointing with "ambrosial water" and a self-administered baptism in a sacred vessel, the krater, sent down by Hermes from the heavenly realms.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2007, 06:16:39 pm by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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


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