One year after its launch we look back at the remarkable journey through the inception, creation, and launch of this website and online course that explores the mystical world of Hermeticism. What started as a vision among a few individuals blossomed into a collaborative project that has the potential to change lives.
In the fast-paced world of online communication, the birth of a new website, especially one about an obscure subject like Hermeticism can often go unnoticed. However, the story of how the ‘Way of Hermes’ website came to be, is far from ordinary.
A Vision Takes Shape (April 2022)
Every journey has a beginning. This journey begins in the Discord server the “Hermetic House of Life” (HHOL), where Sigismundo Celine shared his vision of making Hermeticism modern, fun, practical, and accessible. Inspired by Christian Bull’s progress path, he proposed the idea of creating an online course. Sigismundo’s call for assistance attracted the attention of some of the other members.
One of the members asked the critical question: What kind of help was needed for this endeavor? For a start, the project needed native English speakers primarily for spellchecking but also for brainstorming ideas and promoting the online course. Other members, amongst them Patches, quickly offered their support, along with other enthusiastic volunteers, marking the birth of a collaborative community project.
The group began to discuss potential funding models for the online course. While contemplating whether to offer it for free or charge a fee, they recognized the importance of ensuring that the course was valued appropriately. The need for community involvement was emphasized to make this project a true community endeavor.
The group’s enthusiasm and shared vision led to the proposal of a subchannel called “Online Course Talk” within their community space. The name “Way of Hermes” for the online course was proposed and agreed upon. The securing of the wayofhermes.com domain marked a pivotal moment in the project’s development.
One of the moderators of HHOL introduced a compelling idea – developing two curricula: one based on the Fowden approach and the other on the Bull approach. This approach aimed to cater to both beginners and those seeking a deeper understanding of Hermeticism.
The group discussed the importance of providing clear and accurate teachings to counter common misconceptions about Hermeticism. The decision was made to focus first on creating one curriculum and online course as otherwise, the project might become overwhelming for the small group of volunteers.
The conversation shifted to the technical aspects of the project. Sigismundo Celine, already having experience creating an online course on authentic Hermeticism in Dutch, explained the initial plan to translate the Dutch course into English. Google Docs and collaborative editing were suggested as tools for the translation process, emphasizing community involvement and collaboration.
With the project’s scope expanding rapidly, the group recognized the need to organize their efforts efficiently. They discussed the importance of maintaining a clear structure for their growing content and considered various platforms for hosting the online course.
As the project gained momentum, the discussion delved into the core of the Hermetic tradition. A balance was necessary between staying true to the tradition and making it accessible to a wider audience. The group began to understand the significance of their work in dispelling misconceptions about Hermeticism.
Read the interview with the developers: The Way of Hermes Unveiled
The Online Course Takes Shape (June – August 2022)
Months of hard work and dedication paid off as the group of developers shared the progress made in translating the online course. The project was now approaching a pivotal moment – the launch of the beta version of the ‘Way of Hermes’ website.
As the project neared completion, questions about funding, management, and affiliation with the HHoL community arose. The moderators of the HHOL Discord server expressed their concerns about the project’s scale and requested a formal proposal for consideration.
The moderators decided that the ‘Way of Hermes’ website and course could not be affiliated with the HHOL Discord server. This was a disappointment for the group, but as they were so far in the development of the website and course they decided to continue on their own, unaffiliated with any existing group, organization, server, or website.
The group transitioned into the final phase of the project, developing a dedicated website for the ‘Way of Hermes’ online course. A sneak peek of the website revealed a promising future for the course and its potential impact on the Hermetic community.
As ‘Way of Hermes’ took shape, the group realized the importance of a strong symbolic identity. In late July, HHOL member Barclay McClay raised questions about the website’s visual elements and branding. He asked if he could help with designing the website layout, or with important graphics like the logo. The depth of design work needed was beginning to surface.
Brainstorming the visual elements
Patches, another member of the group, saw the need for an experienced graphic designer as he acknowledged the need for a logo. As discussions evolved, Barclay McClay presented three logo ideas, sparking creativity and conversation within the group.
His ideas included a Caduceus, a silhouette of Thoth’s ibis head, and an abstracted person’s outline with rays emanating from their head. The conversation about logo design continued, with an emphasis on ensuring it did not resemble Salaman’s translation cover, even though the book and the website shared a name but no affiliation.
Barclay McClay kept the team engaged with his design process, sharing rough drafts and soliciting feedback. Various iterations of ibis birds and Hermes’ face were explored, each offering a unique perspective on the project’s visual identity.
The challenge of designing a logo that would maintain its clarity at a small size was recognized, with considerations about how intricate designs might appear when scaled down. Sigismundo Celine suggested incorporating a hand holding a papyrus scroll, possibly forming a circle with an ibis head.
As the group explored different logo possibilities, the idea of incorporating an image of Hermes to interact with students emerged, as a kind of “Hermetic Windows Clippy” but a little more serious as befitting the tone of the website. The symbolic identity of ‘Way of Hermes’ was shaping up to be both visually appealing and thematically relevant.
Barclay McClay continued to share design variants, experimenting with different elements and colors. The group’s discussions went beyond the logo, delving into the color scheme of the website, with a suggestion to mimic the desert-brown color of Egyptian temples and ruins.
However, Barclay McClay informed the team that he would be temporarily unavailable due to an overseas trip, which could affect the project’s timeline. The discussion highlighted the iterative nature of design and the need for careful consideration in crafting the visual identity of ‘Way of Hermes’. The graphic designer’s contributions had already begun to shape the visual identity of ‘Way of Hermes.’
Preliminary sketches for the logo
When Barclay McClay resumed work in September, the project’s branding and aesthetics would continue to evolve, aligning with the vision of making Hermeticism accessible and engaging for all. With the logo and design elements in progress, the ‘Way of Hermes’ website was edging closer to its grand opening, with each detail carefully crafted to reflect the depth and richness of the Hermetic tradition.
The Grand Opening (October 20, 2022)
After months of anticipation, the ‘Way of Hermes’ online course entered the beta-testing phase. A select group of beta-testers began their exploration of Hermeticism through this comprehensive course. All were enthusiastic about the website and the unique online course it offered.
Finally, the ‘Way of Hermes’ website opened its doors to the public on October 20th, 2022. Offering the first comprehensive online course on authentic Hermeticism in the world. The project that began a mere six months before as a vision in a little Discord server dedicated to Hermeticism had evolved into a reality.
1st Anniversary (October 20, 2023)
Sigismundo: As an experienced web developer, I know that the development and launch of an e-learning website from scratch is an impressive feat on its own. This is especially true when it involves a team that is comprised of anonymous online contributors who met each other in a Discord group and did not know each other. The chance of failure for such a project would probably be around 99 percent, but the project was a success. A couple of times I felt like an unknown source guided its journey.
This journey from start to finish has been nothing short of astonishing. The challenges we anticipated and should have occurred along the way did not emerge, which for me only added to the mystique surrounding this project. The coordination between the few people who were involved, all without the comfort of familiarity or meeting each other in the real world, can be a testament to the power of the anonymous collective.
Looking back I am especially astonished at the enigma that has shaped our path. The success we have tasted is like a riddle, pointing us toward an unknown source of inspiration and direction. It has been a journey where the unexpected has become the norm, and where our collective intuition has seemingly been guided by an invisible hand.
Patches: Our first year as the premier online Hermetic course has passed, and along with thanking all of you I also want to share some of my favorite parts of this first year. One of the primary reasons we had for creating the course was to answer recurring questions that were being asked in our Hermetic Reddit and Discord communities. Because of these questions, we decided to create a course curriculum around the main teachings of Hermes Trismegistus and the Corpus Hermeticum (and other important Hermetic texts).
So, “What was my favorite part of the first year?” You may be asking.
Well, my favorite part of this year has been the community. That’s right, student and curious browser alike — you are all important in making this a real thing! With choices to purchase the course, or to “Become a friend of Hermes” by donating to the WayOfHermes.com cause, to join our new community forum feature and enter the discussion, or to simply read the free blog articles that we publish, everyone of you is appreciated and a part of our community. Just by reading this article, you have become part of our community, if even for just 5 minutes.
A close second-favorite part were the questions; ALL OF THE QUESTIONS!
Asked by both beginners and experts alike. There have been many nights spent by myself contemplating something that was asked, or perhaps having a good meditation session with a new question in mind, or even flipping through pages of text and finding a new way to view and ponder certain ideas. Creating the subreddit r/WayOfHermes and the new forum connected to the website have been good and fruitful ideas for helping the community connect with one another, ask questions, and for general discourse and feedback.
Overall, the website, the course, and the community have been more than amazing so far. I started this endeavor of helping to create the website and course content so that I could be more like our brother, the Craftsman, and I have to say I could not be more grateful for the community we have created that allows others, as well as myself, to participate and grow within. I hope to see this Hermetic community continue to grow in a healthy manner, day by day. I’d like to take this time to thank everyone who is involved in WayOfHermes.com and also to give the highest praises to God.
Thank you all so very much!
With over a hundred students and only positive reviews from both students and site visitors, the project has been a resounding success. The ‘Way of Hermes’ website and course stand as a testament to the power of collaboration and community spirit.
From the early days of brainstorming to the grand opening, this project encapsulates the essence of Hermeticism – transformation and growth. Through dedication, hard work, and a shared vision, a new online resource has been born, shedding light on the timeless wisdom of the Hermetic tradition for generations to come.
P.S. We had no idea when we started this project how many people all over the world became involved, and we are very grateful for the opportunity to present this spiritual child (paidopoia- παιδοποία) to the world.