1280px Isis suckling Horus

The complaint of the 4 elements and their message for our time

The Kore Kosmou is one of the best preserved Hermetic texts. The title means “The Eye of the World” and probably refers to the goddess Isis who plays the main role in this epic treatise on the origin of the world.

The story, which the goddess Isis tells to her son Horus, contains a lament and a warning from the four elements that is still very powerful and current in our time.

The main difference between the Kore Kosmou and other Hermetic writings is that in this text the goddess Isis is the teacher and transmits knowledge to her son Horus. Hermes is the spiritual guide in other Hermetic texts and teaches his son Tat or pupils such as Asclepius or Hammon. In the Kore Kosmou, we follow a conversation between a spiritual teacher and a student who, just like Hermes and Tat, are also parent and child.

Also read: Who is Hermes Trismegistus and Thoth?

There were probably more Hermetic texts in ancient times in which Isis was the spiritual teacher. She is, together with Thoth, very knowledgeable in wisdom and magic.

Take heed, Horus my son, for I am going to tell you of the secret teaching of which our ancestor Kamephis was the first teacher. It came to pass that Hermes received this teaching from Kamephis, the eldest of our race. I received this teaching from Hermes, the archivist of all that happened during the initiation to the black rites (presumably alchemy). Now you receive this teaching from me.

The creation of souls

With the above words, Isis begins her dialogue with Horus, after which she describes the creation of the universe, the elements, and nature. Nature is an important figure in the story and is described metaphorically as a woman; righteous, loving, and with a beauty that intoxicates even the gods.

In her argument, Isis describes how the souls, which are divine and, like the Creator, possess the gift of creation, are created. She describes how the souls are overly proud of their creative gifts with which they exceed the limits set by the Creator. At the command of God, Hermes places the souls in human bodies as punishment for their excessive pride.

Given the forgiving nature of the Creator, God allows imprisoned souls to forget their divine lineage. The souls receive blessings from the gods and can return to heaven if they live in goodness on earth, but from the moment the souls are embodied in man, they compete with each other, take the lives of others where possible, and pollute the world so much that the elements begin to complain to the Creator.

The complaint of the 4 elements

The lamentation of the elements contains a warning that is still very powerful and timely in our day:

This violence continued until the elements, deeply disturbed, had had enough and begged God to do something about the wild way of life of the people. When much evil had already been done, the elements approached God, their maker, and accused him.

The Rim Fire in the Stanislaus National Forest near in California began on Aug. 17 2013 0004

Fire had the right to speak first: “Master and craftsman of this new world,” said she: “How long, O Divinity, wilt Thou be determined to suffer me to be defiled and forced by the wicked lives of men to spend precious burn life. They do not allow me to express myself according to my true nature, and they use me to destroy what is sacred (nature/forests)!”


Then Air spoke: “I am also polluted, master. Due to the smoke of dead bodies (matter) I am sick and no longer well. I see from above what is unlawful to see (polluting factories).”


Water was given permission to speak and declared: “Father and wondrous maker of all things, self-born divinity and maker of nature ever productive by thy power, please see O divinity that my ever-flowing rivers and seas be pure. How terrible! Rivers and seas now wash the hands of murderers and receive rubbish, garbage and decomposing bodies!”

Oiled Bird Black Sea Oil Spill 111207

The Earth stood by and looked sullen. She began as follows: “King, lord and master of the heavenly regions, leader and father of us elements who stand before you! From our elements, all things begin to grow and decline. Things come into us again when something ceases and finds its end.

O God, who is greatly honored, an irrational and godless chorus of inhuman beings has risen against me! I try to be nurturing and hospitable, for it is I, as you commanded, who bear all things and receive the bodies of all that comes to its end. But now I am dishonored! Your earthly world is full of all things, but has no god.

People act lawlessly with regard to everything because they are not afraid. They drill into my spine with bad devices. I am completely soaked and corrupted by the pus of corpses (fossil fuels)!”

After their justified lamentation, God directs the elements to focus on their task and promises that action will be taken. The Creator sent the gods Isis and Osiris. They symbolize the outflow of the Divine into the world.

Isis and Osiris bring order, spirituality, and civilization. Isis and Osiris bring that which is divine, and therefore good, into human existence. That which is good is enumerated as follows:

Isis and Osiris perform the rites of worship and gratitude.
They consecrate temples and create food and shelter.
They introduce laws and justice.
They explain the reason behind dying, which is that it takes us back to our origins.
They give wisdom to prophet-priests so that the human soul can be nurtured with philosophy and the body can be healed with medicine.

“How much happier is the nature of a man when it is tempered by self-control! He is united to the gods through a common divinity. He inwardly despises that part of himself by which he is earth-bound. All other beings, to whom he knows he is necessary through divine dispensation, he binds to himself in a knot of love. He raises his sight to heaven while he takes care of the earth. Thus he is in the fortunate middle position: he loves those things that are below him and is beloved by the beings above.

Asclepius 6

Do good and stand up for a better world

A better world begins with you. Each of us can be a bright spot for – and in – this world. Each of us, no matter how small and modest, can protect and spread the good in this beautiful world.

There is one way to worship God: be not evil.

Hermes to Tat (Corpus Hermeticum XIII.23)
All images public domain, creative commons license, source: wikimedia.com

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