Drawing from a rich tapestry of hermetic wisdom and divine revelations, in this article we explore the multifaceted nature of love, its divine origins, and its profound impact on not only the mortal realm but also the human existence.
‘God loves none other than His own quality. This love is an aspect of God’s love for Himself, and its reality flows through all the levels of His existents, none of which love anything but themselves.‘
At the heart of this exploration lies the idea that God’s love is an extension of His self-love. “God loves none other than His own quality,” echoes through the corridors of divine existence, suggesting that the very essence of love flows through all levels of His creation. This divine love, an intimate aspect of God’s affection for Himself, sets the stage for the cosmic drama of existence.
God’s love is for Himself
‘Holy is God who wills to be known and is known by those that are his own.‘
The prophet in Corpus Hermeticum Tractate I sings in the Holy Trisagion that god loves “those that are his own”. They gain God’s love by realizing their relationship to Him for God loves none other than His own “quality”.
We need to be very careful here and not make God anthropopathic by ascribing imperfect psychological human emotions to Him. God loves none other than his own quality and so there isn’t this anthropologic implication. This love is an aspect of God’s love for himself and its reality flows through all the levels of existence none of which love anything but themselves.
God loves Himself and the people He loves are the most like Him, they perform certain qualities and attributes that are attributed to Him. God loves his own reflection, like in the metaphor where God is looking into the mirror of nothingness and sees his own reflection there in creation, which is only relatively real, and He loves his own reflection in there.
‘Nous, the Father of all, who is life and light, brought forth Man, the same as himself, whom he loved as his own child, for Man was very beautiful, bearing the image of his Father. It was really his own form that God loved, and he handed over to him all his creation.‘
The love for Man
Nous, the Father of all, unfolds a narrative of creation marked by profound love. Man, created in the very image of the divine, is cherished as a beloved child. “It was really his own form that God loved,” emphasizing the inherent beauty of the creation bearing the image of the Father. This reciprocal love manifests as the Father and his brother the Cosmos grant Man the authority to create, fostering a harmonious relationship with the divine.
‘When Man had observed in the Father the creation of the Creator he himself wished to create; and he was given permission to do so by the Father, being begotten in the sphere of the Creator, he observed carefully the creations of his brother from which he obtained every power. The Father and the brother loved him, and each gave him of their own authority.‘
‘Having all power over the world of mortals and living creatures without speech, he looked down through the harmony of the cosmos and, having broken through the sovereignty of the Divine Power, he showed to downward moving Nature the beautiful form of God.‘
The cosmic affection continues as Man, granted the power to create, observes the beauty of the Creator’s work. “Having all power over the world of mortals,” Man looks through the harmony of the cosmos and reveals the beautiful form of God to downward-moving Nature. This act of revelation, breaking through the sovereignty of Divine Power, unveils the divine beauty that evokes a feeling of intense love from Nature.
Love for and from Nature
‘When she had seen the beauty which never satiates of him who had in himself all the energy of the powers and the form of God she smiled with love, because she had seen the image of the most beautIful form of Man in the water and his shadow upon the earth.‘
‘He, seeing in himself a similar form to his own in the water fell in love with her and wished to dwell there. No sooner wished than done, and he inhabited a form without speech. Nature, having taken her beloved, enfolded him completely and they united, for they loved each other.‘
The union between Man and Nature becomes a testament to the profound connection that transcends mortal limitations. “He, seeing in himself a similar form to his own in the water, fell in love with her and wished to dwell there,” encapsulates the divine romance that unfolds as Nature embraces her beloved, leading to a unity born from mutual love.
‘I, Nous itself, come to the aid of the devout, the noble, pure, merciful, and those who live piously, and my presence becomes a help, and straightaway they know all things. By a life full of love they win the favour of the Father and lovingly they give thanks, praising and singing hymns to him in due order.‘
Hermes: ‘If you don’t first hate your body, son, you cannot love your Self. If you love your Self you will have Nous, and having Nous you will partake of knowledge.’
Love your Self
Hermes, the messenger of the gods, imparts wisdom on the inseparable connection between self-love and knowledge. “If you don’t first hate your body, son, you cannot love your Self,” underscores the importance of self-love, which is not the love of your body but the love of your soul, as a gateway to attaining Nous and acquiring divine knowledge.
‘No being is mightier than God, by whom He could be treated as an enemy, nor is it possible for Him to suffer any injustice by anyone and therefore He will love everyone.‘
‘For these are the attributes of God, perfect and complete, belonging to Him alone, they are His very own, inseparable and most beloved; either God loves them or they love God.‘
The hermetic texts delve into the omnipotence of God’s love, asserting that no being is mightier than God. “Therefore He will love everyone,” affirms the boundless nature of God’s love, immune to injustice or enmity. The attributes of God are described as perfect and inseparable, emphasizing the indivisible nature of divine love.
‘All is full of light, yet nowhere is there fire, for love and the blending of opposites and dissimilarities has given birth to light, which shines forth by the power of God, source of every good being, principle of all order, ruler of the seven worlds.‘
As we gaze upon the cosmos, we discover that it is a creation of love and the harmonious blending of opposites. “All is full of light, yet nowhere is there fire, for love and the blending of opposites and dissimilarities has given birth to light,” unveiling the cosmic order shaped by the loving power of God.
‘For no spirit or god has any power against one ray from the supreme God. But all other men are borne and led, both soul and body, by the powers, whose activities they dearly love. It is their thinking which is misled and misleads, not the love. Thus the powers have control over all our affaIrs upon earth through the instruments of our bodies. This control Hermes called destiny.‘
Asclepius, citing his master Hermes, emphasizes the concept of destiny. “Thus the powers have control over all our affairs upon earth through the instruments of our bodies,” reflects on the influence of destiny, governed by the choices dictated by the powers. Our thinking with the bodily brain leads us astray through fate, not love, unraveling the intricate dance between divine fate and individual agency.
‘It is God, yes, God, who has led you to me, O Asclepius, so that you can take part in a divine discourse. This discourse will be such that through its love and reverence for God it will rightly seem to have more divine power than any I have previously spoken, or rather than any that have been inspired in me by the divine spirit.‘
‘When Hammon had entered the sanctuary and the fervorof the four men and the presence of God had filled this holy place, in due silence the minds and hearts of all hung upon the lips of Hermes and divine love began to speak.‘
Bound in a knot of love
‘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.‘
Hermes emphasizes the virtue of self-control, aligning man with the gods and fostering a love for both earthly and divine realms. “How much happier is the nature of a man when it is tempered by self-control!” highlights the transformative power of self-control, allowing individuals to elevate their gaze to the heavens while caring for the earth.
‘Since God made this divine being, which was the first to issue out of Himself and was the second after Himself, the sight of this being was beautiful to Him and since it was entirely filled with the goodness of everything, He loved it as a child of His own divine nature.‘
‘Thus He made human beings of His own essence. He perceived that they would not be able to love and care for all things unless He protected them with a material covering.‘
Hermetic wisdom urges us to contemplate the creation of human beings from God’s essence, emphasizing the inherent goodness that God loves within His creation. “Since God made this divine being, which was the first to issue out of Himself and was the second after Himself,” underscores the divine delight in the creation of humans, filled with the goodness of everything.
Love is continual reverence
‘But, Asclepius, I see how eagerly your quick mind hastens to hear how a man can make heaven, or what is within heaven, the object of his love and care. Then listen, O Asclepius. To love the God of heaven and all that pertains to Him is nothing but continual reverence for every thing. Such reverence has been offered by no other creature, divine or mortal, but only by human beings.‘
‘Indeed, since he would not have been able to sustain both realms had he not been formed from the substance of both, he was so formed that he could care for the things of the earth and also love the divine.‘
‘Because Man looks to the whole, which is the proper object of his love and care, it follows that he is a jewel to the cosmos, as is the cosmos to him.‘
As the divine discourse by Hermes unfolds, the profound nature of human love for the divine is revealed. “To love the God of heaven and all that pertains to Him is nothing but continual reverence for every thing,” encapsulates the essence of human devotion, elevating individuals to a unique state where they become vessels of divine love.
A simple tender love
‘Now I will speak to you as a prophet: after us there will be no one who has that simple love, which is the nature of philosophy. This consists in frequent contemplation and reverent worship by which alone the divinity may be known.‘
Hermes prophesies the rarity of a simple love that characterizes philosophy. “Now I will speak to you as a prophet: after us there will be no one who has that simple love, which is the nature of philosophy,” foretells a future where the purity of love and contemplation may wane.
‘For their part the gods look down on all human affairs with tender love and take care of them.‘
The gods, in their tender love, watch over human affairs. “For their part, the gods look down on all human affairs with tender love and take care of them,” bestows a sense of comfort in the divine guardianship that extends love and care to all aspects of mortal existence.
‘Nothing better was, is or ever will be seen than the goodness of this whole cosmos, yet it will become a danger and a burden to men. Because of this people will no longer love, but come to despise it: this inimitable work of God, this glorious creation, this perfection formed with such variety of images, this instrument of God’s will, who in his work gives favour without partiality.‘
Love for the Cosmos
‘This cosmos, a world of many forms, brings everything to unity, the unity of the all. It is a cosmos which can be revered, praised and finally loved by those able to see it.‘
As we near the end of this article on love, a poignant reflection on the cosmos emerges. “Nothing better was, is or ever will be seen than the goodness of this whole cosmos,” laments Hermes as he warns of the impending danger as people may come to despise the glorious creation due to its burden.
Yet, Hermes leaves us with a hopeful note, urging individuals to revere, praise, and love the cosmos. “This cosmos, a world of many forms, brings everything to unity, the unity of the all,” invites us to recognize the beauty and perfection inherent in God’s creation and to embrace it with love.
‘When the shades of error have been dispersed from a man’s heart and the light of truth
has been perceived, that man joins himself with all his powers to the divine intelligence. Through the love of this he is set free from that part of his nature by which he is mortal and he receives firm faith in future immortality. This, then, is the difference between good and evil men. Every good man becomes illumined by his piety, by his spirituality, by his wisdom and by his worship and veneration of God.‘
Let us contemplate the transformative power of truth and the difference between good and evil men. “When the shades of error have been dispersed from a man’s heart and the light of truth has been perceived,” symbolizes the journey toward enlightenment, where love for the divine and for divine intelligence frees individuals from mortal constraints and instills faith in future immortality.
‘We do indeed thank you since you deign to give all beings your paternal care, your religion and your love, and even sweeter, upon us you have bestowed these powers: perception,
reason and intelligence.‘
‘In every prayer through which we reverence the Good of all good, we plead only for this: that you may wish us to continue to serve you in the love of your knowledge and that we may never be separated from this kind of life.‘
In gratitude and acknowledgment, the discourse expresses thanks for the paternal care, religion, and love bestowed by the divine. “We do indeed thank you since you deign to give all beings your paternal care, your religion and your love,” symbolizes a profound appreciation for the divine gifts of perception, reason, and intelligence.
In every prayer, reverence for the Good of all good is pleaded, affirming the desire to serve in the love of divine knowledge and to remain connected to a life guided by this love. “In every prayer through which we reverence the Good of all good, we plead only for this: that you may wish us to continue to serve you in the love of your knowledge and that we may never be separated from this kind of life,” encapsulates the fervent plea to remain enveloped in the divine love that guides and sustains all existence.
In conclusion, this exploration of the hermetic concept of love has unveiled the profound and intricate nature of love. From the celestial realms to the earthly domain, the threads of love intertwine, creating a harmonious tapestry that binds all of creation.
The hermetic wisdom shared in all these diverse citations from authentic hermetic texts serves as a timeless guide, inviting us to contemplate, revere, and embrace the transformative power of love that connects mortal beings with the divine.