Hermetic philosophy, or “Hermetism,” is based on the work of Hermes Trismegistus. His last name is actually his title. Trismegistus means “Three times greatest”. Who was Hermes and why was he called the “Thrice Greatest”?
It has been debated for hundreds of years why Hermes Trismegistus was called “Thrice greatest”. Some experts believe this was because Hermes mastered the three parts of the wisdom of the universe, namely: alchemy (the workings of the earth/sun), astrology (the workings of the cosmos/stars), and theurgy (the workings of the gods). /Deity).
Another explanation is that he was the highest-ranking philosopher, priest, and king of his time. So Hermes was the greatest in three different roles.
Founder of science
Hermes Trismegistus is considered to be the founder of science, religion, mathematics, geometry, alchemy, philosophy, medicine, and magic.
Hermes is a combination of the Egyptian god Thoth, the god of wisdom, learning, and communication, and the Greek god Hermes, who was the messenger of the gods.
Hermes is credited with writing somewhere between 20,000 and 36,525 works. Of these, it was said that 42 were kept in the great library of Alexandria. This legendary library was destroyed several times.
Miraculously, a handful of Hermetic texts have survived to this day. Most of them have been brought together in the collection called the Corpus Hermeticum.
In the Corpus Hermeticum it is told how Hermes Trismegistus received his divine wisdom in a kind of meditative trance. The many texts attributed to him cover subjects such as medicine, chemistry, law, art, music, magic, philosophy, geography, mathematics, and anatomy in his written speeches.
His knowledge was so vast and all-encompassing that the ancient Egyptians called him the messenger or voice of the gods.
Who was Hermes Trismegistus?
Hermes Trismegistus may have been someone who actually existed. Maybe he was a king, a philosopher, or a priest, or maybe he was a sage, a scientist, or a magician.
He was known by many names and over the past 2,000 years he has become an amalgamation of various people and mythological figures from ancient history.
The main function of the various “incarnations” of Hermes is that he wrote down the wisdom of God to help humankind in its development and to help us return to the divine. The main symbol of Hermes is the caduceus or serpent staff.
In modern science, the term “hermetically sealed” is used to describe something that is airtight and impervious to gases. The word “hermetic” nowadays also means that something is secret or sealed. Hermetic philosophy used to be veiled in secrets. Only those who were really ready were allowed to receive the Hermetic insights.
Hermes is also said to have had magical powers. Hermes himself said that he would protect his books with his magical powers so that they will never be lost as long as humankind exists.
Hermetic philosophy, or Hermeticism, is one of the oldest religious and philosophical traditions. It is a synthesis of the religion and philosophy that flourished in Ptolemaic Egypt.
Hermeticism was not embodied in a single religious group but was a philosophical system at the root of many traditions, some of which are still alive today.
Hermeticism originated from ancient Egyptian religion, philosophy, science, and magic. Because great philosophers and sages, such as Pythagoras, Plato, Plotinus, Iamblichus and Orpheus traveled to Egypt to gain wisdom there, elements of Hermeticism can be found in Greek philosophy, Alexandrian Judaism, Chaldean astronomy, Islam, and Zoroastrianism.
Hermeticism is associated with the philosophical schools of Platonism, Neoplatonism, Stoicism, and Pythagoreanism. By studying Hermeticism, you are actually studying all these traditions.
Hermeticism is said to contain “prisca theologia,” a doctrine that claims there is a true theology that lies at the root of all religion. This true theology was given to humankind in ancient times.
Hermeticism influenced not only Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, but also the early Christian Gnostics, who were considered heretics by the early Christian church.
The destruction of Hermetic wisdom
Much of the Hermetic and alchemical literature was destroyed throughout ancient history. Some texts survived within the Islamic world. This happened around 400-600 AD.
Hermetic wisdom did not return to Europe until the Middle Ages when it became an important impulse for the Renaissance.
The Christians, beginning with Emperor Constantine and his successors, removed almost every trace of Hermeticism from 312 to about the sixth century AD. Thousands of pagans were killed, some of them were probably Hermeticists, and possibly many of the existing Hermetic groups and Hermetic texts were destroyed.
To escape destruction by the Church, the Hermetic tradition was forced to go underground. This gave rise to the secret occult tradition that still permeates Western esoteric traditions today.
This western esoteric tradition can be found in secret societies such as the Freemasons, Rosicrucians, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Aleister Crowley’s Thelema, as well as modern Paganism, New Age, and Wicca. But the Theosophical Society and the philosophy behind the Waldorf / Rudolf Steiner schools have also been influenced by Hermetic philosophy.
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