Lauc hum et Folgoratrix
- Sep 11, 2017
Corpus HermeticumIt is a warm early summer night in a small village near Susa (c_piemonte), the sun has almost set but you can still make out the outlines of the mountains surrounding the valley.
You arrived early for the appointed time, yet you had to wait in pitch darkness for at least an hour before a sharp whisper beckoned you to a side entrance, through a heavy door, the look of it so old, it seems so out of place in the 21st Century.
Once inside the servant speaks up, lifting his candelabra allowing you to see the damp old vault of a staircase, "Good evening esteemed friends your waiting might have been long, but everything is prepared for you upstairs to proceed with the meeting".
Having muttered some form of greetings you follow the quiet fellow with some uneasiness as the stairs aren't as precise as you wished they were. Having reached the living quarters you are pervaded by the scent of a burning fireplace, a dense woody smell from the walls and support and....is that peppermint?
"Please follow me into the study" says the servant gesturing at you to follow.
You enter a dimly lit room but your eyes are already used to the darkness. You see the master and the mistress of the house, sitting at the table, pouring their thoughts on a book they have been reading. As they see you enter they rise to welcome you.
"Good evening fellow seekers of truth and knowledge, I trust that your journey here was a pleasant one and not fraught with too many dangers" spaketh mistress Bae. "Please, take a seat by the fire, drink a cool glass of meade and relax a moment before we begin" . You take the offered seat and the lady hands you small cups of meade, the smell is pleasant and reminds you of flowers on a sunny day.
You take a few small sips before lord Bub enquires "I trust most of you are aware of why we are gathered here tonight. For those of you uninitiated, please allow me to provide you with a brief summary of what we are about to undertake". Bub then proceeds to take out a bundle of parchment containing finely written notes and observations about the task at hand. He organises them and his thoughts momentarily before he begins to speak again: "Tonight, while our minds are still fresh to discuss, we will talk about the first chapter of the Corpus Hermeticum, the talk between Hermes Trimegistus and Poimandres."
"Here I shall read to you my translated summary (Italian to English) of this first chapter". Bub begins to read:
Hermes had a vision where he met Poimandres, the intellect of God, and he was instructed on the essence of beings, creation and how to reach God.
He first received a vision where everything opened and was made of light. After a time a spiralling dark humid nature came along. From the light came the Logos, the son of God, who moved towards the humid nature. Fire came out of the humid nature and started to ascend followed by air, separating from water and earth towards fire.
The light is the intellect of God, and the light Logos who came from the light is the son of God. Through the Logos, God created the Demiurge, god of fire and ether. The demiurge created the seven Planets whose governing is called destiny.
At this point the Logos detached himself from the inferior elements (water, earth...) to join the Demiurge as they were of the same nature, hugging each other in a circle without a determined start or end. From this rotation they created the other creatures lacking of reason, as the inferior elements no longer had the Logos in them.
The Intellect of God generated man, similar to him in his image, and fell in love with his creature, entrusting him with his works. Man having known that the Demiurge ruled fire, wanted to create something himself. Having entered the sphere of the Demiurge, he came to know of his works: the Planets. The Planets fell in love with man and each of them made him to participate in its essence. Having then known their essence and participating in their nature, man wanted to penetrate beyond the spherical surface and know the power of Him who reigns over fire. Man therefore having dominion on mortal beings and irrational animals, showed to the inferior nature the beauty of the image of God. When the inferior nature saw man which had in him the beauty, it fell in love with him, and so did man fall in love with his own reflection in the water and mixed with it. This is why man has two natures. The body subject to the laws of nature, and the soul, his true essence.
The Intellect explains to Hermes that He stays with the good, pure, merciful men, preventing the always assailing urges of the body from taking over. As men with intellect should realise their nature and strive to return to it, to immortality, rather than waste away with bodily and earthly passions. These men reach God by thanking Him, honouring Him, by singing hymns based on the love they feel for Him.
Hermes asks to be able to show other men the correct path to reach God. Some men don't listen, some do, and to these he teaches. Having learned all this, Hermes has found his true happiness.
"I shall get my novice opinions out of the way first so that my beloved Bub can properly discuss the intricacies of the text in way more depth" declared Bae. "This to me reads as a creation story with elements from the pagan philosophies such as Stoicism, Neoplatonism with elements coming really close to a Christian interpretation. The way it talks about man's two natures, how it talks about reaching God through thanking and loving Him, and even how it talks about inferior creatures, lacking of intellect, not having souls strikingly reminds me of Christianity. One thing I will point out is how the part where it talks about man falling in love with his reflection, strongly reminds me of the Greek Myth of Narcissus."
Bub took the word:
"It's easy to see why the writing attributed to Hermes received such praise from a variety of commentators earning praise even amongst Christians. There are some really strong Gnostic elements, yet the Demiurge creators isn't regarded as an evil deity in opposition to God, as neither is the material world, made of the inferior elementals considered evil. Amazingly the true essence of man, the soul, is a direct product of God, and our bodily condition has been dictated by our meddling in the inferior elements, thus without fearing death, by seeing it at our abandonment of our material body to its nature, the worthy should can ascend the heavens and join the other souls praising God, returning to our true nature. Reading this I finally understood the relation that astrology should have on our life, and why it is, with the 7 ministers (planets). It was surprising to hear God described has having both male and female natures rather than lacking them all together. This has been a really interesting and encouraging read. Interesting in seeing a different perception on our essence, and encouraging in revealing the beauty of God."
After the discussion, you were shown to your rooms, which had been carefully prepared for your stay. Thinking about the evening you struggled to sleep at first....but what will follow will be in your hands. "Goodnight" wished you the lord and lady of the house....these words kept ringing in your head...a good night for what?
*hope you enjoyed