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JL.c.l?. L 

OF ... . 



i\\j I n\j j\. 1 

Thrice Greatest Hermes (3 vols.) - 


Fragments of a Faith Forgotten - 


Apoi,i,onius of Tyana 


The Gospei, and the Gospei,s - - - 


Did Jesus Live 100 B.C. ? - - - - 


T^T /^I^TXTTTC -.----. - .- 


The Upanishads (2 vols.) - - - - 


FROM G. R. S. 















Under this general title it is proposed to publish 
a series of small volumes, drawn from, or based 
upon, the mystic, theosophic and gnostic writings 
of the ancients, so as to make more easily audible 
for the ever-widening circle of those who love such 
things, some echoes of the mystic experiences and 
initiatory lore of their spiritual ancestry. There 
are many who love the life of the spirit, and who 
long for the light of gnostic illumination, but who 
are not sufficiently equipped to study the writings 
of the ancients at first hand, or to follow the 
labours of scholars unaided. These little volumes 
are therefore intended to serve as introduction 
to the study of the more difficult literature of the 
subject, and it is hoped that at the same time 
they may become for some, who have, as yet, not 
even heard of the Gnosis, stepping-stones to 
higher things. 

G. R. S. M. 




The Service of Song 9 

A Tripi^e Trisagion 30 

A Hymn to Ali^-Father God 44 

The Secret Hymnody 57 

A Hymn of Grace for Gnosis 71 

A Song of Praise to the ^on . . . . 78 

The references in this volume are to the recently- 
published work — Thrice Greatest Hermes : Studies 
in Hellenistic Theosophy and Gnosis. Being a 
Translation of the Extant Sermons and Fragments 
of the Trismegistic Literature, with Prolegomena, 
Commentaries and Notes, 3 vols. (I^ondon, 1906). 










Clement of Alexandria tells us that 
the whole of the religious philosophy — 
that is, the wisdom, discipline and multi- 
farious arts and sciences — of the Egyptian 
priesthood was contained in the Books of 
Hermes, that is of Thoth. These Books, 
he informs us further, were classified 
under forty-two heads and divided into 
a number of groups according to the 
various septs or divisions of the priests. 

In describing a certain sacred cere- 
monial — a procession of priests in their 
various orders — Clement tells us that it 
was headed by a representative of the 
order of Singers, who were distinguished 
by appropriate symbols of music, some 
of which apparently were carried in the 

THE hands and others embroidered on the 

QP robes. 

HERMES. These Singers had to make themselves 
masters of, that is, learn by heart, two 
of the divisions of the Books of Hermes, 
namely, those which contained collec- 
tions of Hymns in Honour of the Gods or 
of God, and Encomia or Hjnnns in 
Praise of the Kings (iii., 222). 

Many specimens of similar hymns in 
praise of the Gods are preserved to us in 
Egyptian inscriptions and papyri, and 
some of them are most noble out-pourings 
of the soul in praise of the majesty and 
transcendency of the Supreme, in terms 
that may be not unfavourably compared 
with similar praise-giving in other great 
scriptures. But, alas ! the hymn-books 
of Thoth, to which Clement refers, are 
lost to us. He may, of course, have 
been mistaken in so definitely designating 
them, just a*s he was indubitably mistaken 
in thinking that they were collections 
of hymns composed by a single individual, 


The grandiose conception of Thoth "^^^ 
as the inspirer of all sacred writings and qf 
the teacher of all religion and philo- HERMES, 
sophy was Egyptian and not Greek ; 
and it was but a sorry equivalent that 
the Greeks could find in their own 
pantheon when, in the change of God- 
names, they were forced to " translate " 
"Thoth" by "Hermes." 

Thoth, as the inspirer of all sacred 
writings and the president of all priestly 
discipline, was, as Jamblichus tells us, 
a name which was held by the Egyptians 
to be " common to all priests " — that 
is to say, every priest as priest was a 
Thoth, because he showed forth in his 
sacred office some characteristic or other 
of the Great Priest or Master Hierophant 
among the Gods whose earthly name 
was Thoth — Tehuti. 

Thoth was thus the Oversoul of all 
priests ; and when some of the Greeks 
came to know better what^ the inner 
discipline of the true priestly mysteries 
connoted, they so felt the inadequacy 


HYMNS ^^ plain Hermes as a suitable equivalent 

OF for the Egyptian name which designated 

HERMES, this great ideal, that they qualified 

" Egyptian Hermes " with the honorific 

epithet " Thrice-greatest." 

It is of the Hymns of this Thrice- 
greatest Hermes that I shall treat in 
the present small volume — hymns that 
y were inspired b}^ the still living tradition 
of what was best in the wisdom of ancient 
Egypt, as "philosophised" through minds 
trained in Greek thought, and set forth 
in the fair speech of golden-tongued 

But here again, unfortunately, we have 
no collection of such hymns preserved to 
us ; and all we can do is to gather up the 
fragments that remain, scattered through 
the pages of the Trismegistic literature 
which have escaped the jealousy of an 
exclusive bibliolatry. 

The main Gospel of the Trismegistic 
Gnosis is contained in a sacred sermon 
which bears in Greek the title " Poeman- 
dres." This may perhaps have been 


originally the Greek transliteration of 
an Egyptian name (ii., 50) ; but from 
the treatise itself it is manifest that it 
was understood by the Greek followers 
of this Gnosis to mean " The Shepherd 
of Men," or " Man-shepherd." This Shep- 
herd was no man, but Divine Humanity 
or the Great Man or Mind, the inspirer 
of all wisdom and hierophant of all 
spiritual initiations. 

This majestic Reality or Essence of 
Certitude was conceived of as a limitless 
Presence, or Person, of Light and Life 
and Goodness, which enwrapped the 
contemplative mind of the pious wor- 
shipper of God or the Good, of the single- 
hearted lover of the Beautiful, and of the 
unwearied striver for the knowledge 
of the True. 

And so, in His instruction to one who 
was striving to reach the grade of a 
true self-conscious Hermes, Poemandres 
declares : 



I, Mind, Myself am present with 


TtS?«to holy men and good, the pure and merci- 
HYMNS r T 1, V • 1 

OF ful, men who hve piously. 

HERMES. " To such My Presence doth become 

an aid, and straightway they gain Gnosis 

of all things, and win the Father's love 

by their pure lives, and give Him thanks, 

invoking on Him blessings, and chanting 

hymns, intent on Him with ardent love " 

(ii., 14). 

And the same instruction is practically 
repeated in the sermon called " The 
Key," where we read : 

" But on the pious soul the Mind doth 
mount and guide it to the Gnosis' Light. 
And such a soul doth never tire in songs 
of praise to God and pouring blessing on 
all men, and doing good in word and 
deed to all, in imitation of its Sire " 

(ii., 155). 

The sole conditions for reaching this 
consummation, so devoutly to be wished, 
are here laid down : 


The good alone can know the Good ; 
even as one of the invocations to Hermes 
as the Good Mind, preserved in the 
Greek Magic Papyri, phrases it : 


''Thee I invoke! Come unto me, O 
Good, Thou altogether good, come to the 
good!" (i., 86). 

The pure alone can know the Pure ; 
and by " Pure " I think Hermes some- 
times meant far more than is generally 
connoted by the term. " Pure " is that 
which remains in itself, and is neither 
too much nor too little ; it is the equili- 
brium, the balanced state, the mysterious 
something that reconciles all opposites, 
and is their simultaneous source and 
ending — the Divine Justice. 

The merciful alone can know the 
Merciful, the source of the infinite variety 
of the Divine Love. 

To such the Divine Presence becomes 
an aid ; it is in the field of ^this " Good 
Land " alone, in the self-cultivated soil 


HYMNS ^^ ^^^ spiritual nature — the good and pure 
OF and merciful nature — of man, that the 

HERMES. Divine Presence can sow the seJf-con- 
scious seeds of the heavenly Gnosis, so 
that from this Virgin Womb of Virtue 
may come to birth the true Man, the 
child of Freedom, or Right Will, or 
Good Will. 

To others, to those who are still in 
ignorance of spiritual things, the Divine 
Presence is also an aid, but unknowingly ; 
for being manifested for them in its 
reversed mode, by means of the con- 
straints of Fate, the many consider it a 
hindrance, as indeed it is — a hindrance 
to their falling into greater ignorance and 
limitation. The soil must be cleared 
of tares and ploughed, before it can 
be sown. 

But when man of his own freewill 
reverses his mode of life, and revolves 
with the motion of the heavenly spheres 
instead of spinning against them, the 
conscious contact with the Divine Pre- 
sence which is thus effected, stirs the 



whole nature to respond ; sunlight pours "^^^ 
into the true heart of the man from all qf 
sides, and his heart answers ; it wakes HERMES, 
from the dead and begins to speak true 
words. The Great God gives speech to 
the heart in the Invisible, even as He 
does to the dead Osirified ; and that 
unspoken speech is a continual praise- 
giving of right deeds. There is also a 
spoken speech, becoming articulate in 
human words in hymns of praise and 
thanks to God — the liturgy of a piety 
that answers to the Divine and is thus 

Indeed this is the basis of all liturgy 
and cult, even in their crudest forms 
or reflections — in the dreams of men's 
sleeping hearts. But the Trismegistic 
writings are dealing with the self-con- 
scious realization of true Gnostic Passion, 
where feeling has to be consciously 
transmuted into knowledge. 

The singing of hymns on earth is the 
reflection of a heavenly mystery. Before 
the man can really sing in proper tune 


THE he must have harmonized his lower 

HYMNS j^g^^^j-g and transformed it into cosmos 
HERMES, or fit order. Hitherto he has been sing- 
ing out of tune, chaotically — howling, 
shrieking, crying, cursing, rather than 
singing articulately, and so offering " rea- 
sonable oblations " to God. 

The articulation of the " members " 
of his true " body " or " heart " has not 
yet been completed or perfected ; they 
-~ are still, to use the language of the 

ancient Egyptian myth, scattered abroad, 
as it were, by his Typhonic passions ; 
the limbs of his body of life are scattered 
in his body of death. The Isis of his 
spiritual nature is still weeping and 
mourning, gathering them together, await- 
ing the day of the New Dawn, when the 
last member, the organ of Gnosis, shall 
complete the taxis, or order, or band of 
his members, and the New Man shall 
arise from the dead. 

It is only when these " limbs " of his 
are harmonized and properly articulated 
that he has an instrument for cosmic 


music. It matters not whether the old 
myth tells us of the fourteen " limbs " of 
the dead Osiris, or the later instruction 
speaks of the seven spheres of the creative 
Harmony that fashion forth the " limbs " 
of every man, and views them as each 
energizing in two modes, according as 
the individual will of man goes with 
them or against them — it all refers to 
the same mystery. Man in limitation 
is two-fold, even as are his physical 
limbs ; man in freedom as cosmicly 
configured is two in one in all things. 

And therefore when this " change 
of gnostic tendency " is wrought, there 
is a marvellous transmutation of the 
whole nature. He abandons his Typhonic 
passions, the energizings of the nature 
that has battled with God, in order that 
what the anonymous WTiter of that mystic 
masterpiece The Dream of Rdvan, so 
finely calls the " Divine Catastrophe " 
may be precipitated, and the Titan in 
him may be the more rapidly destroyed, 
or rather transmuted into the God. 



^VMMS "^^^ though these passions now seem 

QP to us to be of the " Devil," and though 

HERMES, we look upon them as born of powers 
that fight against God, they are not really 
evil ; they are the experiences in our 
nature of the natural energies of the 
Divine Harmony — that mysterious En- 
gine of Fate, which is the seven-fold 
means of manifestation, according to our 
Trismegistic tradition. For the Divine 
Harmony is the creative instrument of the 
Divine Energy, that perpetually produces 
forms in substance for consciousness, 
and so gradually perfects a form that shall 
be capable of imaging forth the Perfect 

The natural energies that have been 
hitherto working through him uncon- 
sciously, in order that through form 
self-consciousness may come to birth, 
are, however, regarded by the neophyte, 
in the first stages of his gnostic birth, as 
inimical ; they have woven for him 
garments that have brought experience, 
but which now seem rags that he would 


ain strip off, in order that he may put THE 

on new robes of power and majesty, and qf 

so exchange the sackcloth of the slave HERMES. 

for the raiment of the King. Though the 

new garments are from the same yarn 

and woven by the energies of the same 

loom, the weaver is now labouring to 

change the texture and design ; he is 

now joyfully learning gnosticly to follow 

the plan of the Great Weaver, and so 

cheerfully unravels the rags of his past 

imperfections to reweave them into " fine 

linen " fit for King Osiris. 

This gnostic change is in our treatise 
described by the Great Mind teaching the 
little mind, as following on the stripping 
off of the vices of the soul, which are said 
to arise from the downward mode of the 
energies of the seven spheres of the 
Harmony of Fate. The subsequent beati- 
fication is set forth in the following 
graphic declaration : 


And then, with all the energizing 
of the Harmony stript from him, he 


THE Cometh to that nature which belongs 

O™^^ unto the Eighth, and there with those 
HERMES, that are hymneth the Father. 

" They who are there welcome his 
coming there with joy ; and he, made 
like to them that sojourn there, doth 
further hear the Powers who are above 
the nature that belongs unto the Eighth, 
singing their songs of praise to God in 
language of their own. 

" And then they, in a band, go to the 
Father home ; of their own selves they 
make surrender of themselves to Powers, 
and thus becoming Powers they are in 
God. This the good end for those who 
have gained Gnosis — to be made one 
with God " (ii., i6). 

This is the change of gnostic tendency 
that is wrought in the nature of one who 
passes from the stage of ordinary man, 
which Hermes characterizes as a " pro- 
cession of Fate," to that true manhood 
which leads finally to Godship. 

The ancient Egyptians divided man 


into at least nine forms of manifestation, THE 
or modes of existence, or spheres of qf 
being, or by whatever phrase we choose HERMES, 
to name these categories of his natures. 

The words " clothed in his proper 
Power " refer, I believe, to one of these 
natures of man. Now the sekhem is 
generally translated " power," but we 
have no description of it whereby we may 
satisfactorily check the translation ; and 
so I would suggest that the khaihit, 
though generally translated " shadow " 
(i., 89), is perhaps the mystery to which 
our text refers, for " in the teaching of 
Egypt, around the radiant being [perhaps 
the Yen or name], which in its regenerate 
life could assimilate itself to the glory 
of the Godhead, was formed the khaihit, 
or luminous atmosphere, consisting of 
a series of ethereal envelopes, at once 
shading and diffusing its flaming lustre, 
as the earth's atmosphere shades and 
diffuses the solar rays " (i., 76)^ 

This was typified by the linen swathings 
of the mummy, for " Thoth, the Divine 


THE Wisdom, wraps the spirit of the Justified 

OF a milHon times in a garment of fine 

HERMES. Hnen," even as Jesus in a certain sacred 
act girt himself with a " Hnen cloth " 
which Tertullian characterizes as the 
"proper garment of Osiris" (i., 71). 
And Plutarch tells us that linen was worn 
by the priests " on account of the colour 
which the flax in flower sends forth, 
resembling the ethereal radiance that sur- 
rounds the cosmos " (i., 265). 

The same mystery is shown forth in 
the marvellous passage which describes 
the transfiguration of Jesus in the Gnostic 
gospel known as the Pistis Sophia, which 
is of almost pure Egyptian tradition. 
It is the mystic description of a wonderful 
metamorphosis or transformation that 
is wrought in the inner nature of the 
Master, who has ascended to clothe 
himself with the Robe of Glory, and who 
returns to the consciousness of his lower 
powers, or disciples, clad in his Robe of 


" They saw Jesus descending shining 
exceedingly ; there was no measure to 
the hght which surrounded him, for he 
shone more brightly than when he had 
ascended into the heavens, so that it is 
impossible for any in this world to de- 
scribe the light in which he was. He 
shot forth rays shining exceedingly ; 
his rays were without measure, nor were 
his rays of light equal together, but they 
were of every figure and every type, 
some being more admirable than the 
others in infinite manner. And they 
were all pure light in every part at the 
same time. 

" It was of three degrees, one surpas- 
sing the other in infinite manner. The 
second, which was in the midst, excelled 
the first which was below it, and the 
third, the most admirable of all, sur- 
passed the two below it. The first glory 
was placed below all, like to the light 
which came upon Jesus before he ascended 
into the heavens, and was very regular 
as to its own light " (pp. 7, 8). 



THE This triple glory, I believe, was the 

HYMNS ,, ^^^y ^^ ^.gj^^ „ ^f ^j^g nature of the 

HERMES, eighth, ninth and tenth spheres of glory 
in the scale of the perfect ten. In our 
text the " clothed in his proper Power " 
must, I think, be referred to the powers 
of the seven spheres unified into one, 
the eighth, which was the vehicle of the 
pure mind, according to Platonic tradi- 
tion, based originally, in all probability, 
' on Egyptian tradition. This " vehicle " 
was " atomic " and not " molecular," 
to use the terms of present-day science, 
simple and not compound, same and not 
other — " very regular as to its own 

IJ: And so when this gnostic change is 
wrought in the man's inner nature there 
is an accompanying change effected in 
the substance of his very " body," and 
he begins to sing in harmony with the 
spheres ; " with those that are he 
hymneth the Father." 

He now knows the language of nature, 
and therewith sings praise continually 


in full consciousness of the joy of life. SJEj^g 
He sings the song of joy, and so singing qf 
hears the joyous songs of the Sons of HERMES. 
God who form the first of the choirs 
invisible. They sing back to him and 
give him welcome ; and what they sing 
the lover of such things may read in the 
same Pistis Sophia (p. 17), in the 
Hymn of the Powers " Come unto Us " — 
when they welcome the returning exile 
on the Great Day of that name. 

But this is not all ; for higher still 
and higher, beyond and yet beyond, are 
other choirs of Powers of even greater 
transcendency who sing. As yet, how- 
ever, the newly born cannot understand 
or bear, their song, for they sing in a 
language of their own, there being many 
tongues of angels and archangels, of 
daimones and gods in their many grades. 

But already the man has begun to 
realize the freedom of the cosmos ; he has 
begun to feel himself a true cosmopolitan 
or world-citizen, and to thrill in harmony 
with the Powers. He experiences an 


HVMNS ineffable union that removes all fear, 
OF and longs for the consummation of 

HERMES, the final Sacred Marriage when he will 
perform the great sacrifice, and of him- 
self make joyful surrender of all that 
he has been in separation, to become, 
by union with Those alone who truly 
are, all that has ever been and is and 
will be — and so one with God, the All 
and One. 

It is thus evident that our Hjrnins 
of Hermes are in direct contact with a 
tradition which regarded the spiritual 
life as a perpetual service of song ; and 
this is quite in keeping with the belief 
of the Egyptians that man was created 
for the sole purpose of worshipping 
the Gods and rendering them pious 
service. The whole duty of man was 
^ thus conceived of as an utterance of 
" true words " or a continual singing of a 
song of harmony of thought and word 
and deed, whereby man grew like unto 
the Gods, and so at last becoming a God 
was with the Great God in the " Boat of 


the millions of Years," or " Barque of ^ymns 
the iEons," in other words, was safe for of 
eternity. HERMES. 

And now we will turn to the four . 
hymns preserved to us in Greek from 
the hymn-book of this truly sacred 

The first is appended to the " Poem- 
andres " treatise, and was evidently 
intended to give some idea in hrmian 
terms of the nature of the Praise-giving 
of the Powers to which reference has just 
been made. For, as we shall see later 
on, the less instructed of the community 
fervently desired to have revealed to 
them the words of this Song, thinking 
in their ignorance that it was some 
hymn resembling those of earth, and not 
yet understanding that it was the heavenly 
type of all earth-praising, whether ex- 
pressed by man or animal, by tree or 

The first part of our hymn consists 
of nine hues, divided by their subjects 


THE into three groups, every sentence begin- 

oJ^^^ ning with " Holy art Thou ! " It is 

HERMES, thus in the form of a three- fold " Holy, 

Holy, Holy ! " — and we may thus, for 

want of a proper title, call it " A Triple 



Holy art Thou, God, the Universals^ 

Holy art Thou, God, Whose Will per- 
fects itself hy means of its own Powers. 

Holy art Thou, God, Who wiliest to he 
known and art known hy Thine own. 

Holy art Thou, Who didst hy Word make 
to consist the things that are. 

Holy art Thou, of Whom All-nature hath 
been made an Image. 


Holy art Thou, Whose Form Nature hath 
never made. 

Holy art Thou, more powerful than all 

Holy art Thou, transcending all pre- 

Holy art Thou, Thou better than all 

Accept my reason's offerings pure, from 
soul and heart for aye stretched up to Thee, 
Thou unutterable, unspeakable. Whose 
Name naught but the Silence can express ! 

Give ear to me who pray that I may 
ne''er of Gnosis fail — Gnosis which is our, 
common being's nature — and fill me 
with Thy Power, and with this Grace of 
Thine, that I may give the Light to those 
in ignorance of the Race, my Brethren 
and Thy Sons ! 

For this cause I believe, and I bear 
witness. I go to Life and Light. Blessed 
art Thou, Father. Thy Man would 
holy be as Thou art holy, e'en as Thou 
gavest him Thy full authority to be. 



SSI^Mc " ^o^y ^^t Thou, O God, the Universals* 

HYMNS p^^j^^j.,, 

HERMES. God is first praised as the Father of 
the Universals, that is of the Greatnesses 
of all things, the ^onic Immensities, or 
Supreme Mysteries that are plural yet 
one — the Subsistencies of the Divine 
Being in the state of pure Divinity. 

" Holy art Thou, O God, Whose Will 
perfects itself by means of its own Powers." 

God is next praised as the Power or 
Potency of all things ; for Will is regarded 
by our Gnostics as the means by which 
the Deity reveals Himself unto Himself 
by the Great Act of perpetual Self- 
creation of Himself in Himself. " From 
Thee " are all things — when God is 
thought of as Divine Fatherhood ; and 
" Through Thee " are all things — when 
God is regarded as Divine Motherhood. 
For this Will is the Divine Love which is 
the means of Self-perfection, the source 
of all consummation and satisfaction, of 
certitude and bliss. The Deity for ever 
initiates Himself into His own Mysteries. 



Holy art Thou, O God, Who willeth the 


to be known and art known by Thine qf 
own." HERMES. 

The Will of God is Gnostic ; He wills 
to be known. The Divine Purpose is 
consummated in Self-knowledge. God 
is knowable, but only by " His own," 
that is by the Divine Sonship, as Basil- 
ides, the Christian Gnostic, calls it, or 
by the Race of the Sons of God, as Philo 
and our Gnostics and others of the same 
period phrase it. 

The Sonship is a Race, and not an 
individual, because they of the Sonship 
have ceased from separation and have 
made " surrender of themselves to Powers, 
and thus becoming Powers they are in 
God." They are one with another, no 
longer separated one from another and 
using divided senses and organs ; for 
they constitute the Intelligible Word 
or Reason (Logos) which is also the 
Intelligible World (Kosmos) or. Order of 
all things. 

The next three praise-givings celebrate 


THE the same trinity of what, for lack of 

OF appropriate terms, we may call Being, 

HERMES. Bliss and Intelligence, but now in another 
mode — the mode of manifestation or 
enformation in space and time and sub- 
stance of the Sensible Universe, or Cosmos 
of forms and species. 

The three hypostases or hyparxes or 
subsistences of this mode of the Divine 
self-manifestation are suggested by the 
terms Word, All-nature and Form. Word 
is the Vice-regent of Being, because it is 
this Word or Reason that established 
the being of all things, the that in them 
which causes them to be what they are, 
the essential reason of their being ; All- 
nature is the ground or substance of 
their being, the All-receiver or Nurse, as 
Plato calls her, who nourishes them, the 
Giver of Bliss, the Ever-becoming which 
is the Image of Eternity ; while Form 
is the impression of the Divine Intel- 
ligence, the source of all transformation 
and metamorphosis. 

The final trisagion sings the praise of 


God's transcendency, declaring the power- THE 
lessness of human speech adequately to qf^ 
sing the praise of God. HERMES. 

Therefore is it said that the sole fit 
liturgy, or service of God, is to be found 
in the offerings of reason alone, the 
reason or logos which is the Divine prin- 
ciple in man, the image of the Image, 
or Divine Man, the Logos. It is the 
continual raising of the tension of the 
whole nature whereby the man is drawn 
ever closer and closer to God, in the 
rapt silence of ecstatic contemplation — 
when alone he goes to the Alone, as 
Plotinus says. The Name of God can 
be expressed by Silence alone, for, as we 
known from the remains of the Christian- 
ized Gnosis, this Silence, or Sige, is the 
Spouse of God, and it is the Divine 
Spouse alone who can give full expression 
to the Divine Son, the Name or Logos 
of God. 

The prayer is for Gnosis, for the 
realization of the state of Sonship, or 
the self-consciousness of the common 


THE beiner which the Son has with the Father. 

OF This is to be consummated by the fulfil- 

HERMES. ment of the man's whole nature, by the 
completion of his insufficiency or im- 
perfection (hystercma), whereby he be- 
comes the Fullness or Wholeness (Pleroma) 
the lEon or Eternity. This is to be 
achieved by the descent of the Great 
: Power upon him, by the Blessing of 
God's Goodwill, that Charis or Grace or 
Love, which has been all along his Divine 
Mother, but which now becomes his 
Divine Spouse or Complement or Syzygy. 
The prayer is not for self but for others, 
that so the man may become the means 
of illumination for those still in dark- 
ness, who as yet do not know of the Glad 
Tidings of the Divine Sonship, who are 
ignorant of the Race of Wisdom, but 
who nevertheless are, as are all men, 
brethren of the Christ and sons of God. 

And so in this ecstasy of praise, the 
traveller, as he sings upon the Path of 
the Divine, feels within him the certitude 
that he is indeed on the Way of Return, 


his face set forward to the True Goal ; 
he IS going to Light and Life, the eternal 
fatherhood and motherhood that are ever 
united in the Good, the One Desirable, 
or Divine Father-Mother, two in one and 
three in one. 

Finally as God has been praised 
throughout in His nature of holiness, that 
is as most worshipful, meet to be adored, 
praiseworthy and the object of all wonder, 
so that which has proceeded from Him, 
His Man, or the Divine in man, now 
longs consciously to become of like nature 
with Him, according to the Purpose and 
Commandment of the Father Who has 
destined him for this very end, and 
bestowed on him power over all things. 

It is indeed a fair psalm — this Hymn 
of Hermes, that is, the praise-giving of 
some lover of this Gnosis who had, as 
he expresses it, " reached the Plain of 
Truth " (i., 19), or come into conscious 
contact with the reality of his own 
Divine nature, and so been made a Hermes 
indeed, capable of interpreting the inner 



THE meaning of religion, and of leading souls 

QP back from Death to Life — a true psych- 

HERMES. agogue. It matters little who wrote it ; 
his body may have been Egyptian or 
Greek or Syrian, it may have borne this 
name or that, it may have lived precisely 
from this year to that, or from some 
other to some other year, all this is of 
little consequence except for historians 
of the bodies of men. What concerns us 
here more nearly is the outpouring of a 
soul ; we have here a man manifestly 
pouring forth from the fulness of his 
heart the profoundest experiences of his 
inmost hfe. He is telling us how it is 
possible for a man to learn to know God 
by first learning to know himself, and so 
unfold the flower of his spiritual nature 
and unwrap the swathings of the im- 
memorial heart of him, that has been 
mummified and laid in the tomb so many 
ages of lives that have been living deaths. 

And now we may pass to our next 
hymn. It is found in a beautiful little 


treatise which bears as title the enuncia- X^,f,„^ 
tion of its subject, " Though Unmanifest of 
God is most Manifest," and is a discourse hermes. 
of "father" Hermes to "son" Tat. 
The subject of this sermon is that mys- 
terious manifestation of the Divine Energy 
which is now so well known by the Sans- 
krit term Maya, so erroneously trans- 
lated into Enghsh as " Illusion " — unless 
we venture to take this illusion in its 
root-meaning of Sport and Play ; for 
in its highest sense Maya is the Sport of 
the Creative Will, the World-Drama or 
God in activity. 

The Greek equivalent of mdyd is 
phantasia, which, for lack of a single 
term in English to represent it rightly, I 
have translated by " thinking-manifest." 
The Phantasy of God is thus the Powei 
(Shakti in Sanskrit) of perpetual self- 
manifestation or self-imagining, and is 
the means whereby all " This " comes 
into existence from the ^ unmanifest 
" That "; or as our treatise phrases it : 


THE " He is Himself, both things that are 

OF and things that are not. The things that 

HERMES, are He hath made manifest, He keepeth 

things that are not in Himself. 

" He is the God beyond all name — 
He the unmanifest. He the most mani- 
fest ; He whom the mind alone can 
contemplate. He visible unto the eyes 
as well. He is the one of no body, the 
one of many bodies, nay, rather, He of 
every body." 

" Naught is there which He is not, for 
all are He, and He is all " (ii., 104). 

He is both things that are " here " in 
our present consciousness, and all that 
are not in our consciousness, or rather 
memory — " there " in our eternal nature. 
He is both the Manifest and Hidden — 
hidden in the manifest and manifest in 
the hidden, manifest in all we have been 
and hidden in all we shall be. 

From the things that are not He 
maketh things that are ; and so He may 
be said to create out of nothing — as far 


as we are concerned ; indeed He creates "^^^ 
out of nothing but Himself. OF 

He is both that which the mind alone HERMES, 
can contemplate — that is the Intelligible 
Universe, or that constituted in His 
Divine Being which the divided senses 
cannot perceive — and also all that which 
the senses, both physical and super- 
physical, can perceive — the whole Sensi- 
sible Universe. 

He is to be conceived simultaneously 
from a monotheistic, polytheistic and 
pantheistic point of view, and from many 
others — as many points of view indeed, 
as the mind of man can conceive, not to 
speak of an infinitude that he cannot 
ever imagine. He is corporeality and 
incorporeality in perpetual union. He 
is in no body, for no body can contain 
Him, and yet is He in every body and 
every body is in Him. " Naught is there 
which He is not, for He is all." 

It is indeed difficult to ^ understand 
why so many in the West so greatly 
dread the very thought of allowing 


THE pantheistic ideas to enter into their con- 

QP ception of God. This fear is in reahty 

HERMES, over-daring or rash presumption, for they 
have the hardihood to dare to hmit the 
Divine according to their own petty 
notions of what they would Hke God to 
be, and so they bitterly resent the dis- 
turbance of their self-complacency when 
it is pointed out that He will not fit the 
miserably narrow cross on which they 
would fain crucify Him. 

What right have we, who in our 
ignorance are but puny creatures of a 
day, to exclude God from any one or 
any thing ? But they will reply : It 
is not God who is excluded ; it is we 
who exclude ourselves from God. 

Indeed ; try as we may, we cannot do 
so. This is the impossible, for we cannot 
exclude ourselves from ourselves. And 
who are we apart from God ? Did we 
create ourselves ? And if we did, then 
we are God, for self-creation is the 
prerogative of the Divine alone. 

But the pious soul will still object 


that God is good alone. Agreed, if you '^^^^ 
will ; but what is Good ? Is Good our qf 
good only, or the Good of all creatures ? HERMES. 
And if God is the Good of all creatures, 
then equally so must He be the Evil of 
all creatures ; for the good of one creature 
is the evil of another, and the evil of one 
the good of another — and so the Balance 
is kept even. It is a limited view to 
say that God is good alone, and then to 
define this as meaning some special 
form of good that we imagine for our- 
selves, and not that which is really good 
for all ; for it is good that there should 
be such apparent evil in the universe 
as pantheism, and that man's notions 
of apparent good should so far fall short of 
the reality. The wise man, or rather 
the man who is striving after Gnosis, 
is he who can see in the Good and Evil 
as conceived by man good in every evil, 
and evil or insufficiency in every good. 

But if we say with Hermes that " All 
are He and He is all," we do not assert 
that we know what this really means, 






we only assert that we are in this declara- 
tion face to face with the ultimate 
mystery of all things before which we 
can only bow the head in reverent silence, 
for all words here fail. 

And so the mystic who wrote these 
sentences continues his meditation with 
a magnificent hymn, expressive of the 
inability of the learner's mind rightly to 
sing God's praises, which, for lack of a 
better title, we may call " A H5niin 
to All-Father God.' 



Who, then, may sing Thee praise of 
Thee, or praise to Thee ? 

Whither, again, am I to turn my eyes 
to sing Thy praise ; above, below, within, 
without ? 

There is no way, no place is there about 
Thee, nor any other thing of things that are. 


All are in Thee ; all are from Thee ; 
Thou Who givest all and takest naught, 
for Thou hast all and naught is there 
Thou hast not. 

^w^ WHEN, Father, shall I hymn 
Thee ? For none can seize Thy hour or 

For what, again, shall I sing hymn ? 
For things that Thou hast made, or things 
Thou hast not ? For things Thou hast 
made manifest, or things Thou hast 
concealed ? 

How, further, shall I hymn Thee ? As 
being of myself? As having something 
of mine own ? As being other ? 

For that Thou art whatever I may be ; 
Thou art whatever I may do ; Thou art 
whatever I may speak. 

For Thou art all, and there is nothing 
else which Thou art not. 

Thou art all that which doth exist, and 
Thou art what doth not exist, — Mind when 
Thou thinkest, and Father when Thou 
makest, and God when Thou dost energize^ 
and Good and Maker of all things (ii., 105). 



THE Who is capable of singing God's praises, 

OF when it requires the whole universe of 

HERMES. Being, and the countless universes of all 
the beings that are, to sing the praises 
of God in any truly adequate manner ? 
Who, then, what man, has the under- 
standing wherewith to praise God fitly, 
when though in his separated conscious- 
ness he knows he knows not who he is, 
he yet begins to realize that the " who he 
really is " must inevitably be God and 
no other ? In what manner can the 
Divine sing praises of itself as of some 
other than itself, when " I " and " Thou " 
must essentially be one, and the utter- 
ance of praise as of some other one seems 
to be a departure from the blessed state 
of that Divine intuition. 

Is God again to be limited by space 
and spatial considerations ? Is there 
a " whither " in respect to God ? Cer- 
tainly there cannot be any special place 
where the Divine may be said to be, for 
He is in all places, and all places and 
spaces are in Him. He cannot be said 


to be in the heart more than in any other uymn«; 
organ or hmb of the body, for He is in all qf 
things and all things are in Him. Equally HERMES, 
so is there no special direction in which 
the eyes of the mind can turn, for He is 
to be seen in every direction of thought 
in which the mind can proceed ; and if 
we say there are evil turnings of the 
mind, evil thoughts, he who has ex- 
perienced this " change of gnostic ten- 
dency " will reply that the only evil he 
now knows is not to be conscious that 
God is in all things, and that with the 
dawning of this true self-consciousness 
the right side of every thought presents 
itself with the wrong side in the joy of 
pure thinking. 

The idea of the next praise-giving 
is perhaps somewhat difficult to follow, 
as it appears to be a contradiction in 
terms. But in these sublime heights of 
human thought all is seeming contra- 
diction and paradox, because it is the 
state of reconciliation of all opposites. 

It might be said that if God is He 


HYMNS^ who gives all things, equally so must He 
OF be He who receives all things ; but the 

HERMES, antithesis can be equally well declared 
by the thought of all and nothing as by 
the idea of giving and receiving, for God 
manifestly takes nothing, in that He 
has no need of anything, seeing that 
He already has all things. 

And if God cannot be limited by space, 
equally so is it impossible that He can 
be conditioned by time. Therefore the 
true Gnostic Te Deum cannot be sung 
at any one time only, but must be sung 
eternally ; the man must transform him- 
self into a perpetual song of praise in 
every thought and word and deed. 

Nor can the Deity be hymned for one 
thing, rather than for another, for all 
things are equally from God, and he 
who would make himself like unto God 
should have no preferences, but should 
view all things with equal eye, and 
embrace them all with equal love. 

On account of what, again, as regards 
himself in distinction from the world, 


shall the Gnostic praise God ? Shall '^^^ 
he hymn the Divine for the fact of his qf 
own self-existence, or because of the HERMES, 
powers and faculties and possessions that 
are his, or because he is other than, pre- 
sumably, the many who are not in Gnosis ? 
The uselessness of all such distinctions 
becomes apparent in the doubt that 
the very asking of such questions awakens, 
and the devotee of Wisdom brushes 
them all aside in splendid outburst : 
" For that Thou art whatever I may be ; 
Thou art whatever I may do ; Thou art 
whatever I may speak ." There is no 
separation in the reality of things. What- 
ever the man is in this ecstatic state, 
it is the Being of God in him ; whatever 
the man does, it is the Working of God 
in him ; whatever the man speaks, it is 
the Word of God in him. 

Nay, more than this ; to such a con- 
sciousness God is in very truth all things 
both manifest and hidden. God js Mind 
when we think of Him as thinking, 
devising and planning ; God is Father 


THE when we conceive Him as williner and 


OF creating and bringing all things into 

HERMES, existence ; and God is Good when we 
regard Him as energizing or in working 
or breathing in all things to give them 
Light and Life. He is the Good or End 
of all things, even as He is the Beginning 
or Maker of all. 

Our next hymn is found in the marvel- 
lous initiation ritual which now bears 
the title " The Secret Sermon on the 
Mountain," with the sub-heading " Con- 
cerning Rebirth and the Promise of 
Silence," but which might very well be 
called " The Initiation of Tat." 

This Rebirth or Regeneration was, and 
is, the mystery of the Spiritual Birth or 
Birth from Above, the object of the 
greater mysteries, even as in the lesser 
mysteries, the subject of the instructions 


was concerning the Birth from Below, THE 
the secret of genesis, or how a man comes qf 
into physical birth. The one was the HERMES, 
birth or genesis into matter, the other 
the essential birth or palingenesis, the 
means of re-becoming a pure spiritual 

It is the mystic rite of the " laying on 
of hands," the rite of invocation by 
Hermes, the hierophant or father on 
earth, whereby the Hands of Blessing 
of the Great Initiator, the Good Mind, 
are laid upon the head of Tat, the con- 
didate, his son. These Hands of Blessing 
are no physical hands, but Powers, • 
Rays of the spiritual Sun, even as they 
are symbolized in the well-known Egyp- 
tian frescoes of the Atem-cult. Each 
Ray is a Gnostic Power, the light and 
virtue of which drive out the darkness of 
the soul's vices and prepare the way for 
transforming the fleshly body into the 
true ray-like or star-like body of a God — 
the augoeides or astroeides, to which we 
referred under its Egyptian equivalent 


'^™m<; ^^ ^^^ beginning of this little volume. 
OF This mystic rite of Gnostic initiation 

HERMES, brings the God in man to birth ; he is 
at first, however, but a baby God, who 
as yet neither hears nor sees, but only 
feels. And so when the rite is duly 
ended. Tat begs as a great privilege 
to be told the marvellous Song of the 
Powers of which he has read in his studies, 
and which his father, Hermes, is said to 
have heard when he came to the Eighth 
Sphere or Stage in his ascent of the 
Holy Mountain or Sacred Stairs. 

" I would, O father, hear the praise- 
giving with hymn which thou dost say 
thou heardest when thou wert at the 

In answer to Tat's request Hermes 
replies that it is quite true the Shepherd, 
the Divine Mind, at his own still higher 
initiation into the first grade of master- 
hood, foretold that he should hear this 
Heaven-Song ; and he commends Tat 


for hastening to " strike his tent " now ^^^ 

that he has been made pure. That is qf 

to say, the final rite of purification has HERMES. 

now been operated in Tat, the powers of 

the cathartic or purifying virtues have 

descended upon him, so that he now has 

the power to " strike his tent," or free 

himself from the trammels of the body 

of vice, and so rise from the tomb which 

has hitherto imprisoned his " daimonic 

soul," as the Pythian Oracle says of 


But, adds Hermes, it is not quite as 
Tat supposes. There is no one Song of 
the Powers written in human speech 
and kept secret ; no MS., no oral tradition, 
of some physically uttered hymn. 

" The Shepherd, Mind of all master- 
hood, hath not passed on to me more 
than hath been writ down, for full well 
did He know that I should of myself be 
able to learn all, and see all things. 

" He left to me the making" of fair 
things. Wherefore the Powers within me, 


THE e'en as they are in all, break into song." 

HYMNS -^ ° 


HERMES. The Song can be sung in many modes 
and many tongues, according to the 
inspiration of the illumined singer. The 
man who is reborn becomes a psalmist 
and a poet, for now is he tuned in har- 
mony with the Great Harmony, and 
cannot do otherwise than sing God's 
praises. He becomes a maker of hymns 
and is no longer a repeater of the hymns 
of others. 

But Tat persists ; his soul is filled 
with longing to hear some echo of the 
Great Song. " Father, I wish to hear ; 
I long to know these things ! " 

And so Hermes is at last persuaded, 
and proceeds to give him a model of such 
praise-giving which he now can use in 
substitution for the prayers he has pre- 
viously employed, and which were more 
suited to one in the state of faith. 

Hermes bids Tat calm himself and 
so await in reverent silence the hearing 
of the potent theurgic outpouring of the 



whole nature of the man in praise of God, hymns 
which shall open a path throughout all qf 
Nature straight to the Divine. This HERMES, 
is no ordinary hymn of praise but a 
theurgic operation or gnostic act. There- 
fore, Hermes commands : 

" Be still, my son ! Hear the praise- 
giving that keeps the soul in tune. Hymn 
of Rebirth — a hymn I would not have 
thought iit so readily to tell, had'st thou 
not reached the end of all." 

Not, of course, the end of all Gnosis, 
but the end of the probationary path of 
purification and faith, which is the 
beginning of the Gnosis. Such hymns 
were taught only to those who had been 
made pure ; not to those who were 
slaves of the world or even to them who 
were still struggling with their lower 
vices, but only to those who had got 
themselves ready and " made the thought 
in them a stranger to the wo rid- illusion " 
(ii., 220). 


HYMNrq " ^^^I'sfoi'^'" says Hermes, " this is 

OF not taught, but is kept hid in silence." 

HERMES. It is a hymn that must be used cere- 
monially at sunrise and sunset. 

" Thus then, my son, stand in a place 
uncovered to the sky^ facing the west, 
about the sinking of the setting sun, and 
make thy worship ; so in like manner, 
too, when he doth rise, with face unto 
the east." 

And for those who cannot perfect 
the rite on all planes, let them stand 
naked, with all the garments of false 
opinion stripped from them, naked in 
the midst of High Heaven's clear sphere, 
facing straight with the Spiritual Sun, 
or the Eye of Mind that illuminates the 
Great Sphere of our spiritual nature in 
the stillness of the purified intelligence. 

And so Hermes, before he sings what 
is called " The Secret Hymnody," once 
more utters the solemn injunction : 

" Now, son, be still ! " 



Let every nature of the world receive the 
utterance of my hymn ! 

Of en, thou Earth ! Let every holt of the 
Abyss he drawn for me ! Stir not, ye Trees ! 

I am ahout to hymn creation's Lord, 
both All and One. 

Ye Heavens open, and ye Winds stay 
still ; and let God's Deathless Sphere re- 
ceive my word ! 

For I will sing the praise of Him who 
founded all ; who fixed the Earth, and hung 
up Heaven, and gave command that Ocean 
should afford sweet water to the Earth, to 
both those parts that are inhabited, and 
those that are not, for the support and use 
of every man ; who made the Fire to shine 
for gods and men for every act. 

Let us together all give praise to Him, 
sublime above the Heavens, of every nature 
Lord ! 

'Tis He who is the Eye of Mind ; may 
He accept the praise of these my Powers ! 

Ye Powers that are within ^ me, hymn 
the One and All ; sing with my Will, 



Hwwq Powers all that are within me ! 
OF ^ blessed Gnosis, by thee illumined, 

HERMES, hymning through thee the Light that mind 
alone can see, I joy in Joy of Mind. 
Sing with me praises, all ye Powers ! 
Sing praise, my Self-control ; sing thou 
through me, my Righteousness, the praises 
of the Righteous ; sing thou, my Sharing- 
all, the praises of the All ; through me 
sing. Truth, Truth^s praises ! 

Sing thou, Good, the Good I Life 
and Light, from us to you our praises 
How I 

Father, I give Thee thanks, to Thee Thou 
Energy of all my Powers ; I give Thee 
thanks, God, Thou Power of all my 

fAThy Reason sings through me Thy 
praises. Take back through me the All 
into Thy Reason — my reasonable oblation ! 
Thus cry the Powers in me. They sing 
Thy praise, Thou All ; they do Thy Will. 

From Thee, Thy Will ; To Thee, the 
All. Receive from all their reasonable 
oblation. The All that is in us, Life, 


preserve ; Light, illumine it ; God, J^„- 
inspirit it ! OF 

It is Thy Mind that plays the Shepherd HERMES. 
to Thy Word, Thou Creator, Bestower 
of the Spirit upon all. 

For Thou art God ; Thy Man thus 
cries to Thee, through Fire, through Air, 
through Earth, through Water, and through 
Spirit, through Thy creatures. 

'Tis from Thy Mon I have found Praise- 
giving ; and in Thy Will, the object of my 
search, have I found Rest (ii., 230-232). 

We can see at once that this is no 
ordinary hymn, no hymn conceived in 
the mode of the psahns to which we have 
been used, but the gnostic outpouring 
of a man who has begun to realize the 
nature of his own spiritual dignity and 
proper place in the universe, based on 
the tradition of what is best in Egyptian 
theurgy, or that Divine energizing which 


HYMNS ^^^^^ ^^'^^^ words of command that all 

OF nature willingly obeys. 

HERMES. He is about to utter words " that are 
true," words that from the true go unto 
the True, without let or hindrance. 
Every nature will therefore receive such 
words and hand them on. All elements 
will hasten to serve the man who is 
serving God with the lawful liturgy of 
his whole nature. 

The Earth in the midst, the Heaven 
above, the Abyss beneath, will open all 
the gates of their secret ways to let the 
true words of him who is " true of word " 
pass onwards to the Deathless Sphere 
of the True God — that is, to the JEon 
itself wherein the True God dwells, not 
to some space of Heaven or of Earth or 
of the Abyss, but to that which transcends 
them, and is the source, preserver and 
end of all of them. 

Not only the trees of the earth, but 
also the Trees of Paradise, the Divine 
Beings that dwell in iEonic Bliss, will rest 
in reverent silence as the potent praise of 


proper reverence passes to the end of all X?^,„^ 

■, , • HYMNS 

adorations. OF 

The winds of earth will still themselves, HERMES, 
and also the Winds of Heaven, the Intel- 
ligent Breaths in the inmost chambers 
of man's Greater Mind. 

For the praise-giving is not poured 
forth to this or that daimon or god, but 
unto the Lord of All ; and they, the 
Obedient Ones, whose life consists in 
praising God, cannot but rejoice that the 
Disobedient One should at last of his 
own freewill join in the unwearied 
liturgy of nature. 

The hymn is in praise of the One and 
All, of the One Lord of all creation, who 
is both the One who creates and the All 
that is created. It is a hymn sung in 
harmony with the liturgy, or service of 
praise, of the four great primal natures, 
the Cosmic Elements of Earth and Air 
and Water and Fire — Father Heaven 
and Mother Earth, Father Fire and 
Mother Ocean. The man sings with 
them the glory of their common Lord, 


HYMNS ^^^ ^^^ ^^ ^^^^ — ^^^* ^^' ^^^ Mind, the 
OF True Spiritual Sun, whose eyes are the 

HERMES, countless suns in space. This True Sun 
is the True Light, the Light that mind 
alone can see ; the little mind of man, 
now illumined by the Light of Gnosis, 
becomes of the nature of the Great Mind, 
and so a prismatic trinity of Good and 
Light and Life, through which the All- 
Brilliancy of the One and All shines forth 
in a septenary of Powers or Virtues, 

These Powers are, with one exception, 
given in our hymnody in the exact 
classification in which they stand in the 
text of the mystic rite, namely : Gnosis, 
Joy, Self-control, Continence, Righteous- 
ness, Sharing- with-all, and Truth — which 
severally drive out Not-knowing, Sorrow, 
Intemperance, Desire, Unrighteousness, 
Avarice and Error. And with the coming 
of Truth the measure of the Good is 
filled full, for unto Truth is joined Good 
and Life and Light. 

The nature of the persons of the latter 
trinity is still further revealed and the 


transmutability of these hypostases, by X^vfc 
praising God as the Energy of all Powers qf 
and the Power of all Energies, that is, HERMES, 
as Light and Life again, Light the mascu- 
line energizer, and Life the feminine 
nourisher, the father-motherhood of God, 
the Good, the Logos or Reason of all 

And so the gnostic psalmist at last 
resolves his praise-giving into the offer- 
ing of a reasonable oblation — which, 
in final analysis, is the Song of the Logos ; 
the Reason, the Son of God, the Alone- 
begotten, singing through the whole 
nature of the man and refunding the 
cosmos which is himself into the source 
of his Being. It is the consummation 
of the Great Return ; the Will of God is 
now the sole will of the man. 

" From Thee Thy Will ; To Thee the 

That is, from Thee proceeds Thy Will ; 
Thou art the Source of Thy Will, Thy 
Desire, Thy Love ; and Thy Will is Thy 
Spouse, through whom are all things, 


THE the whole universe, Thy Alone-begotten, 

OF whose end also as well as beginning is 

HERMES. Thyself, for He is Thyself eternally. 

For as another mystic hymn of the 
period phrases it (i., 146) : " From Thee 
is Father and Through Thee is Mother " 
— to which we may add " and To Thee 
is Son." 

And so the hymn-singer continues with 
his " reasonable oblation," the offering 
of his true self, the logos within him, of his 
angel " that perpetually beholds the Face 
of the Father," — praying that his whole 
cosmos, the whole that there is of him, 
may be preserved or saved by Life the 
Mother, illumined or irradiated by Light 
the Father, and inspirited or inspired 
or spiritualized by the Great Breath 
of God that eternally and simultaneously 
outbreathes and inbreathes. 

For the man is now no longer a single 
" Letter " or a " Procession of Fate," 
but a true " Name," a free Man, a Word 
of God, a proper Cosmos, ordered in due 
and lawful harmony by the conversion of- 


self-will into a willing union with God's ^ymns 
Will ; and of that Word, or God, or of 
Angel, the Shepherd, or Feeder — He hermes. 
who gives the Divine nectar, or spiritual 
food, by which that Word is nourished 
— is the Great Mind, or Light, or Illu- 
minator, the twin of the Great Soul, or 
Saving Life, the Inspirer and Preserver, 
both of which are bestowed upon us by 
God the Creator. 

The man has now become a Man, a 
Word, a true Being of Reason, whose 
energy is expressed in living ideas that 
can be impressed upon the souls and 
minds of men, and lived out in a life of 
example ; from an imperfect man he has 
become a perfect Cosmos or Order, or 
Harmony, and thus he can make his own 
purified natures sing together with the 
great elements and the quintessence 
of all of them, which is the Spirit or 
Breath of God, the Atman of Indian 

For having attained unto this true 


HYMNS ^^^^ of breathing — breathing and think- 
OF ing with the Great Life and Great Mind 

HERMES, of things — the man is no longer a man but 
a Man, an iEon, an Eternity, and so 
rebecoming his own true Self he expresses 
his natural joy in songs of praise, and 
finds his rest in the Great Peace, the 
Motherhood of God. He is born anew, 
a child Christ ; and, as he grows in 
stature, towards full manhood, so will 
she, who has hitherto been his mother, 
refreshed with the eternal youth of the 
Gods, change from mother into spouse. 

The remaining hymn that has been 
preserved to us in the extant Trismegistic 
literature is found at the end of " The 
Perfect Sermon," of which, unfortunately, 
the Greek original has been lost. We 
are dependent solely on an Old Latin 
version, which is frequently unsatisfactory. 

This sermon is by far the longest of 
our extant Trismegistic logoi. The intro- 
duction informs us that Hermes and 
Asclepius and Tat and Ammon are gathered 


together in the adytum or holy place. u™^<; 
There the three disciples reverently listen qf 
to their master, who delivers a long HERMES, 
instruction on the Gnosis, with the pur- 
pose of perfecting them in the knowledge 
of spiritual things. The discourse is, 
therefore, rightly called " The Perfect 
Sermon," or " The Sermon of Initiation." 

Asclepius, Tat and Ammon stand for 
three types of disciples of the Gnosis, 
three natures of man. Asclepius is the 
man of intellect, skilled in the knowledge 
of the schools, of the arts and sciences of 
the day. Tat is intuitional rather than 
intellectual ; he is " young " compared 
with Asclepius ; nevertheless it is he who 
succeeds Hermes as teacher, when Hermes 
is taken to the Gods, for he has the 
spiritual nature more strongly developed 
than Asclepius, so that he can soar to 
greater heights of illumination. Ammon 
is the practical man of affairs, the king, 
the doer, not the scientist or the mystic. 

It would, however, be a rnistake to 
keep these types too clearly distinguished 


HTONS ^^ ^^^ mind ; for mystically all three are 
OF in each of us, and the true illumination 

HERMES, of our three-fold nature depends upon 
their proper balance and harmony, upon 
the brotherly love of the three disciples 
— James, John and Peter — who must 
each complete each other, and sub- 
ordinate themselves to one another, and 
vie with one another in love of their 
teacher, the purified mind, or Hermes, 
through whom alone the instruction of 
the Great Mind, the Shepherd, can as 
yet come to them. 

And so we find the conditions of right 
contemplation dramatically set forth in 
the last sentence of the introduction of 
the sermon in the words : 

*' When Ammon, too, had come within 
the holy place, and when the sacred group 
of four was now complete with piety 
and with God's goodly Presence — to them, 
sunk in fit silence reverently, their souls 
and minds pendent on Hermes' lips, thus 
Love Divine began to speak (ii., 300). 


This Love Divine is that same Presence, the 
the Highest Mind, or Shepherd of men, q™^^ 
which illumines Hermes, or the higher HERMES, 
mind within us, directly ; but these 
immediate living words of power have 
to be passed on in human words to the 
three natures of our lower mind, the 
Asclepius and Tat and Ammon in us, who 
are the learners and hearers. 

After the instruction is ended and they 
have come forth from the holy place, 
the narrative tells us that they turned 
their faces towards the setting sun, before 
uttering their hymn of praise. 

That is to say mystically, the mind 
ceasing from contemplation, in which the 
outward energies have been caught up to 
the heights, or turned within, and stilled 
by the higher in the intercourse of Love 
that has been blessed with the Presence 
of the Divine, these energies, before 
betaking themselves to their appointed 
separate tasks, all unite in a hymn of 
praise, with their eyes still turned to the 
now apparently departing glory of the 


HYMNS ^^**^^S spiritual Sun. 
OF Hereupon the knower of forms in us, 

HERMES, the Asclepius who is wise in the sciences 
and arts, and ceremonies, proposes to 
Tat, in whispered words, that they sug- 
gest to their father Hermes, that they 
should say their prayer to God " with 
added incense and with unguents." This 
is the suggestion of the mind that still 
clings to outward forms, the ritualist. 
But Hermes recalls them to the gnostic 
nature of their spiritual cult. 

" Whom when Thine greatest heard, 
he grew distressed and said : 

" ' Nay, nay, Asclepius ; speak more 
propitious words ! For this is like to 
profanation of our sacred rites — when 
thou dost pray to God, to offer incense 
and the rest. 

" ' For naught is there of which He 
stands in need, in that He is all things, 
and all are in Him. 

^^' ' But let us worship, pouring forth 
ourlthanks. For this is the best incense 


in God s sight — when thanks are given to 7,?,?,„„ 
TT- u n /•• oo\ HYMNS 

Him by men (n., 388). OF 

And so they begin their praise-giving, 
which for lack of a better title we may 
call " A Hymn of Grace for Gnosis." 


V/e give Thee grace, Thou highest and 
most excellent ! For by Thy Grace we 
have received, the so great Light of Thy 
own Gnosis. 

holy Name, fit Name to he adored, 
Name unique, by which God only must 
be blest through worship of our Sire, — of 
Thee who deignest to afford to all a Father's 
piety, and care, and love, and whatsoever 
virtue is more sweet than these, endowing 
us with sense, and reason, and intelligence ; 
— with sense that we may feel Thee ; with 
reason that we may track Thee out from 
the appearances of things ; with means of 



uv^Mc y^cognition that we may joy in knowing 

OF Thee. 

HERMES. Saved by Thy Power divine, let us 
rejoice that Thou hast shown Thyself to 
us in all Thy Fullness. Let us rejoice that 
Thou hast deigned to consecrate us, still 
entombed in bodies, to Eternity. 

For this is the sole festival of praise 
worthy of man — to know Thy Majesty. 
We know Thee ; yea, by the Single 
Sense of our intelligence, we have perceived 
Thy Light supreme, — Thou True Life 
of life, Fecund Womb that giveth birth 
to every nature I 

We have known Thee, Thou completely 
filled with the Conception from Thyself of 
Universal Nature ! 

We have known Thee, Thou Eternal 
Constancy ! 

For in the whole of this our prayer in 
worship of Thy Good, this favour only of 
Thy Goodness do we crave : that Thou 
wilt keep us constant in our Love-of- 
knowing-Thee, and let us ne'er be cut off 
from this kind of Life (ii., 389, 390). 


We give Thee thanks, grace for Grace, the 
goodwill for Thy Goodwill. The Good- q™^^ 
will of God is, as we have already learned, hermes. 
that " He willeth to be known," and the 
goodwill of man is his " love of knowing 

The Latin of the next sentence is 
very obscure, but judging by other 
passages and by the context, the unique 
effable Name of God is " Father." The 
worship of God as Father is true religion, 
piety and love, since these are the natural 
expressions of thanks to God, in that 
it is He who pours out on us the treasures 
of His piety and care [religio in Latin) and. 
love, though indeed all of these words 
really fall short of expressing this Divine 
efficacia, or power of giving utter satis- 
faction, of God ; for He alone gives 
without stint, in that He bestows His 
Fullness upon us. 

He endows us with sense and reason 
and intelligence, the three means of 
knowing Him : with sense to feel God in 
all things ; with reason to track out the 


THE manifestation of the Divinelin all pheno- 


OF mena ; and with inteUigence, or spiritual 

HERMES, intuition, which is the means of face to 
face recognition, when objective and 
subjective, and when object and subject 
blend and there is the complete joy and 
satisfaction of Self-knowledge. 

The Power of God is the Will of God, 
the Goodwill, whereby He willeth to be 
known, that is to say, the Purpose of 
which is Gnosis ; and this brings joy 
and rejoicing, for it is the manifestation 
of God to man in all His Fullness, that is 
to say, the manifestation of the Pleroma, 
the Intelligible Cosmos, or God in the 
nature of His Alone-begotten Son. 

The " holy four " sing with joy in that 
they have been made holy, hallowed as 
priests of the Most High, while still in the 
tomb of the body ; and so their very 
bodies have been consecrated as fit 
temples of the Son of God, the ^Eon or 

Therefore the sole festival of praise 
worthy of man in his divine nature, that 


is, in his true manhood or union with X?,?,„^ 


Great Mind — is to know God's Majesty qf 

or Greatness, that is, again, the iEon. hermes. 

This Knowing, or Gnosis, is achieved 
by the Single Sense of the intelligence ; not 
by sense alone, nor by mind alone, but 
by a means superior to both, in which 
the twain blend in Gnosis, and so become 
conscious with a new consciousness, or 
self-knowledge, of the Light of God, or the 
Over-mind of all things, and of the Life 
of God, or the Over-Soul of all things, 
which latter is graphically described as 
the " Fecund Womb that giveth birth 
to every nature." 

This is the Gnosis of the Divine as the 
Pleroma, or Fullness, which is replete 
with the Conception of universal nature 
from God Himself. 

Finally, God is praised for being known 
as the Eternal Constancy, Stability, Dura- 
tion, Unchangeableness, Sameness. _ 

And so this beautiful gnostic thanks- 
giving or grace ends with the one prayer 
of those in Gnosis, namely, that He who 


THE is Eternal Constancy, or God in His 

QP energy of ^Eonic Sameness, will ever 

HERMES, keep them constant in the Pure and 
Single Love, the Love of knowing God. 

What noble hymns are these four, 
hymns worthy of all that is best in 
man, and all that is worthiest in the 
true worshipper of God ! If only we 
had a psalter of such psalms, as doubtless 
once existed in this excellent community 
of servants of God and Gnostic liturgists ! 
But alas ! while the indifference of time 
has preserved for us so much of the 
classical writers that we could not un- 
frequently well spare, the jealousy of 
Providence has kept from us the major 
part of the most beautiful monuments 
of man's gnostic genius — perchance, how- 
ever, because the world was not ready 
to appreciate them. 

There is, therefore, nothing to do but to 
follow again the Way of the Hermeses of 
the past, and betake ourselves once more 
to " the making of fair things," for what 


man has once achieved he can again uvmn«; 
accompHsh, and, if I am not mistaken of 
in my augury, the times are again becom- hermes. 
ing ripe for such true poesy. 

We have no more Hymns of Hermes 
wherewith to make glad the hearts of our 
readers — as we would fain hope they have 
gladdened them — but we will add another 
hymn of so like a nature that it might 
very well have been penned by a Hermes 
of the Trismegistic faith. 

It is " A Song of Praise to the iEon," 
which is said to have been inscribed on 
a " secret tablet," by some unknown 
Brother of a forgotten Order, perhaps 
one of the Communities of the lEon — the 
Highest and Supercelestial One — which 
Philo of Byblos, in the second half of the 
first century of our era, tells us were in 
existence in Phoenicia in his day, and 
doubtless were also existing in Egypt 
(i., 403). The text is found in the Greek 
Magic Papyri. 






Hail unto Thee, Thou All-Comos of 
cBthereal Spirit ! 

Hail unto Thee, Spirit, who doth 
extend from Heaven to Earth, and from the 
Earth that's in the middle of the orb of 
Cosmos to the ends of the Abyss ! 

Hail unto Thee, Spirit, who doth 
enter into me, who clingeth unto me or 
who doth part Thyself from me according 
to the Will of God in goodness of His 
heart ! 

Hail unto Thee, Thou Beginning and 
Thou End of Nature naught can move ! 

Hail unto Thou, Thou Liturgy un- 
weariable of Nature's Elements ! 

Hail unto Thee, Thou Illumination 
of the Solar Beam that shines to serve the 
world ! 

Hail unto Thee, Thou Disk of the night- 
shining Moon, that shines unequally ! 

Hail, Ye Spirits all of the cethereal 
Statues of the Gods ! 


Hail to You all, whom holy Brethren J^^^^, 
and holy Sisters hail in giving of their qf 
praise ! HERMES. 

Spirit, Mighty One, most mighty 
circling and incomprehensible Configura- 
tion of the Cosmos, hail ! — celestial, ceihe- 
real, inter-cethereal, water-like, earth-like, 
fire-like, air-like, like unto light, to dark- 
ness like, shining as do the Stars — moist ^ 
hot, cold Spirit ! 

1 praise Thee, God of gods, who ever 
doth restore the Cosmos, and who doth 
store the Depth away upon its Throne of 
Settlement no eye can see, who fixest 
Heaven and Earth apart, and coverest the 
Heaven with Thy golden everlasting wings, 
and makest firm the Earth on everlasting 
Thrones I 

Thou who hang est up the Mther in 
the lofty Height, and scatter est the Air with 
Thy self-moving Blasts, who mak'st the 
Water eddy round in circles ! 

Thou who raisest up the Fiery Whirl- 
wind, and makest thunder, lightning, rain, 
and shakings of the earth, God of Mons ! 


THE Mighty art Thou, Lord God, Master 

OF of the All ! (i., 408, 409). 


The Mon is the Invisible IntelUgible 
Cosmos, the All-Cosmos of ^Ethereal 
Spirit or Quintessence, as distinguished 
from the Sensible Cosmos of the four 
Great Elements, pure Fire and Air and 
Water and Earth, and not our mixed 

The reader has only to compare the 
opening and closing sentences of " The 
Secret Hymnody " with the first para- 
graph of our hymn to see that we are in 
precisely the same circle of ideas. 

Heaven, Earth and the Abyss, the 
three worlds, through which the Spirit, 
like Vishnu in the Purana's, takes "three 

It is this Spirit, the Great Breath of 
Life, that is the out-breath and in-breath 
of man's manifold existences. When the 
Spirit breathes out he is born, from death 
into life, and also from life into death ; 
for the life of the body is the death of 


the soul. And when the Spirit inbreathes ^^^ 
he becomes dead, dead to things of the qf 
body, but alive to the things of the soul. HERMES. 

And all this is " according to the Will 
of God in goodness of His heart." For 
the Will of God is the Energy, or Effective 
Working, of God, — that which transcends 
all our human ideas of Love — dictated 
by the goodness of His heart, which ever 
wills the good of all beings, for the Heart 
of God is the Good Itself, the TEon. 

The JEon is neither Beginning nor End, 
but both ; for all the Spheres of Being 
which it energizes, end where they begin, 
and begin where they end — they dance in 
eternal revolution, for their " everlasting 
revelling-place " is in the Vortex of the 
Ceaseless Liturgy, or Service, of the 
Elements. The JEon is the Cause of the 
Magna Vorago, the Mighty Whirlpool of 
the Universe, for it is the Monad or 
Supreme Atom of all atoms and all 
combinations of atoms. 

The iEon is the Illumination or Source 
of Light for all the Lights of Heaven, 


HYMNS ^^^ ^^^ ^^^ ^°°^ ^^^ ^^^ ^^^ ^^^* ^^ 

OF the " iEthereal Statues of the Gods "— 

HERMES, the countless suns in space. 

The iEon is Spirit, of Light and Life 
consisting, and so Father-Mother of all 
Spirits, whose true Bodies are the fiery 
spheres, the sidereal bodies — ray-like, star- 

Therefore, the Brethren and Sisters 
of this community of gnostic servants of 
God rightly praise all the Gods, for these 
Gods are the true community of saints or 
holy ones in Heaven, even as the Brethren 
and Sisters are endeavouring to become 
saints on earth, holy as they are holy. 

The JEon is the Great Paradigm or 
One Exemplar of all things, the Eternal 
Configuration of the Cosmos and all 
cosmoi, in a septenary of three quint- 
essential and four essential elements, 
which are completed by the all-colour, 
Light, and no-colour, Darkness, into a 
decad of which Spirit is the beginning 
and the end, existing in three modes — 


reminding us of the Trigunam, or three- X^^S 
fold nature of Prakriti or Nature in qf 
Indian theosophy — moist, hot, cold ; black hermes. 
red, white ; Tamas, Rajas and Sattva. 

The Great Work of the God of Gods is 
perpetually to restore the Cosmos, to 
refresh, to renew it, in its threefold 
nature of Height and Midst and Depth 
— the endoderm, mesoderm and ecto- 
derm, as it were, of the cosmic germ-cell 
— over which the Spirit broods with its 
golden everlasting wings, as the Great 
Bird who perpetually hatches forth the 
Egg of the Universe. 

And from this brooding there ever 
comes forth into being the perpetual 
cosmo-genesis of all things ; and, seeing 
that all beings come forth from the /Eon, 
each and all, in their cosmic nature, are 
iEons as well, so that the i^on is also 
God of iEons. 

He is the God of millions of years, of 
millions of months, and millions of days 
— whether those time-periods be of the 
earth or of the universe — and so God of 


^HE all existences, even as He is God of the 

OF Eternity of all beings. 


And here we must bring our little 
hymn-book to a close, in the hope that 
some may be found to sing in response 
to the Hymns of Heathen Hermes even 
in this twentieth century of Christian 
grace ; for perhaps, after all, Hermes 
and Christ are not in reality such strangers 
to each other as traditional theological 
prejudice would have us believe. 




OCT 2 6 •! 


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■; 4 


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MAY 2 3 '62 


SPM 2 '55 


MAY 2 1 '6' 


APR 2 3 '68 

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Library Bureau 

Cat. No. 1137 



3 5002 00102 7999 

Mead, G. R. S. 

Echoes from the Gnosis / 

BP 565 . M4 E27 1906 2 
Mead, G. R. S. 1863-1933. 

Echoes from the Gnosis