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HfSE A/S/£> f'OLl.OH^ THY DR.EAM
KATHARINE LEE BATES
WELLESLEY COLLEGE •/^€4?
OF ... .
WORKS BY THE SAME
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.
GNOSIS VOL. n.
THEOSOPHICAL ^ AND
PRINTED BY PERCY LUND, HUMPHRIES & CO., LTD.
THE COUNTRY PRESS, BRADFORD;
8, AMEN CORNER, LONDON. E.C. ;
AND 97. BRIDGE STREET, MANCHESTER.
ECHOES FROM THE
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
G. R. S. M.
HYMNS OF HERMES
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).
ECHOES FROM THE
Vol.. I. THE GNOSIS OP THE
Vol.. II. THE HYMNS OP HERMES.
SOME PROPOSED SUBJECTS
THE VISION OP ARID^US.
THE HYMN OP JESUS.
THE CHALDEAN ORACIyES.
A MITHRIAC LITURGY.
THE HYMN OP THE PRODIGAI,.
SOME ORPHIC PRAGMENTS.
THE HYMNS OF HERMES.
THE SERVICE OF SONG.
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
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
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
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
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 "
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 "
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
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
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
" 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
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
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
A TRIPLE TRISAGION,
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
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*
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
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
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
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
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
" 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-
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.'
A HYMN 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,
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
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
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
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 "
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
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 ! "
THE SECRET HYMNODY.
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
'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
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
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
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."
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
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
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
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
THE A SONG OF PRAISE
HYMNS xo THE ^ON.
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
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
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
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 •!
^m 1 .^ .•
MAY 2 3 '62
SPM 2 '55
MAY 2 1 '6'
APR 2 3 '68
m^ 2 m
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