The figure of Hermes Trismegistus, whose name literally means «Hermes the three times great», with his teachings born from the admixture of the initiatory Greek and Egyptian spiritual customs, has greatly influenced the Western esoteric tradition, since the Renaissance, when the Corpus Hermeticum, a series of treatises attributed to him were translated into Latin by Marsilio Ficino, great philosopher and astrologer of the time.
The greater accessibility offered by the Corpus Hermeticum in Latin aroused great interest in hermetic philosophy and three related esoteric fields: astrology, alchemy and magic.
Hermes Trismegistus: Who was he?
Around Ermete Trismegisto lightens the fame of a legendary character: without a doubt he was an Egyptian (according to some Jews it was Moses himself), it is even said that he was king of Egypt, an expert in magic, astronomy, astrology, alchemy and philosophy: he would have given the Egyptians the use of writing, laws and divine wisdom, leaving about 40 books that contained the core of the formative teachings of the ancient pharaonic priests and kept secret from the public.
Lived in the time of Moses, twenty-one years before the tablets of the law were delivered in the desert, he would have been given the name of Hermes Trismegistus, or Mercurius ter Maximus ("The thrice great Hermes"), as he was the first to communicate heavenly and divine knowledge to humanity in written form.
Hermes was the Greek god of Logos and of communication and Hermes Trismegistus became the god revealing truth and mediator between men and gods.
According to the writings of Herodotus who, in 450 BC, translated the Egyptian astral knowledge into Greek, in Egypt he would also be known as Thoth, Lord of knowledge.
Taken as a whole, "hermetic literature" is a category of papyri containing spells and initiation procedures: in the dialogue with Asclepius, which is part of the Corpus Hermeticum, for example, the art of telestiké is described, that is to call or imprison angels or demons inside statues, with the help of herbs, gems and perfumes; methods for making such figures speak and prophesy are also explained.
In other papyri there are formulas for constructing artifacts and animating them. Hermetic texts are also usually divided into two categories: "philosophical" and "technical".
All the fundamental and basic teachings incorporated into the esoteric doctrines of every people, including the most ancient teachings of India, undoubtedly have their roots in the original Hermetic Foundations.
The Corpus Hermeticum ends with the "Lament of Asclepius" in which the abandonment of the Egyptian religion is denounced because the spiritual meaning of the same has been lost: there was a time when priests were able to make the statues speak as they were the mediators between the divine and the sensible.
Over time this spirituality faded away and the priests were no longer able to grasp the divine message.
From here the expectation of a new spirituality develops, the expectation of something new: some consider the Lament as a forerunner of the themes of the Apocalypse, in fact, in the degradation of Egyptian spirituality and religion we can read the degradation of Christianity in an era of corruption and personal enrichment of the prelates, which will lead precisely to destruction.
Today this kind of knowledge is cultivated both by Freemasonry and the Rosicrucians, and by the circles of the Great White Brotherhood.
Among the books conventionally attributed to Hermes Trismegistus there is the Emerald Tablet.
The Emerald Tablet
The Emerald Tablet, also known as the Smaragdine Tablet (Tabula Smaragdina in Latin) is a sapiential text that according to legend was found in Egypt, before the Christian era, in which the secrets of the universe would be engraved and which represents the document most famous of the Hermetic writings.
Its origin is surrounded by legends: the most common one claims that it was found by Sarah, wife of Abraham (other versions indicate Apollonius of Tiana or Alexander the Great as the discoverer), in Tiana, held in the hands of the body, inside the tomb of Hermes Trismegistus to which it is attributed, and which is recognized by the Egyptians in the god Thoth.
According to the journalist Armando Mei he would have divided his knowledge into 42 emerald plates, codifying the great scientific principles that govern the Universe: "The legend says that after the fall of the gods, the hermetic tablets were cleverly hidden so that no being human could find them. Only Thoth, upon his return to that dimension, was able to retrieve the mysterious book. "
In one of the earliest of these legends about the Tablet Origin, Hermes was a son of Adam and wrote the tablet to show mankind how to redeem itself from his father's sins in the Garden of Eden.
Jewish mystics attribute the merit of writing the Emerald Tablet to Seth, the second son of Adam.
It was later brought aboard the ark by Noah and after the Deluge: Noah would hide the tablet in a cave near Hebron, where it was later discovered by Sarah, Abraham's wife.
Another version describes Hermes giving the tablet to Miriam, the daughter of Moses, who would have placed it in the Ark of the Covenant, where it would still be today.
Occult historians generally agree that the tablet was found in a secret chamber under the pyramid of Cheops around 1350 BC (from here the hypothesis that the tablets could provide answer to the age-old question regarding who had actually built the pyramids of Giza).
Another interesting legend describes Hermes as a philosopher traveling in Ceylon in the fifth century BC. He found the Emerald Tablet hidden in a cave, and after studying it, learned how to "travel in both heaven and earth." He spent the rest of his life wandering throughout Asia and the Middle East teaching and healing.
Oddly, the Hindu sacred book Mahanirvanatantra states that Hermes was the same person as Buddha, and each is referred to as the “Son of the Moon” in other Hindu religious texts.
Finally, there are those who claim that the emerald tablet comes from the lost city of Atlantis. Although various claims have been made regarding the origins of the emerald tablet, no verifiable evidence has yet been found to support any of them.
It seems that the oldest documentable source of the text of the emerald tablet is the Kitab sirr al-haliqi (Book of the Secret of Creation and the Art of Nature), a work written in the 8th century AD. and attributed to Apollonius of Tyana (Balinusin the Arab text) which was itself a set of previous writings and whose origin is still debated: some suppose a Greek original whilst others think it is an Arab apocrypha.
On this basis, some believe that the emerald tablet is an Arabic text written between the 6th and 8th centuries AD, rather than a work of antiquity, as many others have claimed.
According to the most accredited version, however, the text was first translated from Arabic to Latin in 1250 by Hugh of Santalla and is also found in a 13th century edition of the Secretum Secretorum (also known as Kitab Sirr al-Asrar).
The text of the Tablet
Currently in the Library of King's College of the University of Cambridge there is a translation, discovered among the alchemical documents of Isaac Newton:
"Tis true without lying, certain and most true.
That which is below is like that which is above and that which is above is like that which is below to do the miracle of one only thing And as all things have been and arose from one by the mediation of one: so all things have their birth from this one thing by adaptation.
The Sun is its father, the moon its mother, the wind hath carried it in its belly, the earth is its nurse. The father of all perfection in the whole world is here. Its force or power is entire if it be converted into earth.
Separate thou the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross sweetly with great industry. It ascends from the earth to the heaven and again it descends to the earth and receives the force of things superior and inferior.
By this means you shall have the glory of the whole world and thereby all obscurity shall fly from you.
Its force is above all force, for it vanquishes every subtle thing and penetrates every solid thing.
So was the world created.
From this are and do come admirable adaptations where of the means is here in this.
Hence I am called Hermes Trismegist [sic], having the three parts of the philosophy of the whole world
That which I have said of the operation of the Sun is accomplished and ended. "
Other notable researchers of the emerald tablet include Roger Bacon, Albertus Magnus, John Dee, Aleister Crowley, Madame Blavatsky.
Being an esoteric document, the interpretation is complex, one possibility is that the text describes seven phases of the alchemical transformation: calcination, dissolution, separation, conjunction, fermentation, distillation and coagulation.
Others believe that the knowledge contained in the Emerald Tablet, concerned the "Philosopher's Stone" which is a magical, immortal, multiplying, substance that "descends from Heaven" and "arises from the earth."
The Stone can transmute itself and other substances from a base level to a higher level and that this power of transmutation also worked in Men.
It is the only source of the very best medicine known, which they called by the Arabic name “Elixir”.
The Medieval and Renaissance era Alchemists and Hermeticists believed that the Emerald Tablet was totally, completely, and only about the Philosophers Stone.
The Emerald Tablet is said to contain all the knowledge of the universe.
The ancient wisdom of transmutation, the secrets of the cosmos and longevity and according to new evidence started to turn up in the late nineteenth century, thanks to new discoveries about Egypt and the deciphering of hieroglyphics the idea that the principles has made its way exposed in the tablet go back at least 5,000 years. Some scholars suggested the date of origin for the Emerald Tablet to be around 3000 BC. Some phrases from the tablet, including references to the One Mind, the One Thing, and the correspondences between the Above and the Below, were discovered in many Egyptian papyrii, such as Papyrus of Ani and the Book of the Dead (1500 BC), the Berlin Papyrus (2000 BC), and other scrolls dating between 1000 and 300 BC.
This may suggest that mysterious visitors came to Egypt over 12,000 years ago and brought with them a powerful spiritual technology, which they passed down to future generations in a compedium of wisdom that we know today as the Emerald Tablet.
It is no coincidence that many Egyptian funerary texts including The Book of What Is In the Daat, the Book of the Dead and numerous rebirth texts refer to the "Zep Tepi", a remote epoch before the Deluge when the godlike beings came to earth and established their kingdom in Egypt.
“Close your eyes and let the mind expand. Let no fear of death or darkness arrest its course. Allow the mind to merge with Mind. Let it flow out upon the great curve of consciousness. Let it soar on the wings of the great bird of duration, up to the very Circle of Eternity.”
― Hermes Trismegistus
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