In the Heart of the Supreme Mind: Thoth Hermes Trismegistus

johfra_hermes_trismegistos

Johfra, “Hermes Trismegistus”

In The Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly P. Hall, I came across the following passage, which I found very illuminating:

“Before the visible universe was formed its mold was cast. This mold was called the Archetype, and this Archetype was in the Supreme Mind long before the process of creation began. Beholding the Archetypes, the Supreme Mind became enamored with Its own thought; so, taking the Word as a mighty hammer, It gouged out caverns in primordial space and cast the form of the spheres in the Archetypal mold, at the same time sowing in the newly fashioned bodies the seeds of living things. The darkness below, receiving the hammer of the Word, was fashioned into an orderly universe. The elements separated into strata and each brought forth living creatures. The Supreme Being–the Mind–male and female, brought forth the Word; and the Word, suspended between Light and darkness, was delivered of another Mind called the Workman, the Master-Builder, or the Maker of Things.“

The quote comes from a chapter devoted to “The Life and Teachings of Thoth Hermes Trismegistus,“ and specifically to the first part of the Corpus Hermeticum, i.e. “Poemandres, The Shepherd of Men,“ in which Hermes has a vision of the wise primordial being – the self-begotten World Serpent, the Great Dragon, the Mind of the Universe and the Creative Intelligence – who tells him the secrets of Creation. This supreme being personifies Logos – the word of God/dess which is made flesh.

17_hermaphrodite_2

As the power of Shiva and Shakti lies in their union, so the greatness of Hermes is derived from his union with Anima Mundi – the Soul of the World. Hermes/Thoth is a patron of all brands of soulful knowledge: he presides over the marriage of mysticim and science. Magic, alchemy, symbology, astrology, tarot are all under his dominion. The Egyptian Thoth was a lunar god characteristically depicted as an ibis with a beak resembling a lunar crescent, thus strengthening the god’s union with the Soul of the World, but also his being bound to the cycles of time and to the sublunar world of matter and manifestation. Manly P. Hall writes this about the lost legendary Book of Thoth:

“This work contained the secret processes by which the regeneration of humanity was to be accomplished and also served as the key to his other writings. Nothing definite is known concerning the contents of the Book of Thoth other than that its pages were covered with strange hieroglyphic figures and symbols, which gave to those acquainted with their use unlimited power over the spirits of the air and the subterranean divinities.“

thoth

Thoth

The ability of mediating and moving freely between different contradictory realms (for example the heavens and the underworld) was one of the chief attributes of the Greek Hermes. In alchemy, it was in the hermetic vessel where the spiritual regeneration and rebirth took place as the intellect was blended with passions and emotions. The richness of this symbolism is visible in the glyph for the astrological symbol of Mercury is interestingly analyzed by Barbara G. Walker in The Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets:

“ The cross marked Hermes a god of four-way crossroads, the four quarters of the earth, the four elements, the four divisions of the sacred year, the four winds, and the solstices and equinoxes represented by their zodiacal totems Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius-the bull, lion, serpent, and man-angel symbols adopted by Christians to represent the four evangelists. Sometimes, the cross of Hermes was an ankh, standing on a crescent that signified his mother the moon. This evolved into the conventional sign of Mercury, a circle with a cross Sign of Mercury (Hermes) below and a crescent above.”

mercury_s

In the quote which opens my post there is a reference to mind as a builder. In astrology, Mercury rules two signs: Gemini and Virgo; this duality refers to a need for practical realization of thoughts, ideas and projects. In his Complete Astrology, Alan Oken refers to Mercury as “the transmitter of the spiritual to the material.” As Mercury approaches a superior conjunction with the sun tomorrow, I was prompted to look at a classic distinction that Michael R. Meyer (inspired by Dane Rudhyar) made into four types of natal Mercury (http://www.khaldea.com/planets/merc_pd.shtml). We are currently in the Promethean-Direct phase of Mercury:

“Promethean-Direct types are generally more able to effectively project their visions, reforms and agendas … upon the social and intellectual world, making things happen on a large-scale.“

I hope this leads us to a creative future.

prometheus

Paul Manship, “Prometheus“

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32 Responses to In the Heart of the Supreme Mind: Thoth Hermes Trismegistus

  1. litebeing says:

    Hey Monika,
    Thanks for posting about Hermes.

    As the power of Shiva and Shakti lies in their union, so the greatness of Hermes is derived from his union with Anima Mundi – the Soul of the World. Hermes/Thoth is a patron of all brands of soulful knowledge: he presides over the marriage of mysticism and science.

    I love this quote!

    I really enjoyed learning more about his functions and it is interesting to see Astrology as one of his domains. The dual ruler ship ( Gemini and Virgo) is masterfully justified here.

    Happy Superior conjunction and pre- Full Aquarius Full Moon 🙂

    • Hi Linda and Happy Superior Conjunction to you, too. It is happening on your Descendant, I guess, which sounds wonderful.
      I have wanted to read Corpus Hermeticum and write about Hermes for a long time.
      So great to hear from you,
      Monika

      • litebeing says:

        Thanks Monika. I went to an Astrology conference last summer and a presenter from Thailand I believe lectured on how to find the most dominant planet in a chart. I volunteered to try his formula ad he told me my Mercury ( retrograde and all) is my most dominant. Hence my fascination with Hermes and men named Herman( a long story) Do you recall I asked you to write something on him a while back? So glad you did 🙂

        I have been very busy lately, less time for WordPress. This working full time ritual interferes with my creative outlets , how unfair!

        love,
        Linda

      • I remember you did! I think I have touched on the subject here and there quite a number of times. This is not the end if it, I am sure. I hope you manage to find more time for your writing.
        Love,
        Monika

  2. Manly Hall always makes fascinating reading — as does your blog ! Thanks!

  3. Hi Monika. Lots of great stuff here. I for one have mourned the separation of the mystic and the scientific, but I suspect, based upon the latest concepts of theoretical physics, that the two are destined to merge again. I was also intrigued by Hermes as the god of the crossroads. It’s a powerful symbol and in Voudou represents the intersection between the spiritual and material realms. Thanks for another inspiring post. Cheers!!

  4. Wonderful work of devotion you have put forth here Monika – I am especially drawn to the opening image – it is fantastic. Hugs, Amanda

  5. I’m very intrigued by “…by which the regeneration of humanity was to be accomplished.” And then a thought about the hermetic vessel also used for regeneration. And ‘mind as a builder.’ Putting it all together I’m coming up with ‘mind as a builder of a vessel within which regeneration occurs’ impacting society and others. Possibly simplistic but I want to take away a specific piece of guidance.

  6. Pingback: In the Heart of the Supreme Mind: Thoth Hermes Trismegistus | lampmagician

  7. lampmagician says:

    Reblogged this on lampmagician and commented:
    Amazing!

  8. Gneiss Moon says:

    VIrgo, w/ Mercury at MC, Gem on 6 here. Loved reading – the symbolic form sent me off to hunt up lost links, surprised key images spurred me to write something I had in mind many moons ago. Full moon kismet. The writing of a thing always helps me sink it deeper into the brainpan. Much to think about here, w/ both superior conjunction and my prog Merc now retro. Thank you

    • Appreciate your comment very much. My Mercury is conjunct my Sun in Gemini and retrograde (in the 10th house) and I have got this thing with writing that I do not know what I will write until I write it. Writing spurs my understanding: it is like an excavation. I am happy to have inspired you today.

  9. ptero9 says:

    Hi Monika,
    Having felt intrigue and delight for Hermes and all things Mercurial, I love this post. Either I am a child of Hermes or Dionysus, or maybe both. Of course it would be Hermes to go right to the source and be granted such a wondrous vision. He could also be the original Sufi. 🙂

    On another note, I stumbled upon this link to a podcast on Jung’s Red Book today. It’s quite good and features Jungian’s and Jung’s family members discussing Jung’s life at the time of the writing of the book.
    http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/episodes/2012/04/23/the-red-book/#igImgId_37087

    Love,
    Debra

    • Dear Debra, I hope to listen to the podcast this week – thank you. I am a lifelong apprentice of Hermes, but mine, as yours, goes backwards and inwards, so we just have our peculiar ways an I am grateful we have found each other here.
      Hugs,
      Monika

      • ptero9 says:

        I listened to Part I today and find it fascinating. I think you’ll enjoy it and would love to know if you hear anything new in the discussion.

        Jung keeps coming up again. It may be time to read some of his works again. Although I’ve read quite a bit, I’m not sure if I ever read his book on alchemy, have you? I might need to read that over the winter.

        Here’s to Hermes!
        Hugs,
        Debra

      • Yes, I have read “Psychology and Alchemy” and “Mysterium Coniunctionis.” I have always loved his writing style and I was always awestruck by the fact that he actually studied authentic alchemical documents in the original and would quote Latin and Greek texts extensively.

      • ptero9 says:

        Yes, a true scholar! I have much admiration for him, and especially the break from Freud so necessary for him to come into his own and honor his unique vision.

      • Zarah says:

        It seems I’ve found my family here, then, since I am also a child of Hermes, and I love him dearly. 🙂 I am also a great admirer of C.G. Jung. Thanks for the link to the podcast! I willl listen to it as soon as possible. I started reading his alchemical works, but I have to admit I find it difficult to follow the Greek and Latin quotes … 😳 But he published a great collection of articles called Symbolik des Geistes (I think in English it would be Symbolism of the Mind) where he writes extensively about Mercury / Mercurius, which is both the alchemical Spirit and the alchemical substance – a fascinating read! 🙂

        Thanks for the great article and also for mentioning the links to Prometheus and Thoth! 🙂

        Love,
        zarah

      • Dear Zarah,
        Great to meet a Hermetic sister. I am happy that you found some meaning in my article. I am not familiar with the book you reference.
        It is a pity your blog is not in English.
        Best wishes
        Monika

  10. Pingback: Our Many Storied Selves: Twelve Universal Archetypes | LIFE PATHS for Better Endings

  11. lkwatts67 says:

    Hi Debra,
    I have linked to this site in the current betterendingsnnow.com post (Our Many Storied Lives) because I find it very synchronistic!

  12. Pingback: In the Heart of the Supreme Mind: Thoth Hermes Trismegistus | KarenLouise

  13. Zarah says:

    Dear Monika,

    I’ve done some googling and apparently the five essays of “Symbolik des Geistes” were not published in a single volume in English. The essay on “The Spirit Mercurius” appeared in volume 13 of the Collected Works, Alchemical Studies. “Phenomenology of the Spirit in Fairytales” is in volume 9.1, The Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious. One of the other essays is by a guest author who discusses the figure of Satan in the Old Testament (who bears some resemblance to the trickster Mercury), and the remaining two are about the dogma of the Holy Trinity and Eastern Meditation, respectively. The first two are the most interesting with regard to Hermes. There’s even an online version of “The Spirit Mercurius”: http://www.american-buddha.com/lit.jungalchemical.IV.1.htm But I find it much easer to read the book. 🙂

    I know it’s awkward to just be blogging in German, but it’s time-consuming as it is – if I were to write in two languages, besides writing down my dreams and stuff, I wouldn’t get anything else done. *lol* I marvel at how Jung managed to read all those alchemical works, work with his patients AND write all his own books, in an era before computers existed. He was a true hero!

    All the best,
    Zarah

    • Dear Zarah,
      Thank you so much for taking your precious time and finding out this information. I have read the article you linked to in Polish, which is my native language. I have all of Jung’s Collected Works in Polish. You are so right – blogging is time consuming (but also really worth it), especially if you do not write in your native tongue.
      I am also in awe of Jung’s opus and still find it hard to believe this was one man’s work.
      Thank you for your presence here.
      Monika

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