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.
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.“
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.”
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.
Paul Manship, “Prometheus“