Prophecy of Hermes

Our focus here is on four chapters of the Perfect Sermon, XXIII to XXVI, sometimes called the Prophecy of Hermes (mid 2nd century).[1] The Prophecy of Hermes discourse takes the form of a dialogue between the Master Trismegistus and his disciple, Asclepius.

Prophecy of Hermes: Great Pyramid of EgyptThe Prophecy of Hermes was written down at a critical turning point in history. It was the cusp or event horizon of the precessional Age of Pisces, just as we are now on the cusp of the precessional Age of Aquarius. By the early centuries CE, shortly before the Christian Gospel narratives were scribed, the Creatrix or sacred feminine was all but erased from the minds of the philosophers, and an All-Father or Father Monad superimposed upon the mysteries. While the popular cult of Isis still survived and proliferated far beyond the boundaries of Egypt, it would be but a short time before the Egyptian language was completely forgotten.

When the Prophecy of Hermes was written there was still what Hermes-Thoth refers to as a ‘pure philosophy’, based on Gnosis or direct revelation, and an emergent impure or pseudo philosophy, based on ordinary reason. Before long, the rational or profane philosophy would become the only acceptable ‘truth’. We have restored here the Creatrix, variously named Mut, Neïth or Hathoor, in place of the Father Monad, the ‘Self-Alone-God’.[2] In that way, we have restored the text to a simulacrum of how it might have been delivered and heard, before being overwritten by scribes. However, what we have changed is very little and for the most part only concerns the titles afforded Theos or divinity. We have taken the language out of the King James Bible English of the 1906 translation and rendered it in plain English.

The Prophecy of Hermes begins with chapter XXII. Thrice Greatest (Trismegistus) has expounded to his disciple Asclepius matters concerning the immortal nature, and of those that will perceive it, and of those who cannot. The dialogue continues in XXIII on the nature of the images of Gods that man fashions in his own likeness.

Prophecy of Hermes: XXIII

1. Tris. The knowledge of the immortal nature is conveyed only to a few. These are chosen through the devotion of their heart. Still, of the rest, the vicious folk, we ought to say no word, for fear that our sacred sermon should be spoiled by even thinking of them. Our sermon treats of the relationship and intercourse of men and women and their Gods. Learn then, Asclepius, of wherein is the true power and strength of man.

As Mut, or as some say, Neïth, or Hathoor, gave birth to the Gods in Heaven, so man is the maker of the gods who, in the temples, allow all to approach, and who not only have light of blessing poured on them, but who also send forth their light on all; thus the devotee does not only go forward towards the Gods but also confirms the Gods on earth.

Are you surprised, o Asclepius? I see that you—even you!—do not believe.

2. Asc. I am amazed, Thrice Greatest; but willingly I give assent to all your words. A man is very blessed that has attained to such great felicity.

Tris. This is rightly so—for such deserves our wonder, in that he is the greatest of them all!

As for the race of the Gods in Heaven, it is clear from the commingling of them all that it has been made pregnant from the fairest part of nature. The only signs by which they are discerned are, as it were, from their source, before all else.

3. On the other hand, the species of the gods that humankind constructs is fashioned out of that most ancient and divine nature, and also from out of that nature in men. That is to say, it is fashioned out of the stuff of which they have been made and are configured, not only in their minds but also in each of their members and in their whole body.

It is thus that humankind, in imaging Divinity, stays mindful of the nature and the source of its own self.

Furthermore, in the same way that Hathoor is the Tree of Life from which the Gods are sprung, that they might be in her likeness, then so has mankind produced its own gods according to the likeness of the look of its own self.

 XXIV

1. Asc. Surely you do not mean their statues, O Master?

Tris. I mean their statues, o Asclepius. Can you not see how much you—even you!—doubt my word? Statues ensouled with sense and filled with spirit! These work mighty and strange results. Statues that foresee what is to come, and perchance can prophecy. They will foretell things by dreams and in many other ways. There are statues that take the strength away from men, or that may cure their sorrow, if they should deserve it.

Do you not know then, Asclepius, that Egypt is the image of the Heaven? Or that which is even truer, the transference or descent of all that are in governance or exercise in Heaven? And yet more truly still it must be said:

This land of ours is the Shrine of all the World.

2. It is proper that the wise should give utmost care in considering and understanding all that I have said concerning these matters. As for you, Asclepius, it is not right that you should be ignorant of the same.

The time will come when it will seem as if Egypt served the Divinity with single-minded devotion and care for nothing—for all her holy cult will fall to nothingness and be in vain.

That Divinity is now about to depart speedily from Earth and return to Heaven, and Egypt shall be left alone. The Earth, which was once the seat of devoted and honourable cults shall be widowed, bereft—no longer knowing the presence of the Gods.

And barbarians shall fill this region and this land. Not only shall there be the neglect of the pious cults but—and what is still more painful—by profane laws, penalties shall be decreed against such devoted practices and worship of the Gods. These will even be totally prohibited.

3. This most holy land, the seat of our shrines and temples, shall then be choked with tombs and corpses.

O Egypt, Egypt! Only tales will remain of your cults, and these will be as unbelievable to your own sons as for the rest of humankind. Words alone will be left carved on your stones, to recount your beautiful deeds.

And Egypt will be made the home of those who are alien to her.

Yes! The Godly Company shall climb back to Heaven, and their forsaken worshippers will all die out. And Egypt, bereft of God and man, shall be abandoned.

4. And now I speak to you, O River, holiest Stream! I tell you what will be. Your banks will overflow with bloody torrents. Not only shall your sacred streams be stained with blood but also they shall all flow over with the same.

The cult of the dead shall far exceed the cult of the living. The surviving remnant shall be Egyptians in their appearance but in their deeds they shall be as the profane.

XXV

1. Why do you weep, Asclepius? There is more than this, by far more wretched. Egypt herself shall be impelled and stained with even greater evil.

For she, the Holy Land, once deservedly the most beloved of the Gods by reason of her untiring service to the Gods on Earth, she the sole abode of holiness and teacher of wisdom upon the earth, shall be the type of all that is most barbarous. And then, out of our loathing for mankind, the world will seem no more deserving of our wonder and our praise.

This entire good thing, of which none fairer was ever seen, nor is there anything, nor will there ever be, will be in peril.

2. And that will prove a burden unto men. On account of this they will despise and cease to love this Cosmos as a whole. They will cease to love the eternal work of the Divine; the glorious and entire creation, comprised of manifold variety of forms; the steadfast deliverer of the Divine Will, wholly supporting that Great Work.

They will cease to love the multitudinous whole that is the principle of love itself, that should be reverenced, praised and loved—by them at least that have the eyes to see. For Darkness will be set before the Light, and Death will be thought preferable to Life. They will not even raise their eyes to Heaven. And then they will think that the holy, wise and strong are mad. They will think that fools and profane are wise sages. The unruly mob will be held as strong, and ignorance will prevail over all.

3. Of the soul, and all concerning her, whereby she presumes that either she has been born deathless or that she will attain to deathlessness, as according to all that I have said to you:

All this will be considered not only a matter of jest and mockery, but even as vanity.

Believe me, if you will, that the penalty of death shall even be decreed to him who shall devote himself to the Pure Knowledge.

New legislation will be enforced, a novel law; nothing that is sacred, nothing holy, nothing that is worthy of the Heaven, or Gods in Heaven, shall ever be heard, or even believed in the mind.

4. The sorrowful departure of the Gods from humankind takes place. Only noxious spirits remain, who mingled with humanity will lay their hands on them, and drive the wretched folk to every reckless evil—to wars, and robberies, deceits, and all those things that are opposed to the soul’s very nature.

Then the Earth shall no longer hold together. The sea shall no longer be sailed upon. The Heaven shall not continue with the courses of the stars, nor the star-courses in Heaven.

The voice of every God shall cease in the Great Silence that no one can break. The fruits of Earth shall rot. Earth shall no longer bring forth. The air itself shall faint away in despair of that sad listlessness.

XXVI

1. This, when it comes, shall be the world’s old age and impiety, denoting irregularity and irrationality in all things.

Asclepius, when these things all come to pass, then the Great Old Ones, to thwart the criminals, and to cancel the error of the corruption of all things, to restore all things so as to be in accordance with Divine Will, shall put an end to the evil. It will be washed away with water-flood, or burnt away with fire or forcibly expelled with war and famine.[2] The Holy Spirit will restore the Cosmos to its ancient form, so that the world shall once again be loved and worshipped. And once again, ceaseless praises and hymns of blessing will be sent forth.

2. In this rebirth of Cosmos is the renewal of all good things, and the holiest return of Nature’s self, by means of divine ordinance—of Nature, which was without beginning, and which is without an end. For the Divine Will has no beginning; it is ever the same and as it is, without end.

This then, is the Divine Will, and the whole world her Image.


Notes on Prophecy of Hermes

1. The original version of this Graeco Egyptian sacred text can be studied in Thrice-Greatest Hermes, Vol. 2, translated by G.R.S. Mead (1906).
2. Mut and her consort Amoun, along with their son Khonsu, were revered at the great Temple of Karnak in Thebes, Upper Egypt (Egyptian Waset). As with Hathoor and Neïth, Mut was in very ancient times the Creatrix whose divine son or child was born by parthenogenesis—no father was required. Also, Amoun replaced Mentu, a Typhonian form of Ra, at Thebes in the 21st century BCE. The cult of Mentu, as with that of Mut, nonetheless endured.
3. This line is from the Greek original, as quoted by Lactantius (D. I., vii, 8). See Mead’s footnote 3, pp. 224, Thrice-Greatest Hermes.

© Oliver St. John 2021
The Prophecy of Hermes is part of a work in progress. The book will be entitled, Nu Hermetica.

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Unicorn of the Stars

The Practicus of the Golden Dawn has the eponymous title, Monokeros de Astris, ‘Unicorn of the Stars’. This is best explained through the name of the Titan, Astris (Αστρις), which means, ‘Starry One’. Astris was born from a marriage of the Sun and the ocean (Moon or sea-foam), alchemical types of fire and water.[1] The Practicus degree corresponds to Hod (Mercury), the Water Temple that receives the fiery solar influence from Netzach (Venus).[2]

Unicorn of the Stars: Sokar BoatAccording to our tradition, a symbol may have a host of related meanings. We do not seek to make concrete definition from that which can only be conveyed through symbol and analogy, for that renders the symbol lifeless and inert. The concretisation of all knowledge, rendering it exoteric and dead, is shown forth in the tale of Osiris, where he is tricked by Set to lie in a coffin. As soon as he does so, the followers of Set promptly nail shut the lid and seal it with molten lead. The situation can only be rescued through Isis giving birth to the magical ‘child’, Horus or Hoor-paar-kraat.[3]

Unicorn: Esoteric Key

The unicorn’s horn points straight upward to heaven, and is spiralic. The Arabian white oryx is the original type of the fabled unicorn. The higher end of the hennu boat of Sokar, the hawk-headed Lord of Resurrection, is fashioned in the shape of the head of an oryx. The unicorn’s singular horn is not descriptive of the beast, which has two, but is an esoteric assignment for the upward concentration of mind, as in yoga. The unicorn symbolises the circumpolar revolution of the ‘seven’ around the ‘eighth’ or Pole Star, which marks the visible axis of the universe and the height of the visible heavens. The oryx digs a bed out of the desert sand with its hooves, to keep cool. This explains the attribution of the one horn, for the shifting sands of desert dunes have always symbolised the Abyss that lurks on the upper limit of human reason. The penetrating horn of mind (reason) must be made concave, so to speak, on the abysmal threshold that closes in upon the limits of human reason.

Over time, the Flower of Fire (or Mind) is cultivated as the ‘fruits’ of the flower are rejected in favour of pure receptivity to the intelligence from beyond.[4] The ‘flame’ hieroglyph has both a physical and a metaphysical level of interpretation. It carries all the meanings of a fire, flame or luminosity, and that of a ‘flame of flames’. The latter is esoteric, and comparable to the yoga trance of atmadarshana in the Eastern Tantras.[5] In AL, II: 27, the oracular voicing of Set in Serpent-form conveys a warning:

There is great danger in me; for who doth not understand these runes shall make a great miss. He shall fall down into the pit called Because, and there he shall perish with the dogs of Reason.

The ‘dogs of Reason’ is a word for those who cling to the threshold and exalt the reasoning faculty above all else, either for personal gain or power or simply because they are ignorant of the true state of affairs. In so doing, they deny the possibility of the Flower of Fire, or its ‘child’ born in Silence, called Hoor-paar-kraat, symbol of the incommunicable mystery and true initiation. Veritably, the threshold to the post-abysmal Mind of Minds is fiercely guarded and barred.

The role of guardians or ‘watchers’ such as Anubis, and other Setian creatures including the crocodile and jackal, is complex. These are guardians of the gates, ferociously attacking or even devouring those who would enter. At the same time, they symbolise the drawing forth of the bolt, which is the means by which the gates are opened.[6] The action of the bolt symbolises both ‘opening’ and the image-making phallic power withdrawn or inverted, which is a reversal of the usual flow of consciousness.[7]

The two doors of heaven are not opened by any mortal man but, for example, it was the office of Ankh-af-na-khonsu to literally ‘open the doors to the sky’. He performed the ritual of opening the doors to the roof of the temple at certain times of the year, so the image of the goddess, taken from the subterranean vault below, could observe Sirius rising. As declared in AL, III: 37,

For me unveils the veilèd sky, the self-slain Ankh-af-na-khonsu whose words are truth.

Sirius (Σθις), the Star of Egypt and of the Order, symbolises both Isis (or Hathoor) and her ‘son’ or magical child, born of the ascent of consciousness arising from the depth.


Notes

1. Monokeros de Astris adds to 2,175 or 29 x 75, ‘Moon (or child) of Nuit’.
2. The Initiate of Hod also has first to traverse the fiery paths of Shin (31) and Resh (30) before entering Hod, the Water Temple. Hod is thus seen in every way as a sphere of transmutation. Although Hod also symbolises the concrete mind, it is not the goal of Initiates to become detained by the limits of ordinary reason.
3. The tales of Isis and Osiris, as recounted by Plutarch.
4. ‘Flower of Mind’ or ‘Flower of Fire’ is a Gnostic term. It is not mind or intellect in the ordinary sense, but may be likened to an essence drawn up. See G.R.S. Mead, The Chaldean Oracles.
5. It is impossible for Egyptologists to construe ancient Egyptian sacred texts, as they cannot admit to the existence or even the possibility of an esoteric level of interpretation. They are thus dogged by the limitation of their exaltation of the reasoning faculty above all else, for they then produce nonsensical ‘translations’ of the texts, and say it is nonsense because the ancient Egyptians were themselves confused and irrational!
6. See John Anthony West, Serpent in the Sky, pp. 149–157 (on Spell 316).
7. Phallus (Greek φαλλος) literally means, ‘image’ or ‘image-making’.

This article is from Nu Hermetica, Unicorn of the Stars, a work in progress.
The hennu boat with oryx illustration is a detail from the Egyptian Tarot of Thelema.

© Oliver St. John, 2020

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Hexagram Ritual: Stella Sophia

The Ritual of Stella Sophia utilises the Unicursal Hexagram. It is an adaptation of the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram, as suitable for practitioners of Esoteric Thelema. This ritual is to be done immediately after the ritual called the Gates of Babalon.[1]

Ritual 718 Stella Sophia: Unicursal Hexagram

0. Make the (invoking) Unicursal Hexagram to the North in violet-purple. Bring the point of the wand to the centre and vibrate: HT KA PTH!

1. Turning (or proceeding) widdershins, make the (invoking) Unicursal Hexagram to the East in violet-purple. Bring the point of the wand to the centre and vibrate: HT KA PTH!

2. Turning (or proceeding) widdershins, make the (invoking) Unicursal Hexagram to the South in violet-purple. Bring the point of the wand to the centre and vibrate: HT KA PTH!

3. Turning (or proceeding) widdershins, make the (invoking) Unicursal Hexagram to the West in violet-purple. Bring the point of the wand to the centre and vibrate: HT KA PTH!

4. In the centre facing North, make the mudra of Avenging Horus, and then make the mudra of the Pharaoh in the House of Gold. Say,

Bathe me in thy starlight rays,
For I, who tread the sacred path, unburden my soul,
Open the ways!

5. Make the mudra of the Lord of the Stars and say,

Unto Nuit, my heart’s desire,
Let fly thine arrow,
Pour forth thy consecrating fire!

6. Clasp your hands together at your breast and concentrate the invoked force in the Tiphereth. Say,

Igne Natura Renovatur Integra.[2]

Unicursal Hexagram: Stella Sophia

Unicursal Hexagram with attributionsThe Unicursal Hexagram has sometimes been confused with the planetary hexagrams of the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram. The Unicursal Hexagram denotes the Moon and Sun as the governance of Spirit acting upon the Zodiac through the four classical elements of nature.[3] As such, it is a fitting geometric means by which to adore Nuit. The ritual also tends to nullify all malefic planetary configurations.

HT KA PTH is pronounced hwt ka ptah. It is an Egyptian name for the land of Khem. It is sent forth powerfully here to the four directions about the magical circle. HT KA PTH means, ‘House of the Ka of Ptah’, and refers to the cult centre known as Memphis.[4] Inebu Hedj (‘White Walls’), as the Egyptians knew it, was the first nome of Egypt. The modern name is derived from the Greek rendition, Aιγυπτoς (Egyptos). The Greek name of Memphis is derived from the Egyptian Men-nefar, meaning ‘Beautiful Forever’. Other names of Memphis include Djed Sut, ‘Eternal Abodes’, and Ankh Tawy, ‘Life of the Two Lands’. The hieroglyphs for Djed Sut are graphically descriptive.

Memphis Djed Sut HieroglyphsHT KA PTAH has the value of 128 and can be found in The Flaming Sword Sepher Sephiroth under that number.[5] All the entries there are cognate with the intention of the ritual. The number 128 is expressed by 27 (or 2 to the power of 7), ‘Wisdom manifested by Sepet or Set’. Sepet is figured in Djed Sut, the Egyptian name of Memphis.

HT KA PTAH is vibrated four times in the ritual, giving a value of 512 in all. The number 512 is the product of 8 x 8 x 8 and was revered by the Gnostics as indicative of the Master or Way-shower. It is also a cipher for Hermes Trismegistus or Thrice Greatest Hermes. In this way, a secret door into the ‘house’, the Temple of Egyptian Mind, is formed. Nuit will open the door for those so chosen.


Notes

1. The Gates of Babalon and the mudras (or ‘signs of the grades’) used in this ritual are given in Ritual Magick—Initiation of the Star and Snake.
2. ‘All of Nature is Renewed and Perfected through Fire’.
3. The disposition of the four elements on this star is identical to that of the pentagram, and the Terrestrial Watchtowers of the Enochian system. For example, begin from the point of fire to invoke the zodiacal triplicity of Aries, Leo and Sagittarius in the 12-lettered name OIP TEAA PDOKE.
4. Aiwass, who delivered to us the (Egyptian) Book of the Law, was the high priest of Memphis, or Djed Sut, at a time when it was the principle administrative centre of Egypt.
5. The Flaming Sword Sepher Sephiroth, in two volumes [Ordo Astri].

© Oliver St. John 2020, 2021

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