Enochian Keys to the Apocalypse

Some have speculated that John Dee’s Enochian Keys (or Calls) of the Thirty Aethyrs are a theurgic operation comparable to opening the seven seals of the Apocalypse. Commentators and critics regard the subject from a strictly scholarly and so exoteric point of view, and are not in any way qualified to explain esoteric matters. However, the line of thought is an interesting one and appears to have some justification when the Keys are studied and practiced over a lengthy period of time.

Enochian Keys to Apocalypse: Death on a Pale Horse William Blake (1800)‘Apocalypse’ is of course the title of the well-known New Testament book of St. John, the book of Revelation. The word ‘apocalypse’, from the Greek root apokalypto, means ‘to reveal’. The book’s title is frequently confused with ‘Armageddon’, a word from Revelation 16: 16 that refers to a kind of ‘last battle on earth’, a war between spiritual forces and evil (anti-spiritual) forces before the Day of Judgement. The meaning of the word is sometimes taken out of context and reduced so that it refers to any catastrophic war between contending human forces. Such a battle, when understood as taking place between the spiritual and the material, is not the same as a ‘revelation’, though it might form a part of that revelation under some circumstances. The battle between spiritual and material forces must, by definition, always be ‘won’ finally by the spiritual, since the material has no existence beyond that which is strictly limited to the world of human affairs.[1]

The Enochian Keys seem to include elements both of revelation and of the ‘last battle’. This is no doubt tempered by the fact that Dee’s translation (and so understanding) of the Enochian Keys was placed in language very similar to that of the King James English Bible—though that was not published until after his death, thought to be around 1609. The general agreement between the Keys and the Revelation of St. John, albeit sometimes placed from within a perspective other than Christian theology, concords with the knowledge of other traditions such as the manvantara cycles of the Vedas. It can certainly be taken as a warning of the drawing to a close of the Age of Darkness (Kali Yuga), which must come before the final dissolution. Before the dissolution can take place, there is a period of utmost darkness in which the force of Antichrist, which is a force of pure materialism, temporarily (or apparently) triumphs absolutely.[2]

This urgency has its reflection on more than one level. Spiritually, it is the expression of an eternal truth. On the psychic level, it expresses the need for regeneration so that spiritual realisation is even possible. One should then bear in mind that such an end is the beginning of renewal, wherein by fire all of nature is renewed and restored to original perfection: Igne Natura Renovata Integra.[3]

Enochian Keys: The 8th

It is not the intention here to create a commentary on all of the Enochian Keys, which would take at least a small book to accomplish. We will focus here on one of them, the 8th Key. This Key invokes the subquadrant angle of Earth of Air in the Terrestrial Watchtower of Air.[4]

The 8th Enochian Key begins,

Beautiful is the first, which is as the third heaven made of pillars of Hycacinth, in whom the Elders have become strong, which I have prepared for my own truth, so saith the Lord; whose Eternal reign shall be as bucklers to the Stooping Dragon, and like unto the harvest of a widow.

The “first” and “the third heaven” is a technical reference to the order of the Watchtower Tablets and their subquadrants—in this case, the third angle (Earth) of the first Tablet (Air). Hyacinth is traditionally associated with peace but also desire in the spiritual sense of longing for eternal truth, in which alone is peace of mind in any real and lasting sense. The violet flowers in some varieties of hyacinth do indeed form ‘pillars’ of six-petalled stars. The ‘six’ symbolises the meeting of time and eternity in the world centre or heart of all, and is figured by the hexagram of two interlaced triangles.

The Elders or Old Ones are frequently mentioned in the spells of the so-called Egyptian Book of the Dead. According to tradition these are the children of the Sons of the Gods (Beni Elohim) that spawned the original life-wave on the earth. In the Bible, the children of Gods and women are called the Nephilim, and their descendants the Anak—a word that has an identical meaning to that of Nephilim, ‘giants, tall, noble or renowned’.

Curiously, the name ‘Watchers’ has been applied to the Elders or Nephilim as mentioned in the book of Genesis.[5] The apocryphal Book of Enoch, which has a more detailed and probably older account of this very ancient mystery, was not discovered until centuries after the time of John Dee. Dee named the language of the Angels ‘Enochian’ as his intention had been to psychically recover what was at that time the ‘lost’ book of Enoch.

The last line of this first stanza, where it says that the eternal reign of the Lord shall be as “bucklers to the Stooping Dragon, and like unto the harvest of a widow”, may be understood metaphysically. The word ‘buckler’ is used in the book of Psalms, 18: 2:

The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my rock; in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

The Hebrew word is mageni, from the root MGN, which has the value of 93 and is thus equal to Thelema. A buckler was the name given to a heraldic device born upon shields; it sometimes refers to a goatskin shield (Greek aegis) worn by Athene. In broad terms, the strength and protection is the path itself, the Way. “The Lord is my rock” may also be associated with the holy mountain, for example Hermon in the ancient land of Canaan or Phoenicia, where Ashtaroth is both the name of a place and that of a hornéd goddess.

It was on mount Hermon that Christ Jesus was transfigured before his disciples, according to some sources.[6] It was from near the summit, where still exists the highest shrine in the world, built from stone blocks, that the angels descended as according to the apocryphal book of Enoch. This is also recorded on a stele that that was stolen from the shrine and is now preserved in the British Museum. It was here that the angels were said to have taken the oath to descend and mingle with the daughters of men. From this it may be seen that the Nephilim were born of the first avatars.[7] It can be understood why the angels are called ‘Watchers’, for Mount Hermon is used in modern times for the purpose of military surveillance across some considerable distance. However, the view from the mountain is also analogous with the darshana (‘view’) of the Supreme Principle.

The transfiguration of Christ Jesus is then, at the very least, a recollection of the Elder race, to which he properly belongs according to tradition. For example, some of the Orphic texts support the same Gnostic theme: “I am a child of earth and stars, but my race is of the heavenly order”.[8]

The “harvest of a widow” is an allusion to Binah, the Mother of Faith and the Foundation of the Primordial Wisdom (Sepher Yetzirah). Here is indicated the hidden or left side of Hekate, revealed to no mortal man. It is the ‘night’ or unmanifest side, that is pure observance or watchfulness, yet without manifest projection, ‘light’ or extrusion. It is the ‘hidden light’ (AVR MPLA) of the Qabalah, an attribute afforded Kether as the ‘height’, beyond the visible stars. There is mention of Machpalah, a ‘double cave’, in Genesis (19: 30–50:13), where one chamber is the light or manifest, and the other is the dark or unmanifest side. In terms of initiation this equates to the ‘second birth’, Tiphereth, and ‘third birth’, Kether.[9] In the present context, a withdrawal of manifestation is implied, as at the end of a Great Age.

The Key continues,

How many are there which remain in the glory of the earth, which are, and shall not see death until the Fall of the Great House, and the dragon shall sink!

In the 11th of the Enochian Keys, there is reference to the ‘House of Death’, which seems to have identical meaning. This appears to place the Day of Judgement, if we use the Apocalypse frame of reference, literally in the present times. If the precessional wheel of the equinoxes is seen to commence from the house of Leo (some time before the end of the last Ice Age), which was named by the Egyptians the ‘First Time’, then we are now at the Fall of the Great House, which is Aquarius.

Come away, for the thunders have spoken; come away, for the crown of the temple, and the robe of Him that is, was, and shall be crowned, are divided.

“Him that is, was, and shall be crowned” is a reference to the Lord and Master of Time, for example Christ and Shiva—for both these bear the symbols of the key of eternity and the sceptre of time, three-fold (past, present and future).[10] The division of the “crown of the temple” is the division of the earth from all spiritual influence during the reign of Antichrist. The division of the robe seems to be a direct allusion to the Romans, who divided up the robe of Jesus to sell, before his crucifixion.[11] Thus the world, or at least the human world, is sold into slavery and condemned to hell through rejection of Christ and the denial of all spiritual possibilities. The ‘robe of Christ’ is his resurrection garment or body, which is to say, the possibility by which a soul may enter the ‘kingdom of heaven’.

Come forth, appear to the terror of the earthbound, and to our joy, and to those who in thy knowledge are prepared!

It is now revealed that those who remained “in the glory of the earth” are in fact earthbound, which is to say they will not rise again—for these, death is finality. The Angels of Truth and Justice, appearing at the end of time, will seem terrible to the wicked, but are a wonder and joy to those that have retained spiritual realisation, and so have not lost their souls as have the damned. This includes those that have faithfully followed out the path of pure knowledge, or of devotion (as according to tradition).


1. See Guénon, Reign of Quantity [Sophia Perennis].
2. Ibid.
3. This does not mean that ‘our world’ will literally or physically be consumed by fire. Catastrophe, including fire or flood, can sometimes mark the ending of the great cycles of time, but we will not enter into speculation here. The dissolution will take place, whatever the physical circumstances should happen to be.
4. There are four tablets of Enochian letters and spirit names corresponding to each of the classical elements, and each of these is divided into four subquadrants of lesser elements: Air of Air, Water of Air, Earth of Air and Fire of Air, for example. There is also a Black Cross or Spirit Tablet (in the Golden Dawn scheme) that binds them all together. There are 91 Genii or Governors that determine which of the Thirty Aethyrs or Aires is invoked when the one Key that calls them is sounded.
5. The term is thought to have originated with The Manuscript Found in Saragossa by Count Jan Potocki (early 1800s). He used the word ‘egregores’ (Greek egregoros), referring to what he called “fallen angels”. The Nephilim were a race said to be born of congress between the Sons of Gods (Beni Elohim) and the daughters of earth (Genesis 6:4.) The sense of the Nephilim as ‘fallen angels’ is true in so far as they descended—compare to the Sanskrit avatara, by which a spiritual force is reified. The word ‘egregore’ was later corrupted so that it came only to mean a kind of collective psychic force.
6. Transfiguration of Christ Jesus: R.T. France, Matthew: An Introduction and Commentary (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries) [IVP Academic, 2008].
7. See avatara, above (4). This is entirely contrary to what is said of the angels in the book of Enoch, where they are described as “iniquitous”, spawning a race of evil giants that ate men. It would be better to understand that the race of men are eaten up by their own pride. The book of Enoch is a corruption of the original legend, of which only a fragment remains. See the ‘Sons of Seth’ in Thrice Greatest Hermes, translated by GRS Mead.
8. Orphic inscription from the Petalia Gold Tablet, 300–200 BCE [British Museum].
9. The second birth and third birth is also described as a ‘first and second crossing’, in relation to the symbol of the double cave. This is compared to the Egyptian hekat and nekhakha, commonly mistaken for a ‘crook and flail’. See pp. 228–231, Babalon Unveiled—Thelemic Monographs [Ordo Astri].
10. See Guénon, Symbols of Sacred Science, pp. 120.
11. Matthew 27: 35; Mark 15: 24; John, 19: 23.

Enochian Keys to the Apocalypse is abridged from Nu Hermetica, a work in progress.
© Oliver St. John 2021

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Aspiration or Materialism

Aspiration was effectively abolished many centuries ago. Those who seek initiation must relearn what aspiration means. That will not be easy for them to do. All the modern conventions that most of us have regarded as ‘positive’, such as individualism, personal expression, democracy, rights, even liberty, were based on rational and humanistic ideals that were also founded on an anti-traditional and (as a consequence) anti-initiatic prejudice. It is only now, perhaps, that we can see where all this has led us—which is to the very opposite, in fact, of what those ideals were supposed to be about. According to the (Egyptian) Book of the Law, III: 43,

Let the Scarlet Woman beware! If pity and compassion and tenderness visit her heart; if she leave my work to toy with old sweetnesses; then shall my vengeance be known.

Aspiration or Materialism: Sebek Egyptian Crocodile GodThe elimination of “old sweetnesses” is not done overnight. Tradition has it that we have to be careful what we ask the Gods for because we might get it. When Zeus appeared to Olympia, she was burnt to a cinder. Zeus had to appear; it was her wish. We may, for example, confuse aspiration through unknowing acceptance of materialism, which is the dominant force in the world today. Materialism prefers to substitute ‘personal development’ for spiritual aspiration, because that places the focus on the satisfaction of base needs and desires. Personal development is a subversive notion, especially when it is thought to be cognate with spiritual aspiration. If we think we can find a True Will through personal development, we are making that will-force subject to layers of subversive reasoning that fragment the truth until it becomes a mere collection of unrelated figures formed from the latent wish-desire.

Let us suppose how the ancient Egyptians might have dealt with someone in search of ‘personal development’ in relation to seeking admission to a mystery temple. First of all, the person is stripped naked, splashed with holy water and fumigated with perfumes. Then they are directed to a small door that opens into a courtyard surrounded by high walls. In the centre of the courtyard is a shrine in an enclosure built of stone, with an open doorway. They are told that in the shrine they will learn how to realise all their goals and fulfil their every wish and desire. The shrine is surrounded by a circular lake. On the other side is a large, hungry crocodile. According to the Book of the Law, II: 32,

Also reason is a lie; for there is a factor infinite and unknown; and all their words are skew-wise.

It is also declared in AL, I: 57,

Love is the law, love under will.

There is no love in self-isolating fragmentation, which is the end result of skewed reason. Without love there can be no truth—for the metaphysical Monad is easily misconstrued or otherwise deliberately inverted until it becomes the Self-Alone-God, a mere projection of ego. Monadism, to coin a term, is such a persuasive notion that it undoubtedly paved the way for the invasion of the East by Western materialism. By that time, the Western world was conditioned by centuries of humanism. Humanism, essentially atheist, places the self before all else, automatically excluding the possibility of anything beyond it. Aspiration is then strictly limited to personal goals.

Aspiration and Will

This matter of aspiration raises the question of the will. Psychologists have assumed that there must be an ‘unconscious’ will. If the person thinks and acts against that will, then neurosis comes about. That is the theory. The problem is we then assume that we (or other people) are unconscious of the will. Apart from its dependence on psychological theories, this is a presumptuous and very broad generalisation. We can take neurosis as particular to the human species, but does it arise from unconsciousness of the will? Is it not more the case that from birth we learn to work out reasonable but lying strategies about everything, because that is the way of the (human) world? Through the double-thinking power of the reason we learn that truth is adaptable according to circumstances, that it is ‘all relative’.[1] This notion has long existed but Descartes is known for putting it forward as a ‘truth’ in itself. This is a convenient truth for anyone whose primary wish is to dominate the will of others through power of reasoning. Reason does not require intellect or even thought, in any real sense. ‘Facts’ are selected and arranged to support the argument, however ignorant. Those who wish to control the minds and bodies of others do not want them to think, they want them to believe and obey.

Aleister Crowley accepted the notion of the relativity of truth (when it suited him to do so), and maintained that the True Will is ultimately a force of Chaos, which he called the ‘Beast’—and with which he self-identified. As a force of Chaos, it is unknowing of any truth.[2] It is all about impulse, action, doing. This is modified, in Crowley’s scheme of things, by Babalon, Understanding (or Binah), but in his way and in spite of what he said to the contrary, he made Babalon (as woman) subservient to his idea of Will-Chaos. This notion is false; it comes from a condition of mind that owes to the threshold of the Abyss, where no truth is known, only relativity. No one is ‘unconscious’ of the will-force, but atheism and other humanistic tendencies have increased vastly the level of common ignorance, which is masked by a sense that things are ‘too complex’ to really understand or to know for certain. The complexity, which owes to relativism, ultimately tends towards chaos and madness. We see this in the present world picture, where totalitarianism has been brought about in the name of ‘democracy’, which is by now a purely theatrical, staged proceeding. Corporate and governmental systems that implement totalitarian strategies owe to completely chaotic and thoughtless economics and science, based on machines and data.

Candidates for initiation are called ‘aspirants’. It is necessary, and always has been, for spiritual aspirants to seek truth above all else and to seek that truth as wholly outside of and beyond the person, the self. We must define our terms. What is aspiration? A modern dictionary is no use here as the first definition will be something like ‘ambition of achieving something’, which is the purely materialist explanation of the word. Typically it removes all sense of any spiritual meaning that could be applied. Ambition throws the whole matter straight back on to the self, the perceived needs and desires of the person—the person who, in the present context, is not initiated. The Latin root, aspirare, suits our purpose much better, for it means ‘to breathe’. This may refer to both inhalation and exhalation, so we first must examine what kind of air we breathe.

Aspiration: Ra the Sun God (Egyptian Tarot Thelema)The ‘breath of Ra’ is not only the air that sustains life but is also ‘light’ that forms and sustains the intellect. The intellect, understood in the real sense, is far more than the reason that is common to all or most persons. The air we breathe can therefore include language. Language shapes thought, and thought shapes the world we live in.[3] The language used by materialists is corrupt, for it rests on the ignorant assumption that nothing exists beyond the material. Such information, which is no more than hypnosis through repetition of a single idea, carries an insidious message—a message wholly opposed to the work of initiation and what might be termed as ‘initiated thought’. That is to say, thought that might lead to initiation, or in other ways assist it.

Personal development is often now applied by corporations in the workplace, for the so-called ‘wellbeing’ of employees. That should be enough in itself to arouse a suspicion that there might be something wrong with such notions of personal development and wellbeing—and yet these terms are also used now in relation to spiritual matters such as yoga. Yoga means ‘union’; placed in the traditional context, the word means ‘union with God’. If yoga is about the ambitions of the person, then what is there to unite with? Since it is placed in the individual domain, there can be no spiritual aim whatsoever. It can even be harmful to the being to persist in such practices, for they will naturally carry a residue of what they carried when they were part of a genuine initiated tradition, yet the person will have no means of protecting themselves against the negative inversion of such forces that will come about as a consequence.

The present generations were born into the darkest of dark ages. They have been hypnotised from the day they were born. Materialism is the air they breathe, food they eat, and water they drink. They indoctrinate others without even knowing it. The very thoughts they have, which they imagine to be their own, are the product of a wordless aeon—which means that generations are now born that have no logos, no possibility of intellect in the real sense of what that means.[4] So-called education systems suppress all independence of thought and expression yet they pretend to develop the individual. These systems are perpetuated because they are a reliable form of brainwashing that is rigorously applied to every young person and continued through to so-called higher education. The sole aim is to produce obedient and efficient units of productivity. None of these systems encourage thought in any real sense.

Humanities, which were once called liberal sciences, are taught with a rational humanistic bias, hence the name given. Nothing is considered to be of value unless it is seen to be of benefit to man. Everything of value is thus seen to be that which is the product of man. Man is therefore isolated from everything that could teach him to reach beyond himself, to aspire.

The consequence of individualism is that everyone must conform to a lowest common denominator, formed by the base needs and desires of the majority. All true individuality is suppressed. The suppression of individuality is the general and persistent trend of the modern world. At the present time we now see an unprecedented movement to bring about the desocialisation and dehumanisation of the race across the entire globe.

It is a tragedy that the world we live in today discourages contemplation, even ruthlessly suppresses it. The machine-world of humans does not require that people think, only that they do as they are told, as obedient slaves. The most frequent complaint from our students is that they simply do not have enough time. And yet time is not a commodity, it is not even a thing in itself! What they really mean is that they are the slaves of a machine that controls every aspect of what they vainly think of as their ‘life’, from the moment they are born to the moment they die. Much that is commonly termed ‘occultism’ is no more than ordinary hypnotism. Such hypnotism is now the work of advertising agencies, media barons, governments and corporations. That kind of ‘black magic’ is by now a perfectly ordinary thing.

If aspiration is to satisfy the needs and wishes of the person, then it is a force of anti-initiation dressed up as something spiritual or holy. It is the worst kind of fraud. The Great Work alone provides the basis by which meaning is conveyed to ordinary life.[5] When ordinary life is separated from spiritual principles it falls into meaningless confusion. There is now, then, a pressing and urgent need for a Great Work, for there is no meaning in anything without it.


1. ‘Double-think’ was a term coined by George Orwell in his novel, 1984, based on the world situation of 1948. The novel has been misunderstood and misrepresented ever since. It was not a dystopian fantasy but a disguised factual narrative based on Orwell’s experience of working for the BBC propaganda department. In the novel, he called this the Ministry of Truth; the department’s sole purpose was to disseminate misinformation. ‘Truth’ changed on a daily basis. That situation has not changed, in fact it has got worse, for it is greatly facilitated by new technologies.
2. Chaos is derived from the Greek for ‘vast chasm, void’ (καος). We use the word here in the conventional sense that Crowley intended. The conventional useage, and that used in physics, is a modern corruption, however. Originally, chaos did not mean ‘random or disorganised force’ and was the name of a god (Egyptian neter, ‘principle’).
3. Schopenhauer proposed that thought shapes reality (The World as Will and Representation, 1818). It does not, but it cannot be argued that thought shapes our world. See ‘Lapis Philosophorum’, Babalon Unveiled.
4. We use the term ‘wordless aeon’ to describe the spiritual vacuum of the modern age.
5. The Great Work is, put in general terms, to assist in the restoration of the earth to the governance of the original life-wave, that she might find her true place among the stars.

Related articles: Crisis of the Modern World Revisited

© Oliver St. John 2020, 2021

Aspiration or Materialism forms part of a work in progress, Nu Hermetica.

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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 Asclepius, his disciple.

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’ for most persons. We have taken the liberty of restoring 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 at a later date. 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 on all 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.


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.


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.


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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