What are Hermetics? Is this what all the Great Sages have in common? Some say it is the essence of alchemy and magic. Is this knowledge still available? Where can we find it?
History tempts us with talk about a body of esoteric and mystical knowledge. There are Sages to talk in riddles about it and claim to hold its secrets. There are hints of this ancient wisdom in the traditions of many cultures. Is this knowledge a discovery of independent cultures? Or does it result from one major discovery which later made its way to the elite thinkers to preserve the knowledge?
The Teachers of Hermetics
This is an esoteric tradition based upon writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus (“Thrice Great”). These ancient writings are a powerful influence in all Western esoteric tradition. These esoteric teachings became prominent during both the Renaissance and the Reformation.
Furthermore, this knowledge claims to trace its genesis to Prisca Theologia. This is a doctrine that asserts the existence of a single, true theology. And, which is supposedly the basis for all true religions inspired by the Creator. Hence, the question, were all the great Sages teachers of Hermetics?
This question prompts us to look for similarities between the teachings of the ancient Sages. This tread leads us back further in ancient history to Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, and Assyrian. This is the bedrock of mythological superstition in Western culture. The thread of philosophy and superstition is there. However, the public versions lack any substance of methods that would achieve the goals of their mystical aims. If these traditions hold Hermetic knowledge, it is not in the public versions of their holy texts.
So, was the Jesus of the Bible a conglomoration of earlier Sages? What about Buddha, Krishna, and Lao Tzu? Were all the great sages teachers of Hermetics? The philosophical principles of the public texts contain a similar theme. And, they all claim that having this knowledge is the only way to go beyond philosophy and religion. Yet again, the popular versions of their texts are absent the methods to do it.
That means, if this knowledge exists in written form, they are not available to the public. They are kept secret. But it is more probable, as these traditions suggest, the knowledge communicated orally from teacher to student.
What Are Hermetics?
This knowledge must be more than a philosophy. The philosophical elements point to the goal or results. The core of Heremtics must be more. Some believe it must be methods and processes which effect a change in reality. Tradition says that this knowledge is the essence of alchemy and the home of real magic. Could this knowledge be more prolific than we think? We find methods of altering and changing consciousness all over the world.
We find the philosophy of Hermetics in Gnosticism and Neoplatonism. And its namesake Hermeticism. What is interesting is this thread found in the earlier mystery religions of Egypt, Persia, Assyria, Summaria, and Babylon.
The fundamental process for salvation comes from the dying-god cult sects of Egypt and Persia. Here we see the process for salvation in Christianity is the shadow of a more effectual model known as “mystical mental appropriation”. This is an esoteric process whereby one reaches out mystically and mentally with the power of the mind. And then gains or enters a mystical membership. It is membership in an exclusive club that the Christians landed on as its main tenant. Selling the afterlife became more important the knowledge of altering consciousness. Perhaps because they did not have the knowledge or kept it for the elite.
The practice of restricting this kind of powerful knowledge is common. In this way only those who are “worthy and ready” can learn the secret knowledge. This makes sense on several levels. One of the first principles of learning theory is making sure you are the learner is “ready to learn”. If you are not ready, then trying to learn is not just ineffectual, it can be harmful. This, too, is a common element found in the learning systems of many cultures. Additionally, if you have this type of powerful knowledge, you want to limit it to those who will not misuse it.
You can trace the philosophical remnants to many cults and religions. All the great sages spoke of the importance of keeping the knowledge pure. They warned against allowing the Secret Doctrine to become part of religious dogma. The wisdom of this caution is clear when we study the history of religion.
Questions about the Esoteric Knowledge
When poses the question, what are Hermetics? We know for sure what it is not. It is not the philosophical remnants we find in the mythology of religion. It must be more. It must because mythology and religion lead us nowhere. It must be something more concrete. If it is a real form of magic, then it must produce results. This is the actionable part of the knowledge missing from the texts? What happened to the actionable part of the knowledge? It exists but not in texts of religious mythology.
When people ask what is Hermetics theory? They are asking, how does this stuff work? It’s a good question. The theory behind the operation of this technology gave rise to the principle of alchemy. What we need is something connects the dots between philosophy and the fragments of data we find in documents like the Kybalion. This is the information you need to reach the philosophical goals. So, when people ask what are the hermetics connectors, they are asking about this kind of information.
Dilution of the Knowledge
India and Persia were once gardens of this knowledge. However, most of the Hermetic wisdom from these cultures is lost. Many of the ancient teachers became priests and prefects of religions. They mixed religious mythology with Hermetic wisdom in an effort to preserve the knowledge. Unfortunately, this dilution made the knowledge ineffectual. Those that still possess it are much more selective and secretive in teaching this knowledge.
We see the same dilution in Greece and Rome cultures. The Hermetic Teachings of the Gnostics from Persia being the sacrifice of the Roman Church. The masterful social architect Constantine is responsible for this loss. His unification strategy combines the mythologies of the dying-god cults into one religion. He could achieve higher cash flows with religion and at a lower cost than keeping an army in the field. Thus, also reducing any risk of an insurgency while ensuring control of the region through religion. The result of this dilution was the replacement of knowledge with mythological, religious superstition, cults, creeds, and gods. The new universal religion, the Christian Church, blotting out the very essence and spirit of the knowledge that could have elevated mankind. This was necessary to make its customers dependent upon the Church.
The counterfeit teaching of dogma has never really satisfied the individual’s hunger for spiritual knowledge. However, the Church defends its position through fear. It sells the afterlife in exchange for real knowledge.
Requires Personal Instruction
There are always a few faithful teachers who keep alive the Flame. They are tending it carefully. The ancient knowledge is still with us thanks to the staunch hearts and fearless minds of a few teachers.
What is most interesting is that attempts to document this esoteric knowledge always fail. What we find is nothing more than philosophical ramblings. Perhaps this is the reason all the great sages teach their students through personal instruction. A knowledgeable teacher is necessary to assess the student’s readiness and ability to provide the correct teaching at the right time. It requires the right Mantra, the right Sutra at precisely the right time.
The meaning of this knowledge is indeed powerful and dangerous in the hands of the person is not ready to handle it. The teacher uses parable and analogy because these technologies point to states of consciousness that have little reference to waking, dreaming, or sleeping. It is the difference between seeing a picture of someone kissing and kissing someone you love.
Maintaining the secrecy of the oral tradition is a practical necessity. It’s a requirement to avoid the persecutions of the dying-god worshipers. The god worshipers seek to destroy the Secret Doctrine by any means. To this day, it is hard to find any reliable books on Hermetic Philosophy even though there are countless references to it in many books written on various phases of Occultism and even the Church.
Kybalion Principles and Meaning
The Kybalion is the name given to one of the early oral traditions of Hermetics. We have lost the exact significance and meaning of the term. The writings that exist contain a collection of mantras, sutras, maxims, axioms and precepts, and parables.
These writings contain references and analogies that are probably guideposts for those who understand their use and meaning. Their interpretation requires a level of understanding of someone already familiar with the underlying knowledge. And so the esoteric and poetic form of the Kybalion principles and meaning are not clear. The writings are absent the key that would allow us to understand them.
Additionally, the basic principles of “The Art of Hermetic Alchemy” are a part of this tradition. Rather than the transformation of Material Elements, this work deals with the mastery of Mental Forces, and Opening Doors of Consciousness.
Likewise, the legends of the “Philosopher’s Stone” which would turn base metal into Gold, was an allegory relating to Hermetic Philosophy. All students of true Hermeticism would understand this. Many of the ancient parables and allegory exist today as statements attributed to personages and avatars of the Christian Bible. The Church appropriates these stories and parables to bolster its authenticity. However, many of the ancient scholars suggest that authentic spirituality is not available in any religion. Authentic, spiritual faith is beyond dogma.
Were all the great sages teachers of Hermetics?
Are the secrets closer than we think? If this a universal body of knowledge, is it available from other sources? Or, can we reveal these secrets in some way? Maybe the use of the ancient spiritual technologies for investigating consciousness are doorways to this knowledge? Some believe this is so. That means this ancient knowledge is hiding in plain sight.
Everyone has their own way of awakening. And, each of us has spiritual gifts to aid in this quest. These gifts are sleeping in our DNA. So, waking these gifts is the key. It sets our spiritual walk into motion. It opens our minds to new potentials.
Finding ways to access these gifts was the central goal of many ancient cultures. And so, we benefit from generations of research. The results are a set of powerful tools anyone can use. We call these tools spiritual technologies. These are sound methods for expanding awareness and exploring consciousness.
Above all these tools stand up to the test of science. They are repeatable experiential phenomena. And, higher states of awareness also have unique measurable physiological signatures. They differ from the basic states of consciousness (waking, sleeping, and dreaming). These processes do not require belief in a religion. All you need to do is follow the process. For the most part, these tools come from Eastern traditions. This probably due to the fact their focus is on developing human potential.
Other schools of thought have a similarly eclectic approach. For example, Gurdjieff’s approach was to adopt what is already proven to be effective. After all, human physiology hasn’t changed in thousands of years. So, the work of the ancient pioneers stands the test of time. All you need to do is follow the process correctly. Perhaps these processes are the secrets of Hermetics?
Spiritual technologies are tools for exploring consciousness. They result from generations of research by cultures around the world. These processes stand up to the test of science. They are repeatable and measurable. They do not require belief in religious doctrine. So, everyone who can follow a process can use them. We call the practice of these processes spiritual exploration.
You can list these tools in several ways. Some fall into more than one group. We like this simple method.
- Tools to enhance critical thinking. This study of basic logical reasoning along with spotting logical fallacies and logical axioms. Then we also use a comparative analysis. This is a step-by-step way of comparing beliefs between different worldviews. Above all, these tools will help sharpen your ability to discern fact from fiction.
- The Enneagram Personality Profile. This is mostly an analytical tool. It provides insight into the mechanisms of ego, personality, and instinct.
- Seated meditation is often the heart of your spiritual practice. This includes a range from Beginning Meditation and Mindfulness Meditation through Japa Meditation and more advanced Siddhis of Patanjali.
- Moving meditation helps us strengthen the mind-body connection. It is also an important key to our health and wellness. This progression includes several methods of energy collection, such as Forest Bathing, Qigong, and Tai Chi.
- Pathways for expanding and exploring awareness. This progression includes a range of processes from lucid dreaming, the Shamanic Journey and Guided Meditation to third-eye awakening and soul memory awareness. Practical tools to guide your path, a spiritual journal, and automatic writing.
- Healing practices are the final group. This branch includes Pe Jet, Reiki, and Shiatsu. Self-care is also a part of this group and is vital to our overall health and wellness.
What are Hermetics? Our investigation leads us to methods and processes of spiritual exploration. That means the esoteric knowledge of the ancients is hiding in plain sight. You can find it if you know what you are looking for. It leads us through the virtues of the spirit to our own personal truth. Learn as many of the spiritual technologies as possible. You’ll find the right one which will open these doors. So, were all the great sages teachers of Hermetics? You decide.
Interested in spiritual exploration? Check out the blended learning process at the core of our teaching process. It reflects what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey. Our learning options include both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions. Please consider donating and supporting our mission. This helps others learn the knowledge for developing their own path.
Esoteric Traditions, Wikipedia
Hermes Trismegistus, Wikipedia
The Reformation, Wikipedia
The Renaissance, Wikipedia
Prisca Theologia, Wikipedia
Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s Book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia
Western Esotericism, Wikipedia
hermetic knowledge, hermetics.org