Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Way of the Hermetica I

The aim of this course is to introduce the core concepts of Hermeticism taking into account a more modern, research perspective. This will include the teacher's own published writings principally his "Tankhem mythos" - viz: "Tankhem"; "The Bull of Ombos" and "Supernatural Assault in Ancient Egypt".

Students will:
Review and critique previous approaches to the topic.
Will gain a new understanding of the modern view of Hermeticism.
Will re-assemble and re-member, the lost fragments of the ancient Egyptian magical religion.

Preparatory reading:
(NB: This reading matter is designed to stimulate debate in the student.
It's presence here does not necessarily imply full or any agreement with the contents.)

Manly P Hall "Secret Traditions of All Ages" - short section on Hermes Trismegistos

Walter Scott "The Hermetica" - abridged edition published by Solos Press.
Publisher's introduction omitting the section on Edgar Cayce. Although even this illustrates some of the problems the student may encounter when approaching the topic.
Translator's introduction.
This will be our core text and worth acquiring your own copy.

Essays and questions
1. Who was Manly P Hall. What are his influences, presuppositions and sources. What do you make of his approach to Hermeticism?

2. Who is Adrian Gilbert? What are his influences and sources. What do you make of his approach to Hermeticism.

3. Of the three, do you agree that Walter Scott is the most academic. Even so, try to address the same questions as above.

4. Is the universe of the Hermetica helio or geo- centric? Is this the same as Plato's Timaeus, with which it is often compared?

More advanced reading:
Plato "Timaeus"

Walter Scott, Hermetica - complete edition

ANTOINE FAIVRE, THE ETERNAL HERMES - From Greek God to Alchemical Magus Informative on Greek and later aspects but little to say on the Egyptian sources.

G R S Mead, Hermes Trismegistos

Iamblicus, On the Mysteries

Athanassiadi, Polymia (1993) "Persecution and response in Late Paganism: the evidience of Damascius" JHS 113: 1-29

Kevin van Bladel, The Arabic Hermes: From Pagan Sage to Prophet of Science. Oxford Studies in Late Antiquity. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. Pp. xii, 278. ISBN 9780195376135.

Griffith & Thompson, The Leyden Papyrus- An Egyptian Magical Book.
To be read in conjunction with Morgan, M "Supernatural Assault in Ancient Egypt".

Fowden, Garth, The Hermetica

Copenhaver, Brian P, Corpus Hermeticum. More up to date translation based on a better source text than Walter Scott although only covers the Corpus Hermeticum (CH) and Ascelpius. Very useful introduction.

Future reading:
"Libellus" (Little Book) I-IX inclusive of The Hermetica.

(c) Mogg Morgan
Guardian of the House of Life at Abydos

1. Introduction
2. Corpus Hermetica in more detail
3. Magick and the CH
4. Egyptian background
5. Technical magick and the CH
6. CH and its Kabbalistic Parallels
7. More on magick of Greek Magical Papyri
8. Conclusions and issues

Hermetic Path II

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Golden Dawn Egyptian Gnosis

Monthly lectures first or second saturday of every month, live on the
virtual chatroom SecondLife.


1. 3rd January 2009: Pagans & Paganism

[Paganism] is "just a collection of ethnic polytheism whatever was not Judaism or Christianity, but given a name by the lazy cunning of Christian apologists, who could then use their most salacious material to discredit all their opponents at one go." Fowden, review of Lane Fox 1986, JRS 78 (1988) : 176 quoted in Frankfurter : 75

You may have read that “Pagan” was pejorative,
an insult meaning “rustic” or “country dweller”.

The funny thing is that when the early Christians of for example
“Roman Egypt” used this term – they had in mind high profile activists living in some of the biggest and most sophisticated cities of the ancient world.

“Pagan” and “Paganism” was actually early Christian slang, meaning “civilian”.
/Pagani/ were civilians who had not enlisted through baptism as soldiers of Christ against the powers of Satan. By its word for non-believer, Christian slang bore witness to the heavenly battle which coloured Christian’s view of life.
(Robin Lane Fox /Pagans & Christians/. Penguin 1986)

Its only in from our sixteenth century has the origin of the early Christian’s usage has been disputed.

“Paganism” too, is a Christian coinage, a word like “Judaism”, which suggests a system of doctrine and orthodoxy. So even the Christians recognised that Paganism had a doctrine.

"Paganism" came into being principally in the writings of Iamblicus.

Iamblicus was trained in the Ideas of the “Corpus Hermeticum”.

The “Corpus Hermeticum” is an ancient summary of Pagan doctrine.
You can buy edition of this handy little books ranging from the cheap and cheerful (edited by Adrian Gilbert) to the expensive but Copenhaver.

“Paganism” is an eucumenical tradition based on the Chaldean oracles .
It valued all major theologies, especially Babylonian, Egyptian and Greek.

The early pagan "clans" called themselves –
"Chaldeans" or
"Hermeticists" –

They were persecuted by state and the mob for several centuries.

When the Athenian academy was forcibly closed, they took refuge in Alexandria, Aphroditopolis and finally the open city of Haran in Persia.

Here these ideas eventually flowed into the heterodox traditions of early Islam.

When the fanatical Christian emperor Justinian began to really turn the screw, he was stopped in his tracks by the Treaty of Haran, which stipulated that the local philosophical pagans (Chaldeans) be allowed to continue their studies.

In fury Justinian lashed out at the sanctuary of Isis at Philai, in Upper Egypt.

(see Polymnia Athanassiadi "Persecution and Response in Late Paganism - the evidence of Damascius", Journal of Hellenic Studies 113 1-29)

I feel a personal desire to remember the struggles, sacrifices and often martyrdom of those "intellectual pagans" of the late classical world. They, like the modern pagans, were ecumenical and eclectic, hence we should be proud to number ourselves amongst their number.

2. 7th Feb: The Astral Temple or ‘Theatre of Memory’

Every style of Magick has its own particular astral temple.

In Kabbalah it’s sometimes called the Malkuth temple,
and its description is based upon the mystical drawing called the Tree of Life.

In Chaos Magick it is the Chaos Sphere,

In Greek Magick is the Tetratis.

In esoteric Hinduism and Tantra the basic design for the temple is the famous Shri Yantra.

The Renaissance magus Giordano Bruno coined the term 'Theatre of Memory' for this concept.

This was a very important discovery.

GB could use this technique to memorize the relationship between very complex groups of symbols.

Even just thinking about an occult building can have an effect on your consciousness. You can be changed by them and can also discover new things.

You may already be familiar with some of these techniques –
Even so, I wonder if you have considered using a “real” temple as
basis for your psychic explorations?

You can also combine this with real time visits to sacred sites – which may not be suitable for on site voyaging but you can revisit later in the astral.

Dion Fortune recommends that one “sleeps” in your astral temple.

In my own work I was drawn to the Temple of Sethi I at Abydos.

Next time I’ll say a bit more about this important temple and its connection with the Cult of Osiris

(c) Mogg Morgan & Mogg Morgwain

3. 14th March 2009
More on Path working and its relationship to the Mysteries of Abydos