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Sunday 16 May 2010

On Hermes, Pharaohs and the Art of Writing...

Plato tells that when the God Thoth-Hermes presented the Pharaoh Thamus, with a new technique he called ‘writing’ the Pharaoh was at first full of wonder for it, but then he grew fearful.

‘If you teach my people to write pictures upon a tablet of stone they will no longer look upwards to the pictures inscribed in the stars by the twice twelve elders. They will not need to remember the sacrifices of the gods but will look down instead at twenty-four demons you call letters, which will no longer describe their divine messages, but only the contents of their own souls! They will not, therefore, write truth but only semblance, they will hear many things but learn nothing!’

Hermes explained, ‘The ability to read the words of the gods was a gift to man, but already by degrees, man forgets the speech of the stars. One day,’ he told him, ‘even priests will see nothing but their position and their movement in the heavens. Writing is needed only until men develop, from out of their own souls, the memory power that can read the starry script again.’

'But how long will that be, wise Hermes?’ the Pharaoh asked.

‘First man must come to worship the words of his own creation and build great temples to hold all the words that are written…finally he will construct great devices that will fashion words with great speed, and all men will marvel, and the devil will make man believe that he is a god, that there exists nothing higher than the words he creates.’

The Pharaoh was full of dismay for it. ‘What shall you do, wise Hermes? What will you give to man to help raise his eyes from words to the heavens again?’

‘What shall I give him?’ Hermes said smiling cagily, ‘Well...I shall give the threefold Wisdom of Hermes, to prepare him for the descent of the true Word, Osiris, come down to earth.'

'Osiris will come down to earth?' the Pharaoh gasped in dismay. 'What shall this mean for all the Pharoahs, great Hermes? Shall we who represent His word on earth, the kings and priests, not be needed?'

'When the Word of the kingdom of heaven descends, mighty Pharaoh, a man will become his own king. He will inscribe the pictures of heaven into his heart as if it were an Emerald Tablet. Then, full of the word of God, which is love, he will speak forth his own individual, living sacrifice. Thus will the content of his soul become selfless, for it will be one with the content of heaven. That is how he shall become a creator god by observing the Wisdom of Hermes which is threefold: light,love and life, which illustrates the meaning of 'as above, so is below and as below, so is above.'

The Pharaoh was confused, worried, elated, and amazed. Finally he looked to Hermes who is thrice great and said, 'So be it!'

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