Tag Archives: hermeticism

Hermetica Review, News, and Your WOD

Last night I finished one of the best books I’ve read in recent memory.  Hermetica: The Greek Corpus Hermeticum and the Latin Asclepius in a New English Translation, with Notes and Introduction by Brian P. Copenhaver is the definitive translation of the Corpus Hermeticum, and  must read for any serious student of religion, mysticism, magic or philosophy.  Read my Goodreads review here, then go buy a copy here.

And today I hit a milestone — 2,000 book downloads!  I can’t believe that my stuff is this popular.  I mean, I can believe it.  It’s kind of a fact, and why shouldn’t I be able to attract 2,000 downloads?  I work hard and I take my craft seriously.  It’s just that, even if you assume some people have read more than one of my titles, there must be something like a thousand people reading my books.  No, it’s not that it’s unbelievable exactly, it just makes me a little woozy to be out in front of that many people.  And it makes me happy.  So I just want to say thanks to my readers for…

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Now here’s your Cabal Fang WOD.  You’re going to hate me for this one — when you get done you’ll be panting like a Labrador at a tennis ball chasing contest!

  • PTDICE: AMSAYC in 10 mins of 4 Hop/Clap Push-ups and 8 Jump Squats (I got 18 sets).
  • Rest 1 minute and then complete Grappling Conditioner #1 (If you’re unfamiliar, details here)
  • Rest 1 minute and then Bike or Run 6 x 3:00/1:00 (pace for the 3:00, sprint for the 1:00).

 

 

 

 

Dangerous Disconnections (and Your WOD)

wpid-20150509_200303.jpgI find it refreshing and downright beautiful that two very different writers  — an American poet writing in English about the origin of culture and an Estonian-Russian mystic writing in French about Christian Hermeticism — could express (from very different perspectives of course) the same essential truth in very similar language.  Both of these books are excellent by the way — highly recommended.

Because we have separated humanity from nature, subject from object, values from analysis, knowledge from myth, and universities from the universe, it is enormously difficult for anyone but a poet or a mystic to understand what is going on in the holistic and mythopoetic thought of Ice Age humanity. The very language we use to discuss the past speaks of tools, hunters, and men, when every statue and painting we discover cries out to us that this Ice Age humanity was a culture of art, the love of animals, and women…We have to use the “Imagination” to recover a sense of the sacred. The sacred is the emotional force which connects the part to the whole; the profane or the secular is that which as broken off from, or has fallen off, its emotional bond to the universe.

~William Irwin Thompson, The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light: Mythology, Sexuality, and the Origins of Culture (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1981) p.102

[I]ntelligence with conscience eclipsed…is the Arcanum of the magical mechanism, working behind the surface of the state of intelligence, which aims at explaining movement by the immobile, life by the non-living, consciousness by the unconscious, morality by the amoral.  Indeed, how has it happened to mankind that many of its intelligent representatives — even its leaders and directors — have come to see in the brain not the instrument but the producer of consciousness, in chemistry not the instrument but the producer of life, in the economic sphere not the instrument but the producer of culture? How can it be that human intelligence has arrived — in so far as many of its representatives are concerned — at seeing man without a soul and the world without God?”

~Anonymous, Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey Into Christian Hermeticism  (New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1985) p. 518-19

And Now for your Cabal Fang WOD (abbreviation key here):

  • Weights.  7 x 15 of Two-handed Squat Presses and Swing-thrus.
  • Kickboxing. Heavy bag HZG, AHAYC without sacrificing good form.
  • Jump rope. 4 x 3:00/1:00

Faith vs. Works: Alchemy in The Walking Dead

“Faith without works is dead,” it says on the wall of the church in this past Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead  (Season 6, Episode 9).

Together then, they are alive indeed.

To have faith is to look upward and trust in a power greater than oneself.  To take action is to look within, trust in yourself, and manifest your decision.  And so, to say that “Faith without works is dead” is to say that both are reliant upon one another.

Seal of Solomon

Action = Fire, it is the chemical symbol Delta (Δ) that means “change.”  Faith = Water, the cup, the exact reverse symbol (∇).  Together, transposed, you have the magic hexagram (image right).  The reconciliation of opposites is a powerful mystical doctrine.

The character of Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead isn’t as much trying to find his way between the extremes as he is trying to reconcile them, to bring them together.  I would argue that he is the epitome of the wise hermeticist — Solomon trying to build his Temple.

In order to do this he must look up and gather the blessings of the Above, then bring them down  and share them with the Below.   As it says in the Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus, a mainstay of modern Hermetic thought, “That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracles of the One Thing… It is the origin of All, the consecration of the Universe…It rises from Earth to Heaven and descends again to Earth, thereby combining within Itself the powers of both the Above and the Below.  Thus will you obtain the Glory of the Whole Universe.  All Obscurity will be clear to you.”

Rick Grimes, Alchemist. Sword, machete, ax — what’s the difference?

Father Gabriel Stokes is finally starting to learn this lesson, a lesson Rick has learned and is always re-learning, perfecting, and sublimating in true alchemical fashion.  This is why, despite all the failings and the frictions between Rick and Gabriel, Rick entrusts Judith to his care.  Rick can feel the change.

Once again Rick is right, because “All Obscurity will be clear to you.”  Gabriel picks up a machete and gets to work, with success.

And when Carl lies bleeding on the table, inches from death, what happens?  Rick looks at the place where his son’s right eye used to be and he “sees” what must be done. Again, as it says in the Emerald Tablet, “All Obscurity will be clear to you.”  The hawkish Carl has no such vision yet, but he yet may.

Rick has faith, and he knows that if he puts that faith into action he can motivate the people of Alexandria to overcome any foe.  He’s right.  They follow him and win.  With the fighting concluded, he sits with Carl and there he professes his faith in the vision of a world rebuilt.  Carl’s hand squeezing his is the promise of hope.

Is Seth Hoffman, writer of this episode, an alchemist or hermeticist?  I seriously doubt it.  But that doesn’t mean he didn’t produce something that is Hermetic Horror for sure.

Hermetic Mysteries of Christmas Part 2

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about the mysteries of Christmas, and it turned out to be rather popular.  Since people seem to be interested, I thought I might expand and illuminate even further.

What exactly do we mean when we say “the mysteries?”  Well, a mystery — with a little “m” — is a riddle or a puzzle.  But when we say the Mysteries — with a big “M” — we are talking about the wondrous things we feel when we put ourselves inside a myth and allow ourselves to fully experience it as if we are present.  The word mystery comes to us from Greek musterion and Latin mysterium where it means “a secret rite or ritual.

Mysteries are at the center all of the great and enduring spiritual traditions.  When the Mysteries depart a tradition, its heart ceases to beat, the body of the teaching dies, and rigor is soon to follow.

The Masonic Mysteries consist of putting initiates inside the myths of Hiram, one of the architects of the Temple of Solomon.  The Wiccan Mysteries involve, among other things, experiencing various myths that unpack the Wheel of the Year and the natural cycles it symbolizes.  There are the Sikh Mysteries that involve singing of the divine names, Hindu Mysteries, Buddhist Mysteries, and so forth.  Cabal Fang also has it’s Mysteries, which we call “trials.”

Perhaps Christianity owes some of it’s enduring popularity to the fact that it is positively thick with Mysteries, having perhaps more Mysteries than any other tradition since Greco-Roman paganism.  One of the most powerful and pervasive is the Christmas Mystery.  If you would like to participate there are two very simple methods.

The first method is to begin by reading the nativity presented in the Gospel of Luke.  Then immediately close your Bible, assume your chosen meditative posture, and close your eyes.  Imagine the story as if you are a participant, letting it play out in your mind.  Imagine you are there, and really allow yourself to feel what it would have been like to have been present at the birth of Jesus.

The second method is of course to simply go to a public nativity scene and allow yourself to fully experience what it would have been like had you actually been present.

I would not dare put words in the mouth of the famous mystic Saint Francis of Assisi.  However I do believe that he was intentionally creating a great Mystery — that he really wanted people to be present in the moment of the birth of Jesus — when he invented the concept of a live nativity in 1223 AD.

 

For Hermeticists like myself, these Winter Solstice holidays are brothers and sisters in spirit.  So it doesn’t matter so much which Winter Solstice myth you choose — it can be the Death of the Oak King and rebirth of the Holly King, the birth of Horus to his mother Isis, the birth of Baldur to his mother Frigga, etc. — as long as you pick one and allow yourself to fully experience it.

Being fully “present” in the holiday is the best Christmas “present” there is.

 

 

The Hermetic Mysteries of Christmas

I’m about half way through Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey Into Christian Hermeticism.  This is a very deep and esoteric book, one that deserves a full review when I’m done.  For the time being, suffice to say that it is without a doubt the most scholarly, original, and incomparably erudite book on the Tarot I have ever read.  A couple of conservative parts have made me angry,  a great many others have given me chills of realization and joy, still more or pure genius.  All of it is extremely thought provoking.

One of the things the anonymous author perfectly explains is that Hermeticism is the art of seeing in all four ways without contradiction — gnostically, magically, scientifically, and mystically.  This is one of several inner meanings of the Hermetic Quaternary, which is of course “To Know, To Will, To Dare, to Keep Silent.”

A number of things become apparent when I apply all four types of vision to the holiday known as Christmas.

I see that Christmas was and always will be.  Every religion that exists has a Christ figure, an Osiris, a Krishna, or a Dionysus.  Even Buddhism has a Maitreya and Wicca a Horned God of death and resurrection.  I see that modern humanity has lost track of the ancient view that men and women who do great things can become divine, as exemplified by biblical figures like Enoch and Mary the mother of Jesus, Athenian heroes and heroines like Lycurgus and Phya, and so on.  I see that a culture without the sacred respiration of the seasons — without death and resurrection, without suffering and redemption — has expired and breathed its last.  And lastly, I see that redemption and rebirth is an actual possibility for everyone, at any time and at any moment.

I’m so thankful that I’ve had these visions well in advance of the holiday.  Now I can relax, slow down, and allow myself to experience the mysteries of the season, the eternal Christmas Mysteries.

The Hermetic Formula (and a WOD)

Hermes Trismegistus (courtesy of Wikipedia)

What is Hermeticism, and why should we care?

Hermeticism is a spiritual philosophy that claims to be the perennial philosophy, the Ageless and Primordial Wisdom.  Based on an ancient document known as The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus, whose most enduring quote is the famous, “As above, so below,” Hermeticism forms the backbone of Western esoteric thought.

The historical influence of Hermeticism cannot be overstated.  There was a time when the world’s greatest thinkers were Hermeticists — Pythagoras, Isaac Newton, Carl Jung, Giordano Bruno, Aleister Crowley, Israel Regardie, Dion Fortune, Franz Bardon, John Dee, William Butler Yeats, and many more.  And when you consider that Freemasonry is essentially a Hermetic organization,  and that 14 U.S. Presidents, plus Franklin, Mozart, Twain, and Churchill were all masons, you can see that Hermeticism is one of the most important spiritual philosophies in history.

Mainly though, we should care about Hermeticism because it the Unified Field Theory of spirituality.  Its formula for success in all things is,

“To Know, To Will, To Dare, To Keep Silent”

and it equates to the four ways of seeing, which are,

Mystic, Gnostic, Magical, and Scientific.

The individual who has achieved, reconciled and sublimated all four ways of seeing has attained the Holy Grail, the Philospher’s Stone, the coveted AZOTH.

In other words, Hermeticism is the original human potentiality movement.  If you are interested in learning more, consider becoming a hermit brother or sister of Cabal Fang — the world’s only Hermetic martial art — by joining our distance learning program.

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An without further ado, here is your WOD:

  • Dumbbells (2 sets of 15 + 1 set to failure of Lat Raises, Kung Fu Curls, Ripcords, Hindu Squats)
  • Grappling Conditioner #3 (3 x 5:00/1:00. For each 5:00 portion, squeeze medicine ball with max power Rear Naked Choke grip and while completing 30 Rear Lungnes, 30 Knees, and Squats until round ends. Rest 1:00 and repeat, changing grips with each exercise)