While I have been studying Gnosticism for over three years now, I have recently started to get into Hermeticism. A lot of the concepts, from what I read, go along with Gnosticism quite well. I am currently reading “The Hermetica: The Last Wisdom of the Pharaohs”, translated by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy. This book is a collection of various Hermetic texts. Sort of an introduction to Hermeticism if you will (though I did read “The Kybalion” before this, a book that I will cover at another time). There are amazing passages in this book and I would like to share some. With this post, I am sharing the text titled “Man is a Marvel” which is about Man and his place among the divine line; God – Cosmos – Man. The authors of the book use the word “Atum” in place of GOD (Atum being one of the ancient Egyptian names for the Supreme One). They wanted to avoid using the word GOD due to the preconceptions that come with the word. Personally I prefer “The Father”. For this post, I will use “The Father” rather than “Atum” as that is how I read it.
Man is a Marvel
The Father is first,
The Cosmos is second,
And man is third.
The Father is One,
The Cosmos is One,
And so is man–
For like the Cosmos
He is a whole made up
Of different diverse parts.
The Maker made man
To govern with him,
And if man accepts this function fully,
He becomes a vehicle
Of order in the Cosmos
Man may know himself,
And so know the Cosmos,
By being aware
That he is an image of The Father
And of the Cosmos.
He differs from other living things
In that he possess Mind.
Through Mind he may commune
With the Cosmos, which is the second god–
And by thought he may come to Knowledge
Of The Father the One-God.
The human body encloses pure Mind,
As if within a walled garden,
Which shelters and secludes it,
So that it may live in peace.
Man has this two-fold nature–
In his body he is mortal,
And in his intelligence he is immortal.
He is exalted above heaven,
But is born a slave to Destiny.
He is bisexual,
As his Father is bisexual.
He is sleepless,
As his Father is sleepless.
Yet he is dominated by carnal desires,
And lost in forgetfulness.
Of all beings that have Soul,
Only man has a two-fold nature.
One part, called “The Image of The Father”,
Is single, undivided, spiritual and eternal.
The other part
Is made of the four material elements.
One comes from the Primal Mind.
It has the power of the Creator,
And is able to know The Father.
The other is put in man
By the revolution of the heavens.
Man is the most divine of all beings,
For amongst all living things,
The Father associates with him only–
Speaking to him in dreams at night,
Foretelling the future for him
In the flight of birds,
The bowels of beasts
And the whispering oak.
All other living things
Inhabit only one part of the Cosmos–
Fishes in water,
Animals on the earth,
Birds in the air.
Man penetrates all of these elements.
With his sense of sight,
He even grasps the heavens.
To speak without fear,
Human beings are above the gods of heaven,
Or at least their equal–
For the gods will never pass
Their celestial boundaries
And descend to Earth,
But a man may ascend to heaven,
And what is more,
He may do so without leaving the Earth,
So vast an expanse
Can his power encompass.
By The Father’s will,
Humankind is compacted,
Of both divinity and mortality.
He is more than merely mortal,
And greater than the purely immortal.
Man is a marvel,
Due honour and reverence.
He takes on the attributes of the gods,
As if he were one of their number.
He is familiar with the gods,
Because he knows he springs
From the same source.
He raises reverent eyes to heaven above,
And tends the Earth below.
He is blessed by being the intermediary.
He loves all below him,
And is loved by all above him.
Confident of his divinity,
He throws off his solely human nature.
He has access to all.
His keenness of thought
Descends to the depths of the seas.
Heaven is not too high
For the reach of his wisdom.
His quick wits penetrate the elements.
Air cannot blind his mental vision
With its thickest fog.
Dense earth cannot impede him.
Deep water cannot blur his gaze.
Man is all things.
Man is everywhere.
Man not only receives the Light of divine Life,
But gives it as well.
He not only ascends to God,
But even creates gods.
Just as The Father has willed
That the inner man
He created in his likeness,
So we on Earth create the gods
In our human image.
Is this not worthy of wonder?
There are then these three–
The Father, Cosmos, man.
The Cosmos is contained by The Father.
Man is contained by the Cosmos.
The Cosmos is the son of The Father.
Man is the son of the Cosmos,
And the grandson, so to speak, of The Father.
The Father does not ignore man,
But acknowledges him fully,
As he wishes to be fully acknowledged by man,
For this alone is man’s purpose and salvation–
The ascent to heaven
And the Knowledge of The Father.