Search Results for Hermes
Hermes Trismegistos (“Hermes the Thrice Great” or “Thrice Blessed”) is the supposed author of the Hermetica, an apparently divinely inspired ancient text concerned with cosmology and the dynamics of the spiritual life.
Scholars assume that the name Hermes Trismegistos comes from a combination of the Greek deity Hermes and the Egyptian deity Thoth.
The content of the Hermetica could be quite fantastical, approaching something we’d see on TV or film sci-fi and fantasy epics.
The Hermetica, is a category of papyri containing spells and initiatory induction procedures. In the dialogue called the Asclepius (after the Greek god of healing) the art of imprisoning the souls of demons or of angels in statues with the help of herbs, gems and odors, is described, such that the statue could speak and engage in prophecy. In other papyri, there are recipes for constructing such images and animating them, such as when images are to be fashioned hollow so as to enclose a magic name inscribed on gold leaf.¹
Towards the end of the Classical period the name also referred to the alleged author of several esoteric treatises on alchemy. These were jealously guarded over the centuries, coming to light in the 1600′s as the study of alchemy became fashionable in some European circles.
In one treatise attributed to Trismegistos, the author speaks of God’s inherent bisexuality and of an evil future time when
No one will gaze into heaven. And the pious man will be counted as insane, and the impious man will be honored as wise.²
However, Hermes Trismegistos remains a complicated and somewhat mysterious figure. A 10th century Byzantine encyclopedia called the Souda refers to him as an exemplar of the Christian trinity. And New Age groups have their own esoteric take on this enigmatic character.
² Willis Barnstone, ed. The Other Bible, p. 578.
- Hermes (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- Street Art – Hermes (daydreamtourist.com)
- History of Alchemy (bchq33.wordpress.com)
- Thoth, Hermes & the Word (hiddenlighthouse.wordpress.com)
- Hermes (freshfolk.wordpress.com)
- Mormonism as Hermetic Christianity (part 2) (church-discipline.blogspot.com)
In Greek mythology Hermes is the son of Zeus and Maia (the daughter of Atlas). In his youth Hermes is regarded as a prankster. In Homer‘s Odyssey he’s depicted as a mature messenger of the gods and conductor of souls to Hades. But he has many other functions, outlined in different sources.
In the Homeric Hymn to Hermes he’s described as the protector or travelers, harlots, old women, thieves, and foot runners. The Homeric hymns are called as such because they follow the same form and pattern as Homer’s work. Ancient scholars assumed they were Homer’s work. But today scholars question not only their authorship but also the authorship of works attributed to Homer.
Scholars are also uncertain as to Hermes’ origin. His cult appears in the remote regions of Greece, where’s he’s chiefly regarded as a nature God, assisting the simple farmers and shepherds of the region. But where he came from remains a mystery. Some say he is indigenous to the area, and worshipped since Neolithic times. Others maintain that he came to Greece from Asia, possibly through Cyprus or Cilicia.
The Romans, as they often did, adapted the Greek Hermes into the god Mercury. The Roman Mercury shared many characteristics with Hermes. So today, when we say someone has a “mercurial” personality, this can ultimately be traced back to Hermes, the messenger who roamed among different realms and, as such, rarely sat still.
C. G. Jung was particularly interested in Hermes, seeing him as a symbolic link among various aspects of consciousness and unconsciousness.
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Demeter was an influential mother and corn goddess with temples in virtually every ancient Greek city. She had a major temple at the town of Eleusis (about 10 miles from Athens). Her daughter by Zeus is Persephone or Kore (“the Girl”), who also personifies corn. Together, Demeter and Persephone are deities of agriculture and growth.
Demeter is usually depicted holding sheaves of corn. The oldest myth about Demeter is found in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, which links her to the Eleusinian Mysteries. In this hymn Persephone/Kore is abducted by Hades to the underworld.
As the corn crop suffers in her daughter’s absence, Demeter searches for Persephone/Kore until Zeus decrees that she must spend one part of the year with Demeter and another part with Hades.
Hades…gave Persephone a pomegranate seed to eat, and because she had tasted food in the Underworld she was compelled to spend a third part of every year there, returning to earth in spring.¹
This is often cited as an example of how storytellers mythologize the natural cycles of seed-time, vegetation, harvest and the subsequent storage in underground containers. Demeter is also portrayed as sorrowful because of Persephone/Kore’s sad fate.
In Italy Demeter is often identified with Ceres.
¹ Nicholas J. Richardson, Demeter in The Oxford Classical Dictionary © Oxford University Press 1996, 2000.
- Eleusinian Mysteries (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- Mythology: Demeter and Dionysus (danitorres.typepad.com)
Eurydice is a female figure in Greek myth. Among variants, the best known Eurydice in Greek myth is a tree or water nymph and wife of Orpheus. When the god Aristaeus tried to rape her, she fled to escape his advances. While fleeing she was bitten by a poisonous snake, died within hours and descended to Hades.
Her husband Orpheus later journeyed to Hades hoping to rescue her. Orpheus used the musical beauty of his lyre to wrest Eurydice from the underworld’s Lord of Death, the giant three-headed dog Cerberus. But like Lot’s wife, and against a dire warning to not look behind while escaping, Orpheus cast a glance backward, losing Eurydice forever.
The name Eurydice first appears on pottery in the 4th century BCE.¹ Although possibly orally present for centuries, they myth of Orpheus’ descent into the underworld to rescue Eurydice was not fully written down until the first century BCE, when Roman poets immortalized the tale through written verse.²
Plato criticizes Orpheus in his Symposium for trying to rescue Eurydice through music instead of sheer courage.³
In other variants of the myth Orpheus attempts to save Eurydice from Persephone. The scene of Orpheus attempting to rescue Eurydice is depicted in Neoclassical art, most notably by Nicolas Poussin.
Eurydice is also known as one of the daughters of Apollo.
¹ Richard L. Hunter “Eurydice” The Oxford Classical Dictionary, © Oxford University Press 1996, 2000.
² Sarah Hitch “Orpheus and Eurydice” The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome. Ed. Michael Gagarin. © Oxford University Press 2010. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome: (e-reference edition). Oxford University Press. Toronto Public Library. 22 May 2012 http://www.oxford-greecerome.com/entry?entry=t294.e907
On the Web:
- Poussin, Nicolas: Landscape with Orpheus and Eurydice » http://artchive.com/artchive/P/poussin/orpheus_and_eurydice.jpg.html
- City Opera Revives Telemann (and Itself) with Orpheus (wqxr.org)
- City Opera’s Unabashed Underworld (nytimes.com)
- Seattle Opera’s ‘Orpheus’ is a love story for all time (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Review: Stagecraft dominates ‘Orpheus and Eurydice’ (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Rilke’s “Orpheus. Eurydice. Hermes” In 3-D (Created by Jeremy Gillam) (disquietreservations.blogspot.com)
- 3-Sheet, Lobby Banners Printed for Seattle Opera (washingtongraphics.wordpress.com)
Gemini (May 21-June 22) is the third and a spring sign of the zodiac, symbolized by the cosmic twins and associated with the planetary ruler of Mercury. Its element is air.
Astrologers claim that the twins archetype symbolizes a creative, dynamic union between complementary forces. If this archetypal pattern becomes negative and unbalanced (e.g. Cain and Abel, Daedelus-Icarus), the high-flying Gemini is susceptible to crashing.
Gemini has also been associated with the mythical dyads of Castor and Pollux (Greece), Romulus and Remus (Rome), and Gilgamesh and Enkidu (Babylonia), along with the philosophical concepts of Yin and Yang (China).
From its planetary ruler Mercury, Gemini is commonly said to be speedy, inspired, curious and perhaps unpredictable.
Prominent Gemini are Marilyn Monroe, Bob Hope, Clint Eastwood, Paul McCartney, Angelina Jolie, and former director of the CIA and then U.S. President George H. W. Bush.¹
In 1965-1966, a series of manned orbiting USA spacecraft were called Gemini.
The idea of Gemini has appeared in pop culture, most notably in music. The Moody Blues, in their 1981 comeback album, Long Distance Voyager, penned a top 20 hit called “Gemini Dream.” David Bowie, in his 2002 album Heathen recorded Norman Carl Odam’s song, “I took a trip on a Gemini Spaceship.” And the Japanese pop band Alice Nine released a studio album called Gemini in 2011.
In Canada, the annual awards for excellence in English language TV are called the Gemini Awards.
¹ For more, see http://www.vegaattractions.com/celebrity/gem.html
- Beauty For Your Sign: Gemini (May 21 – June 21) (bellasugar.com)
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Homer is an Ancient Greek poet (Homeros) of uncertain identity.
He or she was believed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to have authored the classic epics of the Odyssey and Illiad around the 8th-7th centuries BCE, the former epic likely predating the latter. Today, most people will tell you that Homer is the outstanding author of the Odyssey and Illiad but, in reality, this authorship isn’t solidly established.
Not unlike the uncertainty concerning the originality and authorship of some of the works of Shakespeare, Homer probably borrowed from existing mythological tales which were transmitted through oral tradition. And with a particular poetic genius, he or she depicted the enduring characters of the Olympic pantheon.
Contemporary scholars say that the two Homeric classics may have been authored by several persons.
The ancient Greeks saw Homer as an impoverished, blind minstrel. And a contemporary minority view suggests that Homer was a woman. Regardless of the poet’s gender, his or her lasting impact on Western culture is undeniable.
The 33 Homeric Hymns, likely written after the two epics, are no longer attributed to Homer.
In more recent times, a Homeric strain is arguably discernible in the works of the Canadian poet and musician Leonard Cohen, who took up residence in Greece during his formative years.
- Illiad (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- What did Homer do that was important the ancient greek civilization (wiki.answers.com)
- Hermes (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- How are Homer’s ‘The Odyssey’ and L Frank Baum’s ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ alike (wiki.answers.com)
- Summary of reaction paper of Odyssey (wiki.answers.com)
- Who wrote the Iliad (wiki.answers.com)
- Book Discussion: The Odyssey by Homer (alleganylibrarycollections.wordpress.com)
- Sounds Like Epic Bull to Me … (rogueclassicism.com)
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Hades is the ancient Greek lord of the underworld. Also known as Pluton from the 5th-century BCE. Like the Hebraic sheol, the abode of Hades is an afterlife place of gloom and restlessness but not as terrible as the Christian idea of hell, which is more closely akin to Tartarus, a place even deeper and more dreadful than Hades.
The celebrated mythographer Karl Kerényi suggests that Hades had a dual identity of life (as vitality) and death (as afterlife) and that this paradox was apparently known to those initiated into the Greek mystery cults.
The philosopher Heraclitus, unifying opposites, declared that Hades and Dionysus, the very essence of indestructible life zoë, are the same god. Amongst other evidence Karl Kerenyi notes that the grieving goddess Demeter refused to drink wine, which is the gift of Dionysus, after Persephone’s abduction, because of this association, and suggests that Hades may in fact have been a ‘cover name’ for the underworld Dionysus. Furthermore he suggests that this dual identity may have been familiar to those who came into contact with the Mysteries (Kerenyi 1976, p. 240). One of the epithets of Dionysus was “Chthonios”, meaning “the subterranean” (Kerenyi 1976, p. 83).¹
This kind of Jungian “union of opposites” thinking has become popular among some New Age, Zen and NeoTaoist groups today. The polar opposites of life and death, love and hate, good and evil, and so on, are said to more correctly be “complementaries.” And an awareness of their essential interconnectedness apparently leads to greater self knowledge.
Opposed to this view, each in their own way, are the orthodox versions of the “religions of the book,” as they are often called—namely Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. These three world religions share the belief that God is completely good and that evil is a personal rejection of that goodness. As such, the religions of the book don’t advocate some kind of mixing of good and evil as a pathway toward ultimate truth and goodness.
These three religions do differ, however, on the details concerning goodness and how to obtain it in this world and the next.
- Dionysus, Hades and Jesus: Marriage in Death to Lords of the Underworld (holyblasphemy.net)
- What deal does Hades make with the gods regarding Persephone (wiki.answers.com)
- Persephone the Spring Goddess (yuenxdioses.wordpress.com)
- What Greek god or goddess is associated with a pomegranates (wiki.answers.com)
- Hades Mythology Project (freshfolk.wordpress.com)
- The Magic of Fall: Persephone’s Journey (livingselfcare.wordpress.com)
- Dionysus (freshfolk.wordpress.com)
- Hades Winner! (abookwormshaven.com)
Mercury is the closest planet to the sun in our solar system.
Until recently, our knowledge of Mercury was based mostly on three flybys made by the American probe, Mariner 10¹ in 1974-75.
Another American probe, however, Messenger², did three flybys past the planet in 2008 and 2009, and is scheduled to leave the Sun’s orbit and enter Mercury’s in 2011:
One year from today, March 18, 2010 — starting at 12:45 a.m. UTC — MESSENGER will transition from orbiting the Sun to being the first spacecraft ever to orbit the planet Mercury (Source: NASA).
The planet is believed to have a dense iron core. Mercury is also the name of an element, a silver-white metal and the only metal that takes liquid form at room temperature.
This unique quality of the element mercury attracted medieval alchemists.
In Roman mythology Mercury is the god of merchants and traders and also a swift messenger somewhat akin to the Greek Hermes. From it’s mythological meaning, Merriam-Websters Dictionary notes these psychological meanings:
2 having qualities of eloquence, ingenuity, or thievishness attributed to the god Mercury or to the influence of the planet Mercury
3 characterized by rapid and unpredictable changeableness of mood <a mercurial temper>
For depth psychologists like C. G. Jung, Hermes’ well-known mythic role as a spiritual escort to the afterlife for the recently dead (called a psychopomp) is translated into meaning that he’s also a vitally symbolic bridge between the archetypes of the collective unconscious and consciousness.³
Search Think Free » Alchemy, Gemini, General Theory of Relativity, Virgo
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- Earth and Moon from Mercury (openparachute.wordpress.com)
- Mercury’s comet-like appearance spotted by satellites looking at the Sun (sciencedaily.com)
- Mercury’s comet-like appearance spotted by satellites looking at the Sun (physorg.com)
- How To Handle Your Relationship When Mercury Goes Retrograde (thefrisky.com)
- The View From Mercury [Starts With A Bang] (scienceblogs.com)
- Mercury’s Comet-Like Tail Spotted by Amateur Astronomer (space.com)
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The protagonist Odysseus must face terrible perils on his return home from the Trojan wars. Gods and goddesses, especially Athena, frequently provide otherworldly assistance. The Greek pantheon is depicted as residing at Mount Olympus, a godly abode.
On his return, and after numerous near-death adventures with frightening and bewitching creatures such as the Cyclops and the sirens,¹ Odysseus outwits a slothful pack of suitors who had considered him dead while pestering Penelope, his ever-faithful wife.
Odysseus ends up killing them all with the help of his son Telemachus.
¹ The illustration (right) shows Odysseus strapped to the mast of his ship, as he sails past the dangerous bird-women called the sirens. He’d instructed his crew to bind him tight so that he would not be enticed by the sirens’ irresistible song. For once a sailor gets too close to the sirens, there’s no return and death is assured.
Search Think Free » Hermes, Hesiod
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Also known as metempsychosis and transmigration, reincarnation is a manmade theory based on beliefs found in different philosophical systems and religions, including ancient Greek, Egyptian, Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Jain, African and New Age perspectives.
Reincarnation usually involves ideas of karma and grace. It’s believed that after the death of the physical body, the soul (or in some schools, temporary personality attributes) returns for another birth.
In most traditions the self is on an evolutionary path from unconsciousness to consciousness–that is, from lower to higher, or gross to subtle forms of consciousness.
In some branches of contemplative Hinduism, the soul is said to begin in the mineral world and then move upward to the vegetable and animal kingdoms. Eventually it takes birth as a human being. After learning about and practicing good ethics from innumerable human incarnations, the soul may reincarnate in astral and heavenly realms before reaching ultimate liberation, awareness and bliss.
But bad ethical choices send the evolutionary process into reverse. If a human being abuses their freedom, they may reincarnate backwards into the animal kingdom or possibly further down into one of various temporary hells.
According to popular wisdom it’s often said that God provides perfect punishments and rewards for one’s deeds. So generally speaking, if one makes good ethical choices in an embodied life, one gains merit and reincarnates into a more auspicious life the next time around.
However, if one makes bad ethical choices, one returns to a less auspicious life. Again, the alleged purpose of reincarnation is to instruct the soul, preparing it for an ultimately perfect, eternal existence. The exact nature of this perfection is described differently among various schools of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Taoism.
Once complete liberation is achieved, the soul (or temporary personality attributes) no longer returns to a body, gross or subtle. This idea is expressed in an old Taoist tale, paraphrased as follows:
A man had led a dissolute life and reincarnates as a horse. After a few years the horse grows weary of being whipped by his masters, refuses to eat and dies. He then returns as a dog. Despising this incarnation the dog bites his master’s leg who has him destroyed. He returns as a snake. By now he’s finally learned his lesson. One must play out the hand one is dealt, patiently seeing it through to learn how to be virtuous. As a reformed soul, the snake avoids doing harm to other animals by eating berries and tries to keep itself out of danger. But one day the snake mistakenly dies under the wheel of a cart. Pleading his case before the King of Purgatory, he finds himself reborn a man—a reward for his good intentions (Raymond Van Over, ed. Taoist Tales, New York: Meridian Classic, 1973, pp. 52-53).
According to this view, suicide is like ‘skipping school’ (in the cosmic sense) and causes regression to a less desirable birth.
But not all believers in reincarnation would take this attitude. Some believe that the very same kind of life situation would arise again, as if the suicide is forced to repeat the same cosmic classroom he or she didn’t pass the first time around.
Meanwhile some New Age thinkers say that every life is consciously chosen prior to birth.
In most Asian religions God’s grace can mitigate or even erase the effects of bad karma, a fact often overlooked in specious critiques of reincarnation.
African pre-colonial tribal beliefs about reincarnation differ from Asian variants. African ancestors are believed to reincarnate into one or several descendents to give a particular family more power. Somewhat similar to the Asian idea, however, the African Ibo believe that one chooses between two bundles before birth – one bundle holds auspicious fortune, the other inauspicious. While the spirit tries its best to choose a favorable incarnation, a formerly evil person undergoes a difficult incarnation as a human or animal.
In contrast to the belief in reincarnation, the Old Testament says that evil actions are repaid with evil, but not through reincarnation. Evil begets evil through one’s offspring:
The Lord…a God merciful and gracious…forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet by no means clearing the guilty, but visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children and the children’s children, to the third and fourth generation (Exodus 34:7).
For when they were not yet born, nor had done any good or evil…not of works, but of Him that calleth, it was said to her: The elder shall serve the younger.
The Christian New Testament view of the body and its relation to the afterlife is expressed in I Corinthians 15; 51-52; 2 Corinthians 5:1; I Thessalonians 4:14; John 3: 4-7.
Some suggest that the Catholic notion of purgatory was created as a Christian counterpart to the temporary process of punishment and purification as found in non-Christian theories of reincarnation.
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