Hermes Trismegistus a Mother Sauce for Cooking Up a Myriad of Cultic Entities
If one of these cultic entities fits the criteria posed by Robert J Lifton or the LGAT (Large Groups Awarness Trainings checklist, then its no longer a cultic neutral, non mainsteam belief system, but a CULT.
Another suggestion for continuing education.
Read at least the first 4 chapters of Frances Yates book Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition and then make certain pay attention to the last chapter.
If you take time out to do this (you can request this book on loan from your library if it isnt in the stacks) you will have multiple shocks of the familiar. Not because Hermetic ideas are magical or true, but because this is one belief system among many that has had a very long presence in Western culture, one that has influenced literature, art, down to the present day, but that most of us do not study in any objective manner or see as having its own history, as one set of beliefs among many.
First, anyone struggling free from a cult based on Western esotericism that calls itself or its teacher unique, may find it helpful to learn that this material is really old hat and that the teacher was merely adding his or her own bells and whistles, claiming sole ownership.
Two, much of the Hermetic material resembles material found in later Sufi cosmologies. There was a staggering amount of cultural exchange between Hellenistic Greeks and Romans and the peoples in areas along the Silk Route (Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, South Pakistan) and the Incense Route (Alexandria, the Nile, East Africa, Arabia Felix (now known as Yemen and Trucial Oman) and the monsoon routes between those places and the Deccan coast in Western India.
The later Sufis could easily have incorporated the same material, that, further West, was written down in Greek and attributed to Hermes Trismagistus. Astrology began in ancient Sumeria and continued in Babylonia (Syria/Iraq, Kurdistan, Turkey)
Anyone trying to recover from a screwed up teacher in Sufism who claims your infidelity will leave you stranded in some astral limbo is threatening you with stuff from Hermes Trismegistus--or from whoever the sources were that the Greeks and Near Easterners incoporated into their Hellenistic age of anxiety gnostic materials.
That stuff is man made by anxious or greedy persons. It is not
from G-d, the Merciful, the Just, the Compassionate.
This hermetic belief system is rather like what French chefs in classic cuisine call a 'mother sauce' or a grande sauce'. There are only 5 mother sauces but from those five, hundreds of variations can be created.
The Five "Mother" SaucesA sauce is the crowning glory of any dish. From the basic "five mother" sauces,
there are literally hundreds of variations of sauce that are used to dress, ...
lynnescountrykitchen.net/sauc/mothersauces.html - 12k - Cached - Similar pages
The Five Mother SaucesAs long as chefs continue create amazing dishes, amazing sauces will be born.
Although there is an endless aray of sauces, there are only five "Mother" sauces. ...
luvintkandtj.hubpages.com/hub/The-Five-Mother-Sauces - 47k - Cached - Similar pages
A mother sauce is one in which adding just a few ingredients here and there will yield a multitude of different sauces, but all with one of the mother sauces as its foundation.
Read those first four chapters of Yates book and you will find an unknowledged 'mother sauce' that comprises roots of the Western intellectual cuisine.
Anyone who starts out using bits of Hermeticism is using stuff thats part of the deep operating system of the Western mind. Modern science and scholarly text analysis have found Hermeticism to operate from false premises. In the Renaissance, Hermeticism was mainstream and the cultural cutting edge.
But after Isaac Casuabon and Isaac Newton, Hermeticism was relegated by the mainstream and the intelligentsia to the cultic milieu. Yet...it maintained its hold on the imagination.
Casanova, Cagliostro (18th Century), Eliphas Levi, Madame Blavatsky, (19th Century), Rene Guenon, Crowley, Gurdjieff, Rudolf Steiner (Anthroposophy), L Ron Hubbard continue to use versions of it. (20th Century)
The great hazard in the 20th century is that many unethical persons were using this culturally potent Hermetic symbolism and combining it with fiendishly efficient modern social technologies (Large Group Awareness Trainings) combined with much more effective methods of trance induction (use of stories as narrative) than even the old hermeticists were aware of.
In popular culture you have it continues to shape the unconscious imaginatin and emotions, despite being relegated to t
If you read Yates book or at least its first 4 chapters and the last chapter, you will see that many new age types and authors are getting rich creating rehashes of the same old source material.
And you gotta read this yourself. Much of the material about this book online is written by people who subjectively believe this stuff, are inmates of the belief system, and are not capable of writing about it in objective terms as a belief system.
The rationalist Greeks were the ones who taught us in the West how to maintain a 'critical' stance--the ablity to stand outside whatever is being examined or discussed or debated--a stance that is adult, and has energy and pleasures of its own.
Yates gives summaries of four of the Hermetic treatises translated by Ficino in the mid fifteenth century, at the command of Cosimo d'Medici. It was assumed that the Hermetic texts were more ancient than Plato and contained the priscine/primordial wisdom, held by the ancient Egyptians, taught to the Greeks. To Ficino and his successors these texts elicited both awe and hope. Some of this material had come through to Europe during the Middle Ages, but was considered evil and unholy.
Ficino came away with a vision of harmonizing the human mind with the entire cosmos and that if one followed the Hermetic hope of 'As above, so below, all is one' a person could turn their own minds into a mirror of the cosmos, magically empower his personalty and be able to act in a way to manipulate matter.
To Ficino and the Renaissance Hermeticists and those inspired by them, these Hermetic texts had the psychological and emotional impact of 1) finding X rays and detonating Uranium 235, 2) A Unified Field Cosmology that seemed to pull everything together and 3) Landing on the Moon/Finding a New World and FINDING THE GREAT HIDDEN SECRET
---all this in the form of texts.
Yates gives us the material from four of the Hermetic texts translated by Ficino, to convey the sense of utter wonder and stunned hope he and others felt.
She waits until the final chapter to give us the full account of how Isaac Casubon, a great scholar of Hebrew, Greek, Latin and French, demonstrated that the Hermetic texts did not predate Christianity at all, but were instead composed in a style of Greek that dated them as written during the Second Century BCE, right at the time Christianity already was inn existent, in many varieties of Christianity, alongside very many forms of gnostic belief systems. Casubon showed that these Hermetic texts were not sources of primordial wisdom but were productions of the late Roman period, an age of anxiety, and that these texts incorporated many of the irrational Hellenistic ideas described by Dodds as religionized science and religionized philosophy that people sought when retreating from the high point of rationalism and the point at which the Greeks had almost created experimental scientific method and mathematics. The other tip off is the extent to which the Hermetic texts teem with astrological material and even contain a treatise (Asceplepiades) describing how to draw down divine/astral influences into talismans or statues.
As I read the description of how to divinise statues and other inanimate objects, I was reminded of descriptions of how to create Tibetan stupas.
This isnt what the Buddha taught. Its shamanism with extra bells and whistles.