Monday, April 20, 2009
Resources for Hermeticism
One of the things that I find compelling about traditional astrology and traditional astrological magic is the fact that they can be explained logically, that they have a coherent philosophy that supports them.
Contrast this to modern astrology. If you ask a modern astrologer, "How does astrology work?" You get one of two answers. Either they start waffling about sun spots, or magnetism or gravity or string theory or they say "synchronicity". Both of these answers are problematic. There is not the slightest bit of evidence that any scientifically detectable energy, ray or field has anything to do with astrology. We can be sure of this when we consider horary astrology, since how on earth rays or magnetism could be involved with the time of a question, I don't know!
I've actually had modern astrologers throw up their hands when asked this about horary. They acknowledge that horary is a type of astrology, but they don't know how to do it or how it works. The theoretical problems it causes for a mechanical or energetic causality, they'd rather not think about.
Synchronicity doesn't help either. Jung posited it as an "acausal connecting principle" i.e., literally a non-causal causal link, but more likely a non-physical/non-energetic causal link. Ok, so we have a non-connecting connection! Not much of an explanation, in fact, a deliberate refusal to explain on Jung's part, probably because he would have had to posit a spiritual connection, which would have been wholly unacceptable at the time.
While traditional astrologers and astrological magicians may not necessarily be able to articulate the philosophy that underlies their work, at least there is one! Hermetic philosophy gives a logical, coherent, and elegant explanation as to why astrology and magic operate. Understanding Hermetic philosophy gives practical assistance to your astrological and magical practice because it helps you think like our traditional predecessors and understand why they did what they did. It also opens up the possibility of astrology and magic as a spiritual path.
I recommend starting with my two newest videos:
History of Hermeticism
Hermetic Gnosis: Spiritual Hermeticism
These are just introductions, however, this is too deep a subject to be taught in a 6 and a 9 minute video!
Here are some additional articles on my website
Hermeticism: A Practical Path to Gnosis
Hermetic Election from the Discourse on the 8th and the 9th
For further reading I recommend Garth Fowden's Egyptian Hermes a very sympathetic secondary source on the history of Hermes Trismegistus and Hermeticism
I also recommend Hermetica: The Greek Corpus Hermeticum translated by Brian Copenhaver" which is an excellent translation of the philosophical Hermetica
Finally Renaissance Astrology is the sole source for a very important text of practical Hermetica, the complete English translation of the
Kyranides a key Hermetic text on the occult virtues and powers of plants, animals, birds and stones, with numerous Hermetic talismans
Your astrological and magical practice, not mention your mind and spirit, will be immeasurable enriched by an acquaintance with Hermetic philosophy and our illustrious patron, Hermes Trismegistus!