In the days before Noah, Hermes did found an Order of learned men,trained in the ancient rites of our Art. Skilled in prophesy, these menof the first Order of Hermes, our eldest forefathers, foresaw thecoming of the Great Deluge, which God did send to punish man forhis wickedness. Fearing for the loss of their knowledge and theirceremonies, they used their magic to build certain winding apartmentsbeneath the ground at a place called Syringes. On great stone pillarshidden in these secret vaults, they transcribed the mysteries of theirOrder in the sacred tongue of Hermes. Plato himself speaks of thesesecret halls in his
After the Flood
While his followers perished in these vaults during the flood, Hermeshimself was able to hide aboard the Ark in the shape of a raven. Thuswas Hermetic Magic able to survive the Flood. It was Hermes whohelped the sons and grandsons of Noah to rebuild and repopulate theearth. He scribed a great work called the Corpus Hermeticum, whichconsisted of forty-two texts in all. Fifteen of these books detailed theMagical Arts, while the rest were devoted to music, to medicine, tomathematics, and other worthy knowledges. The most important of these was the Ma'ar, the book of Truth, for Hermes was wise in therule of law.The sons of Noah divided the nations of the earth after the flood, andwith the help of Hermes did they build cities, for all the earth was of one speech, and all men open to the ways of magic. Soon did the sonsof Noah and their sons build a great tower in the city of Babel, whichthey would by magic raise unto Heaven, that they might might see thethrone of God. But God came down to see the tower they did build,and was displeased. He confounded their tongues, and scattered themacross the earth. Even did he close the minds of men to magic, thatthey would not work as one any longer.
Until this time, it is thought, all men had the Gift, and all could learnthe magic of Hermes. After the scattering of tongues, many could nolonger understand the mysteries, or were confused by them. It is likelythe birth of the exotic traditions began here, at Babel, called Babylonin the Greek.