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The vison of Tehuti(Hermes) ONE day, Hermes, after reflecting on the origin of things, fell asleep.

A dull torpor took possession of his ody! ut in proportion as the latter gre" enum ed, his spirit ascended into space. Then an immense eing, of indeterminate form, seemed to call him y name. #$ho art thou%# said the terrified Hermes. #& am Osiris, the sovereign &ntelligence "ho is a le to unveil all things. $hat desirest thou%# #To ehold the source of eings, O divine Osiris, and to kno" 'od.# #Thou shalt e satisfied.# &mmediately Hermes felt himself plunged in a delicious light. &n its pellucid illo"s passed the ravishing forms of all eings. (uddenly, a terrifying encircling darkness descended upon him. Hermes "as in a humid chaos, filled "ith smoke and "ith a heavy, rum ling sound. Then a voice rose from the a yss, the cry of light. At once a )uick*leaping flame darted forth from the humid depths, reaching to the ethereal heights. Hermes ascended "ith it, and found himself again in the e+panse of space. Order egan to clear up chaos in the a yss! choruses of constellations spread a ove his head and the voice of light filled infinity. #,ost thou understand "hat thou hast seen%# said Osiris to Hermes, ound do"n in his dream and suspended et"een earth and sky. #No,# said Hermes. #Thou "ilt no" learn. Thou hast -ust seen "hat e+ists from all eternity. The light thou didst first see is the divine intelligence "hich contains all things in potentiality, enclosing the models of all eings. The darkness in "hich thou "ast after"ards plunged is the material "orld on "hich the men of earth live. .ut the fire thou didst ehold shooting forth from the depths, is the divine $ord. 'od is the /ather, the $ord is the son, and their union is 0ife.# #$hat marvellous sense has opened out to me%# asked Hermes. #& no longer see "ith the eyes of the ody, ut "ith those of the spirit. Ho" has that come to pass%# #1hild of dust,# replied Osiris, #it is ecause the $ord is in thee. That in thee "hich hears, sees, and acts is the $ord itself, the sacred fire, the creative utterance2# #(ince things are so,# said Hermes, #grant that & may see the light of the "orlds! the path of souls from "hich man comes and to "hich he returns.# #.e it done according to thy desire.# Hermes ecame heavier than a stone and fell through space like a meteorite. /inally he reached the summit of a mountain. &t "as night, the earth "as gloomy and deserted, and his lim s seemed as heavy as iron. #3aise thine eyes and look2# said the voice of Osiris. Then Hermes sa" a "onderful sight. The starry heavens, stretching through infinite space, enveloped him "ith seven luminous spheres. &n one glance, Hermes sa" the seven heavens stretching a ove his head, tier upon tier, like seven transparent and concentric glo es, the sidereal centre of "hich he no" occupied. The milky "ay formed the girdle of the last. &n each sphere there rolled a planet accompanied y a genius of different form, sign and light. $hilst Hermes, da44led y the sight, "as contemplating their "ide*spread efflorescence and ma-estic movements, the voice said to him5 #0ook, listen, and understand. Thou seest the seven spheres of all life. Through them is accomplished the fall and ascent of souls. The seven genii are the seven rays of the "ord*light. Each of them commands one sphere of the spirit, one phase of the life of souls. The one nearest to thee is the 'enius of the 6oon, "ith his dis)uieting smile and cro"n of silver sickle. He presides over irths and deaths, sets free souls from odies and dra"s them into his ray. A ove him, pale 6ercury points out the path to ascending or descending souls "ith his caduceus, "hich contains all kno"ledge. Higher still, shining 7enus holds the mirror of love, in "hich souls forget and recogni4e them in turn. A ove her, the 'enius of the (un raises the triumphal torch of eternal eauty. At a yet loftier height, 6ars randishes the s"ord of -ustice. Enthroned on the a4ure sphere, 8upiter holds the sceptre of supreme po"er, "hich is divine intelligence. At the oundaries of the "orld, eneath the signs of the 9odiac, (aturn ears the glo e of universal "isdom. : #& see,# said Hermes, #the seven regions "hich comprise the visi le and invisi le "orld! & see the seven rays of the "ord*light, of the one 'od "ho traverses them and governs them y these rays.

(till, O master, ho" does mankind -ourney through all these "orlds%# #,ost thou see,# said Osiris, #a luminous seed fall from the regions of the milky "ay into the seventh sphere% These are germs of souls. They live like faint vapors in the region of (aturn, gay and free from care, kno"ing not their o"n happiness. On falling from sphere to sphere, ho"ever, they put on increasingly heavier envelopes. &n each incarnation they ac)uire a ne" corporeal sense, in harmony "ith the surroundings in "hich they are living. Their vital energy increases, ut in proportion as they enter into denser odies they lose the memory of their celestial origin. Thus is effected the fall of souls "hich come from the divine ether. Ever more and more captivated y matter and into+icated y life, they fling themselves like a rain of fire, "ith )uiverings of voluptuous delight, through the regions of grief, love, and death, right into their earthly prison "here thou thyself lamentest, held do"n y the fiery centre of the earth, and "here divine life appears to thee nothing more than an empty dream.# #1an souls die%# asked Hermes. #;es,# replied the voice of Osiris, #many perish in the fatal descent. The soul is the daughter of heaven, and its -ourney is a test. &f it loses the memory of its origin, in its un ridled love of matter, the divine spark "hich "as in it and "hich might have ecome more rilliant than a star, returns to the ethereal region, a lifeless atom, and the soul disaggregates in the vorte+ of gross elements.# Hermes shuddered at these "ords, for a raging tempest enveloped him in a lack mist. The seven spheres disappeared eneath dense vapors. &n them he sa" human spectres uttering strange cries, carried off and torn y phantoms of monsters and animals, amidst nameless groans and lasphemies. #(uch is the destiny,# said Osiris, #of souls irremedia ly ase and evil. Their torture finishes only "ith their destruction, "hich includes the loss of all consciousness. The vapors are no" dispersing, the seven spheres reappear eneath the firmament. 0ook on this side. ,o you see this s"arm of souls trying to mount once more to the lunar regions% (ome are eaten ack to earth like eddies of irds eneath the might of the tempest. The rest "ith mighty "ings reach the upper sphere, "hich dra"s them "ith it as it rotates. Once they have come to this sphere, they recover their vision of divine things. This time, ho"ever, they are not content to reflect them in the dream of a po"erless happiness! they ecome impregnated there y "ith the lucidity of a grief* enlightened consciousness, the energy of a "ill ac)uired through struggle and strife. They ecome luminous, for they possess the divine in themselves and radiate it in their acts. (trengthen therefore thy soul, O Hermes2 calm thy darkened mind y contemplating these distant flights of souls "hich mount the seven spheres and are scattered a out therein like sheaves of sparks. Thou also canst follo" them, ut a strong "ill it needs to rise. 0ook ho" they s"arm and form into divine choruses. Each places itself eneath its favorite genius. The most eautiful d"ell in the solar region! the most po"erful rise to (aturn. (ome ascend to the /ather, po"ers themselves amidst po"ers. /or "here everything ends, everything eternally egins! and the seven spheres say together5 <$isdom2 0ove2 8ustice2 .eauty2 (plendor2 =no"ledge2 &mmortality2<# #This,# said the hierophant, #is "hat ancient Hermes sa" and "hat his successors have handed do"n to us. The "ords of the "ise are like the seven notes of the lyre "hich contains all music, along "ith the num ers and the la"s of the universe, The vision of Hermes resem les the starry heaven, "hose unfathoma le depths are stre"n "ith constellations. /or the child this is nothing more than a gold*studded vault, for the sage it is oundless space in "hich "orlds revolve, "ith their "onderful rhythms and cadences. The vision contains the eternal num ers, evoking signs and magic keys. The more thou learnest to contemplate and understand it, the farther thou shalt see its limits e+tend, for the same organic la" governs all "orlds.# The prophet of the temple commented on the sacred te+t. He e+plained that the doctrine of the "ord*light represents divinity in the static condition, in its perfect alance. He sho"ed its triple nature, "hich is at once intelligence, force, and matter! spirit, soul, and ody! light, "ord, and life. Essence, manifestation, and su stance are three terms "hich take each other for granted. Their union constitutes the divine and intellectual principle par e+cellence, the la" of the ternary unity "hich governs creation from a ove do"n"ards. Having thus led his disciple to the ideal centre of the universe, the generating principle of .eing, the master spread him a road in time and space in a multiple efflorescence. /or a second part of

the vision represents divinity in the dynamic condition, i.e., in active evolution! in other terms, the visi le and invisi le universe, the living heavens. The seven spheres attached to the seven planets sym olise seven principles, seven different states of matter and spirit, seven different "orlds "hich each man and each humanity are forced to pass through in their evolution across a solar system. The seven genii or the seven cosmogonic gods signify the superior, directing spirits of all spheres, the off spring themselves of inevita le evolution. To an initiate of old, therefore, each great god "as the sym ol and patron of legions of spirits "hich reproduced his type in a thousand varieties, and "hich, from their o"n sphere, could e+ercise their action over mankind and terrestrial things. The seven genii of the vision of Hermes are the seven ,evas of &ndia, the seven Amshapands of >ersia, the seven great Angels of 1hald?a, the seven (ephiroths of the =a ala, the seven Archangels of the 1hristian Apocalypse. The great septenary "hich enfolds the universe does not vi rate in the seven colors of the rain o" and the seven notes of the scale, only! it also manifests itself in the constitution of man, "hich is triple in essence, ut sevenfold in its evolution. #Thus,# said the hierophant in conclusion, #thou hast reached the very threshold of the great arcanum. The divine life has appeared to thee eneath the phantoms of reality. Hermes has unfolded to thee the invisi le heavens, the light of Osiris, the hidden 'od of the universe "ho reathes in millions of souls and animates there y the "andering glo es and "orking odies. &t is no" thine to direct thy path and choose the road leading to the pure spirit. Henceforth dost thou elong to those "ho have een rought ack from death to life. 3E6E6.E3 THAT THE3E A3E T$O 6A&N =E;( TO =NO$0E,'E. This is the first5 <The "ithout is like the "ithin of things! the small is like the large! there is only one la" and he "ho "orks is One. &n the divine economy, there is nothing either great or small.< And this is the second5 <6en are mortal gods and gods are immortal men.< Happy the man "ho understands these "ords, for he holds the key to all things. 3emem er that the la" of mystery veils the great truth. Total kno"ledge can e revealed only to our rethren "ho have gone through the same trials as ourselves. Truth must e measured according to intelligence! it must e veiled from the fee le, "hom it "ould madden, and concealed from the "icked, "ho are capa le of sei4ing only its fragments, "hich they "ould turn into "eapons of destruction. =eep it in thy heart and let it speak through thy "ork. =no"ledge "ill e thy might, faith thy s"ord, and silence thy armor that cannot e roken.# The revelations of the prophet of Amon*3@, "hich opened out to the ne" initiate such vast hori4ons over himself and over the universe, dou tless produced a profound impression, "hen uttered from the o servatory of a The an temple, in the clear calm of an Egyptian night. The pylons, the "hite roofs, and terraces of the temples lay asleep at his feet et"een the dark clusters of nopals and tamarind trees. A"ay in the distance "ere large monolithic shrines, colossal statues of the gods, seated like incorrupti le -udges on their silent lake. Three pyramids, geometrical figures of the tetragram and of the sacred septenary, could e dimly seen on the hori4on, their triangles clearly outlined in the light grey air. The unfathoma le firmament "as studded "ith stars. $ith "hat a strange ga4e he looked at those constellations "hich "ere depicted to him as future d"ellings2 $hen finally the gold*tipped ar)ue of the moon rose a ove the dark mirror of the Nile "hich died a"ay on the hori4on, like a long luish serpent, the neophyte elieved he sa" the ar)ue of &sis floating over the river of souls "hich it carries off to"ards the sun of Osiris. He remem ered the .ook of the ,ead, and the meaning of all the sym ols "as no" unveiled to his mind after "hat he had seen and learned! he might elieve himself to e in the crepuscular kingdom of the Amenti, the mysterious interregnum et"een the earthly and the heavenly life, "here the departed, "ho are at first "ithout eyes and po"er of utterance, y degrees regain sight and voice. He, too, "as a out to undertake the great -ourney, the -ourney of the infinite, through "orlds and e+istences. Hermes had already a solved him and -udged him to e "orthy. He had given him the e+planation of the great enigma #One only soul, the great soul of the All, y dividing itself out, has given irth to all the souls that struggle throughout the universe.# Armed "ith the mighty secret, he entered the ar)ue of &sis. 3ising aloft into the ether, it floated in the interstellar regions. The road rays of a far*spreading da"n "ere already piercing the a4ure veils of the celestial hori4ons, and the choir of the glorious spirits, the Akhimou*(ekou, "ho have attained to eternal repose, "as chanting5 #3ise, 3@ Hermakouti, sun of spirits2 Those in thy ar)ue are in e+altation. They raise e+clamations in the ar)ue of millions

of years. The great divine cycle overflo"s "ith -oy "hen glorifying the mighty sacred ar)ue. 3e-oicing is taking place in the mysterious chapel. 3ise, Ammon*3@ Hermakouti, thou self* creating sun2# And the initiate replied proudly5 #& have attained the country of truth and -ustification. & rise from the dead as a living god, and shine forth in the choir of the gods "ho d"ell in heaven, for & elong to their race.# (uch audacious thoughts and hopes might haunt the spirit of the adept during the night follo"ing the mystic ceremony of resurrection. The follo"ing morning, in the avenues of the temple, eneath the linding light, that night seemed to him no more than a dream . . . though ho" impossi le to forget . . . that first voyage into the intangi le and invisi le2 Once again he read the inscription on the statue of &sis5 #6y veil no mortal hand hath raised.# All the same a corner of the veil "as raised, ut only to fall ack again, and he "oke up on the earth of tom s. Ah, ho" far he "as from the goal he had dreamed of2 /or the voyage on the ar)ue of millions of years is a long one2 .ut at least he had caught a faint glimpse of his final destination. Even though his vision of the other "orld "ere only a dream, a childish outline of his imagination, still o scured y the mists of earth, could he dou t that other consciousness he had felt eing orn in him, that mysterious dou le, that celestial ego "hich had appeared to him in his astral eauty like a living form and spoken to him in his sleep% $as this a sister*soul, "as it his genius, or only a reflection of his inmost spirit, a vision of his future eing dimly foreshado"ed% A "onder and a mystery2 (urely it "as a reality, and if that soul "as only his o"n, it "as the true one. $hat "ould he not do to recover it% $ere he to live millions of years he "ould never forget that divine hour in "hich he had seen his other self, so pure and radiant. A The initiation "as at an end, and the adept consecrated as priest of Osiris. &f he "as an Egyptian, he remained attached to the temple! if a foreigner, he "as permitted, from time to time, to return to his o"n country, therein to esta lish the "orship of &sis or to accomplish a mission. .efore leaving, ho"ever, he s"ore a formida le oath that he "ould maintain a solute silence regarding the secrets of the temple. Never "ould he etray to a single person "hat he had seen or heard, never "ould he reveal the doctrine of Osiris e+cept under the triple veil of the mythological sym ols or of the mysteries. $ere he to violate this oath, sudden death "ould come to him, sooner or later, ho"ever far a"ay he might e. (ilence, ho"ever, had ecome the uckler of his might. On returning to the shores of &onia, to the tur ulent to"n in "hich he formerly lived, amidst that multitude of men, a prey to mad passions, "ho e+ist like fools in their ignorance of themselves, his thoughts often fle" ack to Egypt and the pyramids to the temple of Amon*3@. Then the dream of the crypt came ack to memory. And -ust as the lotus, in that distant land, spreads out its petals on the "aves of the Nile, so this "hite vision floated a ove the slimy, tur ulent stream of this life. At chosen hours, he "ould hear its voice, and it "as the voice of light. Arousing throughout his eing the strains of an inner music, it said to him5 #The soul is a veiled light. $hen neglected, it flickers and dies out, ut "hen it is fed "ith the holy oil of love, it shines forth like an immortal lamp.# /ootnotes B The 7ision of Hermes is found at the eginning of the ooks of Hermes Trismegistus, under the name of >oimandres. The ancient Egyptian tradition has come do"n to us only in a slightly changed Ale+andrian form. &t has een attempted here to constitute this important fragment of Hermetic doctrine in the sense of the lofty initiation and esoteric synthesis it represents. : &t is unnecessary to state that these gods ore other names in the Egyptian tongue. The seven cosmogonic gods, ho"ever, correspond "ith one another in all mythologies, in meaning and attri utes. They have their common root in the ancient esoteric tradition. As the "estern tradition has adopted the 0atin names, "e keep them for greater clearness. A &n the Egyptian teachings, man "as considered in this life to have consciousness only of the animal and the rational soul, called hati and ai. The higher part of his eing, the spiritual soul and the divine eing, chey i and kou, e+ist in him as unconscious.