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Hecate Soteira and Hermes Trismegistus

Introduction  

The Goddess Hecate and the God Hermes are a well-known pairing as most people know. Both are psychopomps and worshipped at the new moon. Dogs are sacred to both and they share two epithets; Chthonia where they are invoked together in curse tablets, and Propylaia, as their statues guard gates (D’ Este & Rankine, 2009). They both feature in Persephone’s abduction, and according to Crowfoot (2005), they have a child together- Muse-Man (although Crowfoot (2005) is the only source for this).

I have found that there is one very distinctive difference between the two, and that is the speed at which they work. Hecate is about deep slow work. Anything she does takes time. With her, things can take years to manifest. Conversely, Hermes deals with things very quickly. He can make things manifest in days, or even hours or minutes! For him, a week is a long time.


In this article, I’m going a little deeper and into two epithets that for me are strongly linked: Hecate Soteira and Hermes Trismegistus. Because most people might already know about Hecate Soteira, I will focus upon Hermes Trismegistus.

 

About Hermes Trismegistus

Hermes Trismegistus originates with the merging of Hermes and the God Thoth (the Egyptian equivalent of Hermes) when the Greeks brought Hermes to Egypt after the reign of Alexander the Great (331 BC). Hermes Trismegistus is known as the Thrice Great One, the Father of Alchemy, and has supposedly written a lot of magical and scientific texts, which include the Corpus Hermetica, the Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus, and The Kybalion by the Three Initiates. Not much is known about Hermes Trismegistus. Over the years, people have surmised who he really is, and when he lived, and there are currently 7 different theories (Lachman, 2011). It is also unknown exactly how many books he has written, it could be anything between 42- 20,000! The material in the Hermetic texts include a combination of scientific and spiritual/magical principles that were not necessarily labelled as one or the other. They provide guidance and various methods on how a devotee of Hermes Trismegistus (a Hermeticist) should live their life. He marries magic, science and alchemy and brings them together as a “third path” (Lachman, 2011) to the point where they are almost synonymous.

 

Working with Hermes Trismegistus

Hermes Trismegistus is a bit more long-term than Hermes. While Hermes can be used to ask for swift communication and mundane matters, Hermes Trismegistus is a bit more esoteric than that. He goes beyond earthly desires. Instead, he helps direct a person to their true calling. His realm therefore expands into the spiritual, and this is where he and Hecate (Soteira) begin to merge. His symbols are geometrical shapes, alchemical symbols, numbers and planets.














Based on my experiences of the symbols of Hermes Trismegistus, I drew a sketch in honour of him. The overlapping triangles harken to his Egyptian past. The Golden Spiral and Π indicate his connection with maths. I’ve added the Gemini constellation because this horoscope is Air based, and because of my association with him to the stars. The nested ovals are the planets rotations, and the arrow from the constellation to the sun symbolises the journey through the planetary spheres to reach the divine. 


Personal development and Hermes Trismegistus

Personal development is a topic I have addressed before but in relation with Hecate. In my article ‘Personal development and the Goddess Hecate’, I write about how I perceive the link between personal development and Hecate Soteira. The various methods that Hermes Trismegistus outlines in his texts are akin to personal development which enable a person to reach the divine. One such method is ascending through the planetary spheres. The other method which was specified in the Hermetic text The Kybalion is a set of seven principles.

 

Ascending the planetary spheres is basically using planetary magic to develop (or counteract) aspects within a person for improvement. The goal is to rise or ascend through the 7 planetary spheres to achieve union with the 8th and eventually the 9th (the Divine). (For a detailed look and exercises on the planetary correspondences, see D’Este and Rankine, 2007). The seven principles outlined in the Kybalion are presented as laws that govern the universe; principles that a Hermeticist must accept and utilise. These principles have actually become part of the new wave of modern spirituality, and therefore some people might be familiar with the concept behind the principle. The principles are as follows:


1: The Principle of Mentalism

Everything in the universe is connected and is mental. The universe itself is a living mind; it is All. This All is Spirit, and it creates the universe and us mentally. Therefore, we are a product of it and included in it. This principle highlights the power of the mind. Our thoughts can influence things around us, and thus if we want to change something magickally, our thoughts are all we need.

 

2: The Principle of Correspondence

Everything that happens on one plane of existence also happens elsewhere. The phrase “as above and so below” originates from this principle. There are seven planes of existence (and more within those), and each plane of existence manifests its own phenomenon even though they all blend with each other.

 

3: The Principle of Vibration 

All the planes vibrate at a different rate, as does things within those planes. Every thought, emotion or mental state has its own corresponding rate and mode of vibration, and a Hermeticist can change their vibrational state consciously.

 

4: The Principle of Polarity

This principle specifies that everything is a scale (dark to light) including emotions: Love to anger, defensiveness to understanding, bitterness to letting go. The idea is that the Hermeticist can change their emotions by dwelling on the opposite of the scale you are on. “To destroy an undesirable rate of mental vibration, put into operation the Principle of Polarity and concentrate upon the opposite pole to that which you desire to suppress. Kill out the undesirable by changing the polarity.” (Smoley [ed]. 2018).

 

5: The Principle of Rhythm

Between the two poles, there is an ebb and flow. With this rise and flow, everything has a cycle, and this is in line with the Law of Compensation “the measure of the swing to the right is the measure of the swing to the left” (Smoley [ed]. 2018). But a Hermeticist escapes this principle by applying the Law of Neutralisation which is also known as Mental Transmutation. By polarising themselves at the desired pole (positive emotion), the Hermeticist refuses to allow their negative state (mood or emotions) to affect them.

 

6: The Principle of Cause and Effect

Everything has a cause and effect. In daily life, this manifests as people allowing themselves to be influenced. This is basically akin to when someone has a bad thing happen to them on a good day but they won’t let themselves be influenced by the bad thing. The Hermeticist rises above the plane of material life by dominating their mood, character, qualities, polarity and environment. They are in effect taking responsibility for themselves and their emotions.

 

7: The Principle of Gender

Everyone has both masculine and feminine qualities. Hermeticists view gender as directing energy outwards (the masculine) and receiving (feminine). The interaction of the two is the manifestation of Mental Gender which is in accordance with the creation of the universe. Hermeticists take the view that most people live in the feminine; that they are receiving energy, and being reactive to their environment and other influences (see Cause and Effect).

 

From the above principles, a few things became obvious to me:

 

• You have no need for equipment in doing magick. Everything you need is within you (Principles of Mentalism and Correspondence).

 

• By focusing upon the polar opposite of a negative state, you can change your vibration to the opposite emotional state (Principles of Polarity and Vibration). 

 

• Refuse the swing of the pendulum by focusing on the positive side and letting it pass beneath you (Principles of Polarity and Rhythm).

 

• Don’t let your feminine energy dominate: Refuse to let external influences and negative moods affect your emotional state, and your actions. Don’t let yourself be reactive, take responsibility for how you feel and act (Principles of Gender, Cause and Effect).

 

• Use your masculine energy and direct it outwards to influence (Principle of Mental Gender).

 

The similarity between working with Hermes Trismegistus and Hecate Soteira lies in the development of oneself. Both Chaldean theurgy, ascension through the spheres, and the 7 principles are personal development methods to enable someone to be the best they can be. It helps them to dispel their negative aspects and reach the divine. Because of this, it makes working with both Hecate Soteira and Hermes Trismegistus work really well. For me, this similarity harmonises both deities and their work beautifully.

 

Applying the Principles

 

By and large, I find applying the principles fairly straightforward: I’ve created a temple for myself in the Mental plane where I have mental equivalents of my tools, and I use them instead of my physical ones. If I’m conducting magick there, I tap into my masculine energy to send it outwards, and I wait until the Principle of Correspondence manifests it into the physical plane.


But there is one aspect that I find challenging: emotional intelligence (EI) conflicts with applying the Law of Neutralisation. (I write about EI in On Hecate Einalian: Hecate of the Sea). The idea that you ignore your negative state and focus on the desired opposite suggests suppression of an emotional state, and this goes against what I’ve learnt when dealing with emotions. The first lesson I ever learnt on the Water Path is that you never ignore emotions, even negative ones because they just come back to bite you in your posterior! In order to have good EI, it is actually healthy to feel that negative emotion, process it normally but not let it control you or your interactions with others to the detriment of a relationship.

 

To date, I haven’t managed to harmonise these two aspects. EI is important to me, and there is a huge amount of mental discipline involved in applying the principles. But maybe that is just it: knowing when to apply that mental discipline and when to feel. I can only hope that with time I will find a way to bring it together.

 

Now I would like to ask you:

Who here also worships Hermes Trismegistus?

Are they any principles of his that you take to easily, or perhaps you find challenging?

 


References

Crowfoot, G. 2005. Crossroads: The Path of Hecate. Aventine Press, USA.

 

D’Este and Rankine 2007. Practical Planetary Magic. Avalonia Books, UK

 

D’Este (ed.) 2010. Hekate: Her Sacred Fires. Avalonia Books, UK

 

D’Este and Rankine 2009. Hekate Liminal Rites Avalonia Books, UK

 

Lachman, G.2011.  The Quest for Hermes Trismegistus. Floris Books, UK

 

Smoley, R (ed). 2018. The Kybalion Hermetic Philosophy by the Three Initiates. Penguin Random House, USA.

 

More information on Hermeticism

 

Digitalis, R. 2019. Magickal Influences and Principles of Hermeticism. New Worlds of Body, Mind & Spirit Since 1901. [Available online at: https://www.llewellyn.com/journal/article/2768]

 

Hurst, K. 2019. 7 Hermetic Principles: Laws Of The Universe According To The Kybalion. The Law of Attraction. [Available online at https://thelawofattraction.com/hermetic-principles-kybalion/

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Edio
Edio
5 days ago
Оценка: 5 из 5 звезд.

Ah yes; so these emotional and mental states contain both their opposite as well as their negation? Love contains hate as well as equaminity? Sounds like a blessing from our Lady of the Crossroads. Lotus, since you mentions the Tibetians, do you ever feel that H. maps onto one of the Taras?

B.B.

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Sara.Vervain
Sara.Vervain
07 мая
Оценка: 5 из 5 звезд.

thank you for this post! I do agree that EI is absolutely important. I don't know if it makes any sense but instead of ignoring the negative states immediately I work with a sort of "belated" Neutralisation. I embrace the negative state for a short time (not more than 10/15 min - to avoid to drown in them) so I can really let them go, Then I create the void in my mind to reset the calm. Eventually I work on findind in myself (or in the environment around me) something that remind me of the opposite state and I focus on that. I use a lot element/season association and visualisation for that - if I am feeling angry, an…

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Ekhidna Bakkheus
Ekhidna Bakkheus
17 апр.
Оценка: 5 из 5 звезд.

I loved this post!

The practice of a "mental temple" is super valuable to me, I use this constantly on my practice and it makes me feel very connected with the Gods.

About the emotions, as a Psychologist, I can confirm that yes, feelings must never be ignored! but they can be integrated as a whole. We can acknowledge the polarities and analyze them. In my experience is not so much about denying the feelings but more about putting them into perspective so that they don't overcome you.

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Edio
Edio
15 апр.
Оценка: 5 из 5 звезд.

Good stuff, thank you. Always good to have a bit of Hermetic Theurgy to start the .day and you do this one a solid. . And References!

So Crowfoot is worth a look ?

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Edio
Edio
5 days ago
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Up there with Stephen Ronan as good secondarys maybe. I'll have a look, Thanks!.

Лайк

Оценка: 5 из 5 звезд.

I am currently reading the Kybalion, just started, so I am going to take your insights with me while reading. And I agree on the emotion, an emotion is a feeling better not be ignored. And the part about the gender: I feel it is a dancing with both your sides, anima and animus or feminie and masculine or how someone wants to call them. It is a balance, just as with emotions, you have to feel when one is needed to step forward, or has to step back to make place for the opposite.

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Hazel
Hazel
13 апр.
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Oh you have to let me know what you think of The Kybalion!

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