14 Jul Hermeticism and the History of Science
In today’s world, being scientifically and politically correct is something that – if you want to be taken seriously – you have to be very proficient in. To not cite your sources (especially when discussing things that are not as socially acceptable, such as quantum energy or the power of meditation) will get you blacklisted as purporting “fake news”, and you will generally be viewed as untrustworthy. Trust us on this one, we’ve been through it.
It’s understandable, because anyone can publish anything on the internet – and if it “sounds” especially good it could become widely shared, only to get smacked down later by another large news organization who has more “social credibility”. This seems to be a common theme especially as it relates to the more “esoteric” topics out there. For example, the New England Journal of Medicine has posted findings about ultrasonic sounds being used to treat forms of tumors, and the US Library of Medicine has done studies on the effects of music on stress in the body… but then we have Bill Nye, who recently in his new TV series, talked down towards forms of sound healing and practically calls it pseudo-science garbage with no redeeming value, and people believe Bill as he has more public notoriety.
But why talk about this you may ask? Well, besides the fact that we would like to state that each and every article, video, and publication on this website is fully sourced with the most credible links and information we can find, we would actually like to get to a deeper root of this “scientific credibility” discussion by taking a look at the roots of science itself. The reason why this is so fascinating is that the basis of modern science and the rational universe actually stems from a strain of significantly more esoteric thought than what is accepted by the modern scientific community. This connection isn’t difficult to see either, it just appears to have been hidden under the rug a little bit.
And so, we’re going to step back into our history and look at a few different periods of time, including the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, and the Dark Ages so see how we came to our current understanding of Science and how practices like mysticism really fits back into this picture.
To be fair, the ancient Greeks are most often credited with being the first “scientists”, although these were not the same as scientists in the modern sense. These men were more along the line of philosophers, but still shared a basic common thread to the modern scientists, being that the greeks realized it was possible to find regularities and patterns in nature, and that by revealing such patterns they could unlock the secrets of the universe and God.
What’s remarkable about the ancient Greeks was that their entire culture emerged because of a man named Pythagoras, who is attributed as the father of ancient Greece itself. Yet, in his younger years, it is written that he travelled to Egypt and spent 22 years immersing himself in the Egyptian mysteries, before spending another 12 years in Babylon training under the Magi and becoming an Oracle of the Chaldean Mysteries.
These ‘Mysteries’ were the overarching name of many ancient schools which taught about fundamental aspects of the universe and the nature of consciousness. They were called mysteries because they were shrouded in secrecy, believing that divine knowledge was sacred only be imparted to a genuine seeker of information, otherwise it becomes trampled underfoot of the developing world.
After returning to his homeland, he began his own mystery school and began teaching many familiar concepts, such as mathematics, astronomy, as well as sound and vibration theory. The work he did here ultimately paved the way for the establishment of Ancient Greece as we know it today. Pythagoras may be observed as a bit of an ancient scientist, but if anyone were to see him today, they would probably think him more of an old hippy-mystic type; In fact, one writing describes him wearing particularly flamboyant clothing:
Aelian tells us of Pythagoras’ gold crown, white clothing, and trousers. This has been interpreted as the traditional clothing of an Ionian poet by some scholars, but Burkert, W in his book “Lore and Science in Ancient Pythagoreanism” (p165), notes that “in exactly the same attire, the highest God, lord of death and rebirth appears in the ‘Mithras liturgy.’ It is likely therefore that the account of Pythagoras’ costume is meant to portray him as an initiate [of the Egyptian Mysteries].
“The Mysteries of Eleusis” by D’Alviella, G. (p114)
And even more astounding, Pythagoras was then described basically as Jesus, yet more than 500 years before! No joke, Pythagoras was written as being:
- Born of a Virgin
- Calmed the stormy seas
- Walked on Water
- Healed the Sick
- And Raised the Dead
Returning to the topic at hand, when you follow all of the Egyptian mysteries back far enough, you inevitably find yourself facing the mysterious Hermes Trismegistus, who in Egypt was known simply as “Thoth”, among other names. Thoth was considered a sage whose wisdom was so great that he was seen as a messenger of divine information to mankind. His name – Trismegistus, translates to “Thrice-Great”, and he was considered this because he held the mastery over the 3 principles of the Universe – Astrology (the forces that move heaven and earth), Alchemy (the forces of inner awareness & transformation), and Theurgy (the forces of spiritual practice). According to ancient Egyptian writings, this man was attributed with the founder of science, religion, writing, mathematics, geometry, alchemy, philosophy, medicine, and magic. Today, many of the literature attributed to Hermes are available for you to read in a compilation called “The Corpus Hermeticum”. The practice of following the works of Hermes are most often called Hermeticism.
The reason that we’re talking about this however, is because now when we shift our perspective down the timeline to the end of the dark ages, we see a very interesting pattern. Specifically, the re-emergence of the works of Hermes in 15th century Europe, which ultimately led to a remarkable period of time which today we call the renaissance. This name actually translates to “rebirth”, which is fitting – as one of the fundamental aspects of Hermeticism is being spiritually reborn.
Drawing tremendous inspiration from these ancient writings, the renaissance movement saw spirituality, art, science, and literature all a part of a unified whole – to be explored and expressed openly; this is why this time period is so unique unto itself. Even the great Astronomer and Mathematician Copernicus is seen quoting Hermes on the first page of his 1543 book “On the Revolution of the Celestial Orbs” by the quote “The Sun is the Visible God.”
But Copernicus isn’t the only one who embraced Hermetics. The fathers of modern science and the scientific method itself were deeply spiritual, and considered themselves alchemists, esotericists, and even Hermeticists. Names such as Johannes Kepler, Paracelsus, Robert Boyle, Isaac Newton, and Francis Bacon all have at least mentioned or referenced Hermes in some capacity in their works.
Because of this Renaissance, things dramatically began to change in the world. The power and influence that religion had on the beliefs of the masses began to lessen as a new way of thinking began to emerge. However, when the pendulum swings – it swings as far as it can go. In order for modern science to emerge in the way that it did, spirituality would be separated from science, and practices such as inner reflection or meditation as a form of obtaining knowledge would no longer be observed as a credible source.
The scientific revolution separated many principles; such as alchemy from chemistry, and astronomy from astrology, allowing only for a purely rational and logical thought. This new practice which today we called science has structured our whole modern way of life. Even though it is not seen as a religion, it is most certainly a belief system – built upon beliefs and ideas and perceptions about the way that things are in the world. These ideas are only fixed if we allow them to be in our minds.
Though try as they might, the power of the internet carries many blessings along with it – for it is ultimately a technological reflection of our connected mind around the world. By our continuous growth as a species, we have the capacity to dig through our history books and realize things that we may have missed or forgotten about who we are.
Please understand, this is not to say that science is invaluable or anything of the like. Only to suggest that perhaps there is more to reality than meets the eye, and a purely logical and rational mindset sometimes can miss things that are not able to be detected by our 5 physical senses. In Quantum Physics, for example, we are now seeing the dilemma that reality behaves differently when observed, versus when not observed. This very notion is described in the Corpus Hermeticum, by suggesting that upon engaging consciously with your environment, the two become inextricably linked.
As Above, So Below.
Hermeticism never left. It has been active, dormant, alive, dead, and reborn over and over again, and the moment it is realized as another wellspring of wisdom in the eyes of the beholder, they are never the same again. If we open our minds, and allow our thoughts to expand beyond the borders of what we believe is possible… we can learn so much more about ourselves, and become all that we were truly born to be.
Books about Pythagoras
http://9waysmysteryschool.tripod.com/sacredsoundtools/id13.html (this site sources even more, and summarizes things really well)
The Hermetica – Lost Wisdom of the Pharoahs (on amazon)