Hermetica

(redirected from Corpus Hermeticus)

Hermetica

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The body of mystic wisdom attributed to Hermes Trismegistos, or "thrice great Hermes," between the third century BCE and the first century CE. Hermes Trismegistos was a combination of the Greek Hermes and the Egyptian Thoth, or god of wisdom, learning, and literature. The Hermetica involved two levels of teachings: a popular pedagogy of astrology, magic, and alchemy, and a higher religious philosophy. It was very influential in the development of Western magic and modern neo-Pagan and Wiccan material.

Perhaps the best known work of the Hermetica was the Emerald Tablet, which opens with the statement, "That which is above is like that which is below, and that which is below is like that which is above, to achieve the wonders of the one thing." This indicates that the microcosm of the earth is a reflection of the macrocosm of the heavens, and this is regarded as the foundation of astrology and of alchemy.

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But not only were Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (Nueva Espana) and Jose Lezama Lima (Cuba) aware of the heterodox tradition that finds its origin in the Corpus hermeticus, but their writing also inserts itself under the sign of a syncretism that links up the seventeenth-century Spanish-American Baroque, twentieth-century Latin-American symbolism-cum-formalism, and the disavowed origins of Christian theology in neo-Platonic Hermeticism and Gnosticism.