I’m currently reconstructing an Etteilla tarot deck, and as part of my process, I’m deep-diving into the Divine Pymander (one version of the Corpus Hermeticum) because Etteilla was reportedly obsessed with the Pymander and gave that text a great deal of sacred authority.
And so to do a proper Etteilla deck, I thought I had better get myself familiarized with this text that he personally placed so much importance on.
So I compiled the 1650 Everard translation of the Divine Pymander and the 1906 Mead translation of the Corpus Hermeticum tractates together into a book for convenient referencing. These texts date back to the 2nd century AD, if not earlier, and are discourses in the form of Socratic dialogues on the nature of God (divinity), humanity, the mind, alchemy, and astrology. You’ll also find a lot of crossover with Gnostic doctrine.
As far as I can gather, the Pymander and the body of texts referred to as the Corpus Hermeticum are the same, except there are more tractates, or books, in the Pymander than there are in Mead’s 1906 translation of the Corpus Hermeticum. Since both are included in this compiled book, you can do your own due diligence. In this text download, I’ve also included a few inserts from the Nag Hammadi discovered in 1945 and now added to the Hermetic corpus.
6″ x 9″ Formatted with Mirror Margins for Binding
If you want to purchase a physical printed copy of the text, you can do so via Lulu.com print on demand. I’ve gone ahead and formatted and uploaded the book for easy ordering.
via lulu.com – $11.02 USD
If you are not located in the U.S., then you won’t want to use the above option. You’ll need to use the Lulu account based in your country and manually upload the book files yourself– shipping is going to be a lot cheaper that way.
N O T E S
There are a few recurring characters throughout the text:
Hermes Trismegistus: Also: Thoth-Hermes. Referred throughout the text as Hermes and once King of Egypt; a philosopher-king and high priest. Syncretization of the Egyptian god Thoth and the Greek god Hermes. The Corpus Hermeticum is attributed to him as the author.
Pymander: Also: Poimandres, Poemander, or Pimander. The mind of the Great Lord, the most mighty and absolute Emperor, the Pharaoh of pharaohs. Possibly the personification/deification of the inner Higher Self. Described as being the Mind of God, and that such a mind is both Male and Female at once, comprised of Light. Hermes names some of Pymander’s epithets: Lord of the Word, God with the Truth, Shepherd of Men, and The Mind of Absolute Power and Authority, to name a few.
Tat: Hermes Trismegistus then takes on the role of teacher, lecturer, and wise man to converse with a disciple, Tat. Tat receives divine wisdom and knowledge from Hermes Trismegistus through the Socratic dialogues. When addressing Hermes, Tat refers to him as “O Father” and Hermes to Tat as “O Son.”
Asclepius: Hermes Trismegistus converses with Asclepius via question and answer to discuss the nature of the Divine, of humanity, etc. Sometimes it’s Asclepius imparting knowledge and the answer to Hermes, and other times it’s Hermes imparting knowledge and the answers to Asclepius. In other tractates, Hermes is lecturing at Asclepius.
Below are some notes that might offer context for what each book or tractate discusses, though these notes are not included in the text download because you might not necessarily agree with my assessments. If you do find the below points helpful, then that’s something you’ll need to manually integrate into the end notes of the text yourself. (There are lined pages at the back for you to add notes.)
Pymander, the Shepherd of Men / The Second Book, Called Pymander
- Hermetic revelatory vision of the creation of the universe
- Commentary on the nature of the human condition
- Within each human is a seed from the divine. That seed came from Heaven above the firmament (Empyreus) and descends through seven planetary spheres, first Saturn, then Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and the Moon before it reaches the earthly plane and is planted within the physical body. The influence that divine seed took on as it passed through the seven planetary spheres is what formulates Destiny or Fate
- That which is our inherent divinity is also the root source of our tendencies toward evil
To Ascelpius [Corpus]
- Commentary on the celestial spheres and cosmogony that distinguishes the physical world and metaphysical world
- Influence of the four fixed stars
- Humanity’s pursuit of its own Higher Good
The Sacred Sermon
- Revisiting the creation of the universe and the nature of the human condition
- Seven planetary rulers drive life, death, regeneration, and rebirth
The Cup or Monad
- Hermetic scholars consistently cite this text as an incredible summary and overview of both Hermetic philosophy and Gnostic doctrine
- Commentary on the division between divine Mind and impure Body
- Speculated connections to the Holy Grail
That No One of Existing Things Doth Perish
- The impact of natal astrology, i.e., the seeds or energetic influences of the seven planetary rulers embedded into our spirit as the fragment of inner divinity descended from Heaven, through the celestial spheres, to earth to become part of us upon birth
- Cyclical nature of astrology and global events – history is destined to repeat itself in cycles
- Knowledge and memory in relation to life, afterlife, and rebirth
- Epistemological knowledge vs. personal gnosis
Mind unto Hermes
- Concerning the nature of God
- To Keep Silence (To Keep Silence) is the truest path to wisdom
- Forces that are immutable and incorruptible in Heaven are mutable and corruptible on Earth– that is the double nature of many forces
- Continued discussion of knowledge and personal gnosis
Secret Sermon on the Mountain
- Capstone of the entire Corpus Hermeticum
- Conveys the most crucial elements of Hermetic philosophy
- Includes the text for a ritual prayer to recite at sunrise and sunset daily (“The Secret Hymnody”)