Index  Previous  Next 

The Gnostic Society Library

Thrice-Greatest Hermes - Volume 2

by G.R.S. Mead


II. 1. Wherefore the longing for the Godly state is a desire for Truth, and specially the [truth] about the Gods, in so much as it doth embrace reception of the sacred [things]—instruction and research; 1 a work more holy than is all and every purging rite and temple-service, and not least pleasing to that Goddess whom thou servest, in that she is particularly wise and wisdom-loving, seeing her very name doth seem to indicate that knowing and that gnosis 2 is more suitable to her than any other title.

2. For that “Isis” is Greek, 3 and [so is] “Typhōn”—in that he’s foe unto the Goddess, and is “puffed up” 4 through [his] unknowing and deceit, and tears the Holy Reason (Logos) into pieces and makes away with it; the which the Goddess gathers up again and recomposes, and transmits to those perfected in the art of divinising, 5—which by the means of a continually sober life

p. 263

and by [their] abstinence from many foods and sexual indulgences, tempers intemperate pleasure-love, and doth accustom [them] to undergo, without being broken down, the rigorous tasks of service in the sacred [rites], the end of which is gnosis of the First and Lordly One, the One whom mind alone can know, 1 for whom the Goddess calls on [them] to seek, though He is by her side and one with her.

3. Nay more, the very appellation of the holy [place] doth plainly promise gnosis, that is eidēsis, of That-which-is; for it is named Iseion, as though “of them who shall know” 2 That-which-is, if that with reason (logos) and with purity 3 we enter in the holy [places] of the Goddess.


262:1 τὴν μάθησιν . . . καὶ ζήτησιν. Mathesis was the technical Pythagorean term for gnosis.

262:2 τὸ εἰδ-έναι καὶ τὴν ἐπ-ισ-τήμην—word-plays on ἶσις.

262:3 Cf. lx. 2. The Egyptian of Isis is Ȧst.

262:4 τετυφωμένος—a play on τυφών—lit., “wrapped in smoke (τῦφος),” and because one so wrapped in smoke or clouds has his intelligence darkened, hence “puffed up with conceit,” crazy and demented. Typhōn is the dark or hidden side of the Father.

262:5 θειώσεως (not in L. and S. or Soph.); it presumably comes from the stem of θειόω, which means: (i.) to smoke with sulphur and so purify; (ii.) to make divine (θεῖος), and so transmute into godship. The sentence may thus also mean “those initiated into the sulphur rite”—a not impossible rendering when we remember the Alchemical literature which had its source in Chemia-Egypt. It will also permit us to connect brimstone with Typhōn—hoofs and all!

263:1 Or the Intelligible—νοητοῦ.

263:2 εἰς-ομένων τὸ ὄν—a play on ἰσ-εῖ-ον—fut. of √ϝιδ (vid) from which comes also εἴδησις above. This may also mean “seeing” as well as “knowing,” and thus may refer to the Epopteia or Mystery of Sight, and not the preliminary Mystery of Hearing (Muēsis).

263:3 ὁσίως—another play on ἶσις; cf. lx. 3.

Next: The True Initiates of Isis