Good Morning and Welcome to VOXHERMES!
Many of you are familiar with VOXHERMES – or “The Voice of Hermes,” the newsletter for the Institute for Hermetic Studies – and have been reading it since its inception twenty years ago. We have gone through several permutations over the past two decades, always seeking to provide useful information to our readers. As the spiritual marketplace – yes, we said marketplace! – has changed, so have we, adapting as necessary to prevailing circumstances. Now, this is important: we say “marketplace” and “adapt” because spirituality is really no different than anything else. There is a constant battle going on for your attention, as for your time, talent, and treasure; do not make the idealist’s mistake of believing that “self-actualization” or “enlightenment” is any different. Whether it is Shakyamuni Buddha courting royal patronage, storefront preachers, or mail-order correspondence courses on initiation, everyone is trying to get your attention and, once that is achieved, striving to obtain your support, that the cycle may be kept going and access granted to those ideas and tools whereby they may become more self-aware.
I also say “adapt” because that is what evolution is all about. Evolution is a word we hear thrown around in spiritual circles as if it refers to a particular end goal, whereas in fact there is no intended result other than survival. Evolution is adaptation to circumstances for the survival of the individual organism. Now – read that again. Evolution is something that occurs on the INDIVIDUAL level. It remains true that several individuals may adapt, come together, and form a new group, or act as a form of “social yeast” in their own locations, perhaps influencing the adaptive strategies of some of the people around them. But regardless of this, evolution or adaptation is first and foremost an individual experience.
Can others benefit? Yes – otherwise, progress would be terribly slower than it already is. However, no one can do the work for another; they can only encourage and lead by example. To each their own – otherwise, it could not be the Path of Self-Awakening or Realization.
Although according with tradition, it is an often-ignored fact that Shakyamuni Buddha did not want to teach, as he believed no one could understand what he was saying. Only after the pleading of the gods did this change – or so we are told. Now, do not skip over that lightly; this means that a man who is often viewed by many as a sort of “world savior” did not immediately jump up and seek to spread his “gospel” to the nearby village, let alone the world. In the New Testament we hear Jesus telling his disciples to “wipe the dust from their feet” if people do not want to listen to the “good news” they have brought. Spirituality is about self-awareness – it is not about world reform. Each must come to the Path of their own free will and accord.
The entire course of information we will be working with over approximately the next twelve months is rooted in this foundational principal: each individual is responsible for themselves, for their own path, for their own awakening, for their own life. If it were any other way, we could not (as Éliphas Lévi stated) be “the sons of our deeds.”
By now, each of you should be familiar with the work the Institute for Hermetic Studies has produced, particularly our Audio Programs Series available on YouTube. This series of essays will focus on one of our latest programs, Jupiter in Daily Life: Practices for Health, Wealth, Wisdom, and Bliss. The reason for this is simple: everyone wants to be happy, and the reason people come to esotericism, spirituality, occult practices, or psychotherapy is to be happy. There is, in fact, not a single being that does not want to be happy – but there are considerable differences in what constitutes happiness and how to achieve it. For us, however, as human beings living on planet earth, the objectives are simple. We need health, wealth, wisdom, and bliss.
To achieve this we need to take a look at our current situation and assess it objectively. Have our previous efforts brought the results we were after? If yes, then why? If no, then why not AND what changes need to be made to counter this? Spirituality does not exclude us from having to use reason and common sense in our daily life. Yet, too often, spirituality encourages a naïve idealism that takes us further from our goals. How does this happen? Simple: we do not know with clarity what we want. We are afraid to be honest with ourselves; instead, we change our personal objectives to match what we consider the “truly important” things in life which, from the perspective of most spiritual schools, is an almost pathological rejection of the physical world and personal achievement.
The error in this attitude is shown by the fact that only in and through the physical world is enlightenment possible. It is only in the physical world that all of our levels of consciousness can be experienced and brought together as a single force.
How often haven’t we read in the Emerald Tablet the following:
True, without error, certain and most true;
That which is above is as that which is below, and that which is below is as that which is above, for performing the miracle of the One Thing; and as all things were from One, by the mediation of One, so all things arose from this One by adaptation; the Father of it is the Sun, the Mother of it is the Moon; the wind carries it in its belly; the nurse thereof is the Earth.
This is the father of all perfection, the consummation of the whole world.
The power of it is integral, if it be turned to earth.
Thou shalt separate the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross, gently with much wisdom;
it ascends from earth to heaven, and again descends to earth; and receives the strength of the superiors and of the inferiors – so thereby thou hast the glory of the whole world;
therefore let all obscurity flee before thee.
This is the strong fortitude of all fortitudes, overcoming every subtle and penetrating every solid thing.
So was the world was created.
Hence are all wonderful adaptations, of which this is the manner.
Therefore am I called “Thrice Great Hermes,” having the Three Parts of the philosophy of the whole world.
That which I have written is consummated concerning the operation of the Sun.
The important part here for us is simple: the idea of the microcosm and macrocosm, and the statement that it is through experiences (the “nurse”) of physical existence that enlightenment (“obscurity fleeing before thee”) is obtained. This enlightenment is not a theoretical or abstract one, but a very real understanding of the fundamental commonality and interrelationship (“miracle of the One Thing”) of the visible (“below”) and invisible (“above”) domains.
We have repeatedly been told to “Know Thyself,” and yet often we continue to look for the answers outside of ourselves. We pray to divine beings, gods, demons, saints, or some form of ideal to do for us what we must do for ourselves. This is because we have not truly stepped onto the path of …
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