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John W. Pinkerton


Trismegistus, Trismegistus, Trismegistus: say it thrice and spin around, and I'm sure you'll get the same results I did---none.

But you must agree “Trismegistus” is a heck of a moniker.

“Trismegistus” means thrice-great---great in astrology, magic, and alchemy---none of which I studied in school---elementary, high school, or college.

I wanted to know more about this man with the magical name, so I read several essays about Trismegistus.  Each seemed to be written by a government bureaucrat who intended to conceal more than to reveal.

Hermes Trismegistus: he's either Greek or Egyptian or Jewish Egyptian.  No one seems certain.  He probably predated Moses or maybe he was a contemporary.  Could you be more vague?  

Underlying Hermetic philosophy is the principle that man is divine and through a process of purification and learning comes to a direct knowledge of the divine.  Another basic principle is that all things are related.  I don't know about the divine part, but I've always believed that all things are related.  Each detail is related to the greater whole.  Everything is important.  Yeah, I'm a geek.

Trismegistus was one of the first philosophers to convey his divine knowledge through writing.

Much of the writings of Trismegistus were lost when the Romans decided in about 48 BC that it would be a good thing to burn down the great library of Alexandria which held most of the ancient history, literature, and knowledge of the world.   I don't know about you, but I'm still a little miffed about this.

Probably the most commonly quoted words of Trismegistus  are the following:

“That which is Above is like that which is Below and that which is Below is like that which is Above, to accomplish the Miracle of Unity.”

I found myself scratching my head over this quote, so I went to another essay entitled “As Above, So Below”:

“Manly P. Hall had said, 'We are the gods of the atoms that make up ourselves, but we are also the atoms of the gods that make up the universe'; …'man's spirit comes from the stars, his soul from the planets, his body from the elements.' More recently Carl Sagan had said quite simply, 'we're made of star stuff.'”

Okay, I'll buy that…I think.

He received his knowledge from God, not man.  I guess this is a form of a priori knowledge which I do understand.  Honestly, I do.

Here's a little advice from “Trissy” on how to know God:

“If then you do not make yourself equal to God, you cannot apprehend God; for like is known by like. Leap clear of all that is corporeal, and make yourself grown to a like expanse with that greatness which is beyond all measure; rise above all time and become eternal; then you will apprehend God. Think that for you too nothing is impossible; deem that you too are immortal, and that you are able to grasp all things in your thought, to know every craft and science; find your home in the haunts of every living creature; make yourself higher than all heights and lower than all depths; bring together in yourself all opposites of quality, heat and cold, dryness and fluidity; think that you are everywhere at once, on land, at sea, in heaven; think that you are not yet begotten, that you are in the womb, that you are young, that you are old, that you have died, that you are in the world beyond the grave; grasp in your thought all of this at once, all times and places, all substances and qualities and magnitudes together; then you can apprehend God.”

Okay, Okay I admit it: I'm lost again, but you've got to admit that “Trismegistus” is a wonderful, intriguing name.  I'll settle for that.