Hermes the Messenger, electrical charge!
Conveys hidden meanings, otherwise barred.



As Trump I, the Magus is the Initiator of the transformational process.  The internal flow of archetypal processes is like a musical symphony.  It is nonlinear, complex and dynamic.  It is a flow of pure spontaneous creativity, unfolding possibilities.  Individual archetypes are seen as the various instruments within that melody.  While most are easily identified, Hermes remains the most vague to grasp and to truly understand.

He is the most diffuse because he is the translator, the magician, the shape-shifter, the trickster even liar, the chameleon.  He is ithyphallic; his wayside shrines called 'herms' glorified the penis in ancient times.  Wearing an erect phallus fetish was believed to bring good luck.  Exploring the creative consciousness flow is much like being in a foreign country.  We simply do not speak the language. Alchemy and magick were the psychological languages of the past.  Hermes acts as our communicator, a guide or mentor to deliver messages between gods and men, divine and mortal -- like a prototypical winged angel -- a psychopomp or soul-guide.

Since our attention is usually on the message, not the message-bringer, we seldom realize it is the magician who pulled the rabbit out of the hat.  We loose the image of what Hermes is when he delivers the message.  When we are immersed in the stream of consciousness, we forget that not only are we receiving a communication from a specific god, but Hermes's translation of that message is also present.  And it is our individual reaction to that complex which forms the musical symphony.

His method of communications is through a system of correspondences.  These acausal relationships are experienced as synchronicity.  Synchronistic events are those subjective experiences that make up life's meaningful coincidences.  Hermes is the magician who has the ability to cross dimensional boundaries, as a mediator between the human and the divine, the personal psyche and the unconscious.

His realm includes the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual planes of consciousness.  When considering Hermes, remember that "the medium is the message."   He is the archetype of information theory--how information controls and patterns energy.  He is the mentor of the information age.

As Tom Lyttle puts it, "My higher-intelligence semantics... well it goes a little like this: Man is made in God's image, and while not equal to God can do everything Jesus did and more, so Jesus told all of us many times. So we are both higher-intelligence in real-time, plus HI echoing itself backwards in time, retrocausally. That way it seeds itself all ways across time as all potential. So we have feedback and feedforward in our physical neural-nets - our minds are only partly physical, however. The other parts of human consciousness, "mind-at-large" if you will... exist as orthogonal zip-files, in dreamland.

That is, Godhood is enfolded in each as coded-language/neural-net geometries. Some parts are physical, other parts hyperdimensional. We deconstruct, defrag, unzip, decode, decipher etc. and find the obvious - ourselves, then our higher-selves, then God, who has been sitting in our hearts waiting for us, all along, smiling."

Much the same information transduction process occurs in our lives when we translate ideas into action or live what we aspire to.  We can manipulate our reality and harness our energies, through concentration on purpose.  Through this means we have the ability to change our desires into a new reality through skill, preparation, effort, persistence, commitment and integrity.  We need to be aware where we are focusing our energy; what our objectives are; how we are communicating with others, and what we want others to see and believe.  We need to let Spirit guide that process of unfolding potential.

The Egyptian Hermes Trismegistus was full of this metaphysical spiritual power.  He is the godfather of all the Hermetic Arts, the mystic arts and occult powers, as well as science.  He has power over language, writing, and signs like his predecesor, the Egyptian god, Thoth.  The Hermetica included works on magic, alchemy, astrology, healing, gnosis, theurgy, ritual and philosophy.  These texts were based on notions of sympathetic magic, that like substances sharing an essence could influence one another through resonance effects.  Likewise the hypnotic and magnetic qualities of charismatic individuals can create rapport with others to influence them.

It has been said (Mulholland, The Art of Illusion, 1944) that, "Magic is the pretended performance of those things which cannot be done.  The success of a magician's simulation of doing the impossible depends upon misleading the minds of his audiences.  This, in the main, is  done by adding, to a performance, details of which the spectators are unaware, and leaving out others which they believe you have not left out.  In short a performance of magic is largely a demonstrations of the universal reliability of certain facts of psychology."

Just as the trump number of the Magician is I, in Hermetic philosophy, God is One and the creator of all things which continue to depend on Him.  Everything is part of God, and God is in everything, his creative activity continuing unceasingly.  All things are one and the pleroma of being is indestructible.  Divine powers knit together the energies of the sun, planets and stars, and they operate on all bodies, animate or inanimate.  This is the notion of cosmic sympathy. This doctrine of sympathy applies to man in both body and spirit, in the magico-religious worldview of The Magus.


It is well known that all mass is charged; thus everything is in one sense electricity.  Hermes is the polarity charge on the zygote at the instant of fertilization. As pure information, Hermes is the DNA code, messenger RNA, translating from the virtual to the physical realms.  He is the embryonic nervous system, and the electrical charge traveling through that nervous system.

Electrical signals mediate chemical changes in the body.  Since the charge moving through the body is directly related to physical chemistry, Hermes is also the "chemical messenger."  An excellent example of Hermes in this aspect is as a hormone.  Hormones affect every aspect of human physiology, from growth to metabolism, organ functioning, sexuality, and fertility.

Personalities dominated by the perspective of Hermes seem to be interested in the hidden side of things, the enfolded or implicate aspect.  Implicate comes from the Latin word implicio, to enfold or imply.  It is that aspect of reality which lies behind the "veil" of manifestation.  These individuals see themselves as the carriers of the secret codes or lore, of things that are not on the surface.

Hermes, as the Trickster, has a dark side, like all archetypes.  The behavior patterns of the Hermes-dominated person may lead into his opportunistic characteristic pursuits.  Hermes rules merchants, thieves, and salespersons.  Hermes is also the god of travelers who inspires an incurable wanderlust.    He is the prime motivator behind compulsive questing, the search for something--the personal Holy Grail.

Another Hermetic role is to seek out and convey the hidden messages and meanings in synchronous events.  These meaningful coincidences, used as a form of personal development (pathworking), serve as a form of metaphorical perception.  It means seeking the hidden archetypal patterns in the apparent chaos of daily life.  In this way, the Tree of Life with its paths, serves as an objective guide to the unconscious--a consciousness map of the deep psyche.  Hermes is also the gods who brings revelations, whether through depth psychology or the interpretations of divinations such as I Ching or astrology.

Looking for the god in a disease, Hermes' style is seen in schizophrenia, as seen in the movie "A Beautiful Mind," about physicist John Nash.  This style thrives on plural meanings, cryptic double-talk, in escaping definitions, and psychically detaching body parts.  The dissociation aspect of "falling apart" makes possible a new style of reflection in the psyche--a change in attraction from one archetype to another.

Hermes' particular form of mysticism opens the doors to the transformation of mysticism into theurgy. It can degrade into thaumaturgy -- the attempt to influence or control the physical plane -- mundane magic.  Then the master of the secret "names" himself takes on the exercise of power in the way described in the various magical and theurgical procedures of which this literature is full.  There is a fine line between magic and mysticism, especially in the use of divine names in mystical prayers and magic operations -- the danger of slipping from "good, inward" mystical practices to "degraded, outward" magic is a constant threat which, to Scholem, must be avoided.

While the main  goal of mysticism is an experience of another consciousness, the use of magical powers only reinforces the mystic/magician's relationship with mundane reality -- recall, that magic in this sense is  called "Practical," as it has a practical use in everyday living -- e.g.: gaining wealth, love, health, and good crops. Who made these names important? Where do the words come from, and how are they calculated?

Magicians who claim to be "Kabbalists" often use the practices of gematria, notarikon, and temurah to calculate new words of power and angelic names. It would appear that the magicians believe that anyone who uses these techniques can be called a "Kabbalist". However, according to Scholem, these practices were rarely used in classical Kabbalah -- "What really deserves to be called Kabbalism has very little to do with these "Kabbalistic" practices" (Scholem, 1941; p. 100).

Nonetheless, such practices can be found in Kabbalistic documents.  It is accepted magical doctrine that to know the name of a certain power, be it an angel, spirit (typically evil), or intelligence (typically good), is to control that power: "the 'real' name of a god or an idea contains the essence of the god or the idea, and therefore enshrines its power. Using the name turns this power on automatically, the same way that pressing the light switch turns on the light" (Cavendish, 1967; p. 123). In a similar fashion, Crowley (1976) remarks that the names of God are really names for the forces of nature, which can then be used.

Specific occupations associated with Hermes are:

book seller
stamp collector
telephone operator


Hermes is the god of boundaries; dreams take place in the boundaries between deep sleep and waking life.  We turn to the god Hermes for our dream messages; he brings us these messages.  In sleep the chaotic nonlinear, multiple consciousness dominates or awareness.  Linear consciousness is asleep and benefits by the rejuvenating contact with the creative consciousness stream.  It helps our adaptability and promotes our evolutionary development.

No matter the effort, the dream is always chaotic, clouded with ambiguity and the significance carried by symbols because of their multiple meanings.  The dream always seems to carry multiple meanings which can never be unraveled by our normal consciousness.  Dreams are not logical.  Yet they can teach the waking ego something of a different perspective on ourselves, a perspective which contains an ironical humor.

The Hermetic viewpoint does not take a moral position in regard to the content of any given dream.  Since Hermes embodies paradoxes such as good/evil simultaneously, no moral guidelines are available from dreams for the ego or for navigation in day-to-day life.  The dream represents the "underworld," or unconsciousness of the dreamer.  The ego's arbitrary moral views are an alien viewpoint in dreams.  Morality is rooted in the belief system, and dreams originate in a much deeper level.

As a bisexual being, the Hermaphrodite represents the borderline in nature.  The Hermaphrodite is an imaginal being.  Hermes and his borderline nature is the place where sexuality and fantasy meet.  He prompts therapeutic relationships where transference is the movement in life. He governs the change from one state of consciousness to another--through synaptic impulse, through chemical mediation with neurotransmitters, and through magic.

As the god who presides over boundaries, Hermes is able to transcend them.  He is therefore also the ruler of ceremonial Magick.  In Magick, one transcends the limits of ordinary consciousness and communes with various forms of divine consciousness.  The identification with a given energy is accomplished by a three-fold ritual.

 1). Separation from the profane or ordinary state of consciousness.  Dissolution of the ordinary state of consciousness.

 2). The transition stage, or twilight zone which lies between.  Creative or chaotic consciousness.

 3). The new order or perception of reality which occurs in the sacred time of the soul.  Identification with an enhanced sense of self, greater well-being.

Hermes is the lord of boundaries, or doorways, the threshold or liminal area.  The inbetween, or twilight zone, in enables a state of receptivity to become established.  It allows an emptying process, a letting go.  Ritual acts reawaken deep layers of the psyche.  This brings the mythological or archetypal ideas back to memory.

Though the basic, or original forms of Magick and schizophrenic fantasy (wish fulfillment) spring from the same roots, they are not synonymous.  Magick is, in general, the transition from passivity to activity.  The Will is essential.  Realistic action does not follow schizophrenic magic or magical thinking.  The fantasy is a substitute for action.  In lower forms of magic, practiced for personal gain or ego gratification or power, the ego is either weak or absent, or over-inflated.  In ceremonial Magick there is a conscious effort directed at self-transformation, by harmonizing conscious and unconscious cycles or rhythms.

Writing was originally a form of magic, an epiphany with the god and secret of the priests. It is perhaps mankind's most far-reaching creation, taking almost an infinite variety of forms. Many societies have created their own forms of conventional visible marks linked to spoken language.  No other invention but the wheel has had such a lasting impact.

Much of it's power comes from its flexibility. But the purpose of writing remains unchanged: to convey meaning from mundane to profound.  It is a potent form of artistic and political expression.  We use it to combat loneliness and establish our sense of self.  Aristotle called it a way to express the "affections of the soul."  Writing about feelings can alleviate depression, loost the immune system, and lower blood pressure.  To write, you must work methodically, forming your thoughts to lead to the reader toward your conclusions.  However, writing can also distort or mislead.

Writing has immortalized the events and persons of history, religion, passion, genius, art, and science.  It has tremendous evocative power to express everything from the practicalities of everday life to the most exalted human emotions.  In ancient times, alphabets were alphnumeric, standing for both letters and numbers.  Sacred letters could "add up" to a meta-meaning shared with other words of the same number.  Alphabets changed the way people thought, leading to formal logic, theoretical science and the concept of linear time.

Hermes is the god who rules technological acumen, and his latest incarnation is in our computer-driven society.  He is the silicon chip, the electrical impulse, the fantasy of the cybernaut and cyborg.  He is the computer whiz, the programmer, the tekkie.  But he is still the motivating archetype behind all the sciences--the quest to unravel and control the hidden secrets of nature and the physical universe.  He also governs the mysteries of the mind--the science of parapsychology, which inhabits the borderline between "hard" sciences and the occult.

These modern fields all have their own arcane rituals.  This is an exciting field of study that may turn ritual studies, indeed all social sciences, in new directions. The ritual theorists that are already incorporating brain science into their work generally rely on a very small circle of researchers and writers: people like Eugene d’Aquili, Charles Laughlin, John McManus, and Barbara Lex who have called their field of study biogenetic structuralism.

"Biogenetic structuralism" is an unfortunately complicated name for a promising line of inquiry that seeks to apply knowledge of the evolution and structure of the human body to various human or cultural behaviors. It has particularly focused upon ritual and religious experience to demonstrate its methods, which is not unexpected given the strong influence of structuralism on ritual studies in general and the centrality of ritual and religion in most human cultures. Even though hampered by an unwieldy name and method, ritual theorists are beginning to pay attention to the interesting contributions the field seeks to make. Along with performance theory, Ron Grimes has called biogenetic structuralism one of the "most promising theoretical currents regarding ritual."Biogenetic structuralism seeks a holistic understanding of the universe as it presents itself to the mind through experience and is comprehended at the theoretical level through the activities of science.

Charles Laughlin echoes the interdisciplinary nature of the field, noting that it has sought to take into account "all reasonable sources of data about human consciousness and culture," but specifically, anthropology, psychology, and the neurosciences. He adds that it also has sought to be "non-dualistic in modeling mind and body" and non-reductionistic.  That is, it argued that culturally universal, invariant structures of language, time and space, dreams, feelings, and some psychopathologies arise from brain structures that are the product of human evolution.

To the classic Levi-Strauss/Chomski idea of the existence of "deep structure" within the unconscious that affects human cognition and behavior, they therefore add that these structures are related to specific parts or neural pathways in the brain itself.12 The human brain is genetically predisposed to organize its experience in particular ways and to develop along predictable paths in a process they called "neurognosis."In a central chapter of The Spectrum of Ritual, "The Neurobiology of Myth and Ritual," d’Aquili and Laughlin outlined a basic position that would be elaborated upon in other places, especially the 1999 book by d’Aquili and Newberg, The Mystical Mind.

Briefly, the d’Aquili/Lauglin article asserted that ritual accomplishes two important biological feats. First, it coordinates the neural systems and functions of ritual participants to allow for group action. Ritual behavior for most species seems to be a way of overcoming social distance between individuals so that they can coordinate their activity in a way that would help the species survive. Mating rituals are the most obvious example of this, but ritual activity before coordinated group attacks or hunts are also common. Wolf packs go through ceremonial tail-wagging sessions and group howls, and ritual aggression among primates establishes social order and rank for possible battle.

The rhythmic and repetitious nature of ritual stimulation, through ear, eye, or bodily motion, increases a sense of unity of purpose between individuals. Further, it leads to coordinated arousal or discharge of the brain’s limbic system, leading to a sense of profound unity within the participants. The second biological achievement of ritual is that it causes cognitive development or socialization within the individual organism. Ritual is "a mechanism for entraining and transforming the structure of the neuromotor subsystems in the developing organism." In short, it teaches the younger members of the species what is important and how to behave.

Tom Driver described humans well when he called us "ritualizing animals." Like other animals, humans have evolved to enact ritualizations, both, "to give stability to our behaviors and to serve as vehicles of communication."  We share this tendency with bees that dance, peacocks that display, and whales that breech and slap their flukes. Indeed, there is evidence that the domestic dog developed its ritualizations to exploit the human need for a working companion. So ritualizing is evolutionarily adaptive for many animals, and none more than the human animal. But human rituals are unique in that they seem to be invariably connected with myth. How do such myths arise in the human brain? What is their adaptive significance and why do we relate them so closely with our ritual behavior?

Myths, according to d’Aquili, present themselves as systems of antinomies, or opposites: heaven/hell, good/evil, life/death, because of a basic function of the brain that he calls the "binary operator." This function abstracts qualities of things and arranges them as pairs of opposites, or dyads, whose meaning is intimately related to its partner. He conjectures that it is located on the inferior parietal lobe of the dominant side, and is simply one way that the mind seeks to understand the world. Myths play upon these antinomies and propose solutions to them.

So, we create myths to satisfy our need to understand our environment and to give us some sense of control over it, or at least an understood place within it. A given myth has stability (is an enduring structure of relationships of meaning) because it "is adaptive psychophysiologically for an individual or social group."

But understanding alone is not adaptive enough. Like other animals we seek to adapt ourselves physically to the environments in which we live. Therefore we need a way to make the myth real to us, and that is the fundamental reason why we connect ritual to our myths. One way of describing rituals, then, is that they are motor actions that seek to enact the reality of the mythic structure of meaning our brains instinctually produce.This explanation seems similar to Grimes’ ritual mode of "magic," or ritual as a "means to an end" and is a common anthropological explanation for the rise of ritual and religion in human history

D’Aquili and Laughlin report research that shows that when either the arousal or quiescent system is maximally stimulated it results in a "spillover effect" or a stimulation of the other system. That is, experts in meditation may experience a "rush" or a release of energy during a hyperquiescent state. From the other side, those who engage in rhythmic rituals that engage the arousal system, such as energetic dancing and singing, may experience states of bliss, tranquility, and oneness with others.  Hyperarousal and hyperquiescent states seem to stimulate the limbic system, which regulates our emotions. Hence, these states are experienced as being emotionally intense, and often pleasurable.

It is also during these "spillover" experiences that the paradoxes presented to the brain through myth become resolved by the simultaneous functioning of both hemispheres of the brain. In ritual stimulation of the arousal system, for example, the presentation of what is an unresolvable logical problem in the left brain (the wafer is both bread and the Body of Christ), is experienced as unified in the holistic operation of the right brain.

Ritual participants therefore may experience a resolution of the problems presented by the myth and a deep unity with other participants: "The simultaneous strong discharge of both parts of the autonomic nervous system creates a state that consists not only of a pleasurable sensation, but, also, under proper conditions, a sense of union with conspecifics and a blurring of cognitive boundaries." Similarly, those who engage in meditation may report that they experience resolution of paradoxes during some meditative states, hence the famous use of such paradoxes by Zen practitioners.

Both meditation and ritual can lead to the spillover effect and the simultaneous discharge of the arousal and quiescent systems. But they come at the experience from different directions. Meditation begins with the quiescent system and by its hyperactiviation can achieve spillover into the arousal system (from trophotropic to ergotropic). Ritual approaches from the opposite system (from ergotropic to trophotropic).

In summary, according to biogenetic structural analysis, humans do ritual for the same reasons other animals do them: to diminish distance between other members of the species, to coordinate group action, socialize their young, and communicate status and social structure. What is unique about human ritualizing is its connection to the human propensity to create myths. Myths themselves contain logical or story resolutions to the paradoxes of our lives, but do not solve the problem existentially because they remain only as logical or left-brain solutions.

D’Aquili and other biogenetic structuralists have countered that ritual, in fact, does work effectively for us because it brings mythical paradoxes and unsolved problems to resolution through excitation of neurological processes by motor activity. The myths become experienced fact. Because such a resolution promotes a sense of unity with others and is a pleasurable experience, it is highly adaptive for humans who are trying to make their way in the world.

The point for ritual theorists and liturgists is that we are in an age when science is putting forth plausible, if not exhaustive, accounts of the rise of religion and ritual. Frankly, in many cases, they are doing much better public theology of ritual than we are, if by that you mean making a persuasive case for the continued meaning and power of religious ritual in the future of the human species. It seems inevitable that sociobiology, neurophysiology, and evolutionary theory will continue to open up new questions and tools for analysis of our rites. Human religious ritual behavior is one of the many areas where, as Stephen Gould describes, science and religion, "belly right up to each other, and interdigitate in the most intimate and complex manner."

Nor is human religious experience or ritual behavior reducible to an explanation of neuron pathways. We may confidently say, as Crick does about the soul, that there is no ritual behavior or religious experience that somehow floats above the physicality of our brains ("metaphysical news from nowhere," as Don Saliers has been heard to say). But the interplay in ritual of brain physiology, cultural evolution, local religious traditions, group experiences, individual interpretations and emotions, makes the description of any given ritual event a highly complex matter, necessarily involving many fields and specialties. Because ritual is so complex a matter and reaches so deeply into all the levels of our humanity—biological, cultural, social, and religious—any method that tends toward black/white language should be suspect. In the end, gray matters.

Specific keywords associated with Hermes are:

neurolinguistic programming
nerve tissue
nervous energy


Hermetic philosophy is concerned with secret doctrines, such as alchemy, Magick, and depth psychology.  Hermeneutics is the science of interpreting the scriptures, so it isn't very surprising to see Hermes identified with the creative Logos, the messenger with The Word.

Logically, he is the law of reason, being the Word.  Hermes is also the condition of its utterance.  Because he is duality, he can represent both truth and falsehood, wisdom and folly.  Hermes is the trickster in that if he can not attain his ends by fair means, he does it by foul.

As stated earlier, falling apart makes possible a new style of reflection in the psyche, as the old outworn rigidities dissolve and flow is re-established.  Hermes as Mercury moves among the multiple parts.  He is also a cheat who can deceive with half-truths.  Sometimes truths are even harder to see through, especially paradoxes.

Hermes is an interpreter; understanding is never absolute.  It always requires interpretation.  He bridges the unconscious condition that produces myth, symbols, and metaphors to the conscious mind through this interpretation.  The images are to be left free of moral judgements.

If Hermes is the only appointed messenger to Hades, then he provides his guidance also within the psychology of the Underworld.  Hermes helps us relate to the difficult, frightening, pathological, and complex part of our psyche.  He can in this way also help us interpret depression.  This forms the basis of psychological analysis.

Hermeneutics is a branch of philosophy. Is is the science and art of interpretation, especially of spiritual texts.  In ancient Egypt the invention of writing was ascribed to the corresponding deity Thoth, known in Greece as Hermes, and Rome as Mercury.

Hans-Georg Gadamer is a German philosopher who studied with Heidegger but developed the theory that language, not time and culture, determines consciousness.  Gadamer only came to prominence as a philosopher with the publication of Truth And Method in 1960; and his role is best seen as part of the postwar rehabilitation of German philosophy.

Academic philosophy in 20th-century Germany falls into two distinct phases. The first half of the century was fascinated by the idea of reason as something historical. It was to be understood not as some neutral instrument, equally available to all thinking creatures, and subject to universal rules accessible to all, but as being rooted in the particular circumstances of time or culture. Heidegger's celebrated notion of Dasein (existence, but - literally - "being here") was a revolt against the "analytical" traditions of the late 19th century and the thought that the truths described by philosophy were indifferently available to all people, whether "here" (that is, part of this culture) or not.

Gadamer withdraws from the extreme standpoint of prewar existentialism - that Being is fixed by historical and cultural circumstance, replacing this ontological radicalism with a theory of language. For him, Being is not constituted as such by race and nationality, but, in a celebrated dictum: "Being that can be understood is language." If I have no word for something, it does not "exist" for me, so existence, or failure to exist, happens within  language. Without language, there is no understanding, and language is a product of history and culture.

According to Gadamer, language is a historical phenomenon for two reasons.  One is practical. Language is about communication. It is about transferring, aggregating and processing information. The ability of language to perform these functions depends on the skill with which its users understand each other in any particular case. Language determines consciousness; and this determination depends on how well people have communicated.  "Hermeneutics", for Gadamer, means "understanding" in this concrete sense.  One aspect of this, for his own work, was a renewed emphasis on rhetoric as the discipline of making language function in practice. Another aspect is his famous model of reasoning as dialogue.  Language's second historical characteristic is that it articulates cultural identities.

Gadamer shares the existentialist suspicion of projects which purport to determine truths and values by means of abstract calculation. As far as values are concerned, we inevitably start off in the historical "here" in some way we cannot further analyse. In that respect, as Gadamer argues, valuative (moral or artistic) judgments are quite properly "prejudices" (Vor-urteile , "pre-judgments"). This is not a bad thing, for, as long as we recognise what is happening, we can start to engage in the hermeneutic dialogue which language offers to us, and so overcome the limitations of our own starting position and move towards a richer understanding of ourselves and others.

Typically, this takes place in more or less formalised hermeneutic "dialogues" which strive to reconcile inconsistent valuative positions.  Major examples would be discussion about the value of works of art, and the legal discourse of the courtroom.

Gadamer's theories bore most philosophical fruit in the 60s and 70s, not least in exchanges with other "linguistic" theories such as that of J|rgen Habermas. Subsequently, Gadamer's academic influence has become largely confined to the cultural disciplines; in Germany itself, the predominant analytical tone has now more or less extinguished philosophical historicism. (Julian Roberts, Guardian, Monday March 18, 2002).

Jung, who was perhaps influenced by this school, also extensively explored the realm of hermeneutics in analytical psychology, particularly in regard to alchemy. Polyani (1962) carried his ideas forward when he said:  "Heuristic passion is...the mainspring of originality...the force which impels us to abandon an accepted framework of interpretation and commit ourselves by the crossing of a logical gap, to the use of a new framework."  Heuristics is behind our current notion of "paradigm shift.

Polanyi goes on to say that, "Having made a discovery, I shall never see the world again as before.  My eyes have become different; I have made myself into a person seeing and thinking differently.  I have crossed a gap, a heuristic gap, which lies between problem and discovery."

According to Umberto Eco, 'semiotics is concerned with everything that can be taken as a sign.'  Semiotics is the study of signs which have a role in social life -- anything that 'stands for' something else..  Semiotics also has a correspondence with linguistics as well as Hermes and Hermetic philosophy.  This transdisciplinary subject is difficult to define.  Linguistics is only one branch of this general science.

In a sense every thought is a sign -- how meanings are made and reality maintained.  Semiotics is concerned with how signs mean, not what words mean. Syntactics (or syntax) is the formal or structural relations between signs.  Semiotics is often used to analyze texts.  It explores various genres or mediums of communication from print to mass media to interpersonal communication.  These are differences of channel and technology. Our multisensory experience is constrained by the medium involved; they give us different frameworks for representing our experiences. Media impose a dialogue with the materials and means of execution -- the use of the medium is expressive.

It refers not only to visual signs, including drawings, paintings and photographs, images, objects but also sound, musical sounds and gestures or body language, and media studies in general.  It encompasses all these which form the content of ritual -- systems of signification.  Semiotics searches for deep structures, the grammar of narrative, the relative positions of parts within a self-contained system, the use of signs in specific social situations, and the role of beliefs or ideologies.  It is rarely quantitative or content analysis.  It looks at structured wholes, the system of rules governing the 'discourse' involved in media texts and how semiotic context shapes meaning.

Semiotics represents a range of studies in art, literature, anthropology, mass media, linguistics, philosophy, psychology, sociology, and aesthetics.  It is concerned with significance, linguistic and non-linguistic, intentional and unintentional communication.  It explores modes of production of signs and meanings, how systems and codes are used, transformed or transgressed in social practice.  Semiotics teaches us that reality is plastic, a subjective construction.  It teaches us reality is a systems of signs.  To decline such a study is to leave to others the control of the world of meanings which we inhabit (Chandler,

Further Jungian readings on Hermes are:

GODS IN EVERY MAN, Jean Shinoda Bolin
FACING THE GODS, James Hillman, ed.


How is it possible to know something, even about ourselves, that is radically new?  Metaphors are one of the cognitive mechanisms that lead to the discovery and advancement of new theories.  Often, in science, they appear spontaneously in dreams which are then applied in real time.  Metaphor and analogy help us create mapping between two domains in a one-to-one correlation.

Metaphor still plays a role in the articulation of new scientific theory.  In cognitive psychology, metaphors are drawn from the terminology of computer science, in transpersonal psychology from mysticism, in Consciousness Restructuring Process from Chaos Theory, QM, Holographic and other theories.  Thus, science recycles its metaphors in self-referential strange loops.

Alchemists made use of symbolic metaphors, but ascribed causal powers to metaphorical similarities, (creating the so-called "doctrine of signatures.").  In this way they tried to satisfy their wish to manipulate nature rather than know it.  But, metaphors may be nature, our nature; or certainly phenomenological  expressions of our existential nature.  They provide a reference point without defining reality.

The problem becomes not one of how to know something radically new, but how to learn something radically new.  Thus metaphors are instructive.  They are a central Way of leaping the epistemological chasm between old and new knowledge, old and new ways of essential being.  Metaphors help us make this leap.  They help us enter a problematic situation in order to solve it, to explore it, and explore the world restructured by the metaphor.

We can tap the source of creativity, healing and holistic restructuring through imagination and metaphor.  The possibilities for concepts and for thought are shaped in very special ways by both the body and the brain that evolved to control it, especially the sensory-motor system.  Conceptual metaphors appear to be neural maps that link sensory-motor domains in the brain to regions where more abstract reasoning is done.  This allows sensory-motor structures to play a role in abstract reason (Lakoff, 1999).

The mind-body split or dualism vanishes when bodily control mechanisms are being used in abstract reasoning.  Conceptual metaphorical mappings are not primarily matters of language, they are part of our conceptual systems, cross-domain mappings, allowing us to use sensory-motor concepts and reasoning in the service of abstract reason and holistic perception.  This metaphorical mapping ability is automatically acquired unconsciously in our everyday functioning in the world.

In fact, when metaphors are synchronistic, emergent, spontaneous, self-organizing expressions of our dynamic stream of consciousness, they are an imaginal encoding of information that bridges the domains of conscious and unconscious worlds, material and transpersonal realms.  Such metaphors can be deeply transformative--more than mere language, a technology for changing our behaviors, feelings, thoughts, and beliefs.  Intentional contact and immersion in these metaphors can transform our spirit and soul.

How can we know or describe anything about the changes we have not yet experienced, change that by universal consensus takes us beyond the realm of everyday reality, for which our words and concepts have been fashioned?  Metaphors contain a subtle communication by containing meaning in a delicate net of imagery.  In psychotherapy and mysticism, both, it is characteristic of the Self to speak to the ego-personality in the language of myth and metaphor.  It allows us to grasp some image of that which remains as-yet-unknown.

The mystical and religious literature of East and West and the secret oral traditions of esoteric spiritual schools have used myths, parables, similes, symbols and metaphors to allude to that strange process that somehow changes or transforms our deepest selves.  This is the essence of the Hermetic process.

We realize that we must rely on the reports of those who have gone ahead, who have explored further, who have seen and understood more, and who come back and say, "its like this...," "its as if..."  Metaphor best expresses the as if realm of direct experience which cannot be describe directly.  Classical metaphors are those which are used and understood crossculturally.

Classical metaphors of transformation are embodied in the primordial wisdom traditions.  Though they have used many stories and parables, at least ten themes seem to be recurrent enough to be considered "classical" metaphors of transformation within the meditation tradition.  They include the following dynamic transformations of lifestyle, soul and spirit:

1.  dream sleep to awakening;
2.  illusion to realization;
3.  darkness (or blindness) to enlightenment;
4.   imprisonment to liberation;
5.  fragmentation to wholeness (unifying);
6.  separation to oneness (unifying);
7.  journey to destination (arriving);
8.  being in exile to coming home (returning);
9.  from seed to flowering or fruiting plant or tree (unfolding);
10. from death to rebirth (renewal, resurrection).

Metaphors are also strongly related to process-oriented psychotherapy and immersion in the stream of consciousness [itself a metaphor].  The notion and phenomenon of metaphor raises as many questions as it answers.  Metaphors do not directly describe perceptual reality, but its language helps us imagine an "as if" reality.

For example, in Metaphor Therapy (Grove) we ask what an experience is like.  The replies about the nature of feelings and traumas come automatically couched in somato-sensory metaphor: "like a rock on my chest, like a stab in the back, it leaves me feeling breathless, disembodied."  Following the 'trail' we might ask, "Disembodied like what?"  "Like a cloud, like smoke, like a vaporous nothingness"...   The metaphorical possibilities or replies are virtually endless.  They embody that which is still unknown and possibly unknowable, yet explorable through imagery and dialogue.

Metaphor is an artifact of language--saying this to mean that.  They function as tools. That leads us to suspect it is a technology.  As such, it is an aid to understanding.  Metaphor represents the convergence of figurative language, imagination and consciousness.  There is a fundamental distinction between literal and metaphorical language.

John Searle, in his well-known essay Metaphor asserts that there is no semantic difference between metaphoric expression and literal, because "sentence and words have only the meaning that they have...Metaphorical meaning is always speaker's utterance meaning."  Even poetic metaphors can muddle or clarify comprehension by distorting truth conditions.  You say one thing to mean something else.  So talking of metaphor as a kind of meaning may be false.

Yet, the role of conscious and unconscious processes in metaphor production and interpretation is ubiquitous.  The role of "seeing as" permeates the development of consciousness.  It reflects interactions between imagination, perception and cognition; how bodily and neural processes create and constrain imagination.  Language, concept and world are the three realms of metaphor which is a mode of cognition.

But metaphors are events, not objects.  And generative-metaphors can be viewed as problem-setting scenes and problem-solving situations.  [Tacit generative metaphors may underlie our perceptual patterns much as personal and collective mythologies do].

Metaphors describe the internal structure of domains and how they are represented; the  nature and organizational structure of information. They follow the information processing approach and propose a spatial representation in which local subspaces can be mapped into points of higher-order hyperspaces, and vice versa.  The distance among concepts in these mental spaces is the main parameter for establishing the comprehensibility and aesthetic pleasure of metaphors.

Conceptual metaphors are more than semantic representations; they imply deep action, even though the locus of metaphor is thought.  They directly reflect our metaphorical understanding of experience.  This dual coding is based on more than a theoretical point of view based in imagery and verbal association.

Metaphor is not merely a superficial phenomenon of language, but shapes our judgments, and structures our language.  Displaying many facets, metaphor pervades our everyday non-theoretical language.  A metaphor is a holistic schema, a unifying framework that links a conceptual representation to its sensory and experiential ground.  It embodies the gestalt and ecological properties of thought.

The network of underlying metaphors form a cognitive map, a web of concepts organized in terms which serve to ground the abstract.  This cognitive topology, by which we impose structure on space, gives rise to spatial inferences and images.  The subjective ego-centric properties of the individual are projected onto the world via this cognitive mapping.  Even the same metaphor of 'time' can produce different interpretations, depending on the relative position of the observer within his cognitive topology.

Mental pictures and verbal processes meet in metaphor which promotes retrieval of images and verbal information that intersects with information aroused by the topic.  Language is a conduit for this force by transferring or conveying thoughts and feelings to others.  Therefore what is literal can also be metaphorical; only the literal use of language can be true or false.  These facts underlie or form the dynamical basis of all talk therapies.

George Lakoff and others have developed contemporary theories of metaphor.  Undeniably, there are a great many irreducible metaphorical concepts in our everyday life which function in a systematic way and are grounded in our physical and cultural experience.  But what is metaphor a metaphor for?  How do metaphors work?  How can we interpret two levels of understanding, novel and classical metaphors for comprehension and understanding?  Can we learn without metaphors?

Epistemological metaphors help us relate "how we know what we know." They help us frame and describe our experience and its meaning at both the personal and collective levels.  However, when do our epistemological metaphors become more than models?  When we "know," how do we "know that we know," and "what is it like?"  This bears on the confusion surrounding the process and products of linguistic understanding.

How do psychological processes figure in metaphor comprehension and memory?  When we think in metaphors, do they create similarity, or state some pre-existing similarity?  Do they produce new knowledge by projecting the "known" into an unknown domain?    How do they emphasize, suppress, and organize features of cognition and awareness?  How do we incorporate novelty through similar differences, and different similarities?  What are the educational uses of metaphor?  How can we tap directly into multidimensional metaphoric process?

What is beyond metaphor: what is the role in cognition and consciousness of synecdoche (inclusion) and metonymy (contiguity)?  Metonymy is "the substitution of some attribute or suggestive word for what is actually meant."  Metonymy describes extension involving Whole-Part relations in contrast to synecdoche, which involves Part-Whole relations.  Or, it is a figurative extension of meaning involving concomitance.  It is arguably possible to distinguish between metaphor and metonymy and between non-figurative implication and metonymy.  The distinctions are cognitively based and have linguistic relevance, which improve our understanding of the dynamic role of language in consciousness.

Lakoff and Johnson (1980) claim that our conceptual system is largely metaphorical.  But metonymy and synecdoche may be just as holistically basic. Expressions in simile are even more common than metaphor; both follow literalisms.  They provide a context for our experience.  Metonymy is implied meaning without restriction to the figurative uses of words.  It is a figurative extension of meaning involving concomitance.  Expressing what we sense, feel, think and believe about things and our existential condition, they form the ground of our synergetic cognition about self, others and universe.

Although Hades is the Lord of the Underworld, Hermes has some free access there.  In contemporary terms this means he has access to the deepest recesses of our subconscious, and can therefore function as a psychoopomp or soul-guide. Both gods share a certain style, both covering their heads with a helmet of invisibility.  This helmet hides their thoughts, and it also perceives the hidden thoughts of others.  When it is their intention to become invisible, we cannot perceive "where their heads are at."

Even so, there remains a sense of a hidden watch over our innermost thoughts.  Since their motives and goals remain hidden from our conscious perceptions, they have both been considered characteristically deceptive, unpredictable, and even frightening.  "We must now accept these basic facts", as William Burroughs says, "Mankind exists through bestial acts".

Hermes is also the archetypal Trickster, either as a magician or as a clown.  Since the way of descent into the underworld (unconscious) is the way of human frailty, what is weakness to the hero is the support-system of the clown.  You may extract Hermetic guidance from your sensitive areas or psychological "wounds," if you can listen with an attentive ear.

To act out the part of the clown in the mundane world, however, is to be possessed by Hermes (to literalize it).  The comic spirit is a soul-guide which remains an immortal pattern of existence.  We do not become the guide, we are led by him.  A healthy relationship to the Hermes attitude would be when we are able to accept and laugh at our shortcomings.

The superconscious side of Hermes is expressed spiritually in theurgy.  Theurgy is Divine Activity, that of the Magus with his repertoire of magical operations and regalia.  Whereas Thaumaturgy is magick used to make overt changes in the material world, Theurgy is magick used to make changes for personal evolution and spiritual growth.  It is Divine magic, as opposed to mere thaumaturgy or sorcery. The appurtenences and technologies of theurgy include the altar, the magickal weapons representing the fundamental elements of creation, the operations, the incantations of secret names, etc.  Its goal is apotheosis or, less ambitiously, the "knowledge and conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel" and the working of sublimation both of self and world.

Jewish scholar Gershom Scholem, in Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism (1941/1961) pp. 56-57 links language and theurgy when he says,  "In this context it is well to remember that the chief peculiarity of this form of mysticism, its emphasis on God's might and magnificence, opens the door to the transformation of mysticism into theurgy; there the master of the secret 'names' himself takes on the exercise of power in the way described in the various magical and theurgical procedures of which this literature is full. The language of the theurgist conforms to that of the Merkabah mystic. Both are dominated by the attributes of power and sublimity, not love or tenderness. It is entirely characteristic of the out-look of these believers that the theurgist, in adjuring the 'Prince of Divine Presence,' summons the archons as 'Princes of Majesty, Fear and Trembling.' Majesty, Fear and Trembling  are indeed the key-words to this Open Sesame of religion."

"The throne-world is to the Jewish mystic what the pleroma, the 'fullness', the bright sphere of             divinity with its potencies, aeons, archons and dominions is to the Hellenistic and early Christian mystics of the period who appear in the history of religion under the names of Gnostics and             Hermetics. The Jewish mystic, though guided by motives similar to theirs, nevertheless              expresses his vision in terms of his own religious background. God's pre-existing throne, which             embodies and exemplifies all forms of creation, is at once the goal and the theme of his mystical             vision," (p. 44).

"...In the Merkabah mysticism with which we are dealing here, the idea of the Shekhinah ['light of God'] and of God's immanence plays practically no part at all. The one passage in the Greater            Hekhaloth' which has been adduced as proof of the existence of such conceptions is based on an            obviously corrupt text. The fact is that the true and spontaneous feeling of the Merkabah mystic            knows nothing of divine immanence; the infinite gulf between the soul and God the King on His throne is not even bridged at the climax of mystical ecstasy.

"Not only is there for the mystic no divine immanence, there is also almost no love of God. What there is of love in the relationship between the Jewish mystic and his God belongs to a much later period and has nothing to do with our present subject. Ecstasy there was and this fundamental experience must have been a source of religious inspiration, but we find no trace of a mystical union between the soul and God. Throughout there remained an almost exaggerated consciousness of God's other, nor does the identity and individuality of the mystic become blurred even at the height of ecstatic passion. The Creator and His creature remain apart, and nowhere is an attempt made to bridge the gulf between them or to blur the distinction. The mystic who in his ecstasy has passed through all the gates, braved  all the dangers, now stands before the throne; he sees and hears - but that is all. All the emphasis is laid on the kingly aspect of God, not his creative one..." (pp. 55-56).

From magician Israel Regardie, we hear (The Meaning of Magic), "I suggest, then, that what the Magicians imply by the Astral Light is identical in the last resort with the Collective Unconscious of modern psychology.  By means of the traditional Theurgic technique it is possible to contact consciously this plane, to experience its life and influence, converse with its elemental and angelic inhabitants so-called, and return here to normal consciousness with complete awareness and memory of that experience. This, naturally requires training. But so does every department of science.

Intensive preparation is demanded to fit one for criticial observation, to provide one with the particular scientific alphabet required for its study, and to acquaint one with the researches of one's predecessors in that realm. No less should be expected of Magic--though all too often miracles are expected without due preparation. Anyone with even the slightest visual imagination may be so trained as to handle in but a short while the elementary magical technique, by which one is enabled to explore the subtler aspects of life and the universe. To transcend this "many-coloured world." To gain admittance to loftier realms of soul and spirit is quite another matter. One calling for other faculties and other powers, particularly a fiery devotion and an intense aspiration to the highest.

But with the latter, I am not just now concerned, even though it is the pulsing heart and more important aspect of Theurgy. It is with the scientific aspect of Magic, its more readily verifiable aspect, that I shall deal now. Elsewhere I have given as traditional attributions or associations to the sphere in question the following symbols. Its planet is said to be the Moon, its element Air, its number Nine, its colour purple--and also silver in another scale. The Pearl and Moonstone are its jewels, aloes its perfume, and its so-called divine name is Shaddai El Chai. The Archangel attributed to it is Gabriel, its choir of Angels are the four Kerubs ruling the elements, and its geomantic symbols are Populus and Via. The Tarot symbols appertaining to this sphere are those cards in each of the four suits numbered IX, and closely associated with it also is the twenty-first trump card entitled "The World." Here we find depicted a female form surrounded by a green garland. Actually this trump card is attributed to the thirty-second path of Saturn which connects the material plain to Yesod. How, now, arises the question, how were these symbols and names obtained? What is their origin? And why are they so called attributions or correspondences of that Sephirah called the Foundation?

First of all, meditation will disclose the fact that all have a natural harmony and affinity one with the other--though not perhaps readily seen at the first glance. For example, the Moon is, to us, the fastest moving planet. It travels through all the twelve signs of the zodiac in about twenty-eight days. The idea of rapid change is there implicit, revealing the concept that the astral, while almost a timeless eternal deposit of world events, is nevertheless the origin of mutations and alterations which later influence the physical world--in the same way that impulse and thought must precede any action. Its element is air, a subtle all pervading medium--comparable to the astral light itself--a medium without which life is quite impossible. Nine is the end of all numbers, containing the preceding numbers within its own sum. It always remains itself when added to itself or multiplied, or subtracted, suggesting the fundamental all-inclusive self-sustaining nature of the realm.

What is still more important, however, from the scientific viewpoint is that they are things, names, and symbols actually perceived in that sphere by the skryer in the spirit-vision. As a matter of solid proof, one could quote numerous visions and astral journeys obtained by different people in different places at different times, in which all the traditional symbols appear in dynamic and in curiously dramatic and vital form.

Magic, as already remarked, is a practical system, and every part has been devised for experiment. Each part is capable of verification using appropriate methods. Each student may check it for himself, and thus discover the realities of his own divine nature as well as of the universe both within and without him, independently of what any other man may have written in books. We ask for experiment; demand it even, for the sake of mankind. We invite the earnest and sincere student to experiment for himself.

Sophisticated people, with a smattering of modern psychology, are likely to assume that Magic discloses nothing but the hidden depths of the Unconscious. They will say that these journeys are comparable to dream experiences which are referred to the working and dramatizing power of the subconscious mind. What difference does it make if the Qabalists named this sphere or type of consciousness the Foundation or Astral World and the moderns the Unconscious? The terms are cognate, and the symbols interchangeable; both mean the same thing, when all things are considered.

If Magic possesses weapons that are more penetrating and incisive than scientific ones, shall we reject them because Magic is the discredited house where they are stored? If magical methods reveal our secret selves more directly, and unlock the vast store of wisdom and power within our souls, showing us how to control them in ways that neither psycho-analysis nor any modern science has succeeded to do, should we not be foolish to reject its benefits?

Magic is a scientific method. It is a valid technique. Its approach to the universe and the secret of life's meaning is a legitimate one. If it assists us to become more familiar with what we really are, it is a Science--and a most important one. And to the scientist, whether he be psychologist or physicist, it will open up an entirely new universe of tremendous extent.


 Mercury (Roman)
Thoth, or Tahuti (Egyptian)
Hanuman (Hindu)


Carl Jung brought the messages of the Gods, and opened the way into the hidden depths of the unconscious, by writing voluminous collected works on his hermeneutic processes.

Dr. Leon R. Kass, who has taught philosophy and ethics at the University of Chicago since 1976, has long believed that science could threaten the human condition, both by undermining human self-esteem and by generating tools that might be misused, particularly by genetically reshaping the human mind or body.

Science has become so dangerous, in his view, because it is a powerful force, yet one that has been deliberately stripped of moral values by scientists who are trained to pursue the truth objectively. His gloomy criticisms of biomedical research have led him, though by a very different intellectual route, to the same restrictive views on many reproductive issues as are held by conservatives and opponents of abortion. He has opposed genetic screening that results in abortion and once called the in vitro fertilization methods of fertility clinics "a degradation of parenthood."

But he has long since changed his mind about in vitro fertilization, a technique that since 1978 has enabled about a million otherwise infertile couples to conceive. He is also at ease with the president's decision to allow some research on human embryonic stem cells, a policy announced August, 2001 at the same time as his appointment.

Dr. Kass's guarded enthusiasm for manipulations of human reproduction have made him the favorite moral philosopher of many conservatives.  It has also put him at odds with some of his fellow bioethicists who view him as too willing to see the dark side of biomedical research and too pessimistic about society's ability to control it. He, in turn, has accused them of being too willing to give a free pass to whatever new treatment comes along.

In trying to inject some soul into science, Dr. Kass has found himself setting special value on the natural human cycle of birth, procreation and death. Just as he opposes most kinds of interference in reproduction, he is also against deliberate efforts to increase longevity. The proper goal of medicine, in his view, is to improve health, not to conquer death, which he sees as a necessary and desirable end. "The finitude of human life is a blessing for every human individual, whether he knows it or not," Dr. Kass has written.

With medicine's increasing success, he said, "anything is permitted if it saves life, cures diseases, prevents death." Dr. Kass argues that death at the natural time gives meaning and urgency to life and that immortality might not be quite the blessing it may seem: the new immortals, he says, "would not be like us at all."


In a dimly lit room, sit with journal ready.  Breath quietly and deeply while contemplating the various attributes and correspondences of Hermes.  These include such symbols as the tarot trump, THE MAGUS, the color orange, the number 8, and his characteristic regalia (winged sandals, helmet of invisibility, the caduceus, the four magical weapons--wand, sword, cup and pentacle).

Hermes is a mischievous god, so we should be cautious when contacting him.  If we presume to wield power over this figure of the Magus, the unconscious will react with a subtle attack on our ego.  It deploys the "mana personality" aspect of the magician and he possesses our ego.  This is a regression of consciousness.  If the ego drops its pretentious claims to victory over the unconscious, then possession of your personality by the inner magician will automatically cease.  Don't let this inner magician cast a spell over your ego.

The trick of interacting with him for a profoundly individual step forward is to confess our weakness in the face of the powers of the unconscious.  When we don't oppose the unconscious, it is not provoked into attacking the personality and we find a new "mid-point" of experience which unites the opposites of the conscious and subconscious perspectives in a borderland awareness.

The hermetic approach to reality is not to take fantasy literally.  We must rather learn to read the messages and symbols contained within events as signposts on our journey into our deepest self.  Then we find inner harmony.  The true value of the symbol is not found in analyzing it, but in adding further analogies to the one already supplied by the symbol.

Astrologer Robert Hand sheds light on the nature of the planetary Mercury:

On the highest level, Mercury is associated with the Logos or Word, the aspect of divinity in which the will of God is translated into the particular forms and structures of the created universe.  Occultists have always considered the physical universe itself to be nothing more than a set of signs or a map corresponding to the divine nature.  All knowledge and wisdom come through the Logos, whose symbol is Mercury.  Thus, as long as the process of knowing is recognized to be less important than that which is to be known, Mercury is one of the highest symbols of all.

It is this aspect of Hermes we seek to contact, that which represents living Truth, not the lies or illusions of maya, or the shadow reality.  When you can imagine Hermes's form in front of you, greet him and begin discussing your reasons for desiring a conscious contact with this inner figure.  There is generally little trouble in getting the figure of Hermes to communicate.  After all, words are his forte.  Be sure to faithfully record both sides of the script.  Then reread the dialogue when you are through and record your feelings and reactions to the encounter.


 1.  Describe your most vivid recollection of a synchronous event in your life where inner and outer meanings seemed to mirror one another.  What were the inner and outer circumstances?  What were your feelings and attitudes toward this event?  Did it influence your behavior later?

 2.  What is your attitude toward your dreams?  Do you intentionally try to remember their messages in the morning?  Have you ever kept a dream journal?

 3.  Have you ever had strong yearning to plumb the hidden mysteries of life?  What discipline, or field of research, did you pursue toward this end, providing you followed through on the urge?  If you've had the yearning, but haven't answered the call, why is this the case?

 4.  What Hermetic occupations and preoccupations have you been involved in?  These might include both academic science and occult science, journalism, or any jobs from the list.  Be sure to consider what aspect of Hermes each represents.

 5.  Have you ever experienced or witnessed any borderline phenomena like telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, clairaudience, automatic writing, firewalking, etc.?  How did your rational mind account for this experience?  Did you begin seeking "reasons" or rationalizations for your experience?

 6.  What sorts of hidden relationships might be revealed to you by keeping a journal of your inner and outer life?  Do you think you can be psychologically honest with yourself, within the confines of the journal?

 7.  Can you remember a period of your life where Hermes "initiated" you into a new awareness of the unconscious?  If there is more than one instance, list them.  Choose one to write about more fully.  Did some person fulfill Hermes' role as initiator for you, or was it strictly an inner process?

 8.  Have you ever studied one of the languages of symbolism such as tarot, astrology, alchemy, numerology, qabalah, or psychology?  Did you apply this information toward gaining self-knowledge or just to fulfill your desires or predict the future?

 9.  How do you think you might improve your communication skills both in outer and inner worlds?  Are you learning the basics of the correspondence system, or symbolic language through which archetypes communicate in the deep mind?

 10.  Do you ever seem to have a restless appetite for input and new experiences, or can you digest and integrate each event as it happens?  Do you have a mind for detail or find a certain eloquence in ideas?

 11.  You may have to think long and deep, but can you name a time when the shadow (or ape) in you tripped up the creative Magus in you?  Has the shadow entwined you in maya (egotistical and emotional reactions), or a great illusion by controlling your behavior and thinking?  What was the nature of this illusion and how did you overcome its repression of your true will to creativity?

 12.  When synchronistic phenomena happen to us the inner Magus is communicating with us.  When sudden or unexpected events happen he urges us to try to extract the spiritual meaning in them, to overlook the illusions of space, time, and the ego we have projected onto Reality.  Try to notice spiritual aspects in your mundane life.


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