” … And that he (H. that is Hermes, so symbolised) is Conductor and Reconductor of souls, 1 and Cause of souls, has not escaped the notice of the poets (H. of the Gentiles), when saying:
“But Cyllenian Hermes summoned forth the souls
Of men mindful” 2—
—not the “suitors” of Penelope (H. he says), hapless wights! but of those who are roused from sleep, and have their memory restored to them—
“From what honour and [how great] degree of blessedness.” 3
J. That is, from the Blessed Man Above—
H. —or Original Man, or Adamas, as they 4 think—
J. —they 5 have been thus brought down into the plasm of clay, in order that they may be enslaved to the Demiurge of this creation, Esaldaios 6—
H. —a fiery God, fourth in number, for thus they call the Demiurge and Father of this special cosmos. 7
(13) S. “And he 1 holds a rod in his hands,
Beautiful, golden; and with it he spell-binds the eyes of men,
Whomsoever he would, and wakes them again too from sleep.” 2
This (H. he says) is He who alone hath the power of life and death. 3
J. Concerning Him it is written: “Thou shalt shepherd them with a rod of iron.” 4
But the poet (H. he says), wishing to embellish the incomprehensibility of the Blessed Nature of the Logos, bestowed upon Him a golden instead of an iron rod.
S. “He spell-binds the eyes” of the dead (H. he says), and “wakes them again too from sleep”—those who are waked from sleep and become “mindful.” 5
C. Concerning them the Scripture saith: “Awake thou that sleepest, and rise, and Christ will give thee light.” 6
This is the Christ, the Son of Man (H. he says), expressed in all who are born from the Logos, whom no expression can express.
S. This (H. he says) is the Great Ineffable Mystery of the Eleusinia: “Hye Kye.” 7
J. And that (H. he says) all things have been put under Him, this too has been said: “Into all the earth hath gone forth their sound.” 1
(14) S. And “Hermes leads them, moving his rod, and they follow, squeaking” 2—the souls in a cluster, as the poet hath shown in the following image:
“But as when bats into some awesome cave’s recess
Fly squeaking—should one from out the cluster fall
Down from the rock, they cling to one another.” 3
J. The “rock” (H. he says) means Adamas. This (H. he says) is the “corner-stone”—
C. —“that hath become the head of the corner.” 4 For in the
“Head” is the expressive Brain 1 of the Essence, from which [Brain] “every fatherhood” 2 has its expression—
J. —which “I insert in the foundation of Zion.” 3
[By this] (H. he says) he 4 means, allegorically, the plasm of man. For the Adamas who is “inserted” is [the inner man, and the “foundations of Zion” are 5] the “teeth”—the “fence of the teeth,” as Homer says—the Wall and Palisade 6 in which is the inner man, fallen into it from the Primal Man, the Adamas Above—[the Stone] “cut without hands” 7 cutting it, and brought down into the plasm of forgetfulness, the earthy, clayey [plasm].
(15) S. And (H. he says that) they followed Him squeaking 8—the souls, the Logos.
“Thus they went squeaking together; and he led them on,
Hermes, the guileless, down the dark ways.” 9
That is, (H. he says) [He led them] into the eternal lands free from all guile. For where (H. he says) went they?
(16) “They passed by the streams of Ocean, and by the White Rock,
By the Gates of the Sun, and the People of Dreams.” 10
For He (H. he says) is Ocean—“birth-causing of gods and birth-causing of men” 1—flowing and ebbing for ever, now up and now down.
J. When Ocean flows down (H. he says), it is the birth-causing of men; and when [it flows] up, towards the Wall and Palisade, and the “White Rock,” it is the birth-causing of gods.
This (H. he says) is what is written:
“‘I have said ye are Gods and all Sons of the Highest’ 2—if ye hasten to flee from Egypt and get you beyond the Red Sea into the Desert”; that is, from the intercourse below to the Jerusalem Above, who is the Mother of the Living. 3
“But if ye turn back again into Egypt”—that is, to the intercourse below—“‘ye shall die like men.’” 4
For (H. he says) all the generation below is subject to death, but the [birth] begotten above is superior to death.
C. For from water alone—that is, spirit—is begotten the spiritual [man], not the fleshly; the lower [man] is fleshly. That is (H. he says) what is written: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.” 5
H. This is their 6 spiritual birth.
J. This (H. he says) is the Great Jordan, which, flowing downwards and preventing the sons of Israel from going forth out of Egypt, or from the intercourse below—
H. —for Egypt is the body, according to them—
J. —was turned back by Jesus 1 and made to flow upwards.”
G.R.S. Mead, Thrice-Greatest Hermes, Vol. 1, 1906, pp. 155-8.
From Hippolytus, Philosophumena; or, Refutation of all Heresies.