The Virgin of the World

This creation of life by the sun is as continuous as his light; nothing arrests or limits it. Around him, like an army of satellites, are innumerable choirs of Genii. These dwell in the neighbourhood of the Immortals, and thence watch over human things. They fulfil the will of the Gods by means of storms, tempests, transitions of fire, and earthquakes; likewise by famines and wars, for the punishment of impiety. For the greatest crime of men is impiety towards the Gods. The nature of the Gods is to do good, the duty of men is to be pious, the function of the Genii is to chastise. The Gods do not hold men responsible for faults committed through mistake or boldness, by that necessity which belongs to fate, or by ignorance; only iniquity falls under the weight of their justice.

It is the sun who preserves and nourishes all creatures; and even as the Ideal World which environs the sensible world fills this last with the plenitude and universal variety of forms, so also the sun enfolding

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all in his light accomplishes everywhere the birth and development of creatures, and when they fall wearied in the race, gathers them again to his bosom. Under his orders is the choir of the Genii, or rather the choirs, for there are many and diverse, and their number corresponds to that of the stars. Every star has its genii, good and evil by nature, or rather by their operation, for operation is the essence of the genii. I n some there is both good and evil operation. All . these Genii preside over mundane affairs, they shake and overthrow the constitution of States and of individuals; they imprint their likeness on our souls, they are present in our nerves, our marrow, our veins, our arteries, and our very brain-substance, and in the recesses of our viscera. At the moment when each of us receives life and being, he is taken in charge by the genii who preside over births, and who are classed beneath the astral powers. Perpetually they change, not always identical, but revolving in circles. They permeate by the body two parts of the soul, that it may receive from each the impress of his own energy. But the reasonable part of the soul is not subject to the genii; it is designed for the reception of God, who enlightens it with a sunny ray. Those who are thus illumined are few in number, and from them the genii abstain; for neither genii nor gods have any power in the presence of a single ray of God. But all other men, both soul and body, are directed by genii, to whom they cleave, and whose operations they affect. But reason is not like desire, which deceives and misleads. The genii, then, have the control of mundane things, and our bodies

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serve them as instruments. Now, it is this control which Hermes calls Destiny. [*1]

The Intelligible World is attached to God, the Sensible World to the Intelligible World, and through these two worlds, the sun conducts the effluence of God, that is, the creative energy. Around him are the eight spheres which are bound to him–the sphere of the fixed stars, the six spheres of the planets, and that which surrounds the earth. To these spheres the genii are bound, and to the genii, men; and thus are all beings bound to God, who is the universal Father. The sun is the creator; the world is the crucible of creation. The Intelligible Essence rules heaven, heaven directs the gods, under these are classed the genii, who guide mankind. Such is the divine hierarchy, and such is the operation which God accomplishes by gods and genii for Himself. Everything is a part of God, thus God is all. In creating all, He perpetuates Himself without any intermission, for the energy of God has no past, and since God is without limits, His creation is without beginning or end. [*2] [If

Footnotes

^101:1 This discourse, which usually concludes, not precedes, the “Fragments,” is sometimes but erroneously attributed to Apuleius; see Hargrave Jennings’ scholarly and exhaustive “Introductory Essay” to my Annotated Edition of “The Divine Pymander.”

Robt. H. FRYAR, Bath.

^106:1 Asclepios, throughout this discourse, preaches pure Hermetic doctrine, which discourages all traffic with elementals, astrals, and other daemonic influences, whether beneficent or the reverse, and instructs man rather to seek the grace of the Holy Spirit, by aspiring evermore inwards and upwards, and abiding in the reasonable and divine part of his nature.

A.K.

^106:2 Compare with this declaration the opening passage of Section III. in the Book of Hermes to Tatios, and my note thereon. The Divine Olympos, or Mount of Energies, emits a continuous river of Generation, or “Becoming.” And the equilibrium of Nature is continually maintained by a corresponding process of perpetual return from Matter to [p. 107] Essence; from Existence to Being. With the right hand ADONAI projects; with the left He indraws.

The leading idea in the above fragment is the parallelism between Man and the Universe. The whole Solar System of the Macrocosm, with its hierarchy of gods and elemental powers, is resumed in the human system of the Microcosm.

A.K.

The Virgin of the World, by Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland, [1884], at sacred-texts.com

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PART II.

IF thou reflectest, O King, thou wilt perceive that there are incorporeal corporealites. Which are they? says the King. Corporealites which appear in mirrors; are they not incorporeal?

It is true, Tat, says the King; thou hast a marvellous fancy!

There are yet other incorporealities; for instance, abstract forms, what say you to them? Are they not in themselves incorporeal? yet they are manifest in animated and inanimated corporealities.

True again, Tat.

So then there is a reflexion of incorporealities upon corporealities, and of corporealities on incorporealities. In other words, the Sensible World and the Ideal World reflect each other. Adore, then, the sacred images, O King, for they also are reflective forms of the Sensible World.

Then the King rose and said, Methinks, prophet, it is time to look after our guests; to-morrow, we can continue this theological controversy. [*1] [When

Footnotes

^107:1 As I read the above fragment, it is written in a spirit of mirth. Tat is quibbling with the King, as the manner of their talk plainly shows. Nevertheless, an undercurrent of occult meaning runs through the speech of the son of Trismegistos. When he names the sacred images, the allusion intended is to the cultus of the Mysteries.–A.K.

The Virgin of the World, by Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland, [1884], at sacred-texts.com

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PART III.

WHEN a musician, desiring to conduct a melody, is hindered in his design by the want of accord in the instruments employed, his efforts end in ridicule, and provoke the laughter of the auditors. In vain he expends the resources of his art, or accuses of falseness the instrument which reduces him to impotence.

The great musician of Nature, the God who presides over the harmony of song, and who controls the resonance of the instruments according to the rhythm of the melody, is unwearying, for weariness reaches not the gods. And if an artist conducts a concert of music, and the trumpeters blow according to their ability, the flute-players express the delicate modulations of the melody, and the lyre and violin accompany the song, who would think of accusing the inspiration of the composer, or withhold from him the esteem his work deserves, if some instrument should trouble the melody with discord and hinder the auditors from seizing its purity? Even so, not without impiety can we impeach Humanity, on account of the impotence of our own body. For know that God is an Artist of untiring Spirit, always Master of His science, always successful in His operations, and everywhere bestowing equal benefits. If Phidias, the creative artisan, should find the material on which it is necessary for him to work, refractory to his skill, let us not blame him who has laboured to the utmost of his power; neither let us accuse the musician of the faults of the instrument, but rather complain of the defective chord, which, by lowering or raising a note, has destroyed

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the concord; and the worse this is, the more does he merit praise who succeeds in drawing from such a chord an accurate tone. Far from reproaching him, the auditors will be all the better pleased with him. It is thus, O most illustrious hearers, that our inward lyre must be attuned to the intention of the musician.

I can even imagine that a musician, deprived of the aid of his lyre, and being called upon to produce some great musical effect, might, by untried means, supply the place of the accustomed instrument, and arouse thereby the enthusiasm of his auditors. It is related of a cithara player, to whom Apollo was favourable, that, being once suddenly checked in his performance of a melody by the snapping of a string, the kindness of the God supplied the want and magnified the talent of the artist; for by providential help, a cicada interposed his song and executed the missing notes which the broken cord should have sounded. The musician, reassured, and no more troubled by the accident, obtained a triumph. I feel in myself, O most noble hearers, something similar; for, but now, being convinced of my incapacity and weakness, the power of the Supreme Being has supplied in my stead the melody wherewith to praise the king. For the design of this discourse is to declare the glory of royalties and their achievements. Forward, then! the musician wills it, and for this the lyre is tuned! May the grandeur and sweetness of the melody respond to the purpose of our song!

And since we have tuned our lyre to hymn the praise of kings, and to celebrate their renown, let us first praise the good God, the supreme King of the universe. After Him we will glorify those who reflect His image, and hold the sceptre of royalty. Kings

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themselves are glad that the song should descend from above, degree after degree, that aspiration should draw nigh to Heaven whence victory comes to them. Let, then, the singer praise the mighty God of the universe, ever immortal, whose power is eternal as Himself, the first of Victors, from Whom all triumphs come, succeeding one another. Let us hasten to close our discourse, that we may offer praise to kings, even to those who are the guardians of peace and of general security; who hold from the Lord supreme their ancient power, and receive victory from His hand; those whose sceptres shine resplendent to herald the hardships of war, whose triumphs anticipate the conflict; and to whom it is given not only to reign, but to overcome; whose very advance to battle strikes the barbarian enemy with fear.

The Virgin of the World, by Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland, [1884], at sacred-texts.com

PART IV.

THIS discourse ends where it began, with the praise of the Supreme Being, and afterwards of the most holy kings by whom we obtain peace. So that having commenced by celebrating the Almighty greatness, it is to this greatness that we return in terminating our speech. Even as the sun nourishes all germs, and receives the promise of

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the fruits which his rays, like divine hands, gather for the God; even as these shining hands collect likewise the sweet odours of plants, so also we, after having begun by the adoration of the Most High and the effluence of His Wisdom, after having gathered into our souls the fragrance of these heavenly flowers, must now collect the sweetness of this sacred harvest which He, with fruitful rains, will bless. But even if we had ten thousand mouths and ten thousand voices wherewith to glorify the God of all purity, the Father of Souls, we should yet be powerless to celebrate Him worthily; for new-born babes cannot, indeed, rightly extol their father, yet since they do their utmost, they obtain indulgence. Or rather, the glory of God is seen in this, that He is superior to all creatures; He is the Beginning, He is the End, the Midst, and the Continuance of their Praise; in Him they acknowledge their Parent, all-powerful and infinite.

It is the same also with our king. We, who are his children, love to extol him; and we ask indulgence of our father, even when, before we asked, it was granted to us. A father, far from turning away from his little ones, and from his new-born infants, because of their feebleness, rejoices to see himself recognised by them. The universal gnosis which communicates life to all, and enables us to bless God, is itself a gift of God. For God, being good, has in Himself the fulness of all perfection; being immortal, He contains in Himself immortal tranquillity, and His eternal power sends forth into this world a salutary benediction. In the hierarchy which He contains there are no differences nor variations; all the beings in Him are wise, the same providence is in all, the same intelligence governs

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them, the same sentiment impels them to mutual goodness, and the same love produces among them universal harmony.

Therefore, let us bless God and after Him the kings who from Him receive the sceptre. And having inaugurated the praises of the kings, let us also glorify piety towards the Supreme. May He instruct us how to bless Him, and may His aid assist us in this study. May our first and chief endeavour be to celebrate the fear of God and the praise of the Kings. For to them is due our gratitude for the fruitful peace which by their means we enjoy. It is the virtue of the King, and his name only which obtains peace; he is called King because he advances chief in royalty and power, and because he reigns by reason and peace. He is above all barbarian royalties, his very name is a symbol of peace. The name alone of the King suffices often to repel the foe. His images are as beacons of safety in the tempest. For the very image of our King procures victory, confers security, and renders us invulnerable.

[Patrizzi hesitates to ascribe the fragment entitled “Asclepios to King Ammon” to the disciple of Hermes, thinking it unworthy of one who had enjoyed the instructions of so great a man. Dr. Menard points out that despite the tirade against the Greeks and the Greek tongue in the first section of this fragment, it was undoubtedly originally written in that very language, as is proved by the reference made in the third section to basileus (the king), and the etymological derivation of the word from (bainein (to advance), and also by the allusions to Phidias, and to Eunomios, a musician of Locris, in the second section. The description of the sun as a charioteer, and the passing reference to “him who bears the crowns,” are also both suggested by Greek usages. In Egypt the sun was always represented as carried on a barge or floating raft along the waters of the Nile. Dr. Menard inclines, therefore, to

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believe that the depreciatory remarks concerning the Greeks must have been introduced by a fraudulent hand, in order to mislead the reader in regard to the true origin of the fragment. Dr. Menard is, moreover, of opinion that the king, or kings spoken of in the fragment, are the imperial brothers Valens and Valentinian. I venture to differ from this view, and believe, rather, that the writer, whether indeed the true Asclepios or not, certainly uses the words “king,” “kings,” and “royalties” in an occult sense. For if he intended, as Dr. Menard supposes, a mere commonplace eulogium on a reigning monarch or monarchs–whether Ammon, or Valens and his brother–to what purpose should he set out by declaring his writings to be “truly occult and containing a hidden sense”? All that is said in the fragment concerning kingship is perfectly applicable to the mystic Osiris, the nature of whose royalty has been elsewhere explained. Osiris is the reflection and counterpart in Man, of the supreme Lord of the Universe, the ideal type of humanity; hence the soul, or essential ego, presenting itself for judgment in the spiritual world, is in the Egyptian Ritual of the Dead, described as “an Osiris.” It is to this Osiris, or king within us, our higher Reason, the true Word of God, that we owe perpetual reverence, service, and faithful allegiance.

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