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Henry Corbin-‘An invocation to Hermes’, The Idris/Henoch Of The Islamic Tradition

Today’s sharing from the Blue House of HYGEIA is a quote from Henri Corbin ‘s ‘Man and his Angel’, page 56/57. Fayard Editions-1983, an invocation to Hermes, the Idris/Henoch of the Islamic tradition. Here Corbin is quoting from the Arabic original of the Picatrix, which is presenting the temple work of the Sabians of Harran. Our working English translation from Corbin’s French.

According to the account of the Persian astrologer Abu Ma’shar (787-886), Idris/Hermes was termed “Thrice-Wise” Hermes Trismegistus because he had a threefold origin. The first Hermes, comparable to Thoth, was a “civilizing hero”, an initiator into the mysteries of the divine science and wisdom that animate the world; he carved the principles of this sacred science in hieroglyphs. The second Hermes, in Babylon, was the initiator of Pythagoras. The third Hermes was the first teacher of alchemy.


The Invocation:

‘You are so hidden that we cannot fathom your nature; you are so subtle that you cannot be defined by any qualifications: because with the male you are male, with the female you are female; in the day light you are the nature of light, among the evening shadow you are the nature of the night; you emulate with them all in all of their natures, and you make yourself similar to them in all their modes of being. I invoke you by all your names:

In Arabic, O Otared!

In Persian, O Tir!

In vernacular Greek, O Harus!

in Classical Greek, O Hermes!

In Indian, O Buddha!

Send me from your spiritual-being such an Energy so that my arm may be fortified, may it guide and ease my search for all knowledge. Guide me through your wisdom and protect me with your strength. Teach me to understand what I cannot fathom, to know what I don’t know, to see what I don’t see.

Turn away from me the damages that creep within ignorance, forgetfulness and dryness of heart, so that you may elevate me to the rank of the ancient wisemen in whose heart’s wisdom, discrimination, watchfulness, discernment and comprehension dwell.

May you dwell too in my heart and may your Energy never leave me, guiding me by its light in all endeavors.

By Haraqiel, the angel posted in your essential sphere and in your service, may you grant my prayer, may you hear my call.’


Description of the header’s picture:

…/…’Zosimos with the sun on his head, and Theosebeia, with the moon on her head, both in the hand of a three-headed being that is much larger than these two. It is about three times bigger than Zosimos whose hands are outspread, as if in despair or in a gesture for surrender. At the side of Zosimos, we see Theosebeia, clinging on to his body, holding him around the chest.

Both figures give the impression of being lifted up into the air, and both figures are represented from the knee downward, with uncovered legs.With its right hand the three-headed figure holds a human-shaped being with animal tail and paws but with a human head and eyes.

That figure is strongly colored, mainly black and red. The hands are put together in an almost human way. Besides this figure there is a second figure with a similar feature who seems to be connected to the arm of the three-headed figure.

These two figures are like enlarged shadow figures of Zosimos and Theosebeia, depicting their animal or bodily nature.

Thus both, the couple on the right and the couple on the left, are Zosimos and Theosebeia.This triune figure is Hermes-Mercurius Trismegistus, the guide of alchemy, the one that can separate and hold together the light and the dark side, the lower animal realm and the upper divine aspect of the human experience. He is the evasive spirit of the unconscious with different appearances, ‘uterius capax’, capable of both.

He is not only good but can also be evil: ‘He is good with the good and evil with the evil”, as some alchemists said, depending on the attitude of the humans. Finally, he is the representation of the ‘Anthropos’, that symbol of the entire human, including also his or her dark bodily side…. /…’

From Theodore Abt’s commentary of the pictures of the ‘Muşaf al şuwar’.

Henry Corbin-‘An invocation to Hermes’, The Idris/Henoch Of The Islamic Tradition

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