The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Hermes Trismegistus

with 2 comments

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Jules-Felix Coutan designed “Glory of Commerce” for Grand Central Terminal in 1911. A neat contemporaneous account of the construction of this statuary, which was carved in Long Island City I would add (by the firm of William Bradley & Son, 547 Vernon Avenue, which I suspect to have been located somewhere around Queensbridge Park), and can be accessed at nytimes.com.

from wikipedia

The Hermetic literature added to the Egyptian concerns with conjuring spirits and animating statues that inform the oldest texts, Hellenistic writings of Greco-Babylonian astrology and the newly developed practice of alchemy (Fowden 1993: pp65–68). In a parallel tradition, Hermetic philosophy rationalized and systematized religious cult practices and offered the adept a method of personal ascension from the constraints of physical being, which has led to confusion of Hermeticism with Gnosticism, which was developing contemporaneously.

As a divine source of wisdom, Hermes Trismegistus was credited with tens of thousands of writings of high standing, reputed to be of immense antiquity. Plato’s Timaeus and Critias state that in the temple of Neith at Sais, there were secret halls containing historical records which had been kept for 9,000 years. Clement of Alexandria was under the impression that the Egyptians had forty-two sacred writings by Hermes, encapsulating all the training of Egyptian priests. Siegfried Morenz has suggested (Egyptian Religion) “The reference to Thoth’s authorship…is based on ancient tradition; the figure forty-two probably stems from the number of Egyptian nomes, and thus conveys the notion of completeness.” The Neo-Platonic writers took up Clement’s “forty-two essential texts”.

The Hermetica, is a category of papyri containing spells and initiatory induction procedures. In the dialogue called the Asclepius (after the Greek god of healing) the art of imprisoning the souls of demons or of angels in statues with the help of herbs, gems and odors, is described, such that the statue could speak and engage in prophecy. In other papyri, there are recipes for constructing such images and animating them, such as when images are to be fashioned hollow so as to enclose a magic name inscribed on gold leaf.

About these ads

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 21, 2012 at 12:15 am

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Hermes guided souls to the underworld as well. It would be fitting in a way for his image to be at the entrance to the underground train terminal, this Avernus, where the lost souls of this city are borne through the dark stygian tunnels to whatever nameless destination Charon the motorman takes them.

    “In other papyri, there are recipes for constructing such images and animating them, such as when images are to be fashioned hollow so as to enclose a magic name inscribed on gold leaf.”

    Sounds much like the golem where the effigy was animated by the tetragrammaton.

    Cav

    January 29, 2012 at 10:26 pm

  2. […] time readers will recognize the shot above from a January 2012 posting entitled “Hermes Trismegistus“, which describes the great statue which adorns the Vanderbilt Rail Palace known as […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 916 other followers

%d bloggers like this: