Rituals - E38 • Hermes Trismegistus, Father of Occult Wisdom

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If you’re a music fan, you know, that James Brown was called the hardest-working man in show business because he was a singer, a songwriter dancer and bandleader.

But today, we’ve got the hardest-working deity in Antiquity Hermes trismegistus.

This last ten syllables.


You just said, really threw me for a loop.

He’s also known as the hardest-working deity in Antiquity with the craziest name.

The yes, truly.

So Hermes was the Greek god God who became an influential cult figure as the founder of a cult wisdom, the founder of astrology and the creator of alchemy and he’s credited with written texts that basically contain all the world’s knowledge.


Sometimes people like that, I’m like, spread it around like, why do you have to be the inventor of all these things?

He was also the creator of hustle culture.

He was a girl boss before girl bosses.


Hi, everyone, and welcome to rituals a Spotify original from Park ass time, M, Schultz, and I’m Christine Schieffer.

Every week, we’ll explore the evolution of spiritualism, and the Occult through stories practices and the impact on Modern culture.

I’ll try to say all those syllables again for you.


We’re talking about Hermes trismegistus, so impressed like it’s music.

My ears the way you do that.

I think it rolls off the tongue, but like, through the teeth, like she’s just through the teeth in a guttural fashion.

Do you know about Hermes at all?

Do you know this guy?

No, not really.


I remember his name from previous stories, but I don’t remember much from the 100% historically accurate.

Disney’s Hercules is that we were talking about know from one of our past episodes.

We mentioned him once.

Okay, well, we’re talking about someone who has dipped their toes into several topics that we cover a lot on the show.


Go on.

And that’s why I drink and our personal lives to talk about it a lot.

So we’re finally giving him the stage I suppose and and at the end I have a very fun fact for you about him.

I can’t wait.

All right, let’s crack into it.


Pristine Question Time.


Did you ever work more than one job at a time?

As this guy seems to have worked every job all.

Yeah, I mean I know he’s just going to overshadow me no matter what I say.

But yes.


I’ve worked multiple jobs at one time.

What were your jobs?


Well, there was, the is going to sound a bear saying we were doing the podcast full time.

I was working at Nickelodeon full-time and I was planning a wedding without a wedding planner, and I gotta say that’s a joke that sounds silly.

It was a cop.

I was across the country so it was like a constant part time job.


I had.

So those were like the main ones.

I think the podcast, we did both as a job during many jobs.

We held through our time in LA.

I actually didn’t even think about that about how I had had podcasting jobs.

And, oh, yeah, as a prop person in college, this is where it sounds like I’m trying to make it a flex and it’s actually like, now in hindsight.


I’m like, why did I do this to myself?

But in college, I had 10 jobs at one time.

What the hell, though?

Like, did you work at one like once a month or something?

I had shifts at three different places every day on top of school places every day.

So like I had a shift at Chipotle and then I have a shift at my retail job and then I did it was like morning through night.


I was the 10 job.

I mean I don’t need you to list them out but like was I just tried listing them for you but I can’t remember two of them.

Oh well.

Okay, I knew to Chipotle to get the corn recipe to get.

That was a relief, right?

That was just like a like, How long did you juggle?


Ten drops.

It was all of my sophomore year of college, my god.

Well, here’s the thing.

I queer people might have more sympathy.

No, they won’t in freshman year, I was dating somebody.

And then sophomore year when it came to like rooming we’re like, oh, let’s live together.

So stupid, and then we broke up and so all of sophomore year, I was living in the same room as my ex and so I was like, I need as many reasons to never be in this room.


Well, that I understand.


So I just kept, I was like I might as well make money while I’m doing that.

So that’s how I got all these jobs but anyway, I guess I was the Hermes trismegistus of my college.

If you might say, I feel like you were except I don’t remember you.

Inventing any cool?

Astrological practices or anything like that?


Okay, that’s fair.

No fun.

But it’s just, I didn’t hear about it.

That’s fair.

Speaking of him, are you familiar with Egyptian or Greek?

God, history or like, what’s what’s your range of knowledge?

They’re very limited.

I took three years of Latin class did Do.


Well, did not like it learned a little bit about mythology.

Do you have any Mythology stories that have like stuck with you?

I know you’re not prepared to answer these, but I know about the pomegranate seeds and I know about Agricola Puella, Puella some words from Latin with us, who Ellen, Omen a Cornelia that sir, you know, her too.


I know her from Mecca, Ramon a book one.

Yes, from sixth grade.

There’s actually there’s one Greek.

Ethology story that has stuck with me that I wanted to share with you.

Something I’ve never told you that I’m like, it’s that’s in my psyche.

I don’t know all the details, but I remember hearing it when I first came out of the closet, I’m really throwing queer, snowy all over the place.


It’s my, it’s the gay agenda catch up, but it was one of my friends who I came out to told me this like part of Greek mythology where I guess there instead of there being Adam and Eve at the beginning, there used to be three beings instead of two and they I’ll double beings, they all had two heads and two sets of them are genitalia.


And one of the beings was 2 mil and Adam, he’s and then another one was to female anatomy.

And another one was one male, one female.

So it was called the androgynous yikes.

But at some point, Zeus needed to punish them.


And so, with his like lightning bolts, I think he like, struck them down and like split them in half.

And so, all of the beings became one headed being And they all got scared or freaked out by the others and they scattered.

And so now for the rest of time they’re always looking for their other half and so, but it’s inclusive because it includes that you could fall for someone of the same.


I love sex identity, as you, I thought you were going to talk about cronin’s eating his babies because I remember that one for sure.

We’re different people.

Yeah, I guess we different things.

Stick in our minds.


Last real question, I’m going to ask you about that.

Leads into everything here.


It’s a big question.

I’m curious to see what you’re going to say.

If you knew all the secrets of the universe.


Would you share them?

Would I share them?

And with who, you know, I’m going to play kind of a tricky answer here because I think I would say if I knew all the secrets so Universe, I would know what to do formation.


Do you know what I mean?

Like, yes, I didn’t see that coming.

I would hopefully no.

Oh, this is something to be shared or like keep this in your diary and don’t tell anyone and you would have the impulse control.

Troll sent maybe not say anything.

I don’t think I would absolutely have any impulse control.


Well maybe if I knew the secrets of the universe, I’d be a different person, you know, it would change me, it would make me a better version of my probably know.

I would literally have to tell at least five people and I would be honestly so mad.

If you didn’t tell me immediately, I would tell you right away.

Everyone needs one, good.


Tell someone they can trust and I think I think I could trust you with all the secrets of the world.


I feel like if I felt like I was in on the secret, I could probably keep it to myself.

We just get together once a week and like just vent about it together just zoom about it, you know.


You need a buddy in something like that.


I agree.

So we’re going to get into Hermes now and we should probably say at the beginning that he was a Greek god.

So he was not a real human being and even though that’s the case, he is credited with all these written texts.

So going into it, my believability factor is not at 100%.


Yeah, there’s some, what do you call it?

Missing links here.

Ha ha, ha, but we’re going to roll with it.


So the story of Hermes trismegistus, starts with the OG Egyptian God, Thoth, and thought that was a lunar deity.

Who was associated with hidden knowledge.


So I already liked both, I love that.

You know, you get both a little drunk at the bar.

He might slip up plus, he was also known for philosophy, law and magic.

And they were a part of his original or how cool he was said to have presided over the dead of fun.


A lot of roles, he’s playing here, a lot of hats, he’s juggling.

Whatever the phrase is there.

The biggest following of the oath was in the city of kimono and Egypt and people were amulets and perform magical spells in his name.

And then the Greeks showed up classic after Alexander.


The Great came to Egypt and basically took over many Greeks who landed in Egypt, picked up the same stories of the Egyptian deities, including the all-knowing Thoth.

Okay, soon after the Greeks realized both and their God, Hermes seem to be the same person.

I will love whoever, came up with that first ones, like, guys.



Am I the only one realizing there’s some weird connections here?

It’s like maybe they’re related.

Do they know it or they hang on.

We know the same guy didn’t get in trouble for saying this out loud.

So Hermes was the god of words who was witty and outsmarted.


Everyone else felt with was said to be so much smarter than others and he’d passed judgment on the other gods.

Oh, so to judgy know-it-alls, love it.


It sounds familiar.


I wonder I’m Hermes your thigh love that for us but it’s possible.


It had an impact because Greco-Roman Egypt became an intellectual hotspot and that was in huge parts.

Thanks to the library in Alexandria.

That was founded around 283.


Okay, attention eventually turned from fothe to just Hermes and belief in some traditions said that Hermes was the first person.


God told all the universe has secrets, too.

So stories like that.

Strengthen his popularity to.


I feel like that’s something her me said, yeah.

Oh yeah.

Yeah, he told me all the secrets, so don’t worry about it.

I give her me says he’s right.

Is he?

I’m is.

He or does he just really pull off The Confident card?


Well, I do.

Yeah, since knowledge reign supreme and come into the city was renamed, her ma Palace, it’s like you call me Christoph Alice.

This is getting a little too close to home.

I wonder if you’re going to when you’re going to realize that I teamed up with the rituals research team and this is actually all about you.


Oh my God it’s empathy and Crystal Palace, the story of our beginnings.

And so Hermes the god himself became known as Hermes trismegistus and trismegistus means the three times great, right?

Because the great wasn’t enough, the great, great double great wasn’t enough.


We needed three of them for too far too far.

It’s possible that the three-times-great actually is, one of three things which is ironic.

That it’s one of three things.

There are some reasons for why we stuck with the three times, great, okay.


One is because Hermes was a priest’s collar and King.

So, three different titles, he also lived three times which I’d like to get into whoa, or simply because three is a magical number.

So we just throw that in there too.


Could be anything?

Or because her me said, I don’t know.

I like three them.

Great three times over.

God told me, don’t worry about it, but whatever the reason that he’s three-times-great, he became a legend in our world because he was patient zero for esoteric teachings.

So tell me, this isn’t the titles of someone you want to meet.


He is credited as the father of a cult wisdom, the founder of astrology and the discoverer of alchemy.

Whoa, ironically votes.

Also three things Triple Threat.

So actually, it’s three times.

Great threat.

Oh, I’m sorry, my odds trismegistus threat.

But yeah, so that sounds like three things.


I absolutely would sign up for which we’ve discussed several times.

He’s also called the father of the Philosopher’s in the Muslim hermetic tradition.

So we’re going to get into how he got so much credit for so many things that we cover on the show.

Yeah man.

He’s like, the, the force behind a lot of it, I guess up next, add author to his list of jobs because we’ll talk about the written works that have been credited to Hermes trismegistus, and how important they are to the world of the occult and modern-day science has another day.


Another title to add to his name, okay?


By this point in our story we know the Greeks that settled into Egypt realize that the Egyptian God Thoth both and their God Hermes were very similar and with the Greeks influence in parts of Egypt Hermes became a rock star.

Hermes was also the hardest working god in ancient times with More knowledge than anyone else and became known as Hermes trismegistus, aka the three times, great.


Knowing all the secrets of the universe, it would seem obvious that you’d want to write some of those down just to like judge ought it.

Not like, I don’t have that kind of Hermes, triple Great Brain.

I need to take notes to like reference later, I can’t remember all of this.

There’s no way it can, all stay fresh in your mind.


So I would certainly write things down even if it was just a slide, the note to someone.

So I’m technically not telling anyone anything, they just found the secrets it is.

Up to and I talked about it but maybe he was just journaling.

I suppose, we got the first indication that Hermes did just that when Christian philosopher Clement of Alexandria, said that Hermes wrote, 42 sacred books where he spilled all the knowledge he had about the world.


My God it’s very interesting but he was trusted with all the secrets and then he wrote a multi series pack of variously but he knew I feel like that’s like as many books as Stephen King wrote. 42 is a probably dr.

Seuss number.

So what I call it, other said, it could be many more books or written works than that.


But either way it’s set off a firestorm because any religious and philosophical texts that was attributed to Hermes helped, push him to this cult figure status.


So who is writing these?

I mean, they say him, I don’t know what’s Hermes wink, but I’m just so curious.


That’s probably where we’ve talked about this before but maybe a bunch of Alchemists were getting together, buying things and saying oh it wasn’t us.

Somebody else Secret in case You don’t like what?

You see.

It was not me, Divine knowledge.

I don’t know what to tell you one collection of texts.

Apparently, from Hermes /, somebody is collectively known as the Corpus hermeticum, which is the foundation of the philosophy known as hermeticism, okay?


It’s like really, it seems like anything in this umbrella of the supernatural or the occult can just be delineating, straight back to the sky, anything’s possible.

If it’s Hermes called guess.

So some of the tenants of hermetic Fe include the following Christine’s kind of car you stand on these.


I feel like I should take notes but I’m not going to, you don’t have to write anything down.

He did 42 bucks, we go.

Okay, perfect.

So some of the tenants of hermetic philosophy, include the idea that speech and divine thought are the greatest gifts to humans.

Mmm, reincarnation, because life and death are perceptions.


Well, okay, that’s deep and trippy and I love it and the idea of As Above.

So, Below meaning, what happens on a spiritual level, Has consequences in the material world.

Whoo, and probably vice versa.


And there’s, there’s much, much more, but this just kind of gives a little example, into the Hermetic fun.


Okay, so, so far, sign me up.


Feel like all rituals has done for me, let me know in every episode.

I am not part of an organization yet that I probably need to be a part of except for maybe like one or two.

Well, I was gonna say then we always Google it afterward and go.

Oh, never mind.


I don’t know.

If I want to be part of this, those three tenants alone.

I’m cool with.

Let’s just leave it at that.

I’m scared to know more but didn’t hermeticism like where you?

I don’t want to guess, never mind.

I felt like it just like a hermit like you are isolated from know and I can do wrong.


I don’t know.

You’re the introvert between us.

So but you would know because it’s true.

I might sign up before you do and let you know how it goes.

So with the Corpus hermeticum three Works in particular.

Stand out as the most important, the oldest is the Divine pie mandir.

And this one has all the secrets of the universe.


Oh okay.


There’s also the vision where Hermes writes about his mystical vision and the sciences and Spiritual Development of the soul.

My, that’s sounds like it needs more than one book.

But okay.


And then we have our favorite, which we’ve done entire episode on the Emerald Tablet.



I’m getting a tablet.

Is the foundation of astrology and Alchemy.

I see.

So, yeah, this is where I start to wonder to how could one person who’s not a person, by the way, somebody better person.


How are they writing this much in one lifetime?

It feels feels impossible.


Somebody else like this might be a group effort.

Well, obviously Hermes was a big deal with all that, but it took until the year 1471 before he was officially a legend despite not being a real person.


Got it.

That’s the year when a philosopher published the then rediscovered corpus hermeticum with all the secrets and knowledge.



And this philosopher just published it.

Oh, he just happened to find it.

Just happened.

Gotta get it.

Yeah, you see were?



And then In 71 Hermes is like Bing Bang Boom Big Rock, top of the charts all over.

Aha, yeah that’s him New York Times bestseller.


Same Ahern.

So once Hermes writings became more public his words soon, became the basis for Magical thought and practices hermeticism included, Alchemy magic and astrology.

So, anyone following Hermes teachings was dabbling in those subjects.


Again, this is where I say sign me up without any other in-depth knowledge.

Knowledge about what’s going on here?

Yeah, I mean, it sounded good.

So all the people who dabble in these subjects they fall into two categories, the philosophical and the technical, okay?

And the technical, I think you and I would be into because that means like leaning into the magic and potions and alcohol.



So you’re doing physical kind of stuff.


And some of the most well-known Greek philosophers were inspired by hermeticism, including Pythagoras, who studied Hermes writings in Egypt.

Plato, was that influence by Pythagoras?

They have been both Pythagoras and Plato were big names in the Scientific Revolution.


So, Hermes reach was basically, it was a wide one.

Far-reaching far-reaching Isaac Newton was also really on board with what Hermes left, the world Newton was, the father of modern physics.

But spent a lot of time studying the occult by reading, the Corpus hermeticum, specifically the Emerald Tablet.



And he was also a big student of alchemy, which had a big influence on his scientific work, which are areas.

We still say, Today, like the laws of motion theory of gravity and calculus, you know, I feel like I want to tell people who are Skeptics about this.

You know, you’re you’re grand teacher.


Isaac Newton.

Well guess what?

He dabbled in a little bit of the occult, some of our greatest, scientific discoveries all stemmed from people who are interested in this.

It’s I how on Earth was that, at least not part of science class.


That’s what I want to know.

That should be its own own field of study, but also We dabble in that and I’ve never discovered calculus not yet.

Not yet.

Not yet.

Not yet.

Not yet.

Yeah, you’re getting ahead of yourself there.

I’m working on it.

It’s just not our time.

I see, but we’ll get there and like everything, there was obviously some pushback with all this so Christians condemned Hermes as a demon worshiper.


Who practiced dark magic interesting though to me because it feels like oh so if they don’t like Hermes I wonder if that made them not trust science in some ways if the assigned to I mean that’s totally my own thoughts coming out but I wonder if they had any opinions on like trusting Newton about gravity and things like Well, yeah.


If you think about, I mean, they didn’t trust for a while that for a long time, the theory of the solar system being, you know, the Earth was the center of the universe.

So there were a lot of things.

I think, they just push back on saying, nope.

Actually, our way is, right?

They also, you know, thought which is were awful, so that, you know, they had a lot of unpacking, the think, the ideas and hermeticism are considered underground.


But as I mentioned it, Did become the foundation of Western occult astrology and Alchemy, so cool and it inspired some of the most famous people we’ve talked about on the show from Madame Helena blavatsky to Aleister Crowley.

Wow, it’s just all over the place widespread.


Widespread Coming up.

Christine are you familiar with the term?

Hermetically sealed.

Aha, I am and I haven’t even put that together until just now.


Well, it’s just one way the influence of Hermes lives on today.


It goes without saying we still study astrology today and we have modern occulta still practicing around the world and Alchemy was the basis for Modern Chemistry.

So Hermes alleged writings really do in theory.

Have a continued impact all throughout.


It’s almost like even if he doesn’t exist which I’m assuming he doesn’t, really the impact is still there.


Like whoever wrote all these and put these into publication?

I’m still created the van in our way of life.

Yeah, well I’m gonna throw a fun fact.

Your way Christine are you familiar with the term?

Hermetically sealed.

I am it’s like sealed.

Like airtight sort of, right.



So the word hermetic today typically means sealed or secret.

Okay secret and it makes sense.

Hermeticism was viewed.

As a secret society type of deal.

Where only those who truly believe could understand that might be where I got this idea of being.


I mean like a hermit like your Yeah.

Hermetically your hidden tucked away, tucked away.

It was also said that Hermes had magical powers that could seal a box or chest so that it could never be opened.

So hermetically sealed.

So it’s like Hermes locked, it tight and that’s a very good fun fact.


I feel like that might come in handy at trivia night someday.

I can’t wait for a bar to ask.

Only you one question and it’s about the cut the coming of phrase for hermetically sealed.

And then I get disqualified because I’ve immediately I’m to you to tell you about it.


They’re like no phones.

Well I leave you on that fun fact.

Christine that is a Hermes trismegistus.

I am so impressed about this guy who didn’t really exist but still like you said, kind of rearranged our whole way of life or like built a path for for us to do this podcast.


Even it’s a wild.

I mean, are there any pieces to the story that you’re most skeptical about?

I feel like we probably can both agree to one big hole in this Which is that this is not a real person but, you know, yeah, yeah.

Yeah, I would agree with that much like the other gods and goddesses from that time period.


But I mean clearly, he had a very physical impact on the world despite not being real.

He still had star power and pull amazing star power for someone who’s not real.

Honestly, I’m impressed I can only dream of achieving those Heights.


Hey I’m right there with.

You will Empower each other to one day be so So powerful, we might as well just not even be real.

We might not even be real.


Do we think that Alchemists, credited him with things that maybe seems too out of the ordinary for them to bring up and maybe that’s why there’s so many texts quote written by Hermes, but really, it was just scientists.



I feel like it took me a bit to get there, but I think it makes sense that if they were being demonized by the church, so to speak and being, I mean, I know it was dangerous to be demonized by the church back then.

I can understand why they would say what everyone collectively was just pointing their finger at one not real person to take the blame.


I wonder if the real secrets of the world were all of The Alchemist writing these and telling each other who actually wrote the books.

You know, I was going to say it would suck to not get the credit, but that’s from somebody like me, who just wants the credit.

So I don’t know if that goes for everybody, but I feel like I’d be like, well, I worked really hard on this, but maybe they got the, the credit in their own.


Little inner circles, they got a hermetically-sealed credit, Within their own little air tight Circle.

That was a stretch.

I apologize.

Yeah, I wonder who actually, if anyone ever really went looking for the true authors of these texts.

Yeah, that’s a great point.

And I wonder did, they all have different handwriting?


Like I feel like there must be some sort of differences are calling cards between the text, I don’t know, for all I know maybe there is like they actually did sign like first editions of their own book, but to us now just like a book signed by random person and we’re like Oh I thought Hermes wrote this?


But it’s But you signed it.

Some random guy named Dale wrote this, it’s Dale The Alchemist.

He was the secret the ghost writer of all these books that were credited to Hermes poor Dale.


I feel like we should do an episode on Dale.

Okay, Mitchell, set it up.

Okay, I’m impressed with Dale to be honest with you, I feel like we all serve.

The posthumous credit.



Thanks so much for listening.

We’ll be back next week with another great episode information.

On today’s episode came from The Collector, the Ohio State University, patheos Museum of Witchcraft, and Magic.

Nine ways Academia Bhai Library Online Crystal links to Salem and art science design, remember to follow rituals on Spotify to get a brand-new episode.


I sewed every week and you can listen to this and all other episodes of rituals for free exclusively on Spotify.

And if you liked this show, follow at Park ass on Facebook and Instagram and add podcast Network on Twitter, you can find me at the M Schultz and you can find me at Eckstein cheaper.


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Rachel’s is executive produced by Max Cutler and is a Spotify original from par cast.

It was created by Max color, sound design by Kristen Acevedo with associate.

Sound design by Jamie Ryan research, by Chelsea would fact-checking by Catherine Barner.


It’s produced by Kristen Acevedo and Jonathan, Ratliff with production assistants by Ron Shapiro.

We’re your host, Christine cheaper, and M Schultz.