isis unveiled: xi (magical history)

“And here we may as well mention the works of Hermes Trismegistus. Who, or how many have had the opportunity to read them as they were in the Egyptian sanctuaries? In his Egyptian Mysteries, Iamblichus attributes to Hermes 1,100 books, and Seleucus reckons no less than 20,000 of his works before the period of Menes.

Eusebius saw but forty-two of these “in his time”, he says, and the last of the six books on medicine treated on that art as practiced in the darkest ages; and Diodorus says that it was the oldest of the legislators Mnevis, the third successor of Menes, who received them from Hermes. Of such manuscripts as have descended to us, most are but Latin retranslations of Greek translations, made principally by the Neo-platonists from the original books preserved by some adepts.

Marcilius Ficinus, who was the first to publish them in Venice, in 1488, has given us mere extracts, and the most important portions seemed to have been either overlooked, or purposely omitted as too dangerous to publish in those days of Auto da fe.

And so it happens now, that when a kabalist who has devoted his whole life to studying occultism, and he has conquered the great secret, ventures to remark that the Kabala alone leads to the knowledge of the Absolute in the Infinite, and the Indefinite in the Finite, he is laughed at by those who because they know the impossibility of squaring the circle as a physical problem, deny the possibility of its being done in the metaphysical sense.”

H. P. Blavatsky

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