Initiatory Hymn of Silence – The Digital Ambler’s Post

Initiatory Hymn of Silence

In Book XIII of the Corpus Hermeticum, titled by Copenhaver in his Hermetica translation as “A secret dialogue of Hermes Trismegistus on the mountain to his son Tat: on being born again, and on the promise to be silent”, after a lengthy discourse on the nature of spiritual rebirth, Tat convinces Hermes Trismegistus to sing the hymn given by the Divine Poemander upon entering the higher spheres of the cosmos.  Hermes is reluctant to sing it, but does so with the caution that “it cannot be taught; it is a secret kept in silence”, and that its true use in spiritual ascension is to be kept a mystery.  Though without barbarous words of power, this particular prayer is important for establishing a type of initiatory process in the Hermetic tradition, and the revelation of mysteries that are dependent upon certain markers of spiritual development.

Hermes instructs that this hymn is to be recited outdoors, bowing down facing south at sunset and again facing east at sunrise.

Let every creature in the cosmos give ear to this hymn.
Open, Earth!
Let every lock that holds the rains open to me!
Shake not, trees!
I am about to praise the Lord of Creation, the All and the One.
Open, heavens!
Winds, be still!
Let God’s immortal sphere receive my song.

For I am about to sing praise to the Creator of All,
who fixed the earth,
who suspended the heavens,
who parted fresh water from the ocean in lands inhabited and in the wild for the creation and sustenance of all mankind,
who ordained that fire shine for every use of gods and men.
Let us give praise to Him above the heavens, the founder of all nature.
He is the eye of Nous.
May He receive the praise of every power within me.

O powers within me, sing to the One and All!
All you powers, sing praise together at my bidding.
Divine Knowledge, illumined by you, I sing through you of the spiritual light and I rejoice in the joy of Nous.
Sing praise with me, all you powers!
Temperance, sing with me!
Justice, through me praise what is just!
Generosity, through me praise the All!
Truth, sing of the truth!
Good, praise the Good!
Life and Light, from you comes the praise and to you it returns.
I give thanks to you, Father, the strength of all my powers.
I give thanks to you, God, power of all my strength.
Your Word through me sings to you.
Receive all back through me by the Word, a spoken sacrifice.

Thus cry the powers within me.
They praise the All, they accomplish your will which comes forth from you and returns to you, being the All.
Receive an offering of speech from all beings.
O Life, preserve the All within us.
O Light, illuminate the All.
O God, inspire the All.
For Nous guides your Word, O spirit-bearer, o Creator of the world.
You are God.

All this your man proclaims through fire, air, earth, water; through spirit, through your creatures.
From you I have discovered eternity’s song of praise and in your will I have found the rest I seek.
By your will, I have witnessed this praise being sung.

The conclusion of the hymn:

To you, God, first author of generation, I, N., send these offerings of speech.  God, you are the Father, you are Lord, you are Nous, receive these words of mine as you will.  For by your will all things are accomplished through the Word.

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