The Philosophy

The sum of the knowledge produced by Hermopolis is contained in the Corpus Hermeticum.  It is a collection of manuscripts that were recovered in the city of Alexandria in the first century AD but date to much earlier times. They are 17 texts in total, written in Greek , Latin and Coptic and represent the intellectual, philosophical and reflective tradition of ancient Egypt which revolves around the unity and harmony of man and the universe.

The hey day of the Hermopolis as a seat of wisdom and world capital of learning is often associated with Hellenised Egypt, coinciding with a growing need for a philosophy that can be regarded as a way of life. The process of Hellenisation  was in many ways similar to our current concept of globalisation. It was the first attempt in history to bring both East and West together and reconcile old religious thought with emerging theologies. Egypt was seen at that times as the melting pot of people, races and different belief systems. The world became much larger, less personal and more complex. Identities were changed and challenged calling for a shift in attitude and the development of new ways of life.  A new world view was needed to help the individual to address the challenges of a rapidly changing world and find inner peace and harmony.  The philosophy that emanated from Hermopolis  responded to this need. It taught that all people belong to the single family of mankind and that the universe contained a principle of balance and order if humans realised how to reconcile their differences and live in harmony with each other and the unified universe.

The principles of alchemy are derived from the Hermetic philosophy, particularly the connection between wisdom, transformation and healing. All are seen as part and parcel of a self-perfecting journey consisting of a series of alchemical steps taking place within man’s body, mind and soul.

Hermeticism also had its impact on the Gnostic tradition with its emphasis on the higher/spiritual growth of man through knowledge. This found expression in the spiritual forms of religions including Judaic Kabala, Gnostic Christianity and Sufism and resonated with much of the thoughts intrinsic in Zoroastrianism and Indian philosophies. All have the Unity of Being as a fundamental principle despite the multitude of expressions and share the same desire of helping humanity to evolve into greater perfection.

It is possible therefore to conclude that the philosophy of the Hermopolis is nothing short of a spiritual classic that contained the basic tenets of humanism namely...

  • The unity of Being that transcends race, creed and all forms of expression
  • The belief in the creative potential of all humans
  • The belief in the possible transformation and self-remaking through knowledge