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The Hermetica: The Lost Wisdom of the Pharaohs

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  927 ratings  ·  91 reviews
The first easily accessible translation of the esoteric writings that inspired some of the world?s greatest artists, scientists, and philosophers.

Here is an essential digest of the Greco-Egyptian writings attributed to the legendary sage-god Hermes Trismegistus (Greek for thrice-greatest Hermes)?a combination of the Egyptian Thoth and the Greek Hermes.

The figure of Herme
Paperback, 192 pages
Published December 26th 2008 by TarcherPerigee (first published January 1st 1384)
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Heidi The Reader
I have read some of the teachings contained in this book from The Kybalion by the Three Initiates but that book was more interpretation than actual verses from the Hermetica. I think it's important that this translation was taken directly from the Egyptian writings rather than from a Greek or Latin version of the Egyptian. It's confusing enough material without having additional obfuscation through inaccurate or warped translation.

In some places, I found Freke and Gandy's brief introductions to
Jul 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: loved, own-and-read
Life changing read, I felt it to my soul. Sadly this is not well known or well accepted in todays society... <3 ...more
Bob Ladle
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
really beautiful treatment of this material. goes far in reminding you of what and who you are.
Betsy Robinson
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm reading this book for the second time after it beckoned to me from my bookshelf in the middle of my aerobics workout. Since I always heed such beckonings, once I finished jumping around, I wiped off the sweat and pulled the book out from under the pile. And once again I am moved by the clarity of the introduction and history, and then by the subsequent explanations before the easily accessible translations of ancient texts. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in philosophy and ...more
Joshua Silverman
This book is a collection of texts from various Hermetic readings, however not the entire collection of Hermetic readings. The authors admit that a collection of all of the readings would be too dense for your average reader. They give a decent, although superficial in some places, introduction on the background of these readings and the impact they have had on other religions, science, philosophy, etc.

The bulk of the book consists of 20 chapters on the Hermetic texts. Each chapter contains a 2
Dec 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
This book is a collection of excerpts from a couple texts of the Alexandrian Gnostic era, mostly from the Corpus Hermeticum. I've been hoping to run across a copy of the Corpus Hermeticum for a few months, but stumbled onto this book instead and it ended up being a nice introduction to Hermeticism. The authors extracted pieces of the writings of Hermes Trismegistus and gathered them into chapters devoted to certain themes. So while this book is not a true-to-form copy of the Corpus Hermeticum, i ...more
Nicholas Vettese
This is an amazing book. I enjoy both Hermetic knowledge, as well as occult knowledge, and this small tome has helped to broaden my knowledge on the subject. There is so much that we, as human beings, have to learn and unlearn, and this book is a great start..

This book is a great starting point for anyone wanting to get a basic understanding of what hermetica is. It is not a topic that will go against your religion and faith, but it will make you think.
I found the back cover of this text to be quite disingenuous. Which says, "The first accessible translation" and that this book is "a collection of excerpts". This book is not a translation of the Hermetica, a collection of translated excerpts from the Corpus Hermeticum, nor other important Hermetic writings. Rather, the authors state on page 23, "In this new version, therefore we have selected key extracts and combined them to bring out the essential wisdom and inherent poetry that they contain ...more
Brett C
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: occult
At first I was expecting some incoherent, New Age, "I-wanna-be-more-esoteric-than-the-other-dude" type of crap...but I was pleasantly surprised. The book reads simple and direct in giving various points of wisdom. Each chapter has a brief introduction followed by the free verse poem. Things that stood out for me were:

Time is like a circle
where all the points are so linked
pg. 43

For man, time is a destroyer
but for the Cosmos
it is an ever-turning wheel
pg. 99
Elli Toney
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simple and complex, this fascinating work clearly has inspired so many philosophers and religions, ancient and modern. It was a surprisingly quick read, one that I must read again later.
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The introduction started off great, with a compelling backstory to the text. However, it quickly fell, with the commentaries before each chapter being quite repetitive of the text, and not adding much worthwhile information to the work.

The text itself is overrated and rife with contractions, and is very repetitive throughout the book, much like various religious texts. There are some worthwhile gems towards the beginning and end of the book.

I'd go so far as to say that it is worse than The Kybal
Oct 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok as an easy readable introduction to the Hermetica. However, very much not the real thing because this is heavily edited, translated into yet another language (English in this case) and the format changed. So, if indeed it is important that the Hermetica is in its original language, then this is too processed to tell you much about the actual Hermetica.

The book is also very repetitive, which makes it seem like the author has very little to say on this subject.
Nov 10, 2012 rated it liked it
I sadly don't understand anything about this stuff! This is a thin book, pulling out some choice bits out of what I assume is a much, much larger and even harder to comprehend text written by Hermes Trismegistus, whomever you believe him (they?) to be. ...more
Sep 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, religion
Very enlightening. I had read sections of the Nag Hammadi scrolls previously and had no idea who Hermes Trismegistus was. Now I know. Not surprisingly, the Hermetica's core ideas are found in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Fiona Robson
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual
This was absolutely fascinating. I have heard so much about "Hermes Trismegistos", but hadn't realised that this was Thoth or read the Hermetica. So, this was a most enjoyable read.
Ian Apperley
Nov 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

No instructions on how to make a mummy let alone any spells for cursing.

Managed to wrap up the cat and scare the wife though.
Wendy 'windmill'
Well written

A well written & concise book. Easy to read, clear. I enjoyed reading it. Very good bibliography at the back too.
May 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am nearly at a loss for words in reviewing this text. It is sacred scripture - a witness, window, and gateway to Divinity. Its contents can be merely read and intellectually grasped, but through contemplation the Truth that it points to can be known. The gnosis that reading The Hermetica provoked brought me to my knees in gratitude, caused tears to stream from my eyes in wonder and joy, and filled my mind and soul with ecstasy. It clarified concepts that were previously cloudy, crystallized in ...more
Clem Paulsen
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This my introduction to the whole field of Gnostic studies, so I was looking for something basic.

It's organized into a series of short passages with introductions, each on some different themes. There's also a short essay on the background of the texts, and some general principles.

It goes into very little detail about the ways in which the original texts relate to present-day religions. That's not its function.

It's background -- I have a set of more clueful questions now to explore.

One thing
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. The author who narrated the writing of Hermes did a beautiful job in giving you a modern definition of what he was saying. As far as a religious aspect I didn't agree with the Atum being God because it personalized him. God is nameless but I guess they had to give him some moniker to make it easier to understand.
Atum is the Egyptian god and that is whom Hermes chose to name the nameless after. How we are all a part of the Universe. Formed from the thoughts of the cre
Nice little introduction into hermetic scriptures. Introduction as in "read some compiled excerpts and get your own thoughts running". Neither is this a great scholarly edition, nor in any case complete or really in depth. The complaints about the design with egyptian hyroglyphs etc. are quite superfluous, although the small nodd towards egypt from Freke could and maybe should have been ommited for more credibility. But this is not to be treated as an academic book, but rather as holy, inspirati ...more
J Brandon Gibson
This is not a translation, but a rewriting for lack of a better way to explain in. Truly epic though. I love this book (bought 6 copies to hand out). Only thing I can suggest is to read it yourself.
I will note that I have read the 17 main sources this text comes from (The Corpus Hermeticum), in fact I have read 3 different translations of it, and this summary, readers digest version of the philosophy of Hermes Trismegistus is in my opinion second to only the original text, and sometimes even sur
Hew La France

An interesting look into Ancient Egyptian Religion, The Hermetica has many ideas which I find agreeable. Hermes maintains that science does not disprove God, but more rather shines a light on how awesome his creations are, for example. As a Christian, there was a lot in the first couple of chapters I was interest in.

But then he started discussing the other gods.

Still a very fascinating read if you're interested in religious studies or ancient mythologies, but definitely not something someone dev

Jan 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: new-thought
This was a small collection of writings from a number of hermetic sources, purportedly from Hermes Trismegistus (the reincarnation or third return of Thoth-Hermes.) They speak to the place of the human mind and spirit in relation to Atum (the collective consciousness sometimes referred to as God, but not quite the right context.) "Words lead us to the doorway of Truth, but only by contemplating their meaning can we pass through."
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It’s a revelation to read this compilation of the Hermetic texts that survive, finally knowing the true words from ancient wisdom that have anchored the progress of humanity across many eras of civilization in the many parts of the world. These teachings came from Egypt, the home to most of the spiritual concepts that have blessed our world, and this text brings us all closer to that source of wisdom.
Russell Avis
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great overview and starting point

This is a great overall view of the topic, it gives enough detail to pique interest without becoming overwhelming. It would be a great place to start the journey, or see whether this topic is something you would be Keen to study in more detail. It is enjoyable and easy to read with a great summary in modern terms of the ancient texts.
Joseph Busa
Jul 11, 2017 rated it liked it
A good introduction for anyone trying to understand why twenty-first century Westerners are so interested and increasingly influenced by a once great civilisation. It was a bit over my head, but on the most basic of levels I can now understand why some people take astrology so seriously.
Shak Firzli
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read for all lovers and seekers of truth! Easy to read too. I love the In Praise of Atum at the end which sums up the whole book as a beautiful prayer to The One. A lot of it is very taoistic in nature and at time felt like I was reading extracts from the Tao Te Ching.
Bessie F. Atabong
Beautiful poetic praises to the Father.

Loved the inspirational acknowledgement of man being gods of God. The book is explains the ways in order for man to pass this realm to heaven. Believe and it shall be. I was aw inspired.
Rose Carpenter
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
By “Accessible translation” they mean more like “readers digest condensed version”. That being said, if you read it for what it is...(like honey squeezed from the comb rather than the entire living hive), it can be enjoyed as a beautiful hermetic meditation.
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Timothy Freke has an honors degree in philosophy and is the author of more than twenty books on world spirituality. He lectures and runs experiential seminars throughout the world exploring gnosis. For information, see Both Freke and Gandy live in England and are the authors of five previous books, including The Jesus Mysteries and Jesus and the Lost Goddess.

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