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Thrice-Greatest Hermes, Vol. 1, by G.R.S. Mead, [1906], at


LXXVII. 1. Now as to robes: those of Isis [are] variegated in their dyes, for her power [is] connected with matters producing all things and receiving [all]—light darkness, day night, fire water, life death, beginning end; while the [robe] of Osiris has neither shade nor variegation, but one single [property]—the light-like, 4 for the Source is pure and the First and Intelligible unmixed.

2. Wherefore when they have once and once only received this [robe], 5 they treasure it away and keep it from all eyes and hands; whereas they use those of Isis on many occasions.

3. For it is by use that the things which are sensible and ready to hand, present many unfoldings and views of themselves as they change now one way now another;

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whereas the intelligence of the Intelligible and Pure and Single, shining through the soul, like lightning-flash, once and once only perchance allows [us] to contact and behold [It].

4. For which cause both Plato 1 and Aristotle call this part of philosophy “epoptic,” 2 from the fact that they who transcend by the reason (logos) these mixed and multiform things of opinion, are raised unto that Primal [One], Simple and Matter-less, and [so] contacting in its singleness the pure truth concerning It, they think philosophy has as it were [its] perfect end.

LXXVIII. 1. The fact, moreover, which the present priests cautiously hint at by expiatory sacrifices and covering their faces—[namely] that this God is ruler and king of the dead, being no other than him who is called Hades and Pluto among Greeks—in that they do not know how it is true, confuses the multitude, who suppose that the truly sacred and holy Osiris lives on earth and under earth, where the bodies of those who seem to have [reached their] end are hidden [away].

2. But He Himself is far, far from the earth, unspotted and unstained, and pure of every essence that is susceptible of death and of decay. Nor can the souls of men here [on the earth], swathed as they are with bodies and enwrapped in passions, commune with God, except so far as they can reach some dim sort of a dream [of Him], with the perception of a mind trained in philosophy.

3. But when [their souls] freed [from these bonds] pass to the Formless and Invisible and Passionless and Pure, this God becomes their guide and king, as though they hung on Him, and gazed insatiate upon His Beauty,

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and longed after it—[Beauty] that no man can declare or speak about.

4. It is with this the ancient tale (logos) makes Isis e’er in love, and, by pursuit [of it], and consort [with it], makes [her] full-fill all things down here with all things fair and good, whatever things have part in genesis.

5. Thus, then, these things contain the reason (logos) that’s more suitable to God.


361:4 τὸ φωτοειδές Cf. the better-known term τὸ αὐγοειδές, “the ray-like”.

361:5 Presumably in the initiation symbolising the investiture with the Robe of Glory.

362:1 Symp., 210 A.

362:2 In its highest sense—that is, intelligible or spiritual “seership,” not the symbolic “sight” in the formal Greater Mysteries.

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