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Thrice-Greatest Hermes, Vol. 3, by G.R.S. Mead, [1906], at

p. 72



(I have added the title, Patrizzi (p. 40b) having only the heading: “To the Same Ammon.”

Text: Stob., Phys., xli. 3, under the simple heading: “Of Hermes”; G. pp. 323, 324; M. i. 227, 228; W. i. 320, 321.

Ménard, Livre IV., No. v. of “Fragments of the Books of Hermes to Ammon,” pp. 263, 264.)

1. The Soul is, then, incorporal essence; for if it should have body, it would no longer have the power of being self-maintained. 1

For every body needeth being; it needeth also ordered life 2 as well.

For that for every thing that comes to birth, 3 change also must succeed. 4

For that which doth become, 5 becomes in size; for in becoming it hath increase.

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Again, for every thing that doth increase, decrease succeedeth; and on increase destruction.

For, sharing in the form of life, 1 it 2 lives; it shares, also, in being through the Soul.

2. But that which is the cause of being to another, is being first itself.

And by [this] “being” I now mean becoming in reason, and taking part in intellectual life.

It is the Soul that doth supply this intellectual life.

It is called living 3 through the life, and rational through the intellect, and mortal through the body.

Soul is, accordingly, a thing incorporal, possessing [in itself] the power of freedom from all change.

For how would it be possible to talk about an intellectual living thing, 4 if that there were no [living] essence to furnish life?

Nor, any more, would it be possible to say a rational [living] thing, were there no ratiocinative essence to furnish intellectual life.

3. It is not to all [lives] that intellect extends; [it doth depend] on the relationship of body’s composition to the Harmony.

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For if the hot in the compost be in excess, he’s light 1 and fervid; but if the cold, he’s heavy and he’s dull.

For Nature makes the composition fit the Harmony.

There are three forms of the becoming,—the hot, the cold, and medium.

It 2 makes it fit according to the ruling Star 3 in the star-mixture.

And Soul receiving it, 4 as Fate decrees, supplies this work of Nature with [the proper kind of] life.

Nature, accordingly, assimilates the body’s harmony unto the mixture of the Stars, and co-unites its complex mixtures with their Harmony, so that they are in mutual sympathy.

For that the end of the Stars’ Harmony is to give birth to sympathy according to their Fate.


72:1 Or of saving itself.

72:2 ζωῆς τῆς ἐν τάξει κειμένης,—lit. life set, or placed, in order (as distinguished from intellectual life), that is, presumably, sensible or cosmic life.

72:3 Or has becoming, or genesis.

72:4 Or follow.

72:5 Or is born.

73:1 εἴδους ζωῆς,—that is, formal life, or life set in order.

73:2 Sc. body, or that which comes to birth.

73:3 ζῶον (subs.) according to Gaisford,—that is, an animal; but I prefer ζωόν (adj.), taking it with the following λογικὸν and θνητόν.

73:4 Or animal.

74:1 κοῦφος (mas.),—the subject is, therefore, man, the rational animal.

74:2 Sc. Nature.

74:3 Or, presumably, planetary sphere.

74:4 Sc. the body-compost.

Next: Excerpt XVII. Of Soul, IV.