Hermekate as Product of Gnosis

Hermekate as Product of Gnosis

What is Hermekate? “Hermekate” is a striking word. It is likely recognizable immediately by someone with a Hellenistic background or one who studies Late Antiquity (not to mention magical practitioners of more than one stripe) as a compound word linking “Hermes” and “Hekate.” This gives us a good starting point from which to narrow things down–but what of it? Why name a blog after it?
As it turns out, the answer to that question is complicated and also a bit mysterious. It’s something I am still trying to figure out myself. That being said, it only makes sense that the first categorized post on this blog be the opening post of a category labeled “What Is Hermekate?” Let the reader note that the author has attempted more than once before to communicate these things; in fact, most readers at the time of this post already know this site is a reboot.

I know, I’m sick of reboots, too; like, how many times have I seen a different angle of Peter Parker’s origin story? Can we get on with his later career already (without shoehorning his arch-nemesis in as a side villain in Act III and thus irrevocably cutting the character off from the deepest and most compelling potentials of his own story?) I sigh–it must be a sign of the times. That seems to be the zeitgeist these days. I am getting ahead of myself, however; there will be a later post in this category that focuses on Hermekate as a reverberating sort of phenomenon, a “historic echo.”

The fortunate thing this time around is that I’ve more or less come to a solid holistic understanding of Hermekate by now and am finally able to see enough of the plot to take the long view going forward, allowing the story to unfold in a more structured way than was possible before. The last time I shared writing about Hermekate, I was just as confused as any of my own readers might be, but trying like mad to express what was manifesting within and through me in the form of the word. This view allows me to place the most important aspect of Hermekate first on the list of posts in this category because we need to be very clear about what it is and what it isn’t; I was not so clear on this in the past as I have worked to understand it all myself, and there have been a few other ideas to which I have linked “Hermekate” that I mistook as primary (if the linkage was not, in fact, mistaken altogether). However, I’ve realized that it is most important for anyone else who wants to understand Hermekate to know up front that it is an example of personal gnosis, which is to say that it’s primarily something going on in my head; whether or not it comes to anything outside of my head remains to be seen (though there are other people who have stated sincerely that they’ve been touched by this phenomenon and feel that they resonate with it as well).

What It Means for Hermekate to be “A Product of Gnosis”

I’m sure some readers of this blog will know what I mean when I say Hermekate is a product of my magical gnosis, but for those who don’t know: The term “gnosis” as often used by magical practitioners comes from the Greek for “knowledge,” but refers to a specific type of knowledge that is considered more or less divine, or at least one might say “superconscious.” In this case we would class it as “knowledge of the gods.” It might be considered another term for what is otherwise known as mystical inspiration. It typically comes, like lightning, in flashes of insight that are only later understood as their meaning unfolds. I think it’s for this reason that some people have taken to calling this kind of thing a spiritual or cosmic “download,” as it’s like a zip file: We download it into our heads very quickly, then unpack it, and it’s a folder full of text files, and then we have to read them. I would say in retrospect that’s an apt analogy.

Now, at the time most of this happened to me, I was gradually getting to know a Pagan community full of people who took this term and divided it into two classes: “Unverified Personal Gnosis” (that is, claimed gnosis that has no meaningful backing in established historical lore or confirmation by others) and “Verified Personal Gnosis” (that is, gnosis that does include content that can be historically legitimized and/or content that is confirmed by others/significance is shared with and agreed upon by consensus including others). If I had to be honest (and I believe I do owe it to anyone reading this work since otherwise, there is no good reason to be sharing it at all), I’d call this one “semi-unverified personal gnosis;” that is, it’s definitely gnosis in my opinion at the very least, and I have also received unsolicited statements from others supporting their perceived validity of my gnosis; for example, I had taken to perceiving Hermekate as being connected to certain current events, and some friends would tell me that they see X event as being connected with Hermekate, and then when they tell me, I’ll be dumbfounded because I will have thought it myself, then doubted it and dismissed it, and of course hadn’t spoken of it to anyone. So there is some verification, though it remains sparse and anecdotal.

What will drive the kind of people who get off on policing others’ gnosis nuts is that the gnosis here involves a figure for which we have almost zero historical evidence at all. It appears once in known history. I’m not going to cite the occurrence yet because I am intentionally avoiding hooking the word “Hermekate” to its particular associated meanings because I think it’s important for everyone to know right out the gate that all meanings connected with Hermekate that I will be exploring here are derived meanings and thus are of secondary importance to consideration of the fact that it all stems from gnosis.

I earlier compared the intuitive gnostic “flash” to lightning, and like lightning, there is the instantaneous flash itself, connecting heaven and earth, and then there are its secondary effects that unfold and branch out, playing out over time into an arc connecting disparate parts of the sky. This is what makes the gnosis essentially personal for now, although verified by a few; the elements of meaning I assign to Hermekate vary and their connections are, by nature of their occurrence or reception, intuitive and not rational. This does not mean they are irrational. More like suprarational. Not only does this gnosis lack neat historical backing to its central figure in terms of content, but our level of existing historical knowledge means the entire thing is projected onto a blank screen. I may not even be able to sufficiently explain why I connect the intuitive flashing of the word “Hermekate” into my mind to the symbol that I do (below), which itself was a product of ritual gnosis to be more deeply explained in a later post:

At any rate, there you have it in a nutshell: “Hermekate” at the most basic level comes in three main forms aside from the symphony of meaning that is unfolding from these kernels:

  • The word as it occurred in my head intuitively (and let’s be honest, since I was steeped in neopaganism at the time, it’s a fairly likely connection for anyone to make since it is composed of two very common elements)–a product of gnosis.
  • The symbol above, which was originally a sigil representing my own magickal identity (more on this in a coming post) that I used in my own self-Initiation ceremony (about which, I think, I will be writing publicly here for the first time). It is also a product of gnosis, as is the fact that I now connect it with the previous item, the word “Hermekate.”
  • The word as it occurs historically–appearing once in the Greek Magical Papyri, in a spell to win a chariot race.

One last point must be covered before I end this post: What I mean (vs. what other people tend to mean) when I say “gnosis.” That’s important, because generally speaking, when people are arguing about “verified” versus “unverified” personal gnosis, it’s because they’re talking about straight-up divine revelation, in which case legitimizing it matters intensely when you’ve got a claim regarding an entity with many people claiming to be priests and priestesses of said entity; obviously some consensus would need to emerge for it to be considered legitimate divine contact with their patron deity. Frankly, there was a time when I was starting to think that was possible: That there was some kind of actual entity connected with the name, which realistically speaking would have to be the egregore of some long lost cult rather than a “true deity,” provided such a thing exists. That being said, the phenomena connected with Hermekate by myself and others could just as well be connected more with the meanings related to the sigil than with anything else; that is to say, if the sigil was genuine gnosis from my Higher Self, or “a gift from mySelf to myself,” as a teacher of mine would put it, everything else could still fit into place. My point here is that I am not necessarily claiming a transcendent, divine, or spiritual source for these ideas or this gnosis. We are nowhere near understanding the human mind, nor its potentials. My decision to center the concept of gnosis and to put it before all other interpretations of Hermekate was a result of honestly examining my “revelations” to establish two things:

  • While unique, perhaps, in particulars, my gnosis doesn’t necessarily convey anything intrinsically new. Even if genuine, it does seem to more or less mirror a lot of the gnosis I have studied over the years, and that is an important distinction to make. In many ways, Hermekate is simply my own mind’s formulation of the same esoteric “mysteries” shared by many others.
  • Every unique element of the gnosis could have come from my years of study; none of it is necessarily “revealed.” I am not sold on the idea that we need a supernatural explanation to meaningfully conceive of, experience, or discuss the topic of “divine consciousness.” We merely need to make certain adjustments if we are coming from a physicalist point of view, but the phenomenon of gnosis itself is not “canceled” by a position of atheism.

Either way, it is only fair to readers up front for me to recognize right here and right now that any semantic content explored from here on out in the name of Hermekate can likely be traced to something that was also going on in my head, and I will own that in explicit terms: First and foremost, Hermekate is a product of my personal, magical gnosis. Like any magical gnosis–from a person’s private phatasmagoric visions to Aleister Crowley’s gnosis of Thelema–this means the communication and causal unfoldment of said gnosis is necessarily made up as we go along, or is woven in retrospect. The point is that it will go where it must and do what it needs to do. I only know that I have personally lived something akin to The Curse of the Magus; when I stop the work of sharing this gnosis, things take a turn for the worse and I feel listless; when I take it back up again, I remember joy and harmony. Is this not ultimately the end goal so many aspiring magi grasp for? Let the number of times I have needed to reboot this blog (I believe this is now “v4.0”) go to show that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be; living the truth of this gnosis is thus far demanding and the rewards aren’t worth discussing just yet. In the end, it comes down not only to what’s happening in my head, but also in my heart. This is what I need to do to be whole.

I don’t need this gnosis to change the course of history; then again, if my gnosis is accurate, it already has.

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