Reflection 9

Mysteries of God, Cosmos, Humanity, week 9

Reflection: proclaiming the Gnosis



After Hermes Trismegistus is initiated by his indwelling spirit, Pymander, he is instructed to proclaim the gnosis. That task is a very classical one, resounding in every authentic spiritual tradition. For example, the following words are spoken to advanced pupils on the liberating path.

  • Now that you have received everything from me, are you not going to those who are worthy of it, in order to serve them as a guide so that, thanks to your mediatorship, the human race may be saved by God? (Corpus Hermeticum 1:66)
  • Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to all creation. (Mark 16:15)
  • O brethren, you to whom the truth has been made known, having thoroughly made yourselves masters of it, practice it, meditate upon it, and spread it abroad, in order that
    pure religion may last long and be perpetuated, in order that it may continue for the good and happiness of the great multitudes, out of pity for the world, and to the good and gain of all living beings! (The Gospel of Buddha)
  • Give light and comfort to the toiling pilgrim, and seek out him who knows still less than you; who in his wretched desolation sits starving for the bread of wisdom and the bread which feeds the shadow, without a teacher, hope or consolation, and let him hear the law. (The voice of the Silence II:57)
  • Do what Enoch did: he fled from this world, and entered into the mystery of the Most High, and became a preacher of God. (Jacob Boehme)
  • Rejoice then and exult, for you are blessed before all men who are on the earth. It is you who will save the whole world. (The Gospel of the Pistis Sophia)

Some people who experience that they have awakened inwardly, think they have reached their goal and can therefore focus entirely on living a pleasant life. Others, with the best of intentions, choose the liberal profession of spiritual teacher and teach their followers that they are already enlightened, that they must live mindfully in the present, that they must change their way of thinking, that they must invest in themselves, that they should let go of their old paradigms, that they should listen to their inner voices, that they must start to live from the awareness of abundance and must develop an understanding of the law of attraction, in order to obtain the utmost from it. Then, according to them, their followers will receive what they wish for and live a nice life.

Such teachings of self-proclaimed gurus are in themselves usually correct and sincere, but together they often form one great mystification, because the dimensions are not properly distinguished and what really matters is ignored. The indications mentioned are admittedly reflections of a soul consciousness, but they are often applied from the intentions of a personality consciousness. In other words, wisdom from a 5D-consciousness is abused by a consciousness limited to 3D or 4D in order to achieve success in those dimensions. For that reason the results are not sustainable and certainly not liberating in a gnostic sense: they are stones for bread.


Half-truths are more dangerous than total deceptions, because total falsehoods are recognized much more quickly. Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986) repeatedly emphasized that the spiritually striving person should not bring down the truth, but should endeavor to rise up to the truth. At the end of his book The Egyptian Arch Gnosis, volume 4, J. van Rijckenborgh writes the following:

‘Through human heads, human hearts and human actions, you too can, and will, be touched by the truth. All you have to do is prepare yourself for that contact! The hierarchy of lies is sending out its
radiations and making every effort to mislead, but the hierarchy of truth is also sending out its radiations and performing its work, and all who open themselves to that astral plenitude will certainly receive it. And remember that it is not only through the spoken and written word that the truth comes to you. No, the truth is an astral principle that, for a very long time, has been concentrated and made available by human beings to human beings. Throughout the ages, there has always been ample proof of this.’

If, after many experiences in the world of the senses, a person begins to sense something of the divine within – or perhaps has even had a mystical experience – and thereby feels a certain inner peace and tranquillity, then that is not the end of a spiritual path but merely the beginning. Such a person has participated in the first mystery that is part of three interrelated mysteries that the classical Rosicrucians formulate as: ‘Born of God, dying in Jesus, reborn through the Holy Spirit.’

Just like Hermes’ disciple Tat, some persons may have detached themselves from the world, but this has not yet changed them into new human beings. The vices and ‘castigators’ have been driven to the periphery of the microcosms that they inhabit and are no longer manifested as quickly as before, but they have not yet been neutralized. The spirit-spark in the heart has awakened in such persons and therefore it can be said of them that they were born of God, and so they stand in the first mystery. They have not yet died inwardly in Christ and therefore are not yet part of the second mystery, as they have not yet lived through the endura. In the language of Hermes Trismegistus: the twelve zodiacal castigators have not yet been dispelled by the ten planetary forces. Many people who call themselves spiritual are not yet aware that this cleansing and transformation both are essential parts of the renewal process and that they cannot just be skipped and simply passed by unnoticed. Hermes Trismegistus says about this:

‘Sublime and well-trodden is this road, but difficult for the soul to follow as long as it is in the body. First it has to struggle against itself, to bring about a great separation and allow one part to gain
victory over it. For a conflict arises between one part and the other two parts: the former tries to escape while the latter try to drag the former – that is, the soul – down from below. The result is a fight and a great trial of strength between the part that wants to escape and the two others that strive to detain it. […]
See, my son, this is the guide on the way that leads to freedom: you must give up your body before it dies and overcome the life of conflict; then, if you have won that victory, you will return to the Highest’. (Corpus Hermeticum 5: 9,10,14)


The essence of all authentic gnostic teachings, including those of Hermeticism and Christianity, can be summarized in one word: transfiguration. Catharose de Petri defines transfiguration as: ‘a gnostic method of accomplishing the endura, which is the process of completely replacing the mortal, separate, earth-born human being with the original, immortal, divine being, the true Spirit-Human-Being intended by the divine plan of creation’.

Transfiguration means that people are spiritualized in that the spirit emanating from God is becoming active within them. This book and the other books of the Spiritual Texts Library are mainly intended to increase insight into the far-reaching and wonderful renewal processes that are connected to it. Their aim is also to strengthen the desire for becoming whole in the broadest sense of the word, because such insight and desire can lead to a further awareness and growth of ‘the Other one in us’, the immortal microcosmic human being. Enriched with countless experiences, this immortal being is restored to its original splendor and thereby contributes to the redemption of world and   humanity.

Although the Corpus Hermeticum and the text ‘Admonition of the Soul’, often quoted in this book, have a strong religious and spiritual impact, they belong to the so-called philosophical
hermetics because the love for wisdom is a central theme. Of the many other philosophical hermetic writings we would like to mention one here, published in English in 1908, because
it is still well read today and commented on by numerous authors: ‘Kybalion – Hermetic Philosophy’, supposedly written by ‘three initiates’, a pseudonym of William Walker Atkinson.

The Kybalion reveals seven universal principles or seven laws that together form a powerful paradigm that is significantly different from the current paradigms of the natural sciences and offers practical points of contact, or clues, to living life consciously and growing inwardly. They can be characterized as follows.

1. The law of consciousness
Consciousness is the foundation for everything that exists, so everything that is manifested. In fact, everything that is manifested is consciousness, in countless dimensions, levels and nuances. This viewpoint is completely different from the materialistic thesis that states that first there is matter and that consciousness may possibly arise from that matter as a result of evolution.

2. The law of agreement or correspondence
Structures and phenomena in different dimensions and levels of consciousness correspond with each other, showing resemblance or similarity. The Tabula Smaragdina (the Emerald Tablet) powerfully formulates this idea as ‘As above, so below’. The structures and phenomena within the macrocosm correspond to the structures and phenomena within the microcosm. If people know the world, they know themselves. If they know themselves, they know the world. There are levels of consciousness unknown to a human being, but if we apply the principle of correspondence to them, we can understand some things that would otherwise be unknowable to us.

3. The law of rhythm
Everything that exists is subject to many different cycles or circular courses. We know the rhythm of day and night, the rotation of the moon around the earth in 28 days and the rotation of the earth around the sun in 365 days. Each cycle that we can observe is characterized by appearing, increasing, peaking, decreasing and disappearing, after which the cycle is repeated. Development does not always take place gradually, but also has chaotic periods that create  conditions in which drastic changes can take place.

4. The law of cause and effect
Everything that happens has a certain cause. People often think that there is only one cause for an event. However there are always several factors that collectively cause a certain event to occur. If a person has no insight into the various factors that cause a certain phenomenon to appear, it is often considered to be just a coincidence. What befalls a person does not have to happen from anything undefined. The principle of cause and effect implies that events occur according to certain laws, which to a certain extent can be known by a person.

5. The law of unity and connection
Everything that exists has emanated from one source and will return to that source again.  Everything that exists is invisibly connected to everything else. This means, among other things,
that everything a person perceives, thinks, feels or does affects the entire whole.

6. The law of polarities
Everything that occurs to us has two poles, meaning, a pair of contradictions or opposites with an extensive spectrum of mixed forms in between. Think of male and female, creating and receiving, sun and moon, hot and cold, high and low, light and darkness, sharp and blunt, sympathy and dislike, love and hate, positive and negative, good and evil. Contradictions are
a precondition essential for creation and at a higher level they can be reconciled in the form of a synthesis that is more than the sum of its parts.

7. The law of vibration
Everything vibrates, nothing stands completely still. In essence everything is vibration, energy. There are differences in frequency and intensity. Matter is actually solidified spirit, and the spirit is of an extremely high vibration. Thoughts, feelings and expressions of the will are also vibrations. Differences in levels of consciousness are differences in levels of vibration. Pure love has a very high vibration frequency.

These are valuable insights that, if you truly fathom them, will change the way you live your life. But it is important to establish that the essence of  hermetic philosophy – transfiguration or rebirth – is not expressed in these seven hermetic principles.

Personality change

Many other writings that are also referred to as Hermetic or Christian pay no attention to transfiguration, which is also defined by the terms personality change or rebirth. So the
most important thing is not mentioned anywhere! And if it is written or spoken about, it turns out that people have often misunderstood the message. In the first chapter of his 1946 book ‘Dei Gloria Intacta, The Christian Initiation Mystery’, J. van Rijckenborgh writes quite accurately:

‘The initiation system of change of the personality is completely new to the great seeking public and is yet to be proclaimed. As the Christian Mystery is proclaimed throughout the world, in like measure a new world church connected with the Christian Mystery School will develop. From everywhere workers are being sent out in order to lay the foundation of the Work because, although this  initiation system of personality change has been in existence ever since its inception by Jesus Christ, relatively only a very small group of chosen candidates had the ineffable good fortune to be liberated by this system.’

In classical philosophical hermetics, the emphasis is strongly placed on what is referred to as ‘personality change’ whereby, as a result of going an inner path, an immortal personality  develops that will radiate through the mortal earthly personality. That is not the case, or to a much lesser extent, with writings that belong to the magical, astrological and alchemical hermetics.

Most nature religions have a shamanic origin, meaning that a shaman or medicine man manipulates supernatural powers in the service of the tribe or the community of which he or
she is a part. It is therefore not surprising that the oldest literature written under the name of Hermes Trismegistus still has a magical or occult character. It contains, for example, spells that can be used in incantations or enchantments to invoke forces that assist humanity to live the most pleasant life possible. It will be clear that such magical practices are not in accordance with the hermetic gnosis as propagated in this book. The same is also largely true with regard to the teachings of astrological and alchemical hermetics.

Astrological hermetic writings are based on knowledge about the movements and constellations of celestial bodies – such as the sun, moon, planets and stars – and their supposed connection with life on earth. Alchemical hermetics mainly focus on the upgrading or purification of matter and humanity through processes of purification, transformation and separation.

Although both astrological and alchemical hermetics are largely obsolete, they have laid the foundation for the development of the modern natural sciences. It is important to realize that teachings do not need to be literally true in order to exercise an influence that is truly liberating. The extent to which a transformative activity of certain teachings emanates is determined not only by their content, but above all by the intentions and in particular by the level of consciousness of those involved as well as by the context in which those teachings are conveyed.

From about the beginning of the sixteenth century, during the Renaissance, there was a strong revival of hermetic ideas among the intelligentsia of Europe. Image 17 shows portraits of famous philosophers who were inspired by hermetic writings. During the Enlightenment, which began in the late seventeenth century, interest in hermeticism subsided quickly because it was condemned by ecclesiastical authorities and rejected by scientists as pseudoscience. From the point of view of human development, this change was probably intentional because it was time for the science based on experiments to develop.

Mystery wisdom in literary works

In that process, in which the focus shifted increasingly to material reality and intellectual activity, the mystery wisdom – known, for example, from Christianity, the Kabbalah and
Hermeticism – was not lost. That is why all over Europe literary works were created in which the mystery wisdom can be recognized.

On the one hand we find a splendid synthesis of the promotion of intellectual development by means of experiments in the world of the senses, and on the other hand we see the spreading of the mystery wisdom in the form of symbolic stories as written by Francis Bacon (1561-1626). This English statesman has become known as a pioneer of the scientific method, as a  philosopher and a writer of essays. However, he was much more than that.

Historical research shows that Francis Bacon was a great initiate who worked with complete dedication in order to develop and execute a great plan for the overall reformation of the entire world through the renewal of all arts and sciences. That corresponds well with the intentions of the Classical Rosicrucians who pursued not only the renewal of the arts and sciences but also the renewal of humanity itself. In their mystery novel ‘The Alchemical Wedding of Christian
Rosycross’, which appeared in print in 1616, the sevenfold path of initiation is painted in the form of a story which the main character Christian Rosycross experiences during seven successive days. During the night after the first day, Christian Rosycross has a meaningful  dream.

Christian Rosycross dreams that he and many other people are trapped in a pitch-dark pit. He and his companions in distress are packed tightly together, suffering and longing for redemption. Then suddenly the music of trumpets and kettledrums sounds. Their misery is alleviated somewhat when the cover of the pit is slid away and daylight enters. Then a rope is lowered down into the pit seven consecutive times and drawn up again by a group outside at the top. A number of prisoners are lifted up from their prison and released. Christian Rosycross succeeds in grabbing the rope the sixth time and is thus released from captivity (see image 18). Immediately after his liberation, he is asked to lower the rope for the seventh time and to help raise it. How can we interpret this symbolic dream?

  1. The prisoners symbolize people who suffer because they are limited in their freedom and experience that they live in darkness.
  2. The prisoners cannot liberate themselves, but they can be liberated with help from above.
  3. A group of people with a higher degree of freedom works together systematically to liberate the prisoners.
  4. The prisoners are not automatically released. Whoever wants to be liberated has to make an effort to grab and hold on to the rope when it is lowered.
  5. Lowering the rope symbolizes the work that a spiritual school performs in society in order to make contact with spiritual seekers.
  6. The raising of the rope symbolises the work done by a spiritual school for seekers on the spiritual path who are approaching the school.
  7. Those who have obtained some degree of freedom are invited to help liberate others.


Many people may think that spiritual schools are intended to teach students how to achieve spiritual awareness and renewal. That is correct, but there is more to it. Spiritual schools are also there to provide students with opportunities to work in the service of the great work undertaken jointly to contribute to the realization of the plan of God. From a certain moment on it is only possible to make further progress on the gnostic path through service. Hermes puts it as follows: ‘If you are seeking God, you are also seeking the beautiful, for there is only one road that leads from here to the beautiful: a God-serving life of action, guided by the gnosis’ (Corpus Hermeticum 10:12).

Anyone who becomes an independent spiritual teacher bears a tremendous responsibility. Every little mistake is immediately avenged and gigantic resistances have to be overcome before the work really begins to bear fruit. On the other hand, those who participate in the work of a spiritual school are allowed to make mistakes because the group bears and takes care of those mistakes. Making mistakes is inevitable in learning the trade of fishing people from the swirling sea of life. However, the apprentice worker must be open to being corrected, if needed.
It is of course also important that he or she works intelligently in group unity.

Serving within a spiritual school begins with consciously participating in meetings, because being present in this way means co-experiencing, co-vibrating, co-inspiring and being inspired. There is always a lot of practical work to be done where enthusiastic volunteers are very much needed: from brewing coffee to cleaning, from organizing to promoting, from giving talks to odd jobs, and from administration to playing music. Pupils of a spiritual school are thus enabled to develop the ability to act, to make a habit of tackling and carrying out activities with attention and love. In this way, personal development and inner development go hand in hand, always with the aim of releasing the liberating gnostic power so that it can spread.

You might struggle with the above statement. That is understandable because you probably interpret this from a 3D-consciousness, in which work is often seen as a necessary evil. However by participating in the outer and inner work of a spiritual school, joy and soul consciousness, or 5D-consciousness, can develop within you, according to the following statement by the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941): ‘I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.’

We would also like to emphasize here that everyone who joins a bona fide spiritual school will be given the opportunity to familiarise themselves generally for a long time, and that no one will be forced in any way whatsoever. In the liberating work of a spiritual school, the possibilities and talents of the pupils are taken into account at all times. Pupils can then develop by following the gnostic path in the service of the realization of the plan of God.

We conclude the observations of this book with the following words from Hermes Trismegistus. ‘He who plants sweet things eats sweet things; he who plants things good for naught eats things good for naught. For the fruit of good deeds corresponds to the root from which it grows, and the fruit of bad deeds corresponds to the root from which it grows. A little knowledge that you carry out in action is more profitable than much knowledge which you neglect to carry out in action. May God have mercy on him who knows and does, and teaches others; who reads this book, and understands what he has read, and teaches others to understand; who attains to the appointed end and leads others to it; who rightly mediates, speaks truly, and partakes of God’s aid’.
(Admonition of the Soul, Chapter 14)