Hermeticism: 4 Steps to Learning the Secrets of Life


Jul 16, 2023

Hermeticism: 4 Steps to Learning the Secrets of Life

Table of Contents

The goal of learning Hermeticism is to build your very own "life GPS". It's about understanding that we are all part of a vast, intricate universe, much like tiny pieces in a giant puzzle. 

This ancient philosophy teaches us that everything, including us, is connected and mirrors the larger universe. By understanding these connections, we can better navigate our lives, make wiser decisions, and feel more in tune with the world around us

Hermeticism is a philosophical system which teaches hermetic principles, the nature of God, the Universe, Man, and the purpose of life. 

In Hermeticism, God is believed to be an omnipresent force intricately woven into the fabric of the cosmos. 

The universe is seen as an ordered structure, with every component playing a part in the harmonious whole. 

Humans are considered reflections of the universe, containing its patterns and principles within themselves. 

To better understand these concepts, the practice of tarot is often utilized, providing insights into the nature of God, the universe, humanity, and the purpose of life. 

Imagine if you could see the world in a way that makes more sense and feels more meaningful. That's the exciting promise of hermeticism.

History of Hermeticism

Once upon a time, in the land of pyramids and sphinxes, an enigmatic figure emerged, weaving a tapestry of wisdom that would span across millennia. 

This captivating tale of hermeticism springs to life from the sands of ancient Egypt, where the seeds of esoteric knowledge were sown by the legendary Hermes Trismegistus (Fowden, 1993).

Imagine the golden sun setting over the Nile as Hermes, a fusion of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth, imparts his divine teachings. Hermes Trismegistus, known as the "thrice-greatest" is a master of magic, writing, and philosophy. 

Hermes Trismegistus became the cornerstone of Hermeticism, an esoteric tradition that has inspired countless seekers of truth (Fowden, 1993).

Fast forward to the Hellenistic period, when Alexandria emerged as a melting pot of cultures and ideas. In this bustling cosmopolitan city, hermetic wisdom flourished, giving birth to The Corpus Hermeticum which is a collection of texts brimming with spiritual and philosophical treasures (Copenhaver, 1992). 

These texts, written in Greek and attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, engaged in profound dialogues, touching upon the nature of divinity, the cosmos, and the human soul.

The winds of history carried hermeticism further, as the knowledge and practices spread across the Mediterranean world. In the Renaissance, the torch of hermetic wisdom burned brightly, as scholars and philosophers rediscovered and translated ancient texts, igniting a passion for the occult and esoteric (Yates, 1964). 

During this era, hermeticism became intertwined with the emerging fields of alchemy and astrology, as well as the Christian Cabala, a mystical interpretation of the Hebrew scriptures (Yates, 1964).

As we journey through time, the enduring allure of hermeticism continues to enchant and inspire. The whispers of Hermes echo through the ages, inviting us to unravel the mysteries of the cosmos and explore the depths of our own souls.

Let us embark on a captivating voyage through the annals of hermetic history, embracing the wisdom of Egypt and the enigmatic figure of Hermes Trismegistus, as we delve into the boundless realm of esoteric knowledge and learn about the Hermetic Principles, Nature of God, the Universe, Man, the Purpose of Life, and the Tarot.

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Hermetic Principles from the Corpus Hermeticum

Authored by the renowned figure Hermes Trismegistus, this ancient text doesn't list out "rules" like the Kybalion, but is full of intriguing concepts that can stir up our understanding of life and the cosmos:

  1. The Breath of Life (Divine Pneuma): Think of this like the universal Wi-Fi that connects every living being. It's a divine energy or spirit that gives life to all creatures. It's as if we're all plugged into the same life-giving source (Book 11:20).
  2. The Supercomputer of the Cosmos (The Mind of God/Nous): Imagine if the universe had a giant supercomputer running it, and we could tap into its processing power. The Corpus Hermeticum suggests that we can access this divine knowledge or wisdom through meditation, insights, and practicing virtues to tap into the Divine Mind (Book 4:1).
  3. Cosmic Reflection (As Above, So Below): This is like taking a mirror selfie. Whatever happens on a grand cosmic scale is reflected in the smaller scales, and vice versa. So, you studying for a test could reflect a star forming in a distant galaxy (Book 2:12).
  4. Spiritual Evolution (Rebirth and Enlightenment): Just like a butterfly transforming from a caterpillar, we too can achieve a higher state of understanding, and experience a "rebirth". Learning and gaining wisdom can make us enlightened beings, ready for the next level of existence (Book 13:3).
  5. The Power of Words (The Power of Word): Words have power, almost like magic spells. By speaking or naming, we can shape our reality. So, your voice isn't just for talking, it's for casting reality-shaping spells (Book 16:2).
  6. The Grand Connection (Unity of All Things): This principle says that everything is connected. Imagine if the universe was a giant puzzle, each of us would be a unique piece that fits perfectly. We're all different, but we all come from the same cosmic box (Book 10:9)

Through the Corpus Hermeticum and historical followers of hermeticism we can learn teachings about the Nature of God, the Universe, Man, and the purpose of our lives.

Hermeticism and the Nature of God

Hermeticism is a philosophical and religious system that believes in the existence of one ultimate reality. This ultimate reality is referred to as "God," the "Divine Mind," or the "All” (Fowden, 1993; Copenhaver, 1992). 

In hermeticism, God is seen as an all-encompassing force that permeates the universe and all things within it.

Unlike traditional monotheistic religions, hermeticism does not believe in a personal God who intervenes in human affairs. Instead, God is seen as an impersonal force that operates through natural laws and principles (Copenhaver, 1992; Fowden, 1993).

These laws and principles are inherent in all things and understanding them is the key to understanding the nature of God.

According to Hermeticism, the universe is a manifestation of the divine mind, and everything in it is a reflection of that divine mind. This means that all things in the universe, from the stars and planets to human beings and animals, are part of a larger, interconnected whole (Ebeling, 2007).

In Hermeticism, God is also seen as being both masculine and feminine, with both aspects representing different aspects of the divine mind. The masculine aspect is associated with logic, reason, and intellect, while the feminine aspect is associated with intuition, emotion, and creativity (Ebeling, 2007).

Ultimately, the nature of God in Hermeticism is one of unity, harmony, and balance. It is through understanding and aligning with this divine nature that individuals can find their own place within the universe and achieve spiritual enlightenment (Copenhaver, 1992).

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Hermeticism and the Universe

Hermeticism views the universe as a living, intelligent being that operates under a set of natural laws. The universe is seen as a reflection of the divine, and everything in it is interconnected and interdependent (Copenhaver, 1992).

According to Hermetic teachings, the universe is comprised of three levels of reality: the physical, the mental, and the spiritual.

These levels are often referred to as the material, astral, and spiritual planes (Ebeling, 2007). Each plane is composed of different types of matter, with the physical plane being the densest and the spiritual plane being the most subtle. 

Hermeticism also recognizes the existence of multiple dimensions or realities beyond the physical realm. These other dimensions can be accessed through spiritual practices such as meditation, astral projection, and ritual magic (Faivre, 1995).

The hermetic view of the universe emphasizes the importance of balance and harmony. Everything in the universe operates under the principle of polarity, with opposite forces complementing and balancing each other (Ebeling, 2007).

For example, light and dark, hot and cold, male and female, and positive and negative energies are all necessary for the functioning of the universe (Ebeling, 2007).

The concept of correspondences is also central to hermetic understanding of the universe. This principle suggests that there is a correspondence or relationship between different aspects of reality, such as planets and metals, colors and emotions, or plants and bodily organs (Faivre, 1995). 

By understanding these correspondences, hermetic practitioners can work with the energies of the universe to create desired effects (Ebeling, 2007).

Overall, the hermetic view of the universe is one of unity, balance, and interdependence. It emphasizes the importance of spiritual practices for accessing higher levels of reality and working with the natural laws that govern the universe (Copenhaver, 1992).

Nature of Man in Hermeticism

Hermetic philosophy believes that the nature of man is intrinsically tied to the universe, and therefore to the divine. Humans are not separate from the cosmos, but rather, are a part of it (Copenhaver, 1992; Fowden, 1993).

In fact, man is seen as the microcosm of the universe, containing within himself all the same energies, principles, and patterns as the universe itself (Ebeling, 2007).

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According to Hermeticism, man has the potential to access the same divine knowledge that exists within the universe. However, this knowledge must be actively sought after through study, reflection, and meditation (Copenhaver, 1992).

In addition, Hermetic philosophy acknowledges the duality of man's nature. While man has the potential for greatness, he also has the capacity for evil and ignorance. The goal of hermeticism is to help individuals transcend their lower, egoic nature, and connect with their higher, spiritual self (Fowden, 1993).

This is achieved through a process of purification and transformation, whereby the individual seeks to align their thoughts, emotions, and actions with the divine principles of the universe (Ebeling, 2007). 

By doing so, you become more in tune with your true nature, and ultimately, with the divine source of all creation (Copenhaver, 1992).

Purpose of Life

One of the key concepts of hermeticism is the idea that each individual has a unique purpose in life. The Hermetic belief is that every person is a microcosm of the universe, and as such, they have the potential to access the wisdom and knowledge of the cosmos within themselves (Copenhaver, 1992).

According to hermeticism, the purpose of life is to understand and fulfill one's own unique purpose, to live in harmony with the universe, and to seek enlightenment (Copenhaver, 1992).

This pursuit of knowledge and self-realization is a lifelong process that involves introspection, study, and personal growth (Copenhaver, 1992).

The hermetic path is not an easy one, and it requires dedication, discipline, and a willingness to confront one's own weaknesses and limitations (Copenhaver, 1992). However, by following this path, individuals can discover their own inner truth, develop their own unique talents and abilities, and contribute to the greater good of humanity (Copenhaver, 1992).

The pursuit of knowledge and self-realization is not only beneficial to the individual, but it also has a positive impact on society as a whole. 

When individuals live in harmony with the universe and follow their unique path, they become a positive influence on others and help to create a more enlightened and compassionate world (Copenhaver, 1992).

Ultimately, the purpose of life according to Hermeticism is to live in alignment with one's own truth and purpose, to seek enlightenment and wisdom, and to contribute to the greater good of humanity (Copenhaver, 1992).

This is a lofty goal, but by following the Hermetic path, individuals can find fulfillment, meaning, and purpose in their lives.

Using Tarot cards to Learn Hermeticism

Tarot, is an ancient system of divination and can be a compelling tool in the practice of hermeticism. 

It serves as a visual representation of the hermetic axiom, "as above, so below," highlighting the correspondence between the macrocosm (the Universe) and the microcosm (Man).

In exploring the nature of God, the Tarot's 78 cards symbolize the multiple aspects of the divine mind. 

By meditating on these symbols, hermetics’s gain insight into the divine and cosmic principles (Copenhaver, 1992). 

For instance, The Fool card, beginning of the Major Arcana, symbolizes the divine spark, the spirit venturing into the material plane.

The Tarot's symbolic language aligns with the hermetic understanding of the Universe. 

The 22 Major Arcana cards align with the Kabbalistic Tree of Life's 22 paths. The four suits of the Minor Arcana (Cups, Swords, Wands, Pentacles) correspond to the four classical elements (Water, Air, Fire, Earth) and the four realms of existence in Hermetic Qabalah (Nichols, 1980). 

This correlation is a reminder of the universe's interconnectedness, a key tenet of hermeticism.

Regarding understanding the nature of Man, the tarot offers a way to explore our inner realms. 

By contemplating cards like The Hermit (symbolizing introspection) or The Lovers (symbolizing duality and choice), one can glean insights into the human condition, consciousness, and unconsciousness.

Finally, as for the purpose of life, the Tarot, as a visual narrative of the human journey, reflecting the hermetic principle of spiritual evolution. 

Beginning with The Fool, symbolizing spiritual potential, and ending with The World, symbolizing enlightenment or completion, the Tarot outlines the path of personal and spiritual transformation (Nichols, 1980).

By providing a framework for understanding the divine principles, the interconnectedness of the Universe, the depths of human nature, and our spiritual journey, the Tarot contributes significantly to the practice of hermeticism.


In the mystical realm of Hermeticism, we've uncovered a fascinating tapestry woven with threads of wisdom about the hermetic principles, Nature of God, the universe, humanity, and the purpose of life. 

This ancient philosophy invites us to see God as a vibrant force permeating every corner of existence, an interconnected web where everything dances to the same cosmic rhythm. 

We've explored how humans mirror the universe, each carrying the potential to access its divine knowledge within. Through the lens of tarot, a tool to tap into the unconscious, we've glimpsed the Nature of God, finding connections between the universe, ourselves, and the Purpose of Life. 

As you continue on your journeys, embrace the empowering wisdom of Hermeticism, and unlock the profound mysteries that lie within and discovering your own place in this cosmic symphony.


Fowden, G. (1993). The Egyptian Hermes: A Historical Approach to the Late Pagan Mind. Princeton University Press.

Copenhaver, B. P. (1992). Hermetica: The Greek Corpus Hermeticum and the Latin Asclepius. Cambridge University Press.

Yates, F. A. (1964). Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition. Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Ebeling, F. (2007). The Secret History of Hermes Trismegistus: Hermeticism from Ancient to Modern Times. Cornell University Press.

Faivre, A. (1995). The Eternal Hermes: From Greek God to Alchemical Magus. Phanes Press.

Nichols, S. (1980). Jung and Tarot: An Archetypal Journey. S. Weiser.



Lisa is a Reiki Master, Certified Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) Practitioner, and trained in the Bengston Energy Healing Method. Lisa is also a Certified Life coach and currently in her second year of graduate school for a Master of Social Work to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

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