Coptic Cairo and the Hermes Trimegistus Link

Alison JamesArticles

The Copts are the native Egyptian Christians who were the majority religion during the 4th to 6th centuries of the Common Era. The Coptic Church separated from the Roman Church in the late 4th century, but the Copts were not given tolerance until after the Arab conquest in 641. Today, approximately 10% of the Egyptian population is of the Christian faith, and not Muslim; this number accounts for Greek Orthodox Christians, both Catholic and Protestant Christians and represents the largest minority religion in the Middle East.  The majority belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, although there are Coptic churches and monasteries throughout Egypt. The Coptic Church is considered the mother church of Africa. Coincidentally, at this time of major shifts around the globe, the passing of Coptic Pope Shenouda III (March 2012), who became politically aligned with Mubarak, appears to be opening another door for new spiritual leadership in Egypt.

The symbol of the Coptic Church is the Coptic Cross that was influenced by the Coptic Ankh, symbol of eternal life, and was adopted by the early Christian Gnostics. Sometimes the Coptic Cross encompasses a circle symbolizing the eternal love of God; it also symbolizes Jesus the Christ’s halo and resurrection. Many Copts have this cross tattoed on the inside of their right arm. Coptic priests give blessings while holding this cross in their hand.

During our Egyptian pilgrimage and sojourn in Cairo, we visited the oldest church in Egypt, Abu Sarga. Its fame is drawn from the fact that Joseph, the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus spent three weeks there while fleeing the persecution of King Herod of Palestine; they went further south, their escape taking them as far as Deir el Muharraq, another significant Coptic location. The enigmatic church of Abu Sarga rests above a cave which became their dwelling place.

To enter, one steps down into the sanctuary built mostly of wood and one immediately sees an iconic and endearing painting of the Madonna and Child. Twelve columns, mostly of white marble are decorated with images now faded. Scenes of the escape passage of the holy family decorate the walls, as well as Archangel Gabriel’s appearance to the Virgin Mary and other works of art. Overwhelmingly, the loving energies of the Divine Mother are palpable here and this was experienced by many in our group.

Abu Sarga’s oldest altar is now found in the Coptic Museum and parts of its original wooden pulpit were taken there too (as well as to the British Museum in London). The relics of two saints are held here: Sergius and Bacchus, both followers of Jesus the Christ, who refused to worship Roman gods.  They were martyred in Syria and at Abu Sarga there are two chapels dedicated to them. As I placed my hands upon the glass cabinet encasing their relics, waves of energies came over me. I wish I could have spent much longer in this sacred place.

Another famous church in old Cairo is the Church of St. Barbara that also holds many iconic works of art.  Similarly, it was originally dedicated to saints, Cyrus and John, in honor of their healing miracles.  However, there is one other Coptic church located in Cairo, the Coptic Orthodox Church at Zeitoun, that has gained much renown. Beginning April 2, 1968, many apparitions of Mother Mary were seen here, her image moving and waving as she appeared over the domes (a captured image is included here). She appeared to millions of all religions for more than a year, during which time many healing miracles were recorded. These happenings are now officially recognized by the Vatican.

The history of Coptic philosophy and its having been recorded is one of particular interest to me that I would like to share here. The story of the development of writing and man’s efforts to record history spans nations and continents. Today scholars still debate similarities and connections shared by Mesopotamian pictograms (cuneiform) and Egyptian hieroglyphs, but for the most part the hieroglyphic system is considered a true system of writing because it could record the spoken language and transcribe texts concerning all manner of arts, sciences and literature.  The knowledge and birth of writing within our human evolution on Earth is attributed to Master Thoth (or Tehuti), master magician, architect and master of astrology known to the ancient Egyptians. In fact, the word “hieroglyph” means “writing of the gods” (hieros, Greek, meaning “holy” and gluphein, Greek, “to engrave”).  As we can deduce, Divine names and those of pharaohs were placed in cartouches; this was to indicate their sacredness.

I am coming to my point! Coptic is the language and culture of Christian Egypt.  According to German Jesuit Athanasius Kircher, a Christian hermeticist concerned with astrology, Pythagorean harmonics and Kabbalah, Hermes Trismegistos was a philosopher and scribe who lived about the time of Abraham:

Hermes Trismegistus, the Egyptian, who first instituted hieroglyphs, thus becoming the prince and parent of all Egyptian theology and philosophy was the first and most ancient among the Egyptians … Thence, Orpheus … Pythagoras, Plato … Homer, Euripides and others learned rightly of God and divine things.”                                   ~ Black Athena, Volume I, by Martin Bernal.

The Hermetic Texts are a collection of mystical, magical and philosophical documents commonly attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, written in Coptic between 200 and 400 CE, and which had great influence later during the Renaissance and Reformation. Hermes Trismegistus, meaning “Hermes the Thrice Greatest”, correlates to the three parts of wisdom: alchemy, astrology and theurgy (rituals performed to invoke the action or evoke the presence of a god or gods in order to unite with them). “Hermes” is commonly recognized as a Greek God and some would say that Hermes was Thoth (Egyptian) and therein lies the root of much confusion.

I am informed, however, by Master Merlin himself, that it was indeed he (as revealed in my book) who embodied the energies of Thoth as Hermes Trimegistus. He brought forward not only the art of writing, but ancient spiritual Wisdom as well. In the Corpus Hermeticum, Hermes Trismegistus speaks to Poimandres (or Pymander), the Mind of Absolute Power, wanting to learn about the things that are, their nature and to know God. Inter alia, Poimandres says, “I am with you everywhere”.  This is but one of a wealth of universal truths to be found in this work, hence leading us to understand that Hermes Trismegistus is the father of philosophy, the proponent of our well known tenet, “As above, so below” – also spoken by Thoth in the Emerald Tablets by the way.

I think it is important to mention another pertinent finding here, that in the Corpus Hermeticum lies the concept of “the Good Shepherd” or the “Shepherd of Man” which speaks to the eternal truth of Jesus the Christ, beyond any dogma or creed.  These early writings made such philosophical and universal awareness available to the Copts and early Christians before “religion” took control of doctrine.

There is so much to be studied, understood – and questioned – but it appears I have opened a Pandora’s box of magical connections! Of course, my discovery of these interweavings is no accident at this time, but rather I am being shown some long-held mysteries as pertaining to Merlin. They are showing me another layer of the Wisdom of his soul, and how he was able to incarnate as Myrrdin to lay the foundation of Camelot the way he did, and why he is coming forward again at this time. Of course, Wisdom is not owned but it is held in trust for the benefit of the world; it is always available to the seeker.