Stanzas of Dzyan

  Mercurius, mercurial, Mercury. Fleet-footed, quicksilver god. With your rising the weather smiles, the crossroads bustle with quick-witted commerce and volatile laughter ignites the air. God of eloquence, messenger of heaven, patron of traders, thieves and roadways, you are known and worshipped by many names. The fifth day of the week is yours, bright shining Mercredi, Woden's celebrated dag. As Woden or Odin, you are "the far-traveller", the wanderer who, adorned with hat, moves swiftly while carrying your potent staff. As Odin, Mercury and Hermes, you have ever conducted the souls of the dead, guiding them into the underworld and back through the gates of resurrection. All Greeks of ancient times adored you as their divine ancestor. You were worshipped as the Interpreter of the Logos by philosophers, as Michael, the Angel of Vision, by the Hebrews, as Hermes-Christos by the Gnostics, and as Nebo, the Keeper of the Tablets, by the Akkadians and Babylonians. As Thoth-Hermes of the Egyptians your glory will never wane, nor as Anubis-Sirius, counsellor of Osiris, will you ever be forgotten. Little wonder that the Sun has given you his Seven Sons and called you the Lord of Wisdom.

  But, O Lord, how is it that you are called Patron of Thieves, and what is your business with all the deception of the highwayman or the merchant's sleight of hand? Even Homer's famous verse would cast you in this light. In his hymn to your name he celebrates your birth from your mother Maia's womb and describes your precocious infancy, extraordinary even for a god. With poetic strokes he chronicles how you walked abroad on your first day and shaped the sweet-strung lyre from the shell of a willing tortoise. He also notes in detail your descent to Apollo's lands and immortalizes deeds filled with cunning and crafty plan. You picked out fifty of Apollo's cattle and drove them to the banks of the Alpheios, where you invented fire by friction and burnt two heifers in sacrifice. A busy day's work for a newborn, one which moved you to placate Apollo with the gift of your silver-toned lyre, for which he gave in exchange his golden caduceus. Your mercurial career was launched in deceptive clouds, only to beam forth brilliantly in the serpentine rays of the sun.

  In the Hindu Puranas a connected theft marks the beginning of the great War in Heaven. This theft was committed by Soma, the spiritual ruler of the moon, who stole from Brihaspati (Jupiter) his beloved wife Tara and carried her away. Their union resulted in the birth of Budha, the Hindu counterpart of Hermes-Mercury, and the great celestial struggle that ensued was known as the Tarakamaya. This war is the archetype of the war on Olympus between the gods and the Titans, and the war between the Ases and the Vanirs of Nordic tradition. Brihaspati represents the materialization of divine instruction, and Tara is the personification of the powers garnered through initiation. Tara longs for true wisdom, and with her abduction she is initiated by Soma, giving birth to the esoteric wisdom of Budha. Soma, father of Budha-Mercury, is sometimes referred to as the male moon. He is also the beverage whose mystical powers can open the gates of spiritual vision, leaving physical sight behind. He is not to be confused with the moon, even that moon considered to be parent of the earth, for his power derives from a source much closer to the sun.

  Through Budha, Soma and Tara gave birth to the cosmic moist principle. In alchemy, Mercury is considered to be the "radical moyst", the primitive or elementary water containing the seed of the universe fecundated by solar fires. Tara's nature can be traced to the Gnostic Sophia, the Hindu Sarasvati or the Christian Holy Ghost, the great Deep from which the sun and Mercury have their being. The Egyptian solar barque floating on the water of space corresponds to this idea in that the sun in the barque represents the Hermetic basis of gold or the "philosophical sun". The water is that same basis or substance made liquid, whilst the barque symbolizes Nature piloted by the Sun, who conducts his work upon the Moist or Mercury. Thus, Mercury or Budha brings forth from the Deep the moisture of life suffused with the fiery Logoic spark of his father. In this sense, Mercury is more occult and mysterious than any of the other planets and is the perpetual companion of the sun, standing between it and the moon.

  Symbolically adorned in a pale golden hue, Mercury is the watcher over earth, mistaken by the latter for the sun itself. It is noteworthy that Emperor Julian prayed through the intercession of Mercury to the occult sun every night, and Vossius wrote that "all the theologians agree to say that Mercury and the Sun are one". Viewed as standing between the sun and the moon, Mercury acts as the Egyptian Thoth, who was called the Reconciler between Horus and Set, the symbol of the mind of man. Thus, Mercury in man is the thinker, the reincarnating Ego and link between spirit and matter, the messenger between the divine within and the personality. This merging of mythical solar and lunar elements is reflected in the belief surrounding the duality of the planet's influence. In man, this operates variously, depending on whether the mind is reflecting the activities of matter or turned inward upon those of spirit.

  Mercury, by whatever name, conducts the departed souls of the dead into the underworld but also functions as their releaser. Accompanying the disembodied entity, he acts as a guide through death and rebirth, sleep and dreams, and is thus associated with magic and initiation. The souls of the living are also watched over by him as they travel through the world. This is why in ancient Mediterranean lands images of Hermes were placed at crossroads. He thus oversaw the junctions of choice made by men as they mirrored the give and take of cross-cultural power and trade. In this way he was viewed as playing an important role in the early stages of international law, to which he lent the eloquence of his gift of the spoken word. As the conductor of souls, Hermes-Mercury was also worshipped in the guise of a shepherd. Just as he cunningly herded Apollo's heifers, he also watches over the flocks of incarnated human beings who, more often than not, like sheep move unquestioningly from meadow to meadow, permitting their appetites to act as their guides. Standing at the crossroads, Hermes was sometimes depicted as a herm, or pillar with a phallus and surmounted by a bearded head. The characteristic of fertility this implies is further reflected in the fact that Hermes became the father of Pan and was associated with strength and virility in young men. These beliefs echo a more occult characteristic which credits Hermes or Mercury with having transferred all the sciences from latent to active potency. Cynocephalus, the Egyptian hieroglyph of the planet Mercury, as well as the god, is always shown near Isis and Osiris as their minister. It was believed that, without Mercury, neither Isis nor Osiris could accomplish anything in the Great Work.

  Mercury conducts the souls of the dead with his caduceus, and with its serpentine power he raises them to life. The evolution of gods and atoms is represented in this caduceus, the axis mundi of the universe being symbolized by its rod, which descends at the beginning of every manvantara from the two dark wings of Kalahansa. This association with time was reflected in ancient astrology, wherein the planets were seen as clock hands pointing on the dial of our solar system to the hours of periodical events. "Thus, Mercury was the messenger appointed to keep time during the daily solar and lunar phenomena, and was otherwise connected with the God and Goddess of Light." As the keeper of time, Mercury yet remains above it, and from his caduceus the sparks that fly are of timeless akashic essence. Descending into time and ascending into the timeless, Mercury is involved in issues on every side and yet remains uninvolved. In the story of Prometheus, Hermes taunted the fire-bringer in his captivity, but assisted Herakles so that the latter could free him. In the great planetary dramas of many mythical traditions, Hermes played on both sides of the board. The ancients often thought of Jupiter and Venus as beneficent and of Saturn and Mars as malicious, but Mercury was usually held in this sense to be indifferent. This is reflected in the positive and negative poles of the rod of the caduceus and in the dual nature of its dark and light intertwined serpents. The physical planet seems also to embody this counterbalance in the fact that it possesses such an insignificant magnetic field and yet is capable of rebuffing the better part of the solar wind.

  In Mesopotamian mythology, the double serpents of the caduceus are associated with Nebo, who conquers the serpent-dragon Tiamat. This conquest signifies control of the highest to the lowest astral light and all the powers of good and evil which they entail. In some of these traditions it is Marduk, father of Mercury-Nebo, who conquers Tiamat, "killing" her and making the vault of heaven out of her belly, wherein were fixed the motions of the moon. The conflict takes place between light and darkness. First there is darkness, then light which must struggle to be. The darkness with which light must struggle is identified with the waters, the name Tiamat literally meaning "the bitter ocean", the dragon of watery chaos and foe of the sun god. This is echoed in the Egyptian tradition wherein Mercury assumes the guise of the white ibis, sacred to the moon, and the black and white ibis which exterminates winged serpents and eats crocodile eggs. This latter ibis can be likened to Kalahansa, the swan of both eternity and time. In conquering Tiamat, before the world was created, Marduk-Nebo obtained the tablets of fate, keeping them thereafter on his breast. Among the Babylonians, these tablets were symbolically written at the beginning of each new year. By annually observing this ritual they believed they could bring down, from the realm of eternity into the world of time, the balance and justice of manifesting law immanent in the wings of the great bird adorning Mercury's akashic staff.

  The name Nebo literally means "prophet" or "herald", the creative Logos and bearer of the tablets of Enki, among the old Sumerians. His Akkadian names were Salpa-uddu, the Messenger of the Rising Sun, and Sak-vi-sa, the Face, the Voice of Light. Josephus spoke of the tablets under the pillars which were tables of Egyptian hieroglyphs synthesizing the wisdom passed down from the mid-Third Root Race to the Fourth. The ancient pillars actually existed in temples at Luxor and elsewhere, and were the source of the wisdom of Egypt. When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, he brought tablets containing this wisdom, but when he found the Jews worshipping the golden calf, he broke them. Returning from Sinai a second time, he brought a more limited and exoteric doctrine in the form of the Torah and the Ten Commandments.

  In his own archetypal descent and ascent, Mercury bears the Word, the Law rendered in speech and written form. He is the Writer of the Armenians, what the Siberian Ostiaks called the Writing Man. This wonderful epithet springs to mind when one discovers that, at the time of the writing of The Secret Doctrine, Mars was in obscuration and Mercury was just beginning to come out of it. In the Christian tradition, however, the Writer was confused with the Angel of Death, reminding one that the lunar side of Mercury has often been considered dangerous. The Egyptian Book of the Dead describes how the deceased fear "the pen and inkstand of Gebga" (Thoth-Hermes in his lunar aspect). This has to do with judgement according to the law of karma, checked and balanced by the intertwining duality symbolized in the serpents of Mercury's staff. The Day of Judgement so feared by all seems to confront only the dead, but in reality it is a never-ceasing action exerted and monitored by the Great Shepherd.

  From the luminous matrix of Maya, Maia, Vach or Sophia, the God-mind was born. The Greeks called this kurios, the pure, unmixed intellectual wisdom which is Hermes-Mercury, Thoth-Hermes says, "I am Thoth, the perfect scribe, who causeth wrongdoing to cease, the judge of words and their essence." He goes on to assert, "I have scattered darkness. I have made Ra to set as Osiris, and Osiris setteth as Ra setteth. I have made him to enter into the hidden habitation to vivify the heart of the Still Heart, the Holy Soul, who dwelleth in the heavenly places." It is not difficult to perceive the connection between this proclamation from the Book of the Dead with the cubic-formed Hermes found at crossroads. The absence of arms and legs on these images signified the fact that limbs are not needed to express speech and thus identified Hermes with the manifest Logos, the seminal principle scattered throughout the universe, the fiery, radical moyst of Mercury. When this cube unfolds it becomes the cross which bears the archetypal man into human life and eventually crucifies him as the son-initiate. This is echoed in the Christian scheme wherein the Sun is the Father, Mercury the Son, and Venus the Holy Ghost - the spirit of wisdom, love and truth associated with Christ. As the Son of the Father, Mercury receives seven times more light than any other planet. Occult knowledge of this led the Gnostics to call Mercury-Christos the sevenfold light. Orbiting so close to the sun, Mercury can be seen only for very brief periods at sunrise or sunset during certain times of the year. Even then it appears like the Son who is one with the Father and cannot be readily separated from Him.

  Barely distinguishable from the solar Marduk, Mercury-Nebo was the overseer among the seven deities of the planets. The great ziggurat sacred to Nebo at Borsippa represented the seven planets in platforms spiralling from base to summit, where the shrine of the presiding god "who controls the seven decrees of Heaven and Earth" existed. These platforms each had their own colour and represented the hypsomata or stations created by the father, Marduk. They related Ishtar-Venus to Pisces, Sin-Moon to Taurus, Shamash-Visible Sun to Aries, Nergal-Mars to Capricorn, the aspected Marduk-Jupiter to Cancer, Ninurta-Mars to Libra, and Mercury-Nebo to Virgo. The Babylonian sages believed that Marduk created a world when he placed the constellations, and that these (the visible constellations as well as their platform symbols) were but reflections of their noumena. Thus, the hypsomata are like diluted loci functioning analogously in relation to our solar system as the twelve stations of the zodiac through which the visible Marduk passes each year. With each of these lesser passages, a greater and more subtle passage is mirrored, one which affects the rulers of the planets through the channel of their overseer, Hermes-Mercury. In this way, the divine Mercury perfectly reflects and passes on the Logoic effects of unchanging solar Truth, a process repeated in a simple but dramatic way on the earthly plane when the glass of a mirror is coated with the substance mercury.

  Occultism teaches that the lords of the planets are called the Seven Sons of Light and that, through their respective planets, they supply humanity with its inward and outward characteristics. The vital forces stream from the spirit of the sun through his son (Mercury) to each of the other planetary Dhyanis who, in turn, overbrood the seven primordial human races. The human principles are also thus provided, mankind receiving its buddhi from the essence of the Manasaputras presiding over the planet Mercury. Translated down through the descending levels of manifestation to the visible solar system, it can be said that all seven planets were comets and suns in their origins, evolving from primeval chaos through the process of aggregation and the accumulation of the primary differentiations of eternal matter. It was thus that the "Sons of Light clothed themselves in the fabric of Darkness" and came to exist as formless intelligences unseen in their planetary homes. All planets and celestial bodies are born through the effects of heat (from the Great Breath drawing in the etheric radiations of the universe and expelling them in a spiralling pulsation that replicates itself at every level of being), attraction and repulsion, the three factors of motion. All planets are born, grow and die, to be reborn after pralaya when the Dhyanis once again, under the guidance of Him who overbroods Mercury, commence to "clothe" themselves.

  The word "planet" comes from the Greek πλανήτης (planetes), which means "wanderer", and is thought to have been inspired by the observation of the way the planets wander against the backdrop of stars. But it might well be that the term πλάνησις (planesis) is the inspiration, referring as it does to "a dispersing". In addition to these etymological possibilities, it is interesting to note that o πλάνσς (o planos) is a name given to a deceiver, reminding one of the entertaining exploits of the infant Patron of Thieves. Among the ancients there were seven planets, a counting that can be explained in terms of occult modes of reckoning rather than limitations in scientific knowledge. Modern science recognizes nine planets belonging to our system, following the definition that a planet is any body except a comet, asteroid, meteoroid or satellite orbiting the sun. It is now thought, from a purely material point of view, that some planets may be formed by the gravitational collapse of part of a proto-star, others by aggregation of the grains of its dust. Planets like those in our system could not form in systems having two or more suns because of their competing fields, but they find ideal growing conditions in the environment of a solitary star of about the same mass as our sun. Piecing together patiently garnered data concerning our sun, scientists hypothesize that the primeval sun's magnetic field turned through gas, which was dragged along like grit through the nebula until the nebula in turn caused a drag, slowing the sun's spin. As it slowed, its angular momentum was transferred to the nebular gas and much of it was carried out in an expanding solar wind. Solid microscopic mineral grains condensed out of this gas, their chemical composition depending on the cooling rate and the degree to which early grains were available to mix with later material. Major condensates were the silicates and ices. As the temperature lowered further, water played an increasing role, its vapour and gas reacting with some of the dust grains to form complex hydrated minerals. In even colder regions, ices became so abundant that they covered the rocky materials that had condensed earlier, forming ice-enveloped planets. This whirling, marvellously creative process is believed to have resulted in the order of planetary composition existing in our solar system where bodies close to the sun possess a silica-rich density and the outer icy bodies do not.

  The music of the spheres may have arisen thus from one note, one sound, capable of releasing all others in intervals of the tones and half-tones which became the voice of Nature. Tiny dust grains nestled to form clumps held together by electrostatic forces which increased their motion. Larger bodies grew to have a strong gravitational effect on smaller ones, which would rush towards them, sometimes rebounding to escape, sometimes adding to the mass of the larger body. This collisional accretion thus joined the process of aggregation in forming the planets. Impact cratering and vulcanism are the two most significant processes shaping the history of the planets, whilst additional evolutionary factors are size (affecting subsequent thermal evolution), chemistry (ratio of iron to silicates and relative abundance of volatilized and radioactive materials), distance from the sun (affecting chemistry), and the sources of energy available throughout the planet's history. Underlying all these processes, two major tendencies are thought to have been at work. One has been called equilibrium condensation, an orderly formation of planets, from the most dense nearest the sun to the least dense furthest away. The other is catastrophic, a mode suggested by the formation of Mercury, which has increasingly come to be viewed as the key to understanding the development of the rest of the solar system.

  Those who feel that planets do not grow in an orderly way point to evidence which suggests that there may have been a proto-Mercury, twice the planet's present size, which experienced a collision so enormous that it melted and its heaviest elements sank towards its centre, leaving only a thin, lighter shell on its surface. During the course of these catastrophes, Mercury wandered around the inner solar system, colliding and being deflected by the magnetospheres of other growing bodies until it settled into its present orbit around the sun. One finds the competing theories of uniformitarianism and catastrophism in all branches of science, and it is clear that both forces are continually at work. Things may appear to be uniform relative to a known framework, but other processes may appear catastrophic simply because a frame of reference big enough to make sense out of them is not known. One can liken the uniformitarian and catastrophic processes to the action of the positive and negative forces which form the fundamental duality manifest throughout the entire universe. One can also see this basic interaction symbolized once again in the intertwining dark and light serpents of Mercury's magical caduceus.

  Just as the Great Breath breathes in and out, so the sun breathes out a vast solar wind of hot, ionized gas from its corona. This wind is continually present in interplanetary space, streaming radially outward for billions of kilometers until it merges with the nearby interstellar medium and loses its identity. The gases spiral outward and the sun's magnetic field tends to move along with them. They flow around the magnetic barrier of a planet, being repelled by the planet's own magnetosphere. They also induce a transverse electric field across the planet's magnetic field, injecting a small fraction of the surrounding interplanetary plasma into it, some particles ultimately diffusing down into the planet's atmosphere. Material carried off into interplanetary space from one planet can thus come to influence the evolution of another. The magnetospheres of the sun and planets affect one another as well; the sun dominates but the interplanetary forces cause perturbations, with the result that the planets and their satellites follow an elliptical course around the sun. Some perturbations may work so that one body may have a period which is a regular fraction of the period of a neighbouring body, such commensurability being called resonance. The resonance of Mercury's rotation with regard to its orbital motion depends on the planet's elongated shape, but the two to three ratio of periods (a fifty-nine-day rotation on its axis to an eighty-eight-day revolution around the sun) is only possible because of the high eccentricity of its orbit.

  The planet Mercury has an appropriate name because, like the god it honours, it seems to be constantly hiding its secrets. It is visible for a brief moment just before dawn in late October and early November before it vanishes again with the glare of sunrise. It is the smallest of the planets and closest to the sun, having a pinkish colour with some dark regions indicating ancient lava flows. Because Mercury is usually hidden in the sun's glow, many astronomers have never seen it at all. Photographs taken from the spacecraft Mariner 10 show closely clustered moon-like craters strewn across lava plains, but because Mercury rotates so that it tends to keep the same side towards the sun, only thirty-five percent of its surface has been examined. Much of what we know about Mercury is based on inference rather than direct observation. Scientists feel confident that it possesses an iron core encompassing a surprising seventy percent of the planet's mass, but it is conjectured that Mercury's overall chemical makeup may be the most atypical of any body in the cosmos.

  Throughout its history, Mercury has been bombarded over and over again. Although a greater number of meteors cross the earth's orbit than Mercury's, because of their crowding together near the sun Mercury is much more likely to be hit than is the earth. In addition to this, meteors and comets travelling near Mercury move much faster than when travelling near the earth, making more violent impacts and forming proportionally larger craters. The formation of the Caloris Basin on Mercury's surface was the result of a collision so powerful that shock waves travelled through the entire planet and disrupted the landscape on the other side. To get an idea of the magnitude of the impact, one can compare the size of the basin to the state of Texas. Because so many craters dot its lava plains, it is thought that volcanic activity on Mercury ended long ago, leaving a surface which looks like that of the moon and appears to be geologically dead. Along with its craters, however, Mercury possesses many scarps hundreds of kilometers long, which suggests that the interior of the planet has shrunk, leaving a surface resembling an old wrinkled apple. After its formation, there must have been a planet-wide obliteration of surface features, leaving the smooth plains which were subsequently bombarded. During this process, the cooling of the large iron core would have resulted in the contractions producing the wrinkled scarps.

  The ancient age of the scarps seems to imply that the internal engine of Mercury's heat died down long ago. One should not therefore expect there to be a molten core or moving currents of core material to generate a magnetic field, and it is unlikely that the planet's rocks retain magnetization from an ancient magnetic field which existed when they were first formed. But the fact remains that Mercury does have a weak magnetosphere (about one hundredth that of the earth) which may be the result of an intrinsic dipole interacting with the planet's iron core as well as with the solar wind through which it passes in its orbit. In addition to this, Mercury appears to have very little atmosphere. Whatever it might once have had, low surface gravity and low escape velocity are factors capable of explaining its dissipation. High temperatures on Mercury's surface (711 degrees Fahrenheit at equatorial noon) would also have contributed to the boiling away of its atmosphere, but it may be that its near non-existence is due to the planet having had less volatile material to begin with. Another more interesting possibility, however, is that it could have released its gases in very early times and might have originally had a much more substantial atmosphere. In any case, the emission lines in Mercury's spectrum indicate the presence of sodium and potassium in a very thin atmosphere.

  The planet's reflected spectrum shows no absorption of light identifiable with specific minerals, leading some to wonder if its surface is composed of substances which happen to be spectrally featureless. It is also possible that interactions between minerals, magnetospheric particles and the impinging solar wind have neutralized any spectral features by blackening the mineral grains. Looking at it from a more occult point of view, one might consider that the minerals on the surface may exist in such molecular patterns that they produce a cross-neutralization of spectral effects. This would imply that the molecular makeup of the material on Mercury's surface is something like an extremely refined puree, compared to the chunky stew analogous to the molecular patterns of the earth's surface. The cross-neutralization effect could also be seen as yet another illustration, on the molecular level, of the process of interaction between the dark and light serpents of the caduceus, the dipole being the rod around which they are entwined.

  As we have seen, the evolution of gods and atoms is represented in the caduceus of Mercury. The rod, as the axis mundi, traces through the realm of time the spiralling descent and ascent of the life-force. On the physical plane, this was echoed in the great movement outward of the nebular solar gases as they were transformed and distributed through the spiralling journey of the aggregating Mercury which, reeling and colliding, made its way hither and thither throughout the solar system. In this manner, the Son of the Sun gave forth its atmospheric and magnetic potencies, which then became measurable in the more physicalized manifestations of other planets. Thus the positive and negative nodes of sequential existence were brought into being to be expressed in an infinite series of spiralling, orbiting and interacting forms from the atom to the largest planet. These became the knots of Fohat, the stations belonging to the planetary Dhyanis on which myriad levels and shades of evolution would take place. It is significant that Mercury, having finished this great work, returned to its parent and remained there, its gigantic iron core being just adequate magnetically for the planet to maintain a separate identity from the sun while actually remaining manifest in the solar system.

  One may wonder why human evolution has taken place on the earth and not on Mercury. From an occult perspective, the answer must have to do with the fact that the earth is an arena of so much magnetism, so much that is positive and negative, that it is a perfect field for the development of the discursive, rational mind. Mercury has given up the atmosphere and field connected with this and sustains instead a rarefied field which is porous to pure solar light. This is appropriate to Budha-Soma, expressing itself in man as the principle of buddhi, that which receives light without reservation (without a magnetospheric defence) and distributes it throughout the rest of the system. One will recall that manas, represented by the planet Venus, must align itself with this mercuric and luminous potential in order to bring down into consciousness (while in a body) the unchanging light of solar Truth. In the scheme of the involution of spirit into matter, it is Venus who "falls", not Mercury, and Mercury receives seven times more light than the earth, whilst Venus transmits two-thirds of its light to our globe. Thus, the spiritual potencies follow a spiralling route from the sun through Mercury to Venus and thence to the earth, where their serpentine fluctuations play themselves out in the periodic cycles so intimately affected by the moon. Just as Budha-Mercury combined the moisture of his mother with the fire of his father, so too the earth comes to receive the moist influence of its parent moon, together with the fire of the visible sun, the psychic influence of a dead moon being a potentially dangerous and low-level reflection of the akashic emanations transmitted through Mercury.

  When Budha-Mercury was born to Soma and the abducted Tara, even Brihaspati, overwhelmed by his beauty, rushed to claim him as his son. And this is not surprising, for those who are called the Anointed, the great Initiates of all races, have been given his name. The star of Mercury (Sirius) is called the great instructor of mankind before other Buddhas, and Thoth as well as Hermes are generic names given to seers, prophets and adepts. The same is true of Nebo, Asclepius and Vishvakarman, who are all connected symbolically with the dual serpents of descent and enlightenment, and who are all Sons of the Sun. Initiates into the great mystery of life are crucified, as it were, upon the cross of the descending, unfolding cube of Mercury, but they awaken to behold "the fiery aura of the "Hand of Lhagpa" [Mercury] extended in protecting love over the heads of his ascetics" and their ear is opened to the sounding of the Law. As the patron of thieves, Hermes-Mercury wanders the highways of the world, but his gifts of deception and cunning are the reflections of the operation of a higher divine justice which continually adjusts matters of the world. They are also reflections of the dramatic work of creation symbolized by Hermes releasing the celestial heifers, the moist clouds which will manifest as the substance of the world to be. Thus the Thief fosters the world, bringing forth the pure, luminous Word of the Unmanifest Logos from the realm of becoming into that of being; the cube unfolds to become the cross, the dual caduceus in the world.

Quicksilver god!
Streaming like liquid fire
Through the hidden veins
Of existence.