A Delightful Place To Be

In many ways, England at this time of year – around mid-Spring – is a delightful place to be, for there are Spring flowers, hedgerows in bloom, trees coming into leaf; the burgeoning Dawn Chorus, and quite often warmer and sunnier days heralding perhaps another Summer of dreams to be remembered, happily remembered, as the dark longer nights and the cold of Winter return as they return and we – perhaps with family, partner, friends – hunker ourselves down to await such warmer days, again.

Such simple delights, of such a childful joy; delights and a simplicity that I personally have come to value more and more as pathei-mathos and increasing age has slowed me in both body and thought, bringing – it seems – a certain repose, certainly a need for personal humility, for expiation, and certainly a feeling concerning, another intimation of, what for us humans is most valuable, most human, and possibly should be most desired. Which is the joy of a personal love shared; the companionship of family, friends; and that simple quite humble way of living arising when our life is just our and their life, when our concerns just our and their concerns, when our hopes and dreams are just our and their hopes; the life, the concerns, the hopes, the dreams, of those whom we love, we trust, and with whom we share the passing of our daily lives.

For decades I – flawed, hubriatic, dissatisfied, often angry, and often inclined toward violence – rejected such manifestations of our humanity as I pursued one and then another suffering-causing agenda; as I – extremist activist, agitator – stupidly arrogantly placed some abstraction, some ideal, some ideology, before personal love, before compassion, before empathy, before kindness, before family, before wu- wei. And it was during those four decades of hubris that I scribbled away, writing thousands and thousands of pages – propaganda, essays, ideological tracts, pamphlets – in praise of and trying to justify the extremisms I upheld and fought for. Worse, I not only supported violence and propagated hatred but pridefully, temerariously, saught to revise some abstractions and manufacture new abstractions in my attempts to motivate and inspire others and bring closer the downfall of ‘the system’ I then so disliked in the hope that some revolution, some violent struggle or other, might somehow and in some miraculous way bring into being a ‘new world’ founded on some ideological ideal and which ideal was always harsh and always founded on prejudice and intolerance, on some divisive division between ‘them’ and ‘us’. In the process, of course, I caused suffering. To loved ones, to family, to friends, and to others; to so many others, known or personally unknown to me. As I wrote earlier this year:

“I have no excuses; the failure of decades was mine. A failure of compassion, empathy, honour. A failure as a human being. There are no excuses for my past, for deeds such as mine. No excuses for selfishness, for a hubris of personal emotion. No excuse for deceit, deception, lies. No excuse for extremism, for racism, for the politics, the religion, of hate […]

I would like to believe – to hope – that this [my] personal, this interior, change, possibly evident in some recent writings of mine, and possibly also evident in my [philosophy of pathei-mathos] is positive, good; in some way counter-balances the hubris of my past, and is thereby some expiation, some propitiation, for at least some of the suffering caused. But it is for others, not for me, to judge whether that is so.” [1]

David Myatt
2nd April 2012

[1] The quotations are from the compilation of essays and letters entitled Meditations on Extremism, Remorse, and The Numinosity of Love.

Image credit: The Day’s Consecration by Richard Moult

David Myatt
Editorial Note, by RS: The following excerpt from David Myatt’s Religion, Empathy, and Pathei-Mathos: Essays and Letters Regarding Spirituality, Humility, and A Learning From Grief (ISBN 978-1484097984) not only, in my view, expresses the character of Myatt himself – what he has via pathei mathos now become – but also contradicts the multitudinous assumptions made about him, both in the past and in the present, by journalists and so many others who had and who have the temerity to (unlike myself) express their opinion about a person they have never either bothered to personally get to know or whose post-2011 writings they have never bothered to study in detail sans whatever prejudice they have or had about the man himself.


Twenty years ago, someone whom I loved who loved me died, too young and having harmed no one. Died, leaving me bereft, if only for a while. For too soon my return to those hubriatic, selfish, suffering-causing, and extremist, ways of my pasts. As if, despite the grief, the pain of loss, I personally had learned nothing, except in such moments of such remembering that did not, unfortunately, impact too much upon my practicalities of life; at least until another bereavement, thirteen years later, came to shock, shake, betake me far from my arrogant presumptions about myself, about life, to thus lead, to so slowly lead, to me on a clear cold day yet again interiorly dwelling on what, if anything, is our human purpose of being here and why such bereavements, such early deaths, just seem so unjust, unfair.

For they – as so many – having harmed no one, died, while I – as so many – lived on to continue causing mayhem, chaos, suffering, and grief, no God it seemed to stay us or to slay us for our miscreant mischief. That, to me, seems to be no deity of empathy and compassion; only one explanation to maybe betake our grief, our tears, our fears, away.

I admit I could be wrong, but – having perhaps at least in some ways, and partially, understood the errors of both my selfish and my extremist suffering-causing pasts – I still cannot accept that such a compassionate, empathic, deity would, could, sanction such a taking of such innocence and allow such infliction of suffering to continue. For that makes no sense to me, given how I now do not believe there is another life awaiting us where we, judicium divinum, are rewarded or condemned. I find no comfort there; no satisfying explanation for the suffering that afflicts so many now as in the past: as if that, such suffering, as was written once, many times, is some sort of casus belli for our life, to be endured until such time as such a deity deems fit to end it.

Man, that is born of a woman, hath but a short time to live, and is full of misery. He cometh up, and is cut down, like a flower; he fleeth as it were a shadow, and never continueth in one stay. In the midst of life we are in death. Of whom may we seek for succour, but of thee, O Lord…

Must we therefore be resigned to suffering, to misery, to injustices, to the iniquity, to the continuing iniquity, of selfish, hubriatic, individuals who bully, rape, scheme, subjugate, manipulate, injure, maim, and kill? Reassured by judicium divinum or – perhaps – hoping, trusting, in the pending justice of some judge, some government, or some State?

Is it wrong for me to still feel the need for someone, some many, somewhere, to somehow in some way forestall, prevent, such deeds by such persons as may unjustly harm some others so that there is no waiting for the divine justice of a deity; no waiting for some Court somewhere to – possibly, and sometimes – requite a grievous wrong. No waiting for that promised idealistic idyllic future society when we humans – having somehow (perhaps miraculously) been changed in nature en masse – have ceased to so grievously, harmfully, selfishly, inflict ourselves on others.

My own and only fallible answer to the question of how to deal with the suffering that blights this world therefore seems to be the answer of a personal honour. That is, for each of us to gently try to carry that necessary harmony, that balance, of δίκη, wordlessly within; to thus restrain ourselves from causing harm while being able, prepared, in the immediacy of the moment, to personally, physically, restrain – prevent – others when we chance upon such harm being done. This, to me, is Life in its wholesome natural fullness – as lived, presenced, by the brief, mortal, consciously aware, emanations we are; mortal emanations capable of restraint, reason, culture, and reforming change; of learning from our pathei-mathos and that of others. My personal answer to personal questions, perplexion, and to grief and doubt. The answer which is to live in hope – even need – of a personal loyal love; to live with empathy, gentleness, humility, compassion, and yet with strength enough to do what should be done when, within the purvue of our personal space, we meet with one or many causing suffering and harm, no thought then for the fragility of our own mortal life or even for personal consequences beyond the ἁρμονίη we, in such honourable moments, are.

David Myatt

In Loving Remembrance of Sue, died 4th April 1993


Perhaps I remain, partially at least, a Catholic in spirit – in my heart – though not, most of the time, in words and deeds. For while I intellectually and empathically disagree with the teachings of the Catholic Church on many matters – such as homosexuality, contraception, and on divorcées who have remarried being excluded from Holy Communion (unless they have resorted to a Papal Annulment) –  I still find myself in my inner weakness not only sometimes frequenting the Lady Chapel of my nearest RC Church – lighting a candle, kneeling, and in reverent silent contemplative prayer remembering, in the felt presence of The Blessed Virgin Mary, those now dead loved ones such as my mother and father and Sue and Francis, and those other women hurt by my selfishness – but also traveling several times a year to where Gregorian chant is sung and where the Tridentine Mass is celebrated, bringing as such Latin chant and such a Latin Mass still do, in me, a renewed awareness of the numinous and a renewal of such humility as I strive – and sometimes still so often fail – to remember and feel.

There seems to me no intricate and difficult interior problem here derived from my somewhat paganus way of pathei-mathos, for that way is essentially – for me, even born as it is from my own pathei-mathos – rather intellectual, a perceiveration, lacking as it does something outward, practical, supra-personal, and communal, to presence the numinous and thus affect one’s very being in a spiritual way. So I seem to now exist – and have for several years existed – between two worlds: apparently emotionally needing something practical, living, and spiritual beyond myself and my intellectualism, and yet knowing in a rather unemotional manner that it is the way of pathei-mathos, and not Catholicism, which is my weltanschauung.

No intricate and difficult interior problem, no inner dichotomy, because I know the many flaws in my weltanschauung and in myself; and one cannot intellectually create some-thing – manufacture some-thing devoid of ψυχή – to presence the numinous. For it seems to me that such a presencing has to evolve, organically, over causal time, because it has been wordlessly presenced in other mortals and then kept alive because also felt by some of a newer generation. Will – can – such a presencing of the numinous arise from that way of pathei-mathos? Most probably not, intellectual and so very personal as it is.

So the need for some inner, numinous, sustenance remains; for fulfilling as a lot of classical music (such as the Cantatas of JS Bach) is, and fulfilling as walks alone in wild and rural Nature are, I sense a yearning in me for something more: some wordless intimation of the Divine which betakes me so far away from my still egoistic self that I am both awed and humbled again, as I often was in Winter wandering a darkened cloister as a monk in that quiet contemplative time between Matins and Lauds.

David Myatt

Extract From A Letter To A Friend


Myatt’s Sarigthersa, Some Recent Essays is now available as printed 50 page booklet – ISBN 978-1512137149 – from Amazon dot com and other book retailers. It compliments his other published works about his philosophy of pathei-mathos.


° Preface
° I. Toward Understanding Physis
° II. Some Conjectures Concerning Our Nexible Physis
° III. Just Passing By
° IV. Personal Reflexions On Some Metaphysical Questions
° V. Some Notes on Aristotle, Metaphysics, 1015α
° VI. Some Notes on Aristotle, Metaphysics, 987β
° VII. Concerning Tractate IV, Corpus Hermeticum
° VIII. Extremism, Terrorism, Culture, And Physis: A Question Of Being
° IX. The Manner of My Dying
° X. Memories of Manual Labour
° XI. A Perplexing Failure To Understand
° XII. Finis: In Loving Memory of Susan and Frances
° Appendix – Reputation and Rumours

In line with Myatt’s life-long support of copyleft, the work is also available as a free pdf from his blog and website, and also in an alternative (dual-page) pdf format here –

David Myatt

David Myatt

DW Myatt: Some Rejected Poems

From the intro by JRW:

{quote} In [his] Introduction to his published slim volume of poetry – One Exquisite Silence (ISBN 978-1484179932), later republished under the title Relict (ISBN 978-1495448386) – David Myatt wrote that:

“My poetry was composed between the years 1971-2012, and is of varying quality. Having undertaken the onerous task of re-reading those poems that I still have copies of, there are in my fallible view only around a dozen that I consider may possibly be good enough to be read by others. This collection contains these few poems, and most are autobiographical in nature.”

I include here those of his rejected poems which in my view are indeed “good enough to be read by others”. {/quote}

Sue, On Wenlock Edge

Sue, On Wenlock Edge


 A Perplexing Failure To Understand
Being a slightly revised extract from a letter to friend,
with some footnotes added post scriptum


One of the multitude of things that I have, for years, failed to understand – sans any belief in an all-powerful supra-personal deity – is why I am still alive while people like Sue and Fran – and the millions of others like them – died or were killed, too early. For they neither caused any deaths nor inflicted any suffering on another living being, human and otherwise, while I – and the millions like me, worldwide – continued to live despite having so caused, directly and/or indirectly, deaths and suffering. And in my case, directly and indirectly as my documented so lamentable extremist amoral decades – of violence, hatred, incitement, of being a “theoretician of revolution/terror” – so clearly reveal.

Yet – over twenty years after the death of Sue, and almost ten years since the death of Fran – here I am, still breathing, still pontificating. And all I have – despite years of interior reflexion – is a feeling, an intuition: of the how and why our thousand of years old human culture of pathei-mathos is important because – or so it seems to me – it might bring (at least to some others) a wordless intimation of one possible answer to such a perplexing question.

For it is a culture that includes, for example, such diverse artisements as the Oresteia of Aeschylus, the Lamentations of Jeremiah by Thomas Tallis, and the life – and death – of people such as Jesse James, Mohandas K Gandhi, and Edith Cavell; and which culture, enshrined as it is in Studia Humanitatis, can perchance teach some of each new generation that valuable lesson about our human physis, jumelle as our physis is [1] and thus paradoxical as we honourable/dishonourable (often hubriatic) mortals are:

ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ
πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν:
πολλῶν δ᾽ ἀνθρώπων ἴδεν ἄστεα καὶ νόον ἔγνω,
πολλὰ δ᾽ ὅ γ᾽ ἐν πόντῳ πάθεν ἄλγεα ὃν κατὰ θυμόν,
ἀρνύμενος ἥν τε ψυχὴν καὶ νόστον ἑταίρων.
ἀλλ᾽ οὐδ᾽ ὣς ἑτάρους ἐρρύσατο, ἱέμενός περ:
αὐτῶν γὰρ σφετέρῃσιν ἀτασθαλίῃσιν ὄλοντο,
νήπιοι, οἳ κατὰ βοῦς Ὑπερίονος Ἠελίοιο
ἤσθιον: αὐτὰρ ὁ τοῖσιν ἀφείλετο νόστιμον ἦμαρ

The Muse shall tell of the many adventures of that man of the many stratagems
Who, after the pillage of that hallowed citadel at Troy,
Saw the towns of many a people and experienced their ways:
He whose vigour, at sea, was weakened by many afflictions
As he strove to win life for himself and return his comrades to their homes.
But not even he, for all this yearning, could save those comrades
For they were destroyed by their own immature foolishness
Having devoured the cattle of Helios, that son of Hyperion,
Who plucked from them the day of their returning

A lesson about ourselves which so many others have attempted to communicate to us, as recounted in a certain tragedy:

οὕτω δ᾽ Ἀτρέως παῖδας ὁ κρείσσων
ἐπ᾽ Ἀλεξάνδρῳ πέμπει ξένιος
Ζεὺς πολυάνορος ἀμφὶ γυναικὸς
πολλὰ παλαίσματα καὶ γυιοβαρῆ
γόνατος κονίαισιν ἐρειδομένου
διακναιομένης τ᾽ ἐν προτελείοις
κάμακος θήσων Δαναοῖσι
Τρωσί θ᾽ ὁμοίως. ἔστι δ᾽ ὅπη νῦν
ἔστι: τελεῖται δ᾽ ἐς τὸ πεπρωμένον

Thus were those sons of Atreus sent forth
By mighty Zeus, guardian of hospitality, against Alexander
On account of that woman who has had many men.
And many would be the limb-wearying combats
With knees pushed into the dirt
And spears worn-out in the initial sacrifice
Of Trojans and Danaans alike.
What is now, came to be
As it came to be. And its ending has been ordained [3]

and as described – millennia ago – by a certain poetess:

φαίνεταί μοι κῆνος ἴσος θέοισιν
ἔμμεν᾽ ὤνηρ, ὄττις ἐνάντιός τοι
ἰσδάνει καὶ πλάσιον ἆδυ φωνεί-
σας ὐπακούει
καὶ γελαίσας ἰμέροεν, τό μ᾽ ἦ μὰν
καρδίαν ἐν στήθεσιν ἐπτόαισεν
ὠς γὰρ ἔς σ᾽ ἴδω βρόχε᾽, ὤς με φώναι-
σ᾽ οὐδ᾽ ἒν ἔτ᾽ εἴκει,
ἀλλ᾽ ἄκαν μὲν γλῶσσα <ἔαγε>, λέπτον
δ᾽ αὔτικα χρῶι πῦρ ὐπαδεδρόμηκεν,
ὀππάτεσσι δ᾽ οὐδ᾽ ἒν ὄρημμ᾽, ἐπιρρόμ-
βεισι δ᾽ ἄκουαι,
<έκαδε μ᾽ ἴδρως ψῦχρος κακχέεται / κὰδ’ δέ ἴδρως κακχέεται> τρόμος δὲ
παῖσαν ἄγρει, χλωροτέρα δὲ ποίας
ἔμμι, τεθνάκην δ᾽ ὀλίγω ᾽πιδεύης
φαίνομ᾽ ἔμ᾽ αὔται

I see he who sits near you as an equal of the gods
For he can closely listen to your delightful voice
And that seductive laugh
That makes the heart behind my breasts to tremble.
Even when I glimpse you for a moment
My tongue is stilled as speech deserts me
While a delicate fire is beneath my skin –
My eyes cannot see, then,
When I hear only a whirling sound
As I shivering, sweat
Because all of me trembles;
I become paler than drought-grass
And nearer to death

and as, for example, described by the scribe of an ancient Hermetic MS:

Solum enim animal homo duplex est; et eius una pars simplex, quae, ut Graeci aiunt οὐσιώδης, quam vocamus divinae similitudinis formam; est autem quadruplex quod ὑλικὸν Graeci, nos mundanum dicimus, e quo factum est corpus, quo circumtegitur illud quod in homine divinum esse iam diximus, in quo mentis divinitas tecta sola cum cognatis suis, id est mentis purae sensibus, secum ipsa conquiescat tamquam muro corporis saepta.

Humans are the only species that is jumelle, with one aspect that foundation which the Greeks termed οὐσιώδης and we describe as being akin in appearance to divinity, and yet also being quadruplex, termed by the Greeks ὑλικός and which we describe as worldly; whereby from such is the corporeal [body] that, as mentioned, is of – in humans – the divinity, and in which is that divine disposition, to which it is solely related, that is in character a singular perceiveration and untoiling since enclosed within the corporeal. [5]

But will we – can we – mortals, en masse, read, listen, reflect, experience, and so learn? Or will we, as our tragic history of the past three millennia so seems to indicate, continue to be divided – individually, and en masse – between the masculous and the muliebral; between honour and dishonour; between war and peace; between empathy and ipseity?

I do so wish I knew. But all I have to offer, now in the fading twilight of my own mortal life, is an appreciation (perhaps contrary, these days, to οἱ πλέονες) of what some schools, independent (‘private’) or otherwise, still fortunately do understand is the importance of a ‘classical education’, and what may possibly be apprehended by such poor words of mine as this:

Here, sea, Skylark and such a breeze as rushes reeds
Where sandy beach meets
To meld with sky
And a tumbling cumuli of cloud
Briefly cool our Sun.

I am no one, while ageing memory flows:

For was there ever such a bliss as this
While the short night lasted
And we touched kissed meshed ourselves together
To sweat, sweating, humid,
Fearing so many times to fully open our eyes
Lest it all really was
A dream

But Dawn arrived as it then arrived bringing with its light
Loose limbs and such a reminder
As would could should did
Make us late that day for work.

So, here: a tiredness of age
Brightened by such a June as this
When sandy beach meets
To meld with sky
And that tumbling cumuli of cloud
Briefly cools a Sun

For there are so many recollections of centuries of a so human love, so many memories of years – centuries – of hubris and dishonour, that I can now only live each slowly passing daylight hour modus vivendi:

And the lost heart stiffens and rejoices
In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices
And the weak spirit quickens to rebel [6]

David Myatt
January 2015

[1] Pœmandres (Corpus Hermeticum), 15:

καὶ διὰ τοῦτο παρὰ πάντα τὰ ἐπὶ γῆς ζῷα διπλοῦς ἐστιν ὁ ἄνθρωπος, θνητὸς μὲν διὰ τὸ σῶμα, ἀθάνατος δὲ διὰ τὸν οὐσιώδη ἄνθρωπον. ἀθάνατος γὰρ ὢν καὶ πάντων τὴν ἐξουσίαν ἔχων τὰ θνητὰ πάσχει ὑποκείμενος τῇ εἱμαρμένῃ

Which is why, distinct among all other beings on Earth, mortals are jumelle; deathful of body yet deathless the inner mortal. Yet, although deathless and possessing full authority, the human is still subject to wyrd

 See also Sophocles, Antigone, v. 334 & vv. 365-36:

πολλὰ τὰ δεινὰ κοὐδὲν ἀνθρώπου δεινότερον πέλει…
σοφόν τι τὸ μηχανόεν τέχνας ὑπὲρ ἐλπίδ᾽ ἔχων
τοτὲ μὲν κακόν, ἄλλοτ᾽ ἐπ᾽ ἐσθλὸν ἕρπει

There exists much that is strange, yet nothing
Has more strangeness than a human being…
Beyond his own hopes, his cunning
In inventive arts – he who arrives
Now with dishonour, then with chivalry

[2] Homer, Odyssey, Book 1, v. 1-9

[3] Aeschylus, Agamemnon, v. 60-68

[4] Sappho, Fragment 31

[5] Asclepius, VII, 13-20

[6] TS Eliot, Ash Wednesday



The Uncertitude of Knowing


In this lengthy and interesting essay, published in 2011, Myatt outlines the basis for his ‘numinous way’ – a way he later refined into the philosophy of pathei-mathos – with Myatt remarking that:

“What I written in the past few years derives from my own diverse personal experiences, from my reflexion upon such experiences; from my pathei-mathos, from my experience of diverse ways of life, diverse religions, and by my interaction with individuals of good intentions and with individuals of bad intentions. Given such experiences I feel I understand in some small way something of the nature of suffering – having also personally caused and contributed to suffering – and why I assign myself to the fourth option above, for I find that to overtly condemn the honourable actions (and I stress, the honourable actions) of others requires one to have a belief in some particular abstraction or adhere to some dogmas or to have some faith in some conventional religious perspective. Having no such religious belief, no adherence to some political dogma, no desire now for such abstractions, who am I to condemn, to blame, to judge such honourable actions? I have made enough mistakes in my own life to know my fallibility, as my views have evolved, matured, as a result of my experiences, my pathei-mathos.

So all I have is my own perspective, my own uncertitude of knowing. Which perspective of mine is of feeling suffering, understanding how empathy and compassion and a personal honour in the immediacy of the moment are my answers to the problem of suffering – and yet which perspective also includes a knowing, a feeling, an understanding, of how suffering will continue, for centuries, if not millennia, and why some individuals are motivated, have been motivated, and will be motivated to try in their own way according to their own understanding to do something to alleviate such suffering, here, now. And why I have no right to condemn the actions of such individuals because I have no dogma, no adherence to some conventional faith, to base such a condemnation on. That is, I give them the benefit of the doubt, and only apply the criteria of honour, and which criteria express my own limited understanding of this complex and ethical issue.”

The essay thus provides the necessary context for the Myatt quotations (on law and the police) presented here in a recent post.

Image credit: Clytemnestra kills Cassandra (Red figure vase, c 430 BCE)

David Myatt

Mage Myatt


Notes On The Fourth Tractate Of The Corpus Hermeticum

Ἑρμοῦ πρὸς Τάτ ὁ κρατῆρ ἡ μονάς


Chaldron Or Monas

The title given to the fourth tractate of the Corpus Hermeticum, Ἑρμοῦ πρὸς Τάτ ὁ κρατῆρ ἡ μονάς, requires some consideration if it is to be translated without using English words that have, in the centuries since the text was written, acquired meanings which are not or which may not be relevant to or representative of the metaphysics, and the cosmogony, of such an ancient text; with an injudicious choice of words more often than not resulting in the modern reader projecting certain interpretations upon the text, as might be the case in translating, without some comment, κρατῆρ as ‘basin’, cup, or ‘mixing bowl’, μονάς as ‘monad’, and Τάτ as Thoth.

In respect of κρατῆρ, a more appropriate – and certainly more subtle – translation, given the esoteric nature and antiquity of the text, would be chaldron (an alternative spelling of ‘cauldron’), since basin, cup, and ‘mixing bowl’ are not only too prosaic but also do not conjure the appropriate archetypal imagery: of the primal artisan-creator coagulating and mixing primal substances – qv. tractate III, Ιερός Λόγος – to produce, to bring-into-being by means of Logos, the cosmic order and thence mortal beings.

In respect of μονάς, the transliteration monas would be more appropriate – and certainly more subtle – than ‘monad’ given that the term monad is now so often associated with such weltanschauungen as those termed Pythagorean/neo-Pythagorean and Gnostic, an association which may or may not be relevant here. Furthermore, monas has a long and interesting esoteric usage, including (somewhat recently) by John Dee in his Testamentum Johannis Dee Philosophi summi ad Johannem Gwynn, transmissum 1568 – a text included (on page 334) in Elias Ashmole’s Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum, Containing Severall Poeticall Pieces of our Famous English philosophers, who have written the Hermetique Mysteries in their owne Ancient Language, published in London in 1652 – who wrote “our Monas trewe thus use by natures Law, both binde and lewse”, and who also entitled one of his works Monas Hieroglyphica (Antwerp, 1564), in which work he described (in Theorem XVIII) a septenary system somewhat similar to that of the Poemandres tractate [1].


In respect of Τάτ, while there is no disputing that Thoth is meant, what may or may not be implied by the name Thoth is whether or not there is a primarily Egyptian genesis for the metaphysics and the cosmogony of this particular tractate. For what does ‘Egyptian’ mean in the context of the Corpus Hermeticum, written when Egypt was a post-Ptolemaic Roman province where Hellenism still thrived? That is, is the text propounding a metaphysics and a cosmogony primarily redolent of indigenous, pre-Alexandrian, times, with Hermes Trismegistus simply a Hellenic name for the ancient Dynastic deity Thoth, and thus with the Greek Hermes possibly being a son of that ancient Egyptian deity? Or is the text redolent of a classical metaphysics and a cosmogony; or of a Hellenic metaphysics and cosmogony; or of some syncretism of Egyptian (pre-Alexandrian) weltanschauungen with Hellenic mysticism? Or has the author (or authors) of Ἑρμοῦ πρὸς Τάτ ὁ κρατῆρ ἡ μονάς simply used the name of an ancient deity – Thoth – in order to appeal to an audience of Hellenized Egyptians, or Greeks/Romans dwelling in Egypt, or because it seemed to add some esoteric gravitas to the text? Or, as the title might be taken to imply – of Hermes to Thoth – is it a text intended to inform Egyptians (Hellenized or expatriate Greeks/Romans, or otherwise) about Greek/Hellenic metaphysics and cosmogony, with Thoth thus regarded, symbolically, esoterically, or otherwise, as the son of the Greek divinity Hermes?

In this matter, I incline toward the view – based on some forty years of study of the Corpus Hermeticum and similar mystical and esoteric texts, classical, Hellenic, medieval, Arabic and otherwise – that what is imparted in this tractate, as with the Poemandres and Ιερός Λόγος, is primarily a mystical, and – for centuries – aural, Greek tradition, albeit one possibly influenced, over time and in some degree, by the metaphysical speculations of later philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle. That is, that in Ἑρμοῦ πρὸς Τάτ ὁ κρατῆρ ἡ μονάς and Ιερός Λόγος and Ποιμάνδρης, we have an intimation of the metaphysics and the cosmogony taught to initiates of that (or those) ancient and aural and paganus Greek mystical tradition(s) mentioned by writers such as Herodotus. And an intimation that is not – a few borrowed illustrative terms notwithstanding – in any significant and metaphysical manner deriving from or influenced by Biblical stories or by early Christian theology or by indigenous Egyptian culture. In the matter of a paganus Greek mystical tradition, the opening of the fourth tractate is, metaphysically, very interesting:

Επειδὴ τὸν πάντα κόσμον ἐποίησεν ὁ δημιουργός οὐ χερσὶν ἀλλὰ λόγῳ ὥστε οὕτως ὑπολάμβανε ὡς τοῦ παρόντος καὶ ἀεὶ ὄντος καὶ πάντα ποιήσαντος καὶ ἑνὸς μόνου τῇ δὲ αὐτοῦ θελήσει δημιουργήσαντος τὰ ὄντα

Because the artisan crafted the complete cosmic order not by hand but through Logos, you should understand that Being as presential, as eternal, as having crafted all being, as One only, who by thelesis formed all that is. [2]

For it is incorrect and misleading to write about those three tractates – and most if not all the other tractates of the Corpus Hermeticum – as being in any way indigenously Egyptian. Rather, their genesis – the tradition they represented – was the Greek culture of post-Alexandrian Egypt, a cultural influence so evident in the numerous papyri found in places such as Oxyrhynchus, containing as such papyri do verses from Homer, Sappho, Menander, Sophocles, and other Greek authors.

David Myatt, January 2015


[1] qv. David Myatt, Poemandres, A Translation and Commentary. 2014. ISBN 9781495470684

[2] In respect of my translation:

artisan. δημιουργόν. qv. my translation of and commentary on Poemandres 9 [Poemandres, A Translation and Commentary. 2014]. The theme of an artisan-creator, and their artisements, is common to the third tractate (Ιερός Λόγος) as well. That the tractate begins by using the term artisan, rather than theos, is perhaps significant.

that Being. The construction of the Greek here implies the conventional “you should understand him as…” although how such a human-type gender could be adduced from or manifest by how the ‘body’ of the artisan-creator is described in subsequent verses is an interesting and relevant metaphysical question. Can, or should, a ‘body’ that cannot be touched, that cannot be seen, that cannot be measured, that is not separable – οὐδὲ διαστατόν – and thus which is not conventionally ‘human’, be described as male? It is to suggest such a metaphysical question (and the limitations of ordinary language) that I have here, and here only, departed from convention and used ‘that Being’ instead of ‘him’.

There is also an interesting and perhaps relevant mention, in the second tractate of the Corpus, of the one, the being, who – like an artisan – constructs things:  ὁ οὖν θεὸς <τὸ> ἀγαθόν, καὶ τὸ ἀγαθὸν ὁ θεός. ἡ δὲ ἑτέρα προσηγορία ἐστὶν ἡ τοῦ πατρός, πάλιν διὰ τὸ ποιητικὸν πάντων. πατρὸς γὰρ τὸ ποιεῖν. (Thus theos is the noble and the noble is theos, although another title is that of father because the artifex of all being. For it is of a father to construct.)

presential. πάρειμι. Presential – from the classical Latin praesentia – means “having or implying actual presence”, as manifesting (as being presenced) in a locality or with an individual, and is thus more apposite here than the rather bland word ‘present’. Cf. the use of ‘presenced’ in Ιερός Λόγος 2, et sequentia.

One only. ἑνὸς μόνου. A formulaic mystic phrase, implying uniqueness. Cf. ordinary usage in Plato, Crito 47, ἢ ἑνὸς μόνου ἐκείνου […] ἑνὸς μόνου.

thelesis. θέλησις. Given what follows – τοῦτο γάρ ἐστι τὸ σῶμα ἐκείνου, οὐχ ἁπτόν, οὐδὲ ὁρατόν, οὐδὲ μετρητόν, οὐδὲ διαστατόν – a transliteration to suggest something other than a human type ‘will’ or ‘desire’; such as ‘disposition’. That is, Being (whatsoever of whomsoever Being is, in terms of gender and otherwise) is predisposed to craft – to presence – being as beings: as immortals (deities), as mortals (humans) and otherwise, qv. Ιερός Λόγος, Poemandres 8 ff, and Poemandres 31: οὗ ἡ βουλὴ τελεῖται ἀπὸ τῶν ἰδίων δυνάμεων (whose purpose is accomplished by his own arts).

formed. As an artisan forms their artisements, and thus manifests their skill, their artistry, in what they produce. That is, the artisan-creator has formed, crafted, being (all existence) as beings.



The septenary arrangement from the first section of Theorem XVIII of Dee’s Monas Hieroglyphica, published in Antwerp in 1564.

Article source: David Myatt – Sarigthersa (pdf, External Link)


Further Reading:

1. Mercvrii Trismegisti Pymander – A Translation and Commentary

2. Ιερός Λόγος: An Esoteric Mythos

David Myatt

Some Metaphysical Questions


Covert surveillance photograph of David Myatt by the BBC
Extremism, Terrorism, Culture, And Physis
  A Question Of Being

Disinclined as I am, and as I have been for many years, to comment on recent events, I have – after much reflexion – decided to respond to certain questions asked of me, given that several friends and diverse individuals (communicating through correspondence forwarded to me through intermediaries) have expressed an interest in my opinion about some recent events in France because of my forty years of (now regretted) practical experience of extremism [1] and extremists and which experience included not only being an advocate, as a Muslim, of what has become known as ‘Islamic extremism’, but also of being a neo-nazi activist and ideologue who preached and who advocated subversion, insurrection, hatred, and terrorism.

The recent events in France, where seventeen people were killed at four locations between the 7th and 9th of January 2015 – and similar events on other lands, from September 2001 (9/11) onwards – have led many people to speculate about the problem of, about causes of, and what may be required to prevent, such acts.

My admittedly fallible view, derived from my personal decades of experience, is that simple cause-and-effect answers are rather misguided, however naturally instinctive and/or politically expedient they might be – and/or however effective (or perhaps necessary) some of them might be in the short-term: of years, of a decade or more. For I incline toward the view that the long-term solution does not lie in more legislation, or in more security measures, or in idealizing one culture over and above another (as in the West verses Islam), or in invading other lands, or even in attempting to combat ‘extremism’ by means of advocation of a ‘moderate’ interpretation of some religion or some political ideology. Rather, the long-term solution lies in understanding our basal physis [2] as human beings and then considering how – or even if – that basal physis can be changed, evolved.

For the reality – the truth – of our being is that we humans can always find, and have always found – century after century, millennia after millennia – some cause or some ideology or some ideation or some interpretation of some religion or some dogma or some leader to allow us to express, to live, what is solely masculous [3]. For as I know from my own experience and involvements such an expression, such a living, vivifies, excites, and has so often provided us (or a significant portion of us) with a sense of purpose, an identity, and thus given our lives meaning.

Thus, for that significant portion of us, it is our basal nature – our basal character – as human beings which is at fault, the cause; not some current or past harsh interpretation of some religion or of some weltanschauung; not some ‘extremist’ ideology, per se; not some failure to tackle extremism; not some deficiency of law nor some failure (of intelligence, or otherwise) by the Police or by some State security service. That is, the harsh modern interpretation of a religion such as Islam (manifest for example in al-Qa’ida and in groups such as ad-Dawlah al-Islamiyah fil ‘Iraq wa ash-Sham), or the extremism manifest in nazism and fascism (past and present) are symptoms, not the cause.

For it is my considered opinion – fallible as it is and based as it is on what (admittedly limited) knowledge I have of the circumstances – that the perpetrators of recent events in France simply found, in a harsh interpretation of Islam, something which not only gave them a sense of purpose, a goal – which gave their lives meaning – but also provided them with an excuse to behave according to their physis or what they believed their physis should be: to be what they were or had become or should become. That is, lacking that empathy – such compassion and such honour, such muliebral virtues – as would have engendered within them a feeling for, an intuition of, and thus an appreciation of, innocency [4] and of individuals as individuals and not as abstracted ‘enemies’ or as somehow ‘inferior’ to them or as a means whereby what they believed in, or desired (such as some after-life), could be achieved.

In other words, a harsh modern interpretation of a particular religion hallowed what is masculous to the detriment of what is muliebral, making such a basal, such an unbalanced, masculous physis an ideal to be imitated and strived for, and which masculous ideal included the notion of a personal immolation, via kampf and a dishonourable disregard for the innocency of others, as a means to some posited goal. An unbalanced masculous physis also evident in – and idealized by – the ideologies of communism, nazism, and fascism, and in and by the ‘puritanical’ and inquisitorial interpretations of Christianity centuries before.

How then can that basal physis be changed or evolved? How can the masculous be balanced with the muliebral thus avoiding such unbalance, such bias toward the masculous, as has brought so much suffering recent and otherwise? All I have is a rather philosophical, quite long-term, and quite personal answer. Of, in terms of individuals, the development by individuals of empathy and the cultivation of the virtue of personal honour; and, in terms of society, Studia Humanitatis: that is, education to form, to shape, the manners and the character, of individuals by not only acquainting them with such topics as are, and were traditionally, included in that subject, but also of them being educated in such knowledge concerning our physis as our thousands of years old human culture of pathei-mathos has bequeathed to us [5].

David Myatt
January 2015


[1] As I have explained in many of my post 2009 writings, by extreme is meant to be harsh, so that I consider an extremist is a person who tends toward harshness, or who is harsh, or who supports/incites harshness, in pursuit of some objective, usually of a political or a religious nature. Here, harsh is: rough, severe, a tendency to be unfeeling, unempathic, uncompassionate.

Hence I consider extremism to be: (a) the result of such harshness, and (b) the principles, the causes, the characteristics, that promote, incite, or describe the harsh action of extremists. In addition, a fanatic is considered to be someone with a surfeit of zeal or whose enthusiasm for some objective, or for some cause, is intemperate.

[2] I use the term physis (φύσις) as a revealing, a manifestation, of not only the true nature of beings but also of the relationship between beings, and between beings and Being. Physis is often apprehended (and thus understood) by we humans as the nature, the character, of some-thing; as, for example, in our apprehension of the character of a person.

[3] By the term masculous is meant certain traits, abilities, and qualities that are conventionally and historically associated with men, such as competitiveness, aggression, a certain harshness, the desire to organize/control, and a desire for adventure and/or for conflict/war/violence/competition over and above personal love, compassion, and culture. In my view, extremist ideologies manifest an unbalanced, an excessive, masculous nature.

Masculous is from the Latin masculus and occurs, for example, in some seventeenth century works such as one by William Struther: “This is not only the language of Canaan, but also the masculous Schiboleth.” True Happines, or, King Davids Choice: Begunne In Sermons, And Now Digested Into A Treatise. Edinbvrgh, 1633

[4] I use the term ‘innocence’ to refer to a presumed attribute of those who, being personally unknown to us, are therefore unjudged by us and who thus, as honour requires, are given the benefit of the doubt. For this presumption of the innocency of others – until direct personal experience, and individual and empathic knowing of them, prove otherwise – is the fair, the reasoned, the honourable, the cultured, the virtuous, thing to do.

[5]  Refer to my May 2014 essay Education And The Culture Of Pathei-Mathos, and my more recent Some Conjectures Concerning Our Nexible Physis.

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