O9A. One Image, Ten Thousand Words

O9A Insight Role

Editorial Note: We republish here an extract from an illuminating interview with the Finnish Occultist (aka Northwind) who edits The Sinister Flame zine and who runs the Black Metal record label of the same name. The interview was published in July 2017 on the deathmetal dot org website.

Northwind expresses the essence of the ONA system, hidden as that is by the ONA’s perplexing, misleading, challenging, testing Labyrinthos Mythologicus.


As anyone who’s taken part of his publication will know, he [Northwind] works with the Order of Nine Angles system – also known as the Seven-Fold Way.

– This is a path I’ve walked for well over a decade now, and it’s taught me a lot. For starters – it’s worth pointing out that the Order of Nine Angles has no formal membership, no leader, no structured organisation and no dogma. The word ‘order’ is a bit misleading in that sense. This is of utmost importance to myself, because I’ve always preferred working alone.

NorthWind adds that he has no problems collaborating with others – should the situation require it – but not being a particularly sociable character, it’s unlikely to happen by preference.

– O.N.A. is, first and foremost, a tradition that’s often been characterised as esoteric, occult, pagan, sinister and satanic – I feel all of these adjectives are justified. Above all, I regard it as a kind of constant real-life training system for individuals who are genuinely interested in self-knowledge and personal development.

The practitioner’s progress is divided into seven stages, all of which include physical and psychological elements.

NorthWind notes that while O.N.A. literature contains highly precise practical instructions, there is no explicit creed.

– Each path is unique, as all individuals are different – the system provides a frame but what’s done within it is your own call. Now, our know-it-all armchair Satanist will of course be quick to say, ‘Why would we need a framework? Satanists are free!’ Well, my experience tells me that we simply do. Much like a university needs a curriculum, the path of self-growth requires a certain structure. If you just do a bit of this and read a bit of that – you might learn something and go somewhere, but there’s no reliable way of measuring your development.

NorthWind speaks from empiricism, having done just that for a great number of years – dabbling in different occult and Satanic currents.

– In the end, none of them ever resulted in anything tangible and seemed more or less like mumbo-jumbo. But once I came across the O.N.A. it was immediately clear that this was precisely what I’d been searching for. This was something which manifests in the real world – it’s practical and it works.

How were you introduced to it?

– It was largely my correspondence with Frater Calus of ALTAR OF PERVERSION in the beginning of 00s which drew me to the O.N.A. I knew about it long before via flyers and journals, but it wasn’t until we started discussing these matters extensively that I really looked into it. ALTAR OF PERVERSION is a forerunner in O.N.A. inspired black metal and, as you know, Calus is a regular contributor to The Sinister Flame.

Walking the Seven-Fold Way, one seeks to complete various trials and challenges. One such tribulation is what’s called Insight Roles, an enterprise requiring the adept to make temporary but often drastic changes to his or her lifestyle – even switching place of residence, or outwardly assuming a polarising ideological position likely to provoke confrontation.

– It’s to test your limits and then learn from endured hardship. It’s about stepping out of your comfort zone and finding out what you’re really made of; experience is what tutors us and moulds our characters.

NorthWind adds how one can read any number of grimoires, or decorate ritual altars to the heart’s content, but actual learning occurs only when stepping out into the unknown and taking action.

– This is also why the O.N.A. is often described as ‘dangerous’ by other ‘Satanic’ currents. Worth noting is how it’s you alone who decides what your next Insight Role might be – no one is issuing decrees; it could be anything from a long stay in the woods to… well, think for yourself. But no one’s pushing you to do anything. It’s your life and you traverse the sinister how and as far as you wish, in accordance to your own goals.

Besides a philosophy where deeds weigh heavier than acumen, the fact that nature is an essential part of the tradition is something which immediately resonated with him.

– Nature has always been very important to me and I’ve always lived amongst it, more or less. Even now, if I want to go to a forest it’s about 150 metres from my home. Or if I want to go to the lake, my boat is two kilometres away. I’ve come to develop a deep connection with nature and its various faces over the years. Reading your recent interview with the Nordvis character though, I started feeling painfully urbanite…

Sounds familiar.

– Moreover, read early manuscripts like Naos: A Practical guide to Modern Magic, or old issues of Fenrir – the O.N.A. journal – the writing is impeccable and clearly authored by someone wielding a supreme command over words. That really appealed to me. One could argue that the writings even have this evocative and addictive quality to them. I’ve often discussed this with my O.N.A. associates, and many mention how they need to take actual breaks from reading the material. It’s interesting to see how words can indeed hold such power.

Escapades such as these Insight Roles sound like a frightful nuisance, are the rewards worth the hassle?

– Well, I suppose it depends on what you want from life. Personally, I can see no more important task than constantly striving for an improved version of myself on all fronts. Still, it’s not something I decided to do – it’s always been within me. Having said that, I can easily admit I have a long way to go; there have been plenty of phases in this journey ending in disappointment. Just saying.

NorthWind refers me to a quote by Anton Long – the pseudonymous former Grand Master of the O.N.A. – printed on the back cover of The Sinister Flame #3.

(…) They will have really lived, ‘on the edge’; they will really have achieved something with their lives. They will have inspired others. They will in some way by their living have ‘presenced’ the dark forces on earth. If they survive – their rewards are their achievements and the wisdom that awaits. If they do not survive, at least they will have done something with their lives.

– For beginners, the O.N.A. is a total mystery and puzzle – and deliberately so. Try to google the material and you’ll find a truckload of it, but after two months of reading you’re more confused than from the onset. It takes years to get some manner of grip on it – which is obviously by intentional design, to test the seeker’s will and resolve. You’ll turn away pretty soon if you do not have this sinister flame burning inside.

Order of Nine Angles


Western Pagan Curses: Some Examples

It is interesting and informative – and should be part of the studies of every aspirant Western sorcerer and sorceress – to research the history of Western sorcery especially given that most aspirant Occultists will begin and have (for over a century) begun, and will and have ended, with the Magian ‘Goetic’ (qabalistic) tradition, satisfied as they seem to be, and seem to have been, that that Magian medieval tradition is ‘authentic’ especially as that qabalistic tradition formed the basis for the sorcery of the so-called Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, for the sorcery of Mr Crowley, for the sorcery of Howard Levey, for the sorcery of Mr Aquino, and for the sorcery of all other modern, non-O9A, occult groups.

To provide a flavour of the Western, pagan, tradition of sorcery – free from later Magian (Judaic) interpolations and distortions – we present here three examples of historical Western sorcery. One from the sorcery inspired by ancient Greece and Hellenism, and two from Romano-British, pagan, sources. Perspicacious readers will notice several things. For example, that Romano-British sorcery – spells and curses – make no reference whatsoever to Magian ‘demons’, and that earlier Hellenic sorcery is also devoid of later Magian (Judaic) interpolations.

June 2017

David Myatt

In the Spring of this year (2017) David Myatt released his versions – translations and commentaries – of several more Corpus Hermeticum texts to complement his existing, published, versions of tracts I, III, IV, VIII, XI {1}. The new additions were tracts VI, XII, and the Cantio Arcana part (sections 17 and 18) of tract XIII. {2}

The latest additions – bringing his translations of Hermetica texts to seven – follow the same methodology as previous versions. That is, his penchant for transliterating certain Greek words, his use of often unusual English words in place of the standard translations and meanings given in Greek-English lexicons such as LSJ {3}, and the terms and expressions he invents or digs up from usually very old books of English literature. All of which combine to make his translations idiosyncratic and remarkably different from all previous translations into English, antique and modern. To his credit, he explains in his commentary – sometimes in pedantic detail – his choices, citing his reasons and often providing some quotation in Greek, Latin, or English.

In regard to his translations of hermetic texts, this results in two things. In translations with a technical vocabulary relating to hermeticism, and in translations which transports the reader to an ancient world. Both of these combine to breathe new life into the texts and thence into hermeticism itself. Thus, far from, as Myatt writes in his introduction to tract VI, giving the impression “of reading somewhat declamatory sermons about god/God and ‘the good’ familiar from over a thousand years of persons preaching about Christianity,” the hermetic texts he has translated give the impression of reading about a pagan mysticism that most readers will probably be unfamiliar with.

Thus while other translators write moralistically about god, righteousness, truth, and ‘the good’, Myatt previews a world of divinities, of respecting the customs of the gods, of honesty, and nobility. A good example of the difference is in Myatt’s rendering of part of the Cantio Arcana. Copenhaver – who follows the proto-Christian interpretation of earlier translators and whose recent translations of the Corpus Hermeticum are regarded as “the definitive versions”, has:

“Holy knowledge, you enlightened me; through you, hymning the intellectual light, I take joy in the joy of Mind. Join me, all you powers, and sing me the hymn. You also, continence, sing me the hymn. My justice, through me hymn the just. My liberality, through me hymn the Universe. Truth, hymn the truth. Good, hymn the good.” (4}

Myatt has:

Numinous knowledge, from you a numinal understanding:
Through you, a song of apprehended phaos,
Delighted with delightful perceiverance.
Join me, all you Arts, in song.
You, mastery, sing; and you, respectful of custom,
Through me sing of such respect.
Sing, my companions, for All That Exists:
Honesty, through me, sing of being honest,
The noble, sing of nobility.

In Myatt’s version there are the two previously mentioned things. A technical vocabulary – such as numinal, phaos, perceiverance, Arts – requiring interpretation, and nothing reminiscent of Christianity, such as ‘hymn’ and ‘holy’ and being ‘good’. As Myatt writes in his commentary on the Cantio Arcana in respect of his use of the terms song, honesty and Arts:

Song. ὕμνος. Not a ‘hymn’ in the Christian sense (which the word hymn now so often imputes) but rather celebrating the numinous, and theos, in song, verse (ode), and chant.

Honesty. ἀλήθεια. Given that those who are urged to sing are personifications, this is not some abstract, disputable, ‘truth’ but as often elsewhere in classical literature, a revealing, a dis-covering, of what is real as opposed to what is apparent or outer appearance. In personal terms, being honest and truthful.

Arts. As at Poemandres 31 – which is also a traditional doxology (δοξολογία) to theos – the sense of δυνάμεων [here] is not ‘powers’, forces (or something similar and equally at variance with such a laudation) but ‘arts’; that is, particular abilities, qualities, and skills. Here, these abilities and skills – the craft – relate to esoteric song; to be able to be an effective laudator in respect of theos and “every Physis of Kosmos.”

His reference to every Physis of Kosmos is to the beginning of the ode:

Let every Physis of Kosmos favourably listen to this song
πᾶσα φύσις κόσμου προσδεχέσθω τοῦ ὕμνου τὴν ἀκοήν

which Copenhaver translates as “let every nature in the cosmos attend to the hearing of this hymn.”

The commentaries which accompany the translations deserve a mention. Each of them not only occupies far more pages than the actual translation but they reveal the author as erudite with pages of quotations from ancient Greek and Latin works – for most of which Myatt provides his own translation – and the occasional quotation from English literature. In the case of English literature usually to explain the meaning of the unusual English words of phrases he uses, quoting the likes of Chaucer, Coleridge, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Chapman, and others.

        In effect what Myatt does in his translations is paint of picture of classical – and of Hellenic – culture and especially of Hellenic mysticism; a culture and a mysticism which is pagan and based on individuals, on tangible things such as honesty, and not on moralistic and religious and impersonal abstractions. That is, he reveals the Greco-Roman ethos – the pagan ethos – underlying the hermetic texts and which is in contrast to that of Christianity with its later, medieval and Puritanical, impersonal moralizing. He incidently leaves us with an interesting question. Which is whether such pagan Hellenic mysticism influenced Christianity in a positive way. In academia the assumption has always been that Christianity and earlier Judaic monotheism influenced hermeticism despite the fact of evidence from papyrus fragments indicating the opposite and despite the fact that the earliest texts of the Old Testament were written in Greek and not in Hebrew. {5}

Myatt himself is of the opinion that parts of ancient Greek mysticism and cosmogony – as described for instance in tract III of the Corpus Hermeticum – have influenced both Judaism and Christianity. {6}

Such controversial matters aside, his translations of tracts from the Corpus Hermeticism are decidedly iconoclastic and – when compared to those of other translators such as Copenhaver – idiosyncratic and as such are not and probably never will be mainstream at least in academia. They may therefore never gain widespread acceptance among established academics. Does that matter? Probably not because his actual and potential audience is much greater. Which audience is of those interested in Western mysticism, in Western paganism, and in Greco-Roman culture in general, and for such interested parties Myatt has done a great service since he places the hermetic texts firmly into those milieux.

One other thing about the translations and commentaries deserves a mention. As well a being available in printed form he has not only made all of them available as free downloads from the internet {7} but also issued them under a liberal Creative Commons license which allows others to freely copy and distribute them.

Rachael Stirling

{1} D. Myatt. Corpus Hermeticum I, III, IV, VIII, XI. 2017. ISBN 978-1545020142
{2} Tracts VI, XII, and the Cantio Arcana, are available at https://davidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/tractates-vi-xii-v3.pdf [Accessed May 2017].
{3} H. G. Liddell, R. Scott, H. S. Jones. A Greek-English Lexicon. Oxford University Press, 1996.
{4} B. Copenhaver. Hermetica. Cambridge University Press. 1992.
{5} The earliest written texts of the Old Testament – papyrus fragments found in Egypt – are in Hellenistic Greek and date from around 250 BCE and precede by over a century the earliest fragments written in Hebrew (some of the Dead Sea Scrolls) which date from 150 BCE to around 50 BCE.
{6} See Myatt’s introduction to his translation of tract III.
{7} https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/corpus-hermeticum/

David Myatt
David Myatt: Corpus Hermeticum XII
Translation and Commentary

The pdf document above contains David Myatt’s completed translation of and commentary on tractate XII of the Corpus Hermeticum.




ἀθάνατοι θνητοί, θνητοὶ ἀθάνατοι, ζῶντες τὸν ἐκεί­νων θάνατον, τὸν δὲ ἐκείνων βίον τεθνεῶτες. (Fragment 62, Diels-Krantz)


The deathless are deathful, the deathful deathless, with one living the other’s dying with the other dying in that other’s life.


° deathless…deathful. For these in respect of ἀθάνατος and θνητὸς qv. my commentary [1] on Poemandres 14, tractate VIII:1, and tractate XI:7ff. As noted in the commentary on Poemandres 14, the English terms are taken from Chapman’s poetic translation of the Hymn to Venus from the Homeric Hymns: “That with a deathless goddess lay a deathful man.”

° There is some similarity between this fragment and what the Ἀγαθὸς Δαίμων says in the first section of tractate XII of the Corpus Hermeticum:

καὶ γὰρ ὁ Ἀγαθὸς Δαίμων τοὺς μὲν θεοὺς εἶπεν ἀθανάτους, τοὺς δὲ ἀνθρώπους θεοὺς θνητούς

For the noble daimon spoke of deities as deathless mortals and of mortals as deathful deities.

David Myatt

[1] Myatt, David. Corpus Hermeticum I, III, IV, VIII, XI. 2017. ISBN-13: 978-1545020142

Article Source:



Image credit: Klytemnestra Kills Cassandra. Red figure vase, c 430 BCE

David Myatt

David Myatt

More Academic Inaccuracies

Given the lamentable state of modern academic research into esotericism, as highlighted in several previous articles such as the one titled The Occult And Academia {1}, it was no surprise to read the many mistakes about the Order of Nine Angles and about Mr David Myatt in a recently published book by a major and well-respected academic publisher.

The book in question is Satanism: A Social History written by Massimo Introvigne (professor of Sociology of Religions at Pontifical Salesian University, Torino) and published in 2016 by Brill, Leiden, as volume 21 in the series Texts and Studies in Western Esotericism. The book consists of 651 pages and retails in the UK for around £156.

A section of the book – under the heading Satan The Prophet – is devoted to the Order of Nine Angles (pp. 357-364) with Introvigne writing, among other things,

1. That Myatt was Anton Long was “confirmed” by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke in his 2003 book Black Sun.
2. That Myatt’s middle name is “William”.
3. That Senholt “offered a number of elements confirming that Long was indeed Myatt”.
4. That the ONA “acknowledged that Anton Long was a nom de plume of Myatt”.
5. That Myatt joined Jordan’s British Movement in 1969.
6. That the ONA Black Mass “derived from Huysmans and the rituals of the Church of Satan.
7. That the Temple of Set “perceived the competition [the ONA] as dangerous, particularly when in the late 1980s some members of the Temple of Set started considering themselves members of the ONA at the same time. In 1992, Aquino and his British representative David Austen launched an internal purge, expelling from the Temple of Set those members who also wanted to remain in the ONA.”

In respect of his claims:

§ Introvigne not only, due to a lack of detailed research, gets several facts wrong – for instance, Myatt’s middle name is Wulstan, not William; he joined British Movement in 1968 not 1969 – but also does not provide any evidence from primary sources (or indeed from any sources) in support of several of his claims, such as the claim regarding the ONA Black Mass, and the claim regarding the Temple of Set. His claims are just stated as if they were fact. In the matter of the claim about Aquino, for example, it seems that Introvigne did not bother to contact Aquino himself to ask for his side of the story.

§ In addition, Goodrick-Clarke did not confirm anything regarding Myatt being Long, he merely stated that Myatt was Long and accepted without question that the MS titled Diablerie – a notorious forgery {2} – was written by Myatt and that it recounted details of Myatt’s early life. Goodrick-Clarke did not provide any evidence from primary sources that Myatt was Anton Long nor regarding Myatt having written that MS.

§ Likewise in respect of Senholt, for Senholt also provided no evidence from primary sources that Myatt was Anton Long. Instead, he claimed – without providing any evidence from forensic linguistics – that there was a similarity of writing style between works by Myatt and Long, a claim disputed by several other academics (Monette, Sieg, Kaplan), and also claimed that Myatt’s extremist adventures (neo-nazi followed by radical Muslim) were ONA Insight Roles and thus linked Myatt to the ONA even though such Insight Roles only last around a year while Myatt’s neo-nazi adventures lasted thirty years (1968-1998) with his time as a radical Muslim lasting over ten years (1998-2009). Furthermore, Senholt made no mention of the many things about Myatt’s life which contradict his thesis, such as Myatt’s marriage in a Christian church and his writings praising Christianity and especially Catholicism. {3}

§ As a source for his claim that the ONA “acknowledged that Anton Long was a nom de plume of Myatt” Introvigne cites the text A Modern Mage: Anton Long and the Order of Nine Angles, neglecting to mention four important facts.

(1) “That since Anton Long retired in 2011 no one publicly speaks ‘on behalf of the O9A’. Nor can anyone now or in the future speak ‘on behalf of the O9A’. As befits the O9A principle of ‘the authority of individual judgement’. For even if the person is O9A, as the author of that book is, they are just presenting their own opinion, their own interpretation, just as these answers – and the earlier ones – are someone’s opinion, their interpretation, of matters O9A.” {4}

(2) That the authors of that text are presenting their personal opinions about Myatt and Long and provide no evidence from primary sources in support of such opinions.

(3) That others associated with the ONA have lambasted that text, writing that “the authors seem to have committed the fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc; concluding that Anton Long is (or must be) Myatt because his publicly documented life apparently fits the paradigm of what someone ONA should be like and should do in the real world.” {5}

(4) That the nature of the ONA – with its independent nexions and its principle of the authority of individual judgement – means that those associating with the ONA have diverse and often different opinions about various matters, including about whether Myatt=Long and including about the ONA itself. {6}


As noted in a recent ONA polemic,

“Correctly understood, a scholarly approach means undertaking a meticulous, unbiased, research into a specific subject over a period of some years using, wherever possible, primary sources; formulating an opinion based on such learning, such knowledge, as results from such research, and in respect of writing academic papers and books about the subject providing copious, accurate, references to the source material.

Primary sources include direct evidence such as original documents dating from the period under study, and accounts and works (written, verbal, published or unpublished) by such individuals whose life or whose writings or whose works form part of the research. In addition, if such sources – documents or accounts or writings – are in another language, then it is incumbent upon the scholar to have knowledge of that language and thus be able to translate such documents themselves, for a reliance upon the translations of others relegates such sources from the position of primary ones to secondary ones.

Hence, if the author of an academic book or academic paper writes about a person and/or about their works, or about an event, using only secondary sources – sources containing the opinions, the interpretations, or the conclusions of others – then the opinion, the interpretation, the conclusions of that author about such a person and/or about their works, or about an event, are unauthoritative because unscholarly.” {7}

The last paragraph sums up what Introvigne writes about the ONA and about Mr Myatt, for since Introvigne only offers the opinions, the interpretations, or the conclusions of others, providing no evidence from primary sources, his own opinion is unauthoritative because unscholarly. That he also makes some basic factual errors and obviously has not done detailed research into the ONA (as evident in not knowing about the authority of individual judgement and other matters) highlight once again the shoddy nature of quite a lot of academic research into Western esotericism in general and modern Satanism in particular.


{1} https://regardingdavidmyatt.wordpress.com/more-unscholarly-research/
{2} https://regardingdavidmyatt.wordpress.com/about/a-sceptics-review-of-diablerie/
{3} The facts which contradict Senholt’s thesis are enumerated by Myatt is his essay A Matter of Honour available at https://regardingdavidmyatt.wordpress.com/myatt-a-matter-of-honour/
{4} Some Questions About The Order of Nine Angles (2016), Part One. Available (April 2017) at https://omega9alpha.wordpress.com/o9a-q-a/
{5} https://wyrdsister.wordpress.com/2017/02/09/review-of-the-radical-philosophy-of-anton-long/
{6} A classic example of differing ONA views is given in the text at https://omega9alpha.wordpress.com/2017/02/15/aristocracy-anarchy-or-nihilism/
{7} https://wyrdsister.wordpress.com/2017/04/02/another-typical-anti-o9a-example/


Academia, David Myatt, And The Order of Nine Angles

David Myatt And Satanism

Order of Nine Angles


A Perspicacious Example

We wish to draw the attention of our readers to the peregrinations of someone – apparently inspired by the O9A – who is undertaking his own septenary anados and whose writings concerning his peregrinations and that anados are perceptive and illustrative of just how different the rational “sinister-numinous” O9A approach is compared to that of all other modern self-described occultists. That this seeker after gnosis occasionally references the life and writings of a certain Mr Myatt is interesting and perhaps indicative.

Here are just two representative examples of the perspicacity of this modern Occultist.

1. “The Geist connects the Causal and the Acausal, and here were are talking about its fiery, martial character. It is eternal yet Faustian, and as such its drive should fuel you. As you look at the illustration of the Sphere of Mars imagine yourself standing in that particular extraterrestial landscape. Enjoy its destabilizing power.

The workings of Destruction and Sacrifice are situated on three levels indicating the fact that we are a being-in-the-world, being-with-others, and connected with the Cosmic. You simply cannot understand these qualities without looking at the whole Cosmic picture. As an Alchemist I strive for Unity, the Great All. The Light and the Shadow aspects of Mars make it even more complex, but complete. It is a lifelong study, search and experience that demands Destruction and Sacrifice. Myatt already emphasized this: the need for humility. With Bataille we could say: be prepared to Sacrifice all Reason and delve into this Night of Violence. Only then, we can emerge enlightened and worthy to receive the Wisdom and Wealth offered by Jupiter.”

2. “Mercury – as god, planet or metal – is the changing substance itself, a fluid, and strictly speaking does not belong to the different phases. Mercury is the changing matter itself and Jung called it an archetypical symbol which encompasses many contradictions. As the collective unconscious is very complex Mercury has multiple forms.

Look at the illustration of Mercury and follow those lines, a fluidized surface as it were. An image of ever becoming, a never ending process which is not just a stage but the whole alchemical process of individuation as a whole. Look at your life, the lives of those close to you: all lines traversing the Lebenswelt around you. See how they interact and inter-connect for there lies growth and inner transformation. Benefit from the interconnectedness, a Being-with-Others as Myatt has exemplified in his Numinous Mysticism. Like blood the energy flows through us and by connecting with others we create a Sacred Space.”

Source of the quotations: https://ecstatic-darkness.com/

David Myatt

In his most recent article, published on his blog on the 24th of March 2017 and dealing as it does with the ancient texts of the Corpus Hermeticum {1}, David Myatt expounds on his decision to translate the ancient Greek term ἀγαθός not by the conventional English term ‘good’ but by – according to context – honourable, noble, nobility. In support of his translation of ἀγαθός he quotes Seneca: “summum bonum est quod honestum est. Et quod magis admireris: unum bonum est, quod honestum est, cetera falsa et adulterina bona sunt.” {2}

This choice – and his unconventional translations of other particular ancient Greek words such as νοῦς – really does give, as he notes in his article, an “impression about ancient Hermeticism which is rather different from that conveyed by other translations.”

The difference, as other commentators on Myatt’s Hermetica translations have noted {3} and as Myatt shows in his article, is between taking those texts as expressing a Christian ethos and taking them as expressing a pagan – a classical, Greco-Roman – ethos.

For those interested in Western esotericism in general and Hermeticism in particular this is a profound and important difference. It restores these texts to the Western pagan tradition and makes them relevant to our times when Western culture and our classical, Greco-Roman, and pagan heritage is increasingly subsumed in schools and elsewhere by other, non-Western, cultures and religions, with it now being ‘politically incorrect’ to point out that Western culture with its Greco-Roman pagan heritage has profoundly changed the world for the better and is arguably superior to all other cultures past and present.

Although Myatt in his article provides three illuminating examples of the difference between his ‘pagan’ (authentic) versions and the ‘Christian’ interpolations of other translators, I will provide two other examples.

The first is from tract XI which Myatt entitles From Perceiverance To Hermes.

“Indulging the body and rotten, you are unable to apprehend the beautiful, the noble. To be completely rotten is to be unaware of the numinous, while having the ability to discover, to have volition, to have expectations, is the direct, the better – its own – way to nobility.”

Copenhaver, hitherto extolled as providing the ‘definitive translation’, has:

“While you are evil and a lover of the body, you can understand none of the things that are beautiful and good. To be ignorant of the divine is the ultimate vice, but to be able to know, to will and to hope is the straight and easy way leading to the good.” {4}

The second example is from tract IV, which Myatt entitles Chaldron Or Monas.

Since that Being is honourable, the desire was to entrust solely to that Being such a cosmic order on Earth […] What is apparent can please us while what is concealed can cause doubt with what is bad often overt while the honourable is often concealed having as it has neither pattern nor guise.

Copenhaver translates as:

“Because he is good it was not for himself alone that he wished to make this offering and adorn this earth […] Visible things delight us but the invisible causes mistrust. Bad things are more open to sight but the good is invisible to what can be seen. For the good has neither shape nor outline.”

It is easy to see which translation echoes a pagan ethos – as the likes of Seneca and Cicero understood classical paganism – and which is redolent of a Christian or a pseudo-Christian ethos.

In summary, Myatt in his translations of five of the texts of the Corpus Hermeticum provides the ordinary reader with an insight into a neglected Western mystic tradition. A neglected tradition because all the other translations available impart – in Myatt’s words – “the sense of reading somewhat declamatory sermons about god/God and ‘the good’ familiar from over a thousand years of persons preaching about Christianity.”

Richard Stirling

{1} https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2017/03/24/concerning-ἀγαθός-and-νοῦς-in-the-corpus-hermeticum/
{2} Ad Lucilium Epistulae Morales, LXXI, 4.
{3} https://regardingdavidmyatt.wordpress.com/2016/07/16/a-review-of-myatts-monas/
{4} B. Copenhaver. Hermetica. Cambridge University Press. 1992

David Myatt

David Myatt

Three of the many Greek terms of interest in respect of understanding the varied weltanschauungen outlined in the texts that comprise the Corpus Hermeticum are ἀγαθός and νοῦς and θεός, with conventional translations of these terms as ‘good’ and ‘Mind’ and ‘god’ (or God) imparting the sense of reading somewhat declamatory sermons about god/God and ‘the good’ familiar from over a thousand years of persons preaching about Christianity interspersed with definitive philosophical statements about ‘Mind’, as if a “transcendent intelligence, rationality,” or a “Mental or psychic faculty” or both, or something similar, is meant or implied.

Thus the beginning of tractate VI – τὸ ἀγαθόν, ὦ ᾿Ασκληπιέ, ἐν οὐδενί ἐστιν, εἰ μὴ ἐν μόνῳ τῷ θεῷ, μᾶλλον δὲ τὸ ἀγαθὸν αὐτός ἐστιν ὁ θεὸς ἀεί – and dealing as it does with both ἀγαθός and θεός, has been translated, by Mead, as “Good, O Asclepius, is in none else save God alone; nay, rather, Good is God Himself eternally,” [1] and by Copenhaver as “The good, Asclepius, is in nothing except in god alone, or rather god himself is always the good.” [2]

In respect of νοῦς, a typical example is from Poemandres 12 – ὁ δὲ πάντων πατὴρ ὁ Νοῦς, ὢν ζωὴ καὶ φῶς, ἀπεκύησεν ῎Ανθρωπον αὐτῷ ἴσον, οὗ ἠράσθη ὡς ἰδίου τόκου· περικαλλὴς γάρ, τὴν τοῦ πατρὸς εἰκόνα ἔχων· ὄντως γὰρ καὶ ὁ θεὸς ἠράσθη τῆς ἰδίας μορφῆς, παρέδωκε τὰ ἑαυτοῦ πάντα δημιουργήματα. The beginning of this is translated by Mead as “But All-Father Mind, being Life and Light, did bring forth Man co-equal to Himself, with whom He fell in love, as being His own child for he was beautiful beyond compare,” and by Copenhaver as “Mind, the father of all, who is life and light, gave birth to a man like himself whom he loved as his own child. The man was most fair: he had the father’s image.”

Similarly, in respect of Poemandres 22 – παραγίνομαι αὐτὸς ἐγὼ ὁ Νοῦς τοῖς ὁσίοις καὶ ἀγαθοῖς καὶ καθαροῖς καὶ ἐλεήμοσι, τοῖς εὐσεβοῦσι, καὶ ἡ παρουσία μου γίνεται βοήθεια, καὶ εὐθὺς τὰ πάντα γνωρίζουσι καὶ τὸν πατέρα ἱλάσκονται ἀγαπητικῶς καὶ εὐχαριστοῦσιν εὐλογοῦντες καὶ ὑμνοῦντες τεταγμένως πρὸς αὐτὸν τῇ στοργῇ – which is translated by Mead as “I, Mind, myself am present with holy men and good, the pure and merciful, men who live piously. [To such] my presence doth become an aid, and straightway they gain gnosis of all things, and win the Father’s love by their pure lives, and give Him thanks, invoking on Him blessings, and chanting hymns, intent on Him with ardent love,” and by Copenhaver as “I myself, the mind, am present to the blessed and good and pure and merciful – to the reverent – and my presence becomes a help; they quickly recognize everything, and they propitiate the father lovingly and give thanks, praising and singing hymns affectionately and in the order appropriate to him.”

As explained in various places in my commentary on tractates I, III, IV, VIII, and XI, and in two appendices [3], I incline toward the view that – given what such English terms as ‘the good’, Mind, and god now impute, often as a result of two thousand years of Christianity and post-Renaissance, and modern, philosophy – such translations tend to impose particular and modern interpretations on the texts and thus do not present to the reader the ancient ethos that forms the basis of the varied weltanschauungen outlined in the texts of the Corpus Hermeticum.

To avoid such impositions, and in an endeavour to express at least something of that ancient (and in my view non-Christian) ethos, I have – for reasons explained in the relevant sections of my commentary – transliterated θεὸς as theos [4], νοῦς as perceiveration, or according to context, perceiverance; and ἀγαθός as, according to context, nobility, noble, or honourable [5]. Which is why my reading of the Greek of the three examples above provides the reader with a somewhat different impression of the texts:

° Asclepius, the noble exists in no-thing: only in theos alone; indeed, theos is, of himself and always, what is noble. [6]

° Perceiveration, as Life and phaos, father of all, brought forth in his own likeness a most beautiful mortal who, being his child, he loved.

° I, perceiveration, attend to those of respectful deeds, the honourable, the refined, the compassionate, those aware of the numinous; to whom my being is a help so that they soon acquire knowledge of the whole and are affectionately gracious toward the father, fondly celebrating in song his position.

But, as I noted in respect of ἀγαθός in the On Ethos And Interpretation appendix, whether these particular insights of mine are valid, others will have to decide. But they – and my translations of the tractates in general – certainly, at least in my fallible opinion, convey an impression about ancient Hermeticism which is rather different from that conveyed by other translations.

David Myatt
March 2017

Extract from a letter in reply to a correspondent who, in respect of the Corpus Hermeticum, enquired about my translation of terms such as ἀγαθός and νοῦς. I have, for publication here, added a footnote which references my translations of and commentaries on five tractates of the Corpus Hermeticum.



[1] G.R.S Mead. Thrice-Greatest Hermes. Theosophical Society (London). 1906.

[2] B. Copenhaver. Hermetica. Cambridge University Press. 1992

[3] My translation of and commentary on tractates I, III, IV, and XI – and the two appendices – is available in pdf format at https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2017/03/08/corpus-hermeticum-i-iii-iv-xi/

My translation of and commentary on tractate VIII is available in pdf format at https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/corpus-hermeticum-viii/

[4] To be pedantic, when θεὸς is mentioned in the texts it often literally refers to ‘the’ theos so that at the beginning of tractate VI, for example, the reference is to ‘the theos’ rather than to ‘god’.

[5] In respect of ‘the good’ – τὸ ἀγαθόν – as ‘honourable’, qv. Seneca, Ad Lucilium Epistulae Morales, LXXI, 4, “summum bonum est quod honestum est. Et quod magis admireris: unum bonum est, quod honestum est, cetera falsa et adulterina bona sunt.”

[6] The suggestion seems to be that ‘the theos’ is the origin, the archetype, of what is noble, and that only through and because of theos can what is noble be presenced and recognized for what it is, and often recognized by those who are, or that which is, an eikon of theos. Hence why in tractate IV it is said that “the eikon will guide you,”; why in tractate XI that “Kosmos is the eikon of theos, Kosmos [the eikon] of Aion, the Sun [the eikon] of Aion, and the Sun [the eikon] of mortals,” and why in the same tractate it is said that “there is nothing that cannot be an eikon of theos,” and why in Poemandres 31 theos is said to “engender all physis as eikon.”

As I noted in my commentary – qv. especially the mention of Maximus of Constantinople in respect of Poemandres 31 – I have transliterated εἰκὼν.

Source: https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2017/03/24/concerning-ἀγαθός-and-νοῦς-in-the-corpus-hermeticum/

Order of Nine Angles


O9A: Notes On The Corpus Hermeticum

From the Introduction:

Given renewed interest among certain Occultists in the ancient texts of the Corpus Hermeticum following David Myatt’s translations and commentaries on five of the texts it seems timely to provide an overview of the Corpus Hermeticism, particularly as it has been suggested that:

“If many MSS of the Order of Nine Angles are vital to acquire a certain understanding or at the very least, presence through words what a practical life and wyrdful ἄνοδος can bring, the Corpus Hermeticum is, in itself, sufficient to make sense of the Order of Nine Angles quiddity as a whole.”