Study

The student of pure philosophy
studies the sciences,
not as fanciful theories,
but as devotion to Atum-
because they reveal a universe
perfectly ordered by the power of number;
because measuring the depths of the sea
and forces of fire
and magnitudes of physical things
leads to a reverent awe
at the Creator’s skill and wisdom;
because the mysteries of music
bear witness to the unsurpassed talent
of the supreme Artist
who has beautifully harmonized
all things into a single Whole,
suffused with sweet melodies.

To simply love Atum in thought
with singleness of heart,
and to follow the goodness of his will-
this is philosophy,
unsullied by intrusive cravings
for pointless opinions.
But I foresee that , in times to come,
clever intellectuals
will mislead the minds of men,
turning them away from pure philosophy.
It will be taught that
our sacred devotion was ineffectual
and the heart-felt piety
and assiduous service
with which we Egyptians honour Atum
was a waste without reward.

Hermes Trismegistus, or Thoth
The Hermetica
Translated by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy

Photo by Woodland Gnome 2013

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