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Saturday, June 18th, 2005, 10:44 PM

Introduction to the Hermetic Virtual Library

This is the Hermetic Virtual Library, formally named the Collectanea Hermetica Rediviva, the “Hermetic Anthology Reborn.” The title alludes to one of the two primary inspirations for this important new addition to the Hermetic Fellowship Website — the collection of books edited in the 1890s by William Wynn Westcott under the title of Collectanea Hermetica. Westcott was the Supreme Magus of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (“the Rosicrucian Society in England”), the Worshipful Master of the Quattuor Coronati Lodge (the preeminent research lodge of English Freemasonry), and — most significantly — one of the two presiding Adepts of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. The Collectanea Hermetica was published under the ægis of the Theosophical Society with Westcott as editor in his public rôle as Supreme Magus of the SRIA, but it was in fact a part of Westcott’s Work in his duties as a Chief of the Golden Dawn and its Inner Order Rosæ Rubeæ et Aureæ Crucis (the Order of the Rose of Ruby and the Cross of Gold). He contributed introductions and commentaries to various of the volumes in the Collection under his Order Mottos as “Sapere Aude, Fra. R.R. et A.C.”, “S.A.”, “Non Omnis Moriar”, and “N.O.M.; R.R. et A.C.”, and his associates in preparing the series were his fellow Golden Dawn Adepts, Florence Farr and Percy Bullock, who contributed translations and notes not under their mundane names but under their Mottos— she (V.H. Sor. Sapientia Sapienti Dona Data) as “S.S.D.D.”, “S.S.D.D.—R.R. et A.C.” and he (V.H. Fra. Levavi Oculos) as “L.O.”.

It is our intention that the Hermetic Virtual Library will eventually include all of the texts from Westcott’s original Collectanea Hermetica, along with many other texts of interest to students of the Hermetic Tradition.

I mentioned previously that Westcott’s Collectanea Hermetica is one of the two chief inspirations for this Archive. The other is the superb work of establishing and maintaining archives of occult and esoteric texts which has already begun on the Web — most notably three extraordinary libraries: the vast Alchemy Virtual Library (http://www.levity.com/alchemy/)maintained by that tireless labourer for the preservation of the Alchemical Tradition, Adam McLean; the comprehensive Gnostic Virtual Library (http://www.webcom.com/%7Egnosis/library.html) maintained by Terje Bergersen for the Societas Gnostica Norvegia and by Thomas Leavitt and Lance Owens for the Gnosis Archives, and the exceptional Twilit Grotto Esoteric Archives (http://www.avesta.org/esoteric.htm) of Joseph and Candy Peterson. Also, of course, there is the extremely valuable work of Al Billings, formerly at Caduceus: The Hermetic Quarterly, now at the Hermetic Library (http://www.hermetic.com/), who years ago was of service to so many Hermetic students by first making the G.R.S. Mead translations of a dozen of the key texts of the Corpus Hermeticum available online.

Current planned acquisitions for the Collectanea Hermetica Rediviva, the Hermetic Virtual Library, include multiple annotated translations of the Corpus Hermeticum, all the texts of the 1890s Collectanea Hermetica, and a broad range of other texts relating to the Western Hermetic Tradition (translations from the Græco-Egyptian Magical Papyri, the Orphic Hymns, and the Homeric Hymns; documents from the Golden Dawn and the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor; monographs by modern Hermeticists; etc.).

We hope that you will visit the Hermetic Virtual Library often as it expands, and use the texts you will find here and at the other virtual esoteric libraries to deepen your understanding and appreciation of our extraordinary Western Esoteric heritage.


Wednesday, July 19th, 2006, 09:02 PM
The Divine Pymander is essential reading for all seekers of the Truth!

I have a copy of Westcott's Collectanea Hermetica in which is the Everard translation altered slightly by the editor. That text and the Hermetic Arcanum are the only two of the ten that are truly indispensable.