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A late Roman-Republican banquet scene in a fresco from Herculaneum, Italy. 59 x 53 cm. The woman wears a transparent silk gown while the man to the left raises a rhyton drinking vessel.
ca. 50 BCE. A late Roman-Republican banquet scene in a fresco from Herculaneum, Italy. 59 x 53 cm. The woman wears a transparent silk gown while the man to the left raises a rhyton drinking vessel.

What is the Cup of Hermes?

Throughout his books and lectures, Samael Aun Weor states that those who want liberation from suffering must "never spill the cup of Hermes." Let us examine this statement closely.

Who is Hermes?

Most people associate the name Hermes with the god of Greek mythology, who the Romans called Mercury. While this is meaningful and accurate, the name associated with the cup is more specific: Hermes Trismegistus.

Most modern people have never heard this name, but in ancient times, everyone knew it. He was considered to be the wisest and most educated human being ever, who taught us basically everything we know.

The Egyptians called him Thoth.

Thoout, Thoth Deux fois Grand, le Second Hermés, N372.2A, Brooklyn Museum

A series of early Egyptian books is attributed to Hermes Trismegistus... He is identified by some with the Greek god Hermes, and the Egyptian Thoth or Tuti, who was the moon-god, and is represented in ancient paintings as ibis-headed with the disc and crescent of the moon. The Egyptians regarded him as the god of wisdom, letters, and the recording of time. It is in consequence of the great respect entertained for Hermes by the old alchemists that chemical writings were called 'hermetic,' and that the phrase 'hermetically sealed' is still in use to designate the closing of a glass vessel by fusion, after the manner of chemical manipulators. We find the same root in the hermetic medicines of Paracelsus, and the hermetic freemasonry of the Middle Ages. James Campbell Brown, History of Chemistry

Among the arts and sciences which it is affirmed Hermes revealed to mankind were medicine, chemistry, law, arc, astrology, music, rhetoric, Magic, philosophy, geography, mathematics (especially geometry), anatomy, and oratory... Investigators believe that it was Hermes who was known to the Jews as "Enoch," called by Kenealy the "Second Messenger of God." Hermes was accepted into the mythology of the Greeks, later becoming the Mercury of the Latins. He was revered through the form of the planet Mercury because this body is nearest to the sun: Hermes of all creatures was nearest to God, and became known as the Messenger of the Gods. In the Egyptian drawings of him, Thoth carries a waxen writing tablet and serves as the recorder during the weighing of the souls of the dead in the judgment Hall of Osiris—a ritual of great significance. Hermes is of first importance to Masonic scholars, because he was the author of the Masonic initiatory rituals, which were borrowed from the Mysteries established by Hermes. Nearly all of the Masonic symbols are Hermetic in character. Pythagoras studied mathematics with the Egyptians and from them gained his knowledge of the symbolic geometric solids. Hermes is also revered for his reformation of the calendar system. He increased the year from 360 to 365 days, thus establishing a precedent which still prevails. The appellation "Thrice Greatest" was given to Hermes because he was considered the greatest of all philosophers, the greatest of all priests, and the greatest of all kings. It is worthy of note that the last poem of America's beloved poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, was a lyric ode to Hermes. Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages 

It is quite clear that Thoth held in their minds [the Egyptians] a position which was quite different from that of any other god, and that the attributes which they ascribed to him were unlike the greater number of those of any member of their companies of gods. The character of Thoth is a lofty and a beautiful conception, and is, perhaps, the highest idea of deity ever fashioned in the Egyptian mind... as the personification of the Mind of God, and as the all-pervading, and governing, and directing power of heaven and earth, forms a feature of the Egyptian religion which is as sublime as the belief in the resurrection of the dead in a spiritual body, and as the doctrine of everlasting life. E. A. Wallis Budge

Most importantly, he is the origin of all of our knowledge of alchemy: sexual transmutation.

"Hermes Trismegistus, that thrice great god, the real incarnation of the god Osiris, gave us the marvelous science of Alchemy." Samael Aun Weor, The Mysteries of Life and Death

Every student of alchemy should study Hermes Trismegistus.

What is the Cup of Hermes?

Hermes Trismegistus mentions the cup in his twelfth book:

Hermes: Reason (Logos) indeed, O Tat, among all men hath He distributed, but Mind not yet; not that He grudgeth any, for grudging cometh not from Him, but hath its place below, within the souls of men who have no Mind.

Tat: Why then did God, O father, not on all bestow a share of Mind?

Hermes: He willed, my son, to have it set up in the midst for souls, just as it were a prize.

Tat: And where hath He set it up?

Hermes: He filled a mighty Cup with it, and sent it down, joining a Herald [to it], to whom He gave command to make this proclamation to the hearts of men: Baptize thyself with this Cup's baptism, what heart can do so, thou that hast faith thou canst ascend to him that hath sent down the Cup, thou that dost know for what thou didst come into being! As many then as understood the Herald's tidings and doused themselves in Mind, became partakers in the Gnosis; and when they had "received the Mind" they were made "perfect men". But they who do not understand the tidings, these, since they possess the aid of Reason [only] and not Mind, are ignorant wherefor they have come into being and whereby. The senses of such men are like irrational creatures; and as their [whole] make-up is in their feelings and their impulses, they fail in all appreciation of those things which really are worth contemplation. These center all their thought upon the pleasures of the body and its appetites, in the belief that for its sake man hath come into being. But they who have received some portion of God's gift, these, Tat, if we judge by their deeds, have from Death's bonds won their release; for they embrace in their own Mind all things, things on the earth, things in the heaven, and things above the heaven — if there be aught. And having raised themselves so far they sight the Good; and having sighted it, they look upon their sojourn here as a mischance; and in disdain of all, both things in body and the bodiless, they speed their way unto that One and Only One. This is, O Tat, the Gnosis of the Mind, Vision of things Divine; God—knowledge is it, for the Cup is God's.

Tat: Father, I, too, would be baptized.

Hermes: Unless thou first shall hate thy Body, son, thou canst not love thy Self. But if thou lov'st thy Self thou shalt have Mind, and having Mind thou shalt share in the Gnosis.  —The Twelfth Book of Hermes Trismegistus

So, he said that those who become perfect do so by means of the cup. 

In the cup one finds the way to receive the Mind that gives the ability to see divine things.  That Mind is not intellect or reasoning. Note:

Reason (Logos) indeed, O Tat, among all men hath He distributed, but Mind not yet...

That Mind must be developed, acquired, earned.

That Mind is something divine, related to the soul and spirit. It is the same as the Buddhist Bodhichitta, a tantric word that simultaneously means awakening mind, conscious compassion, and sexual power. By harnessing and developing that power, one enters the path of liberation from suffering. The clue is to reject the animal desires of the body:

"Unless thou first shall hate [the desires of] thy [animal] Body, son, thou canst not love thy [true] Self [the Innermost]."

What is the chief desire of the animal body? You already know.

The Symbol of the Cup

The original writings of Hermes are no longer available physically, so it is uncertain which word was used for "cup." We can look at the main Greek words for cup:

  • κύλιξ kylix simultaneously means both a vessel for drinking wine, and the shape of a flower. Wine of course is a key symbol in every religion of Christ (Dionysus) and transmuted sexual power, while flowers symbolize the sexual organs of women.
  • ῥυτόν rhyton is a drinking cup or horn; the word is derived from rheo, meaning 'flow through'. These were used all over Eurasia for drinking wine, even in Tibet. They usually had a conical, phallic shape, or were crafted with a ram, goat, or bull's head (symbols of masculine fertility). Dionysus, god of wine and sexual transmutation, is often seen with a rhyton.

Significantly, when filled with wine, a rhyton could not be put down or it would spill its contents. One had to hold it upright with great awareness in order to avoid "spilling the wine." Observe:

Phallic rhyton with erotic representations found in the necropolis of Les Corts near the roman city of Empúries. Republican Period. 1st century BC.

Phallic rhyton. 1st century BC.

The cup represents your sexual organs. They are filled with divine power: the sacred "wine" that Christ makes from the waters of life. Those waters must be preserved and dedicated to spiritual purposes, rather than wasted through animal desires.

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his semen remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. - 1 John 3:9

This is the origin of the well-known phrase "hermetically sealed." Hermes taught that to realize your true nature, you must not spill a drop from your cup: it must remain sealed.

The enemies of love are called fornicators. They confuse love with desire. Any magician who teaches the ejaculation of the semen is a black magician. Every person who spills the seminal fluid is a fornicator. It is impossible to attain the intimate Realization of the Self whilst one has not yet killed animal desire. Those who spill the Cup of Hermes are incapable of loving. Love and desire are incompatible. Whosoever spills the Cup of Hermes is a victim of animal desire. Love is incompatible with desire and fornication.  —Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony

How to Avoid Spilling the Cup

The living secret for the preparation of the Mercury is called, when speaking in Latin language, “secretum secretorum.” Here, I will not use vulgar terminology for this theme; now I will justly say that the connection of the lingam-yoni within the perfect matrimony is necessary, and the cup of Hermes Trismesgistus (the three times great God Ibis of Thoth) must never in life be spilled. To be exact, so that you can understand me, the Mercury is elaborated by avoiding the physiological orgasm. —The Esoteric Path

The White Lodge has totally and absolutely prohibited the sexual spasm [orgasm]. It is absurd to reach the sexual spasm. Those who practice Sexual Magic must never reach the spasm. Those who attempt to avoid seminal ejaculation without giving up the pleasure of the spasm may suffer disastrous consequences to the organism. The spasm is very violent, and if the organism is violated, the results come right away: impotence, damage to the nervous system, etc. Therefore, those who practice Sexual Magic must withdraw from the act long before the sexual spasm. Doctors know very well the reasons why those who practice Sexual Magic must withdraw before the spasm. Sexual Magic must be practiced only once a day. One must never practice twice a day. Never in our lives must we spill the semen. Never. Never. Never. —Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony

What Happens When the Cup is Spilled

In the ancient times of Lemuria, the key of the ark of science was known. At that time, those men and women who still had not lost their Edenic innocence united in the temples of mysteries in order to reproduce their species. However, they did not reproduce as the true human beings do, but rather, they reproduced as superhumans do. Then, the power of Kriya-Shakti was openly accepted. Men and women reunited in order to create and to create anew. But, they never spilled the cup of Hermes Trismegistus, the three times great god Ibis of Thoth. Thus, as a consequence or corollary, the sacred serpent (Quetzalcoatl) ascended through the dorsal spine of those sacred human beings. Those creatures had power over the fire, over the air, over the waters, and over the perfumed earth. Later on in time, human beings fell into animal generation, and as a sequence or corollary, they spilled the cup of Hermes; they lost all of their powers. —Samael Aun Weor

The case of an initiate in the time of Count Cagliostro comes into my memory. This student practiced Sexual Magic intensely with his wife, and of course, naturally acquired degrees, powers, Initiation, etc. Everything went very well until the day he had the weak misfortune to reveal his intimate matters to an occultist friend. Such friend was shocked, and armed with great erudition, advised the initiate to abandon his practice of Sexual Magic in which the semen was not ejaculated. The teachings of his mistaken friend misguided the initiate. Henceforth, he dedicated himself to practice Sexual Magic with the spilling of the Cup of Hermes [orgasm]. The outcome was disastrous. The Kundalini of the initiate descended to the magnetic center of the coccyx. This is how he lost his degrees and powers, sword and cape, sacred tunics and mantles. This was a true disaster. This was a fatality. It is good to know that black magicians love to strengthen the mind. They asseverate that only through the mind can man resemble God. The magicians from darkness mortally hate chastity. —Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony

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