A Hermetic prayer of thanksgiving to the Almighty. Although famously given in section 41 of the Asclepius, or the Perfect Discourse of Hermēs Trismegistos to Tat, Asklēpios, and Ammōn, it also appears in the Nag Hammadi Codex (volume VI, book 7) as well as the Greek Magical Papyri (PGM III.591—611) in a ritual used to develop a close working relationship with the god Hēlios. I was introduced to it by way of Stephen Flowers’ “Hermetic Magic: The Postmodern Magical Papyrus of Abaris”, but this is my own rendition of the prayer, based on analyzing and comparing the extant Greek, Latin, and Coptic versions. The prayer, given by Hermēs Trismegistos in thanks and praise of the One was also discussed in this January 2018 post and reviewed more extensively in this December 2020 post.
We give thanks to you!
Every soul and heart reaches up to you,
o ineffable Name
honored as “God” and praised as “Father”,
for to everyone and everything you have shown
fatherly kindness, affection, love, and sweetest activity,
granting to us mind, word, and knowledge:
mind, that we may understand you;
word, that we may call upon you;
knowledge, that we may know you.
We rejoice, for we have been illuminated by your knowledge.
We rejoice, for you have revealed yourself to us.
We rejoice, for you have made us incarnate divine by your knowledge.
The thanksgiving of mankind to you is this alone:
that we may know you.
O Light of Mind, we know you.
O Life of Life, we know you.
O Womb of every creature, we know you.
O Womb pregnant with the nature of the Father, we know you.
O eternal permanence of the begetting Father, we know you.
Thus do we worship your goodness.
Thus do we ask for one favor: that we be preserved in your knowledge.
Thus do we ask for one protection: that we not fall away from this sort of life.
The Asclepius specifies that this prayer (and all such prayers to the One) should be recited facing east in the morning (specifically at sunrise), though at south in the evening (specifically at sunset). After the prayer, Hermēs Trismegistos concludes with a direction to eat a communal vegetarian meal:
With such hopes, we turn to a pure meal that includes no living thing.
In accordance with this last statement, this final statement may be used as an instance of “saying grace” before meals, especially ritual meals that immediately follow initiations or other theurgic operations. Instead of “no living thing”, based on the other versions of the text, it is also acceptable to say “no blood” or “no flesh of animals”.
Likewise, in accordance with the Nag Hammadi instance of this prayer, this prayer may be concluded with a ritual embrace or kiss before a meal.
When recited alone, the use of the first person singular pronoun (“I”, “me”, etc.) may be used instead of the plural (“we”, “us”, etc.) as given above.