Order of Hermes
The Order of Hermes was an ancient tradition of mages, originally from Greece. The modern order have assimilated several other traditions, including the Confucian mages of China.
The Tradition traces its roots to the Sumer and ancient Egypt of 5000 years ago around the time when the first writing systems were developed. Before written language, names were thought to be inherent to the objects they designated as reflections of their true natures. With writing as an ability to catch and manipulate names, the scribe was able to imprison the object and manipulate its very nature. The catching of names was considered a magical act in ancient societies so the ability to write was reserved for the clergy under the direct influence of gods of wisdom and magic such as Thoth.
Letters provided useful metaphors for abstact concepts, so for the first time in history thinkers were able to ascend from the physical world into whole new realms of ideas. First, Plato formed the theory of realism that allowed a secular paradigm for controlling every element of reality. Mystics then equated ideals with divinity developing manicheic, gnostic, neoplatonic and other dualistic theories around 2nd century AD. But the great intellectual upsurge of the 2nd century was soon squashed by the rapid expansion of Christianity which strove for orthodoxy in the Mediterranean region. Soon Rome fell and Western civilization fell onto Dark Times. Hermetic scholars fragmented, the sharing of ideas halted and wizards secluded themselves in their towers for protection and to study free of the Church's inquiry.
From the summonings of Babylonian priests to Egyptian priest's divining the Nile's flooding from stars to Solomon's seals, which gave him control over world, it was the time of the greatest mages of Western tradition. It was also the time when the greatest grimoires and talismans were created. However, apart from Solomon we don't know their names and so the body of knowledge consisting of theurgia, goetia, astrology and alchemy was known as the work of a single Ascended being called Hermes Trismegistus.
Order of Hermes
It wasn't until 767 AD that the situation changed. Two mages, Bonisagus and Trianoma, gathered together eleven great magi and persuaded them to form an alliance. Thus, the Order of Hermes was born.
The Order was thought to be a group of old wizards who cloister themselves in dusty libraries and had old arcane lore as their bread and butter. However, with the advent of modern technologies, the young and the brave new generation of Hermetics restructured the Order and devised new ways to do magick so that it would survive in the 21st century.
Houses of Hermes
Each magus in the Order of hermes has formal membership in one or more Houses, which are confederations of like-minded magi with specific philosophies and areas of expertise. The size, number, and influence of the Houses has changed significantly over time.
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