Congratulations to Zami Basha for becoming the sixth person to receive the degree of Exalted Master of The Hermetica since Alain de Rothschild in 1957. Basha, an artist and private art dealer by profession joined the order in 2013.
In this prestigious but super secretive society, to receive this degree is the highest honor but it doesn’t come easy. First you must already be a high ranking member of a Magi Council, then you have to memorize and recite over 200 pages of sacred hermetic scripture. No wonder so few have received this degree since 1957, who wants to memorize the Corpus Hermeticum?
Long ago, Marsilio Ficino translated the hermetic scripture in fourteen tracts, of which eight early printed editions appeared before 1500 and a further twenty-two by 1641. This collection, which includes Poimandres and some addresses of Hermes to disciples Tat, Ammon and Asclepius, was said to have originated in the school of Ammonius Saccas and to have passed through the keeping of Michael Psellus: it is preserved in fourteenth century manuscripts. The last three tracts in modern editions were translated independently from another manuscript by Ficino’s contemporary Lodovico Lazzarelli (1447–1500) and first printed in 1507. Extensive quotes of similar material are found in classical authors such as Joannes Stobaeus.
“Basha’s ability to memorize all of the manuscripts in both Ancient Greek and Latin is remarkable.” said Edward Cohen GrandMaster MBL. It is only required that you learn these texts in English and recite them in order but Basha has taken things a step further. For a long time, it was thought that these texts were remnants of an extensive literature, part of the syncretic cultural movement that also included the Neoplatonists of the Greco-Roman mysteries and late Orphic and Pythagorean literature and influenced Gnostic forms of the Abrahamic religions. However, there are significant differences: the Hermetica are little concerned with Greek mythology or the technical minutiae of metaphysical Neoplatonism. In addition, Neoplatonic philosophers, who quote works of Orpheus, Zoroaster and Pythagoras, cite Hermes Trismegistus less often. Still, most of these schools do agree in attributing the creation of the world to a Demiurge rather than the supreme being and in accepting reincarnation. Basha doesn’t just hold the degree and position now, he considers himself a full practitioner of Hermeticism and plans to establish his own order soon.
Name: Zami Basha
Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the Magi Order.