1. It chanced once on a time my mind was meditating on the things that are, my thought
was raised to a great height, the senses of my body being held back - just as men who are
weighed down with sleep after a fill of food, or from fatigue of body.
Methought a Being more than vast, in size beyond all bounds, called out my name and
saith: What wouldst thou hear and see, and what hast thou in mind to learn and know?
2. And I do say: Who art thou?
He saith: I am Man-Shepherd (Poemandres), Mind of all-masterhood; I know what thou
desirest and I am with thee everywhere.
3. [And] I reply: I long to learn the things that are, and comprehend their nature, and
know God. This is, I said, what I desire to hear.
He answered back to me: Hold in thy mind all thou wouldst know, and I will teach thee.
4. Even with these words His aspect changed, and straightway, in the twinkling of an
eye, all things were opened to me, and I see a Vision limitless, all things turned into
Light - sweet, joyous [Light]. And I became transported as I gazed.
But in a little while Darkness came settling down on part [of it], awesome and gloomy,
coiling in sinuous folds, so that methought it like unto a snake.
And then the Darkness changed into some sort of a Moist Nature, tossed about beyond all
power of words, belching out smoke as from a fire, and groaning forth a wailing sound that
beggars all description.
[And] after that an outcry inarticulate came forth from it, as though it were a Voice
5. [Thereon] out of the Light [...] a Holy Word (Logos) descended on that Nature. And
upwards to the height from the Moist Nature leaped forth pure Fire; light was it, swift
and active too.
The Air, too, being light, followed after the Fire; from out of the Earth-and-Water
rising up to Fire so that it seemed to hang therefrom.
But Earth-and-Water stayed so mingled with each other, that Earth from Water no one
could discern. Yet were they moved to hear by reason of the Spirit-Word (Logos) pervading
6. Then saith to me Man-Shepherd: Didst understand this Vision what it means?
Nay; that shall I know, said I.
That Light, He said, am I, thy God, Mind, prior to Moist Nature which appeared from
Darkness; the Light-Word (Logos) [that appeared] from Mind is Son of God.
What then? - say I.
Know that what sees in thee and hears is the Lord's Word (Logos); but Mind is
Father-God. Not separate are they the one from other; just in their union [rather] is it
Thanks be to Thee, I said.
So, understand the Light [He answered], and make friends with it.
7. And speaking thus He gazed for long into my eyes, so that I trembled at the look of
But when He raised His head, I see in Mind the Light, [but] now in Powers no man could
number, and Cosmos grown beyond all bounds, and that the Fire was compassed round about by
a most mighty Power, and [now] subdued had come unto a stand.
And when I saw these things I understood by reason of Man-Shepherd's Word (Logos).
8. But as I was in great astonishment, He saith to me again: Thou didst behold in Mind
the Archetypal Form whose being is before beginning without end. Thus spake to me
And I say: Whence then have Nature's elements their being?
To this He answer gives: From Will of God. [Nature] received the Word (Logos), and
gazing upon the Cosmos Beautiful did copy it, making herself into a cosmos, by means of
her own elements and by the births of souls.
9. And God-the-Mind, being male and female both, as Light and Life subsisting, brought
forth another Mind to give things form, who, God as he was of Fire and Spirit, formed
Seven Rulers who enclose the cosmos that the sense perceives. Men call their ruling Fate.
10. Straightway from out the downward elements God's Reason (Logos) leaped up to
Nature's pure formation, and was at-oned with the Formative Mind; for it was co-essential
with it. And Nature's downward elements were thus left reason-less, so as to be pure
11. Then the Formative Mind ([at-oned] with Reason), he who surrounds the spheres and
spins them with his whorl, set turning his formations, and let them turn from a beginning
boundless unto an endless end. For that the circulation of these [spheres] begins where it
doth end, as Mind doth will.
And from the downward elements Nature brought forth lives reason-less; for He did not
extend the Reason (Logos) [to them]. The Air brought forth things winged; the Water things
that swim, and Earth-and-Water one from another parted, as Mind willed. And from her bosom
Earth produced what lives she had, four-footed things and reptiles, beasts wild and tame.
12. But All-Father Mind, being Life and Light, did bring forth Man co-equal to Himself,
with whom He fell in love, as being His own child; for he was beautiful beyond compare,
the Image of his Sire. In very truth, God fell in love with his own Form; and on him did
bestow all of His own formations.
13. And when he gazed upon what the Enformer had created in the Father, [Man] too
wished to enform; and [so] assent was given him by the Father.
Changing his state to the formative sphere, in that he was to have his whole authority,
he gazed upon his Brother's creatures. They fell in love with him, and gave him each a
share of his own ordering.
And after that he had well learned their essence and had become a sharer in their
nature, he had a mind to break right through the Boundary of their spheres, and to subdue
the might of that which pressed upon the Fire.
14. So he who hath the whole authority over [all] the mortals in the cosmos and over
its lives irrational, bent his face downwards through the Harmony, breaking right through
its strength, and showed to downward Nature God's fair form.
And when she saw that Form of beauty which can never satiate, and him who [now]
possessed within himself each single energy of [all seven] Rulers as well as God's own
Form, she smiled with love; for it was as though she hadd seen the image of Man's fairest form
upon her Water, his shadow on her Earth.
He in turn beholding the form like to himself, existing in her, in her Water, loved it
and willed to live in it; and with the will came act, and [so] he vivified the form devoid
And Nature took the object of her love and wound herself completely around him, and
they were intermingled, for they were lovers.
15. And this is why beyond all creatures on the earth man is twofold; mortal because of
body, but because of the essential man immortal.
Though deathless and possessed of sway over all, yet doth he suffer as a mortal doth,
subject to Fate.
Thus though above the Harmony, within the Harmony he hath become a slave. Though
male-female, as from a Father male-female, and though he is sleepless from a sleepless
[Sire], yet is he overcome [by sleep].
16. Thereon [I say: Teach on], O Mind of me, for I myself as well am amorous of the
The Shepherd said: This is the mystery kept hid until this day.
Nature embraced by Man brought forth a wonder, oh so wonderful. For as he had the
nature of the Concord of the Seven, who, as I said to thee, [were made] of Fire and Spirit
- Nature delayed not, but immediately brought forth seven "men", in
correspondence with the natures of the Seven, male-female and moving in the air.
Thereon [I said]: O Shepherd, ..., for now I am filled with great desire and long to
hear; do not run off.
The Shepherd said: Keep silence, for not as yet have I unrolled for thee the first
Lo! I am still, I said.
17. In such wise than, as I have said, the generation of these seven came to pass.
Earth was as woman, her Water filled with longing; ripeness she took from Fire, spirit
from Aether. Nature thus brought forth frames to suit the form of Man.
And Man from Light and Life changed into soul and mind - from Life to soul, from Light
And thus continued all the sense-world's parts until the period of their end and new
18. Now listen to the rest of the discourse (Logos) which thou dost long to hear.
The period being ended, the bond that bound them all was loosened by God's Will. For
all the animals being male-female, at the same time with Man were loosed apart; some
became partly male, some in like fashion [partly] female. And straightway God spake by His
Holy Word (Logos):
"Increase ye in increasing, and multiply in multitude, ye creatures and creations
all; and man that hath Mind in him, let him learn to know that he himself is deathless,
and that the cause of death is love, though Love is all."
19. When He said this, His Forethought did by means of Fate and Harmony effect their
couplings and their generations founded. And so all things were multiplied according to
And he who thus hath learned to know himself, hath reached that Good which doth
transcend abundance; but he who through a love that leads astray, expends his love upon
his body - he stays in Darkness wandering, and suffering through his senses things of
20. What is the so great fault, said I, the ignorant commit, that they should be
deprived of deathlessness?
Thou seemest, He said, O thou, not to have given heed to what thou heardest. Did I not
bid thee think?
Yea do I think, and I remember, and therefore give Thee thanks.
If thou didst think [thereon], [said He], tell me: Why do they merit death who are in
It is because the gloomy Darkness is the root and base of the material frame; from it
came the Moist Nature; from this the body in the sense-world was composed; and from this
[body] Death doth the Water drain.
21. Right was thy thought, O thou! But how doth "he who knows himself, go unto
Him", as God's Word (Logos) hath declared?
And I reply: the Father of the universals doth consist of Light and Life, from Him Man
Thou sayest well, [thus] speaking. Light and Life is Father-God, and from Him Man was
If then thou learnest that thou art thyself of Life and Light, and that thou
[happenest] to be out of them, thou shalt return again to Life. Thus did Man-Shepherd
But tell me further, Mind of me, I cried, how shall I come to Life again...for God doth
say: "The man who hath Mind in him, let him learn to know that he himself [is
22. Have not all men then Mind?
Thou sayest well, O thou, thus speaking. I, Mind, myself am present with holy men and
good, the pure and merciful, men who live piously.
[To such] my presence doth become an aid, and straightway they gain gnosis of all
things, and win the Father's love by their pure lives, and give Him thanks, invoking on
Him blessings, and chanting hymns, intent on Him with ardent love.
And ere they give up the body unto its proper death, they turn them with disgust from
its sensations, from knowledge of what things they operate. Nay, it is I, the Mind, that
will not let the operations which befall the body, work to their [natural] end. For being
door-keeper I will close up [all] the entrances, and cut the mental actions off which base
and evil energies induce.
23. But to the Mind-less ones, the wicked and depraved, the envious and covetous, and
those who mured do and love impiety, I am far off, yielding my place to the Avenging
Daimon, who sharpening the fire, tormenteth him and addeth fire to fire upon him, and
rusheth upon him through his senses, thus rendering him readier for transgressions of the
law, so that he meets with greater torment; nor doth he ever cease to have desire for
appetites inordinate, insatiately striving in the dark.
24. Well hast thou taught me all, as I desired, O Mind. And now, pray, tell me further
of the nature of the Way Above as now it is [for me].
To this Man-Shepherd said: When the material body is to be dissolved, first thou
surrenderest the body by itself unto the work of change, and thus the form thou hadst doth
vanish, and thou surrenderest thy way of life, void of its energy, unto the Daimon. The
body's senses next pass back into their sources, becoming separate, and resurrect as
energies; and passion and desire withdraw unto that nature which is void of reason.
25. And thus it is that man doth speed his way thereafter upwards through the Harmony.
To the first zone he gives the Energy of Growth and Waning; unto the second [zone],
Device of Evils [now] de-energized; unto the third, the Guile of the Desires de-energized;
unto the fourth, his Domineering Arrogance, [also] de-energized; unto the fifth, unholy
Daring and the Rashness of Audacity, de-energized; unto the sixth, Striving for Wealth by
evil means, deprived of its aggrandizement; and to the seventh zone, Ensnaring Falsehood,
26. And then, with all the energisings of the harmony stript from him, clothed in his
proper Power, he cometh to that Nature which belongs unto the Eighth, and there with
those-that-are hymneth the Father.
They who are there welcome his coming there with joy; and he, made like to them that
sojourn there, doth further hear the Powers who are above the Nature that belongs unto the
Eighth, singing their songs of praise to God in language of their own.
And then they, in a band, go to the Father home; of their own selves they make
surrender of themselves to Powers, and [thus] becoming Powers they are in God. This the
good end for those who have gained Gnosis - to be made one with God.
Why shouldst thou then delay? Must it not be, since thou hast all received, that thou
shouldst to the worthy point the way, in order that through thee the race of mortal kind
may by [thy] God be saved?
27. This when He had said, Man-Shepherd mingled with the Powers.
But I, with thanks and blessings unto the Father of the universal [Powers], was freed,
full of the power he had poured into me, and full of what He had taught me of the nature of
the All and of the loftiest Vision.
And I began to preach unto men the Beauty of Devotion and of Gnosis:
O ye people, earth-born folk, ye who have given yourselves to drunkenness and sleep and
ignorance of God, be sober now, cease from your surfeit, cease to be glamoured by
28. And when they heard, they came with one accord. Whereon I say:
Ye earth-born folk, why have ye given yourselves up to Death, while yet ye have the
power of sharing Deathlessness? Repent, O ye, who walk with Error arm in arm and make of
Ignorance the sharer of your board; get ye out from the light of Darkness, and take your
part in Deathlessness, forsake Destruction!
29. And some of them with jests upon their lips departed [from me], abandoning
themselves unto the Way of Death; others entreated to be taught, casting themselves before
But I made them arise, and I became a leader of the Race towards home, teaching the
words (logoi), how and in what way they shall be saved. I sowed in them the words (logoi)
of wisdom; of Deathless Water were they given to drink.
And when even was come and all sun's beams began to set, I bade them all give thanks to
God. And when they had brought to an end the giving of their thanks, each man returned to
his own resting place.
30. But I recorded in my heart Man-Shepherd's benefaction, and with my every hope
fulfilled more than rejoiced. For body's sleep became the soul's awakening, and closing of
the eyes - true vision, pregnant with Good my silence, and the utterance of my word
(logos) begetting of good things.
All this befell me from my Mind, that is Man-Shepherd, Word (Logos) of all masterhood,
by whom being God-inspired I came unto the Plain of Truth. Wherefore with all my soul and
strength thanksgiving give I unto Father-God.
31. Holy art Thou, O God, the universals' Father.
Holy art Thou, O God, whose Will perfects itself by means of its own Powers.
Holy art Thou, O God, who willeth to be known and art known by Thine own.
Holy art Thou,who didst by Word (Logos) make to consist the things that are.
Holy art Thou, of whom All-nature hath been made an image.
Holy art Thou, whose Form Nature hath never made.
Holy art Thou, more powerful than all power.
Holy art Thou, transcending all pre-eminence.
Holy Thou art, Thou better than all praise.
Accept my reason's offerings pure, from soul and heart for aye stretched up to Thee, O
Thou unutterable, unspeakable, Whose Name naught but the Silence can express.
32. Give ear to me who pray that I may never of Gnosis fail, [Gnosis] which is our
common being's nature; and fill me with Thy Power, and with this Grace [of Thine], that I
may give the Light to those in ignorance of the Race, my Brethren, and Thy Sons.
For this cause I believe, and I bear witness; I go to Life and Light. Blessed art Thou,
O Father. Thy Man would holy be as Thou art holy, even as Thou gave him Thy full authority