Welcome to the first issue of Hermes, an electronic magazine focusing on esotericism, Theosophy and philosophy. For the next three months, the theme of Hermes will be the Anima Mundi, more specifically it will explore spiritual ecology. Anima Mundi is the soul of the world considered to be “a pure ethereal spirit that some ancient philosophers said was diffused throughout all nature. Plato is considered to be the originator of this idea, but it is of more ancient origin and prevailed in the systems of certain eastern philosophers. The Stoics believed it to be the only vital force in the universe. Similar concepts have been held by hermetic philosophers like Paracelsus and have been incorporated into the philosophy of more modern philosophers like Friedrich Schelling (1775-1854)” (1) (Anima Mundi in Encyclopedia.com of https://bit.ly/36MUOXJ).

The reason why Hermes will focus on Anima Mundi and spiritual ecology is that we are living at a crucial point in the history of our planet. We know that 60% of animal species around the world are now extinct either by the effects of hunting, pollution or loss of their natural habitat caused by deforestation and other issues. Problems such as climate change, pollution, environmental degradation, resource depletion, preservation and protection of the wildlife, genetically modified foods, global warming, consumerism and much more are urgent issues addressed today by scientists, social activists, scholars, philosophers and more. Considering the urgency and gravity of the matter, we thought that the first issue of Hermes should focus on how different esoteric traditions, religions, and philosophies can help to improve the situation. Hence, Hermes will explore the relationship between esoteric traditions, religions, philosophies and ecology. We ask how such traditions shed light on our relationship with the environment, the non-human animals and the world around us; how they contribute to a sustainable society; their living ethics; practical tips, and so forth.

We will look into questions such as what Theosophy says about the oneness of life and how this is important for the pressing ecological and environmental issues today. How do Hermeticism, Anthroposophy, Krishnamurti, Gurdjieff and esotericism in general, shed light on the problems we are addressing? How is our position, ethical principles and way of life contributing to resolving the ongoing ecological and environmental crisis? How do different religions around the world convey ethical lessons and knowledge about the environment and ecology, i.e. Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and so forth. What are the philosophies raising awareness about the oneness of life and kindness?

Hermes is a dynamic magazine, as we will be focusing on spiritual ecology and Anima Mundi for three months. Throughout this period authors will be adding new articles, video material, recommended reading and also updates about events and news. The editors of Hermes are Debbie Elliot, Janet Hoult, and myself, Erica Georgiades. As for now, you will find many different articles such as “All is Life” by Janet Hoult, focusing on how Theosophy, more specifically the writings of HPB, “makes us realise how we can be positive about the world around us while reminding us to be more responsible for the environment and ecology.”

Debbie Elliott, has written several articles, including an interview with George Hoyle on Plant Folklore, looking at how “in olden days people worked with the flowers, the herbs and even the weeds” and the “significance of plants and the principle of the folklore around them.” She also writes on “Rudolf Steiner and Bio-dynamic Farming,” focusing on alternative agriculture methods whilst criticising conventional agricultural practices that have been in use for the last one hundred years, and discussing how these are ruining the land and eroding the soil with chemicals. Debbie also talks about the movement Extinction Rebellion as a Positive Protest. In expressing her opinion about XR, she emphasizes the great work they are doing in protesting and raising their voices on issues. She says that the “economic elite have failed us and because of this our planet and life on it is suffering.” She also writes on the “The Concern for Spiritual Ecology and 5G.” In this entry she mentions her book “Monkey Mind Robot Body,” focusing on the impact humans are having on the natural environment and asking questions such as “Who is going to clear all this up… will it be us? Will it be the future versions of us-cyborgs?”

Wayne Gayne, in “In Tune with Nature” focuses on Theosophy, emphasising that one of its major teachings is that “we are as much a part of nature as a tree or a flower.”  Also, in the article “The Great Dire Heresy” he addresses the question of has “obsession with complexity made us any better as human beings, or has it had the effect of de-humanising us as a society?”

Tim Wyatt, in the article “High Time To Change Our Minds” is of the opinion that “Before we can behave differently we first need to think differently and desire differently. It’s essential to remove selfishness and ingrained notions of personal gain as much as possible from this process.” Also, in his article “Two Tribes” he discusses the incompatibility of year-on-year economic growth with the pressuring ecological issues the world faces today.

Kristina Turner, writes on “Anima Mundi – our role in the world soul.” She has a feministic approach to the pressing environmental problems, pointing out that the dismantling of patriarchal structures, “that have dominated global civilisation for thousands of years” is now an ongoing process and such a change will have a beneficent impact on the environment. She says “Women are coming together in unprecedented numbers to meet in circle with a spiritual, womb-based focus, and a crescendo of outrage is calling for the restoration of the wastelands left in the footsteps of patriarchy.” All over the world, men and women alike are waking up to the need to dismantle the patriarchal structures that have dominated global civilisation for thousands of years.

Joshua Denny plans to write a series of articles focusing on ecology, the environment and Anima Mundi. His first article is the “‘Spiritual Climate Change’: A Fourth Way Perspective,” in which he writes about the teachings of Gurdjieff. In his very interesting article he focuses on questions such as “What is the nature of the current apparent ‘environmental crisis’? …What is the relationship between the ‘natural’ and ‘material’ worlds and so forth.

Ifigeneia Kastamoniti shares with us a lecture she delivered at the Leeds Lodge of the Theosophical Society, on “The Secret Geography of Holy Places,” focusing on the impact which sacred places have on us.

In the news, we have a report by Janet Hoult from the Peace Mala International Inter-Faith Liturgy for World Peace at Brecon Cathedral; a review of the International History Conference 2019 by Debbie Elliott; and a link to the International Convention of the Theosophical Society in Varanasi, 2019/2020.

Finally, Hermes is a dynamic magazine and we will be continually updating it with articles related to the theme in the next three months. Be sure to subscribe here to keep up with new entries. Also, Hermes is always looking for great writing. Our aim is to develop the magazine into becoming an influential and dynamic hub of esotericism, Theosophy and spirituality in general, with an eye to modern undercurrents and present-day issues such as ecology, the environment and making the planet a better place. You may share videos and record audio with your thoughts. We would like to include a wide range of material which you find relevant in the magazine. We are looking for authors who can provide quality articles. If you would like to submit an article, please read through our guidelines.

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Erica Georgiades MRes Religious Experience (Candidate) UWTSD; PgD (Merit) Ancient Mediterranean Religions UWTSD; BA (Honours) in Philosophy and Psychological Studies (Open). Erica is the Editor of the FOTA Newsletter, a researcher on Theosophical History; secretary of the International Theosophical History Conference since 2018. She is the Director of the European School of Theosophy since 2016; and a member of the Theosophical Society since 1991. Recently she started practising archery where she lives, in Athens, Greece. She is also a deep ecologist, animal-rights activist, pro-non-human animals personhood.

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