Why is it "Hermetic" magic

Hello everybody,

Being a non native english speaker, I just realize something...

In our group, as french players, we translate hermetic by "hermétique". Thus hermetic magic means "magie hermétique".

But reading the word on another site, I was like "Oh but could it be linked to Hermès????"

So, for the english native speakers (and aswell french players ^^): does the adjective refers to hermetique (as here on wordreference) or to Hermès, and thus, meaning "Magie d'Hermès" in french.

If its however "hermetic" for "hermétique": why? what does it mean? what is the reasoning behind it?

Exar, struk by a lightning of clarity... or not.

Well, I always considered Hermetic Magic to be a reference to the occult, secret, nature of magic.

But since this is the Order of Hermes, the second interpretation is probably the right one: Hermetic Magic is the magic of the order of Hermes, just like Plutonic Magic would be the magic of the Order of Pluto (No, not mickey's dog!).

My 2 cents :wink:

Magie d'Hermès indeed.

Hermetic, as in the magic of Hermes Trismegistus (Hermes the Thrice Great, or Hermes who is Thoth who is Mercury).

Hermes Trismegistus was the name given to a real world mythic-historical writer on the occult, known and referenced as real by such writers as St Augustine. Historically, the name is a pseudonym adopted or assigned to a wide number of occult texts, collectively known as the Corpus Hermeticum. These texts supposedly contained the secrets of ancient Greek and Egyptian magic, as recorded by the god-magician Thoth. Holding the secrets of astrology, alchemy and natural magic, the magic of Hermes formed a core of western European occultism in the Reneissance and the Victorian age. IIRC, occult organizations like the Rosecurcians and the Gold Dawn supposedly draw their understanding of magic from the Corpus Hermeticum.

In the Ars Magica universe, it appears (to me at least) that Bonisagus probably discovered the Corpus Hermeticum a couple of centuries early and used it as the starting point for his great theory of magic. At the very least, the quaesitors sought to link Bonisagus's magic to the ancient traditions of Hermes Trismegistus in claiming that the Order of Hermes was actually the modern incarnation of an ancient and eternal society of wizards that stretched back to the Old Ones.

In this context I'd say "magie hermétique" and "Magie d'Hermès" are largely synonymous since the word hermetic/hermétique can be a reference to Hermes. It's less direct but it still gets you there :slight_smile:

That's interesting, in Portuguese it could also be interpreted either way, which I think might be the origina authors' intention in English.

I must say that something (like a container or bottle) is hermetic firstly beause it's so close like the Hermetic texts, the first and original sense is from the Mystical term. The it's ok talk of Hermetic Magic.

Truth be told Mark Rein•Hagen is interested in sigillography and the correspondence of religious anchorites, and Jonathan Tweet is mysophobic.

Both men realized they had a love of hermetic seals.

(Rumors that David Chart is in fact a highly intelligent and isolationist pinniped have been repeatedly denied)

I agree with you. The "hermétique" French word (and I assume the "hermetic" English word) comes from "hermétisme" (covering some real-word mystical traditions) which comes from Hermes (both the greek god and some antic wannabe magicians).

Those interested in the Hermeticism aspect should try to get their hands on a copy of the 4th edition Mysteries book. It's the furthest the game has taken the historical occult connections and is probably my favorite Ars Magica book ever.

I've always just thought is was because the magic was closed with a tight seal...

... and not because it involved hermitian matrices?

I always interpreted it being called hermetic because of Hermes. It is a quite porous system if you ask me.


Sure, but the current edition closed a lot of the holes from previous ones.

Hermetic magic belonging to the Order of Hermes some what related to(or named after) Hermes

Just as Mercurian magic belongs to the Order of Mercury and is related to(or named after) Mercury

made sense to me but then i'm American so i never really considered how it would be translated.