Who knows his origin

Who knows his origin

One by one the children trickle in. Parents or grandparents come along. It is a holiday and on Wednesday there will be a workshop at the Embassy of the Free Mind [1] on one of the seven hermetic laws of life. 

The children write their names on the paper that is ready next to the glasses of lemonade. We start in the cafe. An inner and outer circle of chairs is ready in the ‘Grote Sael’. In the ‘Koetshuis’ is a table with materials for a creative conclusion to the workshop.


Various spiritual traditions and religions refer to three spiritual laws, three spiritual life principles, often unconscious or dormant, that are present in every person. These are three forces that descend from the Supernature as ‘Father, Son and Holy Spirit’, as ‘Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva’ or as ‘wisdom, will and activity’, however one wants to call them, that descend into the threefold human  thought, feeling and acting – heart, head and hands. You can imagine this as a descending and a rising triangle that slide together into a six-pointed star, also called a ‘sacred hexagram’.

In addition to these three spiritual laws, one can see four laws of nature. The first is the natural law of opposites and harmony. After all, our lives are characterized by pairs of opposites. The second is the law of cause and effect, of action and reaction but in which direction? And finally, the fourth law of nature is the power of cooperation, of uniting and strengthening. Each life principle unlocks a number of inner values, such as ‘intuitive knowing of the heart’ or ‘discovering that everything changes, but nothing is lost’. With the help of countless examples from nature, experiments, stories, music and creativity, the children become familiar with the seven hermetic life principles.

Hermes Trismegistos, the puppet [3] is ready. The children recognize Hermes in the pictures hanging in the café. Hermes whispers into our ears the wisdom that we do not possess ourselves. He asks the children where they come from. Where were they before they were born? He points to an image of Robert Fludd. A ladder above which a star shines. That star is you that came down from the top and you have grown around it. Kirsten, David, Armin… We cut an apple straight through and also see a star in the core. Everything has a spark of light within. That is why an apple seed knows how to grow into an apple tree and the caterpillar knows how to become a butterfly. And what will you become?

In a nutshell, right at the beginning of the workshop, the three spiritual laws emerge in a simple manner: a star shines within you, it comes from above and something will grow from it. Hermetically speaking: the spiritual law of ‘rest and movement’: the star, the immovable, fixed point in your heart, from which movement and inspiration arise. ‘As above, so below’, the law of reflection and analogy. You are a microcosm and a double being, you are from above and below, the second spiritual law. And the third: ‘Everywhere and everything is energy’; there is life force for life, for revelation and everything lives in connection with everything else.

Hermes asks the children to find the picture of him holding a candlestick with burning candles. How many candles do you count? He says he has seven important things to say. One of them is that ‘everywhere and everything is energy’. We follow Hermes to the ‘Grote Sael’.

The children sit in the circle. Parents who remain sit around it. Others go into the museum. Do you know the game: ‘I spy with my little eye…?’ Do we see everything? As good as an eagle high in the sky? Which animal can see in the dark? Which animal has a very good sense of smell? And what animal flies in the dark without touching anything? What matters is that the children realise that our powers of observation are limited, and that we are also being ‘fooled’. We look at some examples of optical illusions. Hermes whispers: ‘Be careful! Not everything you see is true. And there is a lot that you don’t see that is still true. There is energy everywhere and in everything!’

Depending on the number of children, different experiments take place. We investigate what Hermes says. An ’empty’ bottle is immersed in a bucket of water. The bottle is not empty, there is air in it! An empty can will roll without touching it by holding a balloon that we have rubbed with a woolen scarf. A whole string of paper clips can hang from a magnet. And with a magnifying glass you can see so much more. Can you still see the sugar dissolved in the cup of water? How can that sound come from the tuning fork? Why do you no longer see the different colours on the top when it starts spinning quickly?

The children try out all the experiments. Naturally, the parents play along and we are amazed at the things we do not see that are still there.

Everything also radiates ‘energy’. Back in the circle we look at the book ‘The Blue Horse’ by Eric Carle. It is based on the paintings of Franz Marc. Why does Franz Marc paint the horse blue? Why a red crocodile? A pink rabbit? We look at Karel Appel’s different cats. What do they radiate? And you? We read each other’s facial expressions: angry, happy, shy…

What are you wearing? What do you want, what do you long for when you are tired or when the sun is shining, or when it is your birthday? What makes you happy? During the conversation, Hermes breaks in and says that people are like magnets. We attract what we desire. We return to the star which lives within the heart and wants to give us light. It longs for the great light and it becomes greater when we think about the light.

It is not without reason that you are here in this beautiful museum. Here you can see and study very old books about life which explain why you are here. They tell about the wisdom of Hermes Trismegistos. You can see the drawings, the images in these old books. In line with the life principle that is central to the workshop, the children are invited to look for specific images. ‘Place a post-it in front of the picture where you see a ladder or stairs…, where you see a heart…’ For example, if we have looked at the spherical shape in the light of a burning match and have made the relationship to the microcosm, the children will look for images of spheres, circles, within which a person is depicted. It is striking what children see, what they have questions about or want to tell. You will be amazed at what the images bring out in the children to which you can then respond. Seeing the Phoenix the stories of Harry Potter are mentioned. With the ouroboros, a snake continually grows new skin. The conversation turns to the caterpillar and the butterfly, how you change yourself. The children discover that there are many images ‘with wings’, even a house. They recognize the four elements in an image and see how these four are connected to a fifth element and the world above. The images tell the children the ‘big story’ of their lives. How they represent a prayer in the spiritual world and are connected to ‘the one’, the Spirit of Light, Love and Life. By paying attention to the seven hermetic principles of life, we unlock a field of understanding, light and joy, which children can fall back on in all kinds of situations as they grow up. Grounded with roots in the earth, they will be able to spread their wings to heaven. Those who know their origins have an advantage in life.

There is a painting board ready for each child on the table in the ‘Koetshuis’. During the workshop ‘There is energy everywhere and everything’, everything that is beautiful is on the table: beads, colored lollipop sticks, mosaic stones… The children can stick ‘anything’ into a nice whole, but there is one condition: leave in the middle ‘the one’, ‘something very beautiful’ clearly visible. Every workshop has its own creative ending. Sometimes we paint, other times we tear paper, doodle the annual rings in a disk of the tree trunk with a marker or stick shells around it. While the children are working, there is an opportunity to reflect on what we have done and seen.

Finally, the works of art are placed in the circle, viewed and admired.

And they go home with a small reminder of what Hermes said: this time a gemstone stuck on a card that says ‘Everywhere and everything is energy’.

The next workshop will be about ‘the pairs of opposites’. In ‘The Carnival of the Animals’, the composer Camille Saint-Saëns shows the heaviness of elephants, the lightly jumping kangaroos, loudly pecking chickens and a swan gliding softly in the water. Hermes comes to tell of a learned man (Mr. Newton) who said that ‘everything falls’… that there is gravity. But Hermes shows through experiments that there is also light power. “There are always two that belong together,” he says. Falling also means being able to get up again.

‘The cup of Pythagoras’, which empties if it is filled to the brim, brings to mind ‘the golden mean’ between opposites. It may be hard to imagine, but it has to do with your heart, the middle between your left and right arms, your legs and your head. “Focus your heart on the Light,” says Hermes. We will see what that means in the images.

Children are the future. They look at the world with new eyes and so carry with them a promise for the future. In the purity of the child, heaven is still close. Establishing heaven on earth is a delusion, but connecting heaven and earth by reflecting on what inspires you… by hearing your own heartbeat that matches the heartbeat of the universe, brings joy and balance, flexibility and resilience in uncertain times, creativity to cope with future unknown situations.

And isn’t that exactly what people need today, in a time full of unprecedented challenges? We are at a decisive moment in a rapidly changing world.

The Embassy of the Free Mind is a beautiful place where hermetic ideas also speak to young and old through images. When parents and children visit the museum, a zigzag map is available on which a search through various images is indicated. Each image contains an assignment and an inviting question that leads to a conversation.

It’s early in the morning.  Suddenly the sun shines brightly through the window. “Children, look, the sun! But where does the sun suddenly come from?” And they sing: “In the beginning the earth was lost, in the beginning in darkness. God spoke his word and the light was born..”  I ask: ‘God? Who or what is God then?’ One of the children gives me the feeling that I am being very difficult and answers: “That is simply the Light in all people.”



[1] The Embassy of the Free Mind is a place where you can find wisdom from all over the world, where images and texts will tell you centuries-old stories created by free thinkers. About the Embassy of the Free Mind – EMBASSY OF THE FREE MIND

[2] The workshop is based on the book Hemel en aarde in de wereld van het kind [Heaven and earth in the world of the child] by Ankie Hettema, de Morgenster, 2021

[3] made by Ward Warmoeskerken: designer, artist, tailor, storyteller.

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Date: January 27, 2024
Author: Ankie Hettema-Pieterse (Netherlands)
Photo: LOGON media

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