the NachtKabarett

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All Writing & Content © Nick Kushner Unless Noted Otherwise

Trismegistus is the title of Marilyn Manson's art show which opened in Paris on September 14th, 2004 and following exhibitions around the world. The title piece painting of Trismegistus is a three-fold watercolour of the face of Christ and is named after the great magician Hermes Trismegistus, who is credited by some as to to be the originator (at least metaphorically) of Alchemy.

The most common and well known historical depiction of Hermes Trismegistus

"Hermes Trismegistus "Hermes The Thrice-Great". The Greek God Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth merged into one figure who was said to be the first and greatest magician. Hermes Trismegistus was reputed to be an ancient Egyptian priest and magician who was credited with writing forty-two books collectively known as the Hermetic literature. These books, including the Emerald Tablet and the Divine Pymander, describe the creation of the universe, the soul of humanity, and the way to achieve spiritual rebirth."

The Trinity. Flemish Origin
Circa 1500 CE
Like many Christian allegorical depictions, the symbology is illustrative of religious themes, in this case for example the Christian concept of the Trinity. But as the roots of Christianity lie in the adaptation of pagan beliefs, whether intentional by the artist the themes present represent moreso those in the occult rather from Christian perspective. Similarly with the depiction of Christ in the Baphometic pose outlined above which through the centuries of assimilated culture the concept had become irreversible intertwined. Likewise with the above painting that even if the intentional concept is to depict an aspect of the Trinity its very roots lie in the Pagan occultism of the representation of Hermes Trismegistus.

As from The Tree Of Life by Israel Regardie, a famous book on Alchemy, Kabbalah and the occult referenced many times on The NACHTKABARETT and one which Manson has used many of the imagery from during Holy Wood. The term 'Hermetic Kabbalah', or Western Kabbalah, is one that comes from Hermes Trismegistus. As stated in The Lamb Of section, Hermetic Kabbalah is the Westernized version of Kabbalah absorbed with Egyptian mythology, Alchemy and Sex Magick. It is the type of magickal practise which Aleister Crowley most widely used, which was popularized at the turn of the Nineteenth century by The Golden Dawn and continues to be currently practised by the OTO, or Ordo Templi Orientis, of Order Of The Eastern Temple.

The God Hermes is also the Greek personification of the Roman God MERCURY. For more on Mercury and its evocations by Manson see ALCHEMY & KABBALAH section of The NACHTKABARETT.

In keeping with the current imagery, an early relief of Hermes Trismegistus depicted as a tri-headed horseman
Familiarly and quite similar to the above depiction, the image of the three-faced Christ first appeared in Marilyn Manson history in 1997 as a T-Shirt for the Antichrist Svperstar era bearing the decree of 'SEE NO TRUTH - HEAR NO TRUTH - SPEAK NO TRUTH' with the reverse side reading BELIEVE as illustrative of Christian hypocrisy.
Veronica's Veil
Domenico Fetti (circa 1620).

A very famous depiction which lends another dimension to Manson's watercolor Trismegistus is that of Saint Veronica with the Veil. In Christian lore it's told that on his way to Golgotha when Christ fell St. Veronica offered him a towel, wiping his face which upon it forever left the image of his face. Such is how St. Veronica has been known and depicted throughout history and art.

Saint Veronica with the Veil
Mattia Preti (Il Cavaliere Calabrese)
c. 1655-1660

Along with the occult symbolism of Christ as Trismegistus the added element of Manson's watercolor executed upon what so closely resembles dirtied canvas is quite reminiscent of the effigy of Christ upon a piece cloth (not to be confused with the Shroud of Turin, see above) as depicted throughout art over the ages.

Veronica's cloth in Albrecht Dürer's 'Sudarium' engraving 1513


Manson in front of his creation Trismegistus at the eponymous art show, 2004.