Apocrypha: The Three Steles of Seth

The Three Steles of Seth

Translated by Marvin Meyer and Willis Barnstone

 This original translation of The Three Steles of Seth (Nag Hammadi Codex VII, 5) is presented in the Gnostic Society Library by permission and under license from Dr. Willis Barnstone, who retains all copyright. Dr. Barnstone’s translations of the Nag Hammadi texts are published in The Gnostic Bible, © 2003, Willis Barnstone & Marvin Meyer.

Headings in bold type have been added to the text for clarity by the translators.



The revelation of Dositheos  about the three steles of Seth,  father of the living and unshakable race.  He remembered what he saw, understood, and read, and gave it to the chosen, just as it was written there.
Often I have joined in glorifying with the powers, and I was considered worthy by the immeasurable majesties.
The steles are as follows:


I praise you, father Geradamas,
I, your son Emmacha Seth,
whom you produced without generation
for the praise of our god.

I am your son
and you are my mind, O my father.

I have sown and produced,
but you have seen the majesties
and have stood endlessly.

I praise you, father.

Praise me, father.

Because of you I am,
because of god you are,
because of you I am with him.
You are light and you see light.

You have revealed light.

You are a Mirotheas,
you are my Mirotheos.

I praise you as god,
I praise your divinity.

Great is the good one, self-conceived,  who stood,
the god who was first to stand.

You came in goodness,
you appeared
and you revealed goodness.

I shall speak your name,
you are a primary name.

You are unborn,
you have appeared to reveal the eternal.

You are who is,
so you have revealed those who really are.

You are uttered by a voice,
but by mind you are glorified.

You are powerful everywhere
so the world of senses also knows you,
because of you and your seed.

You are merciful
and from another race,
and it is placed over another race.

Now, you are from another race,
and it is placed over another race.

You are from another race,
you are different.

You are merciful,
you are eternal.

You are placed over a race,
you made all these increase
because of my seed,
and you know it is placed in generation.

But they are from other races,
they are different.

They are placed over other races,
they are placed in life.

You are a Mirotheos.
I praise its power given to me.

You who made the masculinities
that really are three times male,
who were divided into five,
who were given to us in triple power,
who were conceived without generation,
who came forth from the superior
and for the inferior entered the midst,
you are a parent through a parent,
a word from a command.

We praise you, triple male,
you have unified all through them all,
you have empowered us.

You came into being from One,
from One you left.
You have come to One.

You have saved,
you have saved,
you have saved us,
you who are crowned and crown.

We praise you eternally,
we praise you,
we who are saved,
who are perfect beings,
who are perfect because of you,
who have become perfect with you.

You who are complete,
who complete,
who are perfect through all these,
who are everywhere similar,
triple male,
you have stood,
you were first to stand.
You have been divided everywhere,
you have remained one.

Whomever you wished
you have saved,
and you wish
that all who are worthy be saved.

You are perfect,
you are perfect,
you are perfect.



Great is the first eternal realm,
male virgin Barbelo,
the first glory of the invisible father.

You who are called perfect
first saw
that the one who really pre-exists
is not.

From that one and through it
you have come into being first and forever,
you who are non-existent from One, the indivisible, triple power.

You are a triple power,
you are a great One from a pure One.

You are a superior One,
first shadow of the holy father,
light from light.

We praise you,
maker of perfection,
donor of eternal realms.

You saw that those who are eternal
are from a shadow.

You have conferred multiplicity,
you have found and remained One,
while still conferring multiplicity through division.

You are a threefold replication,
truly you are replicated three times.

You are One, of the One,
and you are from its shadow.

You are hidden,
you are a world of knowledge,
you know that those who are of the One are from shadow.

And they are yours in your heart.

Because of them you made the eternal be,
you made divinity live,
you made knowledge good,
in blessedness you made the shadows flowing from the One.

You made one in understanding;
you made another in creation.

You made the equal and the unequal,
the similar and the different.

You have empowered in generation and formation,
by that which is, to others . . .
. . . and generation.

You have given these strength,
hidden in the heart,
and you came forth to them and from them.

You are divided among them
and become a great male first-appearing mind.

Father god,
divine child,
maker of multiplicity,
in dividing all those who really are,
you revealed to them all a word.

You possess them all without birth,
eternally, imperishably.

Because of you salvation has come to us,
from you comes salvation.

You are wisdom,
you are knowledge,
you are truth.

Because of you is life,
from you life.

Because of you is mind,
from you mind.

You are mind,
you are a world of truth.

You are a triple power,
you are a threefold replication,
truly you are replicated three times,
the eternal realm of eternal realms.

You alone see purely the first, undying, unborn ones
and the first divisions, as you were divided.

Unify us as you were unified.

Teach us what you see.

Give us strength so we may be saved to eternal life.

We are a shadow of you . . .
as you are a shadow of that first pre-existent one.

Hear us first.

We are eternal.

Hear us as perfect beings.

You are the eternal realm of eternal realms,
the all-perfect one, who is established.

You have heard,
you have heard.

You have saved,
you have saved.

We give thanks,
we praise always,
we shall glorify you.



We rejoice
we rejoice
we rejoice.

We saw
we saw
we saw what really pre-exists,
that it really is
and is the first eternal one.

You, unborn,
from you come the eternal ones
and eternal realms,
the all-perfect ones, who are established,
and the perfect beings.

We praise you, nonbeing,
reality before realities,
first being before beings,
father of divinity and life,
creator of mind,
donor of goodness,
donor of blessedness.

We all praise you,
you who know,
with glorifying praise,
you, because of whom all these are . . .
who know yourself through yourself alone.

There is nothing active prior to you.

You are spirit, alone and living.

You know the One,
that we cannot speak of this One,
which is yours everywhere.

Your light enlightens us.

Command us to see you
so we may be saved.

Knowledge of you is our salvation.


If you command,
we have been saved.

Truly we are saved

We have seen you through mind.

You are all these
and save them all,
you who will not be saved
nor have been saved by them.

You have commanded us.

You are One,
you are One,
as one might tell you,
you are One.

You are a single, living spirit.
How shall we give you a name?

We have none.
You are their existence,
you are their life,
you are their mind.

In you they rejoice.

You ordered them saved
through your word . . .
the single glory, at the fore,

O hidden one, blessed Senaon, who conceived himself,

Elemaon, the great power
you who are my Armedon
you generator of powers

You are in you,
you are before you,
and after you none have come to act.

How shall we praise you?

We cannot,
but we thank you,
we who are inferior.

For you commanded us,
you who are our superior,
to glorify you
as best we can.

We praise you because we are saved
and we always glorify you.

Now we shall glorify you
that we be saved to eternal salvation.

We have praised you
for we can.

We have been saved.

You always wished
us to do it.

We have done it. . . .

Whoever remembers these  and always glorifies will be perfect among the perfect and free of suffering beyond all things. They all praise these, individually and collectively, and afterward they will be silent.

As assigned, they ascend. After silence, they descend from the third. They praise the second, and afterward the first. The way of ascent is the way of descent.

So understand, as those who are alive, that you have succeeded. You have taught yourselves about things infinite. Marvel at the truth within them, and at the revelation.

The Three Steles of Seth

This book belongs to the fatherhood.
It is the son who wrote it.
Bless me O Father. I bless
you, O Father, in peace.



Nag Hammadi Library Gnostic Society Library Gnosis Archive |






FEATURE: Neopaganism

Gods of the Witches, Wiccan Rede, and the Principles of Wicca - explore Neo-Paganism.