“These words of wisdom, although written by my decaying hand, shall remain imperishable through time; may they be imbued with the medicine of Immortality” -Hermes Trismegistus.
A few miles west of the Nile and just below the tip of its delta lies Sakkara, the necropolis of ancient Memphis, center of Lower Egypt from the days of the pharaohs through to the time of Egypt's Roman conquerors. The ibis, the classy black and white bird in which the God Thoth showed himself, no longer visit the Nile at Memphis, but when the Ptolemies and their Roman successors drank from the holy river, the God's bird still came to its banks in great plenty…... Wisdom is eternal, even if people are not.
While only published in 1908, the Kybalion is a manuscript that claims to be the essence of Hermes Trismegistus's teachings, who -as we’ve talked about before, is believed to be our old pal Thoth. We should be clear that there are several different texts here worth exploring. There’s the older Corpus Hermeticum, a vast ancient body of work in itself, along with the Emerald Tablets of Thoth the Atlantean, and the Emerald Tablet of Hermes… But these writings do not make any references to the specific laws or principles we’re exploring today. Then we have the Kybalion, which is supposedly based upon ancient Hermeticism and is argued to be an elaboration of an old, unpublished Hermetic text of the same name….but humanity hasn’t found that text yet. While it’s healthy to approach it with some skepticism, this text's profound wisdom needs to be taught and explained….
The Hermetica speaks very highly of cosmic laws, critical to be understood for our liberation and transcendence, and that’s why we’ve created the 2021 Almanac of the New Age. If you’re interested in connecting with the celestial and personal cycles to start the new year off with an exceptionally high vibration - check out this book! You’ll find links in the description.
With that, let’s now dive into the Hermetic Principles.
The Kybalion was written by unknown authors, known only as “The Three Initiates” - but the most common theory is that it was authored by a man named William Walker Atkinson and some others, a famous American Occultist and pioneer of the New Thought movement. In the first couple of pages, it says that it will only appear to you when the time is appropriate and you’re ready for its wisdom, so I guess that means we’re prepared for it in mass because there’s more than a few videos and articles now talking about it…. For the most part, it discusses the structure of the spiritual world and outlines the 3 Great Planes of Existence; The Physical Plane, The Mental Plane, and The Spiritual Plane, all of which are broken down into several “Lesser Planes,” which are kinda like “astral black keys" like the ones on a piano… Each is having their vibration and frequency and are inhabited by different kinds of spirits and entities.
Another aspect of wisdom is found in its teachings of Alchemy. It discusses aspects of spiritual and mental transmutation and how you can alter your vibration or frequency to move into these higher realms, interact with these entities, and attain Hermes himself' wisdom. The subject that has made the Kybalion a legendary book is its discussion of the 7 Hermetic Principles, which are like the laws that govern the universe according to the Western Mystery Tradition… Something that is the foundation of many schools of esoteric thought today.
Much like how physicists observe the universe, they believed that the universe runs on natural laws to the Hermetic Mystics. Apples fall. Birds fly. Things live and die. But…..when we take time to understand these laws, we can use them, and in some cases, even leverage them to transform life as we know it. Perhaps we can push against gravity to fly or use the knowledge that we might die to live better lives one day. As described, whenever this wisdom resurfaces in culture, they act as a catalyst for the creative renaissance, revolutions, and cultural regeneration.
These 7 Laws were some of the most influential systems of thinking to the Renaissance and Medieval philosophers, which, even today, can expand horizons, broaden possibilities, and aid one in the pursuit of a fuller, happier, more meaningful, and longer life. So, as we go through these principles, remember that they were potentially first thought of thousands of years ago -despite only being codified recently in history before any modern science verified their unusually accurate and esoteric claims. The Kybalion even devotes a chapter to each principle and goes into what they’re all about, and we especially recommend going deeper by reading this book if you haven’t already! It’s a favorite of ours!
PRINCIPLE ONE: MENTALISM! Much like in the Corpus Hermeticum, this axiom embodies the idea that "All is Mind." Something today we know as idealism. Basically….everything that happens is a result of a mental state which precedes it. For anything to exist, thoughts had to form first, forming physical reality or manifestation. But it goes even deeper than manifestation, though; the Principle of the Mind is rooted in the idea of the God Mind, that the universe itself is the mind of God, or going even more prominent - that the universe is a thought IN the Mind of God.
That all phenomena of life, matter, and energy of the material universe are thoughts of an infinite and universal, living Mind. This means all things share a connection in the fact they exist within the Mind of God or the All. Perhaps this could take the form of a field, as is thought of consciousness. In other words, when you view everything you believe and therefore do, as an interaction of thought with another thought, you develop an understanding of the first principle of Mentalism, which allows you to grasp the laws of the Mental Universe. This law ultimately says that our consciousness enables us to interact with reality.
PRINCIPLE TWO: CORRESPONDENCE! This truth discusses the idea that there is always a correspondence and link between the laws of events in the various "planes" of being. This law is where we explore the legendary phrase “As Above so Below” too much greater depths! In a nutshell, if something is happening on a physical level, there is a relationship to like energy on a higher frequency. And if something occurs solely in the physical, it will affect the other planes. By observing the Principle of Correspondence, we can come to know the whole of the universe by exploring the higher and lower nature of things. That harmony exists only when we have the right balance between all the planes of our being.
PRINCIPLE THREE: VIBRATION! In short… Nothing rests; everything in existence is in a constant state of motion and vibration...even things that appear motionless and still, like a rock on the ground, is always moving at a molecular and atomic level and beyond. To quote Walter Russel….,” In the Wave lies the secrets of creation.”
It explains that the distinction between manifestations of Matter, Energy, Mind, and Spirit are just the result of different "vibrations." The higher a person or thing is on the scale, the higher the vibration rate. Spiritual Alchemy in the Kybalion is described merely as the practical application of this principle.
To change one's mental state is to change vibration. You can sometimes do this through Will's effort by deliberately "fixing the attention" upon a more desirable state. Ultimately, even thoughts have their vibration rate and can be controlled like tuning an instrument, to produce various results of self and environmental mastery. As your understanding of vibration, frequency, harmony, and resonance gets better, so too shall your power over yourself grow.
PRINCIPLE FOUR: POLARITY! Following our last guide, this one says that everything is dual and has two poles, that everything has its opposite. While this might seem out of the ordinary for a spiritual text that talks about unity and One Mind, this one refers to how the agreement manifests through creation. Newton’s First Law of Motion's whole idea is that everything has an equal and opposite action and reaction. All manifested things have two sides, two aspects, or two poles.
Opposites are identical yet different in degree, extremes meet, and all paradoxes can be reconciled. An obvious example is a hot and cold tap — both glasses of water being aspects of temperature, varying only in degree. There is no exact crossover when hot stops being hot and start being cold and vice versa with no absolutes on either end, especially since the quality of hot and cold is relative to your perception. If it’s cold outside, jump in a freezing lake for a few minutes and get more out than the average temperature outside. Suddenly that cold air is warming you up. This one is quite important since it suggests we can change the polarity of a degree of emotion by recognizing it as a spectrum and choosing the degree which best suits our needs.
PRINCIPLE FIVE: RHYTHM! This builds upon both the Principles of Vibration and Polarity. It states that everything is manifested as a measured motion, from outflow and inflow, a swing backward and forwards, like a pendulum. This law also reminds us that there’s a rhythm between every pair of opposites or poles. Learning from this principle allows us to transition from one bar to the other and not necessarily go to poles of extreme opposites. It also arguably controls the cycle of life and death, creation and destruction, rise and fall, and of course, manifests in our mental states. Know that things you lose will come back and that something you own now will disappear eventually.
PRINCIPLE SIX: CAUSATION! Again we find ourselves overlapping with previous laws, and it makes sense they’d fit together… This principle states that there’s a cause for every effect and an effect for every cause. It also argues that there’s no such thing as chance or coincidence, that it is merely a term indicating already existing reasons that we can’t recognize or perceive. This principle's empowering use is to make the conscious choice to rise above the plane of thought you're currently on to become your cause, not just an Effect of others and the situations you find yourself in. In other words, strive to act rather than react, or be mindfully responsive at best! Suppose you want to be good at something. In that case, you need to practice it every day instead of resigning yourself to merely reacting to the consequences of not having done any self-work and then experiencing the problems that inevitably arise when you’re not pursuing your highest calling.
PRINCIPLE 7: GENDER This principle explains how gender is manifested in everything. But this doesn’t necessarily relate to sexual gender or how you identify yourself… It’s more about the Masculine and Feminine energies that lead to creation and procreation in the universe. If you haven’t seen our episode on Masculine and Feminine energies, you can always check that video out right after this! It doesn’t refer to someone's biological sex, nor does it suggest that someone of particular sex necessarily has a matching mental gender. In actuality… Ideally, you would want to have a balanced mental gender, embodying both the Sacred Masculine and Divine Feminine. Gender -and these two polarities of energy exist on all planes of existence and represent different aircraft aspects. Everything and everyone contains these two elements or principles.
The Kybalion explains that the Divine Feminine is more receptive, facilitating new thoughts, concepts, and ideas, including imagination. On the other hand, the Sacred Masculine works more by giving out or expressing, and rules over the Will of an individual and helps put things into action.
It is said that there must be a balance between these two forces. Without the Feminine, the Masculine will act without restraint, order, or reason, resulting in chaos. The Feminine alone, on the other hand, will continuously reflect and fail actually to do anything, resulting in stagnation. With both the Masculine and Feminine working in conjunction, there is thoughtful action that breeds success, which tells us that both the Feminine and the Masculine fulfill each other.
Ultimately, choosing the middle path between these extremes is the key to using all 7 Hermetic Principles to full effect and achieve lasting self-mastery without straying too far from the way. At the same time, though, we must remember that these are only principles. They’re quite useless by themselves, but you can achieve any endeavor you dedicate yourself to and have your renaissance when you creatively apply them in your life. The best way to understand them is by experiencing them for yourself.
So, thanks for joining us today! Remember to apply the wisdom of these teachings in your life..mostly by asking questions like “Have I ever experienced Mind over Matter?” “Have I ever attracted something into my life, repeatedly by obsessing over it?” Or “Have I ever dipped my fingers in water so hot that it shocks my nerves and feels cold at first? These kinds of questions are founded upon these Hermetic Principles… o, have fun trying them out! Until Next time! Toodles!
Introduction. (1992). In B. Copenhaver (Ed.), Hermetica: The Greek Corpus Hermeticum and the Latin Asclepius in a New English Translation, with Notes and Introduction (pp. Xiii-Lxi). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
The Kybalion by the Three Initiates
Three Initiates. 2006: The Kybalion: A study of Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece. Cosimo Inc
Swabb, C. 2018: The Hermetic Revival: 7 Ancient Principles For Self-Mastery. Mission.org. [Online] Available at: https://medium.com/the-mission/the-hermetic-revival-7-ancient-principles-for-self-mastery-9399e523648d [Accessed 08/20]
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