This is in the esoteric realm of things. For those of you who don’t know esoteric means intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with specialized knowledge or interest.
Hermetic means secret, esoteric, or occult.
The Hermetic Principles refer to knowledge of the laws by which the universe conducts business as passed down by the teachings of Hermes Trismegistus. Anyone who understands these laws or principles can use them to master the planes of existence. A plane is conceived as a subtle state, level, or region of reality, each plane corresponding to some type, kind, or category of being Ie. the spiritual plane, the physical plane, the mental plane.
While these teachings are thousands upon thousands of years old, they have for the most part been kept under wraps from the mainstream human. Great scholars along the way with specialized knowledge about the ancient teachings kept them alive.
“We have the truth still with us. But it is not found in books, to any given extent. It has been passed along......from lip to ear. When it was written down at all, its meaning was veiled in terms of alchemy and astrology, so that only those possessing the key could read it aright.”– The Kybalion
In the early days, these teachings were passed from teacher to student in secret. Afterall, such discussions could get you killed two thousand years ago. You certainly wouldn’t have your choice of books on the topic at Barnes and noble like you do now.
A book titled the Kybalion was first published in 1908. It was published under a pseudo name Three Initiates. Officially titled; The Kybalion: A Study of the Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece. It was not the only literature to embrace the teachings of Hermes, however, this book focuses on the 7 Hermetic Principles and so it will be the main point of reference for this article.
Hermes also was known as Thoth, lived in Atlantis and Egypt for over two thousand years. The Egyptians turned him into one of their Gods under the name Thoth. Later the Greeks made him one of their Gods calling him, Hermes, the God of wisdom.
“The student of Comparative Religions will be able to perceive the influence of the Hermetic Teachings in every religion worthy of the name...”– The Kybalion
The Hermetic teachings are found in all areas of the world as we know it and all teachings. The appeal, as well as the application, are absolutely universal.
Whether Thoth was an actual god or a just an extremely knowledgeable man we do not know for sure. But what is certain is that this wisdom is dependable enough to stand the test of time.
It has been repackaged for profit over and over again in our modern day lives. Think, The Secret, and all the latest buzz about the law of attraction. The truth is these teachings have been around for thousands of years and you can see particles of these principles integrated into all religious teachings, in one way or another.
“When the pupil is ready to receive the truth, then will this little book come to him, or her. Such is The Law. ...The Law of Attraction will bring lips and ear together - pupil and book in company. So mote it be!” – The Kybalion
Hermeticism is a gnostic tradition. A school of ideas that focuses the pursuit of empirical knowledge to spiritual mysteries. In the old world where all major religions had gatekeepers to the spiritual experience, the Gnostics, and later the Hermetics, were quite rebellious in thought.
The Seven Great Hermetic Principles
These seven laws are some of the oldest and most influential systems of thinking. Knowing these principles, the Universal Laws shall open your insights into the profound spiritual nature of reality. It shall enable you to perform more effectively on the earth plane around you.
When we understand and practice the 7 Hermetic Principles, we become more self-aware. This leads to living your moments with intention instead of letting the moments determine your path. They are sure to widen horizons for you, expand possibilities for you, and aid you in the pursuit of a fuller, happier, livelier, more meaningful, significant and longer life.
There is great empowerment within these principles which is why I believe they are referred to as “secret”.
In the order of their introduction in the book, these are (1) Mentalism, (2) Correspondence, (3) Vibration, (4) Polarity, (5) Rhythm, (6) Cause and Effect, and (7) Gender, or Sex.
The principles of truth are seven; He who knows these, understandingly, possesses the magic key before whose touch all the doors of the temple fly open. – The Kybalion
The Principle of Mentalism
The all is mind; the universe is mental. – The Kybalion
The law of mind states that everything is mental in nature.
This principle embodies the understanding that everything in the universe is created by thought or mind. There is nothing that exists in the material universe where this is not the case.
All that is physically created is mental in essence because the essence of everything is mind. Our actions arise from thoughts even if some of them are on a subconscious level. What we think we shall become. Thoughts become things, or as Edgar Cayce says “thoughts are things.”
When we have the right thoughts, the right actions will follow.
“Do not make the mistake of supposing that the little world you see around you - the Earth, which is a mere grain of dust in the Universe - is the Universe itself. There are millions upon millions of such worlds, and greater. And there are millions of millions of such Universes in existence within the Infinite Mind of THE ALL” – The Kybalion
The entire universe was created by the thought of God, The Creator, The Divine Cause, or any other creative entity or spirit you may refer to as such. The Hermetics believe the same is true for us, we create our reality both metaphysically and physically by the power of our own minds. This great law of spiritual psychology is that it is our thoughts that create our reality.
“He who grasps the truth of the Mental Nature of the Universe is well advanced on The Path to Mastery.” – The Kybalion
The Principle of Correspondence
As above so below: as below, so above. – The Kybalion
This famous saying was created by Hermes. The ancients believed that the macrocosm is a reflection of the microcosm and vice versa.
To solve complex paradoxes, we look at what is above us and below us. On a macro level and on a micro level. Because what works for the planets also works for the atoms. And what works for the solar system and atomic system also works for the human system.
The Hermetic Philosophy considers that the Universe to be divided into three great classes of phenomena, known as the Three Great Planes, namely:
The Great Physical Plane.
The Great Mental Plane.
The Great Spiritual Plane.
These divisions are more or less artificial and arbitrary, all of the three divisions are ascending degrees of the great scale of Life, the lowest point of which is undifferentiated Matter, and the highest point that of Spirit.
These planes work in correspondence with one another.
Physical, mental, and spiritual are not separated but flow in the same line with different degrees of existence.
The Principle of Vibration
Nothing rests; Everything moves; Everything vibrates. – The Kybalion
The Principle of vibration is one of the established laws of the modern science which states that all of life is vibrations at different frequencies.
You vibrate. Trees vibrate. Rocks vibrate. Sounds and thoughts vibrate. Some vibrate slower and others vibrate at a high frequency. Higher frequency vibrations are in the realm of the unseen while lower frequency vibrations reside in the physical world where our sights can translate the “visible light.”
Water evaporating seems to be the go-to analogy for this one.
When water is heated, the molecules become excited and vibrate so fast that the molecules break free of their bonds they turn into vapor and rise up to the sky.
You can’t see this on a cellular level but it does not mean it isn’t happening.
Even though the water turns into vapor and can’t be seen by our eyes, it doesn’t mean that the atoms of water have been lost. It is simply in a different state of vibration. Everything is in motion. Everything is in motion and is vibrating, and nothing is at rest.
“the differences between different manifestations of Matter, Energy, Mind, and even Spirit, result largely from varying rates of Vibrations......the higher the vibration, the higher the position in the scale.” – The Kybalion
We either vibrate at a state of harmony or a state of chaos. This is within our control.
Every atom is a mini-universe within every molecule of our physical bodies. How we think will manifest our feelings, beliefs, attitudes, emotions, health, energy, and ultimately what we attract to ourselves in our lives because energy follows thought.
The idea is to create a vibration that is determined by your Higher Self, rather than by the negative ego.
The Principle of Polarity
Everything is dual; Everything has poles; Everything has its pair of opposites; Like and unlike are the same; Opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; Extremes meet; All truths, are but half-truths; All paradoxes may be reconciled. – The Kybalion
Everything has its polar opposites. We live in a world of Dualism.
There is hot and cold, light and dark, good and evil, healthy and sick, love and hate.
We cannot have one without the other.
The thing is what appears as dualism is actually unity incognito, and this is where learning about this principle can become helpful to you.
The thermometer is the common analogy given. When does hot stop, and cold begin on a thermometer? Though they are opposites they are really the same thing. It is merely a matter of degree.
The same could be said of spirit and matter. They are really the same thing. Let’s go to the water example again. Freeze water and it becomes ice (matter). Boil water and it evaporates and becomes gas(spirit). They are identical in nature, but different in degrees.
This same principle applies to all pairs of opposites, light and dark, large and small, hard and soft, positive and negative. The same principle also applies to the mental plane of reality ie. love and hate. They are the same thing but different degrees.
The importance of this law comes in the understanding of one’s ability to transmute and change the vibrations from one extreme to another. This is the study of alchemy.
The alchemists of the middle ages were preoccupied in transforming base metals into gold. However, the real meaning of this seems to come from the knowledge of changing one’s base thoughts and emotions into spiritual gold or soul energies.
Hate can be converted by the power of your mind into love (gold). Your lower self can be transformed into your higher self. Your physical body can be transformed into your light body (ascension). Separation can be turned into oneness. Leadership by your negative ego can be turned into leadership by your soul, learning the art of polarization.
An empty bank account can be transformed into a full bank account. We just need to polarize our consciousness and life vibration differently since they are all varying degrees of the same thing.
The Principle of Rhythm
Everything flows, out and in; Everything has its tides; All things rise and fall; The pendulum swing manifests in everything; The measure of the swing to the right is the measure of the swing to the left; Rhythm compensates.
– The Kybalion
This law stated above, we see manifesting in every aspect of our lives.
There is a rhythm. There is a cycle. What flows in must flow out.
What swings forward will swing back again. And what goes up must come down.
You can enjoy the fruits of the highest highs, but you can’t avoid the destruction of the lowest lows.
You can attempt to neutralize it to a degree. That degree depends on your understanding and application of the Hermetic Principles.
It helps to understand that no matter how high we are, we will eventually hit a low tide.
The seasons' change and the summer will become winter. There are days when crops are greatly harvested and days when the seasons are too rough to plant.If you understand this law, then you can learn to enjoy the rise and neutralize the falling seasons of our life.
“Nothing stands still - everything is being born, growing, dying - the very instant a thing reaches its height, it begins to decline - the law of rhythm is in constant operations....” – The Kybalion
We see this law operating in the mental states of man, where the Hermetic practitioner finds its greatest and most useful application. The Hermetists apply the law of neutralization to their mind (consciousness).
The Hermetist cannot prevent this principle from operating. They have, however, learned to escape its effects upon themselves to a certain degree.
Hermetists have learned how to use this law instead of being used by it. The Hermetic Masters do this by the use of will and detachment to create a state of consciousness that is not swung backward or forward like a pendulum.
“The Master does this consciously, and by the use of his Will, and attains a degree of Poise and Mental Firmness almost impossible of belief on the part of the masses who are swung backward and forward like a pendulum.” – The Kybalion
The masses of humanity live on a mental and emotional roller coaster. The idea is to attain a state of consciousness of divine indifference, even-mindedness, inner peace, joy, happiness that rarely if ever ends, and bliss.
The idea is to stay even-minded, whether you have profit or loss, pleasure or pain, sickness or health, victory or defeat, rejection or praise.
There is a point of neutrality or objectivity or divine detachment, that is not caught up in the pendulum swing between these rhythms and polarities. It is what I equate to using my third eye. Instead of seeing the left or right (good or bad) of the matter allow your conscious to see from your third eye, a detached and higher view from a consciousness perspective. The duality becomes transcended. Whether you are on an emotional roller coaster or evenminded and have unceasing equanimity and joy is determined by your attitude and the direction of your mind.
This is why the understanding of these principles are important.
Suffering comes from one’s attachments or misplaced points of view.
The Principle of Cause and Effect
Every cause has its effect; Every effect has its cause; Everything happens according to law’ Chance is but a name for law not recognized’ There are many planes of causation, but nothing escapes the law. – The Kybalion
There are no accidents in the universe. Everything in the universe is governed by laws. There are physical laws, emotional laws, mental laws, and spiritual laws. By understanding these laws we can learn to operate in a state of grace instead of constant karma.
The Hermetists understand the art of rising above the ordinary plane of cause and effect, to a certain degree. They do this by rising to a higher plane of consciousness and taking their right place as masters instead of victims, and causes instead of effects.
“The masses of people are carried along, obedient to environment; the wills and desires of others stronger than themselves; heredity; suggestion; and other outward causes moving them about like pawns on the Chessboard of Life. But the Masters, rising to the plane above, dominate their moods, characters, qualities, and powers, as well as the environment surrounding them, and become Movers instead of pawns.”– The Kybalion
The average person in this world is an effect, not a cause. They are an effect and victim of thoughts, feelings, opinions, moods, desires, emotions, appetites, lower self, other people, biorhythms, the physical body, past lives, subconscious programming, heredity, eugenics, the weather, astrological influences, vital forces, disincarnate spirits, glamour, illusion, fantasy, and the environment, to name a few.
The Master rises above and has a great deal of mastery over these things
The key for most people of the earth plane is to gain mastery over your mind, which will lead to mastery over your emotions and desires, and also mastery over your physical body and appetites.
The basic cause of your life are the thoughts and images you hold in your conscious and subconscious mind. By learning to be utterly watchful and only allowing into your mind thoughts of love, perfection, perfect health, prosperity, joy, oneness, and serenity, and any other thoughts that serve you, then this is what you will create both inwardly and outwardly.
Your thoughts cause your reality. Your thinking must be submissive to your soul, instead of your negative ego. When these lessons are truly understood then there really is no reason to attend this school called Earth life, except for service to our brothers and sisters who have not learned these lessons.
Be the cause, be the master that you truly are, use the laws and principles instead of allowing them to use you. If you are not a master, you are a victim. This is the law of polarity. Change your polarization with the power of mind and the power of your God/Creator given free will.
The Principle of Gender
Gender is in everything; Everything has its masculine and feminine principles; Gender manifests on all planes.” – The Kybalion
Everything has a yin and yang. On the physical plane each person has a male or female physical body, however psychologically each person is androgynous with male and female qualities. Each person has a left brain and right brain.
This law not only applies to the physical plane but also on the emotional, mental and spiritual planes.
The spiritual path is the path of balance and unification. Buddha called this the middle way. It is the path of balancing the male and female aspects within self and also balancing the heavenly and earthly aspects within the self.
As mastery is achieved this balanced state becomes more habitual and won’t take as much work, time, and energy to try and stay in balance. This is achieved by “knowing thyself”, and understanding these universal laws and balances that govern our being.
All of the Seven Hermetic Principles are in full operation on all of the many planes, Physical, Mental and Spiritual. The Principle of Mental Substance applies to all the planes, for all are held in the Mind of THE ALL.
“The Infinite Mind of THE ALL is the womb of Universes.”– The Kybalion
The Principle of Correspondence manifests in all, for there are a correspondence, harmony, and agreement between the several planes. The Principle of Vibration manifests on all planes, the very differences that go to make the "planes" arise from Vibration. The Principle of Polarity manifests on each plane, the extremes of the Poles being apparently opposite and contradictory. The Principle of Rhythm manifests on each Plane, the movement of the phenomena having its ebb and flow, rise and flow, incoming and outgoing. The Principle of Cause and Effect manifests on each Plane, every Effect having its Cause and every Cause having its effect. The Principle of Gender manifests on each Plane, the Creative Energy being perpetually manifested, and operating along the lines of its Masculine and Feminine Aspects.