~ The Hermetic Principles ~

From "The KYBALION - Hermetic Philosophy" - by Three Initiates, 1912

Hermeticism - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia
Hermes Trismegistus - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia
Kybalion - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia
The Kybalion - Novus Ordo Seclorum, A New Order of the Ages
The Kybalion - by Three Initiates, 1912
The Secret Teachings of All Ages - by Manly P. Hall 1928

1. The Principle Of Mentalism
"THE GREAT MYSTERY is MIND; The Universe is Mental."

This Principle embodies the truth that "All is Mind." It explains that THE GREAT MYSTERY (which is the Substantial Reality underlying all the outward manifestations and appearances which we know under the terms of "The Material Universe"; the "Phenomena of Life"; "Matter"; "Energy"; and, in short, all that is apparent to our material senses) is SPIRIT, which in itself is UNKNOWABLE and UNDEFINABLE, but which may be considered and thought of as AN UNIVERSAL, INFINITE, LIVING MIND. It also explains that all the phenomenal world or universe is simply a Mental Creation of THE GREAT MYSTERY, subject to the Laws of Created Things, and that the universe, as a whole, and in its parts or units, has its existence in the Mind of THE GREAT MYSTERY, in which Mind we "live and move and have our being." This Principle, by establishing the Mental Nature of the Universe, easily explains all the varied mental and psychic phenomena that occupy such a large portion of the public attention, and which, without such explanation, are non-understandable and defy scientific treatment. An understanding of this great Hermetic Principle of Mentalism enables the individual to readily grasp the laws of the Mental Universe, and to apply the same to his well-being and advancement. The Hermetic Student is enabled to apply intelligently the great Mental Laws, instead of using them in a haphazard manner. With the Master Key in his possession, the student may unlock the many doors of the mental and psychic temple of knowledge, and enter the same freely and intelligently. This Principle explains the true nature of "Energy,""Power," and "Matter," and why and how all these are subordinate to the Mastery of Mind. One of the old Hermetic Masters wrote, long ages ago: "He who grasps the truth of the Mental Nature of the Universe is well advanced on The Path to Mastery." And these words are as true to-day as at the time they were first written. Without this Master Key, Mastery is impossible, and the student knocks in vain at the many doors of The Temple.

2. The Principle Of Correspondence

"As above, so below; as below, so above."

This Principle embodies the truth that there is always a Correspondence between the laws and phenomena of the various planes of being and life. The old Hermetic axiom ran in these words: "As above, so below; as below, so above." And the grasping of this Principle gives one the means of solving many a dark paradox, and hidden secret of Nature. There are planes beyond our knowing, but when we apply the Principle of Correspondence to them we are able to understand much that would otherwise be unknowable to us. This Principle is of universal application and manifestation, on the various planes of the material, mental, and spiritual universe-- it is an Universal Law. The ancient Hermetists considered this Principle as one of the most important mental instruments by which man was able to pry aside the obstacles which hid from view the Unknown. Its use even tore aside the Veil of Isis to the extent that a glimpse of the face of the goddess might be caught. Just as a knowledge of the Principles of Geometry enables man to measure distant suns and their movements, while seated in his observatory, so a knowledge of the Principle of Correspondence enables Man to reason intelligently from the Known to the Unknown.
Studying the nomad, he understands the archangel.

3. The Principle Of Vibration

"Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates."

The Third Principle embodies the truth that "everything is in motion"; "everything vibrates"; "nothing is at rest"; facts which Modern Science endorses, and which each new scientific discovery tends to verify. And yet this Hermetic Principle was enunciated thousands of years ago, by the Masters of Ancient Egypt. This Principle explains that the differences between different manifestations of Matter, Energy, Mind, and even Spirit, result largely from varying rates of Vibration. From "The Great Mystery", which is Pure Spirit, down to the grossest form of Matter, all is in vibration -- the higher the vibration, the higher the position in the scale that is Spiritual Life. The vibration of The Spirit is at such an infinite rate of intensity and rapidity that it is practically at rest - just as a rapidly moving wheel seems to be motionless. Then, at the other end of this scale, there are gross forms of matter whose vibrations are so low as to seem at rest. Between these poles, there are millions upon millions of varying degrees of vibration. From the corpuscle and electron, the atom and molecule, to worlds and universes, everything is in vibratory motion. This is also true on planes of energy and force (which are but varying degrees of vibration); and even on to the Dimensional and spiritual planes. Furthermore, when a strong coherent field of vibration is introduced to a weaker or chaotic field of vibration, the weaker/chaotic one will change its frequency to match that of the stronger/organized one. An understanding of this Principle, with the appropriate formulas, enables Hermetic students to control their own mental vibrations as well as those of others. The Masters also apply this Principle to the conquering of Natural phenomena, in various ways. "He who understands the Principle of Vibration, has grasped the sceptre of power," says one of the old writers.

4. 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."

This Principle embodies the truth that "everything is dual"; "everything has two poles"; "everything has its pair of opposites," all of which were old Hermetic axioms. It explains the old paradoxes, that have perplexed so many, which have been stated as follows: "Thesis and antithesis are identical in nature, but different in degree"; opposites are the same, differing only in degree"; "the pairs of opposites may be reconciled"; "extremes meet"; everything is and isn't, at the same time"; "all truths are but half truths"; every truth is half-false"; "there are two sides to everything," ad infintum; without the one you cannot have the other. It explains that in everything there are two poles, or opposite aspects, and that "opposites" are really only the two extremes of the same thing, with many varying degrees between them. To illustrate: Heat and Cold, although "opposites," are really the same thing, the differences consisting merely of degrees of the same thing. Look at your thermometer and see if you can discover where "heat" terminates and "cold" begins! There is no such thing as "absolute heat" and "absolute cold" - the two terms "heat" and "cold" simply indicate varying degrees of the the same thing, and that "same thing" which manifests as "heat" and "cold" is merely a form, variety, and rate of Vibration. So "heat" and "cold" are simply the "two poles" of that which we call "Heat" - and the phenomena attendant thereupon are manifestations of the Principle of Polarity. The same Principle manifests in the case of "Light and Darkness", which are the same thing, the difference consisting of varying degrees between the two poles of the phenomena. Where does "darkness" leave off, and "light" begin? What is the difference between "Large and Small"? Between "Hard and Soft"? Between "Black and White"? Between "Sharp and Dull"? Between "Noise and Quiet"? Between "High and Low"? Between "Positive and Negative"? The Principle of Polarity explains these paradoxes, and no other Principle may supercede it. The same Principle operates on the Mental Plane. Let us take a radical and extreme example -- that of "Love and Hate," two mental states totally different. And there are degrees of Hate and degrees of Love, and a middle point in which we use the terms "Like or Dislike," which shade into each other so gradually that sometimes we are at a loss to know whether we "like" or "dislike" or "neither." And all are simply degrees of the same thing, as you will see if you will but think for a moment. And, more than this (and considered of more importance to Hermetists), it is possible to change the vibrations of Hate to the vibrations of Love, in one's own mind, and in the minds of others. Many of you, who read these lines, have had personal experiences of the involuntary rapid transition from Love to Hate, and the reverse, in your own case and that of others. And you will therefore realize the possibility of this being accomplished by the use of the Will, by means of the Hermetic formulas. "Good and Evil" are but the poles of the same thing, and the Hermetist understands the art of transmuting Evil into Good, by means of an application of the Principle of Polarity. In short, the "Art of Polarization" becomes a phase of "Mental Alchemy" known and practiced by the ancient and modern Hermetic Masters. An understanding of the Principle will enable one to change his own Polarity, as well as that of others, if he will devote the time and study necessary to master the art.

5. 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."

This Principle embodies the truth that in everything there is manifested a measured motion, to and fro; a flow an inflow; a swing backward and foreward; a pendulum-like movement; a tide-like ebb and flow; between the two poles which exist in accordance with the Principle of Polarity described a moment ago. There is always an action and a reaction; an advance and a retreat; a rising and a sinking. This is in the affairs of the Universe, suns, worlds, men, animals, mind, energy, and matter. This law is manifest in the creation and destruction of worlds; in the rise and fall of nations; in the life of all things; and finally in the mental states of Man (and it is with this latter that the Hermetists find the understanding of the Principle most important). The Hermetists have grasped this Principle, finding its universal application, and have also discovered certain means to overcome its effects in themselves by the use of the appropriate formulas and methods. They apply the Mental Law of Neutralization. They cannot annul the Principle, or cause it to cease its operation, but they have learned how to escape its effects on themselves to a certain degree depending upon the Mastery of the Principle. They have learned how to USE it, instead of being USED BY it. In this and similar methods, consist the Art of the Hermetists. The Master of Hermetics polarizes himself at the point at which he desires to rest, and then neutralizes the Rhythmic swing of the pendulum which would tend to carry him to the other pole. All individuals who have attained any degree of Self-Mastery do this to a certain degree, more or less unconsciously, but 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. This Principle and that of Polarity have been closely studied by the Hermetists, and the methods of counteracting, neutralizing, and USING them form an important part of Hermetic Mental Alchemy.

6. The Principle Of Cause And Effect
"Every cause has its Effect; every Effect has its Cause; everything happens according to this Law; Chance is but a name for Law not recognized; there are many planes of causation, but nothing escapes the Law."

This Principle embodies the fact that there is a Cause for every Effect; an Effect for every Cause. It explains that: "Everything Happens according to Law"; that nothing ever "merely happens"; that there is no such thing as Chance; that while there are various planes of Cause and Effect, the higher dominating the lower planes, still nothing ever entirely escapes the Law. The Hermetists understand the art and method of rising above the ordinary plane of Cause and Effect, to a certain degree, and by mentally rising to a higher plane they become Causers 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. They help to PLAY THE GAME OF LIFE, instead of being played and moved about by other wills and environment. They USE the Principle instead of being its tools. The Masters obey the Causation of the higher planes, but they help to RULE on their own plane.
In this statement there is condensed a wealth of Hermetic knowledge -- let him read who can.

7. The Principle Of Gender
"Gender is in everything; everything has its Masculine and Feminine Principles; Gender manifests on all planes. "

This Principle embodies the truth that there is Gender manifested in everything -- the Masculine and Feminine Principles ever at work. This is true not only of the Physical Plane, but of the Mental and even the Spiritual Planes. On the Physical Plane, the Principle manifests as SEX, on the higher planes it takes higher forms, but the Principle is ever the same. No creation, physical, mental or spiritual, is possible without this Principle. An understanding of its laws will throw light on many a subject that has perplexed the minds of men. The Principle of Gender works ever in the direction of generation, regeneration, and creation. Everything, and every person, contains the two Elements or Principles, or this great Principle, within it, him or her. Every Male thing has the Female Element also; every Female contains also the Male Principle. If you would understand the philosophy of Mental and Spiritual Creation, Generation, and Re-generation, you must understand and study this Hermetic Principle. It contains the solution of many mysteries of Life. We caution you that this Principle has no reference to the many base, pernicious and degrading lustful theories, teachings and practices, which are taught under fanciful titles, and which are a prostitution of the great natural principle of Gender. Such base revivals of the ancient infamous forms of Phallicism tend to ruin mind, body and soul, and the Hermetic Philosophy has ever sounded the warning note against these degraded teachings which tend toward lust, licentiousness, and perversion of Nature's principles. If you seek such teachings, you must go elsewhere for them - Hermeticism contains nothing for you along these lines. To the pure, all things are pure; to the base, all things are base.

These Principles have existed since the Age of Taurus, when they were taught to the Egyptian Mystery schools by Hermes Trismegistus.
Since that time they have become the basis for most studies of metaphysics, Modern Physics, Quantum Mechanics and other New Age teachings.
Thus are we guided by the Wisdom of the Ages

The Basics of Magick

The Magus' Pyramid is a set of four principles that are very important to successful magic: To Know, To Will, To Dare, and To Keep Silent.

To Know

Basically this has to do with the gaining of knowledge, whether it be from books, teachers, or from experience.
This also includes anything having to do with organizing said knowledge: remembering, analyzing, dissecting, logical reasoning, imagining, linking, and many more.
This is shown in many kinds of knowledge needed to do The Ritual: from remembering the words to The Actual Invocations,
to knowing when to cast the circle, to knowing what incense to use,
to remembering how it feels when one grounds correctly.
In witchcraft knowledge is power. No knowledge is ever wasted, and you may find that your fifth grade Creative Writing class taught you things useable for creating invocations,
or that your Aunt Edna's gardening tips are helping you with your herb growing, or your Tai Chi class helped get the idea of centering across.
Do research on the kind of spell you're trying to do. For example, if you like to use candles in magic, read about what other people have done with candle magic.
What steps do they go through? You don't have to make your spell exactly like someone else's, but if you notice everyone else dressing
their candles with oil while concentrating on their purpose (for example), it may be something that you want to try as well.
Also learn about the magical correspondences for your tradition and use them in your spells.
For example, if you were doing a love spell and you were a fan of the Norse pantheon, you might want to emphasize certain runes, invoke the goddess Freya,
and do the spell on Friday (Freya's Day). There are also correspondences in most traditions for colors, plants, animals, times of day, seasons, and phases of the Moon, among other things.
The more of these you can incorporate into your work, the more focused your energy will become.
Go over the spell in your mind a few times before you actually do it. Know what step comes next. If possible, memorize your lines.

To Will

Now that the spell is focused, YOU must be focused as well. If you throw a spell together at the last minute and do it halfheartedly while watching The X-Files,
no matter how skilled you are, you will get less "bang" from your magic than you would have if you prepared well and really concentrated on what you were doing.
A regular practice of meditation will teach you to focus your mind, which will in turn fuel your magic much more effectively.
You must have confidence in your spell for it to work.
You must believe that you have done real magic and that real magic works.
Your spell feeds off of your thoughts and energy, and if you don't feed it well, it will die.
Always ~ Remember Your Karma
This can be split into two categories: the mundane and the Magickal.
The mundane is where One tries to keep their life in good order, and to follow through on promises and commitments.
The magickal version refers to the Will to see a spell or ritual to its completion, keeping the intent clear without letting oneself get distracted.
Concentration, Discipline and Drive are definitely a part of this, as well as Enthusiasm for doing ritual in the first place.
Placing one's will in tandem with Divine Will is also included.
"Keep you thoughts and deeds in good order" and "Breathe and Eat correctly" belong here
(though really just the act of living up to all the Goals could be listed under "To Will")

To Dare

It's not only your conscious mind that has to believe in the spell, either.
Any ambiguous thoughts you have lurking about will compromise your magic.
On the top of a sheet of paper, write what the spell is basically for: "A Job." for example.
Write down every thought that comes into your head about "A Job." When you run out of ideas, read over your list.
How many negatives are in it? These are thoughts that will interfere with your spell unless they are dealt with.
For example, if I do a spell for "A Job." and I discover that deep down I hate most jobs and would rather not have one,
for my spell to work I either have to change my goal or deal with my attitude problem.
The other part of daring is infusing your spell with some emotion. Emotion is energy. "Gosh, I wish he would leave me alone" will not give much punch to a hex.
(I don't recommend hexes anyway, but this is an example of using emotion for energy.) "LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE!!!" will do better.
Feel something as you're doing the spell. Give a flying fig how it turns out. If you don't care, why should the Gods?
(And for that matter, if you don't care, why are you doing the spell in the first place)
"To Dare" encompasses the acts of facing fears, especially with regards to doing magick.
Dare to experiment with what one has learned to gain more experience, like trying out that new astral travel technique or trance working.
Dare to meet the Gods and interact with them. Dare to deal with inner darkness.
This is not to say that one must never feel fear. Fear must be felt and examined before it can be dealt with.
The more one tries to hide one's fear from one's self, the more power that fear will have over one's self.
Facing the Shadow within can be more traumatic than facing the most awe-inspiring Deity.
However, Starhawk mentions in her book The Spiral Dance, "Where there's fear, there's power."
One's greatest fear can mask one's greatest strength.
It must be stated that any emotion or personal attribute brought into a magickal circle will be increased and strengthened.
This explains the admonition at the gateway "Better to fall upon this knife/Than enter here in fear, or strife". Give strength to your courage.

To Keep Silent

Now that you've done your spell, shut up about it.
There are two reasons for this. One is that ANY Energy you spend dwelling on it is Energy that is not going into the spell itself.
It's more efficient to just think about something else and let your spell do its work.
The other reason is that if you talk about your spell to someone who does not believe in magick or who does not want your spell to work for some reason,
that person can undermine your confidence, which will weaken or even destroy the spell.

To Summarize

To Know,
To Dare,
To Will,
To keep Silent;
These are the four words of The Magus.
For in order to Dare, We must Know
But in order to Will, We must Dare.
We MUST have The Will to possess.
For once Knowledge is Possessed, Silence Reigns.

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