“The lips of wisdom are closed, except to the ears of Understanding.”
Have you ever stopped to marvel at the jaw-dropping knowledge and wisdom of the ancients? Even today, historians have a hard time explaining the architectural precision of the Pyramids at Giza, or the Greeks impressive knowledge of mathematics and astronomy. How can it be that the ancients knew so much with such limited technology? The answers to these questions may lie within the ancient philosophical tradition of their times, Hermeticism.
Hermeticism is what happens when arguably the two greatest cultures of the ancient world, ancient Egypt and Hellenistic Greece, clash together. The resulting product is a school of thought that seeks to explain scientific, psychological, and otherworldly phenomena all at once. What makes Hermeticism especially unique is its flexibility, there are no set “rules” to be a hermeticist as Hermeticism recognizes the value of individual experience.
Hermeticism gets it’s name from the God Hermes Trismegistus, (Greek for “Thrice-Greatest Hermes) who is a Greco-Egyptian version of Egypt’s God of writing and wisdom, Thoth, of whom you may have heard of. Hermes Trismegistus was renowned as the world’s chief authority on all things mystical and sacred, and would only pass down his teachings to some very few adepts, who have kept the flame of Hermeticism burning alive to this day.
If you would like to know more in-depth about the fascinating history of Hermeticism, click here.
As with any time-tested philosophical tradition, there are a set of principles to which every insight that Hermeticism has to offer abides by. Hermeticism has 7 core principles, as outlined in this nifty little book, The Kybalion.
The Kybalion’s number one goal is to clearly enunciate Hermeticism’s 7 core beliefs as to pass on a “master key” to the aspiring seeker of esoteric knowledge.
#1. The Principle of Mentalism
“The ALL is MIND; The Universe is Mental.”
Reality as we know it is shaped by the way we think. We often don’t give our mental states enough credit to understand their influence over our perception of reality but, it is plainly obvious the significance of our attitudes. A pessimist, for example, would have very harsh feelings concerning the future of our species as war, corruption, pollution, and many other big problems are so glaringly present in the world at large. These negative emotions associated with the survival of our species would present themselves in a number of ways which may include a sense of hopelessness, futility, and apathy towards our fellow brothers and sisters.
Our thoughts affect our emotions which in turn, color our actions. By understanding the principle of mentalism, we can strive to create a more positive and loving reality for ourselves and the lives of others with whom we come into contact with.
#2. The Principle of Correspondence
“As above, so below; as below so above.”
All of the other principles operate on all different planes of existence. Realize that you aren’t special, and that everything that’s happening now is also happening on higher planes of existence that we can’t even dream of. We are not exempt from the natural laws that apply to even the most minute of subatomic particles, even if we can’t directly observe them.
The principle of correspondence not only promotes a philosophy of oneness with the universe at large, it serves as a practical tool of inquiry that allows us to attempt to uncover the mysteries of the unknown by studying the world we live and breath.
#3. The Principle of Vibration
“Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.”
You probably are already very much aware of this principle as modern science corroborates with the notion of vibratory energy being the “stuff” of the universe, rather than inert matter. What makes Hermetist’s take on the subject unique is that they apply this principle to our mind-states; our thoughts exist as a form of higher vibratory energy than our conventional states of energy.
When we treat our thoughts and states of being as forms of higher energy being transmitted to our brains, we understand the raw power our thoughts invoke. This gives us the choice to be free from the notion that we will never be able to control ourselves, letting go of the mind/body prisoner mentality that so many people today seem to furnish. The principle of vibration hands over the “sceptre of power” to control our thoughts rather than be controlled by them.
#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.”
Perhaps the most interesting and easily understandable of the 7 principles, the principle of polarity contends that all pairs of opposites, while seemingly totally extraneous and unrelated amongst one another, are actually one in the same. Fear and Courage for example, may at first glance seem like they have nothing to do with one another but, what happens when you’re only a little courageous or a tad fearful? Where does fear cut off and courage begin?
We’ve all had instances in life orchestrated by emotional shifts such as love into hate, courage into fear, it comes with being human. Understanding that opposites cannot exist without one another asserts the possibility of courage sprouting from fear, love from hate, as these pairs of emotions are one in the same, just at varying degrees. The Hermetist uses this law to consciously control their emotions, a priceless life skill requiring strict discipline.
#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.”
Yet again, another example of a principle that is backed up by science. We all have seen forms of rhythm in nature one way or another such as the ocean tide, the transition of day to night and night to day and much more. Hermeticism takes it a step further by applying this principle to our own mental states.
The roller coaster continues to serve as a popular analogy for the constant ups and downs of everyday living because it continues to reflect the truth. Thoughts and emotions fluctuate, Hermeticism gives us the insight to rise above the negative consequences of rhythm’s pendulous swing, by raising the frequency of our mind above our own material plane.
#6. 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.”
Realize that there is no such thing as mere chance, and that everything is the result of something else. Even when we don’t recognize a particular cause of a certain effect, we must be willing to acknowledge our own inability to detect it and not toss it off to “chance”. Not only is this humbling, the principle allows reality to be a purposeful existence dictated by universal law and not by some irrational 5th element.
By recognizing the principle of cause and effect, we can start to become causers ourselves, no longer at the whim of our volatile emotions and the influence of others tossing us back and forth like a ship lost at sea. We can learn to protect ourselves from the wills of others by refusing to be the effect of someone else’s cause. A rational perspective on life’s negative aspects strengthens the will, training us to grow accustomed to change instead being flung around by it.
#7. The Principle of Gender
“Gender is in everything; everything has its Masculine and Feminine Principles; Gender manifests on all planes.”
More than anything else, the principle of gender asserts that all phenomena regarding generation and re-generation comes forth from the two aspects of gender, male and female. This much is obvious on our plane of existence as the form of sex but, the principle also applies to higher forms of generation beyond our current understanding.
Grasping this principle allows for the wonder of creation to take hold, realizing that the father-mind of “God” and the mother-mind of Nature would not exist without the other. Realize that both genders are unique yet on equal footing, resulting in the balanced unity between us and our universe.
Mental mastery serves as a common trend throughout Hermeticism, linking these 7 principles together in a way that can be used personally and practically. The first key step is to realize the power of our thoughts over our reality.
“He who grasps the truth of the Mental Nature of the Universe is well advanced on The Path to Mastery.”
Click here to begin your journey on the path towards mental mastery.