The 7 Hermetic Principles - Universal Laws

hermes trismegistus and 7 hermetic principles in hermeticism

"The Principles of Truth are Seven; he who knows these, understandingly, possesses the Magic Key before whose touch all the Doors of the Templefly open".--THE KYBALION"

The Seven Hermetic Principles, upon which the entire Hermetic Philosophy is based, are as follows:








These Seven Principles will be discussed and explained as we proceedwith these lessons. A short explanation of each, however, may as well begiven at this point


"THE ALL IS MIND; The Universe is Mental."--The Kybalion.

This Principle embodies the truth that "All is Mind." It explains that THE ALL (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 ALL, 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 ALL, in which Mind we "live and move and have our being." This Principle, by establishing the Mental Nature of the Universe, easly explains all of 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 ofthe old Hermetic Masters wrote, long ages ago: "He who grasps the truth ofthe 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.

The Principle of Mentalism is reflected in the Biblical quotation, "In the beginning was the Word." Ultimately all external reality is based on idea or concept. In the context of quantum physics, Mentalism means the physical world can be reduced to patterns of potential connections among potential concentrations of matter/energy that might or might not come into form, depending upon the introduction of consciousness. Twentieth-century physicists and consciousness researchers are thus on the edge of unraveling the implications of Mentalism that Hermetic initiates have known all along. Now anyone can grasp it's meaning: the basic force in the universe is mental.


"As above, so below; as below, so above."--The Kybalion.

This Principle embodies the truth that there is always a Correspondencebetween the laws and phenomena of the various planes of Being and Life. Theold Hermetic axiom ran in these words: "As above, so below; as below, soabove." and the grasping of this Principle gives one the means of solvingmany a dark paradox, and hidden secret of Nature. There are planes beyondour knowing, but when we apply the Principle of Correspondence to them weare able to understand much that would otherwise be unknowable to us. ThisPrinciple is of universal application and manifestation, on the various planesof the material, mental, and spiritual universe--it is an Universal Law.

The ancient Hermetists considered this Principle as one of the most importantmental instruments by which man was able to pry aside the obstacles whichhid from view the Unknown. Its use even tore aside the Veil of Isis to theextent that a glimpse of the face of the goddess might be caught. Just asa knowledge of the Principles of Geometry enables man to measure distantsuns and their movements, while seated in his observatory, so a knowledgeof the Principle of Correspondence enables Man to reason intelligently fromthe Known to the Unknown. Studying the monad, he understands the archangel.

The Principle of Correspondence, "as above, so below," means that one can infer the nature of distant realms from local experience. The dynamics of cells are parallel to the dynamics of galaxies. Just as a small laboratory or computer program can simulate the bahavior of stars billions of light years away, the consciousness of an individual being can confer with the Ultimate Consciousness that existed when there was only the word. This principle ensures, for example, that humans need not dread exposure to the idea of, say, extraterrestrials; they are derived from the same universal consciousness.


"Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates." --The Kybalion.

This 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 HermeticPrinciple was enunciated thousands of years ago, by the Masters of AncientEgypt. This Principle explains that the differences between different manifestationsof Matter, Energy, Mind, and even Spirit, result largely from varying ratesof Vibration.

From THE ALL, which is Pure Spirit, down to the grossest formof Matter, all is in vibration--the higher the vibration, the higher theposition in the scale. The vibration of Spirit is at such an infinite rateof intensity and rapidity that it is practically at rest-just as a rapidlymoving wheel seems to be motionless. And at the other end of the scale, thereare gross forms of matter whose vibrations are so low as to seem at rest.Between these poles, there are millions upon millions of varying degreesof vibration. From corpuscle and electron, atom and molecule, to worlds anduniverses, everything is in vibratory motion.

This is also true on the planesof energy and force (which are but varying degrees of vibration); and alsoon the mental planes (whose states depend upon vibrations); and even on tothe spiritual planes. An understanding of this Principle, with the appropriateformulas, enables Hermetic students to control their own mental vibrationsas well as those of others. The Masters also apply this Principle to theconquering of Natural phenomena, in various ways. "He who understands thePrinciple of Vibration, has grasped the sceptre of power," says one of theold writers.

The Principle of Vibration, which asserts that everything is in continual motion, is now a basic tenet of science. Subatomic particles are continually moving in relation to each other in every concentration of energy and mass in the universe.. The patterns of vibration occur in all manifestations- from dense stone, to gaseous molecules, to the thoughts and emotions of human beings. We have intuitively grasped the validity of this principle: we get "good vibes" about this or that. When we are on different frequencies with someone, we can wind down or increase the tension, thereby moving a situation to a congruent level of vibration.


"Everything is Dual; everything has poles; everything has its pair ofopposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature,but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; allparadoxes may be reconciled."--The Kybalion.

This Principle embodies the truth that "everything is dual"; "everythinghas two poles"; "everything has its pair of opposites," all of which wereold Hermetic axioms. It explains the old paradoxes, that have perplexed somany, which have been stated as follows: "Thesis and antithesis are identicalin nature, but different in degree"; "opposites are the same, differing onlyin 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," etc., etc.,etc.

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 merelyof degrees of the same thing. Look at your thermometer and see if you candiscover where "heat" terminates and "cold" beginsl There is no such thingas "absolute heat" or "absolute cold"--the two terms "heat" and "cold" simplyindicate varying degrees of the same thing, and that 'same thing" which manifestsas "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"--andthe phenomena attendant thereupon are manifestations of the Principle ofPolarity.

The same Principle manifests in the case of "Light and Darkness,"which are the same thing, the difference consisting of varying degrees betweenthe two poles of the phenomena. Where does "darkness" leave off, and "light"begin? What is the difference between "Large and Small"? Between "Hard andSoft"? Between "Black and White"? Between "Sharp and Dull"? Between "Noiseand Quiet"? Between "High and Low"? Between "Positive and Negative"? ThePrinciple of Polarity explains these paradoxes, and no other Principle cansupersede it. The same Principle operates on the Mental Plane. Let us takea radical and extreme example-that of "Love and Hate," two mental statesapparently totally different. And yet there are degrees of Hate and degreesof 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 lossto know whether we "like" or "dislike" or "neither." And all are simply degreesof the same thing, as you will see if you will but think a moment. And, morethan this (and considered of more importance by the Hermetists), it is possibleto change the vibrations of Hate to the vibrations of Love, in one's ownmind, and in the minds of others. Many of you, who read these lines, havehad personal experiences of the involuntary rapid transition from Love toHate, and the reverse, in your own case and that of others. And you willtherefore realize the possibility of this being accomplished by the use ofthe 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 transmutingEvil into Good, by means of an application of the Principle of Polarity.In short, the "Art of Polarization becomes a phase of "Mental Alchemy" knownand practiced by the ancient and modern Hermetic Masters. An understandingof the Principle will enable one to change his own Polarity, as well as thatof others, if he will devote the time and study necessary to master the art.

The Principle of Polarity embodies the truth that two seeming opposites are in truth compliments that differ only in degree- the obverse and reverse sides of the same coin. This principle applies in all realms. Photon particles are inextricably linked in pairs, with each as either the positive or negative aspect of the other. Hot and cold are but different aspects of the same temperature gradient. Any characteristic in nature or cosmic experience has it's own gradient-large and small, high and low, black and white, sharp and dull, male or female. Where does each pole end and the other begin? What about the shades of good and evil? The crucial point here is that all such polarities are only different vibrations on the same continuum. One can be transmuted into the other employing the Principle of Polarity.


"Everything flows, out and in; everything has its tides; all things riseand fall; the pendulum-swing manifests in everything; the measure of theswing to the right is the measure of the swing to the left; rhythm compensates."--The Kybalion

This Principle embodies the truth that in everything there is manifesteda measured motion, to and fro; a flow and inflow; a swing backward and forward;a pendulum-like movement; a tide-like ebb and flow; a high-tide and low-tide;between the two poles which exist in accordance with the Principle of Polaritydescribed a moment ago. There is always an action and a reaction; an advanceand 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 manifestin 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 itis with this latter that the Hermetists find the understanding of the Principlemost important). The Hermetists have grasped this Principle, finding itsuniversal application, and have also discovered certain means to overcomeits 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 itseffects upon themselves to a certain degree depending upon the Mastery ofthe Principle.

They have learned how to USE it, instead of being USED BYit. In this and similar methods, consist the Art of the Hermetists. The Masterof Hermetics polarizes himself at the point at which he desires to rest,and then neutralizes the Rhythmic swing of the pendulum which would tendto carry him to the other pole. All individuals who have attained any degreeof 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 attainsa degree of Poise and Mental Firmness almost impossible of belief on thepart of the masses who are swung backward and forward like a pendulum. ThisPrinciple and that of Polarity have been closely studied by the Hermetists,and the methods of counteracting, neutralizing, and USING them form an importantpart of the Hermetic Mental Alchemy

The principle of Ryhthm means that everything manifests itself in a pattern of to and fro, up and down, in and out. The movement in one direction is always compensated for by a return. For every action, there is a reaction and for every advance there is a retreat.. The principle applies in all the affairs of the cosmos-stars, beings, mind, energy, and matter. It works in the interactions within a plane, and in communications between dimensions. Over time, the rythmns result in spiraling shapes that characterize much of the universe.

Understanding of the dynamics of this principle makes it possible to mitigate some of its more extreme effects. We can recognize that fatigue, followed by rest, leads to renewed energy. Anger gives way to remorse and pain succumbs to release. By being aware of the rhythmns, one is less likely to resist their flow, thereby reducing the buildup of extremes.


"Every Cause has its Effect; every Effect has its Cause; everything happensaccording to Law; Chance is but a name for Law not recognized; there aremany planes of causation, but nothing escapes the Law."--The Kybalion

This Principle embodies the fact that there is a Cause for every Effect;an Effect from every Cause. It explains that: "Everything Happens accordingto Law"; that nothing ever "merely happens"; that there is no such thingas Chance; that while there are various planes of Cause and Effect, the higherdominating- the lower planes, still nothing ever entirely escapes the Law.The Hermetists understand the art and methods of rising above the ordinaryplane of Cause and Effect, to a certain degree, and by mentally rising toa higher plane they become Causers instead of Effects.

The masses of peopleare carried along, obedient to environment; the wills and desires of othersstronger than themselves; heredity; suggestion; and other outward causesmoving them about like pawns on the Chessboard of Life. But the Masters,rising to the plane above, dominate their moods, characters, qualities, andpowers, as well as the environment surrounding them, and become Movers insteadof pawns. They help to PLAY THE GAME OF LIFE, instead of being played andmoved about by other wills and environment. They USE the Principle insteadof 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 condenseda wealth of Hermetic knowledge-let him read who can.

The Principle of Cause and Effect is more commonly known by its ordinary meaning: "x" acts on "y" and causes "z". From the Hermetic perspective, to say each effect has many causes is more accurate. This multilevel reality is epitomized by Carl Jung's use of the word "synchronicity" to describe events that, though outwatdly appearing to occur by chance, are actually the inner workings of one or more "cosmic laws". Indeed, all events are at some level the workings of cosmic law. What we attribute by "chance" is usually an event whose governing law is not evident. True chance or randomness probably occurs only at the level of quantum gaps, where there is a true break between past and future.

The Hindu concept of karma is an illustration of the principle of Cause and Effect, as is the Christian admonition,"as you sow, so shall you reap." Human societies are only now learning the dramatic effect of this principle in ecological systems. now humankind must become more aware of cosmic law in the realm of consciousness, in it's role as Conscious C0-Creators of the Universe.


"Gender is in everything; everything has its Masculine and Feminine Principles; Gender manifests on all planes."--The Kybalion.

This Principle embodies the truth that there is GENDER manifestedin everything--the Masculine and Feminine Principles ever at work. This istrue not only of the Physical Plane, but of the Mental and even the SpiritualPlanes. On the Physical Plane, the Principle manifests as SEX, on the higherplanes it takes higher forms, but the Principle is ever the same.

No creation,physical, mental or spiritual, is possible without this Principle. An understandingof its laws will throw light on many a subject that has perplexed the mindsof 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 MalePrinciple. If you would understand the philosophy of Mental and SpiritualCreation, Generation, and Re-generation, you must understand and study thisHermetic Principle. It contains the solution of many mysteries of Life.

We caution you that this Principle has no reference to the many base, perniciousand degrading lustful theories, teachings and practices, which are taughtunder fanciful titles, and which are a prostitution of the great naturalprinciple of Gender. Such base revivals of the ancient infamous forms ofPhallicism tend to ruin mind, body and soul, and the Hermetic Philosophyhas ever sounded the warning note against these degraded teachings whichtend toward lust, licentiousness, and perversion of Nature's principles.If you seek such teachings, you must go elsewhere for them--Hermeticism containsnothing for you along these lines. To the pure, all things are pure; to thebase, all things are base.

The Principle of Gender, the last Hermetic Principle, has remained the most obscure because we tend to equate gender with primary physical sex characteristics. However, every being and every plane in the cosmos contain the dual elements of Yin and yang, feminine and masculine. The term "gender" recognizes the complimentariness within all self contained units of the universe. Even in apparent single-sexed entities, one aspect is the receptive nurturer, while another is the expressing creator. The principle of gender itself obeys the Principles of Polarity and Rhythm, in one circumstance manifesting the masculine aspect and in another the feminine. Neither is ever totally absent: in space-time balance is assured. Fully aware cosmic beings seek harmony in living their dual nature (Gender), honoring the ebb and flow (Rhythm) called for by the organic developements in self, society, solar system, and cosmos.

Excerpt from "The Kybalion - by Three Initiates"

Six Principles of Spirituality

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