The Kybalion By The Three Initiates The Yogi Publication Society Masonic Temple Chicago, Illinois. 1912 Introduction: I have many favorite books that I return to frequently to refresh the information in my mind. So, naturally when I thought about the first book to discuss on this blog, The Kybalion came in front and center. Specifically, The Hermetic Laws outlined in The Kybalion are ones that I use in all of my personal work and refer to often in my teaching. The success and usefulness of this small volume is found in the statement made as part of the introduction to the book:
“Our intent is not to erect a new Temple of Knowledge, but rather to place in the hands of the student a Master-Key with which he may open the many inner doors in the Temple of Mystery through the main portals he has already entered.”
This thought of a universal application for the material contained is further supported here:
“The student of Comparative Religions will be able to perceive the influence of the Hermetic Teachings in every religion worthy of the name, now known to man, whether it be a dead religion or one in full vigor in our own times. There is always certain correspondence in spite of the contradictory features, and the Hermetic Teachings act as the Great Reconciler.”
These principles or Universal Laws were presumed to be set forth by Hermes Trismegistus, scribe of the Gods and also known in his form as Deity by the name Toth. We are told that:
“(But) among these great Masters of Ancient Egypt there once dwelt one of whom Masters hailed as “The Master of Masters.” This man, if “man” indeed he was, dwelt in Egypt in the earliest days. He was known as Hermes Trismegistus. He was the father of the Occult Wisdom; the founder of Astrology; the discoverer of Alchemy. The details of his life story are lost to history, owing to the lapse of the years, though several of the ancient countries disputed with each other in their claims to the honor of having furnished his birthplace-and this thousands of years ago. The date of his sojourn in Egypt, in that his last incarnation on this planet, is not now known, but it has been fixed at the early days of the oldest dynasties of Egypt–long before the days of Moses. The best authorities regard him as a contemporary of Abraham, and some of the Jewish traditions go so far as to claim that Abraham acquired a portion of his mystic knowledge from Hermes himself.”
Although there may be discourse of disagreement about who and what culture is responsible for these precepts, regardless of their origin they have served as the basis for most of the occult and mystical teachings throughout the ages and their influence is still the foundation of many Western and Eastern Traditions to this day.
Chapters One and Two
Chapter One: The Hermetic Philosophy The Kybalion’s authorship is simply stated as The Three Initiates. Who these initiates were has been the subject of much speculation and the publication of the material in 1912 by the Yogi Publication Society Masonic Temple has posed even further queries. Nonetheless, these seven tools are at the core of Western Hermetics and form the Universal Laws governing all magickal and alchemical working. The Kybalion is subtitled a Study of the Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece, and is dedicated to Hermes Trimegistus and his teachings that were offered and upheld as staples in the training of initiates of hermetic studies.
“To Hermes Trismegistus Known by the Ancient Egyptians as “The Great Great” and “Master Of Masters” This little volume of hermetic teaching is reverently dedicated”
The time-honored concept that when the student is ready the teacher shall appear and the doors shall be opened is affirmed in Chapter One:
“Where fall the footsteps of the Master, the ears of those ready for his Teaching open wide” and “When the ears of the student are ready to hear, then cometh the lips to fill them with Wisdom.”
So, in that spirit and assuming all are ready to broaden their perspectives or deepen what is already known, I’d like to share these principles with you, offer my understanding of them and hopefully whet your appetite to read more of this fascinating and essential book. Chapter Two: The Seven Hermetic Principles
“ 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.”
My intent is to share with you the thoughts that presented (1.) as I meditated upon each of these principles and possibly serve to pique your own curiosity, fan the flame in your search for the truth and provide stepping stones towards your own deepening of Divine Understanding. They are outlined as below: 1. The Principle of Mentalism 2. The Principle of Correspondence 3. The Principle of Vibration 4. The Principle of Polarity 5. The Principle of Rhythm 6. The Principle of Cause and Effect 7. The Principle of Gender Each works collaboratively as well as independently of the other; something of the paradigm that is prevalent in much of esoteric study. As we move through subsequent chapters each of these concepts will be further elaborated upon, but for now a simple introduction to their basic nature will suffice.
The Principle of Mentalism
THE ALL is MIND; The Universe is Mental.
If we think in terms of consciousness and creation, the primal formless state of the Limitless All (or creator) is that of AM (existence). When observation and awareness is directed towards that AM, the I comes into being which stimulates the creation of something more than itself. This creative process begins with informed awareness, the mental aspect being the primary building block. Pure thought forms the concept which then can be acted upon by emotion and will. It is from this principle that the subsequent six principles emanate.
The Principle of Correspondence
As above, so below As below, so above
And in recent times the addition of “as within, so without” is the quintessential axiom that gives definition to the macrocosm and the microcosm being connected by similarities of dynamic and basic nature. It is this principle that inspires us to connect with our higher nature because of the reflection we see of it in the lower and physical realms. It is this principle that gives us pause to reflect on the impact we have at a larger scale based upon the inner workings of our own systems. To correspond is to affirm the “sameness” of a thing that will call to itself that of a similar nature.
The Principle of Vibration
Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.
This principle states that all of form is in a constant state of movement. Inertia is the non-movement form that remains vibration of a sort, nonetheless. Resonating with similar patterns of vibration attunes us to the subtleties held in each increment of dynamic. Vibration produces sound. Sound permeates our worlds. And it is the vibration of a sound that we respond to physically, energetically and etherically. Our breath and the subtlest of our movements disrupt the waves of vibration surrounding us as it sets into motion its own pattern of vibration.
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 Law of Polarity is the Universe filling what would be the void. It is the recognition of one state of being because of the acknowledgement of its polarized or opposite state of being. Each of these states is one in the same except for minute and un-observable differences that become more overt as the scale between each widens. Emptiness is the absence of fullness just as fullness is the absence of emptiness. They are both lacking in what the other has abundance of. Similar to the Principle of Correspondence, like attracts un-like that is simultaneously also alike as defined by the degree of its difference.
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.
I see this as the companion to vibration and to some degree a subset of the Principle of Correspondence. Rhythm provides the container or boundaries (or the lacking there of) and vibration provides the quantifier or needed disruption to produce the resultant cyclical rhythm. Expansion requires a state of contraction (as the necessary point of tension) to enable it to expand anew. Either state if held too long, would result in over compensation of the other, causing a new cycle of rhythm to be established. Stillness or inertness is simply an illusion; which relates back to the connection to the Principle of Vibration once again. The illusion is that of non-movement, which although it may appear unable to be measured is a lower and longer wave of motion or rhythm that may not be perceptible unless we are in resonance with its rate of vibration.
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.
For every action there is a reaction. This is a basic principle that we drill into our children so they will be responsible adults. There is no discrimination between good or bad, just simply response that becomes the cause that has an effect that becomes the cause of a new effect, ad infinitum. This is the principle that causes us to hesitate, pause and think before we react so that we can respond instead. This is the premise that we are not insignificant in the larger scale of the Universe, be(the)cause if we did not exist the overall result of what we consider to be the Universe would not be the same definition we have of it since we would not be part of it. This is the principle that keeps us up at night trying to problem solve the best resolution to the difficult choice we must make. Each action creates a different chain of reactions in response to what issued forth initially catalyzing the cause.
The Principle of Gender
Gender is in everything; everything has its Masculine and Feminine Principles; Gender manifests on all planes.
Gender and polarity are often points of confusion. Although gender is an aspect of polarity it is a dynamic point of differentiation in its own right. Gender spans more than the physical dissimilarities that separate a man from a woman. Its energetic principle is one of expansion and contraction moving in a rhythmic force of release and receipt. On the Qabalistic Tree of Life the Pillar that provides Form is the Feminine Gender. This is the gender of receipt, contraction and boundary. The Pillar that provides Force is that of the Masculine. This is the gender of release, expansion and expulsion of formlessness. Both working rhythmically are the necessary actions for the eventual manifestation in Malkuth, the physical world. It is the container of the feminine egg that receives the insemination of the masculine sperm; the two quickening into the first stirrings of human life. In Conclusion: We don’t have to look too far to find these principles running through every level of our existence. Recognizing them is just the first step. As we explore their deeper meanings, formulate our own definitions and begin to apply the dynamics of their energies, the magick and mysteries of our place in the mind of the All will begin to reveal itself affirming that we are co-creators in the Great Work. In the next post we will begin the process of looking with deeper scrutiny at the individual Laws and their inherent impact and interaction with one another.
Next Post: Chapters 3, Mental Transmutation and Chapter 4, The All
Reference: 1. Excerpted in part from the post: The Universal Laws of the Kybalion (The Magickal Pen)
If you would like to follow along, this text may be purchased at Amazon or is available free on line at: The Internet Sacred Text Archive
5.1.2014- A note from one of my friends that The Kybalion, as well as several other books can be downloaded from Itunes for those of you with IPads!