The Kybalion: Chapters 7 and 8

The Kybalion
By The Three Initiates
The Yogi Publication Society Masonic Temple
Chicago, Illinois. 1912

We continue our reading of The Kybalion and explore the limitless nature of the ALL and its expression within The Universal Law of Correspondence. We have come to a basic understanding of the Mental nature of our world (s) and the resultant incomprehensibility of the more refined workings that move throughout. I have again taken a large number of quotes directly from the book in this discussion primarily for the repetitious imprint that will be made as we wade through material that is deep in its mysteries and will hopefully stimulate what lies embedded in the unconscious memory. At the end of this post you will find a few new resources relating to the material presented. I would recommend taking the time to take a look at these and I think you will be surprised at what is “hidden in plain sight”.

Chapters Seven and Eight

Chapter Seven: “The All” in All

“While All is in THE ALL, it is equally true that THE ALL is in ALL. To him who truly understands this truth hath come great knowledge.”

This chapter dives right into the deep waters of concept that see the Divine or the All held within everything that is part of its own state of being. The image that comes to mind is that of the ocean; each drop contained and of itself yet still part of the larger body that is contained within each singular drop.

Those who have ventured upon any spiritual path will recognize this exercise as one perhaps that they had engaged in at some point in their seeking:

“The Teacher instructs the student to form a Mental Image of something, a person, an idea, something having a mental form, the favorite example being that of the author or dramatist forming an idea of his characters; or a painter or sculptor forming an image of an ideal that he wishes to express by his art. In each case, the student will find that while the image has its existence, and being, solely within his own mind, yet he, the student, author, dramatist, painter, or sculptor, is, in a sense, immanent in; remaining within; or abiding within, the mental image also. In other words, the entire virtue, life, spirit, of reality in the mental image is derived from the “immanent mind” of the thinker. Consider this for a moment, until the idea is grasped.”

Long ago I was taught that within our being is contained the holographic image of every other spirit ad infinitum back to the source of light and life itself. This concept has helped me stay true to my course and find the thread of inherent lineage I have to everything that was, is and more importantly will be.

“And, in the degree that Man realizes the existence of the Indwelling Spirit immanent within his being, so will he rise in the spiritual scale of life. This is what spiritual development means–the recognition, realization, and manifestation of the Spirit within us. Try to remember this last definition–that of spiritual development. It contains the Truth of True Religion.”

We are reminded that the concepts we are presented with are those of infinite mind and well beyond the powers of finite (the mental state in which we inhabit) mind’s comprehension. I find this to be true of most systems of practice and beliefs that are spiritual in nature and are concerned with what is indefinable. The study of the Qabalistic Tree is a perfect example that I can give. This system, being one that can easily be applied to multiple paths of understanding; equally so in the mundane as in the Spiritual philosophies. Yet there is, in these corporeal forms we inhabit, no way to fully comprehend the magnitude of energy and gnosis that is held within this system as a whole. Yet, this does not deter us from trying to render the information understandable and usable to advance our own spiritual growth; perhaps with thought that one day All will be revealed in its true form.

My personal experience has been that the intent of seeking deeper understanding and the applied study and observation goes very far in revealing, often in a way that is not able to be articulated, mysteries and keys that would have gone otherwise unnoticed had the attempt not been made. This is the key principle of “faith” and the belief in the efficacy of a thing or concept simply because you “know” it to be true. So, faith that the effects from the efforts made will prove viable are, at times all that we have as a point of understanding why we continue to pursue the work of spiritual development.

“The Hermetic Teachings concerning the process of the Mental Creation of the Universe, are that at the beginning of the Creative Cycle, THE ALL, in its aspect of Being, projects its Will toward its aspect of “Becoming” and the process of creation begins. It is taught that the process consists of the lowering of Vibration until a very low degree of vibratory energy is reached, at which point the grossest possible form of Matter is manifested. This process is called the stage of Involution, in which THE ALL becomes “involved,” or “wrapped up,” in its creation. This process is believed by the Hermetists to have a Correspondence to the mental process of an artist, writer, or inventor, who becomes so wrapped up in his mental creation as to almost forget his own existence and who, for the time being, almost “lives in his creation,” If instead of “wrapped” we use the word “rapt,” perhaps we will give a better idea of what is meant.”

Continuing the thought of the Qabalistic process, what is described above can be likened to the emanation of the energy of the spheres in involutionary process from the Crown (or SOURCE) of Kether. I would recommend that you take a little side trip here and read through this basic information about the Qabalistic Tree of Life for a baseline of knowledge:

The Magickal Pen: Geburah’s Might – section on Qabalah Boot Camp-Just the Basics

This is the premise of vibration that as we ascend on the scale the vibration is lighter in frequency and the sound is higher pitched. As the vibration slows, the sonorous sound of low pitch reaches deeply into stimulating us at a physical level. Think of the parade and the resonance of vibration felt usually in the stomach as the drums pass. The high pitch of flute is barely noticeable other than that of an irritating buzz that floats on the air like the hum of a bumble bee. The lower the vibration the greater the opportunity for something concrete and visceral to be experienced. However, this is not the only component needed, the mental construct or idea to be acted upon must be fueled with focused intent.

I find this to be very interesting in the use of semantics to describe a process of creation. We, similarly use this word within our own space of Universe as we strive to still our minds, focus our intent and manifest the product of peace, calm, spiritual evolvement, etc.. In this way we are accessing our Divine birthright holding the idea of the ALL being part of all (us). We become the co-creators of our own process.

“The ancient Hermetists use the word “Meditation” in describing the process of the mental creation of the Universe in the Mind of THE ALL, the word “Contemplation” also being frequently employed. But the idea intended seems to be that of the employment of the Divine Attention. “Attention” is a word derived from the Latin root, meaning “to reach out; to stretch out,” and so the act of Attention is really a mental “reaching out; extension” of mental energy, so that the underlying idea is readily understood when we examine into the real meaning of “Attention.”

And so I will repeat my thoughts from Chapter Five regarding the paths of evolution:

As we move deeper into the streams of Being that comprise the Universe and the Laws that govern it, the need for surrender to the rough currents in rhythm and pace with the exerted effort of moving through the currents strongly and securely becomes the task of testing. Each is subsumed by the other; each moving in accord with the cyclical nature of our existence within that of the Universe. Each maintaining its own ground until the two seamlessly and effortlessly co-mingle into a singular and limitless state of being.

“ ..and You shall go on, and on, and on, to higher and still higher planes of life, for aeons upon aeons of time. The Universe is your home, and you shall explore its farthest recesses before the end of Time. You are dwelling in the Infinite Mind of THE ALL, and your possibilities and opportunities are infinite, both in time and space. And at the end of the Grand Cycle of Aeons, when THE ALL shall draw back into itself all of its creations–you will go gladly for you will then be able to know the Whole Truth of being At One with THE ALL. “

This is the goal of purpose. The evolution of the Spirit informed by the Soul’s lessons and the continual creation of a new state of being. Each, in turn being the necessary ingredient for the other to ascend the ladder of creative evolutionary process.

Chapter Eight: The Planes of Correspondence

“As above, so below; as below, so above.”

Moving into the next chapter we carry the thought of everything containing the All represented in the principle of correspondence…. “As above, so below” and the often added two lines of “As within, so without”.

“The great Second Hermetic Principle embodies the truth that there is a harmony, agreement, and correspondence between the several planes of Manifestation, Life and Being. This truth is a truth because all that is included in the Universe emanates from the same source, and the same laws, principles, and characteristics apply to each unit, or combination of units, of activity, as each manifests its own phenomena upon its own plane.”

Having arrived at the concept of immanence we are now ready to explore the uniqueness and nature of what is contained within each of the components that comprise what we consider to be the ALL and its Universe.

“For the purpose of convenience of thought and study, the Hermetic Philosophy considers that the Universe may be divided into three great classes of phenomena, known as the Three Great Planes, namely: 

1. The Great Physical Plane.
 2. The Great Mental Plane.
 3. The Great Spiritual Plane.”

Body, Mind and Spirit! These three are what are worked upon in spiritual practice to bring into a state of alignment and dialogue with one another. These Planes are described as degrees of Manifestation, which indeed if we consider the reference to body, mind and Spirit each is part of the individual, but the physical/etheric components of each differ greatly. Add to this the query of trying to accurately describe what the term “plane” means within the scope of our understanding, and we have plenty to contemplate. Let’s begin with the concept of a Plane. The Kybalion applies the Law of Vibration as rationale with the definition of a Plane is given thusly…

“It is a fact well known to modern science, as well as to the Hermetists who have embodied the truth in their “Third Hermetic Principle,” that “everything is in motion; everything vibrates; nothing is at rest.” From the highest manifestation, to the lowest, everything and all things Vibrate. Not only do they vibrate at different rates of motion, but as in different directions and in a different manner. The degrees of the rate of vibrations constitute the degrees of measurement on the Scale of Vibrations–in other words the degrees of the Fourth Dimension. And these degrees form what occultists call “Planes” The higher the degree of rate of vibration, the higher the plane, and the higher the manifestation of Life occupying that plane. So that while a plane is not “a place,” nor yet “a state or condition,” yet it possesses qualities common to both. We shall have more to say regarding the subject of the scale of Vibrations in our next lessons, in which we shall consider the Hermetic Principle of Vibration.”

If we think about this definition, more clarity is given to the reasoning behind employing specific types of spiritual work that presumably raising the vibrational scale within the individual as a means of evolving. These practices have predominately an energetic component as the vehicle through which matter (or an identifiable physical effect) is created. Kundalini Yoga is a prime example with purpose being to awaken the potent fire-like energy that sits at the base of the spinal column. This energetic elixir moves up the central column (etherically aligned with the physical spinal column) coiling around each of the subtle chakra centers, stimulating nerve, glands and subtle fields in a way that changes the vibratory rate of the practitioner. One of the goals being that of opening the Higher chakra centers thus making the practitioner a beacon of Light, self and Divine awareness and positively effective in mundane affairs and interactions.

Breath and mantra have long been used as means of transforming the individual’s vibratory rate. Specific breathing techniques (Breath of Fire) and a mantra such as “Om Mani Padme Hum” work to regulate and refine the physiologic and adapt it to a higher rate of vibration that is more Universal in its energy. Specific positions sustained in Yoga practice working cohesively with all of the “limbs” of Yogic practice stimulate certain physiologic centers that are directly related to activating the subtle Spiritual centers. In these ways we strive to elevate ourselves to a place of resonance with the Divine.

“The atom of matter, the unit of force, the mind of man, and the being of the arch -angel are all but degrees in one scale, and all fundamentally the same, the difference between solely a matter of degree, and rate of vibration–all are creations of THE ALL, and have their existence solely within the Infinite Mind of THE ALL.”

These Three (3) Great Planes- Physical-Mental and Spiritual- are further divided into seven (7) sub-planes. I find it easier to study and grasp the concepts when given a table:

 The Great Physical Plane

“The Great Physical Plane, and its Seven Minor Planes, is that division of the phenomena of the Universe which includes all that relates to physics, or material things, forces, and manifestations. It includes all forms of that which we call Matter, and all forms of that which we call Energy or Force.”
1 The Plane of Matter (A) Solids, liquids, gases
2 The Plane of Matter (B) Radiant matter
3 The Plane of Matter (C) The most subtle and tenuous forms of matter
4 The Plane of Ethereal Substance Ether- medium of transport for electricity, light, heat
5 The Plane of Energy (A) Energy as known to science including the sub-divisions of: Heat;Light;Energy;Electricty and Attraction
6 The Plane of Energy (B) Higher forms of energy often categorized as Natures Finer Forces- called into form by certain types of mental aspiration
7 The Plane of Energy (C) The highest form of energy – emanating from and used by sources of the Divine

 The Great Mental Plane

“The Great Mental Plane comprises those forms of “living things” known to us in ordinary life, as well as certain other forms not so well known except to the occultist.” The state of Being and mental phenomena that forms the entities of these worlds, some seen and others unseen. Each has 7-sub-divisions within its category.
1 The Plane of the Mineral Mind That which “animates” the mineral/crystal world
2 The Plane of the Elemental Mind (A) The vital and mental phenomena of the mineral and plant worlds
3 The Plane of the Plant Mind The states or conditions of the Plant world- the mental consciousness of this world
4 The Plane of the Elemental Mind (B) The higher form of Elemental energy using streams from both the plant and animal worlds
5 The Plane of the Animal Mind That which animates the animal living form
6 The Plane of the Elemental Mind (C) Entities that synthesize the natures of human and animal.The highest form is the semi-human.
7 The Plane of the Human Mind The mental process common to man in its varying and used degrees
*In the case of the Plane of the Human Mind, the 7- sub divisions are considered the races of man (not to be confused with ethnicity). These are the stages of collective human development, which at any given time there are those who have reached lesser levels of understanding and fewer who have surpassed and expanded consciousness and awareness beyond the scope of the ordinary man.

I believe these Planes speak to the rising concern with environmental issues. Each of these planes affects the other in accord with the degree of attention or neglect. The ancients knew of the cross over between the planes, in particular the Plane of the Plant (Devic) Mind and the survival of Humanity, The Plane of the Human Mind. Offerings of gratitude for the taking of a tree limb that would serve as shelter were part of the act of taking. As we have become more ”civilized” this stream of connection has been muddied and in some cases the boons of a collaborative effort have been shut off completely. Establishing our individual methods of re-connecting will go a long way in re calibrating what naturally strives to work in harmony (and discord- remember the polarities!); but until the collective consciousness and Mind set of the whole are in alignment the effects will be largely transparent.

“..the Elementary Planes bear the same relation to the Planes of Mineral, Plant, Animal and Human Mentality and Life, that the black keys on the piano do to the white keys. The white keys are sufficient to produce music, but there are certain scales, melodies, and harmonies, in which the black keys play their part, and in which their presence is necessary. They are also necessary as “connecting links” of soul-condition; entity states, etc., between the several other planes, certain forms of development being attained therein–this last fact giving to the reader who can “read between the lines” a new light upon the processes of Evolution, and a new key to the secret door of the “leaps of life” between kingdom and kingdom. The great kingdoms of Elementals are fully recognized by all occultists, and the esoteric writings are full of mention of them.”

The Great Spiritual Plane

“How can we explain these higher states of Being, Life and Mind, to minds as yet unable to grasp and understand the higher subdivisions of the Plane of Human Mind? The task is impossible. We can speak only in the most general terms. How may Light be described to a man born blind–how sugar, to a man who has never tasted anything sweet–how harmony, to one born deaf?All that we can say is that the Seven Minor Planes of the Great Spiritual Plane (each Minor Plane having its seven sub-divisions) comprise Beings possessing Life, Mind and Form as far above that of Man of to-day as the latter is above the earth-worm, mineral or even certain forms of Energy or Matter. The Life of these Beings so far transcends ours, that we cannot even think of the details of the same; their minds so far transcend ours, that to them we scarcely seem to “think,” and our mental processes seem almost akin to material processes; the Matter of which their forms are composed is of the highest Planes of Matter, nay, some are even said to be “clothed in Pure Energy.” What may be said of such Beings?”

In reading about The Great Spiritual Plane, we come back to the same realization offered earlier about the level of comprehension we have available as corporeal beings…..

“Only the most advanced Hermetists are able to grasp the Inner Teachings regarding the state of existence, and the powers manifested on the Spiritual Planes. The phenomena is so much higher than that of the Mental Planes that a confusion of ideas would surely result from an attempt to describe the same. Only those whose minds have been carefully trained along the lines of the Hermetic Philosophy for years–yes, those who have brought with them from other incarnations the knowledge acquired previously–can comprehend just what is meant by the Teaching regarding these Spiritual Planes.”

I believe much of the work that we do is guided by what we have laying at the periphery of our Subtle bodies that holds the memory of past life time’s experiences of the “Divine” and the training and philosophies that hold the greater keys to unlocking some of this deeper gnosis. The rationale for keeping this information secret is held within the definition given for the word “Spirit”…

“..the meaning of “Spirit” as used by the Hermetists is akin to “Living Power”; “Animated Force;” “Inner Essence;” “Essence of Life,” etc., which meaning must not be confounded with that usually and commonly employed in connection with the term, i.e., “religious; ecclesiastical; spiritual; ethereal; holy,” etc., etc.

This is the knowledge of Spiritual Power as exacted on The Great Spiritual Planes…”used in the sense of “The Animating Principle,” carrying with it the idea of Power, Living Energy, Mystic Force, etc.” And, given this power it may be used for selfish gains or selfless action.

” … a fact which has been recognized by the majority of religions in their conceptions of Satan, Beelzebub, the Devil, Lucifer, Fallen Angels, etc. And so the knowledge regarding these Planes has been kept in the Holy of Holies in all Esoteric Fraternities and Occult Orders,–in the Secret Chamber of the Temple. But this may be said here, that those who have attained high spiritual powers and have misused them, have a terrible fate in store for them, and the swing of the pendulum of Rhythm will inevitably swing them back to the furthest extreme of Material existence, from which point they must retrace their steps Spiritward, along the weary rounds of The Path, but always with the added torture of having always with them a lingering memory of the heights from which they fell owing to their evil actions. The legends of the Fallen Angels have a basis in actual facts, as all advanced occultists know. The striving for selfish power on the Spiritual Planes inevitably results in the selfish soul losing its spiritual balance and falling back as far as it had previously risen. But to even such a soul, the opportunity of a return is given–and such souls make the return journey, paying the terrible penalty according to the invariable Law.”

I have been taught that all of the Kingdoms (Animal, Mineral, Human and Spiritual) are in process of evolution in accord with their varying degrees of development specific to their structure of composition. The Gods and Goddesses are evolving just as the species of Animal Life is. The Elemental kingdom is evolving just as the Mineral and Humanity is evolving as those of the Spiritual Plane do so. All are subject to the Universal Laws and as such there will always be two steps forward that eventually propel you three steps back. In very simple terms, I believe this to be the cycle that continues the process of incrementally moving forward. This is also the state of evolving- learning from what didn’t go so well to improve the next efforts towards what will.

We have gotten into the thick of it and I’m sure much of this information is overwhelming. My advice would be to allow these concepts to settle in wherever they will. As we move through the next chapters, things will begin to resonate and bubble up from these seeds of thought planted. I have read and re-read this book multiple times and each iteration opens something new for me to chew on for some time…..

In conclusion we would again remind you that according to the Principle of Correspondence, which embodies the truth: “As Above so Below; as Below, so Above,” 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 of course applies to all the planes, for all are held in the Mind of THE ALL. The Principle of Correspondence manifests in all, for there is a correspondence, harmony and agreement between the several planes. The Principle of Vibration manifests on all planes, in fact the very differences that go to make the “planes” arise from Vibration, as we have explained. 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 always manifest, and operating along the lines of its Masculine and Feminine Aspects.”

Additional Reading:

                  About the Qabalah in the Western Hermetic Tradition:

                                    The Magickal Pen: Geburah’s Might – section on Qabalah Boot Camp-Just the Basics

WitchVox: Thirteen Keys to the Qabalistic Tree of Life


                  About the use of Mantra/Vibration and Sound:

                                    The Sacred Vessel: Sensing the Subtleties: Part 5- Hearing


Next Post:

Chapters 9: Vibration and Chapter 10: Polarity



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