Updated: May 22, 2021
The Seven Hermetic Principles are from the teachings of the mysterious initiate Hermes Trismegistus, often associated with the god Mercury. The Kybalion, first published in 1908 by William Walker Atkinson under the pseudonym “Three Initiates” is an exposition of these hermetic principles. In studying the cosmic principles and laws we can understand what invisible forces govern our lives, and more wisely navigate our work in the Gnostic esoteric process. Just as there are physical laws that govern the material world there are energetic and spiritual laws. The highest law in creation is the law of Love. That which is beyond all creation and even greater than love is the Agnostos Theos, the unknowable divinity beyond all words and concepts. “The possession of Knowledge, unless accompanied by a manifestation and expression in Action, is like the hoarding of precious metals- a vain and foolish thing. Knowledge, like Wealth, is intended for Use. The Law of Use is Universal, and he who violates it suffers by reason of his conflict with natural forces. The truly wise, knowing the nature of the Universe, use Law against laws; the higher against the lower; and by the Art of Alchemy transmute that which is undesirable into that which is worthy, and thus triumph. Mastery consists not in abnormal dreams, visions and fantastic imaginings or living, but in using the higher forces against the lower — escaping the pains of the lower planes by vibrating on the higher. Transmutation, not presumptuous denial, is the weapon of the Master.” -The Kybalion
The Principle of Mentalism
“The entire universe exists in the cosmic mind. The mental sphere of each person extends throughout the entire cosmos and reaches the furthest stars; this is the cause whereby we see, hear and feel all that is created; this is the reason we can see the most remote stars.Our thoughts are not locked up in our cranium, our mind extends throughout the entire cosmos, our mind penetrates everywhere: worlds, suns, people and things; everything is within the mind of each man.” –Samael Aun Weor
The Principle of Correspondence
“As Above so Below; as Below, so Above. This centuries old Hermetic axiom embodies one of the great Principles of Universal Phenomena. As we proceed with our consideration of the remaining Principles, we will see even more clearly the truth of the universal nature of this great Principle of Correspondence.” -The Kybalion
The Principle of Vibration
“The planets revolve around suns, and many of them turn on their axes. The suns move around greater central points, and these are believed to move around still greater, and so on, ad infinitum. The molecules of which the particular kinds of Matter are composed are in a state of constant vibration and movement around each other and against each other. The molecules are composed of Atoms, which, likewise, are in a state of constant movement and vibration. The atoms are composed The Seven Hermetic Principles Gnostic Muse http://www.gnosticmuse.com of Corpuscles, sometimes called “electrons,” “ions,” etc., which also are in a state of rapid motion, revolving around each other, and which manifest a very rapid state and mode of vibration. And, so we see that all forms of Matter manifest Vibration, in accordance with the Hermetic Principle of Vibration.” -The Kybalion Vibration is sound and movement, and everything in the universe is in constant movement, and therefore making sound and vibration. When we change our psychological (universal mind) vibration through spiritual disciplines such as meditation, mindfulness, mantralization etc. we can change our vibration, and therefore our reality.
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 Kybalion Everything has two sides, everything has an opposite. Yin and Yang is an ancient Taoist teaching to explain duality in the universe. When we wisely understand that everything has an opposite, that there is always lightness and darkness, we begin to grasp the Tao, the central principle beyond duality.
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.” -The Kybalion There is rhythm and cycles in everything in nature: the tides, the seasons, birth, growth and death, the repetition of everything means that if we wait long enough without changing, the same things will come to repeat themselves. The pendulum of life, of our emotions, thoughts, circumstances, will continue to swing until we begin to observe ourselves honestly and make efforts to change internally.
The Principle of Cause and Effect
“The majority of people are carried along like the falling stone, obedient to environment, outside influences and internal moods, desires, etc., not to speak of the desires and wills of others stronger than themselves, heredity, environment, and suggestion, carrying them along without resistence on their part, or the exercise of the Will. Moved like the pawns on the checkerboard of life, they play their parts and are laid aside after the game is over. But the Masters, knowing the rules of the game, rise above the plane of material life, and placing themselves in touch with the higher powers of their nature, dominate their own moods, characters, qualities, and polarity, as well as the environment surrounding them and thus become Movers in the game, instead of Pawns — Causes instead of Effects. The Masters do not escape the Causation of the higher planes, but fall in with the higher laws, and The Seven Hermetic Principles Gnostic Muse http://www.gnosticmuse.com thus master circumstances on the lower plane. They thus form a conscious part of the Law, instead of being mere blind instruments. While they Serve on the Higher Planes, they Rule on the Material Plane.” -The Kybalion
The Principle of Gender
“The word “Gender” is derived from the Latin root meaning “to beget; to pro-create; to generate; to create; to produce.” A moment’s consideration will show you that the word has a much broader and more general meaning than the term “Sex,” the latter referring to the physical distinctions between male and female living things. Sex is merely a manifestation of Gender on a certain plane of the Great Physical Plane — the plane of organic life. [ ] The office of Gender is solely that of creating, producing, generating, etc., and its manifestations are visible on every plane of phenomena. It is somewhat difficult to produce proofs of this along scientific lines, for the reason that science has not as yet recognized this Principle as of universal application. But still some proofs are forthcoming from scientific sources. In the first place, we find a distinct manifestation of the Principle of Gender among the corpuscles, ions, or electrons, which constitute the basis of Matter as science now knows the latter, and which by forming certain combinations form the Atom, which until lately was regarded as final and indivisible.” -The Kybalion