The Seven Hermetic Principles

The Seven Hermetic Principles

In Hermetism by Chris A. Parker

There are some universal laws that can be found across space and time. They illustrate to us how the Universe works. These are “The 7 hermetic principles”

If you don’t like this title you can change it to something you are familiar with. Something like, “ The 7 natural laws”, “The 7 universal laws”, “The laws of God”e.c.t. It is ok, they work under any title.

So, don’t stay at the title, just read them with an open mind – study them – and you will understand that they are the core laws that govern our universe.

Where do these laws come from?

In the early days there was a compilation of certain basic hermetic maxims, axioms, and precepts, which were passed from teacher to student, which is calledThe Kybalion‘. 

“The Kybalion”, originally published in 1908 by a person or persons under the pseudonym of “the Three Initiates”, is a book claiming to be the essence of the teachings of Hermes Trismegistus. (In Egypt he went under the name of Thoth)

“Trismegistus” means “thrice greatest”, and is derived from statements in the Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus, that he knows the three parts of the wisdom of the whole universe, the three parts being alchemy, astrology, and theurgy. Another opinion is that the epithet is derived from an epithet of Thoth found at the Temple of Esna, “Thoth the great, the great, the great.”

The book devotes a chapter to each of its seven “Principles”, or axioms. Let’s dive into these 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.”

The Kybalion
The Seven Hermetic Principles
Photo By Pxhere

1.The Principle of Mentalism

“THE ALL IS MIND; The Universe is Mental.”–The Kybalion.

The Principle of Mentalism embodies the idea that “All is Mind.” Everything that happens has to be a result of a mental state which precedes it. For anything to exist, thoughts had to form first, which then form physical reality or manifestation.

This Principle considered to be the “Master-Key”, and as one of the old Hermetic Masters wrote, long ages ago: “He who grasps the truth of the Mental Nature of the Universe is well advanced on The Path to Mastery.”

2.The Principle of Correspondence

The Seven Hermetic Principles
Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash

“As above, so below; as below, so above.”–The Kybalion.

This phrase is very common in Hermetic philosophy. The Principle of Correspondence expresses the idea that there is always a correspondence between the laws of phenomena of the various “planes” of being and life.

The ancient Hermetists considered this Principle as one of the most important mental instruments by which man was able to pry aside the obstacles which hid from view the Unknown.

Even more, the thoughts and images we hold in our mind will attract their physical likeness to us in our external circumstances. This law works unceasingly for the good or the bad. By understanding this law we can use it for our benefit instead of our detriment. (For more information Check our Article “The Law of Correspondence – As above, so Below”)

Check out our recommendations at “Hermetic Bookshelf” and many free resources at our Free Library

3. The Principle of Vibration

The Seven Hermetic Principles
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“Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.”–The

This expounds the idea that motion is manifest in everything in the Universe. Nothing rests, but everything moves and vibrates. This principle explains that the distinction between manifestations of Matter, Energy, Mind, and even Spirit, are the result of only different “vibrations”.

Modern science can endorse that every atom and molecule is vibrating at certain motion, speed, and frequency. The combination of this energy determines the physical or substantial form of any given object. Even something that seems to be still, is actually in a state of motion. Its electrons are still moving around and there is even space between them. Nothing is at rest.

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Mental Transmutation is described as the practical application of this principle. To change one’s mental state is to change vibration. One may do this by an effort of Will, by means of deliberately “fixing the attention” upon a more desirable state.

As we learn previously the Universe is mental and governed by the law of correspondence. So, changing your own mode of being influences the rest of the Universe as well. (For more information Check our Article “The Law of Vibration and How to Manipulate it”)

“He who understands the Principle of Vibration, has grasped the scepter of power,” says one of the old writers.

4. The Principle of Polarity

Natural Laws
Photo by Aney

“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.

The Principle of Polarity embodies the idea that everything is dual, everything has two poles, and everything has its opposite. All manifested things have two sides, two aspects, or two poles. 

Everything “is” and “isn’t” at the same time, all truths are but half-truths and every truth is half false, there are two sides to everything, opposites are identical in nature yet different in degree, extremes meet, and all paradoxes may be reconciled.

Polarity means that the extreme opposites are actually the different degrees of the same thing.

Take, for example, heat and cold. Though they are opposites they are really the same thing. It is merely a matter of degree.

This same principle can also be found on the mental plane.  Take, for example, love and hate. They are the same thing but different degrees. The difference between them gets determined by the law of vibration.

Some emotions vibrate on a higher level whereas others on a lower. This is the study of the alchemist. (For more information Check our Article “The Law of Polarity and How to Use it at your Advantage“)

Check out our recommendations at “Hermetic Bookshelf” and many free resources at our Free Library

5. The Principle of Rhythm

The Seven Hermetic Principles
Photo by Pxhere

“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

The Principle of Rhythm expresses the idea that in everything there is manifested a measured motion, a flow and inflow, a swing backward and forward, a pendulum-like movement.

There is rhythm between every pair of opposites, or poles, and is closely related to the Principle of Polarity. It can be seen that this Principle enables a transition from one pole to the other, and not necessarily poles of extreme opposites.

We see it in the tides of the oceans. We see it in our need for sleep after a day of work. We see it in the creation of a star and sun and its eventual collapse. After every success, there will eventually be some failures. For every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction.

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The Hermetist cannot annul or cause this principle to cease operation, however, they have learned to escape its effects upon themselves to a certain degree. The degree to which this is obtained depends upon one’s application of this law and upon one’s level of initiation at later stages.

Hermetists have learned how to use this law instead of being used by it. A Hermetist polarizes himself at the point at which he desires, in order to neutralize the rhythmic swing of the pendulum which would tend to carry him to the other pole. All these happen on mental and emotional levels.

The Master does this by the use of will and detachment to create a state of consciousness that is not swung backward or forward like a pendulum. The masses of humanity live on a mental and emotional roller coaster. The ideal is to attain a state of consciousness of divine indifference, evenmindedness, equanimity, inner peace, joy, unceasing happiness, and bliss.

6. The Principle of Cause and Effect

The Seven Hermetic Principles
Photo By Pxhere

“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.”–The Kybalion.

It explains that there is a cause for every effect and an effect for every cause. There are no accidents in the universe. There is no such thing as coincidence or chance – chance is just a term we use when we fail to recognize the exact causes behind of certain effect. Everything in the universe is governed by laws.

No one escapes anything, even though it may appear like some people are, in truth, they are not.

The Hermetists understand the art of rising above the ordinary plane of cause and effect, to a certain degree. They do this by rising to a high plane of consciousness and, hence, becoming masters instead of victims, and causes instead of effects.

The basic cause of your life are the thoughts and images you hold in your conscious and subconscious mind. Being the cause means that you are the master, instead of the victim (the law of polarity). Change your polarity, be the master and manipulate the effect. (For more information Check our Article:” The Law of Cause and Effect – Create the Life you Want to Live“)

7. The Principle of Gender

The Seven Hermetic Principles
By Nick Youngson – Alpha Stock Images

“Gender is in everything; everything has its Masculine
and Feminine Principles; Gender manifests on all
planes.”–The Kybalion.

Gender is manifested in everything. The authors state that this does not relate explicitly to the commonly understood notion of sex, but rather “… to beget; to procreate, to generate, to create, or to produce…” in general. Gender manifests itself on all planes as Feminine and Masculine principles.

Mental Gender is described as a Hermetic concept which relates to the feminine and masculine principles. It does not refer to someone’s physical sex, nor does it suggest that someone of certain sex necessarily has a matching mental gender. Ideally, one wants to have a balanced mental gender.

The concept put forth in The Kybalion states that gender exists on all planes of existence (Physical, Mental and Spiritual), and represents different aspects on different planes. Everything and everyone contains these two elements or principles.

  • The Masculine principle is always in the direction of giving out or expressing, and contents itself with the “Will” in its varied phases.
  • The Feminine principle is always in the direction of receiving impressions and has a much more varied field of operation than the Masculine. The Feminine conducts the work of generating new thoughts, concepts and ideas, including the work of the imagination.
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It is said that there must be a balance between these two forces. Both qualities exist simultaneously in everyone. Think about the left and right hemispheres of the brain or, the conscious and unconscious part of our minds. 

Without the Feminine, the Masculine is apt to act without restraint, order, or reason, resulting in chaos. The Feminine alone, on the other hand, is apt to constantly reflect and fail to actually do anything, resulting in stagnation.

With both the Masculine and Feminine working in conjunction, there is a thoughtful action that breeds success, which points out that both the Feminine and the Masculine fulfill each other. (For more information Check our Article “The Law of Gender – The Process of Creation in all Planes“)

These are the seven principles that govern our universe and our lives. Embrace them and, as an adept Hermetist, become the master instead of the victim, and the cause instead of the effect in your lives.

Never forget the first statement of Kybalion

“The lips of wisdom are closed, except to the ears
of Understanding”

The Kybalion

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References: The Kybalion Online Text, Hart, G., The Routledge Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, 2005, Routledge, second edition, Oxon
Featured Photo by Tyson Dudley on Unsplash

Check out our recommendations at “Hermetic Bookshelf” and many free resources at our Free Library