The Hermetic Principles go way back to the time of the legendary Hermes Trismegistus who was deified by the ancient Egyptians as the god Thoth. The wisdom of Hermes has been recorded scantily in old texts such as the Emerald Tablets. More recent publications include The Kybalion in which the seven Hermetic Principles are presented by the authors who call themselves ‘the three initiates’.
It is recognized by experts of Hermetic philosophy that The Kybalion has relatively little in common with the older and more extensive works such as Corpus Hermeticum. In fact The Kybalion has more to do with neo-platonism with its Christian influenced monotheistic bent. Likewise the Golden Dawn society with its own flavor of esoteric Christianity also associate themselves with Hermeticism; thus potentially adulterating the original message of Hermes Trismegistus.
The intent of these pages is to examine the seven Hermetic Principles without appeal to any historical practice or literary dogma. This Hermetic subject material, regardless of being a spiritual gem or the quackery of bewildered mortals, can serve as a useful basis for enquiry.
The 7 Hermetic Principles are:
The Principle of Mentalism
The Principle of Correspondence
The Principle of Vibration
The Principle of Polarity
The Principle of Rhythm
The Principle of Cause and Effect
The Principle of Gender
These can be thought of collectively as the geometric pattern known as the seed of life – comprising six overlapping circles around the seed in the middle. The hexagonal shape of the six outer circles is a representation of the coming together of two opposing forces or genders; the chalice and blade. The seventh circle in the center is the offspring of this symbol of sexual union.
Just as the number 3 reconciles duality within the mind, so the number 7 reconciles duality on the physical plane.
Any one of the principles can take the center position surrounded by the remaining six. As the Principle of Vibration stipulates, nothing rests, everything moves – and so there is a perpetual interchange of the seven principles at the geometric center, such that no principle is superior to another.
As in any creation myth, one might ask: what caused these principles to exist? Their geometric representation as the seed of life answers this question indirectly by reframing it as a fractal of nature. The mystery is not why these principles should exist; it is nature itself that is the mystery.
The seed of life depicts how the human mind has been collectively hypnotized to construct the present reality or ‘matrix’. The seed of life encodes a subliminal imperative to embark upon a journey to discover its hidden secrets; to find the keys and exit the matrix. That is what Hermeticism is about.
Some are waylaid at the half way stops of science and religion. The hero’s journey however has no end. Every storyteller since time immemorial has revealed the path that every hero must wander, and the perils that he must face. These stories stir in us the memories of our ancestors; they compel us to act now lest we suffer a fate worse than death.