By 3 Initiates
The review copy of this charming little book was found on the back shelf of a used bookstore in Santa Rosa, California. That's about as serendipitous as a metaphysical literary discovery can get.
Written in 1912 (the beginning of the Kali Yuga according to the Gnostic Pagan cosmology) by three unknown, self-proclaimed Initiates of Hermeticism--"The Kybalion" purports to state a short, yet concise, treatise of the Hermetic Philosophy.
The writers were on the mark in this statement, as in the rest of the text.
Naturally any introductory Hermetic work must delve into an obligatory explanation of the Ancient Egyptian (Thoth-Hermes) origin of Hermetic Philosophy, but that need not concern us here.
The Seven Hermetic Principles:
"THE ALL is Mind; the Universe is MENTAL."
"As above, so below; as below, so above."
"Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.”
"Everything is DUAL; 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."
"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."
"Every Cause has its Effect; every Effect has its Cause; everything happens according to Law; Chance is but a name for Law unrecognized; there are many planes of causation, but nothing escapes the Law."
"Gender is in everything; everything has its Masculine and Feminine Principles; Gender manifests on all planes.
ON MENTAL TRANSMUTATION:
"If the Universe is Mental in its nature, then Mental Transmutation must be the act of CHANGING THE CONDITIONS OF THE UNIVERSE, along the lines of Matter, Force and Mind...Mental Transmutation is really the 'Magic' of which the ancients had so much to say in their mystical works...if All is Mental then the art which enables one to transmute mental conditions must render (the Practioner--Ed.) the controller of material conditions as well as those ordinarily called 'mental.'" [Pgs. 46-47]
THE DIVINE PARADOX:
On pages 79-82 the text draws the distinction between the Absolute and the Relative Planes of Existence as representing TWO POLES OF ONE REALITY. In other words, the This IS and This IS NOT of Reality. Gnostic Paganism calls this Pan-Psychic Materialism.
ON MENTAL CREATION:
"The Hermetic Teachings concerns the process of the Mental Creation of the Universe, are that at the beginning of the Creative Cycle, THE ALL (AMUN--ed.), 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 vibratory energy is reached, at which point the grossest form of Matter is manifested. This process is called the stage of Involution in which (AMUN) becomes "involved" or "wrapped up," in its creation. This process is believed by the Hermeticists 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...forget his own and...'lives in his creation.'"
"The Hermetic Teachings regarding the process of Evolution are that, (AMUN), having meditated upon the beginning of the Creation--having thus established the material foundation of the Universe...gradually awakens or rouses from its Meditation and in so doing starts into manifestation the process of Evolution, on the material, mental and spiritual planes, successively and in order. Thus the upward movement begins--and all begins to move Spiritward, Matter becomes less gross; the Units spring into being; the combinations begin to form...In short, the entire process of Evolution, in all its phases, begins...All of this occupies Aeons upon Aeons...yet the Illumined inform us that the entire creation, including Involution and Evolution, of a Universe is but 'as the twinkle of the eye of...(AMUN).' At the end of the countless cycles of Aeons of time, THE ALL withdraws its attention...for the Great Work is finished--and all creation with draws (back) into (AMUN). But Mystery of Mysteries--the Spirit of each soul is not annihilated, but is infinitely expanded--the Created and the Creator are merged. Such is the report of the Illumined!" [Pgs. 103-105]
"The question is generally about as follows: Is a Plane a place having dimensions, or is it merely a condition or a state? We answer: No, not a place, nor an ordinary dimension of space; and yet more than a state or condition...A 'dimension'...is 'a measure in a straight line, relating to measure,' etc. The ordinary dimensions of space are length, breadth, and height, or perhaps length, breadth, height, thickness or circumference. But there's another dimension of "Created things," or 'measure in a straight line,' known to occultists, and to scientists as well, although the later have not as yet applied the term 'dimension' to it-- (remember, this was written in 1912, Ed.)--and this new dimension, which, by the way, is the much speculated about, 'Fourth Dimension,' is the standard used in determining the degrees or 'planes.'
This Fourth Dimension maybe called 'the Dimension of Vibration.' It is a fact well known to modern science, as well as to Hermeticists 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 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 in the Scale of Vibration--in other words the degrees of the Fourth Dimension. And all the degrees form what occultists call 'Planes.' The higher the degree of rate of vibration, the higher the plane, and the higher the rate of 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." [Pgs. 115-117]
THE PLANE OF ETHEREAL SUBSTANCE (Maya? See also, Gnostic Pagan Pantheon & Correspondences --Ed.):
"The Plane of Ethereal Substance...a substance of extreme tenuity and elasticity, pervading all Universal Space, and acting as a medium for the transmission of waves of energy, such as light, heat, electricity, etc. This Ethereal Substance forms a connecting link between Matter (so-called) and Energy, and partakes of the nature of each. [P. 120] ...also...it manifests a degree of vibration entirely its own." [P. 141]
“Spirit and Matter are but two poles of the same thing...” [P. 151]
"When...the Principle of Polarity is once grasped, and it is seen that the mental changes are occasioned by a change of polarity--a sliding along the same scale--then matter is more readily understood. The change is not in the nature of a transmutation of one thing into another thing entirely different--but is merely a change of degree in the same things, a vastly different business. For instance, borrowing an analogy from the physical Plane, it is impossible to change Heat into Sharpness, Loudness, Highness, etc., but Heat may be readily transmuted into Cold, simply by lowering the vibrations...In the same way Hate and Love are mutually transmutable; so are Fear and Courage. But Fear can not be transformed into Love, nor can Courage be transformed into Hate. The mental states belong to innumerable classes; each class of which has its opposite poles, along which transmutation is possible...The tendency of Nature is in the direction of the dominant activity of the Positive pole.” [P. 156]
“The word Chance is derived from a word meaning 'to fall' (as the falling of dice), the idea being that the fall of the dice (and many other happenings) are merely a 'happening' unrelated to any cause. And this is the sense in which the term is generally employed. But when the matter is closely examined, it is seen that there is no chance whatsoever about the fall of the dice. Each time a dice falls, and displays a certain number, it obeys a law as infallible as that which governs the revolution of the planets around the sun. Back of the fall of the die are causes, or chains of causes, running back further than the mind can follow--The position of the die in the box; the amount of muscular energy expended in the throw; the condition of the table, etc., etc., all are causes, the effect of which may be seen. But back of these seen causes there are chains of unseen preceding causes, all of which had a bearing upon the number of the die which fell uppermost.” [P. 173-174].
A stone is dislodged from a mountainside and crashes through a roof of a cottage down below. At first sight we regard this as a chance effect, but when we examine the matter we find a great chain of causes behind it. In the first place there was the rain which softened the earth supporting the stone and which allowed it to fall; then back of that was the influence of the sun, other rains, etc., which gradually disintegrated the piece of rock from a larger piece; then there were the causes which led to the formation of the mountains and its upheaval from convolutions of nature, and so on ad infinitum. Then we might follow up the causes behind the rain, etc. Then we might consider the existence of the roof. In short, we would soon find ourselves involved in a mesh of cause and effect, from which we would soon strive to extricate ourselves." [Pgs. 176-177]
"Stop to think for a moment. If a certain man had not met a certain maid, away back in the dim period of the Stone Age--you who are now reading these lines would not now be here. And, if perhaps, the same couple had failed to meet, we who are writing these lines would not now be here. And the very act of writing, on our part, and the act of reading on yours, will effect not only the respective lives of yourself and ourselves, but will also have a direct, or indirect, affect upon many other people now living and who will live in the ages to come. Every thought we think, every act we perform has its direct and indirect results which fit into the great chain of Cause and Effect." [Pgs. 178-179].