Book of Alchemy
(For Teaching Purposes)
Part 1 – Introduction to Outline of Reality
Jewish gnosticism and the
“Knowledge” is derived from the Greek word Gnosis. One of the movements around the early Christian era was called Gnosticism. There were many sects, pagan, Christian and Jewish, which used this name, and they maintained a rich variety of doctrines, and adopted an amazing diversity of ideas associated with Zoroastrianism, Greek mysteries, Egyptians, and Babylonian beliefs.
All believed that salvation comes through special knowledge, rather than through faith, Law, or works – as the orthodox religious believed.
This was not ordinary knowledge, where one seeks to learn something, but is “the knowledge of the Ineffable Greatness”, given in instantaneous revelation.
Knowledge of God is not an intellectual acquisition; it is a union of the human, and the Divine. To know God is to become God. Thus knowledge is salvation.
“Gnosis is redemption of the inner, spiritual man.”
* * * * * * *
Reb, third-century Babylonian Jewish teacher, said:
“Ten are the qualities with which the world has been created:
wisdom; insight; knowledge; force; appeal;
power; justice; right; love; and compassion.”
There were two parallel studies, the one called Creation Mysticism, and the other Throne Mysticism.
The Book of Formation, (or Sefer Yetsirah) was of the period between 300 and 600 AD.
Ten is the number of the attributes of God listed as the basis and material of Creation. The idea of ten attributes is later used in the Qabalah as Ten Sephiroth, though they were termed Emanations, making them matters of Creation.
The ten numbers are called Sephiroth; they are primary, and elementary, suggesting that the decimal system is part of the constitution of the universe, yet at the same time presenting the ten “corresponding to the ten fingers,” as a simple way of counting.
The Creative Force was exerted by the words of God. And the Lord said, “Let there be light, and there was light.”
The elements out of which God formed the world were the numbers and letters which make up the speech of God – the 10 basic numbers, and 22 Hebrew letters – the total 32.
“In 32 mysterious paths of Wisdom did God write. He created His Universe by the three forms of expression, Numbers, Letters and Words.”
The Universe was described as taking place by the issuance of pure spiritual substance from God. All the elements that were later to make up the universe were present potentially in the Godhead.
Creation involved the transformation of these potential elements into actual existence by successive emanations from the Supreme Being.
The imperfect and finite creations of the world of actuality could not be conceived as the results of the direct action of God the Infinite. (En Sof, Ain Suph, -- No Limit) for if imperfection proceeded directly from Him, it would imply His imperfection.
The ten Sephiroth, therefore, are described as intermediary steps in the process of Creation by emanation, the stages in the course of which pure spirit becomes matter.
One writer, Nahmenides, felt rather that “God first created a fine, light matter, without firmness, but with a potentiality for taking on form; this is prime matter.” The Greek word “hule” was used for prime matter.
He said God created a primordial Torch before ever creating the world. He revealed the meaning to Moses, and this is available today to those who know the technique or reaching the meaning behind the text. Thus the Bible addresses two groups – to the mass it speaks directly, while to the mystic it has a special message.
The first work on the Kabbala known is a 12th century Provencal work entitled “Brightness.”
The true unity of God Himself consists in His union with the Glory. The Glory of God – “Shekinah” as Brightness, was considered as the feminine counterpart of God.
The first three Sephiroth are Words, the other seven “Voices” of God. Primal man, the Universe, the Macrocosm, Adam Kadmon. Lower man, human life, the microcosm, Adam Tahton.
In the thirteenth century, Eleazor wrote the “Book of the Pious.” He considered the initiate who mastered the knowledge of the Divine Names as one whose magical powers were of guaranteed effectiveness.
They used gematria, notarikon, and temurah in prayer technique. They used a fixed form of prayer, with application of letter and number techniques, and the precise same repetition of prayer suggests prayers considered as magical formulas.
Notarikon is a method of acrostic, possibly each letter an initial, each word a phrase.
Temurah suggests letter transposition.
The ten attributes (first named) are infinite –
“The infinity of the Beginning, and the infinity of the End.
The infinity of the Good, and the infinity of the Evil.
The infinity of the Height, and the infinity of the Depth.
The infinity of the East, and the infinity of the West.
The infinity of the North, and the infinity of the South.”
The last six Sephiroth remain the same, but the first four are changed to: One – the Spirit of the Living God; second – Air from Spirit; third – Water from Air; four – Fire from Water.
Of the Sephiroth: “His Word is in them when they emanate, and when they return. At His bidding do they haste like a whirlwind; and before His throne do they prostrate themselves.”
Of the Letters: “God drew them, hewed them, combined them, weighed them, interchanged them, and through them produced the whole Creation, and everything that is destined to be created.”
This suggests God first formed letter combinations (words), and objects came or will come into being because their names exist.
“How did He fuse them together?” (Stones as letters, houses as words.) “Two stones build two houses. Three stones build six houses. Four stones build twenty-four houses. Five stones build one-hundred and twenty houses. Six stones build seven-hundred and twenty houses. Seven stones build five-thousand and forty houses.
Make a beginning from this, and calculate further what the mouth cannot pronounce, and what the ear cannot hear.
Kabbala means tradition.
It is clear the Kabbalistic works were handed down from mystical tradition, yet also some by revelation. As one Kabbalist wrote, “But a few have received tradition from the ancients, or have been vouchsafed the grace of divine inspiration.”
Another early Kabbalist, Abulafia, searching for a suitable object for meditation, came upon the Hebrew alphabet, as the elements which make up the Name of God.
By meditation on the letters we reach the Name, which is the true object of contemplation.
The discipline preparatory to this is the science of letter-combination, concentrating on which is akin to music – in that one hears sounds from various combinations in accordance with the character of the melody and the instrument.
The secrets which express themselves in these combinations delight the heart which acknowledges its God, and is filled with every fresh joy.
As the Hindu uses the mystical syllable, OM, as the focusing point of his meditations, and is led thereby to a sense of unity of the self and the transcendent, so also is Abulafia’s mystical logic, the combination of letters reveal the deepest secrets of the Universe.
As the initiate progresses, he moves from utterance, through writing, to thought. When he has become aware of these possibilities, he turns his awakened powers to the Name.
Gikatilia of the thirteenth century wrote, in “The Nut Garden” of the letter-and-number mysticism in another vein:
The word for Garden, “Ginnath”, is represented by the three Hebrew letters gnt – which is an acrostic of the three words, Gematria, Notaridon, and Temurah.
Gikatilia wrote “Gates of Light”, discussing the Ten Sephiroth, and the Divine Names associated with them.
The doctrine of the Sephiroth should be regarded as an answer to the philosophic question of how God can be both remote and transcendent, awe-inspiring King, and near-at-hand, ever-loving Father.
In this formulation, the Supreme God, Limitless, (En Sof), by a voluntary self-limitation, manifested Himself in the first and highest of the Sephiroth, Kether Elyon, the “Supreme Crown”. The emanation is not God, yet God is to be known through Kether and the other Sephiroth, all “Crowns of the Divine King”.
Further emanation from Kether produced the nine other spheres through which the manifestation of God proceeds:
1. Divine Wisdom. 2. God’s Intelligence. 3. God’s Love. 4. God’s Power and Judgment. 5. Divine Compassion. 6. Beauty. 7. Eternity. 8. Majesty. 9. Foundation. 10. Kingdom.
These are all attributes of God, yet each is presented as a separate state in manifestation, a stage of God’s emergence. Seen from the other standpoint, from man’s, the “tree represents a series of stages of increasing abstractness.”
Men can meditate on each of these, including in his meditations the Divine Name and symbols associated with each. With increasing power, the mystic can reach nearer and nearer the Source from which all flows.
Reflection may be upon the Sephiroth as a tree, with Malkuth as the roots imbedded in earth – Kether the highest leaves toward heaven; or the symbolic figure of Man, a crown on his head, feet planted in his earthly Kingdom – primordial Man, Adam Kadmon – the visible body reflects the spiritual reality.
Since this seemed to picture the Supreme Being too close to earth, Kabbalists used Isaiah to justify a process of 10 Sephiroth on 4 levels.
First, the Realm of Emanation – (Atsiluth). Second, the Realm of Actual Creation – (Beriah). Third, the Realm of Formation (Yestirah) involving the introduction of number and form; and fourth, the Realm of Action (Assiyah) is the physical world where man and his creative activities play a significant role.
To the realm of Emanation belongs the Shekinah, the symbolic representation of God’s Glory.
The realm of Creation contains the souls of the Righteous, and some of the heavenly beings associated with the Throne World.
In the realm of formation are other angelic beings, and in the realm of Action dwell those angels who attend the prayers of men, and the angelic troop, led by Sandalphon, which wages a perpetual war against the forces of evil.
In the same period, Moses de Leon, of Spain, composed the major classical work of Kabbalistic traditions, the Zohar, or Book of Splendor, being the only Kabbalistic book to rank with accepted classics of rabbinical literature.
It is a long-rambling, running account on the Bible, written in Aramaic, but not by one versed in Aramaic. The ideas are not stated directly, but must be discovered from reading them back from illustration and application.
The Book of Splendor is a gathering of virtually all the theosophic and occult doctrines that had occupied the attention of Jewish mystics. The title best describes the theme. Light streaming forth from a central point is the emblematic representation of emanation. The primal spark was infinite, spaceless; yet the rays streaming forth from it, “created” space and all that is in it.
The light by which we see is the light of the fourth day of Creation, derived from the primal light; darkness is a non-luminous light, produced out of the visible light, and is also the substance of material objects.
Light, and all that was created after light, was not directly created by God. The immediate creative agent was the Word of God, first introduced in Genesis in the verse telling of the creation of light. The God who lies behind it all, is beyond inquiry. Men can name Him only by, “Who is He?”
A different Name of God is associated with each of the Sephiroth. Each illuminates one place or aspect of the knowledge of all His Names, but the unmanifest God, none can know.
The tenth Sephirah, Malkuth, is regarded as the dwelling place of the Glory of God (the Shekinah, the manifestation of God on earth in His Glory). Since the Shekinah is considered as the feminine principle, or the Consort of God, we may say that earth and heaven are held together by the union of God and the Shekinah.
The sin of Adam broke this union, or separated Malkuth from the other Sephiroth. “Even as the Sun seeks for the Moon, so does the Holy One seek for the Shekinah.”
Each sin, they say, brought a demon, and though God could destroy them, He will not violate man’s free will. Man’s freedom of will makes him a force in the Cosmic scheme, of such importance that God tolerates, rather than infringe upon it. So great a privilege carries with it special responsibility.
Man’s body, at the original creation was made of light. This is the meaning of man created in the image of God. But after the first sin, man’s body became darkened, so he was no longer in God’s image, yet retains the external form on the universe. Man’s body is the mirror of the divine realm.
The Soul springs from the Sephiroth, for it is a spark of the Divine. It has three aspects, or grades of relatedness. Nefesh, (life, the vital soul) is present in all living beings, and is the animating principle without which men and animals could not be alive.
Ruah, (air, spirit) is the human aspect of soul, the expression of man’s inner life.
Neshamah, (breath) is the link between man and the spiritual realm. Neshamah is most closely related to God – a spark of the Divine from Binah. As man unfolds latent powers through study, and insight, Ruah and Neshamah bring the Divine element in man, when he sins or dies, it is not punished. Nefesh bears the brunt of retribution.
“From the day God first thought of creating the world, all the souls of the righteous were concealed in the Divine Thought, each with its own individual form” – in the realm of Sephiroth.
Next they were stores “in a treasure house in the upper Eden.” From there each soul came to earth, and entered at conception the body it was to occupy – the embodied soul during life on earth weaving the raiment it is to wear after death.
Cordovero, in the sixteenth century, heard a heavenly Voice at the age of 20, instructing him to “heal the altar of the Lord which is broken down.” He took it to mean undertaking the study of Scriptural mysteries, and undertook the Kabbala, writing an encyclopedical work, “A Garden of Pomegranates”. He tried to find unity among the many themes formerly used, and taught the Ten Sephiroth, and the 32 Paths. He affirmed the necessity of the Atsiluth as a realm of emanation, and described the stages of emanation as an intellectual process – the Sephiroth as progressive materializations of ideas in the mind of God, or successive moments of Divine thought.
Each Sephirah was analyzed from within, becoming distinct from the one which preceded it, because of internal development. Yet the process moves it to each new stage, which in turn becomes differentiated from it.
He thought of the Sephiroth as “vessels,” rather than beings, or substances – as instruments by means of which the Infinite One acts.
These thoughts cover over a thousand years of Jewish philosophy, which was downgraded by Jewish rationalists and legalists of the nineteenth century, who thought them trivial and unworthy.
It is only now that once more it is arousing interest due to its mysticism.
Book of Alchemy
Chapter 11 – Part II
Outline of Reality
Hermes Trismegistus, called the “scribe of the gods”, dwelt in old Egypt when the present race of man was in its infancy. He is said to have been contemporary with Abraham, and thought to have instructed that sage.
Hermes was the Great Central Sun of Occultism, whose rays have served to illumine the countless teachings which have been promulgated since his time. All the fundamental and basic teachings of every race may be traced back to Hermes. Even the most ancient of teachings of India are thought to have been rooted in the original Hermetic teachings.
Hermes placed in the hands of students from many lands the Master Key with which to open the many inner doors in the Temple of Mystery, for those who had already passed through the main outer portals.
He was known by the ancient Egyptians as the “Great Great”, and the “Master of Masters”. His lifework seems to have been in the direction of planting the great Seed-Truth which has grown and blossomed in so many strange forms, rather than to establish a school of philosophy which would dominate the world’s thought.
Nevertheless, the original truths taught by him have been kept more or less intact in their original purity by a few men of each age, who, refusing great numbers of half-developed students and followers, followed the Hermetic custom and reserved their truth for the few who are ready to comprehend and Master it.
From lip to ear the truth has been handed down among the few. There have always been a few Initiates in each generation who kept alive the sacred flame of the teachings, and such have always been willing to use their lamps to re-light the lesser lamps of the outside world, when the light of truth grew dim, and clouded by reason of neglect, the wicks clogged with foreign matter.
There were always a few to tend faithfully the altar of the Truth, upon which was kept alight the Perpetual Lamp of Wisdom.
As the poet says:
“O, let not the flame die out!
Cherished age after age in its dark cavern –
In its holy temples cherished.
Fed by pure ministers of love –
Let not the flame die out!”
These men have never sought popular approval, nor numbers of followers. Let others furnish the “milk for babes”, while they reserve the “strong meat for man” for the few in each generation who are ready for the Truth.
Their pearls of wisdom are for the few elect, who recognize their value and wear them in their crowns, instead of casting them before the materialistic swine, who would trample them in the mud, and mix them with the vulgar products of their own minds.
To quote some of the Hermetic teachings on this point:
“The lips of Wisdom are closed, except to the ears of Understanding.”
“Where fall the footsteps of the Master, the ears of those ready for His Teaching open wide.”
“When the ears of the student are ready to hear, then cometh the lips to fill them with wisdom.”
From old Egypt have come the fundamental teachings of esoteric and occult which have strongly influenced the philosophies of all races and nations, for several thousand years. Egypt was the birthplace of the Hidden Wisdom and Mystic teachings. There, in ancient times, dwelt great Adepts and Masters who have never been surpassed, and seldom equaled.
But he who was hailed as the master of them all was known as Hermes Trismegistus. He was the father of the Occult Wisdom; the founder of Astrology; the discoverer of Alchemy. The details of his life are lost in time, but it was long before Moses, and some Jewish traditions claim that he taught Abraham.
Tradition says he lived three hundred years in the flesh. Eventually after his passing, he was deified, and made one of the Egyptian gods, under the name of Thoth.
Still later, the Greeks also named him among their gods, calling him Hermes, the god of Wisdom. He was revered in Egypt for tens of centuries as the “Scribe of the gods”, and the ancient title, Trismegistus means “the thrice-great”, his whole name being synonymous with the “Fount of Wisdom”.
The word hermetic is even now commonly used to denote secret, sealed, airtight, etc. The idea was to preserve the purity of the teachings, not to allow them to become crystallized in creed, nor mixed with theologies, as has been the case in some countries when the teachers became priests, and teachings became lost under the mass of superstition and cult.
The truth has not been much written down, except in veiled terms of alchemy and astrology, so that only those possessing the Key could read it aright – mainly to avoid the persecution of those who fought the secret doctrines with fire and sword, and cross, and stake. Mainly, the teachings were passed down from Master to Student, and from Initiate to Hierophant, from lip to ear.
In the early days, there was a compilation of certain basic Hermetic Doctrines known as the kybalion, the exact significance of the term itself having been lost. It is merely a collection of maxims, axioms, and precepts, not understandable to outsiders, but readily understood by students after they had been explained to them by their Initiate Teachers. They were never written down.
These teachings really constituted the basic principles of “The Art of Hermetic Alchemy”, which, contrary to general belief, dealt in the mastery of Mental Forces, rather than Material elements, and the transmutation of one kind of Mental Vibrations into others, instead of the changing of one kind of metal into another.
The legends of the Philosopher’s Stone, which would turn base metal into Gold, was an allegory, readily understood by all students of true Hermeticism.
The Seven Hermetic Principles, which comprise the teachings are:
The Principle of
all is mind; the universe is mental.”
The Principle of
“As above, so below; As below, so above.”
The Principle of
“Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.”
4. 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 Principle of
“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 Principle of
Cause and Effect
“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.”
7. The Principle of Gender
“Gender is in everything; everything has its Masculine and Feminine Principles; Gender manifests on all planes.”
To sum them up, we quote once again, the Hermetic Axiom:
“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 First Principle: mentalism
To quote the Hermetic teaching – “Mind (as well as metals and elements) may be transmuted, from state to state; degree to degree; condition to condition; pole to pole; vibration to vibration. True Hermetic Transmutation is a Mental Art.”
The Hermetists were the original alchemists, astrologers, and psychologists, Hermes having been the founder of these schools of thought. From them have grown modern astronomy, chemistry, and the psychology of the modern schools. In fact, the ancients had also a knowledge of these physical sciences greater than is usually accredited to them.
The truth is, that beneath the material sciences (or should we say “above”?), the ancients possessed a knowledge of transcendental Astronomy, called astrology; of Transcendental Chemistry, called Alchemy, etc. They possessed the Inner Knowledge as well as the Outer Knowledge, the latter alone being possessed by modern scientists.
Among their secret branches of Knowledge was that known as Mental Transmutation.
Transmutation means “to change from one nature, form or substance, into another; to transform.” The term was applied alchemically to the changing of base metals into gold. Accordingly, Mental Transmutation means the art of changing and transforming mental states and conditions into others. Thus you might call it the Art of Mental Chemistry.
“The all is Mind; the Universe is Mental” – means that the underlying Reality of the Universe is Mind, and the Universe itself is mental. Therefore, Mental Transmutation becomes the art of Changing the Conditions of the Universe, along the lines of Matter, Force, and Mind.
Thus this Mental Transmutation is really the “Magic” of which so much was written in the mystical works. If all be mental, then the art which enables one to transmute mental conditions must render the Master – the controller of material conditions as well as those ordinarily called “Mental”.
Only the most advanced Mental Alchemists have attained the degree of Mastery necessary to control the elements of Nature as Jesus, in stilling the tempest, and the causation of other physical phenomena.
Ordinarily, Masters do not display their powers, but seek seclusion from crowds, in order to better work their way along the Path of Attainment.
Students also work along the Mental Plane, in Mental Transmutation, to change mental conditions, by "“affirmations”, by treatments of mental science of various kinds. Most modern practitioners are comparatively ignorant of the fundamental knowledge upon which the work is based.
The all: “Under and back of, the Universe of Time, Space, and Change, is ever to be found the Substantial Reality – The Fundamental Truth.”
we could find clarification of the biblical statement here, that faith is the
substance of things hoped for. The
support upon which they stand, and the framework upon which they are built.
Under all outward appearances or manifestations, there must always be a Substantial Reality, though man sees nothing that really is, but only things becoming and changing – nothing standing still, but being born, growing, dying. He sees nothing enduring, but only things evolving from other things – a constant action and reaction, creation and destruction, as though nothing could endure but Change.
But a thinking man realizes that under all these outward appearances there must be some Underlying Power – some Substantial Reality. Some have called this Reality by the term of Deity, others have called it “The Infinite and Eternal Energy”; some have even tried to call it “matter” – but all acknowledged its existence. We call it by the Hermetic term of the all, which seems more comprehensive than most, in that it transcends names and terms.
The nature of the all is unknowable, for naught but the all can comprehend its own nature and being. Hermetists teach that the All, “in itself” is, and must ever be Unknowable, and that guesses and speculations regarding its Inner Nature are but childish.
Still more presumptuous are the efforts to ascribe the all the human personality, qualities, and characteristics of themselves, such as human emotions of jealousy, desire for flattery and appeasement, and other frailties ascribed to men.
To quote again, “That which is the Fundamental Truth – the Substantial Reality – is beyond true naming, but the Wise Men call it the all.”
“In essence, the all is Unknowable.”
Human Reason informs us, that without attempting to remove the veil of the Unknowable:
1. The all must be All that is – there can be nothing else.
2. The All must be Infinite in Space – unbounded, unlimited; Infinite in Time, or Eternal, having always existed, continuously, not created, nor evolved from something else; without break, cessation, or separation. It must be indestructible, and can never “not-be”, even for a moment. It must be subject to no other power, not disturbed, not restrained.
3. The All must be Immutable, not subject to change in its real nature; not increased nor diminished; it must have always been, and must always remain just as it is not – the All.
Since the All is Infinite, Absolute, Eternal, and Unchangeable, nothing which is finite, fleeting, or conditioned could be the All. Therefore any such finite things must be as nothing, in reality.
Is the All merely matter, no, but on its own level, yes, it is matter. Matter has a locked-in pattern of life. Life and Mind are manifested in the Universe. The All cannot be matter, for nothing rises higher than its own source – nothing is manifested in effect that is not in the cause.
Then Modern Science informs us that there is really no such thing as matter, that it is merely “interrupted energy or force”, that is, energy or force at a low rate of vibration. Even material science has now abandoned the theory of Matter, and now rests on the basis of Energy.
As one writer says, “Matter has melted into a Mystery.”
Again, the All cannot be merely Energy or Force, for these are mechanical things, also devoid of Life or Mind. This too is questionable; remember the above statement. What then is there higher than matter or energy, that we know to be existent in the Universe?
See the Lessons on God.
Life and mind! Are these the all?
Yes, and No. To life and mind as mortals know them, we say no. It is not finite Life or Mind. But the All is infinite living mind, which the Illumined call spirit.
The all is Spirit, but what is Spirit? Spirit is simply a name men give to the Real Essence, the transcendent Living Mind. Spirit is the personality of the Father.
What is the Solar System? Since nothing is outside the All, the Universe must proceed from It, or be a creation of It. But as something can never come from nothing, the all must have created the Solar System from Itself.
Even this will not do, for The All cannot be divided or subtracted from, and again neither could it lose its knowledge of itself. For then a corpuscle might claim “I am man”, much as some men have proclaimed, “I am God.”
The Solar System is the All, nor yet created by the All having separated itself into fragments. Neither does it create as man does, by using materials outside itself, neither does it beget as man does his offspring, transferring a portion of his substance – for again, the All cannot transfer or subtract any portion of itself, neither multiply itself, since there can be neither addition nor subtraction to that which is all.
But there is a third way in which man creates, and that is mentally! In so doing he uses no outside materials, neither does he reproduce, and yet his Spirit pervades the Mental Creation.
Here the report of Reason tallies precisely with the report of the Illumined, for the Wise Men of the Ages, and Hermes as well, have taught this. The all can create in no other way except mentally, and just as you, a student, may create a Universe of your own in your mentality, so does the all create Universes in Its own Mentality.
There is a similarity in kind, but infinite difference in degree, for yours is a finite mind, and the All is Infinite. The Solar System, and all it contains, is a mental Creation of the All. Verily indeed, All is Mind!
“The All creates in its Infinite Mind countless Solar Systems, which exist for aeons of Time – and yet, to the All, the creation, development, decline and death of a million Universes is as the time of the twinkling of an eye.”
“the infinite mind of all is the womb of solar systems”
Strictly speaking, it cannot be said that the All has any reason to act, for a reason implies a cause, and the All is above Cause and Effect, except when it Wills to become a Cause, at which time the principle is set into motion.
Thus, just as we say the all merely is, so we must say, “The All Acts because It Acts.” It is It’s own reason, its own Law, its own Act – or still further, all these are one, all being names for the same thing.
Following the First Principle of Mentalism, the Second Hermetic Principle is correspondence, “as above, so below; as below, so above”.
It embodies the truth that there is a harmony, agreement, and correspondence between the several planes of Manifestation, Life and Being. This is true because all that is included in the Universe emanates from the same source, and the same Laws, principles, and characteristics apply to each unit, as each manifests its own phenomena upon its own plane.
Hermetic philosophy considers that the Universe may be divided into three great classes of phenomena, known as the Three Great Planes,
1. The Great Physical Plane
2. The Great Mental Plane
3. The Great Spiritual Plane
These divisions cannot be definitely defined, for all three are but ascending degrees of the great scale of Life, the lowest point being solid matter, and the highest point that of Spirit. The different planes shade into each other, and are as three groups of degrees of Life Manifestation.
There are planes beyond our knowing, but when we apply the Principle of Correspondence to them, we are able to understand much that otherwise would be unknowable to us. Just as knowledge of geometry enables man to measure distant suns and their movements while seated in his observatory, so a knowledge of the Principle of Correspondence enables Man to reason intelligently from the Known to the Unknown. Studying the Monad, he understands the archangel.
Each of the Three Great Planes is divided by the Hermetists into seven Minor Planes, and each of these latter are also subdivided into seven sub-planes, all shading into each other, so there is not a dividing line, or definite place of leaving one and beginning another.
To illustrate, the physical plane consists of the phenomena of the Universe, which includes all things that relate to physics, or material things, forces, or manifestations. It includes all forms of Matter, Energy, and Force.
The first plane of matter is solids, liquids, gases. The second is Radiant matter, with radium, etc. The third is subtle and tenuous Matter. Next is the Plane of Ethereal Substance which pervades all Universal Space, and acts as the medium for the transmission of waves of energy, such as light, heat, electricity, etc. This Ethereal Substance forms a connecting link between Matter and Energy, and partakes of the nature of each. This plane also is subdivided, so there are seven ethers, instead of one.
Next comes the Plane of Energy A, comprising the ordinary forms known to science, its seven sub-planes being Heat, Light, Magnetism, Electricity, Attraction, such as gravitation, Cohesion, Chemical Affinity, etc., and other forms not yet named or classified.
The Plane of Energy B Comprises seven sub-planes of higher forms of energy not yet discovered by science, but called “Nature’s Finer Forces”, and which are called into operation in manifesting certain forms of mental phenomena, making it possible.
The Plane of Energy C comprises seven sub-planes of energy so highly organized that it bears many of the characteristics of Life, but available to beings on the Spiritual Plane alone.
The Seven Minor Mental Planes consist of the Plane of Mineral Mind – elemental Mind A;
The Plane of Plant Mind – Elemental Mind B; the Plane of Animal Mind – Elemental Mind C; and the Plane of Human Mind.
The Plane of Mineral Mind comprises the “states or conditions” of the units or entities, or groups and combinations of these, which animate the forms known as minerals, chemicals, etc. These entities could almost be called “souls”, being a low degree of development, life and mind.
The different Planes of Elemental Minds comprise the entities unknown to average man, invisible, but which play their part in the general work of the Universe.
The Elemental 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 the black keys play their part in certain scales and harmonies, and are as connecting links of soul condition, between various planes.
So on, up the scales of the Mental Plane, to the Spiritual Plane, a state which so far transcends, that we cannot think of the details of these Beings who inhabit it. The matter of which their forms are composed is of the highest forms, so they may be said to be clothed in pure energy.
Here dwell the Archangels, the Host, the Great Hierarchies. These Unseen Divinities and Angelic Helpers extend their influence freely and powerfully in the process of Evolution, and Cosmic Progress.
All the Seven Great Principles are in operation on all Planes.
Vibration is the Third Hermetic Principle
This embodies the Truth that motion is manifest in everything in the Universe, that nothing is at rest, that everything moves, vibrates, and circles. And not only this, but the differences between the various manifestations of universal power are due entirely to the varying rate and mode of vibrations, and even the all itself manifests a constant vibration of such infinite intensity and rapidity, that it may be practically considered as at rest. (you have seen rapidly moving objects, as a revolving wheel, which appeared to be at rest).
Spirit is at one end of the Pole of Vibration, with Matter at the other Pole. Between these two poles are millions of different rates and modes of vibration.
Modern Science states that all we call Matter and Energy are but “modes of vibratory motion”, and occultists hold that the phenomena of Mind are likewise modes of vibration or motion.
All matter manifests the vibrations arising from temperature or heat. (Hot and cold are but different degrees of the same things.
All particles of Matter are in circular movement, from corpuscle to suns.
Light, heat, magnetism, and electricity are but forms of vibratory motion
connected in some way with, and probably emanating from the Ether.
Hermetists hold that the Universal Ether is but a higher manifestation of matter – that is, Matter at a higher degree of vibration, and is called by them, “The Ethereal Substance”. It pervades universal space, serving as a medium of transmission of waves of vibratory energy, as heat, light, electricity, magnetism, etc. It is a connecting link between matter on the one hand, and Energy or Force, on the other. And it manifests a degree of vibration of its own.
One may use the illustration of a rapidly revolving wheel to show the effects of increasing rates of vibration. While this object, (wheel or top), moves slowly, it makes no sound, but as the speed increased, it may emit a low note, or “growl”, then as the speed increases, the note rises higher in the musical scale. With each increase of speed, a higher note is achieved, until all the notes of the scale appear, rising higher and higher with the increasing speed of motion. There will be a point at which the pitch having become high and piercingly shrill, it will disappear and silence follows. No sound can be heard from the revolving object because the rate of motion has become too high for the human ear to perceive.
Then comes the perception of rising degrees of heat. Then after quite a time the eye catches a glimpse of the object becoming a dull, dark-reddish color. As the rate increases, the red becomes brighter. Then with increasing speed, the red melts into an orange, then into yellow, then green, blue, indigo, and finally violet, in gradating shades, then as the violet fades away, and all color disappears, the human eye cannot register more.
But there are invisible rays emanating from the revolving object, the rays used in photography, and other subtle rays of light. Then comes the X-ray; and eventually electricity and magnetism are emitted.
When the object reaches a certain rate of vibration, its molecules disintegrate, and resolve themselves into the original elements or atoms. Then the atoms are separated into countless corpuscles of which they are composed, until they also disappear, and the object may be said to be composed of The Ethereal Substance.
Science dare not follow the illustration further, but the Hermetists teach that if the vibrations be continually increased, the object would mount up the successive states of manifestation, and would in turn manifest the various mental stages, and then on Spiritward, until it finally would re-enter the all, which is Absolute Spirit.
They teach even further, that all manifestation of thought, emotion, reason, will, or desire, or any mental state has its corresponding rate and mode of vibration. By an effort of the will, these mental states may be reproduced, just as a musical tone may be reproduced by causing an instrument to vibrate at a certain rate, just as color may be reproduced in the same way.
By a knowledge of the principle of Vibration, as applied to mental phenomena, one may polarize his mind at any degree he wishes, thus gaining a perfect control over his mental states, moods, etc. he may produce on the mental plane that which science produces on the physical plane. This is the science of Mental Transmutation.
One of the old Hermetic writers has truly said: “He who understands the Principle of Vibration, has grasped the sceptre of Power.” The Masters and Adepts who are able to set aside the Laws of Nature are simply using the one law against, and may accomplish their results by changing the vibrations of material objects, or forms of energy, and thus perform what is called Miracles.
To quote the Hermetic Kybalion, “to
change your mood or mental state, change your vibration.”
Fourth Principle is polarity
“To destroy an undesirable rate of mental vibration, put into operation the Principle of Polarity, and concentrate upon the opposite pole to that which you desire to suppress. Kill out the undesirable by changing its polarity.” The Kybalion.
To kill out a negative quality, concentrate upon the Positive Pole of that same quality, and the vibrations will become polarized from negative to positive, until finally you will become polarized on the positive pole instead of the negative. (The reverse is also true). To overcome Fear, do not try to kill it, but cultivate Courage instead, and fear will go.
By changing your polarity you may master your moods, change your mental states, remake your disposition, and build up character. This is one of the important aspects of Mental Transmutation, which is an aspect of Mastery.
The mastery of polarization is one of the fundamental principles, for unless one acquires the art of changing his own polarity, he will be unable to affect his environment.
The principle of Polarity embodies the Truth that all manifested things have two sides, or poles, with manifold degrees between the two extremes.
The difference between things seemingly opposed to each other is merely a matter of degree. Pairs of opposites may be reconciled, and the universal reconciliation of opposites is effected by a recognition of this Principle of Polarity.
Spirit and Matter are but the two poles of the same thing, the intermediate planes being merely degrees of vibration. The all and the Many are the same, being different only in the degree of Mental Manifestation. Thus, the law and “laws” are also two opposite poles of one thing, as are Infinite Mind, and finite minds.
Heat and Cold are identical in nature, again, the difference being only in degree. The thermometer shows many degrees of temperature, but there is no place on the thermometer where heat ceases and cold begins.
So with East and West. If you travel far enough eastward, you will arrive at a point called West, and so also with north and south. Light and Darkness are poles of the same thing, and the musical scale is the same; starting with C, you move upward and reach another C, and there are many degrees of sound between the two ends of the keyboard.
Good and Bad – Love and Hate – the Pairs of Opposites exist everywhere. Where you find one thing, you can find its opposite. It is this fact that makes it possible for the master to transmute one state into another. Things belonging to different classes cannot be transmuted, but things of the same class may be changed.
Thus Love never becomes East, or Red, but it could turn to hate. And likewise hate may be transformed, not to cold, or soft, but to Love. Fear into courage, hard into soft, hot into cold, etc.
The change is not in the nature of a transmutation of one thing into another entirely different, but is merely a change of degree in the same things, by sliding along the same scale from one end to the other, or from one degree to another.
This is as true on the Mental Plane as it is on the Physical. Certain mental states may be communicated to another person, and mental scientists use this principle in giving treatments. By using his trained will, he may bring his own mind up to the desired vibration to obtain the desired polarization in his own case, then he produces a similar mental state in the other by induction, the result being that the vibrations are raised and the person polarized toward the positive end of the scale, and his negative emotions are transmuted to positive mental states.
By this Fourth Principle, man becomes master of his mental states, instead of being their servant and slave.
The Fifth Hermetic Principle is the Principle of rhythm
This Principle is closely connected with that of Polarity. Rhythm manifests between the two poles. It rarely swings to the extreme poles, but the swing is ever toward first one pole and then the other.
There is a pendulum-like movement in all things, a measured motion. A to-and-from movement, ebb and flow. Action and reaction, rising and sinking. Mind, matter, and even Spirit manifest this Principle.
The principle manifests in the creation and destruction of worlds; in the rise and fall of nations; in the life history of all things, and finally in the mental states of man.
Beginning with the all, there is the “Outbreathing and Inbreathing of Brahm”. All living things are born, grow, die, and are reborn.
There is no such thing as absolute rest, or cessation from movement, and all movement partakes of Rhythm. The universal pendulum is ever in motion, the Tides of Life flow in and out, according to law.
By studying the operations of this Principle, the Hermetists have learned to escape some of its activities by Transmutation. They accomplished this by taking into consideration that there were two planes of manifestation, where mental phenomena is concerned – the Lower and the Higher consciousness. Knowing this enabled them to rise to the higher plane, and thus escape the swing of the Rhythmic pendulum which manifested on the lower plane.
In other words, the swing of the pendulum occurred on the Unconscious Plane, and the Consciousness was not affected. This they call the Law of Neutralization. It consists in raising the Ego above the vibrations of the Unconscious Plane of mental activity, so the negative swing is not manifest in consciousness, and therefore they are not affected.
It is akin to rising above a thing and letting it pass beneath you. The Hermetic Master polarizes himself at the desired pole, and by refusing to participate in the backward swing, or by denying its influence over him, he stands firm in his selected position, and allows the mental pendulum to swing back along the unconscious plane.
Many persons unknowingly apply this law of Neutralization by refusing to allow their moods and negative mental states to affect them. The Master, carrying this to a much higher degree, and by the use of his Will attains a degree of Poise and Mental Firmness almost unbelievable.
The majority of persons have been creatures of moods, feelings, and emotions, swinging back and forth, buffeted by the tide. Though the principle itself can never be destroyed, man’s Will is superior to it, and when he understands these rhythmic swings of feeling, he will avoid being carried away by them, but step above them and let them pass.
The Law of Compensation is in operation along with Rhythm, in that the measure of the swing in one direction determines its measure in the opposite direction. The one balances or counter-balances the other. The seasons and the tides balance each other in the same way. Man’s mental states are subject to the same law. The keener the enjoyment, for example, the deeper the suffering of which the person is capable.
The Hermetists say that before one is able to enjoy a certain degree of pleasure, he must have swing as far, proportionately, toward the other pole of feeling. However, the negative is precedent to the positive in this matter. In other words, the pleasure is the rhythmic swing for a degree of pain previously experienced, either in the present life or in a previous incarnation. This throws a new light on the problem of pain. Since the chain of lives is continuous, in forming one life of the individual, so this swing operates.
The great Sixth Hermetic Principle – that of cause and effect – embodies the truth that Law pervades the Universe, that nothing happens by Chance, that chance is merely a term indicating cause existing, but not recognized or perceived, that phenomena is continuous, without break or exception.
“Nothing escapes the Principle of Cause and Effect, but there are many Planes of Causation, and one may use the laws of the higher to overcome the laws of the lower.” -- quoting the Kybalion.
The Hermetist accomplishes this by rising above the plane of ordinary causes, he becomes himself, in a degree, cause, instead of being merely Caused. They use the principle, instead of being used by it. They obey the laws coming from above them, but on their own plane, and those below them, they rule and give orders. In so doing, they form a part of the Principle, instead of opposing it. He is the skilled swimmer, using the current, instead of the log being carried by it.
Chance, supposed to be something apart from the law, is actually an expression relating to obscure causes, causes unperceived, or not understood.
No event “creates” another event, but is merely a preceding link in the great orderly chain of events flowing from the creative energy of the all. What at first we call “chance”, has a long chain of other events preceding it, and there is a relation existing between everything that has gone before, and everything that follows.
Every thought we think, every act we perform, has its direct and indirect results which fit into the great chain of Cause and Effect. The average man is like the pawn on the checkerboard of life, moved about by environment, tradition, moods, desires, with very little resistance on his part, and he is laid aside after the game is over. But the Master, knowing the rules of the game, rises above the plane of material life, and places himself in touch with the higher powers of his own nature, dominating his own moods, qualities, polarity, and surrounding environment, and thus masters circumstances on the lower plane, by falling in with the higher laws, consciously a part of it.
They become movers in the game, instead of pawns, Causes instead of Effects.
In truth, the hairs on our head are numbered, not by chance. And not a sparrow falls unnoticed by the Mind of The all.
The Seventh Great Hermetic Principle is that of gender
The Principle of Gender embodies the truth that there is Gender manifested in everything – that the Masculine and Feminine principles are ever present and active in all phases of phenomena, on every plane of life.
Gender and Sex are not the same thing. On the Physical Plane, the Principle manifests as Sex, but on the higher planes, it takes higher forms, but the Principle is ever the same. No creation, physical, mental, or spiritual, is possible without this Principle.
The word Gender, is derived from the Latin root meaning “to beget, to procreate, to generate, create, or produce.” Thus you see the broader meaning than the term “sex”, applied to the physical distinctions between male and female living things.
The office of Gender is solely that of creating, producing, generating etc., and its manifestations are visible on every plane of phenomena.
Everything and every person contains the two Elements or principles within it, him or her. Every male thing has the female element also, and every female contains also the male principle.
If you would understand the philosophy of mental and spiritual creation, generation, and re-generation, you must understand this Hermetic Principle. It contains the solution of many mysteries of Life.
This has nothing to do with the infamous forms of Phallicism to which some of the ancient teachings degenerated. Originally pure in essence, certain cults degraded portions of the teachings into unacceptable practices. Many ancient peoples have left behind phallic symbols.
Science has not recognized its total application to universal principles, as yet, but it is well known in the activities of electrons, etc. For example, they have noted that the formation of an atom is really due to the clustering of negative corpuscles around a positive one – the positive corpuscles seeming to exert a certain influence upon the negative corpuscles, causing the latter to assume certain combinations, and thus “create” or “generate” an atom.
Hermetic teachings have always identified the Masculine principle of Gender with the Positive, and the Feminine with the Negative Poles of Electricity.
However, the terms “positive” and “negative” are wrongly
applied to this phenomenon by science. The
word “positive” implies strength, and “negative” weakness, but this is
not the case. The so-called
“negative” is the pole in and by which the generation or production of new
forms and energies is manifested. There
is nothing “negative” about it. Some
now use the term Cathode in place of “negative”, and this is more apt,
coming from the Greek root meaning “descent, the path of generation, etc.”
From the Cathode Pole emerge the swarm of electrons or corpuscles, as well as the wonderful “rays” which have revolutionized scientific conceptions during the past decade. The Cathode Pole is the Mother of all strange phenomena which have outmoded the old textbooks. The Cathode, or negative pole, is the Mother Principle of Electrical Phenomena, and of the finest forms of matter as yet known to science. Therefore, the term feminine used here is preferable to negative, in speaking of that pole of activity.
The detachment or separation of feminine electrons is called ionization. They then combine with positive or masculine particles of energy, they form together a separate thing, manifesting the varied phenomena of light, heat, and similar phenomena.
The part of the masculine principle seems to be that of directing a certain inherent energy toward the feminine principle, and thus starting into activity the creative processes.
But the feminine principle is the one always doing the active creative work, and this is so on all planes. And yet each principle is incapable of operative energy without the assistance of the other. In some of the forms of life, the two principles are combined in one organism; for that matter, everything in the organic world manifests both genders. There is always the masculine present in the feminine form, and the feminine in the masculine.
There is a doctrine called “The electrical theory of the Universe” which regards electricity as the “Something” into which all other forms of energy seem to melt or dissolve. This includes the findings concerning the strange attraction by reason of which all particles and bodies of matter in the universe tend toward each other.
Submit all physical phenomena to the test, and you will discern the Principle of Gender ever in evidence.
Psychologists have put forth a so-called “new” theory, concerning the duality of mind – that is, the voluntary and involuntary; the active and passive; the conscious and subconscious.
The Hermetists would smile at their assumption of a new discovery which was taught so far back in the dim beginnings of occult history. They would not agree, however, with many of the theories and claims of modern psychologists.
The idea of Mental Gender may be explained in a few words to students by saying that the Masculine Principle of Mind corresponds to the so-called Objective Mind, Conscious Mind, Active Mind, etc.
Dr. Hudson in his “The Law of Psychic Phenomena” begins his second chapter with the statement that “The mystic jargon of the Hermetic Philosophers discloses the same general idea” – i.e., that of the duality of mind. He did not take the trouble to decipher this so-called “jargon”, but the remark in itself is noteworthy.
Hermetic Teachers impart their instruction regarding this subject by bidding students to first turn their attention inward upon the self indwelling in each. He is lead to see that his consciousness gives him a report of the existence of His Self, the report being I AM. This may at first seem the final word.
But further examination discloses the fact that this “I Am” may be split into two distinct aspects, which while working together, may yet be separated in consciousness.
These two aspects may be called “I” and “Me”. These mental twins differ in characteristic and nature. Beginning with the “Me”, which is usually mistaken for “I” – it is made up on feelings, tastes, habits, likes and dislikes, etc. which go to make up his apparent personality, or the person as known to others. It also included certain knowledge gathered together in his mind, and thus having become a part of himself. This is the me of a man.
The me of many men may be said to consist largely of their consciousness of the body and their physical appetites, etc. Their consciousness being largely bound up with their bodily nature, they practically live there. Some even go so far as to regard their personal apparel as part of their Me, and part of themselves. As one writer humorously said, “Men consist of three parts – soul, body, and clothes.”
These clothes-conscious people would lose their personality if divested of clothing by shipwreck on a distant isle.
Even those who are not so bound up with the idea of raiment tend toward body-consciousness, or the idea that their bodies are the Me. They cannot conceive of a Self independent of the body. Their mind seems to them as something belonging to the body.
But as man rises in the scale of consciousness, he is able to disentangle his Me from his idea of body, and is able to think of his body as “belonging to the mental part of him”. But even then, he is very apt to consider these internal states as identical with himself, instead of their being simply “things” produced by some part of his mentality, and existing within him, of him, and in him, but still not “himself”.
He sees that he may change these internal states of feelings by an effort of the will, and that he may produce a feeling or state of an exactly opposite nature – and yet the same Me exists.
So after awhile, he is able to set aside these various mental states, emotions, habits, characteristics, and other personal mental “belongings” in the not-me collections of curiosities and encumbrances. This requires much mental concentration and power of mental analysis on the part of the student.
After this has been done, the student will find himself in conscious possession of a Self which may be considered in its I and Me dual aspects.
This Me will be found to be as the Female Principle, the “mental womb”, capable of generating mental offspring. Its powers of Creative are great, yet it feels the necessity of receiving some form of energy from either its “I” companion, or else from some other “I”, ere it is able to bring into being its mental creations.
This mental Something which is able to Will that the Me act along certain lines, is also able to stand aside and witness the mental creation. This is the I, the Masculine Principle of Mental Gender. This is the aspect of Being, while the Me is the aspect of becoming.
The Feminine Aspect is always in the direction of receiving impressions, while the tendency of the masculine Principle is always in the direction of giving out, or expressing, contenting itself with the work of the Will.
The Feminine Principle has a more varied field of operation, conducting the work of generating new thoughts, concepts, ideas, imagination. Most people employ the Masculine Principle very little, being content to live according to the thoughts and ideas instilled into the Me from other I’s, other minds – the Active Principle being too lazy to act – the display of Will Power too slight. He is polarized in the Feminine Principle, while the Masculine, where the Will is lodged, is allowed to remain inactive and not employed. These persons are ruled almost entirely by the minds and wills of others, whom they allow to do their thinking and willing for them.
The strong men and women dominate their own minds by their Will, not on impressions made by others upon their minds. Thus obtaining the kind of mental images desired.
It is strong people who implant their seed-thoughts in the minds of the masses. Those magnetic persons who are able to use the Masculine Principle in this way make the successful orators, statesmen, writers, preachers, and actors.
The peculiar influence exerted is due to the manifestation of Mental Gender along the Vibrational lines, wherein the person giving the suggestion directs a stream of Vibratory Energy, or Will-Power, toward the Feminine Principle of the other person, who then accepts it as his own, and acts and thinks accordingly, as the idea grows and develops.
The energizing of the Feminine Principle is in accordance to the universal laws of nature. The very creation of the Universe follows the same Law, and in all creative manifestations, upon the planes of the spiritual, the mental and the physical, there is always in operation this principle of Gender.
This principle works out in practice, because it is based upon the immutable universal laws of life. “As above so below; as below, so above.”