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Teachings of the Masters of Antiquity: The Kybalion

“The lips of Wisdom are closed, except in the ears of Reason.” THE KYBALION.

The Kybalion is an astonishing book that sets out the basic rules of hermeticism and wisdom. It is intended for all those who seek to understand the mechanisms (called Laws) controlling behaviours and situations, and especially for sceptics and scientists because it shows that before proving them scientifically, humans have the intuition of their discoveries: polarity and other physical phenomena, interconnection and quantum theory…, the list of areas where intuition precedes evidence is long. The Kybalion also reminds us that not everything has been discovered or explained.

The Kybalion was published in 1908 and presents the teachings of a mystical and esoteric philosophy known as Hermeticism. It is a relatively concise work that outlines its fundamental principles, drawing on ancient Hermetic texts and teachings.  It is often attributed to the “Three Initiates,” a pseudonymous collective of authors whose identities remain unknown.

The Kybalion has been influential in various esoteric and occult traditions, and it continues to be studied by those interested in Hermetic philosophy, mysticism, and the nature of reality. It is important to note that Hermeticism itself has ancient roots, attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, a legendary figure believed to be a fusion of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth.

What does it tell us in substance?

The philosophy, as outlined in The Kybalion, revolves around seven principles, also known as the “Seven Hermetic Laws” or “The Seven Principles of Truth.”  In other words, any evolutionary system, from the smallest to the largest, obeys seven principles. Knowing and mastering these principles would lead to improving wisdom and control over yourself and your one’s environment.

What are the seven principles?

Principle of Mentalism. Everything is Spirit and the universe is mental and interconnected. If everything is mental, it is possible to change mental states and no longer be locked into a given mental state, an emotion, or a role that has been assigned from the environment. It requires work on self-knowledge but tools such as astrology or observation of your behaviors during childhood for example can help you to do this. It requests also willingness, i.e. the will to evolve and free yourself from needs such as recognition by others for example.

Behind every manifestation, there is an essential truth, called by the Kybalion the Whole, but which can be found under other names such as primordial principle, cosmic energy, God,… The profound nature of this Whole is unknowable. The Whole embraces the real; It is infinite in time and space and immutable. It is a living and infinite intelligence. It is a difficult concept to grasp for a human brain but we can feel it. The Whole is one but acts on different planes following Principles and Laws.

Let’s look at some Laws:

  • Law of “Paradox“. The universe is and is not, e.g. it exists and is observable, but it is constantly changing and evolving. Thus, the importance of always asking ourselves the question of the reality of observed things, even though we are forced to act as if things were real and substantial although they are changing.
  • The Law of “Neutralization” corresponds to the elevation of the ego above the vibrations of the unconscious plane of mental activity, hence the importance of mental firmness.
  • Law of “compensation”: The oscillation in one direction determines the oscillation in the opposite direction. This pendulum phenomenon may be observed at the societal level when periods of control follow permissive periods, for example.

Principle of Correspondence. That which is above is as below, and vice versa, so there would be several planes of life or energy. You can master the lower planes by applying the Laws of the higher planes. The same Laws apply to all planes: physical, mental, and spiritual.

The Kybalion defines a plane as a state or condition that can be measured by its vibrational state: The higher the vibration rate, the higher the plane, which brings us to the third principle.

Principle of Vibration. “Nothing rests; everything stirs; everything vibrates.” There are millions of vibration modes and periods. It is possible to identify an element (molecule or atom for example) and what they are made of by measuring their vibratory rates. It is also possible to disintegrate it by changing this rate. And, this rule applies to thoughts, emotions or mental states that can be controlled (through meditation, visualization), whether for ourselves or others (hence the paramount importance of having a personal ethic)

Principle of Polarity. The opposites come together and differ only in their degree (darkness, for example, is only the absence of light; hatred is the absence of love that is focused on a given object or individual); they’re just different poles of the same thing. Everything has two aspects, and there is only a difference of degrees between these extremes; therefore, opposites can be united by examining the real nature of all things. Everything can be transmuted between things of the same class. It is then possible to change the mental state of an individual by induction or by playing on the principle of polarity (transmission of positive energy, for example; the use of paradox in coaching is also based on this principle).

Principle of Rythm. There is a constant ebb and flow between the opposite poles (action-reaction), hence the importance of knowing the Law of Neutralization (see above). Everything is in constant motion between inside and outside, left and right, growth and decay. Knowledge makes it possible to anticipate changes in situations.

Principle of Cause and effects. Every effect has a cause that is important to identify. There is no coincidence. The applicable Law is the Law of the Average: to serve on the higher plane and to be master on the lower plane.

Principle of Gender. Everything is feminine or masculine, or paternal and maternal. In psychology, for example, the “I”, an observer of a masculine nature, differs from the “Me”, which is active and generates mental images. The purpose of gender is to create, to “en-gender”, and should not be confused with sex. We all have a masculine and feminine polarity.

Example: My feminine self receives emotions, impressions. My “I”, the masculine aspect, gives and expresses these emotions through an act of will. The two polarities give rise to new ideas, to mental images. So the hermetic expression 1+1=3.

Conclusion

The concepts described in the Kybalion are not always easy to grasp but I shared them with you because knowing the hermetic law may help you to understand events as it helps me.  The interest of Kybalion is to make us aware of the limits within which we act, seven principles that are broken down into Laws. Still, far from promoting a castrating determinism, he reminds us that knowledge allows us to exercise our freedom, and step back from ourselves while knowing the framework in which this freedom is exercised.

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