Spiritus Hermeticum: part nine
An investigation of the origins of Hermeticism and the true teachings of Hermes Trismegistus
In the first two parts of this 12-part investigation we discussed the origins of Hermeticism, the Greek and Egyptian conceptions of the God variously known as Thoth, Theuth, Tat, and Tahuti, and the origins and extent of the Corpus Hermeticum. This was followed by an examination of the actual teachings of Hermes as they have come down to us in the various Hermetic books and fragments. In part eight we began a study of the Seven Universal Hermetic Laws which govern all life—material and spiritual, and considered the first two of these laws—Mentalism and Correspondence. In this part we examine the third and fourth laws: Vibration and Polarity. The laws of Rhythm, and Cause and Effect are covered in part ten of this investigation.
These Laws are never openly stated in the Corpus Hermeticum, any more than they are openly stated in the Tabula Smaragdina—the true 'Emerald Tablet' of Thoth. But hints and clues there are a-plenty in all these texts. The only book we know which does describe these Laws is the Kybalion, in which they are referred to as 'The Seven Hermetic Principles.' We discussed this book in our article on the Hermetic philosophy of ancient Egypt and in the previous part of this investigation.
In the twelve afterwords accompanying this investigation we are meticulously dissecting the so-called Emerald Tablets of Thoth the Atlantean written by the 20th century occultist—Dr Maurice Doreal. In this ninth afterword we turn our attention to tablets eight and nine. If you have not read the previous parts now is the time to do so, for this investigation forms an ascending scale of revelation which cannot be understood by skimming through one or more individual articles in a haphazard and piecemeal manner.
The Seven Universal Hermetic Laws summarised
The simple truth that the universe arose out of Mind—and not the other way around as science believes—is the foundation of all Seven Universal Hermetic Laws. These Laws describe and explain all material and spiritual phenomena, such as material science can never do, for it continues to deny the existence of any such thing as 'spirit' or a Divine Source. If you have stumbled upon this page and/or know nothing about these Laws we suggest you read the previous part of this investigation as well as our article on the Hermetic philosophy of ancient Egypt before proceeding further. To recap, the Seven Universal Hermetic Laws under discussion are:
- Mentalism. This Law states that all that exists is derived from Mind.
- Correspondence. This Law is enshrined in the well-known but poorly understood Hermetic maxim: "As above, so below."
- Vibration. This Law tells us that everything is in constant motion, both internally and externally.
- Polarity. This Law states that everything is dual; positive and negative.
- Rhythm. This Law states that everything is subject to rhythm. Up and down, left and right, backwards and forwards, etc.
- Cause and Effect. This Law states that there is a cause for every effect and an effect for every cause.
- Gender or Sex. This Law tells us that gender is a universal principle throughout the manifested Universe.
We will now consider the third and fourth of these Laws—Vibration and Polarity more fully, beginning with Vibration.
Tuco Amalfi — O Chamado (The Calling) — Acrylic on canvas, 2003
The Third Universal Hermetic Law we shall now consider is Vibration. It is based upon Hermes' teaching in the first book of the Poemander that nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates. Even a 'dead' piece of wood is filled with life and constant motion. Those of you who have read our articles on the Occult Sun, the Occult Aether and Why Matter matters, will remember what we said about this when discussing the vibration of atoms and sub-atomic particles. Modern science knows all this, and none of us need reminding of the terrific power which resides in a single atom of hydrogen when its energy is liberated in an atomic blast. We know too—though most scientists reject the correspondence—that an atom is a Solar System in and by itself, just as our Kosmos is a 'super' atom. The only difference between them is one of size—and size, as occult science knows—is an illusion of our material senses.
The fact that all this was taught untold thousands of years ago puts 'modern' science completely in the shade. The occult scientists of ancient Egypt—wrongly called 'priests' and 'magicians' by Egyptologists—were fully aware of these things, and in addition they understood the spiritual significance behind it all as well, which modern science does not, and for this reason its theories and speculations about matter are completely put in the shade by the old Wisdom. The Law of Vibration, as first taught by Hermes, explains all the different phenomena of what science is pleased to call 'Matter', 'Force' and 'Energy', as well as the physical body and lower self or mind, both of which are material too. Although the Higher Self or Mind is of a much finer nature than the lower self, it is still material, and therefore subject to the same Law of Vibration, though on an infinitely higher scale. Even the Divine Soul, which we discussed in the final article of our occult studies course, must come under the sway of this law, since it too, is a manifesting principle, albeit wholly spiritual. Indeed, according to the Hermetic axiom 'as above, so below,' even the unmanifest—which to us seems non-being and no-thing—must be subject to these laws in some way utterly beyond our comprehension, or they would not be universal laws, but mere theories.
A very small proportion of the full scale of vibrations is known to us here on earth. The higher the rate of vibration, the more sublime its results, and vice versa, for there are vibrations far below the 'lowest' we know on earth, and those low vibrations are connected with the lower spheres or realms of darkness, called 'Talas' in The Secret Doctrine and described in The Golden Star, Symphonie Fantastique and other books. The vibration of that which is called Spirit in occultism, is so high or fine, and moves or oscillates at such a fast rate, that it appears not to move at all, just as a rapidly moving wheel seems to be motionless to our eyes. The same applies to the lowest vibrations which are so slow they also seem to be non-existing and motionless. In between these two extremes we find those vibrations we know as light, sound, taste, touch, smell and feeling. These, together with those finer and coarser vibrations beyond the range of our physical senses, constitute a vast web of motion which, in the ultimate, are one and derive from the Life and Light of the Supreme Deity.
Hence, sound is colour and colour is sound, just as smell is taste and both may be realized as touch. It all depends on the type and rapidity of the vibration under consideration and our ability to sense it. Certain vibrations affect the drum of the ear and we call this sound, another set of vibrations affect the optic nerves of the eye and we visualise colour. The same is true of all the other vibrations we are capable of sensing. The 20th century occultist and clairvoyant, Geoffrey Hodson was able to not only hear sound but see the actual colours of the audible sounds, and several psychic musicians have and do possess the same supernormal—but not supernatural—ability which material science calls Chromesthesia. Scientists have evolved several competing theories to explain this ability or condition over the years, but failed to come up with any satisfactory explanation of how or why it works. But you now have the answer. It is simply a matter of tuning in to a higher or lower range of vibrations using the inherent power of the Mind to change material conditions, as we told you in the previous part of this investigation when we discussed the first Hermetic Law—that of Mentalism.
But there is more to vibrations than this, for the knowledge of the appropriate formulae enabled the Initiates of ancient Egypt and other lands to control their own mental vibrations as well as those of others. This is one of the reasons why no genuine teacher has ever, or will ever give out this dangerous knowledge, except to those who have proved their worthiness in every way and have learned to exercise such complete control over their lower nature that no negative thought or desire is allowed to influence them in any way. Natural phenomena such as the weather can also be controlled in this manner, and this was done thousands of years ago by the Druids who once ruled over these islands in wisdom and strict justice. How much we have lost and forgotten since those days and how little—if anything—we have learned or gained!
In parts four and five of this investigation we told you about the doctrine of Regeneration taught by Hermes. Before this can be achieved a man must first have learnt to bring the vibrations of his lower mind into harmony with the Higher, so that both these two natures may be transformed into Cosmic Harmony. The first step in this process is learning to relax the body as we discuss in the penultimate article in our occult studies course, as well as in our article on The Occult Student.
Unless we do learn to relax our body and quieten what has been aptly called the 'monkey mind'—the lower self—we will only succeed in singing out of tune, or meditating out of tune as it were, which is nothing more than an exercise in vocal and mental howling, shrieking, crying and cursing. We can witness just such chaotic performances among the more neurotic Evangelical sects in America, who devoutly believe they are being heard by either God or the devil. Let there be Peace in us, so that the Light can enter our temple of the Self in Silence, and give us harmony and wisdom, guided by Love. Without the Silence of Peace there can be no spiritual power of any sort, and our worldly concerns and duties will suffer accordingly. We have mentioned this simple truth in several of our articles, but it cannot be repeated too often.
So long as the Higher and lower selves have not been brought into harmony, they are still, according to Hermes' wise precepts 'scattered abroad' by their Typhonic passions, and they reside in spiritual death instead of life. The Dawn has not yet come for them, and they rage impotently in the night of terror, amidst the lost souls who know not, nor wish to know, the Way of Escape, weeping in mourning and gnashing their teeth in their fury of frustration. Without the blessings of harmony between the two minds, neither can become an instrument for cosmic music. But once the inner harmony has been attained, there is a change of Gnostic tendency and a marvellous transmutation of the whole nature takes place. The regenerated man or woman discards his or her Typhonic passions and the Titan is transformed into the god, which is the birthright of every human being, should they choose to make themselves worthy of this blessing. This is the simple meaning of the Grand Myth of Prometheus we unveiled to you in our analysis of Shelley's metaphysical drama Prometheus Unbound.
But do not fall into the trap of thinking these passions are really evil for that would be a very grave error indeed; one which religious fanatics and puritans of all times and faiths have committed. Passions are necessary experiences in the nature of man, and woman too, which bring with them a deeper realisation of the Divine Harmony with its sevenfold means of manifestation according to the teachings of Hermes. For the Divine Harmony is the creative instrument of the Divine Energy which perpetually produces its various forms and methods of vibration and creation in full consciousness and so gradually perfects the Mind so that it shall be capable of imaging forth the perfect man, ready to retake his proper place on High, ascending from Sphere to Sphere, or Realm to Realm, until he has attained the Divine Goal, as we discussed long ago in our occult studies course article on Evolution. What we said then is well worth repeating now. "Man is a god in the making whose true destiny is to return to the Divine Source from which he first emerged, enriched with the knowledge and wisdom he has garnered on earth during the many cycles of his incarnations." Read that article if you haven't done so before. Read it in any case for the light it sheds on this present investigation.
It is our passions which, to a large extent, are the means of our salvation, regeneration and eventual liberation from rebirth on Earth. Those of us who travel the path to the Light, whether as neophytes or as experienced wayfarers, must go through a period inimical to our Gnostic rebirth. We are clad in the garments of bitter experience which become rags to our risen mind and consciousness, to be replaced by robes of power and majesty when the battle is won. The sackcloth of the slave is exchanged for the raiment of the King or Queen, and though the new garments are from the same yarn and woven by the same energies of the same loom, the weaver who has changed their texture and design by his own efforts can now follow the Plan of the Great Weaver and enter into the Company of the Blest depicted so truly in Vision Six of The Golden Star.
Anon — The Egyptian Trinity — gouache on board, 1986
The Fourth Universal Hermetic Law is that of Polarity. This law teaches us that everything is dual, and that everything has two poles; positive and negative and that everything has therefore its pair of opposites. These Hermetic axioms can be found in the Poemander and in the Asclepios, which is the source from which the anonymous authors of the Kybalion took them; a fact which anyone may verify but which seems to elude those carping critics who believe the laws described in the Kybalion are invented! Truly, there are none so blind as they who will not see. Sadly there are many such. But our discourse is not addressed to them, nor would they understand it, for as Heraclitus said: "eyes and ears are bad witnesses to men who have not an understanding heart." In this he echoed the Egyptian Sage Ptah-Hetep, who tells us in his Teachings that the fool "looks upon the wise as one who knows nothing, and the qualities of virtue and excellence he considers to be defects. He does every kind of thing that is reprehensible, and these cause him to be abused daily. He lives upon that through which men die, and his bread is the corn of filth and abomination." This was written 6,000 years ago. How little, if anything, has changed!
The Law of Polarity explains the paradox that thesis and antithesis are identical in nature though different in degrees. Pairs of opposites may be and can and should be reconcilable, and therefore it is said that extremes meet. It is also said that everything is and is not at one and the same time, and this will explain some of the apparent contradictions which the beginner in occult studies, or even many experienced occultists, find so difficult to understand. From this it follows that all truths are but half-truths, and that every truth is half false if we do not understand the Law of Polarity. We often hear there are two sides to everything; even a bad penny! Almost everyone is familiar with such sayings. However, they cannot be seen in their right aspect without a full understanding of what a 'Whole Truth' really is. Very few know this, or can grasp it when told as we have pointed out so often in this investigation, as well as in our many articles. Thus, heat and cold are one and the same thing though seemingly opposing one another; it is all a question of degree in both instances, and what may seem to be hot to one person may seem cold to another, and vice versa. One may burn oneself by touching an object that is extremely cold as readily as one that is extremely hot. Neither is there absolute heat or absolute cold, and in the thermometer the two meet, as physics affirms, though we have neither the time nor inclination to explore all the past and present scientific theories behind this. Moreover, heat or cold as we understand them are but rates of vibration (as science is also slowly discovering), thus linking up with the Law of Vibration we discussed earlier. Hence all the phenomena of heat and cold are manifestations of the Hermetic Law of Polarity.
The same applies to light and darkness, to hard and soft, to sharp and dull, noise and silence, high and low, and so on and so forth. All are examples of the Universal Law of Polarity. When we consider the operation of this law on the mental plane we find such things as courage and cowardice, faith and fear, and love and hate, which are all the same. On the spiritual plane we find goodness and evil. All have degrees of intensity too, and in between love and hate, for example, we find mere like and dislike. But the trained Hermeticist knows that we can exchange such opposites by turning hate into love for example, cold into heat or wet into dry. There will be no need to give you further illustrations of this, you will know it yourself by personal experience. When a Hermeticist uses the art of polarisation in the right manner, he is said to employ a sort of mental alchemy. This is quite true if applied to love and hate, faith and fear, etc. Our regular readers will not be surprised to learn that the key to the change of mental and spiritual manipulation is Inner Peace. This enables one to send forth love towards hatred, subtly changing it into love, whereas evil can be influenced by good if there is the slightest spark of goodness in the evil one, which there surely must be, for in evil too there is the opposite polarity of good present, or else that hatred could not be manifested. If you have never thought about polarity before, what we have put before you may give you a fresh view on the subject if you will keep in mind the rules we have mentioned above.
It would enable you to make a Gnostic change by means of the great and better mind influencing the lesser and not so good one. It enables the Hermeticist to strip off vice from the lower mind of another person, for, as Hermes has said, once all wrong thinking and action has been stripped from the one who has gone astray, he or she will be regenerated in the highest sense and enabled to enter the realms of Light, there to dwell with the Blessed in Paradise. To do this for another is the work of the true Master; the reward is Within, but it is a very great reward indeed. To save but one single soul brings Heaven nearer to the Earth, and the saviour becomes an Angel in Heaven. He who surrenders himself or herself to the divine Powers becomes one with them and dwells in the Kingdom of God the Father and the Mother. This is 'gaining Gnosis,' and there is nothing more sublime and wonderful. This is the change of Gnostic tendency which is wrought in the nature of one who passes from stage to stage, away from the ordinary man who has no time for such things. Hermes calls this 'The procession of Fate,' which is within the grasp of all who wish to qualify for this immense elevation, which leads manhood to Godhood.
Hermes teaches that if we attain this pious goal, we shall both nobly live and happily depart from this dream of life upon Earth. For we will no longer be ignorant of our destination nor the way to reach it. Hermes further teaches that every thing and every being is in a constant state of change; but all things are not capable of being dissolved, though many things are solvable. That which can be dissolved can also be destroyed; only the permanent is eternal. Nothing in the domain of matter is dissolvable; all that is of the Spirit is eternal. Not every animal is mortal, nor is every animal immortal. By this Hermes means the Spirit of man—what we call the Higher Self—is immortal, but not the inner selves of animals, which possess only a lower mind. Yet this too is capable of evolution, as is the case with the lower mind of man, and hence possesses the potential for immortality as Flitterflop and Bombast learned in their fourth Astral Conversation about consciousness after death.
Whatever is born on earth is destroyed in the end, and material things can and do return to their primal essences, and float away into non-being so far as their original form is concerned. Thus: all that is irrational is mortal; only the essence of things, its rational part, is immortal, for there is no true ultimate death for even the lowest being or for the material essence, which will appear in another form or shape in later times. There is no death in God's Universe, only change, as we have often told you. Only the Essence of Spirit and Matter is therefore free from change. All that exists is twofold; Matter and Spirit, Heat and Cold, Male and Female. Duality is shown in that Soul moves everything, but not everything is moved by the Soul; for there is acquiescence and resistance, free will being the great Law, its contrary being slavery. And all this is the result of the operation of the Hermetic Law of Polarity.
Hermes further teaches that all that suffers is sensible; but not all that is sensible, or known to the senses, suffers. All that feels pain also suffers pleasure, or can do so under the right conditions of mind and body. There are also the polarities of health and disease; reason and insanity; of folly and wisdom. Nothing within the body is true; all that is free from the body is free from untruth. The lower mind can suffer; the Soul and Higher Mind are free from pain. Naught is good on earth; all is good in Heaven; for illusions can never be good since they are contrary to Truth, which shows their polarities most clearly. The Laws of the Universe are always good; the laws of man are faulty and can be twisted and changed at the will of the cunning and unscrupulous. In Heaven all is free from change; all that exists below is for ever changing. No being in Heaven is a slave; no man on earth is free from the oppression and persecution of others, animals or men, or even from the elements which are fixed according to the laws but rage at will in their fury. Nothing can not be known in Heaven; nothing can be known on earth, for there hangs a veil between Truth and Vision which few can penetrate; so the Law of Polarity holds good in this regard too.
Is the operation of this law so very obvious to you? Then why did you not think of all these things before, bringing them before the seat of reason, which is of the lower mind, which cannot solve anything at all though it may seem to do so? Why not ask the Soul to instruct your Higher Mind by inspiration, so that the curtain of vision will fade, and Light show the Truth of all Polarities? For the things and thoughts of the earth, which are the things and thoughts of the lower mind, do not consort with heavenly things. All things in Heaven are free from blame; all things on earth are blameworthy, no matter how excellent they may seem to be at times. For the immortal is not mortal; nor is the mortal immortal. That which is sown does not invariably come up; but that which comes up must invariably have been sown. All this is the teaching of Hermes the Divine—the Thrice Great—on the Law of Polarity. A law the carping critics we mentioned earlier believe to be a chimera; a 'New Age' fiction dreamed up by some idealistic mystic, the same as the rest of the Laws of Hermes we have discussed with you so far and will discuss further in the subsequent parts of this investigation. It is up to you to choose; will it be the Wisdom of Hermes or the follies of men? And as you choose so will your polarities change for good or ill.
All that we have quoted can be found in the Poemander which further tells us that there are two periods assigned to every dissolvable body; from its sowing to its birth, and from its birth to its death, but the Divine Soul has one Period only, which is from birth to Eternity and Everlastingness. We are also told that God is the Good that naught can change and Man is the bad that can be changed. Could anything be clearer than these sublime teachings? Such Wisdom was already ancient 10,000 or even 100,000 years ago, but so very applicable now. Here follows a very important teaching which we have rendered in our own words. Avoid conversation with the many on these things, but don't keep them selfishly to yourself either, if you can help someone in need of the Wisdom of Hermes. For the like is acceptable to the like, but the unlike dislike it; another example of polarity. Very few will listen to these words, being immersed in the sea of their own folly and too impatient to learn the truth. And it is even likely that the 'few' will be notable by their non-existence! For all that is animal in man—our old friend the lower self with all its passions that we mentioned earlier—is more prone to bad than good, because it is in love with it. Now, if this animal should learn that the Universe is subject to genesis, polarity and strict laws, and that all things come and go according to Foreknowledge and by Necessity, as if Fate were ruling all, in no time at all the animal would grow even worse than it is now, thinking in scorn of the whole Universe as being subject to genesis, polarity, law and fate, and unto Fate referring all causes of that which is bad, and he would never cease from every evil deed, those, according to his animal reason, being preordained by Destiny and inescapable.
Hence the wise should take care who they impart their knowledge to, in order that being left in ignorance, the animalistic man or woman may, perhaps, become less bad through fear of the unknown. Such is the great Teaching of Hermes the Divine to his son Tat on the Law of Polarity, as well as other good things. We have done our level best to render his words with the maximum simplicity and clarity so that no one is left in any doubt of their true import, though to some they will sound like impenetrable mysteries couched in some archaic tongue. But are not the very heavens full of mysteries in the form of the untold millions of stars which soften the darkness of night with their splendour? Is not God Himself the greatest Mystery of all? Many people think that where there is mystery there must also be evil. Such are those who rail against the secrecy with which the Wise have ever guarded their Arcana, thinking in their dire ignorance that there can never be any good reason for keeping anything secret. We answered this complaint in our Occult Faq so will not repeat ourselves.
We would say that mystery is the great chain of causes and effects, which, linking one to another, even to the throne of God Himself, can never be entirely unravelled by the mind of man, however wise or knowledgeable he may be. And the mysteries of nature and of man are not lessened, but increased by the discoveries of science and philosophy, if by philosophy we mean inspired wisdom. But though mystery is often the antagonist of truth, some of it is not beyond the power of human thought or penetration, and the mystery of the Bible should teach us, at one and the same time, our nothingness and our greatness, producing humility and animating hope. And Hermes is the Master of Masters who, more than any other Teacher, past or present, can unveil the mystery of the Universal Hermetic Laws, so that we may apply them to draw ever nearer to the First and Last of all Mysteries, which is God, the Father‒Mother‒Son; as the real Holy Trinity was known in ancient Egypt. At one time this was embodied in the Gods Osiris, Isis and Horus, at others, by Ptah, Sekhmet and Iu-em-Hetep—the Prince of Peace, and in later times, by Amen-Ra, Mut and their son, Khonsu. But names do not matter; these were all handles employed at different periods in Egypt's long history for different purposes. The actual Eternal Principles concealed behind the screen of illusion, even as the Higher Self of man is so concealed, never varied at any time, for how can the Divine Truths ever change?
In our next instalment we consider the Hermetic Laws of Rhythm and Cause and Effect and hope to learn more of the Wisdom of Hermes the Thrice Great.
© Copyright occult-mysteries.org. First published 21 December 2020. Updated 24 December 2022.