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The most important injunction on the spiritual path of the ancient Mysteries was ascribed over the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi: Gnothi Seauton— “Know Thy Self.”  The initiates of the ancient Mysteries were after Gnosis, which meant the knowledge of self knowledge, the knowledge of the “Who Am I?”.

Hermeticism was named after the Great Founder of Hermetic Philosophy, Hermes Trismegistus, “the Chosen of the Gods”, who lived in ancient Egypt when the current race was in its infancy. In ancient Egypt, the study of the occult was the privilege of the priests and Pharaohs. It was precisely there that Hermes Trismegistus appeared. He is considered the father of modern occultism and the one who synthesized Hermetic Philosophy upon seven principles called the Seven Hermetic Principles. They form the basis of occultism and are the “key” to all phenomena.

  1. The principle of Mentalism  – The all is Mind; The Universe is Mental.”
  2. The principle of Correspondence – “As above so below; as below so above” 
  3. The principle of Vibration – “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.” 
  5. The principle of Rhythm – “Everything floats 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 swing to the left; rhythm compensates.”
  6. 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 a Law not recognized; there are many planes of causation, but nothing escapes the Law.”
  7. The principle of Generation/Gender – “Gender is in everything; everything has its Masculine and Feminine Principles; Gender manifests on all planes”

The Institute gradually examines each of these seven principles throughout our course of study, explaining and enlarging upon each one.

Hermetic Philosophy basically studies the relationship of man’s mental and subjective processes. In the first place, it advocates self-knowledge, so that the individual can attain a psychic equilibrium and a relative moral and spiritual perfection, but without neglecting his material fulfillment. This philosophy is eminently practical, for it not only helps the individual to clarify his mental panorama but also brings about decisive changes in his psychological consciousness. Thus it stimulates and develops his intelligence until it attains a new dimension that is more complete, more human and more realistic, this dimension having application both to himself and to the Universe.

The Hermetic tradition began as an eclectic grab-bag of Egyptian mythology, neo-Platonic philosophy, Gnostic theology, Hebraic folklore, and Zoroastrian magic, all of which were synthesized in the second to fourth centuries by a group of writers in the eastern Mediterranean. The most important of these writers was the possibly apocryphal Hermes Trismegistus, “thrice-great Hermes”.

Alchemy

So for even the uninitiated it should be obvious that Alchemy is not concerned with the transmutation of base metals to gold, but to the attainment of spiritual enlightenment through the exaltation of the subtle self. The Emerald tablet formulates the Hermetic axiom, “As above so below.” so now, although the origins of Hermeticism are obscure, the resultant system of “magick” is the fruit of the tree germinated from that root.

“Well this life is just a dream and it doesn’t matter what I do anyway, I’m not real.” Now although that statement isn’t entirely false it certainly isn’t entirely true. As a matter of fact, from the absolute point of view, it’s entirely true. We exist in the mind of The All as a dream or result of meditation, We are finite created forms, in the mental universe created in the mind of The All. In the mind of The All. is the absolute reality of existence and in the finite mind of man we find relative perception of the universe.

There have been many great masters incarnate in this plane, whose talents have been as to the talents of gods to the rest of us, and there are higher beings whose talents and skills, are as gods compared to the greatest masters and adepts. These masters and beings are bound by the laws of the relative universe, as they also are not The All. So imagine the presumption of you and I, thinking to deny these laws, making the universe a dreamland where we are as gods… The master transmutates, using higher law against lower, never repressing or denying but transcending. When we ascend and The All. draws us into itself, only then are we part of the absolute formula of the universe. All is in The All., The All. is in all… “While all is in The All., it is equally true that The All. is in all, To him who truly understands this truth hath come great knowledge”–The Kybalion