Hermeticism and Me | The Principle of Polarity


Lethe (Photo credit: Sasha Chaitow)

“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 Kybalion.

This is by far one of my favourite principles, because of its simplicity and complexity of duality, polarity and living your life through paradoxical means. This principle does not embody the idea of opposing factors that aren’t fully connected, but rather that these opposites need each other to function. They balance one another out, so in a way they are identical in nature, as mentioned above.

Exempli gratia, black and white. For the magician, black and white have highly significant connotations to ritual or qabalah. They are never seen as separate poles, as each physical pillar holds complex symbols that cannot be charged without the other. You can’t work one kind of magick, without being taught how to work another kind, you need both. The same goes for understanding both light and dark energies, as they are both needed to be understood in order to fully work one or the other. It’s lovely spending your whole life wanting nothing but the light, but you have had to experience the dark at some point in order to fully experience the light, or vice versa.

Think of polarity as a paradox: how can you truly indicate where happiness stops and anger begins? You can argue that in order to feel a shift from one emotion to the other, there is a halfway point, but there isn’t a true indicator of how and when you physically change. You merely stop yourself laughing, and then head down the other end of the pole, to anger, and vice versa. You are still on the metaphorical pole.

The principle itself presents the idea that instead of separating one thing from the other, you must realise and accept that they are in fact made of the same stuff, and they live coherently with one another. This is the beauty of old ideals, before the rise of modern religions separated good and evil. The night is always darkest before the dawn is one quotation I’ve grown up remembering. Wherever one element is, its polar (pole) opposite isn’t far away.

One way to put this into a magickal context, at least for my own study over the last decade comes from the idea of discipline. I have dedicated my life to living, and in order to do so I’ve had to make a lot of choices I wouldn’t normally like to think about doing. When I first started practicing I was doing the odd spell here and there, without really committing myself to a regular regime, and nor did I fully understand the implications of what I was doing. I was 11/12 years old after all. It took me another year, when I was 13 to stop practising spells and spend the year studying and writing. After that, I made it a personal mission to spend at least 50% of my time studying witchcraft, and 50% practising it. The benefits were amazing, and it was all down to be able to understand the physical nature of spiritual truth, and experiencing spiritual connectedness by understanding magick. I’ve stuck to that plan my whole magickal life, so you can imagine my shock when I came across the Kybalion and read this principle.

I guess all I can say about this axiom is, don’t spend your time trying to separate or runaway from something that seems wrong, especially as a lot of pagans are quick to judge those who follow “apparently” darker paths. You may need to experience the dark side once in a while in order to reap the benefits of the light. At the same time, practice and study, even when you don’t want to. If you put in the effort during those hard times, it will save you having to catch up later on, and you will be more blessed. Its polarity + common sense + discipline = ultimate flexibility.

In LVX and NOX, 93s

Past posts in the series:

I had a huge break as so much was going on at the time, and then I lost the rest of the  posts I was hoping to edit and publish. All will open in new windows.

Hermeticism and Me | The Hermetic Principles – August 2012

Hermeticism and Me | The Principle of Mentalism – August 2012

Hermeticism and Me | The Principle of Correspondence – August 2012

Hermeticism and Me | The Principle of Vibration – September 2012


Hermeticism and Me | The Principle of Vibration


“Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.”–The Kybalion.

This Principle embodies the truth that “everything is in motion”; “everything vibrates”; “nothing is at rest”; facts which Modern Science endorses, and which each new scientific discovery tends to verify. And yet this Hermetic Principle was enunciated thousands of years ago, by the Masters of Ancient Egypt. This Principle explains that the differences between different manifestations of Matter, Energy, Mind, and even Spirit, result largely from varying rates of Vibration. From THE ALL, which is Pure Spirit, down to the grossest form of Matter, all is in vibration–the higher the vibration, the higher the position in the scale. The vibration of Spirit is at such an infinite rate of intensity and rapidity that it is practically at rest–just as a rapidly moving wheel seems to be motionless. And at the other end of the scale, there are gross forms of matter whose vibrations are so low as to seem at rest. Between these poles, there are millions upon millions of varying degrees of vibration… An understanding of this Principle, with the appropriate formulas, enables Hermetic students to control their own mental vibrations as well as those of others. The Masters also apply this Principle to the conquering of Natural phenomena, in various ways. “He who understands the Principle of Vibration, has grasped the sceptre of power,” says one of the old writers.

~ taken from The Kybalion, by the Three Initiates.

Vibrations are in everything. If you think about the first two principles, then this principle should be easy enough to grasp. We are connected to THE ALL, and we work with its energies through Correspondence, but now we are looking into how and what that energy does. Another point would run along the lines of how much a tiny droplet expands to make a large ripple, like I said; “as above so below, so below as above.” What you affect down here on the physical planes causes a ripple on the spiritual plane. Vibrations are in every macro or micro form on the planet and in the Universe, and all we need to ultimately do is be aware of them in order to work with them, or use particular vibrations for our Will.

When people say that everything has an energy signature, a vibration or in some cases a ripple of life, in some way they are referring to this principle by its understanding. I am someone who firmly believes that this vibration, this energy is something I need to feel and understand. That is the first stage of magickal manifestation in my mind. I used to sit at the local park reading books or writing whatever was on my mind. I would be aware of the colours around me, the grass and the height of the trees. I would notice people, notice how their clothing would blow in the wind. Once I became aware of my surroundings I would hone in on perhaps one minute detail in nature. If you look at a blade of grass you notice how still it is, how green, how alive or dying it is. The more you think about it, the deeper you delve into its metaphoric chasm the deeper you are letting your vibrations manifest, through Mentalism. The vibrations are the energies you concentrate on, you make them deeper, bigger, wider or smaller thus using them for your own Will.

In a better sense, you learn to become aware of your surroundings, aware of the vibrations and aware of how they work. If you don’t understand where energies come from and how they manifest, how do you expect to perform a spell successfully? You won’t have the control because you didn’t know or realise what other energies could manipulate your desire.  In the sense of the Kabbalah, you are taught to work with the base energies, the base metals of the mind first. Once you have grasped them and the teachings behind them you can move onto the next step on the ladder. The better you grasp each of these steps, the closer to magickal working and enlightenment you will become. Nothing should go wrong when working magick once you understand the concept of a working itself. Vibrations vibrate in everything, from the large to the small.

One small practice i would suggest is using crystals. Lie on your back and put the appropriate crystals on the appropriate chakra areas. Baring in mind there are more than seven, so stick with the popular upper 3 or 4 points. Once you have one or several crystals on your body just zone out. Relax and begin to meditate by concentrating on the breath. Slow normal breaths. Once you feel relaxed enough, which should take seconds to adjust, hone in one or all of the crystals. Feel their vibration as they connect with your personal vibrations. Are you feeling it? Good, you are manifesting energy that can be used for magick. That is the feeling you should get when working with crystals or performing healing sessions. If you don’t feel it, keep practising. When I meditate like that the crystals move slowly from side to side, never up and down always to a beat of 2 or 4. For some people it feels different. Just be aware of the subtle energies and you can’t go wrong.

Hopefully that makes sense =]

Sy, x


Sy Calaelen 2007 – With Crystals