In an effort to distill the wisdoms found within old Hermetic axioms, we’re publishing a series of blog posts that dive into the theme of Hermetic Principles. We’ve shared about the Principle of Gender, and now we’ll cover 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 Kybalion.
Within this text, we find a designation of things as similar, if not identical, in their essence. Yet they differ in their expression, or rather, they are ‘different in degree’. What this is pointing to, is the similarity amongst what may feel like opposites.
There’s a kindred ‘sameness’ amongst two things that feel like they’re fundamentally different. Alas, they’re born of the same cloth, if you will. An example that is offered to explain this concept, is the notion of hot and cold. While, on one hand, someone may think these two are opposite, in reality, they are both temperatures. In their most fundamental definition, they are different degrees of the same thing; temperature.
The Middle Way
The principle of Polarity calls into view the notion of the middle way. There’s a path of reconciliation, of harmony, of balance and equilibrium. This is the path we are called to walk. What we can learn from this Principle is that there’s a gradual nature of how things slide along their spectrum of expression.
When we speak of temperature, for instance, we have varying degrees on the spectrum of cold to hot. Of course, there are incremental and gradual differentiations along the path from hot to cold. These gradual changes, especially closer to the center of this spectrum, are key to understanding the notion of equilibrium and balance. If we are able to understand, through the placement of both extremes on either end of the Polarity, we can then choose the centered route of neutrality and balance. Oftentimes, as you may come to realize, the path of the middle way is found through employing the Principle of Polarity to bring imbalance back into balance.
Now that we’ve gone over the basics around Hermetic Principles, it’s time we start diving into some of the specific Principles as reviewed in “The Kybalion”. For our second blog post within this series, we’ll discuss the Principle of Gender.
“Gender is in everything; everything has its Masculine and Feminine Principles; Gender manifests on all planes.”–The Kybalion.
When we speak about the principle of Gender, we may likely find ourselves navigating within the sensitive nature of gender identity. Above all else, we care that these conversations empower and uplift all. This is why this blog post will begin with that precise reminder; these teachings are designed to empower individuals to express themselves authentically in service toward the uniqueness we’re all designed to express in this world! Also, the purity of these teachings are important to maintain as they give us a solid foundation to orient ourselves when we are confused about where to go next. In this way, we can ensure that all folks stay empowered as creators of their reality.
Humans are born as two different genders, male and female, as so proven by biology and that the science of this is accurate. Of course, each individual has the freedom to express themselves as whatever (i.e. gender, sexual orientation, etc.) or whoever brings them the most joy. However, the foundational physicality or starting point is that we are all born either male or female and that there are real differences in that foundation. If you go for gender reassignment surgery, the first thing the doctor needs to know is where s/he is starting from. Hermetics creates this clarity.
What we seek to bridge is the gap that is sometimes found between our physical reality, and our mental thoughts around it. This gap, which forms a disconnection from our physical reality, can create undue stress and mental health issues. In order to stay balanced in our creative capacities and in order to achieve self-mastery, it would behoove us to understand the Principle of Gender.
Masculine & Feminine Differentiation
What we are speaking of, in this regard, are the components necessary for creation. In order to create, our universe needs an interplay between the masculine and feminine energies. These two distinct qualities come together to come alive. The expressions of these qualities come in many different shapes and sizes, textures and colors.
Perhaps we can understand these qualities of energy in different ways. Ultimately, the qualities of masculine and feminine are not exactly opposites of each other, they are simply different. They are distinct from one another. Within the Hermetic teachings, we find that men can’t take action on what hasn’t been birthed. Women have to birth it first. Otherwise the energy won’t be there. After all, we are experiencing ourselves within a feminine Universe, where the feminine came first in the design. While both are necessary for creation, the feminine recognized the need for the masculine in order to create. Therefore, the masculine is here to serve the feminine. Human kind is here to serve the Goddess, the beloved planet we get to call home for now. We, as a human family, are only here because of Her.
There you have it, an overview of the Principle of Gender, which permeates all we know and all we do! May this information serve to empower you in your embodiment and expression of the qualities of gender.
Alright, so everyone’s pretty familiar with the age-old archetypal relationship between student and teacher. The transference of key teachings, bestowed upon the student by the teacher, becomes a vehicle for the ongoing circulation of ancient wisdom.
Arguably the most valuable of ancient wisdom we have access to today are the Hermetic Teachings. Why, might you ask? Well, these teachings can be traced back as source code material for nearly all esoteric and ancient teachings, from every people, on every continent. Indeed, that’s a wide range.
In a reverent dedication to Hermes Trismegistus, three investigative students created a piece of work that has become a very powerful resource. This work is called “The Kybalion”, and it offers a summary of the teachings most fundamental. These teachings are the Hermetic Principles, and they’ve been promulgated through this treatise by the Three Initiates (whose identity spur their own air of mystery) since 1908. This crucial source of ancient wisdom has been a doorway for students of life to enter into a whole new way of living. So, are you ready to approach this door? Through this threshold awaits a new way of seeing, doing and believing.
Of course, as with most things in life, it’s important to embody one’s learned wisdom. So, you’re encouraged to read up about these Principles and then explore what it looks like to experience the understanding of them as a felt sense.
The propagation of these teachings is key for the ongoing development of an empowered populace. So, it’s only important to study these teachings insofar as the seeds they carry can be sown in the fertile ground of your mind and heart. Only then, when these seeds can germinate within you, can they grow to become mature and actualized. Only then, will you become a walking expression of the Arcane Truths.
Throughout the next few blog posts, we’ll explore the Principles and how you may notice their presence in your life. Once you enable the witness to really acknowledge the Principles at play, you’re free to play! Witnessing and observing (as with most things) comes first. So, enjoy the next few blog posts where we’ll dive deeper into the Principles.
Magic is a word that comes up in a lot of moments and places, and everybody seems to mean the same thing, but in a slightly different way. When I started writing this blog post, I immediately thought, “Let’s write out a working definition of magic for the blog,” which then I realized could span an entire blog itself. Instead, I’d like to share three of the many moments in history we’ve tried to define what magic really is.
One of the most prominent groups in recent history to brush up against “magic” was the Judeo-Christian community in the heart of the Roman empire. In an attempt to stand out from the other Pagan monotheistic movements, early Judeo-Christians drew a line in the sand between Godly miracles and supernatural phenomena. Later, Christianity assumed a major role in modern intellectual history (the last 800 years) and ultimately re-shaped our social conception of the supernatural’s role in our lives: banishing superstition to the realms of irrationality and further distancing the Church from its Pagan cousins. The Enlightenment was one of the many attempts to draw a line between religion and superstition (magic, and other “unchristian” practices).
A second attempt to define magic comes from the annals of western anthropology. For at least a hundred years, anthropologists in the west had attempted to create prescriptive and descriptive cultural models to make sense of the cultures they encountered along the path of colonialism. The concerted effort to create a working definition of religion brought light to exactly how blurry the categories between the mundane, the magical, and the religious really were. The deeper some scholars dug into the question of how to define magic and the supernatural, the more their subject matter and subjects blurred into shades of ambiguity and paradox.
A third worldview that has made attempts at defining magic is the scientific community. There is a considerable segment of scientific literature that specifically engages and challenges religious pseudoscience and the supernatural. The current milieu of scientific skepticism relate to the supernatural/magical effect on reality as lacking a causative force, thus magic does not exist. Take the James Randi’s prescriptive definition of magic:
“An attempt to supplant natural processes and events by means of incantations, spells and/or offerings. Approximated by conjuring and often attempted by prayer. Magic and science are exact opposites in every way. Magic can be divided into three very general categories: divinatory (determining hidden information), sympathetic (affecting some aspect of nature by performing upon a similar object/person/symbol), and ritual (reciting a prayer, incantation, charm, or carrying out an accepted formality).”
Randi’s definition of magic hinges upon the idea that magic tampers with the “natural” world. In a sense, Randi’s prescribed types of magic (divinatory, sympathetic, and ritual) all focus on causative “if a then b” changes. There is nothing wrong with Randi’s definition. However, while I cannot speak for the vast diversity of people and schools who work with magic, very few schools of thought can look at Randi’s definition and say “yes, this is what we do and how we do it.” Prescriptive definitions often struggle to model the phenomena it seeks to study. Considering how slippery and general the term magic is, it only makes the scientific definition, modeling and creation of methods incredibly challenging.
Obviously this post is incredibly brief, and over the next few weeks, you’ll see me exploring these topics in the next three blog posts. I’d like to put a disclaimer here that I’m learning about these subjects with you, dear reader. This series of magical history is my way of sharing what I’ve learned but also exposing myself to new interesting sources and theories that cross my path. Please share interesting historical sources and tidbits of fact you find with me!
The fields we touch on are vast, with foundations of knowledge beyond a single person’s scope of thought, and as I grow and learn, I’ll do my best to articulate that in future posts. I think of these posts as foundational musings, a way for me to have a common vocabulary with you in the future.