The Hermetic Principles—The Principle of Polarity

The Hermetic Principles—The Principle of Polarity

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.