The Seven Hermetic Principles

Understanding the Hermetic Principles

What are Hermetic Principles?

Just as there are metaphysical laws, there is also what is termed the Hermetic Principles. In 1912 a book was published by three initiates and was called “The Kybalion.” This book outlined what has become known as the Hermetic Principles.

These principles are essential in all aspects of the New Age movement. From Paganism to airy-fairy New Agers, these ideas are now all but mainstream. Some would even argue that at this point, they are mainstream!

Let’s take a quick look at these seven principles and see how they apply to Pagans and New Agers alike.

Principle of Mentalism

Everything in the Universe is a creation of The All. 

The all refers to God, the higher power, cosmic consciousness, universal consciousness, and other names you wish to call it. You are part of the Divine Mind, and I am part of the Divine Mind. Regardless of what we choose to call good and evil, it still all exists within the Divine Mind.

The primary principle of the Divine Mind is that of creation. Some would say we are co-creators with the Divine. Another way is saying it is whatever goes into your mind, automatically enters the Universal Mind. Whatever comes into the Universal Mind begins and becomes part of the process of creation.

Whatever we think, in truth, is being conceived in the Divine mind. Whatever is believed in the Divine Mind becomes part of the process of creation.

Principle of Correspondence

As above, so below; as below, so above.

This idea piggybacks off what was just being discussed. One impacts the other. What occurs in Divine Mind affects us here in the physical world, and what we do, think, and feel impacts what happens in the Divine Mind.

This principle is fundamental in most magick traditions. Sympathetic magick works off this principle. If I want to bring money into my life, I can use a blank check and fill it in, for example, representing that idea coming into fruition. The correspondence of a filled-in check for a large amount of money is aligned with the Universal concept of prosperity.

In other words, a correspondence carries with it energy. This energy can be used to enhance any spell work or visualization work that is being done. Thus, you’ll see correspondences for astrology, colors, angels, tarot cards, runes, alphabets, etc. In astrology, the planet Jupiter represents good luck, expansion, education, travel, and prosperity. Thus, a spell that includes the symbol of the planet Jupiter will be focusing on one of these concepts. Using the symbol of the planet, one is tapping in, via correspondence, to the energy associated with that planet.

The other aspect of this principle deals with the idea of cycles and patterns—all periods and trends within the world repeat on a smaller scale within the context of our lives. Birth to death is one example and perhaps the most extreme. All things in our world are born, grow, and eventually die. It can’t be escaped. There is a time to plant seeds, a time for growing them, and a time to harvest them. This correspondence to planting thoughts, working on them, and reaping the rewards that come from planting them.

Principle of Vibration

Nothing rests; everything vibrates.

The idea of vibration is very familiar to most in New Age and Pagan circles. Everything has a vibration. 

Nothing is actually in a state of motionlessness. This includes the tangible things we can see with our naked eyes and abstract ideas that we cannot.

A person can learn to control their own vibration. They can learn to match their vibration to those things and principles they desire to demonstrate or show in life.

Every room you enter has a vibration. Sometimes these vibrations don’t feel right. Sometimes the vibrations of other people don’t feel good. Most sensitive people or empaths will recognize such energy differences, and they will tend to avoid these locations or people. It’s also possible, however, to change your vibration and put out loving vibrations to counter those with which you encounter.

You can also focus on a concept, idea, or thought, and that focus will, in effect, change or alter your vibration. So, for example, if you want to own a new TV, think about the new TV. Think about what it looks like. Go to a Best Buy or other electronic store to see it, touch it, and so forth. This will alter your vibration and, more than likely, help to bring that into your life.

Likewise, if you want to be more loving or forgiving, you can focus on a person that you know who is very warm or forgiving. Focusing on them will tune your vibration to their vibration and help bring those particular qualities more easily into your life.

Principle of Polarity

Everything is dual; everything has poles. Everything has its pair of opposites.

All things, according to this principle, have two poles. Two extremes, if you will. Most of life lies between those two extremes, and we determine how we interact with something by the nature of the choices we make.

For example, – the abstract idea of love ranges from utter hatred to unconditional love. Most of us do not utterly hate someone or unconditionally love someone. Still, we choose to relate to them somewhere between those two extremes. However, through the power of will and choice, we can move either direction towards one of the extremes all the way up to and including the extreme.

Another example, though very controversial, is the idea of sexual orientation. All the way from asexual (nonsexual, no interest) to straight (only interested in people of the opposite gender.) Though we can choose to be at one of the extremes, most people actually end up being between the two extremes. A straight person may still find members of their own gender attractive, even if they don’t want to sleep with them. A homosexual person may see members of the opposite gender beautiful, even if they don’t sleep with them. Some people are bi-sexual, which is again in the middle of the spectrum.

Another example is good and evil. There are degrees of good and evil. What one person may consider good or even just, another person may find to be corrupt and very unjust.

The point is, the principle of polarity implies that nothing is black or white, but there are lines of gray that we always must be aware of. A mystical seeker (including Pagans and New Agers) needs to look for balance in life.

Principle of Rhythm

Everything flows, out and in; everything has its tides…

It’s essential to understand everything in our world happens in tides. There is a high tide and a low tide. Energy moves along from low to high back to low again. The words low and high are merely used as examples here and are not meant to indicate one time is better than others.

Let’s take a relationship – something most people are interested in or familiar with. There is a high tide: meeting someone, getting to know them, the honeymoon effect – and low tide: getting used to annoying habits, not having much to talk about, boredom, not as exciting or passionate. This is normal in any given relationship and will happen in most relationship UNLESS we alter it through will and choice.

Even then, things flow in tides. The old saying “This too shall pass” is basically a summarization of this principle of rhythm. We must learn to flow with the rhythm and tides and not against them.

This principle also encompasses moon cycles, seasonal changes, and all other cycles.

People have personal cycles, which would be wise for them to be aware of. Certain times of the year, days, hours, etc., you may find yourself feeling a certain way. If you notice this is consistent, you have discovered a powerful piece of information – a rhythm in your own life – that you can use to consider when doing and planning things.

For example: If you know that after a specific time you zone out or become grouchy, it would be wise to end all social contact before that time. If you know there are certain hours when you are more productive, it would be prudent to plan your most challenging work experiences (if possible) around those times.

Principle of Gender

Gender is in everything; everything has its Masculine and Feminine Principles.

All things contain both the masculine and feminine. While one may dominate, both are still present. Likewise, just like with polarity, we can move between those two extremes by choice and will.

Also, however, there is an idea of generative and receptivity that is part of this principle. In our physical world, we consider masculine generative and feminine receptive. When masculine and feminine energy interacts with each other, it is highly creative. Just think of a pregnancy – it typically comes about because of a male/female interaction.

By being aware of which gender principle is dominating, we can use the opposing gender principle to counterbalance the effects. This is a well-known principle in Feng Shui and interior decorating, but can even become important in diplomatic conversations. Knowing if you need to approach a situation with more masculine or feminine energy can significantly affect how a particular interaction plays out.

Let’s also not forget that various symbols are attributed, by correspondence, to masculine or feminine energy. When you combine water and an athame or wand, for example, you are causing masculine and feminine energy to interact with each other – this becoming highly charged and creative. This energy can then be used to strengthen visualizations, intentions, or spell work.

Principle of Cause and Effect

Every cause has its effect; every effect has its cause…

This is, in essence, the Golden Rule. Whatever we put out comes back to us. Everything that occurs in our life is because of an effect that we have initiated in some manner. With this principle, we are taught the importance of taking responsibility for our thoughts, feelings, actions, and, indeed, lives.

It’s essential to understand the creative power of the Universal Mind does not judge. It merely puts into a creation that which we send to it. We send energy to this creative mind by:

  • Thinking
  • Feeling
  • Acting
  • Watching TV/Movie
  • Listening to Music and the Radio
  • Reading
  • Playing
  • Interacting with People
  • and the list goes on and on.

When things occur in our life, we must think back and consider why those things are happening. To not put the responsibility on someone else and say, “it’s because of them!!!” but to say, “I am responsible for this, and I am going to choose to make different choices moving forward.”


Like Metaphysical Laws or even the Ten Commandments, the Seven Hermetic Principles offer guidance and wisdom. They are intended to make us think and help us realize certain “truths” as they are applied to the physical world we live in and even the world beyond this one. Through learning and mastering them, we are capable of taking a higher degree of control over our lives and thus truly create and live the life we want.

Posted in New Age Spirituality.