The Seven Hermetic Principles (Laws), Part III



The fourth Principle, as stated from The Kybalion by Three Initiates:


“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.”

Our universe is based on contrast. Although our true identity exists in Oneness, we (humanity) have opted to play in the realms of polarity: good-bad; birth-death; love-hate, etc. This is an interesting Principle because it offers us contrast, while stating that opposites  are actually the  same … only different. For me, this principle allows us to view our lives through a softer lens. That is, if we are able to recognize that all manifested things in our universe have two sides (polar opposites) … but on a continuum, not an either or basis, we are then able to choose to move towards or away from things.

Where would the entertainment industry be without this principle? The movies are great for illustrating this Hermetic  law. In the early days of moviemaking, the good guy wore a white hat, was totally heroic and always won. The bad guy wore black, looked unsavory, and was equally as evil as the good guy was saintly.  As audiences became more mature, they grew out of the unrealistic portrayal of absolute good and absolute bad. This forced filmmakers to develop  heroes and heroines  who were not as pristine as the original ‘good guys,’ thus allowing ‘bad guys’ to evolve as well. Villains now appear on the screen in degrees of goodness and wickedness. In many films we can actually see good moving along the polarity toward bad, and sometimes we are shown the very moment when the  character makes a choice toward the negative pole, giving us a clear picture of the Principle of Polarity in action.

A classic example of this principle is seen in The Star Wars Trilogy. We can watch as Anakin Skywalker makes consecutive choices towards the negative pole, moving from good, as a Jedi Knight, to evil, becoming  Darth Vader. An important aspect in the principle of polarity is that we can always choose again. Star Wars illustrates this as Darth Vader reverses polarities at the end of the trilogy, claiming his identity as the noble Jedi Warrior he once was.

This principle is not just for entertainment, of course. It is for our evolution into wakefulness.  As we understand this law, we are able to make more intelligent choices for ourselves. We can  no longer limit ourselves with inflexibility by saying things are either good or bad. We can look at both ends … observing the gray area which seems to move toward or away from one pole or the other. Looking at this spectrum, we can see there is no moment where good suddenly becomes bad or vice versa. It is a gradual change in perception. We can use this principle of polarity any time we’d like to assess our movement and motivations in life.  With the help of the other principles, we will see how we are able, and indeed meant, to be conscious creators in the world we inhabit.

The fifth Principle, as stated from The Kybalion by Three Initiates:


“Everything flows, 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 measure of the swing to the left; rhythm compensates.”

Most of us would have no trouble recognizing the Principle of Rhythm. We are accustomed to seeing it in action in the world around us: tides ebbing and flowing; regimes rising and falling; species near extinction flourishing. There is always action and reaction. This principle is closely connected to the Principle of Polarity. Everything here manifests in some measure of motion to and fro between two poles. (See Principle of Polarity.)

Most of us can see this principle in our own experiences as ‘mood swings’ … joyful one day and gloomy the next . The ‘joyful pendulum’ swings equidistant along the poles of ecstatic joy at one end to profound sorrow at the other, with  gloom falling somewhere toward the negative pole. The good news: it is a rhythm, so it will swing back towards the joy end of the continuum. The bad news: it will swing back to gloom again. More good news: with just a little knowledge of the Principles of Rhythm and Polarity, plus a bit of focus, we can affect the pendulum’s swing. So, by being aware of the  rhythms and using focus and understanding, it is possible to retard the swing along the polarity.

Many of us do this naturally, without thinking. In joy, for example, before swinging too far to the polar opposite we might call a cheery friend for a chat, go to a movie or spend time in nature . Often, disrupting the swinging pendulum is enough to keep it from affecting us with equal intensity at the negative pole.  See how this example employs three of the  four previous laws.

Polarity: joy at one end - sadness at the other, with gloom somewhere along the continuum leaning toward the sadness side. Mentalismthe ability to identify the swing toward the negative pole and then focus the mind to interrupt the swing energetically. Vibrationjoy is the finer vibratory frequency of its opposite, sadness. Electing to consciously shift from gloom requires a shift in vibration (through focused intent). Actually putting ourselves in a higher vibration (as in calling a friend rather than sitting alone and being gloomy) doesn’t actually stop the compensatory swing toward sadness. What it does is raise our vibration above the vibration of the swing, so that we no longer react with the intensity of the swing.

By shifting to a higher vibration, the pendulum gradually swings less. Imagine holding a string with a stone tied to one end; start it swinging left to right. Looking at the string, we can see that the further away it is from where the stone is tied, the less the string moves. In fact, where we are holding  the string (at the top) it is barely moving, although the stone (at the bottom of the string) is swinging drastically left to right. If we let the stone swing on its own accord, eventually it would begin to still itself. That is what happens whenever we elect to raise our frequency above the level of the agitation… we begin to decelerate the rhythm. The more we understand how a principle works, the more we can allow it to work for us, rather than feeling affected by it.

We do this by: not allowing circumstances or events to cause us to act and react without getting still within ourselves first; and/or finding the polar opposite of the negative swing and focusing on that positive aspect (as in the sad –joy example). There are many times when knowing and applying knowledge of this principle of rhythm can make life less hectic and more Graceful.  We will see, as the other Hermetic Principles are reviewed, that knowledge of these laws allows for a more masterful existence.

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