“That that which is Above is like that which is Below
and that which is Below is like that which is Above,
to accomplish the Miracle of Unity.”
– The Emerald Tablet
I’ve been encountering this ancient magician in some of my studies lately, and when I saw this image I thought I’d share it here. Astrology, alchemy and theosophy i.e. “Hermeticism” is based on the writings of the ancient figure Hermes Trismegistus (the Thrice Great Hermes). He is seen as the writer of Hermetic laws, founder of mystery schools and the creator of alchemy as a vehicle of human transformation. I’ve included the Kybalion’s Seven Hermetic Principles here from wiki:
Principle of Mentalism
The Principle of Mentalism embodies the idea that “All is Mind.” Everything that happens has to be a result of a mental state which precedes it. For anything to exist, thoughts had to form first, which then form physical reality or manifestation. “Your thoughts are seeds, plant positive seeds in your mind garden.”
Principle of Correspondence
The Principle of Correspondence expresses the idea that there is always a correspondence between the laws of phenomena of the various “planes” of being and life. As above, so below; as below, so above. This principle states that there is a harmony which can be made, agreement and correspondence between these planes, delineated as:
The Great Physical Plane
The Great Mental Plane
The Great Spiritual Plane
Principle of Vibration
This expounds the idea that motion is manifest in everything in the Universe, that nothing rests, and everything moves, vibrates and circles. This principle explains that the distinction between manifestations of Matter, Energy, Mind, and even Spirit, are the result of only different “vibrations”. The higher a person is on the scale, the higher the rate of vibration will be. Here, The All is said to be at an infinite level of vibration, almost to the point of being at rest. There are said to be millions upon millions of varying degrees between the highest level, The All, and the objects of the lowest vibration.
Mental Transmutation is described as the practical application of this principle. To change one’s mental state is to change vibration. One may do this by an effort of Will, by means of deliberately “fixing the attention” upon a more desirable state.
Principle of Polarity
The Principle of Polarity embodies the idea that everything is dual, everything has two poles, and everything has its opposite. All manifested things have two sides, two aspects, or two poles. Everything “is” and “isn’t” at the same time, all truths are but half truths and every truth is half false, there are two sides to everything, opposites are identical in nature yet different in degree, extremes meet, and all paradoxes may be reconciled.
Principle of Rhythm
The Principle of Rhythm expresses the idea that in everything there is manifested a measured motion, a to and from, a flow and inflow, a swing backward and forward, a pendulum-like movement. There is rhythm between every pair of opposites, or poles, and is closely related to the Principle of Polarity. It can be seen that this Principle enables transition from one pole to the other, and not necessarily poles of extreme opposites.
Principle of Cause and Effect
It explains that there is a cause for every effect, and an effect for every cause. It also states that there is no such thing as chance, that chance is merely a term indicating extant causes not recognized or perceived. The Principle is clarified in the chapter Causation.
Principle of Gender
The Principle of Gender embodies the idea that gender is manifested in everything. The authors state that this does not relate explicitly to the commonly understood notion of sex, but rather “… to beget; to procreate, to generate, to create, or to produce…” in general. Gender manifests itself on all planes as the Feminine and Masculine principles.
Mental Gender is described as a Hermetic concept which relates to the feminine and masculine principles. It does not refer to someone’s physical sex, nor does it suggest that someone of a certain sex necessarily has a matching mental gender. Ideally, one wants to have a balanced mental gender.
The concept put forth in The Kybalion states that gender exists on all planes of existence (Physical, Mental and Spiritual), and represents different aspects on different planes. Everything and everyone contains these two elements or principles.
The Feminine principle is always in the direction of receiving impressions, and has a much more varied field of operation than the Masculine. The Feminine conducts the work of generating new thoughts, concepts and ideas, including the work of the imagination.
The Masculine principle is always in the direction of giving out or expressing, and contents itself with the “Will” in its varied phases.
Regarding the image:
“Hermes Mercurius Trismegistus depicted on the floor of Siena’s Duomo (Tuscany, Italy). This work is attributed to Giovanni di Stefano and dates back to 1488.
The title block below Hermes’ feet calls him “Hermis Mercurius Trimegistus contemporaneus Moysi” (Hermes Mercurius Trismegistus, a contemporary of Moses). The two men to whom Hermes gives a book are probably the Western and Eastern sages and are represented as receiving the divine gnosis from Hermes. On the sign against which Hermes is leaning we can read: “Deus omnium creator secum Deum fecit visibilem et hunc fecit primum et solum quo oblectatus est et valde amavit proprium filium qui appellatur Sanctum Verbum” (And God, creator of all things, from Himself generated a visible God and this was the first and only in whom He was delighted and strongly loved His own Son who is called Holy Word). This quotation mixes together several passages from the Corpus Hermeticum, and especially the first book of it, called “Pimander”, which had been translated into Latin by Marsilio Ficino. On the pages of the book we can read: “suscipite o licteras et leges egiptii” (Egyptians, receive the letters and the laws!), which refers to Hermes’ role as inventor of writing, the arts, and legislation.”