Hermeticism is a school of metaphysical belief that is based on the Hermetic Corpus, a series of metaphysical writings said to have come from an Egyptian named Hermes Trismegistus. The earliest recorded record of these writings came from the first century AD and continued through the 8th century AD with the discovery of the Emerald Tablet. The Emerald Tablet appeared in the writings of Balinas. Balinas claimed the tablet was found in a vault under a statue of Hermes in Tyana; the tablet rested in the arms of a corpse sitting on a golden throne. The actual tablet was said by Balinas to be written in Greek, but the original tablet was never recovered, and only Balinas has verified its existence. Balinas's translation of the Emerald Tablet has been studied by the great masters of Hermetic wisdom and is held as one of the cornerstones of Hermetic wisdom. The majority of the other original texts of Hermetic wisdom were lost with the loss of the library of Alexandria, and only verbal pass downs and translations survived.
Hermetic wisdom has elements of many ancient pearls of wisdom and mysticisms, including Vedic, Egyptian, Greek, Persian, Babylonian, and Jewish, it appears to be an amalgamation of secret wisdom. There are two schools of thought regarding the origin of Hermetic wisdom. The first is that masters of the metaphysical arts through experimentation and discovery gleaned the truths from the existing practices and reformed them into a roadmap to the cosmos. The second explanation is the legend around Hermes Trismegistus (Thrice Great), who was the physical incarnation of Thoth, also referred to as Hermes. The first incarnation of Hermes appeared to Abraham, then Hermes spread the wisdom to the civilizations of the world; India, Egypt, the Hebrews, and the Babylonians. Over time his teachings had been corrupted and altered to suit the culture's environmental, religious situations. Still, the core of the teachings remained, and a link can be drawn throughout the ancient wisdom showing a single origin.
The core belief in Hermetic wisdom is that above everything on every plane in the cosmos is the All. The All is the pure, unchanging, perfect energy that exists in all time and space and has no beginning or end. The All is everything and lives inside and outside of everything, and from the All comes the energy that everything is created. The cosmos is a creation from the physical manifestation of the thought of the All, lowering vibration, slowing movement to manifest the material. Everything that exists is from the mind of the All. Therefore, a spark of the All is inherent in everything. The All is not a man and man is not the All, nor are we a physical part of the All; what we are is a physical manifestation of a spark from the mind of the All. A character from a book is not the author or a physical part of the author; the character is a manifestation of a spark of the author's mind. From the spark in the mind of the author, the character develops, grows, and takes on its own life and identity. From the mind of the All, many planes were created in the cosmos. Each plane created consisted of their own planes ranging from higher to lower vibrations, allowing for differing levels of materialization, knowledge, and connection to the All.
One of the stories of creation in the Hermetic school of thought states:
From a thought, the All has created the Ether, the base matter of the cosmos, the ocean of energy that surrounds everything allowing the energies to flow and move. Next, the four elements were created and sent to the seven planes of the cosmos. The All then thought into being the higher planes of existence to the lower vibrational plans of existence. The planes were populated with beings of differing levels of vibration corresponding to their plane; these were the Angels, the Aeons, Demons, and so on, each plane having seven planes. Seeing the beauty and pleasures held in the lower realms of the material, some beings (conscious sparks) from higher realms fell in love with the plane of material existence. Taking material form, their sparks became trapped in man; due to the slow state of vibration, the knowledge of the All was lost. Man was condemned to a cycle of reincarnation on this plane until its spark could reach a higher level of vibration and rise above this plane to the oneness and goodness of the All (Enlightenment).
Hermeticism states all that exists in the cosmos on every plain is spirit at differing states of vibration. Matter is condensed, sparks sprung from the universal mind, settling into a lower state of vibration. Spirit manifests into levels of physical forms in accordance with the vibrational state of the plane that it inhabits. Science has proven that all matter, regardless of how sublime or gross, is energy vibrating and moving at different rates and aligning in various ways to form structure. The movement of the molecules holds them together if the movement or vibration stops, the matter ceases to exist. The vibrations are what determines a substance and its state, but at its foundation, all matter is the same vibrating energy, from the rock to the man. When matter is vibrated at higher levels, it will lose material form. If ice is heated, increasing its energy movement, it turns to water and eventually loses structure as a gas. In raising one's energy, three tools need to be explored and understood.
First is alchemy, it consists of two schools.
· Physical alchemy is the manifestation of one's will on the physical state of matter. This transmutation is done by the practitioners understanding the vibration of the matter and using one's will with the purpose to change the frequency of vibration to match the target material. All that exists is spirit energy vibrating in the mind of the All. The practitioner must learn to be in tune and understand these vibrations.
· Spiritual alchemy is about using the energy vibrations to transmute feelings, emotions, and states of mind in one's self and others. All emotions and states of mind vibrate at differing frequencies. Most importantly, one can transmute one's sparks vibration into a higher level of vibration, opening one's energy to the higher planes.
Second is astrology, to know the signs of the universe.
· The cosmos and all of its heavenly bodies; planets, suns, stars, comets, and their movements are symbols in the mind of the All and influence the planes of the material world, but they do not interfere with the will of nature. To know the signs gives the practitioner insight into the influences and how to deal with them. A book called the Picatrix is a very insightful read for one to gain a better understanding.
The third is the divine work.
· The spark is from the mind of the All and thus began at the same vibration as the All. This allows one to elevate one's vibration to what it once was, returning one's energy to the All. One must progress through the seven planes, raising to each energy level elevating one's energy, and knowing each plane inside your spark.
Pure good is the All, which is attained through reason, knowledge, and the immaculacy of the All. Evil is the opposite of good. The lower and further the energy vibrates away, the weaker the knowledge of the All becomes, causing evil to be predominant. Each plane has levels of material manifestation; the lower the vibration of the spirit, the further the energy moves from the All, making it harder for the spark to remember, and know its origins in the All. The sparks vibration is raised or lowered by vibrations of its plane, like a molecule and temperature of its surroundings; this affects the physical and spiritual being as well as the matter. The physical is not separate from the soul, the spark, it is one. The physical is the manifestation of the spark, and it is formed by lowering its vibrations to match its plane. This gives it physical form, ruled by the laws dictated by the level of vibration of the plain. Gaseous H2O or water has no set shape, but if the surrounding environment lowers the vibrations of the molecules, it condenses out and eventually will form solid matter. The matter takes the shape of the container it has condensed into. The water becomes the shape, and the shape becomes the water. All matter due to its lower vibrations will eventually lose structure and cease to exist in its present form. The spark is of the All and is eternal; it will continue to condense out (the cycle of rebirth) in the pursuit of reaching a higher vibration and return to the All. Physical reality is an illusion; this is not as straight forward as it sounds; it is complicated and relies on perspective. Matter has no permanence; it has a beginning and an end; it has no real substance; made of energy, and held together by vibrations and external conditions. This condition, when compared to the All, an unchanging, permanent, always, and forever existing, infinite energy in its purest form, is unreal, an allusion, or a dream. This is the absolute perspective of the two states of being. From a material perspective or a physical perspective of matter; we can see feel and touch what is around us from our perspective, matter is real, this is a relative perspective. Hundreds of years ago, the earth was flat, and the sun revolved around the planet, this was the relative truth and universally accepted by the majority; however, the absolute truth was that the earth has always revolved around the sun and is, in fact, spherical shaped. The relative truth depends on many factors of perspective, understanding, and may not be the absolute truth, but is no less the truth to those who believe it.
Three main planes exist in each plane:
-First is the physical plane; this is the point of lowest vibration; this is the plane in which physical matter is manifest.
-Second is the mental plane; the vibrations of this plane are higher than the physical. The mind exists free from physical encumbrances; emotions and thoughts exist in this plane. All action on the physical plane starts on the mental plane.
-Third is the spiritual plane; this is the highest level of vibration on any plane; it is the spark, the will.
These planes are more of a condition or a state within a plane with dimensions of vibration. All begins within the mind. The practitioner sees in his/her mind the transmutation and using the will and the energy of the spirit to transmutes their desire into the physical. There are seven lower planes, each divided into seven planes; this is true in both the macroverse and the microverse; each contains the three planes. The tree of life is a road map to the microverse and the macroverse and the way to find one's path. The Hermetic Qabalah explains the planes, the energies, and the paths; I would strongly recommend reading it.
The seven laws of Hermeticism are the key to the metaphysical understanding of the cosmos.
The first law is the law of mentalism. This law states that the mind/thought can manipulate and change the energies and vibrations in the cosmos, the spiritual, and physical. The cosmos is the mental image of the All, and only the mind can affect it on the same level. Through mentalism, one can affect the vibrations of everything, transmuting it to one's will in the micro and macroverse. The mind sees the reality of the cosmos.
The second law is the law of correspondence. This law is easiest explained from a quote from the emerald tablet, which is above corresponds to that which is below. This law is related to the microverse, as well as the macroverse. What happens on one plane is reflected in the others. On a microverse level, extreme stress on the mind will be seen mirrored on the physical level, for example, physical sickness. In relation to the All, it is a map to gain understanding. To understand how the cosmos works, one need only see its reflection in the microverse and vice versa. As above so below.
-The third law is the law of vibration; absolutely everything in the cosmos is moving at different frequencies and speeds; nothing is at rest. The material between matter is called Ether; it is higher vibrating energy yet still a form of matter and exists between and links all the matter in the cosmos. All is above the laws and is not bound by them. Even the All vibrates, and at a frequency so high that the energy appears to be standing still, everything vibrates.
-The fourth law is the law of polarity; all that exists in the cosmos is governed by polarity. The mental, the physical, the spiritual, and the planes, all have opposite poles and is on a scale. Hot and cold, light and dark, love and hate, courage and fear. Each side of the scale is the same thing, just differing degrees on the same scale. Hot and cold are both the same thing, temperature; they are just different ends of the spectrum based on perception. These scales have poles or opposite ends, but these ends have no endpoints, all polar scales are infinite. Everything has a polarity; without polarity, neither pole can exist if cold ceases to exist, so does hot; without cold, one can't determine what's hot.
-The fifth law is the law of rhythm; this states everything flows out and in. Everything has an ebb and flow on all planes of the cosmos, both in the microverse and the macroverse. Everything flows between the poles of the scale, a reaction to every action, a fall to every rise, demonstrated best by a pendulum swinging between the poles. This law exists in everything, one is born, and the pendulum begins to swing to death and then back to rebirth. Every day swings to night and back into day, every spring swing to winter and back again, there is no rest only continual motion. In the microverse, this law exists as well; for every emotional up, there is a corresponding down, for every positive, there is a negative. What is sent out in thought or energy will swing back. A practitioner strives to equalize these pendulum swings to reduce the effect of the return. There exist two planes of consciousness; the higher and the lower, to avoid the swing on the lower plane, one must raise one's energies to the higher plane and vice versa. One can polarize one's conscious and unconscious mind and subdue one's emotions to avoid more significant polarity swings. The law of rhythm is not bound to the physical body alone; it as well is bound to the spirit; this means the law of rhythm can follow you into reincarnations.
-Law six is the law of cause and effect; it merely states every cause has an effect, and every effect has a cause; nothing happens by chance. Chance is an effect with an unrecognizable cause, and this law is evident from the standpoint on the physical plane. On the mental plane, the same rule exists; all thoughts that one may have has an effect, physical, and or mental; we are products of thought. Thought with intent and will have effects outside the microverse. On the spiritual plane, all causes will affect.
-The seventh law is the law of gender; the law of gender is the law of creation. The law of gender is not a law governing the male and female; it is a law that regulates the masculine and feminine energies of the cosmos. As with all of the laws of Hermetic wisdom, this law not only applies to the macroverse but as well to the microverse. Masculine and feminine are in nature, and all matter; it is apparent in the Sephiroth in the Tree of Life. All that is created is done through the union of the masculine and the feminine at some level, this is most obvious in reproduction, even if both masculine and feminine are in the same being. In the mental plain, one must polarize the masculine and the feminine aspects of one's self to utilize the mental skills needed to manipulate the energies of the cosmos. We all have a duel mind, an objective, and a subjective mind, a conscious and a subconscious. The conscious mind or objective mind is of a masculine nature, whereas the subconscious or subjective mind is feminine. Creative energy, emotions, feelings, becoming, and creation are feminine energy. Projection, assertion, acceptance, being, and stimulation are masculine energy. For one to utilize the principals of the metaphysics, one must use the masculine and feminine within as one's self; a balance must be obtained.
The Hermetic practitioner considers the Hermetic teachings as the sacred science. Meditation, visualization, concentration, purpose, and will are the foundations of the science. One must perfectly see one's purpose in the mind, feel the energies, believe the reality, and will it into being with the mind and the energy of the spark of the All. Everything is thought, and thought controls everything. Hermetics, uses rituals, ceremonies, and tools to help them focus the mind and the energies to a purpose. Symbols, words, and elements hold vibrations that will connect the practitioner to the energy that the practitioner is tapping into or transmuting. A practitioner of High Magick, "the Sacred Science," can use symbols and words to tap into the energies of the higher planes. Some call on beings from these planes under the energy of the All to lend their energy to the will of the practitioner; the Book of Abramelin is dedicated to this purpose. The energy of beings may enter differing planes of vibration if one learns to control the vibrations of one’s energies. One cannot truly materially enter the plane without changing one's vibration to that of the plane; if one does this, then one is trapped by the laws of that plane's vibration. The Keys of Solomon is a book that gives a guide to the beings on the other planes. Higher beings can be summoned if the energies or vibrations of the summoning circle or space are appropriately prepared for the being, but it would not be able to leave the area of altered vibration. One can allow their energy to enter the material substance of another's spark if one understands the vibration of the target's energy.
A Hermetic practitioner uses many tools: the staff, candles, incense, dagger, wand, symbols, and words of power. Typically, a practitioner can take on the practices and tools based on a theology that is readily acceptable to the mind of the practitioner. Hermetic mysticism has no strict theology. Jewish and Christian theological principals are commonly used as a focus in rituals. Many well-known orders have had Hermetic influence like the Rosicrucian, and the Knights Templar, they were both Gnostic but had Hermetic and neo-platonic influence. Hermetic teachings heavily influence the Golden Dawn, the Free Masons, the Ordo Templi Orientis, and other Thelemic orders.
Everything existing is thought in the mind of the All; we are thoughts in the mind of the All. Through our minds, our thoughts, we can affect the cosmos for the cosmos is thought. Through enlightenment, we raise our vibrations closer to that of the All, reuniting with the All.
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