The Science of Magick, Hermetic Principles (Week 10, Chapter 8)

Well, it's a new year, and I'd like to revive our ITOW Study Group. The link is the same (/itowstudy), but I've renamed this section to be more general. It's called "Magickal Studies" in our navigation.

Currently, we are 40% of the way through the book, Inner Temple of Witchcraft, on Chapter 8. If you're new here, please feel free to review the previous lessons noted below and jump into our Facebook discussion any time!

All Previous Lessons and Prompts

The Science of Magick

Penczak states that magick theory is a science that can be studied and insists that "Magick theory allows serious students of the craft to find an intelligent, sophisticated model of the universe that deals with the use of abilities usually dismissed by mainstream society" (Penczak, Chapter 8, Lesson 4).

  • Many old superstitions have a basis in metaphysics.
  • Witchcraft is not superstitious.
  • Greek scholar Pythagoras and notable scientist Newton also studied the mystical.
  • Scholars sought to understand the nature of the universe and how we interact with it.
  • In ancient cultures, magick, charms, and psychic abilities were perceived as fact.
  • Different schools of thought and verbiage for the "laws" of magick.

Intro - The Hermetic Principles

  • The book, "The Kybalion" was written by "three initiates" and published in 1912.
  • Ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus, or Hermes "thrice great."
  • Recognized as a (possibly mythical) spiritual master dating back to ancient Greece/Egypt.
  • Some believe he was a god who came back to earth to teach alchemy, magick, philosophy.
  • Sometimes associated with Thoth, Egyptian god who is more of an archetypical magician.
  • Hermetic means "sealed," or "secret knowledge."
  • Hermetic magick = Hermetic alchemy, or the transformation of the practitioner from baser materialistic consciousness to golden enlightenment.
  • Principles give us structure to understand how we can transform ourselves.

The Principle of Mentalism

  • "Everything in the universe is a creation of THE ALL" -- a non-gender, non-pantheistic way of referring to the divine (God, Goddess, Source, Tao, etc. -- the divine mind).
  • We are all thoughts of the divine mind, existing within the divine mind.
  • We are all one and only appear to be separate (the separation is called the maya, or illusion in Hindu tradition).
  • The universe, in and of itself, is a manifestation of the mind. So, thoughts invested with energy become reality. This is magick. It is all interconnected.
  • This section contains Exercise 13: Mental Projection, to try on your own.

The Principle of Correspondence

  • "As above, so below; as below, so above."
  • The whole contains the part; the part contains the whole.
  • The atom and solar system are almost maps of each other.
  • A small part of a human contains DNA to re-create the entire body.
  • The energy within substances, colors, planets, elements, days, and ritual tools, can correspond to energies of the universe.
  • Some use color, sound, the four elements, astrology, herbalism, to form correspondences in spell work and rituals.
  • This section contains Exercise 14: Correspondences, to complete on your own.

The Principle of Vibration

  • "Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates."
  • Even solid matter is made of atoms that have moving parts.
  • Our dense physical matter is more solid vibration than energy, and energy is a more solid vibration than spirit.
  • You can change vibrations by shifting your thoughts, emotions, and intentions to affect your reality.
  • Similar vibrations resonate and gather together.
  • This section contains Exercise 15: Vibrational Statements, to complete on your own.
  • While completing this exercise, I noticed a loud whirring sound in my ears. I was pleased to read, after, that this is common and often described as the sound of Om or the sound of creation.

The Principle of Polarity

  • "Everything is dual; everything has poles; everything has its pair of opposites."
  • Search for harmony between the extremes.
  • A range of responses fall between the poles.
  • Negatively charged ions can promote health (churning water, an ocean, a waterfall, bath).
  • Positively charged ions can make you feel sluggish or sick (electrical equipment, TVs, microwaves).
  • Balance: what is good for you maintains a healthy balance.
  • The polarity of the Earth and Sky. Earth is grounding, material, physical, emotional (Goddess energy). Sky energy is more intellectual, logical/creative, mental, expressive, electric (God energy).
  • This section contains Exercise 16: Polarity of the Earth and Sky and Scales Meditation to complete on your own.

The Principle of Rhythm

  • "Everything flows, out and in; everything has its tides..."
  • All patterns move in a circle.
  • Natural cycles, like seasons.
  • Different times of the year have different kinds of powers.
  • Most important to be aware of the cycles within yourself.
  • This section contains Exercise 17: Heartbeat Control, to complete on your own, only if you feel it's safe to do so.

The Principle of Gender

  • "Gender is in everything; everything has its Masculine and Feminine Principles."
  • Masculine and feminine energies.
  • No man is 100% masculine, and no female is 100% feminine.
  • Generally, masculine energy is attributed to logical, rational, aggressive, physical traits.
  • Feminine energy is attributed to the intuitive, creative, healing, and emotional straits.
  • Though, we all know, that these labels aren't set in stone.
  • Everyone is a combination of these two forces.
  • Linear, sharp lines and edges would typically be seen as masculine.
  • Objects with curved lines and rounded shapes evoke more of a feminine energy.
  • Traditionally, the Moon is associated with the Goddess.
  • The Sun is associated with the masculine God.
  • This section contains Exercise 18: Sun and Moon, to be completed on your own.

The Principle of Cause and Effect

  • "Every cause has its effect; every effect has its cause."
  • Many things that seem like coincidences have a cause.
  • The effect of one action becomes the cause of another.
  • You must be cautious and accept responsibility for your actions.
  • Thoughts and intentions are amplified in the universe.
  • All energy returns to its source, with added inertia, making its effects more widespread (the Law of Three -- whatever energy you send out will come back to you threefold).
  • Threefold is an arbitrary term to suggest "amplified."
  • The Wiccan Rede: "Do what thou will, and let it harm none." Extended version:
Bide the Wiccan Law ye must
In perfect love and perfect trust.
Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill:
An' ye harm none, do what ye will.

What ye send forth comes back to thee
So ever mind the Law of Three.
Follow this with mind and heart,
Merry ye meet and merry ye part.
  • This section contains Exercise 19: Tree Meditation, to complete on your own.

Conclusion and Prompts

I'd like to ask that you spend time working through each of the above principles, taking brief notes about what each means to you and/or how you can (or do) use them in your life.

Complete each of the Exercises associated with each principle, and note your experiences. How did you feel? What did you see or hear?

Completion of this week puts us at 50% of the way through the ITOW book. The next update will be during the weekend of Feb. 3rd and will wrap up Chapter 8.