A Psychological-Hermetic Paradigm
In the early 20th century, a famous text summarized the principles of the ancient Hermetic alchemical philosophies: the Kybalion. It enumerates seven principles of the universe, by which it claims all magick works. Around the same time, the field of psychology was taking leaps forward. There’s good reason to combine these paradigms into one unified system based on the first two principles of the Kybalion:
The principle of mentalism states that “All is Mind.” Matter is condensed thought, and everything has its origin in thought.
The principle of correspondence is the most famous Hermetic principle, which states “as above so below, as within so without.” Human nature is a reflection of the nature of the universe.
So. If all is mind, and human nature reflects universal nature, a more detailed understanding of the human mind gives a more detailed understanding of the universe. Psychology is the alchemy of the modern age.
These first two principles lay out the general axiom. The other five can give hints on specific directions and avenues to explore. Some examples might be:
The principle of vibration states that everything is in motion. The different states of consciousness are just different rates of vibration. Here we can look to practices like cognitive behavioral therapy to see how psychiatrists treat changes in consciousness – large-scale attitudes can change from monitoring their small manifestations, rather than shifting the whole structure at once.
The principle of polarity states that everything has its opposite, and between these contradictions is some united thing that causes them both. Here we can look to ideas like the Shadow from Jungian psychology, in which people attempt to balance the personality by accepting their repressed opposites.
The principle of rhythm states that everything moves in a measured fashion between their two poles. The nature of things shifts in rhythmic cycles. Here we can look to human biorhythms, including and especially sleep cycles and circadian rhythms, to see the transitions between waking and dreaming.
The principle of cause and effect states that everything is the effect of some cause; everything happens for a reason, even if that reason is not easily apparent. Here we can turn to Freudian psychoanalysis, to consider the ways in which hidden or unconscious factors can manifest in surprising ways in conscious realities.
The principle of gender states that masculine and feminine principles are present in all things, not necessarily in terms of biological sex, but in archetypal, father-mother-child form. Here we can turn to Lacan’s take on Freud, in the way that gender can construct identity. In particular, the idea that the masculine principle attempts to make everything look like itself, but cannot do so to the feminine principle, presents interesting metaphysical interpretations.
Merge ancient and modern wisdom, and learn more from both than from either alone.
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