Hack Your Reality: The 7 Hermetic Laws of the Universe
Hermeticism is an ancient esoteric tradition that has profoundly shaped Western occult and mystical philosophies over the centuries. Based on writings attributed to the legendary sage Hermes Trismegistus of ancient Egypt, Hermeticism revolves around timeless principles describing the nature of reality and the human experience.
At its core, Hermeticism promotes a unitive understanding of the cosmos, asserting that everything in existence is interconnected and derives from the same transcendental source. The teachings provide a framework for understanding the hidden connections between the spiritual and material realms, and the similarities between the macrocosm of the universe and the microcosm of individual consciousness.
The foundations of Hermetic philosophy are encompassed in a set of seven principles, which outline the primary laws and dynamics governing all planes of manifestation. These principles form a comprehensive system for understanding the diverse phenomena of reality and the self through a lens of sacred unity. The seven Hermetic principles are:
- The Principle of Mentalism
- The Principle of Correspondence
- The Principle of Vibration
- The Principle of Polarity
- The Principle of Rhythm
- The Principle of Cause and Effect
- The Principle of Gender
Internalizing these core doctrines allows one to perceive beyond superficial differences to the transcendental oneness underlying all things, described by Hermes Trismegistus as “God.” Contemplation of these principles provides the keys to self-mastery, spiritual alignment, and conscious co-creation with divine will.
The Principle of Mentalism
The first Hermetic principle asserts that “The ALL is Mind; the Universe is Mental.” This means that all of existence springs forth from a transcendental, universal Mind, which the Hermetica refers to as “The ALL.” Reality, as we know it, is fundamentally a Divine Mental Concept projected by this infinite Divine Mind.
The Principle of Mentalism implies that our ordinary conceptions of mind and matter as separate, dualistic phenomena are incomplete and invalid. Rather, Mind and manifestation are two aspects of the same transcendental unity. As the Kybalion states, “All is Mind.”
Within this universal Mental framework, human thought and consciousness participate in the creative process rather than being meaningless byproducts of physical matter. Our thoughts and mental states have efficacy in shaping the world we experience. In essence, our minds are microcosmic reflections of the infinite ALL-Mind, through which we can consciously co-create our realities.
As the Hermetica teaches, “He who grasps the truth of the Mental Nature of the Universe is well advanced on The Path to Mastery.” Understanding Mentalism gives one a key to unlocking the mental laws governing physical form and experience. With this principle, one can begin to understand the mechanism by which our thoughts and intentions manifest results in the material world. By mastering the Mental plane, we gain access to the infinite creative power of the ALL.
The Principle of Correspondence
The Principle of Correspondence expresses the truth that there is always a correspondence between the laws of phenomena on different planes of being and life. As expressed in the Hermetic maxim “as above, so below; as below, so above”, what manifests on the spiritual planes is analogous to what manifests on the physical planes.
This principle means that studying the correspondences and symbolic relationships between macrocosm and microcosm reveals hidden truths about their connecting laws and principles. The microcosm refers to the human being as a miniature reflection of the macrocosm of the universe and the cosmos. By contemplating how principles manifest differently across planes, one can learn to discern the unity behind apparent diversity.
This essential truth enabled ancient Hermeticists to reason by analogy and use knowledge of the visible world to grasp the nature of the invisible realms. Everything in existence contains aspects of the whole, just expressed uniquely according to plane and form. The study of correspondence allows us to “read the miracles of one thing in the greater miraculous phenomena of another.”
Imagine zooming into a fractal image on a computer screen. No matter how much you zoom in or out, you see similar or identical patterns repeating over and over. The smallest part reflects the whole, and the patterns seen at one level of magnification are echoed at all other levels. Just as the intricate designs in the fractal are consistent whether you’re looking at a tiny segment or the image as a whole, the Principle of Correspondence suggests that patterns and relationships observed in one realm (e.g., the microcosm) are reflected in other realms (e.g., the macrocosm).
Understanding how the mundane reflects the sublime allows the microcosm of individual consciousness to align with and draw wisdom from the macrocosm of universal Mind. The principle of correspondence provides a philosophical foundation for the longstanding occult practice of divination, which interprets events in the physical world as signs of hidden metaphysical truths. With this principle, the diverse phenomena of existence become a coherent chain of meanings all reflecting deeper universal realities.
The Principle of Vibration
The Principle of Vibration decrees that everything in the universe is in constant motion and vibration. Vibration refers to the oscillation between two poles, whether at the level of subatomic particles, physical objects, emotions, or mental states.
Different forms and states simply reflect different rates of vibration. Gross physical matter vibrate at low, dense frequencies while thoughts and emotions register at much higher, subtler vibrational rates. Yet everything from the atom to the galaxy is fundamentally comprised of vibration. As the Kybalion states, “Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.”
Understanding vibration allows control over form and experience. By changing the rate of their own mental and emotional vibration, adepts can shift their consciousness to higher planes. The same principle applies for transmuting base metals to gold, beaming telepathic messages, or manifesting desired realities.
At the heart of quantum mechanics is the concept of the wave-particle duality. This principle suggests that every particle, such as an electron, also has the properties of a wave. When scientists examine particles at the quantum level, they don’t find solid, static objects but rather probabilities and vibrations. The famous Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle further posits that one cannot simultaneously know both the exact position and momentum of a particle, emphasizing its wavelike and dynamic nature.
Quantum field theory suggests that even what we consider the “vacuum” or “empty space” is not truly empty but is teeming with virtual particles and fluctuations, constantly popping in and out of existence. This means that everything, even the seeming void, is in a state of vibration.
The Principle of Vibration is one of the central principles for understanding occult sciences such as alchemy, astrology, magic, and creative visualization. Aligning one’s own vibration with that of the goal lends the force of momentum and resonance to one’s creative efforts. Once grasped, the Principle of Vibration provides the key to molding reality itself. As the Emerald Tablet of Hermes implores, “Transform thyself from dead stones into living philosophical stones!”
The Principle of Polarity
The Principle of Polarity states that everything contains dualistic aspects, positive and negative poles, yin and yang forces. While opposite, these poles are in fact identical in their essential nature, only differing in degrees along the same spectrum.
According to this principle, the extremes of any phenomenon meet and merge into their opposite. Therefore, hot and cold, light and dark, sorrow and joy are qualitatively the same yet quantitatively distinct. By exploring polarity, the line between opposites blurs and they reveal themselves as two sides of the same coin.
Understanding polarity allows one to reconcile paradoxes and transcend rigid either/or thinking. Seeing unity within diversity prevents a limited, polarized viewpoint. The Principle of Polarity provides the insight that we cannot experience one pole exclusively, for each contains latent seeds of its opposite. Contemplation of this principle leads to greater wholeness, acceptance and integration within the psyche.
On a metaphysical level, grasping polarity allows you to transform negative mental states into positive ones, transmute base energies into higher frequencies, and consciously wield the forces of creation through harnessing inherent dualities. By transcending identification with any one pole, the poles themselves shift meaning and provide new potentials. The creative interplay between yin and yang propels the process of cosmic manifestation.
The Principle of Rhythm
The Principle of Rhythm expresses the truth that everything has natural cycles, ebbs and flows, rises and falls. This principle manifests in the pendulum swing between opposing poles, the ebb and flow of tides, the motion of swinging stars and orbits, and the cycles of birth, death, and rebirth.
Due to the Principle of Rhythm, the measured movement between extremes provides balance and stability. Flux allows new forms to emerge while compensatory actions preserve equilibrium. As the Kybalion states, “Rhythm compensates.”
By recognizing the characteristic rhythms governing phenomena, we can predict upcoming phases and prepare accordingly. The initiate who understands this principle is no longer tossed about randomly by external forces but becomes an active navigator who utilizes the currents of natural law.
Knowledge of cycles and cadences within one’s own being also fosters self-mastery. The adept transcends identification with any one phase of experience by harmonizing with the greater wheel of rhythmic progression. In the words of Manly P. Hall, “Rhythmic balanced interchange between sunrise and sunset, summer and winter, is the secret of health and happiness.”
On all planes, the rise and fall of forms adheres to hidden rhythms striving to maintain unity through diversity. By living in accord with divine timing, we become active participants in the grand orchestra of cosmic becoming.
The Principle of Cause and Effect
The Principle of Cause and Effect expresses that there is a cause for every effect and an effect for every cause. This principle embodies the truth that everything happens according to universal laws; nothing occurs due to chance.
While there are many planes of causality from the physical to the spiritual, no happening or manifestation escapes this relationship between cause and effect. True understanding sees through surface complexity to the linked chain of causation governing all events and experiences.
For the wise, knowledge of cause and effect provides a key to intentionally creating desired effects through specific actions. By understanding the causal relationship between thought, word, and deed, one’s behaviors consciously align with divine will rather than being dictated by external circumstances. In the words of the Kybalion, “Chance is but a name for law not recognized.”
Mastery of this principle lends an extraordinary ability to use the mental plane and subtle causes to shape outcomes on the physical plane. However, the ultimate aim is transcendence of lower forms of causality altogether, by merging individual consciousness into unity with the ultimate causal power of the Divine itself. As the Hermetica states, “The Father of all things is God.”
The Principle of Gender
The Principle of Gender affirms that masculine and feminine principles are manifested in everything. Gender expresses itself on all planes from the physical to spiritual, manifesting in diverse mystical and mundane forms.
On the physical plane, we see gender expressed through biological sex and reproduction. On the mental plane, it manifests as positive and negative, assertive and receptive, analytical and intuitive. On the spiritual plane, the masculine aligns with force, power, and will, while the feminine aligns with love, nurturing, and wisdom.
According to this principle, all creation results from the procreative interplay between dualistic gendered forces. Neither masculine nor feminine exist in pure isolation but always contain seeds of their counterpart. As the Kybalion states, “Gender is in everything.”
This truth applies to the subtler forces of projective and receptive energetic polarities, which drive activities on the astral and mental planes. By understanding these operative spiritual forces, the adept learns to direct them intelligently as the invisible architects of physical outcomes.
Seeing gendered principles in all aspects of life reveals new dimensions to our understanding of human psychology, social dynamics, sexual orientations, and the process of conscious creation. Ultimately, balancing inner masculine and feminine potencies creates wholeness within the Self.
The seven Hermetic principles outlined in this article comprise a comprehensive philosophy and metaphysical doctrine describing the most essential laws of reality. Internalizing this perennial wisdom provides a framework for cultivating self-mastery and achieving alignment with divine will.
While illumination comes through contemplating the principles, the teachings must ultimately be integrated into practical life to fully benefit from their transformative power. Applying the principles peel back the veils of illusion separating the individual from the transcendental ground of being.
If you’re interested in a structured approach to incorporating these teachings into your professional or personal journey, we invite you to explore our interactive course.