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Kybalion, The: Hermetic Philosophy

Product no.: 0-911662-25-1
Published in the spiritually potent year of 1908, The Kybalion—promoted as the Hermetic teachings of Ancient Egypt and Greece—was actually an amalgamation of the New Thought movement sweeping through America.

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Publisher's Synopsis
Contents: Hermetic Philosophy; Seven Hermetic Principles; Mental Transmutation; The All; the Mental Universe; Divine Paradox; The All in All; Planes of Correspondence; Vibration; Polarity; Rhythm; Causation; Gender; Mental Gender; Hermetic Axioms.

One should be clear that The Kybalion, so-called "fragments of the Hermetic Teachings", are but a disguised distillation of New Thought philosophy, published in 1908 by the Yogi Publication Society. It bears little resemblance, or resonance to, the hierophantic teachings of The Hermetica.

"It is now generally acknowledged that The Kybalion, both as a collection of aphorisms and its encompassing commentary, was a product of the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century New Thought movement, likely written single handedly by William Walker Atkinson. Despite widespread acceptance of this position, however, The Kybalion's self-proclaimed association with Hermeticism has gone largely unchallenged.

Hermeticism is and has always been centrally and unwaveringly focused on the experiential knowledge of divinity. This is apparent from the very first lines of the Poimandres, in which the narrator states his greatest desire: 'I wish to learn about the things that are, to understand their nature and to know god [gnōsai ton theon]' (C.H. I.3). The focus on salvific knowledge is so central to Hermeticism that in C.H. VII we are told that 'the greatest evil in mankind is ignorance [agnōsia] concerning God.' Even the common cosmological emphasis of the Hermetica revolves around this preoccupation. The overarching concern of the authors of the Hermetica was 'the ultimate cause of the universe, God, and therefore the aim of all their discussions on cosmology and creation was to bring the reader or listener through admiration of the cosmos to the adoration of and mystical union with the supreme God.'

The point of all the discussion of the nature of the universe, the gods, the heavens and the earth, was to elevate the audience to the divine gnosis. In contrast, The Kybalion focuses on knowledge of the nature of the universe as a means to attaining knowledge of the universal laws, in order that this knowledge in turn may facilitate the practice of mental transmutation which is the central focus of the text.

The knowledge of universal law spoken of in The Kybalion does not represent an experiential knowledge attained through an encounter with divinity; instead, it is an intellectual understanding of the principles of universal law and the technique of mental transmutation. As technical knowledge, this would fall under the Greek concept of episteme rather than that of gnosis."       ~Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition



"The half-wise, recognizing the comparative unreality of the Universe, imagine that they may defy its Laws - such are vain and presumptuous fools, and they are broken against the rocks and torn asunder by the elements by reason of their folly. The truly wise, knowing the nature of the Universe, use Law against laws; the higher against the lower; and by the Art of Alchemy transmute that which is undesirable into that which is worthy, and thus triumph. Mastery consists not in abnormal dreams, visions and fantastic imaginings or living, but in using the higher forces against the lower - escaping the pains of the lower planes by vibrating on the higher. Transmutation, not presumptuous denial, is the weapon of the Master."

William Walker Atkinson (December 5, 1862 – November 22, 1932) was an American attorney, occultist, and writer who was one of the key contributors to the New Thought Movement. Atkinson also wrote under the pen name of Yogi Ramacharaka.

Author Three Initiates
Book Type Hardcover
Page Count 223 pp.
Publisher Yogi Publication Society 1940
Browse these categories as well: Self-Help and Relationships, Neoplatonism and Greek Philosophy, Metaphysics, Mysticism and Esoterica

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