The Seven Hermetic Principles-The Principle of Polarity

Everything is dual. Everything has two poles.  This principle states that everything that we experience is polarized. Everything has a positive and a negative pole. This is true of the physical as well as metaphysical world. These poles are separated only by varying degrees of vibration.  Some examples would be things like hot and cold, dull and sharp, love and hate.

Though these things may seem to oppose one another, if we take a closer look, we will see that they are intrinsically linked and only separated by degrees. Hot and cold are only separated by varying degrees of vibration. They are both just degrees of the same thing. There is no absolute hot or absolute cold. There are only varying degrees of heat. Love and hate follows the principle as well. Though difficult to see at first, love and hate are only separated by degrees. Like and dislike bridge the gaps. As we explore this idea, we will see that there are no absolutes.  There are always varying degrees that prevent an absolute of anything.

It is possible to change the polarity of a physical object by changing it’s vibration or by working it toward it’s negative or positive pole.  This is possible in the mental realms as well, and this is where real important change can occur. It’s in the actual mental utilization of polarizing on the positive end of a pole that mental transmutation may occur.  By polarizing ones thoughts on the positive pole, it is possible for the individual to overcome negative situations and mental states that would normally overtake them and leave them stuck in a negative place.  By polarizing to the positive pole on the mental plane, an individual can overcome certain destructive tendencies of human emotion and keep their life in balance.  This is the most powerful tool of the self-master, a tool for keeping those destructive (animalistic) emotions in check and not letting them rule over ones self.  It is these emotions that cause the individual to fall into destructive tendencies like anger, hatred, jealousy, and self-absorption.

It is the overcoming of these lower emotions that allows the spiritual seeker to advance on the path of self-mastery and to raise their vibration so that they may eventually overcome the material realm and ascend to higher planes of manifestation.

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The Cornerstone and The Keystone

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Since modern Freemasonry has evolved from the Operative Stonemasons, it is important that we understand the importance of the symbolism of the Cornerstone and the Keystone. For centuries, the Cornerstone has been lain by Masons in public ceremonies. The Cornerstone is the first stone laid in the building of an edifice. It is placed in the northwest corner of what will be the future structure. There is a symbolic significance for this. As a Freemason, we learn to “build our Spiritual Edifice”, which is a metaphor for our quest for knowledge and for the betterment of self. Knowledge of the nature of our minds, spirits, and of the universe. In Freemasonry, the term “Light” is used for knowledge of these things. As the Northwest is the opposite area of where the Sun rises and shines throughout it’s traversal of the sky, it is obvious why it would be chosen as the beginning point or point of the least amount of light. Ancient stonemasons looked at a structure as a smaller representation of the universe or the microcosm of the macrocosm. The structure began as a single stone (or in ignorance and imperfection if you look at it esoterically). It will inevitably end in balance and completion of the whole (or enlightened and learned esoterically). This is what the Speculative (or philosophical) Mason is taught to do with their pursuit of Masonic knowledge. It’s not to say that since the Cornerstone is in darkness that it is unimportant. Quite the contrary. The Cornerstone is a beginning and we all have to have a beginning to also have an end. This is why Masons consider the Cornerstone to be so important. It is the departure point. The Cornerstone is imbued with information about the structure and it’s builders. Esoterically, we can look at this as information about our self in our rudimentary state. As we build our Spiritual Edifice (our Spiritual Being and Virtuous Life), we add knowledge and understanding (or perfected stones) until we reach the point of having a beautiful, balanced and completed structure.

This completion (or enlightenment) is where the Keystone comes in. The Keystone is the stone placed at the top of an archway which give the arch it’s stability. It completes the structure. Masonic legend harkens back to the time of King Solomon and the building of the Temple in Jerusalem. This was long before the arch existed in architecture. Despite this, it is for certain that there was a completion stone (called a capstone or copestone) that would have been placed when completing the Temple (the arch and Keystone symbolism was obviously added to Masonic ritual after it’s addition to architecture.) Regardless, the symbolism of the Keystone is highly important. As the Keystone completes the arch and gives it it’s strength and stability, so does the diligent pursuit of knowledge and living a morally upright lifestyle. As you can see, this concept of balance and structure is as important in Masonic symbolism as it is in the actual art of building a physical structure. It has a beginning and an end. An Alpha and an Omega. Both are equally important because you can’t have one without the other.

This concept permeates not only Freemasonry, but other mystical traditions as well. To close this article, we will visit one more concept that uses this same analogy. The Chakra system is prevalent in many Eastern religions. It also has found it’s way into Western thought through various means. The body has multiple energy centers within it. Starting at the base of the spine, or in the reproductive organs and going up, sequentially to the top of the head. These Chakras can be “opened up” or activated through meditation and yoga. The Root Chakra (or Muladhara) is located in the reproductive organs of the body. This is symbolic of the lower self or base-emotions. In other words, one who only has an active Muladhara Chakra is living in and acting in a low vibration of consciousness. Not capable of enlightenment. This can be likened to the Cornerstone. If the Cornerstone were the starting and ending point of a structure, there would be no structure. Just a cold stone sitting in the darkness of the Northwest. As an individual learns to activate each Chakra up the body, they gain more spiritual and life knowledge (this is likened to the building process of building our Spiritual Edifice.) The activation of the Chakras is capped off with the activation of the Crown Chakra (or Sahasrara). Activation of this Chakra is said to create a moment of enlightenment and understanding. This can be likened to the placement of the Keystone. This is the completion of the journey. As a building must start with the Cornerstone and end with the Keystone, the activation of the Chakras must start in the dark northwest corner so-to-speak of our lower emotions of the Root Chakra and end in the Crown. This is not to say that the Root Chakra is unimportant. Again, as in Masonic allegory, you cannot have one without the other. You must have the progression from lowest to highest. This creates balance with the Chakras which is necessary for mastery.

As a student of the Mysteries of Life, we must all apply these concepts to our lives and remember that we are all progressing through life toward the unknown realm of beyond. What we do in the present is as important as what we do in the future. We must spread love, beauty, balance, and light to the world!

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Squaring the Circle-deciphering the symbol

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The symbol that depicts the Philosopher’s Stone may just hold the answer to all of our questions. The fact that this simple symbol can contain such elaborate truth is quite astounding, but very real indeed.

The symbol consists of a large circle with a triangle inside it with the points of the triangle touching the circle on three different points. Within the triangle is a square that is flanked with a circle. The large circle represents the heavens or the universe. The triangle within that circle is representative of the ether or spirit world. It is the collective consciousness of everyone and everything. It is in balance with the universe. The square is representative of the earth and included within, it’s four corners represent the four elements. Within that square lies the answer that the symbol is leading us to. The arrangement of the shapes of the symbol naturally draw your eye into the center of the image. This is the point within the circle. As we have discussed in earlier blogs, the point within the circle is one of the most powerful symbols in the history of mankind. It represents the individual or the center. This is the balance point for everything and represents the answer. As we can see, the symbol is not only a mathematical depiction of the whole, but is a symbol of balance between all of the energies and planes of existence. The focus of the symbol is it’s center and that is us. We must strive to capture the balance between all of the energies in our lives. Finding this balance within is the seekers quest. As we look to free ourselves from the bondage of our mental prisons, we must look for this center of balance. It is the point of all love. The center within all of us is the key to finding peace. Not only peace with our selves, but peace for everyone.