Six Governing Principles
I would like to begin this essay by stating up front that in the world of magic there is no such thing as a "law." Nothing is unbreakable; nothing is innately sacred. Laws are the creations of men to hold order. You may be thinking to yourself "But does not our universe also need certain laws to maintain order?" The answer is no, not in the sense we understand laws to be. Why? The machinery of the universe does not act against its nature. A planet will never get a rebellious streak and separate angrily from its orbit. The sun, when it goes out, will not do so because it didn't like to burn. Objects bounce off hard walls not because they are afraid of some punishment if they do not, but because they can do not other thing naturally of themselves. It is not in the nature of the mechanisms within this universe and within the scope of magic to deviate from their initial design.
Though there are no laws, there are certain principles. These principles are not infallible, and all of them can be bent any direction, some of them rearranged altogether. However, just as it takes a strong man to bend steel, so does it take a strong will to influence these governing principles of magic theory. We shall not concern ourselves with the means by which these principles can be influenced, but instead I shall endeavor to treat of the primary individual principles of the magical tradition in so far as we should be aware of their operation. By understanding the nature of the forces we work with we can operate them at a far superior level than we would be capable of in our ignorance. Just as a surgeon must have a precise knowledge of the human organism, so must we seek to have a precise understanding of the design we are to dance with.Principle of Vibration
All things exist in a constant state of motion which can be best identified as vibration. All mechanisms in this universe are therein fluid, constantly moving and always interacting, so as to perpetuate the spinning of the wheel which is the heart of the universal machinery. These vibrations pulsate and resonate within every aspect of this universe, be it celestial, intellectual of physical in composition.
Of equal importance to the fact that all things exist in a state of vibrational flux is the fact that it is the nature of this vibration which separates angels from men, men from elementals, elementals from demons, insects from gods, and so forth. Vibration is the mechanism which defines a state of being at any given point in time, and so it is only natural that they should be a central concept in the practice of the magician, who seeks naturally to ascend to higher states of being and superior levels of authority both in this world and the next. Incidentally, these vibrations are also the operational forces employed by such things as Divine Names, mantras, and barbaric words when intoned properly. The magicians of times since past understood this simple principle and, by painstaking trial and error, composed a series of barbarous incantations, invocations and languages by which these vibratory qualities may be acted upon.
Frequency, then, is the most important quality of these vibrations. It is the rate of vibration(frequency) which separates the physical body from the spiritual body, and prevents your normal eyes from seeing the spiritual forces at work in our daily lives. The magician, by means of his occult practices, learns to increase or decrease his frequency at command so as to adapt in order to meet and master the various obstacles he shall be confronted with. To see the Kama Rupa he lowers his vibrations so as to meet them in their distant parts of the astral sphere. To confront Metatron, he seeks to enhance his vibrations to such an extent that they are almost not vibrating at all(just as solid matter vibrates too quickly for us to see). God, I could perhaps mention, would under this principle be considered the Perptual Constant and Primal Cause. That first motion which stirred the rest of the universe into motion, and Aristotle's "efficient cause" in this case would be His Intelligence, or that which the Monotheists call "Love." It would follow that this Constant's state of being is one of non-vibration, but instead, complete stillness, His nature begin so dense that there is no room for the movement of vibration(the Jews interpreted this under the phrase "The unchanging and constant God").Principle of Gender
The principle of Gender is akin to the East's "yin and yang" philosophies, particularly as it concerns masculine and feminine qualities. It does not concern itself with the ideas of "good and evil," or even left and right: those are the domain of the similar but different Principle of Polarity. What is focused on by this principle is instead the active and passive natures of all things, existing in all things simultaneously, though expressed in different extremes according to the necessary situations.
The key aspect of the masculine quality is its identity as "The Giver." It is The Father, the Archetypal world which projects its blueprints into The Mother that is the creative world, and therein creates form; it is Atziluth materializing itself via Briah. The masculine quality puts out into the universe, emanating the proper expressions of its given host. In human men, for example, this is displayed by our occasional need to exert ourselves physically for almost no reason other than letting our strength be expressed and seen by others. That this principle also appears in the sexual intercourse of a male and female I doubt few shall have missed by this point. Another example is that of fire, considered a masculine or "electric" element, which does by its nature emit a kind of brilliance which we call light. When the magician sends messages with telepathy, casts his intent, or operates any such form of energy emission, it is the masculine property which he is allowing to express itself.
The feminine quality is the necessary receptivity to counter the masculine exertion. It is The Mother and The Daughter; both Briah and Assiah. It receives the qualities of the masculine and, by conception, allows them to find expression in The Son and Daughter. To send a message you must invariably have someone to send it to; a baseball bat has no meaning if it does not have a baseball ready to receive its swing. This is the key to the principle of gender, that all casts of intent must have a viable recipient. This recipient is called "directed intent," the feminine receiver of the masculine inertia within the magician which seeks to express itself as change in the outer world. By understanding this principle the studious aspirant may find for himself an abundance of occult mechanisms by which means much magic may be worked. What methods those are, in so far as I know them, I shall not highlight here so as to not interfere with your own intellectual progression of insight.The Principle of Polarity
The Principles of Polarity and Gender are much alike to one another, the primary difference being, as noted earlier, that whereas one is specifically focused upon the interaction of masculine and feminine properties, this is more concerned with extremes in a given situation.
The key component of this principle, in so far as the occultist is concerned with value, is as such: That everything which enters into the universe does so hand-in-hand with its opposite. For this reason the Principle of Polarity may justly be called the principle of definition, as it is this principle which offers us extremes by which to define ends. By the use of this simple principle the commoner can infer that if there is light, there must also be the potential for an absence of light, which he could call "darkness." If there are good deeds, then it would naturally follow that "bad" deeds are potentially capable of being operated as well. The importance of this exists in understanding that nothing concerning the same nature, even two apparent opposites, can exist without the other present, and that the definitive property of these opposites is simply the push and pull between their interaction.
The occult application of this principle is thus: if there is one force, there must necessarily be a restraining force, and one of these two forces must be expansive where the other is contractive. Light, for example, can never be pushed away by shadows; it can only overcome them. No amount of darkness can prevent the light a fire gives off from shining, and from this an analogy should be drawn and applied by the fervent student. For every spirit there is something which makes it retreat; for every energy a source which must necessarily exist and exercise dominance over. Students of the Qabalah and scholars of the Qelipot should note this well.The Principle of Density
The nature of this particular principle is celestial, and its mechanism is as thus: The nature of a particular existence is determined by its density in relation to the Astral Light as emitted by the Celestial Fire. While that particular theorem is rather hermetic, it shall suffice for our purposes here. If you are among the whiners who flee at the first hint of spirituality then you belong in your bedroom trying to learn false information that will never work. When years down the road you wonder how Jesus walked on water when you can not even sufficiently employ telepathy over distances, think back to this simple condemnation: your practice is incomplete.
Returning to the matter at hand, having now shaken off the garbage. In traditional magic there is the belief in a particular subtle fluid(fluid here referring to any innate substance in perpetual motion) which pervades all things. The Christians would call one aspect of this the Holy Spirit, the North American Indians called it the Orenda, William Reich called it "Orgone" and the eastern mystics referred to aspects of it as chi, prana and ki. I say aspects here, and not the substance in its entirety, because the astral light is by nature not simply an energy in the sense that(for example) chi is. However, there is an aspect of it which encompasses this energy, and which the Tibetans entitled Akasha and the western philosophers called "spirit." For our purposes in these writings I shall refer to the energy aspect as akasha.
That all things are defined on a level of "purity" and intensity by this astral light we shall determine as true, and its basic theory is as such: What the monotheists call "God" the hermetic magician entitles, as a symbolic analogy to a particular aspect of that which is otherwise indefinable as a whole, the Celestial Fire. This analogy serves it purpose in so far as the Astral Light is concerned, this light being the natural emanation of the fire. Just as in the darkness of an open field the degree to which a candle lights a certain area diminishes as it spreads across space, so does the density and purity of the astral light diminish as it travels across the scales of frequency as it sets out from God. In mystical doctrines the point of the entire practice of mysticism is to position one's self closer to God, and therein one would be immersed in a much higher density of the astral light than he would be otherwise, the light being stronger as one gets closer to God("the light at the end of the tunnel"). It follows that was is closer to God is consequently more immersed in a higher density of this astral light, and that in order for this to be so there must be a level of conditioning which determines a subject's position in relation to the density of the astral light. This conditioning is referred to as the maturity of a particular substance. It can then be infered that an angel is more spiritually mature, so to speak, than a demon, being positioned in a place closer to the celestial fire than a demon. Within this seperation of density so do we, according to the corresponding philosophies, find the matter of heaven and hell. Of this I shall treat in another essay.Principle of Mind
I believe the Kybalion states this most perfectly when it says "The All is mind; the universe is mental." In its simplicity, this statement denotes an extremely important mechanism by which all magic is worked. Like substances influence like substances, thus allowing that the celestial interacts with the celestial, the physical with the physical, and the mental with the mental. If the fact that the mind, particularly that thing called Intelligence, is that which issues the original command to cause motion in the physical and celestial, we can see how it is that the mind is mechanism of change. It would follow that if our thoughts can influence the universe then the universe itself must be an arrangement of thoughts, and so therein because the mental can influence the mental, so can out mind influence the universe(to complete the circle).
This principle points most fervently to the existence of some higher intelligence, within which we are thoughts and the mind of whom is the fabric of our existence. This mind, this Intelligence, is another aspect of what some would call God, and what the philosophers called the Primum Mobile. When we interact with the substances of this existence we consequently interact with the mind of God, and by this theory so is it justified what was written: "The All-knowing and All-seeing God." Indeed, if the universe is a thought, then it would follow that the Thinker knows and sees all aspects of it. The fervent student shall observe the value of this law when empirically broken down, should he feel the need to do so, to basically say that the mechanism by which the magician influences his atmosphere is the mind. We shall avoid further speculation as to the actual nature of this Supreme Mind so as to not step into the illusory world of the Deists. The Principle of Love
In the magical sense of the word, "love" is quite different than how we would see its common application in daily life. To most, the word "love" stirs images of two people united, in one another's arms, engaging in some such display of emotion. It exhibits itself as the thought which perpetually causes your eyes, as if by some phantom force, to glance over at a certain person while thoughts are racing through your head, each one concerning that object of your affection. This is the emotional love with which we have become accustomed, and when examined in a magical context a certain analogy between it and our current subject arises. The magicians looked deeper into the phenomena of love and saw not the emotional expression of some feeling for another, but instead the mechanism by which this feeling manifests. What the magicians of old saw was the one thing all of the above mentioned examples of our common perception of love have in common: attraction.
The Principle of Love is often called the Principle of Attraction, pending on which order of magic is making the reference. Regardless, the subject remains the same. Love, as we define it for our purposes, is the attractive force which causes things to unite so as to create one; it is that magnetic pull which brings compatible natures into interaction with one another. The old saying "like attracts like" applies to this, and when the aspiring magician contemplates this principle he should find many occult applications. If the principle of polarity is considered as well, then so may we also find merit in the saying "opposites attract." Both of those simple common phrases have extraordinary meaning when applied to the world of magic.
To elaborate: In the plane of thought, hence forth referred to as the mental sphere, we find the existence of thoughts, concepts, qualities, correspondences, etc. In the plane of energy, known also as the celestial sphere, we find the existence of energy in its dynamic forms. On the astral sphere we find a synthesis of these two spheres; a common ground wherein they may interact. Thus it becomes that on the astral sphere thoughts are attached to energies so as to form suitable vessels. Energies, in turn, are both differing and similar according to the nature of the attached qualities(attached to them by the mental sphere). The Principle of Love finds its role when two similar energies, each having similar or complimenting qualities which do not of themselves conflict in their expression, are by nature drawn to one another into a single larger energy. By this we find that one million different thoughts can unite to create a single unit. An illustration of such would be the mental creation of a god, wherein the belief of a large population in this god would contribute over time such complimenting energies to the astral sphere that a single unit would be synthesized to create an actual being, i.e, a god. Consequently, all necessary worship of this god would only contribute more similar energies to the astral sphere(having been given now an aim) and thus increase the density and potency of the receptacle(the god) many fold.
There is yet another expression of this pervasive principle, and that is what may be commonly referred to as "The Love of God." I have read the works of many revered saints and mystics, but the one who seemed to understand this best was Meister Eckhart, who was able to identify the concept of God's love as that attractive force which leads us instinctively towards Him. What instinct is this? It is one I have already discussed in another place, namely that innate urge for purpose(for those of you who disagree, then answer this question for me: Why does humanity constantly create religion, even if isolated from all "civilization"?). The search for this purpose is consequently the search for God, in one form or another as we may identify Him, and all resulting practices, routines, rituals, etc when this purpose is organized into a system have only one meaning: to bring us closer to that which beckons us onward. Eckhart called this attraction the tension established between the Son and The Father, namely, that substance which he called the Holy Spirit. If we view the Holy Spirit in the context of the Astral Light we see a new meaning in this, wherein God calls us forth to ascend the scale of the Astral Light and immerse ourselves in the density of His emanations. By this is justified the concept of God "wanting" us to come to Him, to share with Him the kingdom of heaven. To believe that God was actually lonely, and that He is subject to such feelings as desire seems to me only a method of placing a limit on His being. It seems to make much more sense to view this Love as an attractive force which is part of the nature of that Celestial Fire. This attractive force is yet another engagement of the Principle of Love, and becomes even clearer when we consider the proposition of the saints, namely that we are all of God and made in His image, and therefore our souls are alike unto Him. Like attracts like, as has been stated.