Thoughts on “The Kybalion” by Three Initiates

This is a classic work on Hermeticism that first appeared in 1908 and was published under the pseudonym Three Initiates. The notes assert that the author was most likely “William Walker Atkinson, a popular New Thought writer and publisher in the early twentieth century.” (p. 141) The book presents the seven basic principles found in the teachings of Hermes Trismegistus. Those principles are:

  1. The Principle of Mentalism
  2. The Principle of Correspondence
  3. The Principle of Vibration
  4. The Principle of Polarity
  5. The Principle of Rhythm
  6. The Principle of Cause and Effect
  7. The Principle of Gender

While this is a very short book, it has a wealth of information and is very accessible to readers, regardless of your background in spiritual studies. That said, rather than hitting the key topics, I want to focus this post on a single paragraph from the section on Cause and Effect.

Stop to think a moment. If a certain man had not met a certain maid, away back in the dim period of the Stone Age—you who are reading these lines would not now be here. And if, perhaps, the same couple had failed to meet, we who now write these lines would not now be here. And the very act of writing, on our part, and the act of reading, on yours, will affect not only the respective lives of yourself and ourselves, but will also have a direct, or indirect, affect upon many other people now living and who will live in the ages to come. Every thought we think, every act we perform, has its direct and indirect results which fit into the great chain of Cause and Effect.

(p. 109)

This is a truth that I consider often. Everything I do, or abstain from doing, affects reality in ways we cannot begin to comprehend. This understanding comes with responsibility. Knowing that everything you read, everything you say, every seemingly insignificant act you engage in has a rippling effect throughout eternity, makes you realize that nothing you do is insignificant or without consequence. Hence, to paraphrase a writer who was very influential for me when I was young, we must live our lives impeccably.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my musings. You have just changed the future by doing so.


Filed under Literature, Non-fiction, Spiritual

10 responses to “Thoughts on “The Kybalion” by Three Initiates

  1. Great last paragraph Jeff. You’re right people need to think before they speak. At times I think we are all guilty of that. There is always a consequence if as they say when shit goes south. lol
    Have a great day Pal!
    Cheers …

  2. Hi Jeff. Looks like a great read and synchs nicely with a book I’m reading called, The Web of Meaning, by Jeremy Lent. He makes the case that world, or cosmos, at root, is an integrated whole. His aim is to present the ways in which science and indigenous wisdom can also integrate their strengths for a more balanced perception of the world, and especially, as he calls them, self organizing systems. This understanding of what permeates everything, fosters cooperation over competition. Evidently, within the science community, there is a movement in this direction of integrating different approaches to science that put more emphasis on how living systems do cooperate with each other.
    Hope you’re doing well!

    • Hi Debra. Wow, that book sounds amazing! It is encouraging to see science exploring the connections between consciousness and reality. Speaking of indigenous wisdom, I have started re-reading the works of Castaneda. Also have Manly P. Hall on the list. So much stuff to read and so little time. Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I am always glad to hear from you. Cheers!

  3. Seconding Debra in a thought that this is very timely. I have just started to read Metamorphoses by Emanuele Coccia, who is a revelation I discovered only last year. He is an Italian philosopher and in this book he posits that all living and non-living life is bound to each other. I think it is a Hermetic book at heart.

    • Hi Monika. I have never heard of Coccia, but I am in agreement that all things are connected. Speaking of connections, clearly we are all exploring similar things. Anyway, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Cheers!

  4. Jeff, I just read The Island of Dr. Moreau (because of your post on October 19, 2015 – that’s how backed up is my reading list), and I went back to your post to re-read it, and ended up here. Thanks for all you do, deploying wisdom in bite-sized chunks. I see you are on your way to 1 million views! Exciting. Wishing you and your family well. Miss you! D. R.

    • Jerry! Great to hear from you. We are all doing well, and hoping you and your family are also doing well. I just checked and I still have your contact info. A lot has happened since we last spoke. I’ll give you a call in the next week or two. BTW, how did you like Dr Moreau?


      • I liked it very much, especially the end, after he rejoins “society” with his expanded consciousness. His observations are beautifully, succinctly, written. Also I liked how he kept the deceased Moreau alive by ascending him into the sky where he could continue to control the beast-men, by watching their every move. Makes the current culture rather transparent, but it may be that as these belief systems fall away, society seems to be reverting to a more primitive state, in many ways. Maybe we still need the scary invisible man in the sky. Belated thanks for your 2015 post. Glad I remembered and read the book. No desire to see any of the movie adaptations. PS: I downloaded a free copy of The Kybalion. Maybe I will get to it before another 6 years elapses.

      • Hmm. Well, society, like everything else, moves in cycles. While I try to avoid labels such as primitive because of the negative connotations, I would agree that we may be on the threshold of a return to a more simplified culture. Our society has become complex to the point that it is chaotic and fragmented. The natural evolution would be to move to a state of simplicity. To be continued, for sure.