Hermeticism and the 7 Principles of the Kybalion

Hermeticism and the 7 Principles of the Kybalion are two spiritual traditions that have gained popularity in recent times. Many people think that they are closely connected. Hermeticism is a philosophy that originated in ancient Egypt and Greece, while the Kybalion is a book written in the early 20th century that claims to draw on Hermetic principles.

Studying Hermeticism can be immensely beneficial for those interested in the Kybalion, as it can deepen one’s understanding of the book’s teachings and offer insights into its many differences with Hermeticism.

Hermeticism is a philosophical and spiritual tradition that emerged in ancient Egypt and Greece, which teaches a path to salvation as taught by the legendary spiritual master Hermes Trismegistus. According to legend, Hermes Trismegistus was a divine teacher living in Egypt who possessed immense knowledge and wisdom.

Hermes is often called the “Father of Wisdom” or the “Greatest Philosopher” and is credited with authoring a series of texts known as the Hermetica, such as the Corpus Hermeticum and the Asclepius. These texts explore the nature of reality, the relationship between humanity and the divine, and the path to spiritual enlightenment and salvation.

The Kybalion, on the other hand, is a book that was first published in 1908 by “The Three Initiates”. The book claims to be the product of a group of esoteric scholars who were inspired by Hermetic principles but these mysterious “three initiates” did not exist.

William Walker Atkinson 2
William Walker Atkinson, author of the Kybalion (source: wikipedia)

The author of the Kybalion is William Walker Atkinson, who was a skilled tradesman. For the Kybalion William basically appropriated the label “Hermetic” so it could sell his own ideas of New Thought under an older appearance to make it seem more exotic and authentic.

The Kybalion presents seven principles claiming they are the basis of Hermetic philosophy, including the principle of mentalism, the principle of correspondence, and the principle of gender. These “seven Hermetic principles” cannot be found in authentic Hermetic texts. The book claims to present Hermetic teachings, but these ideas are more likely coming from other spiritual traditions, such as Hinduism and Taoism.

Deeper understanding

One of the key benefits of studying Hermeticism when you are interested in the Kybalion is that it provides a deeper understanding of the real Hermetic wisdom the book claims to present. Hermeticism is a vast and complex tradition that encompasses a wide range of philosophical and spiritual ideas.

For example, the principle of mentalism, which is one of the seven principles presented in the Kybalion, differs from the concept of “mind” found in Hermetic philosophy. According to Hermeticism, the Cosmos is a creation in – or from – the Mind (called Nous) of God, and everything that exists is a manifestation of the divine mind/Nous. By studying Hermeticism, one can gain a deeper understanding of this concept and how it is fundamentally different from the concept of mentalism as is found in the Kybalion.

The Kybalion places a strong emphasis on the law of attraction, and this “law” has become very popular on social media. But this “law” cannot be found in authentic Hermetic texts, such as the Corpus Hermeticum or the Asclepius. While Hermeticism acknowledges the important role of reason – rational thought and intention – in shaping one’s reality or Fate, it does not place any emphasis on the idea that one can attract specific outcomes through the power of thought alone.


Studying Hermeticism can be immensely beneficial for those interested in the Kybalion. It gives you useful insights into the few similarities but more importantly the many differences between the two traditions. Whether you are interested in the Kybalion as a standalone work or as an expression of “Hermetic” philosophy, studying Hermeticism helps you to learn the real and authentic Way of Hermes.

Interested in learning the real Hermetic teachings?

Learn the ancient Way of Hermes in our online course. The Way of Hermes, also called Hermeticism, celebrates life and light. The purpose of this joyful spiritual path is to heal the soul from negativity, to free it from negative influences such as fear and aggression, and to open our eyes to the beauty of existence. 

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