Correspondence: The Second Hermetic Principle

As above, so below; as below, so above.

The Kybalion

The principle of “correspondence” is probably the most popular and well-known Hermetic principle because of the popular axiom associated with it (quoted above). The meanings can be layered and applied to so many different things. 

Universal Wisdom: Correspondence Through the Ages

My first experience of consciously honing in on this Hermetic axiom began when I started researching comparative mythology and religion. I noticed that many ancient cultures recreated down “below” here on earth what they observed up “above” in the “heavens.” Building monolithic structures oriented to the sun, moon, planets, and zodiacal constellations of the ecliptic. In the Middle East, archaeology has unearthed entire kings and courts that acted out and represented celestial phenomena, buried in the sand! Whole societies would act out down “below” celestial phenomena that were observed up “above” by the astronomer-priest class. 

This is also apparent when considering ancient Judaism. The Star of David is one triangle pointing up, the other pointing down–“as above, so below.” Both Philo of Alexandria and the historian Flavius Josephus mention that the 12 Tribes of Israel were arranged according to the months of the year/zodiacal constellations. The 7-day week reflects the fact that observation with the naked eye renders 5 visible planets and two luminaries. This rolled over into the Christian era. The 12 disciples were merely a representation of the 12 tribes/zodiacal constellations. The theme continued into the Piscean Age. That was the first line of information that emerged to me when studying the “as above, so below” axiom. I had not yet read the Kybalion or heard of the 7 Principles. 

I bought the “Magical Egypt” documentary series featuring John Anthony West. Within the first season, they had covered the fact that the ancient Egyptians saw the universe as Consciousness “above” with the corresponding human and animal consciousness down “below.” I took in all of that information but didn’t yet understand how that could be possible. I lacked the conceptual ability to make sense of the claim, as most people do. The universe doesn’t have a brain, it can’t think. Although I couldn’t conceptualize the claim, it revealed that there was such a belief as Consciousness “above” corresponding to consciousness “below.” 

Mapping the Mind: Correspondence in Modern Philosophical Perspectives

Fast forward several years, and while I was researching Analytic Idealism, I ran into the Kybalion by chance. At this time, had already been focused on the models of primary Consciousness from the modern philosophy of mind perspective. I could see clearly that the 1st Principle is the very same as the 1st premise of primary Consciousness or “core subjectivity.” And that the 2nd Principle of Correspondence applies to the new philosophical modeling as well Mind at Large (MAL) is the big “C” Consciousness “above.” Little “c” consciousness “below” is known as dissociation–finite minds being called “dissociated altars of MAL.” The big issue here is that what we observe as out there in the objective universe of space are the “appearances” of the inner Mentation (1st function) of MAL. There is only movement because things are moving around in the big “C” Conscious Mind and we’re observing it from within. 

The first two principles of Hermeticism align with the premises of modern idealism. “Correspondence” is always an issue either way, with either perspective. That is what one would expect from a deep truth–it should always apply regardless of ancient or modern modeling. It seems as though modern philosophy and science are playing catch-up with something that ancient mystical practice has known all along. The materialist worldview that overtook secular science and advancement is simply a big “red herring” distraction that has taken several hundred years to come to its own natural dead end. Materialists tried to explain reality without Primary Consciousness, and the result is that they can never explain the very existence of consciousness through material/physical processes. There has to be a corresponding big “C” Consciousness to explain the very existence of little “c” consciousness.

Unified Realms: The Seamless Flow of the Hermetic Principles and the Cosmic Correspondence of Consciousness

The 7 Hermetic Principles flow, evenly, from one to another. The existence of the 1st Principle of “all-mind” results in the existence of “correspondence” in terms of the little “c” finite mind conscious experiences that accompany the very existence of big “C” Consciousness. Whatever varieties of consciousness may exist beyond the physical plane of human experience, all count as the possible varieties of little “c” consciousness that may exist within big “C” Consciousness as its “correspondences.” The observation-oriented experiential centers within big “C.” 

This renders possible physical plane extraterrestrial life beyond this earthly experience. It also applies to any paranormal entities that may exist. And it also applies to immaterial beings that may exist. Any “beings” that are not infinite, formless, void, and irreducible, can be nothing other than “finite mind” experiences, whether material/physical or non-material/non-physical. 

This explanatory power blankets paranormal and PSI speculation. All of these varieties of possibility “correspond” to the Infinite Mind or the “ALL-Mind” of the Hermetic Kybalion. The same explanations apply to modern idealist philosophy for the same reasons. Permitting that any of these possible states of experience do exist, they must exist as dissociated altars of a Mind at Large (MAL), which means, “finite mind” experiential centers that serve the purpose and role of simply “‘experiencing.”  

Eternal Harmony: Unraveling the Layers of Existence – “As Above, So Below” in the Infinite Symphony of Reality

The other pressing issue addressed in the Hermetic Kybalion is the issue of many planes of existence, not just the physical plane. Reality is said to repeat. “As above” corresponds to “as below.” And it goes further, to explain that an understanding within any given level or plane of this repeating process existence is to understand all planes. Because they simply repeat over and over again like a fractal geometry running on forever and ever. 

The way I explain this is to point out that musical notes come in the form of 7 whole notes with 12 notes altogether when considering all sharps and flats. Once they reach a certain point, which is A through G, they repeat from the beginning, one octave higher or lower–“above” or “below.” If you know the 7 and 12 notes of music across one plane of a musical octave, then you know all musical notes across all octaves, higher or lower, because they simply repeat themselves over and over again, endlessly. This is something to remember as we continue our journey through the remaining five Hermetic Principles. According to Hermetic tradition, reality isn’t as complex and incomprehensible as most people have made it out to be in their own minds! 

Stephen Wollard,

The Hermetic Idealist

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