Here is a principle that is important to remember when it comes to reality or life in general. I mean I can appreciate the philosophy of Hermeticism. I enjoy many different philosophies and some of them work together for me in what I believe and practice as a Witch.
Although the fourth principle, as well as the rest, can find its way into religions such as Wicca, it is not specifically Wiccan considering it is from a philosophical teaching from centuries ago and even from a different geological location than where Wicca was born.
I don’t want to get caught up in semantics as these conversations tend to do today. There are many influences that an individual Witch may draw from in his/her lifelong practice as a Witch. I know there are many for me.
So, what is the fourth principle of hermeticism? It is the Principle of Polarity of course.
“Everything is Dual; everything has poles; everything has its
pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are
identical in nature, but different in degree; extremes meet;
all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be
So, if we look at society today and if we understand this principle, we can see that polarities of Day and Night, Good and Evil, and Love and Hate are all the same thing just different degrees of the same thing. I want to focus on “Good and Evil”, “Positive and negative”, and “Love and Hate” are the same thing just different degrees of the same thing. If we look at love and hate they are both extremes of emotions. I don’t want to add too many quotes from the book but I want to convey a perspective. I am not quoting this principle as Doctrine or even as a divine imparting of knowledge but simply as a perspective. In this, I don’t mean that you have to agree with it but just sit and consider it with an open mind.
The two extremes, the polar opposites are often seen as what is real because it can be identified as its extreme version of what is real but what is real is found in the middle. The Center. Only the center is real while the two extremes are the same only in different degrees of the same thing.
The Principle of Polarity also blends within the Principle of Rhythm.
“Everything flows, out and in; everything has its tides;
all things rise and fall; the pendulum-swing manifests in
everything; the measure of the swing to the right is the
measure of the swing to the left; rhythm compensates.”–The
Polarities meet in the middle and the middle is the only thing that is real and as the pendulum swings to the far left wing, it will come full swing back to the far right wing. It does adjust itself. It does compensate. We see this in society. We can actually see this globally now that we have the internet.
Finding that CENTER is the place to find what is real. It is the place where the Witch makes his/her best decisions, choices, and finds the most clarity. While society is telling me to Pick a side, I have actually found more balance in the Center where things are real. I am not actually sitting on a proverbial fence of indecision, I have actually determined that the best seat in the house is the seat in the Center. I can actually see more clearly what is actually happening. I can understand more from the Center than I can from one of the sides of the extreme. In religion, we call the extreme sides, Fanatical.
If we look at a balancing board or the childhood see-saw, we know how the rhythm works. One side will go up while the other goes down while the center teeters slightly between the two ends. We tell ourselves, “I need to find my balance” or “I need life to balance out” yet we choose an extreme where balance doesn’t exist within itself but requires an opposite extreme to give it balance then we complain because we are opposed by the opposite extreme to our extreme place we exist at the moment in the first place. We are prone to place blame on external sources instead of ourselves who are the true cause of our own misery.
So, while we claim to be anti-hate but are doing things that increase the hate, there must be love that is going to come up and slap you in the face because that is how balance works. Balance is found in the Center of two extremes and the extremes meet.
As human beings, we have a difficult time staying focused in our Center or The Center of all things. We often drift back and forth from one extreme to the other. The oppressed becoming the oppressor and the oppressor becomes the oppressed. The only balance in this is that every extreme must have its polarity of the opposite end of the degree. I prefer where these two degrees meet (in the middle/the center)because that is what is real.
People whom we believe are very grounded and balanced do not live in the extremes. They don’t live in places of one side or the other but in a place of understanding where both reside as one and the same yet not exactly either of the extremes yet is in its very nature the same thing. It is a place of understanding of both ends of the extremes. We often see the extremes because it can be difficult to determine where that center resides. It becomes confused as to which one it is because it is both yet neither. I describe this as “the place of understanding“.
Because there is so much fuel for the fire of hate in society today, the extreme opposite being Love. If we think of the Principle of Polarity, we see that Love and Hate do fight each other. You do fight love with Hate and hate with love. What goes up must come down. The difference between day and night is the degree. Fighting hate with hate only breeds hate and forces love to oppose you. As I use the word “Fight” it is more of a struggle for balance because the extremes are not really in balance without its opposite to oppose it.
Today, Hate makes people feel strong and powerful and when they feel strong and powerful it is because they believe it gives them power over other people which makes them feel like they can control themselves. Some people feel empowered by love. Love is a harder place to live so people feel powerful because they have power over themselves. They can control how they feel, they can control what they think, People who act from a place of love feel empowered from the self-discipline it takes to feed that love and to nurture that love. Both sides feel powerful.
The real power remains in the middle, in the center, because that is the place of understanding. The place that is real. So when a Witch speaks of the polarities in this existence we can understand it is in reference to the two extremes of the same thing.
Here is a video for those who are interested in learning more about the 7 principles of Hermeticism.