I've just been reading a book called Divine Magic: The Seven Sacred Secrets of Manifestation,which is an annotated version of an old tome called The Kybalion. And The Kybalion is a bit of a mystery.
Claiming to offer the secrets of hermetic philosophy and magic passed down from the mythical ancient founder of magic, Hermes Trismegistus, The Kybalion was first published in 1908, with the author or authors given the pseudonym of "the Three Initiates", but no one really knows who wrote it.
Divine Magic,on the other hand, has an author - Doreen Virtue, renowned for her well-respected books about mind, body, spirit teachings relating to healing. She first published Divine Magic - with the subtitle A New Interpretation of the Classic Hermetic Manual The Kybalion - in 2006, but a new edition has just been released and I was delighted to get a copy to review.
I have to admit it plugs an embarrassing gap in my reading as The Kybalion is one of those books I probably should have read long ago. My grandma - who was a Theosophist - owned an old copy, but it had looked a bit too dauntingly dry for me to pick up. I assumed it would be written in a stilted, archaic manner and be difficult to understand.
Doreen Virtue's Divine Magic isn't dry and archaic at all and has a look that is more appealing and prettier too. It is actually quite delightful to read, if you are into personal development - because that's what it is about. Doreen describes it as "a classic esoteric self-help book".
The teachings in The Kybalion and Divine Magic are divided into seven basic principles. The first is mentalism, that everything is mind and that our mental powers are paramount in personal development and in achieving our desires. The second is correspondence: "As above, so below, as below, so above." The third is vibration - the concept that everything vibrates and that the difference between our earthly plane and higher planes is the rate of vibration. The fourth is polarity - that things that appear to be opposite, such as love and hate, are just each end of a sliding scale and so can meet in the middle, if we let them. The fifth is rhythm, and the concept that by being aware of the rhythm of our moods and of life we can learn not to be controlled by their ups and downs. The sixth is cause and effect - that nothing happens just by chance. The seventh is gender - that we all have within us both male and female energies, which we should aim to get in harmony and balance.
The book primarily offers visualisation exercises to master those principles. The main one being to see our situation as being on a scale with a sliding lever. To change our mood from sad to happy, we visualise sliding the lever up to the happy end of the scale; for example, we slide the lever from poor to affluent to attract wealth if we are suffering poverty or from sad to happy if we have the blues. There is a lot more to it than that, of course, but you probably need to read the book if you are intrigued.
Publisher Hay House says: "In this book, Doreen Virtue uncovers the Divine magic teachings of the Egyptian sage Hermes Trismegistus. His teachings, called 'Hermetics', were only taught verbally or in very cryptic writings. In 1908, three Hermetic students wrote these teachings in a book called The Kybalion. In Divine Magic, Doreen Virtue presents a clear, edited version of The Kybalion, written in a way that is both modern and easy to understand."
Whether that history of the book and description of its origin is true or not, I don't know. As I said, it is a mystery. But then, a bit of mystery makes a book more appealing rather than less appealing doesn't it?
Links and previous related posts
Divine Magic: The Seven Sacred Secrets of Manifestation