Duality in Hermeticism is found in Hermetic schools of thought that pertain to philosophical concepts like: As above, so below and Good and Evil.

As above, so belowEdit

"As above, so below" is a concept that originates with the Vedas and was adopted into Hermetic texts, like The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus.[1] In this Hermetic text it states:

"That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracle of the One Thing." - The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus trans. by Dennis W. Hauck

This principle is often viewed through the lenses of the microcosm and macrocosm. In one aspect, the microcosm could be oneself while the macrocosm, the universe. The macrocosm is as the microcosm and vice versa, within each lies the other; only through "Understanding" (Binah), may a man understand the other.[2]

Good and evilEdit

According to book 9 of the Corpus Hermeticum, Reason and Knowledge (nous) bring forth Good or Evil, depending on how one perceives God or demons.[3] Thus, giving some evidence that Hermeticism includes a sense of morality. However, the word "good" is restricted to references pertaining to God.[4] It is only God (only in the sense of the nous, not in the sense of the All) who is completely free of evil. Man is prevented from being good because man has a material body, is consumed by his physical nature, and is ignorant of the Supreme Good.[5] A focus on the material life is said to be the only thing that offends God:

  • "As processions passing in the road cannot achieve anything themselves yet still obstruct others, so these men merely process through the universe, led by the pleasures of the body." - The Way of Hermes p.32, 33
  • "One must create, one must do something positive in one's life because God is a generative power. Not creating anything leaves a person "sterile" (i.e., unable to accomplish anything)." - The Way of Hermes p. 29

Fall of manEdit

The Discourses of Isis to Horus provides a version of the Fall of man that is examined by Hermeticists, as summarized by the following:

God, having created the universe, then created the divisions, the worlds, and various gods and goddesses, whom he appointed to certain parts of the universe. He then took a mysterious transparent substance, out of which he created human souls. He appointed the souls to the astral region, which is just above the physical region. He then assigned the souls to create life on Earth. He handed over some of his creative substance to the souls and commanded them to contribute to his creation. The souls then used the substance to create the various animals and forms of physical life. Soon after, however, the souls began to overstep their boundaries; they succumbed to pride and desired to be equal to the highest gods. God was displeased and called upon Hermes to create physical bodies that would imprison the souls as a punishment for them. Hermes created human bodies on earth, and God then told the souls of their punishment. God decreed that suffering would await them in the physical world but he promised them that, if their actions on Earth were worthy of their divine origin, their condition would improve and they would eventually return to the heavenly world. If it did not improve, he would condemn them to repeated reincarnation upon Earth.[6]


  1. Scully (2003), p.321
  2. Garstin (2004), p.35
  3. The Way of Hermes p. 42.
  4. The Way of Hermes p. 28.
  5. The Way of Hermes p. 47.
  6. Hermetica Volume 1, pg 457 ff


  • Garstin, E.J. Langford (2004). Theurgy or The Hermetic Practice. Berwick: Ibis Press. Published Posthumously
  • Scully, Nicki (2003). Alchemical Healing: A Guide to Spiritual, Physical, and Transformational Medicine. Rochester: Bear & Company.

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