The great Third Hermetic Principle the Principle of Vibration embodies the truth that Motion is manifest in everything in the Universe; that nothing is at rest; that everything moves, vibrates, and circles. This Hermetic Principle was recognised by some of the early Greek philosophers, who embodied it in their systems. Then for centuries it was lost sight of by the thinkers outside of the Hermetic ranks. But in the Nineteenth Century, physical science re-discovered the truth and Twentieth Century scientific discoveries have added additional proof of the correctness and truth of this centuries-old Hermetic doctrine.
The Hermetic Teachings are that not only is everything in constant movement and vibration, but that the "differences" between the various manifestations of the universal power are due entirely to the varying rate and mode of vibrations. Not only this, but that even THE ALL, in Itself, manifests a constant vibration of such an infinite degree of intensity and rapid motion that it may be practically considered to be at rest, the teachers directing the attention of students to the fact that, even on the physical plane, a rapidly moving object (such as a revolving wheel) seems to be at rest. The Teachings are to the effect that Spirit is at one end of the Pole of Vibration, the other Pole being certain extremely gross forms of Matter. Between these two poles are millions upon millions of different rates and modes of vibration.
Modern science has proven that all we call Matter and Energy are but modes of vibratory motion, and some of the more advanced scientists are rapidly moving toward the positions of the occultists who hold that the phenomena of Mind are likewise modes of vibration or motion. Let us see what science has to say regarding the question of vibrations in matter and energy.
In the first place, science teaches that all matter manifests, in some degree, the vibrations arising from temperature or heat. Be an object cold or hot (both being but degrees of the same thing), it manifests certain heat vibrations, and in that sense is in motion and vibration.
Then all particles of matter, from corpuscles to suns, are in circular movement. The planets revolve around suns, and many of them turn on their axes. The suns move around greater central points, and these are believed to move around still greater, and so on ad infinitum. The molecules of which particular kinds of Matter are composed are in a state of constant vibration and movement around each other and against each other. The molecules are composed of atoms which, likewise, are in a state of constant movement and vibration. The atoms are composed of corpuscles, sometimes called electrons, ions, etc., which are also in a state of rapid motion and manifesting a very rapid state and mode of vibration. So we see that all forms of Matter manifest vibration in accordance with the Hermetic Principle of Vibration.
And so it is with the various forms of Energy. Science teaches that light, heat, magnetism and electricity are but forms of vibratory motion in some way connected with, and emanating from, the Ether. Science does not as yet attempt to explain the nature of the phenomenon known as cohesion, which is the principle of molecular attraction; nor chemical affinity, which is the principle of atomic attraction; nor gravitation (the greatest mystery of the three), which is the principle of attraction by which every particle or mass of Matter is bound to every other particle or mass. These three forms of Energy are not as yet understood by science: yet the writers incline to the opinion that these too are manifestations of some form of vibratory energy, a fact which the Hermetists have held and taught for ages past.
The Universal Ether, which is postulated by science without its nature being understood clearly, is held by the Hermetists to be but a higher manifestation of that which is erroneously called matter (i.e. Matter at a higher degree of vibration) and is called by them "The Ethereal Substance". The Hermetists teach that this Ethereal Substance is of extreme tenuity and elasticity, and pervades universal space, serving as a medium of transmission of waves of vibratory energy such as heat, light, electricity, magnetism, etc. The Teachings are that The Ethereal Substance is a connecting link between the forms of vibratory energy known as "Matter" on the one hand and "Energy" or "Force" on the other; and also that it manifests a rate, mode and degree of vibration entirely its own.
Scientists have offered an illustration to show the effects of increasing rates of vibrations. The illustration supposes a revolving wheel, top, or cylinder which we shall refer to as "the object". Let us suppose the object is rotating slowly. It may be seen readily, but no sound of its movement reaches the ear. As the speed is gradually increased, a deep growl or low note may be heard. As the rate is further increased, the note rises in the musical scale and, one after another, all the notes of the musical scale appear, rising higher and higher as the motion is increased. Finally, when the motion has reached a certain rate, the final note perceptible to human ears is reached and the shrill, piercing shriek dies away into silence. No sound is heard from the revolving object, the rate of motion being so high that the human ear cannot register the vibrations.
Then comes the perception of rising degrees of heat, after which the eye sees that the object is becoming a dark reddish colour. As the speed goes on increasing, the red becomes brighter, then merges successively into orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. As the violet shades away, all colour disappears, the human eye being unable to register the emitted vibrations. But invisible "ultraviolet" rays are emanating from the revolving object. Then begin to manifest the peculiar rays known as "x-rays" etc., as the constitution of the object changes. Electricity and magnetism are emitted when the appropriate rate of vibration is attained.
When the object reaches a certain high rate of vibration, its molecules disintegrate and resolve themselves into the original elements or atoms. Then the atoms, following the Principle of Vibration, are separated into the countless corpuscles of which they are composed. And finally, even the corpuscles disappear and the object may be said to be composed of The Ethereal Substance. Science does not dare to follow the illustration further, but the Hermetists teach that if the vibrations were continually increased, the object would mount up the successive states of manifestation and would in turn manifest the various mental stages, and then on Spiritward until it would finally re-enter THE ALL, which is Absolute Spirit. The "object" would, however, have ceased to be an "object" long before the stage of Ethereal Substance was reached, but otherwise the illustration is correct inasmuch as it shows the effect of constantly increased rates and modes of vibration.
It must be remembered, in the above illustration, that at the stages at which the "object" throws off vibrations of heat, light, etc., it is not actually "resolved into" those forms of energy, but simply reaches a degree of vibration in which those forms are liberated, so to speak, from the confining influences of its molecules, atoms and corpuscles, as the case may be. These forms of energy, although much higher in the scale than matter, are imprisoned and confined in the material combinations by reason of the energies using, and manifesting through, material forms, but thus becoming entangled and confined in their own creations which, to an extent, is true of all creations, the creating force becoming involved in its creation.
But the Hermetic Teachings go much further than do those of modern science. They teach that all manifestations of thought, emotion, reason, will, desire, or any mental state or condition, are accompanied by vibrations, some of which are thrown off and tend to affect the minds of other persons by "induction". This is the principle which produces the phenomena of telepathy, mental influence, and other forms of the action and power of mind over mind with which the general public is rapidly becoming acquainted owing to the wide dissemination of occult knowledge by the various schools, cults and teachers along these lines at this time.
Every thought, emotion or mental state has its corresponding rate and mode of vibration. By an effort of the will of the person or of other persons, these mental states may be reproduced, just as a musical tone may be reproduced by causing an instrument to vibrate at a certain rate. By applying a knowledge of the Principle of Vibration to mental phenomena, one may polarise his mind to any degree he wishes, thus gaining perfect control over his mental states, moods, etc. In the same way he may affect the minds of others, producing the desired mental states in them. In short, he may be able to produce on the mental plane that which science produces on the physical plane, namely "vibrations at will". Of course, this power may be acquired only by the proper instruction, exercises, practice, etc., the science being that of Mental Transmutation, one of the branches of the Hermetic Art.
A little reflection on what we have said will show the student that the principle of Vibration underlies the wonderful phenomena of the power manifested by the Masters and Adepts who are apparently able to set aside the Laws of Nature but who, in reality, are simply using one law against another, one principle against others. They accomplish their results by changing the vibrations of material objects or forms of energy, and thus perform what are commonly called "miracles".
As one of the old Hermetic writers has truly said: "He who understands the Principle of Vibration has grasped the sceptre of Power".