The great Seventh Hermetic Principle the Principle of Gender embodies the truth that there is gender manifested in everything, that the masculine and feminine principles are ever present and active in all phases of phenomena and on every plane of life. At this point we think it well to draw your attention to the fact that gender, in its Hermetic sense, and sex, in the ordinarily accepted use of the term, are not the same.
The word "gender" is derived from the Latin root meaning "to beget; to procreate; to generate; to produce". A moment's consideration will show that the word has a much broader and more general meaning than the term "sex", which refers to the physical distinctions between male and female living things. Sex is merely a manifestation of gender on the organic life sub-plane of the Great Physical Plane. We wish to impress this distinction upon your minds because certain writers who have acquired a smattering of Hermetic Philosophy have sought to identify this Seventh Hermetic Principle with wild, fanciful, and often reprehensible theories and teachings regarding sex.
The office of Gender is solely that of creating, producing, generating, etc., and its manifestations are visible on every plane of phenomena. It is somewhat difficult to produce proofs of this along scientific lines because science has not yet recognised this Principle as being of universal application. But some proofs are nevertheless forthcoming from scientific sources. In the first place, we find a distinct manifestation of the Principle of Gender among the corpuscles, ions, or electrons which constitute the basis of Matter as science now knows the latter, and which in certain combinations form the atom, which until lately was regarded as final and indivisible.
The latest word of science is that the atom is composed of a multitude of corpuscles, electrons, or ions (the various names being applied by different authorities) revolving around each other and vibrating at a high degree and intensity. But the accompanying statement is made that the formation of the atom is really due to the clustering of negative corpuscles around a positive one, the positive corpuscles seeming to exert a certain influence upon the negative ones causing them to assume certain combinations and thus "create" or "generate" an atom. This is in line with the most ancient Hermetic Teachings, which have always identified the masculine principle of Gender with the "positive" and the feminine with the "negative" poles of electricity (so-called).
Now a word at this point regarding this identification. The public mind has formed an entirely erroneous impression regarding the qualities of the so-called "negative" pole of electrified or magnetised matter. The terms positive and negative are very wrongly applied to this phenomenon by science, where the word positive means something real and strong, as compared with a negative unreality or weakness.
Nothing could be further from the real facts of electrical phenomena. The so-called negative pole of the battery is really the pole in and by which the generation or production of new forms and energies is manifested. There is nothing "negative" about it. In place of "negative", the best scientific authorities now use the word "cathode", from the Greek root meaning "descent; the path of generation, etc.". From the cathode pole emerge the swarm of electrons or corpuscles; from the same pole emerge those wonderful "rays" which have revolutionised scientific conceptions during the past decade. The cathode is the Mother of all of the strange phenomena which have rendered the old text-books useless and caused many long-accepted theories to be relegated to the scrap-pile of scientific speculation.
The cathode, or negative pole, is the Mother principle of electrical phenomena and of the finest forms of matter as yet known to science. So you see we are justified in refusing to use the term "negative" in our consideration of the subject, and in insisting upon substituting the word "feminine" for the old term. The facts of the case bear us out in this, without taking the Hermetic Teachings into consideration. And so we shall use the word "feminine" in the place of "negative" in speaking of that pole of activity.
The latest scientific teachings are that the creative corpuscles or electrons are Feminine (science says "they are composed of negative electricity" we say they are composed of Feminine energy). A feminine corpuscle becomes detached from, or rather leaves, a masculine corpuscle, and starts on a new career. It actively seeks a union with a masculine corpuscle, being urged thereto by the natural impulse to create new forms of Matter or Energy. One writer goes so far as to use the phrase "it at once seeks, of its own volition, a union ...", etc.
This detachment and uniting form the basis of the greater part of the activities of the chemical world. When the feminine corpuscle unites with a masculine corpuscle, a certain process is begun. The feminine particles vibrate rapidly under the influence of the masculine energy, and circle rapidly around it. The result is the birth of a new atom. This new atom is really composed of a union of the masculine and feminine corpuscles; but as soon as the union is formed the atom becomes a separate thing having certain properties but no longer manifesting the property of free electricity. The process of detachment or separation of the feminine electrons is called "ionisation". These "free" electrons, or corpuscles, are the most active workers in Nature's field. Arising from their unions, or combinations, they manifest the varied phenomena of light, heat, electricity, magnetism, attraction, repulsion, chemical affinity and its reverse, and similar phenomena. And all this arises from the operation of the Principle of Gender on the plane of Energy.
The part of the masculine principle seems to be that of directing a certain inherent energy toward the feminine principle and thus starting the creative processes into activity. But the feminine principle is always the one which does the active creative work, and this is so on all planes.
And yet, each principle is incapable of operative energy without the assistance of the other. In some forms of life, the two principles are combined in one organism. For that matter, everything in the organic world manifests in both genders there is always the masculine present in the feminine form and the feminine in the masculine form. The Hermetic Teachings include much regarding the operation of the two principles of Gender in the production and manifestation of various forms of energy, etc., but we do not deem it expedient to go into detail at this point because we are unable to adduce scientific proof for the simple reason that science has not yet progressed thus far. But the example we have given of the phenomena of the electrons or corpuscles will show that science is on the right path and will give you a general idea of the underlying principles.
Some leading scientific investigators have announced their belief that in the formation of crystals there was to be found something that corresponded to "sex activity", which is another straw showing the direction in which the scientific winds are blowing. And each year will bring other facts to corroborate the correctness of the Hermetic Principle of Gender. It will be found that gender is in constant operation and manifestation in the field of inorganic matter and in the field of Energy or Force. Electricity is now generally regarded as the "Something" into which all other forms of energy seem to melt or dissolve. The "Electrical Theory of the Universe" is the latest scientific doctrine, and is growing rapidly in popularity and general acceptance. And it follows that if we are able to discover in the phenomena of electricity even at the very root and source of its manifestations a clear and unmistakable evidence of the presence of Gender and its activities, we are justified in asking you to believe that science has at last offered proofs of the existence in all universal phenomena of that great Hermetic Principle.
It is not necessary to take up your time with the well known phenomena of the "attraction and repulsion" of the atoms; chemical affinity; the "loves and hates" of the atomic particles; the attraction or cohesion between the molecules of matter. These facts are too well known to need extended comment from us. But have you ever considered that all of these things are manifestations of the Gender principle? Can you not see that these phenomena are "on all fours" with that of the corpuscles or electrons? And more than this, can you not see the reasonableness of the Hermetic Teachings which assert that the very Law of Gravitation that strange attraction by reason of which all particles and bodies of matter in the Universe tend toward each other is but another manifestation of the Principle of Gender, which operates in the direction of attracting the masculine to the feminine energies, and vice-versa?
We cannot offer you scientific proof of this at this time but examine the phenomena in the light of the Hermetic Teachings on the subject, and see if you have not a better working hypothesis than any offered by physical science. Submit all physical phenomena to the test, and you will discern the Principle of Gender ever in evidence.
In the next chapter, we pass on to a consideration of the operation of the Principle on the Mental plane. Many interesting features are there awaiting examination.