The Hermetic Occult principle of vibration originates in Egyptian philosophy, and underpins most magical systems. Hermes is the Greeks version of Egyptian God Thoth also known as Tehuti.
The idea stems from the cosmological model whereby the manifest world was created by a divine utterance of sound; it is this sound that both brings forth and sustains creation. The Hermetic Gnostics viewed this vibratory motion as polar; the higher the vibration, the closer to the divine, and vice-versa. However, the world of man and the world of the divine were inextricably intertwined via these vibrations, so influencing the vibration of one influenced the other.
This is expressed in the “Hermetic Axiom,” “As above, so below,” first expressed in the Emerald Tablet, which may date as early as the first millennium BCE. Early Egyptian practices were based on the notion that this creative principle could be tapped through the power of the voice; an idea echoed in many other magical cultures, including Norse rune-singing; Hebrew Kabbalah is modeled on a similar principle.
“Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.”
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 which 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 the Mind is likewise as modes of vibration or motion.
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 degrees of the same things-it manifests certain heat vibrations, and in that sense is in motion and vibration. All particles of Matter are in circular movement, from corpuscle to suns. The planets revolve around suns. The molecules of which the 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 electrons, protons, ions etc., which also are in a state of rapid motion, revolving around each other, and which manifest a very rapid state and mode of vibration.
The Universal Ether, which is postulated by science without its nature being understood clearly, is held by the Hermeticists to be but a higher manifestation of that which is erroneously called matter-that is to say, Matter at a higher degree of vibration. The Hermeticists teach that this Ethereal Substance is of extreme tenacity 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 degree of vibration, in rate and mode, entirely its own.
Hermetic Teachings go much further than do those of modern science.
They teach that all manifestation of thought, emotion, reason, will or desire, or any mental state or condition, are accompanied by vibrations, a portion of which are thrown off and which 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. And 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 -just as color may be reproduced in the same may. By knowledge of the Principle of Vibration, as applied to Mental Phenomena, one may polarize his mind at any degree he wishes, thus gaining a 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.” This power of course 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.
From the onset of the Big Bang or something relevant came forth a Primordial Vibration. From this, all things were created within our Universe from the Physical to the Metaphysical to the Spiritual. It has been called the Word in the Judeo-Christian Bible, Hindu Scriptures call it Naad and Shruti, Persian scriptures Sraosha, Kalma in Muslim scriptures, ‘the Sonorous Light’ in Buddhism, Naam or Shabd by the Sikhs, in Patanjali Yoga Darshan, the God/dess Ishwara is a Being expressed by this original vibration (Pranav) and Madam Helen Blavatsky and the Theosophists call it ‘the Voice of Silence’. It is interesting to note the similarities between the above word ‘Pranav’ in this case denoting the personification of the Primordial Vibration and the word ‘prana’ which is the life force within us.
At its best music is an art-form and at its lowest form a commercial product. To Hermeticists music epitomized particular natural laws of physics and metaphysics. They understood music to be an outer and audible agent of our inner, transcendent power. Great importance was placed on patterns, and meta-patterns, higher orders of shape, similar to Platonic First Forms, which expressed themselves through a lesser order of media. Hermetic musicologists inherited their knowledge by way of written and oral traditions from ancient cultures and evolved their approach to music by aligning it with the scared sciences. For them, music became a sacred and magical vehicle of consciousness.
Attached to these musical mysteries was an abstraction of the laws of physics and the subtle perception of the archetypes from which these physical laws were said to have devolved. Sacred music was harmonizing mysterious physiological rhythms and natural tonalities. Noise itself mingled together harmonic sequences in a complex soup. Music is Sound is Music became a tool for the Hermeticist used during invocations and rites. To activate these alchemical or magical models the Hermeticist needed to relate such models to hir modes of awareness and consciousness.