IV. The Principle of Rhythm


The Rosicrucians teach that there are Seven Cosmic Principles present and operating throughout the Cosmos, and extending even to its smallest activities. The fourth cosmic principle is called: The Principle of Rhythm.

The Principle of Rhythm manifests that universal regular swing or time-beat which is apparent in all the manifested world, from its highest to its lowest manifestation. The ancient occult axiom “Everything beats time” expresses this fundamental fact of the Cosmos.

Rhythm means: “Regularly recurring motion, change or impulse proceeding in time-measured, alternating sequence.” The term “alternating” means “succeeding, acting or happening in turn.” The term “recurring” means “returning repeatedly; occurring at stated intervals, or according to some regular rule.”

Rhythm manifests in regular recurrence, succession in turn, repeated occurrence at stated intervals, etc. The simplest and most typical example or illustration of Rhythm is found in the swinging of the pendulum; the revolution of the earth on its axis., and around the sun, in regular measured time; the “beating time” of the metronome or the baton of the musical director; or the measured time in poetry or music. Rhythm means “beating time” in regular motion.

In all Rhythm there is recurring motion, change, and activity; action or motion in opposite directions; alternations between the opposite poles of action or motion; and a regular interval of time between the alternating actions or motions. In all phenomenal change or motion there is to be always found the existence of two opposite extremes between which the rhythmic change or motion is manifested. Rhythmic change and motion proceed by alternating swings between these two extremes, with a regular period of time elapsing between each beat, swing,

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or impulse in either direction. The period of “time” between the two alternating impulses constitutes the rhythmic rate, degree, or beat—its rhythmic measure of periodicity.

The term “periodicity” so often employed in connection with the subject of Rhythm, means “state of occurring or recurring at fixed intervals of time.” Every phenomenal thing manifests periodicity, by reason of the presence and activity of the Principle of Rhythm. Every phenomenal thing has its own rhythmic beat, or measure of periodicity. All scientific investigation tends to corroborate the ancient occult axiom: “Everything beats time.” A leading scientist has said: “Rhythm is a necessary characteristic of all motion. Given the co-existence everywhere of antagonistic forces—a postulate which is necessitated by our experience—and Rhythm is a necessary corollary. All motion alternates—be it the motion of planets in their orbits, or ethereal corpuscles in their undulations—be it the cadence of speech, or the rise and fall of prices—it became manifest that this perpetual reversal of motion between limits is inevitable.”

The atoms in their vibrations manifest Rhythm. The swing of the planets and the whirling of the earth manifest Rhythm. The rise and fall of the tides manifest Rhythm. The swing of the pendulum is interrupted Rhythm. Completed Rhythm is represented only by a completed revolution or circular movement—uninterrupted Rhythm always manifests as a complete movement in an orbit. But inasmuch as the centre between the two extremes is, itself, moving in response to a higher order of Rhythm, we see at last that all completed Rhythm manifests as a

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spiral—a circular movement which at the same time is moving forward.

By the Principle of Rhythm day is followed by night, and night by day. Summer and winter alternate in their appearance. Sleeping and waking alternate. Work and rest exchange places. Involution is followed by evolution, and evolution by involution. All changes proceed according to rhythmic order and sequence. The conduct of mankind is regulated by Rhythm. Fashions in dress, in taste, and in feeling, all come and go, and come again. Everything “comes back” in time. Races rise and fall, and then rise again, again to fall. The course of empire wends its way in cyclic procession around the earth. History repeats itself. Even our emotions have their tidal movements.

A writer has said of an important fact concerning Rhythm in our emotional states: “Nothing swings beyond the limit of its extremes—nothing can pass beyond its rhythmic limits. Consequently, if a thing swings far in one direction, it swings back equally far in the other. Its reaction is in the measure of its action, though in an opposite direction. If its swing is great, its extremes are widely apart—if the swing is small, then the extremes are close together. The pendulum illustration may be applied to the phenomena on all planes. A short beat of the metronome allows the rod to move only a short distance each way—the long beat admits of a wide swing. And, in the same way, those who suffer keenly also enjoy keenly, while those whose natures admit of but little suffering are also incapable of more than a limited capacity for enjoyment. A pig suffers little, and enjoys but little; while a highly organized, sensitive individual suffers the torments of emotional and

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mental hell at times, while at others he mounts to the heavenly emotional and mental realms. The pendulum swings as far in one direction as in the other.”

In some of the higher teachings of the Rosicrucians the student is instructed in the application of the Principle of Rhythm to the mastery of his emotional states and feelings. The essence of this secret teaching is that the wise, perceiving the inevitable reaction following action, the ebb tide following the high tide, manage to escape the consequences of the reaction by rising to their higher realms or planes of consciousness just before the time of the backward swing of the emotional pendulum, thus allowing the reactionary movement to be manifested only on their lower planes of consciousness while the Ego dwells serenely on the upper plane.

A writer, speaking along the lines just mentioned, has said: “The masters taught that by an understanding of the Principle of Rhythm man could escape many bewildering and perplexing changes in his emotional states and feelings. * * * They called this the Process of Neutralization, the operations of which consisted of raising the Ego above the vibrations of the ordinary conscious plane, and on to the higher. This was akin to rising above a thing and allowing the thing to pass beneath one. The occult masters, and their advanced students, polarized themselves at the positive pole of a particular emotional state, and by a process of “refusing” or “denial” they managed to escape the effects of the swing of the emotional pendulum to the negative pole of that emotion. All individuals who have attained any degree of self-mastery really proceed in this same manner, though usually unconsciously and

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without a true understanding of the law they are operating. By refusing to allow their negative mental and emotional states to manifest in them, they really ‘neutralize’ them, and cause them to pass under them on a lower plane of consciousness. The advanced occultist, however, proceeds consciously and deliberately to this end, and acquires a degree of balance, poise, and power almost incredible.”

The further the student penetrates in his investigations, along the lines of the physical, the mental, or the spiritual, the more will he become convinced of the truth of the ancient occult axiom: “Everything beats time.”

Excerpt from: The Secret Doctrine of the Rosicrucians, by Magus Incognito, [1918], at sacred-texts.com