V. The Principle of Cycles


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

The Principle of Cycles manifests that universal circular direction of process or progress which is apparent in all the manifested world, from its highest to its lowest manifestation. The spirit of this principle was expressed in the ancient occult axiom: “Everything proceeds in circles.”

It is apparent to all careful thinkers and investigators that all progress or procession of things or events follows the path of the circle. All things, physical, mental, and spiritual manifest the cyclic or circular trend. World and atoms, the Cosmos and man, all are under this law. This principle is understood more clearly when we understand that a completed and uninterrupted manifestation of Rhythm results in the completion of a circular movement—therefore the circular or cyclic trend of things is really closely allied to the Principle of Rhythm, and both Rhythm and Cyclicity are closely allied to the Principle of Vibration.

The following interesting quotation from a writer

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on the subject serves to bring out some of the main points concerned in the consideration of the activities of this particular principle:

“Cyclicity is akin to Rhythm, and arise by reason of it. All events tend to move in cyclic trend—in constant circular movement. The Law of Cyclicity manifests in the universal tendency of things to swing in circles. Cyclicity is the outgrowth, or more complex form, of Rhythm. The primal manifestation of Rhythm is action to-and-fro in. a straight line or path—a movement backward and forward between two extremes or poles of action. This would be the invariable movement if the particular force manifested were the only manifestation of force or energy in that particular field of the Cosmos. But when the swinging pendulum (free to move in any direction) is subjected to the conflicting attractions and repulsions of other manifestations of force and energy, then there is manifested the universal tendency toward the circular trend—the tendency to convert the straight path of the swing into a circular path or cycle. The action and reaction, the attraction and repulsion, arising from the conflict between the force of the rhythmic swing in a straight line on the one hand, and the attractive and repellant forces from without, on the other hand, tend to swing the moving thing in a perfect circle around a central point, axis, or pivotal centre. And these conflicting forces are in operation through the Cosmos, and the manifestation of Cyclicity may be noticed on all planes. There is ever the evidence of the cyclic trend of things and events—the tendency to move in circles. The electrons in the atoms move in circles, just as do the planets around the sun, and just as does the sun move around some other centre in space.

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[paragraph continues] The highest occult teachings, as well as the highest speculations of science, inform us that there is always a movement in. circles around some given point, and the movement of the said point, or centre of motion, around some other centre, and so on, and on, to infinity.”

The same writer continues: “All events tend to move in cyclic trend—in constant circular movement of continuous recurrence. The experience of man, aided by the reports of history, bears out this statement. The student of human history is struck by the continuous cyclic trend manifested throughout the ages of history. The student of philosophy is attracted by the same evidence in. his own field. And so it is with every field of human thought—the cyclic trend is noticeable everywhere. Races and nations rise, flourish, decline, and fall; only to be succeeded by others travelling over the same lines. ‘Westward the star of Empire takes its flight ‘—the centre of political power is constantly changing. The civilizations of Lemuria, Atlantis, Egypt, Chaldea, Rome and Greece arose and passed away. Our own civilization is but travelling over the same general lines. All forms of political government, monarchic, autocratic, democratic, in all their variations, were known in the past as in the present. The same law is observable in the history of philosophical thought. Philosophical theories popular in Greece over two thousand years ago fell into disrepute, but are now again forcing their way to the front. The scientific theories of Causation, Continuity, Determinism, and Evolution were popular in Ancient Greece over two thousand years ago. And they were likewise popular in Ancient Egypt and India centuries before that time. Fashions in literature, dress, and manner constantly

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recur—travelling ’round and ’round their little circles. Laugh as we may at the absurdity of fashion in dress, nevertheless it is proceeding according to Cyclic Law. Religious ideas are as old as the world—pantheism, polytheism, monotheism, and atheism—all have played their parts of fashion in religious thought, over and over again, and will play them again. The present-day revival of interest in the occult teachings arise from the operations of the same law. And the life of individuals manifest the same trend and tendency. A little thought will convince you that the majority of people travel in circles throughout their entire life. The same old thing, over and over again, recurring at intervals of greater or lesser duration, according to the nature and character of the person. Many people are like the squirrel who travels all day on his whirling wheel—always going but getting nowhere, ever ending just where he began.”

The thoughtful student, considering what has just been called to his attention, will naturally ask us how it is, if this be so, that there is any real progress at all. If, says he, there is nothing but a continuous running around in circles—a constant travelling around without getting anywhere—how is it that there is evident a real progress, a real evolution, a real advancement in the scale of life and being? The answer is simple: given a circular movement around a given point, axis, or centre of attraction, and further given an advancing movement of that centre, point, or axis, it follows that the first circular movement will also be a spiral movement. If the Central Point is advanced, then the circular movement is converted into a spiral movement—and while there persists a “going ’round and ’round” as before,

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each “going ’round” process travels on a little higher plane, or a more advanced position. And this is just what exists in the Cosmos—a Cosmic Spiral Process, onward and upward, in advancing and rising circles.

An old aphorism of an ancient school of occultism is: “The only escape from Cyclicity is by means of transmutation into Spirality, i.e., by advancing the Central Point of Motion. The conversion of the Circle into the Spiral is one of the highest forms of Alchemy.” And in this aphorism is found one of the secrets of Rosicrucianism. The rule operates on each and every plane of being, physical, mental, and spiritual.

A writer has said of this: “The Ego may convert the circle of its life-motion into an advancing and rising spiral, which while carrying him around the life circle will at the same time raise him a stage higher at each turn. The Mountain of Attainment, around which winds the Spiral Path, is travelled only in this way. Around and around the Pilgrims travel, seemingly retracing their steps but in reality constantly mounting upward. By advancing the Central Point, by means of the Will, the wise and the strong convert the Circles into Spirals, and thus advance and attain. This, indeed, as the old aphorism states, ‘is one of the highest forms of Mental Alchemy.'”

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 that “Everything proceeds in circles.”

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