A research about the Atkinson’s autorship hypothesis

first i’m very sorry for my bad english, my grammar is not very good but at least you will not have trouble in understand anything, i thought writing it with my unperfect english grammar would be better than to not write it

this research was created due to Philip Deslippe’s work which claims to be a 100% prove that the book “Kybalion” was writed by William Walker Atkinson

Deslippe in his work claims that the Kybalion is false because it doesn’t has any connection with Hermetism and it’s only a compilation of Atkinson’s beliefs, so Deslippe’s work try to destroys all reliability of the Kybalion, and also is only the compilation of his beliefs of 1908 because only one year later in 1909 he changed his beliefs dramatically in some points

Deslippe has an hypothesis about this rapid change saying that because he was a lawyer  it was something like his nature of lawyer to have rapid changes like that, that hypothesis is not very logical consistent

and also it was a double rapid change (something Deslippe doesn’t count because he believes the 2º edition of the Arcane Teachings was the 1º), first with the 1º edition of the Arcane Teachings, then a dramatical change in some core beliefs with the Kybalion which contradicts and attacks his previous beliefs and one year later again a dramatical change in some core beliefs with the 2º edition of the Arcane Teachings which again contradicts and attacks his previous beliefs

let’s begin with Philipp’s introduction of his book, which has a mistake, he claims that the first edition of the Arcane Teachings was the edition of 1909, which is false, the 1909 edition was actually the 2º edition which was expanded with others suplementary books like “The mystery of Sex; or Sex Polarity” and others, and the 1911 edition of the Arcane Teachings was the 3º edition

The 1º edition of the Arcane Teachings has an unknown date, the most probably thing is that it was writed a few years before the 2º edition in 1909, also even the Kybalion published in 1908 seems to mention the 1º edition of the Arcane Teachings in the very first page:

[…]the countless references to the Teachings in the many works upon occultism, that the many earnest searchers after the Arcane Truths will doubtless welcome the appearance of the present volume”

its well known and true that the Arcane Teachings and the Kybalion have a lot of remarkable similarities, and that’s the principal base of the hypothesis of Atkinson’s autorship of the Kybalion: the strong similarities the Kybalion has with Atkinson’s other book The Arcane Teachings.

But (and this is not so exposed and well known) both books also have strong contradictions in their core teachings, and it’s very important to remember that both were published in a very close space of time (1º edition of the Arcane Teachings presumed to be prior to 1909, then the Kybalion in 1908, and then the 2º edition of the Arcane Teachings in 1909) so claim that Atkinson was the author of the 2 books is not very logical consistent if we consider the strong contradictions and even the attacks the 2 books have between them

it’s very good that the 2 books were writed in such a short space of time, if the difference of time would be 5, 10 or 20 years instead of only 1 the confussion would be much greater and people like Deslippe could take advantage of that confussion

there are many contradictions but i’m gonna focus only in the strongest contradictions i’ve found between The Arcane Teachings and the Kybalion, which are 3:

the 1º is the weaker of the 3 contradictions, and it’s the contradictory teaching of the “elementals” between the 2 books:

Arcane Teachings:

[…]These entities are non-human–never were human, and never will be human. Their evolution has been, and will continue, along totally different lines. Occultists group these entities under the general term of “elementaries” or “elementals,”


The Plane of Elemental Mind (C), in its seven sub-divisions, comprises those entities or beings, invisible as are all such elemental forms, which partake of the nature of both animal and human life in a degree and in certain combinations. The highest forms are semi-human in intelligence.

the Kybalion elementals description is the opposite, Kybalion teachs that elementals will continue to evolutionate and will became humans, that’s a contradiction to the Arcane Teachings which teachs that elementals never will be human and their evolution will continue along totally different lines

the 2º contradiction is the strongest and more astonishing of the 3 contradictions, and it’s even a direct attack to Kybalion’s core teaching of how “The All” mentally creates universes like doing meditation

Arcane Teachings:

[…]We have informed you that The Law is not a Pantheistic Being, either breaking Itself into bits, or parts in order to create Universes; neither does It imagine, mentally create, dream, or meditate into existence a false and fictitious Universe “all in its mind,” as pseudo-occultism and pessimistic philosophies would have you believe.


The Universe is Mental–held in the Mind of THE ALL  […]  THE ALL creates in its Infinite Mind countless Universes  […]  THE ALL is Mind; the Universe is Mental  […]  the Universe itself is Mental–that is, “existing in the Mind of THE ALL  […]  while to THE ALL the Universe must be unreal and illusionary, a mere dream or result of  meditation  […]  The ancient Hermetists use the word“Meditation,” in describing the process of the mental creation of the Universe in the Mind of THE ALL  […]  And just as THE ALL arouses itself from the meditation upon the Universe  […]  While to THE INFINITE ALL, the Universe, its Laws, its Powers, its Life, its Phenomena, are as things witnessed in the state of Meditation or Dream

so he if he would be the author besides of mocking one of the most important and principal teachings of the Kybalion he is also insulting himself (pseudo-occultism and pessimistic philosophies would have you believe)

the third contradiction is a little weaker than the 2º contradiction but it’s very important too and it’s stronger than the 1º contradiction:


The principle of Gender is mafested on all planes of life, material, mental and spiritual. But as we have said before, “Gender” does not mean “sex”–sex is merely a material manifestation of gender.  […]  At this point we think it well to call 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  […]  A moment’s consideration will show you that the word has a much broader and more general meaning than the term “Sex”, the latter referring to the physical distinctions between male and female living things. Sex is merely a manifestation of gender on a certain plane of The Great Physical Plane–the plane of organic life. We  wish to impress distinction upon your minds, for the reason that certain writers, who have adquired a smattering of the Hermetic Philosophy, have sought to identify this Seventh Hermetic Principle with wild and fanciful, and often reprehensible, theories and teachings regarding Sex.

The Arcane Teachings again and again mention sex explaining his 7º law “The Law of Opposites”

Arcane Teachings:

[…]In this law is found the Mystery of Polarity–in it vests the Secret of Sex-Generation and Regeneration  […]  who attempted to reverse the Cosmic Law of Sex Polarity  […]

the secret of Mental Influence–the effect of one mind over the other minds–lies in the fact that there is sex in mind.  […]  in its phase of Sex Polarity  […]  to be found evidences of Sex Polarity  […]  Sex Polarity is manifested even by the atoms  […]  In electricity and magnetism the polarity manifested is all along the lines of Sex Polarity. (We explain this in our supplementary work entitled, “The Mystery of Sex; or, Sex Polarity.”)  […]  of the phenomena of Mentalism by its principle of Mental Sex Polarity  […]  WE shall have more to say on this subject in our supplementary book, “The Mystery of Sex; or Sex Polarity,” of which general subject it forms a phase and part. The principle of Sex is strongly in evidence on the mental plane–as it is on the physical–and as it also is on the spiritual. He who leaves Sex Polarity out of the consideration loses the Master Key to the Creative Activities of the Cosmos  […]  In this Law is found the explanation of all physical phenomena–the mental activities and states– abd the Secret of Sex Generation and Regeneration.

again it’s an extreme contradiction and an attack (certain writers […], have sought to identify this Seventh Hermetic Principle with wild and fanciful, and often reprehensible, theories and teachings regarding Sex.)  and as seen the 2º edition of the Arcane Teachings even have a supplementary book titled “The Mystery of Sex; or, Sex Polarity”  published in 1909

this contradictions and attacks make the hypothesis about Atkinson’s autorship of the Kybalion weak, it would be senseless to him to write 2 books so close in time with strong contradictions and even attacks in their core teachings



these contradictions and attacks are more than enough prove, but i’ll continue with a few more details

it’s interesting to expose (due to the base of the hypothesis which is the similarities between the 2 books) that another author who has nothing to do with Atkinson neither with the Kybalion had a book where he finished the typescript in 1908 and published in 1909 too and  printed in Chicago  too (both Arcane Teachings and the Kybalion were published in Chicago)

it was writed by Max Heindel, it’s about rosicrucianism, and have similarities with the Kybalion and the Arcane Teachings too, it’s name is “The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception”

these are the similarities i found only in it’s wikipedia page and in the Wikipedia page of the  school  created by Max Heindel which uses “The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception” as  the basic book for the philosophy courses of the school  called “The Rosicrucian Fellowship” created in 1909:

-teachs how to “transmute” our latency into dynamic powers in order to achieve things in the “inner planes”

-it talks about the animal, vegetable and mineral life waves as shown below (the mineral life waves have life and conciousness and experience their own points in evolution)

-the sevenfold constitution of man is related to five of seven worlds, different planes of existence having varying density and vibration, each of these seven may be subdivided in seven regions, planes of evolution: 

1 the world of god

2 the world of virgin spirits which are differentiated within God Himself as “sparks from a flame”

3 the world of divine

4 the world of life spirit, open only to adepts and higher spiritual beings

5 the world of thought, in the great hierarchy is the evolved form of the third aspect of god, the creative energy in nature which is reflective in man as sex energy, the abuse of sex or generative force for sense gratification must be expiated under the law of cause and consequence through suffering in disease

6 the desire world home of the archangels

7 the physical world composed of seven regions;

the eteric region: home of the angels (which are one step beyond human stage as humans are a degree in advance of the animal evolution), the etheric region is subdivided in 4 regions according to the grades of density of the aether

the chemical region: the chemical region of the physical world is home to four life waves or kingdoms at a different stage in the evolutionary path: mineral life is the first and lowest level of spiritual evolution, then comes plants, then animals and finally humans

-the evolutionary scheme is carried in these worlds in seven great periods of manifestation and this seven worlds belongs to the lowest of the seven “Cosmic Planes”

-there are involution, the highest worlds which are created first are carried into denser and denser until reach the point of greatest density and from that point life begins to ascend into higher worlds as evolution proceeds

-god is found in the highest division of the seventh cosmic plane and it was emanated from “The Absolute” which is beyond comprehension and he may be best described as “Boundless Being”

-from the 3 aspects of the supreme being proceed the “seven Great Logoi” which contains within themselves all the great Hierarchies which differentiate more and more as they diffuse through the various Cosmic Planes



also as an analogy it has to be remembered that in history there were many cases in which great discoveries were made by various scientists at the same time without any relation between them, like Darwin and Wallace who both developed the same theories at the same time without any contact between them, or Einstein and other 2 scientist who  developed the ideas of Einstein about relativity in a very close space of time to Einstein without any contact or relation between them like Darwin and Wallace

also Phillip presents 2 proves, the first is about the 1912 edition of Who’s Who in America which atributes the Kybalion to Atkinson, but it’s merely an atribution, Atkinson never said anything about the Kybalion and of course he never admited to be the author to Who’s Who in America

and the second prove is about a French languaje edition of the Kybalion in 1917 in which the translator credits the work to Atkinson, but again it’s merely an atribution, the French translator never gave any prove of Atkinson’s autorship or Atkinson admiting to be the author to him or to anyone

also the book of “Magus Incognito”: “The Secret Doctrines of the Rosicrucians” published in 1918 consisted of a nearly verbatim republication of portions of the Arcane Teachings, that’s why Magus incognito is believed to be another Atkinson’s pen name

also “The Secret Doctrines of the Rosicrucians” has a republication of portions of the Kybalion, some people argue that that is a prove of Atkinson’s autorship of the Kybalion, but besides it’s not a consistent prove it’s not proved that Magus Incognito was Atkinson either (as said it’s only a merely atribution due to the republication of some parts of the Arcane Teachings)

anyone can easily copy the work of other persons and even more easily when the book that you copied was writened by anonimous persons and you are anonym too

and for example Theodore Sheldon and his book Vim Culture was often been attributed to be an Atkinson’s pen name and book but a discovery of a letter from Theodore Sheldon in 1925 to Florence Sabin of Johns Hopkins University provides evidence of Theodore Sheldon’s existence as an actual person

in history many people had copied and republicated portions of other books because as i said is very easy to do it and much more easily when you are copying an unanimous work and you are hiding under anonymity also

a recent example can be the famous Wayne Dyer, in 2010  author Stephen Mitchell  filed a suit against Dyer for  plagiarism, accusing him of taking 200 lines of his interpretation of the  Tao Te Ching  for his books  Living the Wisdom of the Tao  and  Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life

also  Psychotherapist  Albert Ellis  writes that Dyer’s book  Your Erroneous Zones  is probably “the worst example” of plagiarism of Ellis’ Rational Emotive Therapy