Forward Escape with The Law of Compensation

Forward Escape with The Law of Compensation February 21, 2024

In the classic occult text The Kybalion, published by William Walker Atkinson in 1908, the Law of Compensation is described. The Hermetic Law of Compensation speaks of how the old masters would work to lift their Personal Ego into a higher plane as an attempt to escape the swing toward pain. If you can look at your life at a much higher scale of vibration, keeping sight of the greater achievements and benefits that comes with experiencing life’s challenges, then you might avoid much of the drama and trauma that could accompany those lessons. But that is a tall order for the average witch of today, what with all the horror, threat and struggle we all face just to survive in this dominator society.

Leaf floating on the water with text that reads Law of Compensation?

Law of Compensation

Applying the Law of Compensation is like becoming a floating leaf on the surface of a great ocean. The ocean is your continuous spiritual journey through all your lifetimes. The waves rise and fall at an equal rate. The trick is to remain centered in your awareness of this life – fully present in this moment – but also aware of the greater scheme of things.

If you can keep your perspective broad, and gently accept life’s vicissitudes with the faith that rhythm will soon compensate with the rising of the next wave, then perhaps the sting from your current pain won’t be as disabling. This way you can pass more quickly through the pain to the payoff on the other side.

This lesson plays out in the promise of our four seasons on earth. For all the difficulty and scarcity that winter brings, we can rest in the promise that Spring is just around the corner, bringing back all the ease and bounty of Summer. For the bounties of summer, we know that we must accept and prepare for the decline toward death of the autumn and the inevitable winter to follow.

The seasons are held in a balance of in-flowing, and out-flowing. As long as we accept that in the long-run, nature will compensate with an equal measure of both scarcity and abundance, pain and pleasure, then we can accept the emotional lessons imposed upon us by circumstances. We can then focus on the task of learning from the challenges, and enjoying the pleasures that come.

Forward Escape

A mindfulness technique from modern psychology which utilizes this Law of Compensation is called “gratitude.” When there are challenges, affirm them. When there is pain, acknowledge that pain and allow yourself to name it and feel it: mourn, scream, cry, rail against the dimming of the light. Then attempt to find any kind of “silver lining” within the shit-storm. Is there anything about this lesson for which to be grateful? Like, “well now I know not to ever do that again!”

Keeping the Law of Compensation in mind, we can release worry about what lessons lurk around the next corner, and remain fully present in whatever life is teaching us at that moment. I try to remember that the only escape through challenging times is a forward escape. Much like the Hobbits in JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings who must slog through the terrible landscape of Mordor to the fires of Mount Doom to save their world from evil. As much as they hated the tasks set before them, and wanted to turn back, they knew the only solution to their problems was to keep going forward.

Moral of the Story

The most comforting thing I take from the whole Hermetic, panentheistic paradigm of my Modern Witchcraft practice is this notion of compensation. I can rest in faith that no matter how awful the trip through my personal Mordor is right now…or to use another literary reference, no matter how cold my current “Winter of discontent” might be, I can be sure that Spring always comes eventually.

Lately, times have been tough for everyone I know, and throughout the world. Knowledge of the Hermetic Law of Compensation gives me the strength to hang in there and carry on, one step at time. I hope it helps keep you going, too.

Blessed be,


About Heron Michelle
Heron Michelle (Greenville, NC) is a mom, shopkeeper, modern witch, priestess, and owner of The Sojourner Whole Earth Provisions ( since 2009. She writes the blog 'Witch on Fire' at Patheos Pagan and is the author of "Elemental Witchcraft: A Guide to Living a Magickal Life Through the Elements" published Dec. 2021 by Llewellyn Worldwide. Connect with her at You can read more about the author here.
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