The Emerald Tablet

by Hermes Trismegistus

As Above,

So Below.


     The Emerald Tablet of Hermes is the original source of Hermetic Philosophy and Alchemy. According to one legend, the text was originally carved by Hermes on tablets of emerald and placed in the King’s Chamber of the Great Pyramid of Cheops. While such stories are probably apocryphal, the document has been well known to scholars and occult philosophers since at least the 10th century.

     Although the language of the original version is in doubt, it is through the Latin version reproduced here (along with our own English translation), that the Emerald Tablet rose to pre-eminent fame as a Key to the primary Mysteries of Nature.

     Outwardly a recipe for the preparation of the Philosopher’s Stone which may be used for the transmutation of the baser metals into Gold (the Sun refers to Gold in Alchemical terminology), it has always been clear to the Masters of the Alchemical Art that the process described was of far more universal application—in fact, it is nothing less than the Process of Change itself through which (in the words of Aristotle):

“Nature strives towards Perfection.”


Tabula Smaragdina

     Verum, sine Mendacio, certum et verissimum:

     Quod est Inferius est sicut quod est Superius, et quod est Superius est sicut quod est Inferius, ad perpetranda Miracula Rei Unius. Et sicut res omnes fuerunt ab Uno, meditatione unius, sic Omnes Res natae ab hac una Re, adaptatione.

     Pater eius est Sol. Mater eius est Luna. Portavit illud Ventus in Ventre suo. Nutrix eius Terra est. Pater omnis Telesmi totius Mundi est hic. Virtus eius integra est si versa fuerit in Terram. Separabis Terram ab Igne, subtile ab spisso, suaviter, magno cum ingenio.

     Ascendit a Terra in Coelum, iterumque descendit in Terram, et recipit Vim superiorum et inferiorum. Sic habebis Gloriam totius Mundi. Ideo fugiet a te omnis Obscuritas. Haec est totius Fortitudinis Fortitudo fortis, quia vincet Omnem rem subtilem, Omnemque Solidam penetrabit.

     Sic Mundus creatus est. Hinc erunt Adaptationes Mirabiles, quarum Modus est hic. Itaque vocatus sum Hermes Trismegistus, habens tres partes Philosophiae totius Mundi.

     Completum est quod dixi de Operatione Solis.

The Emerald Tablet

     Truly, without Deceit, certainly and absolutely —

     That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, in the accomplishment of the Miracle of One Thing. And just as all things have come from One, through the Mediation of One, so all things follow from this One Thing in the same way.

     Its Father is the Sun. Its Mother is the Moon. The Wind has carried it in his Belly. Its Nourishment is the Earth. It is the Father of every completed Thing in the whole World. Its Strength is intact if it is turned towards the Earth. Separate the Earth by Fire: the fine from the gross, gently, and with great skill.

     It rises from Earth to Heaven, and then it descends again to the Earth, and receives Power from Above and from Below. Thus you will have the Glory of the whole World. All Obscurity will be clear to you. This is the strong Power of all Power because it overcomes everything fine and penetrates everything solid.

     In this way was the World created. From this there will be amazing Applications, because this is the Pattern. Therefore am I called Thrice Greatest Hermes, having the three parts of the Wisdom of the whole World.

     Herein have I completely explained the Operation of the Sun.

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