Introduction to the Tabula Smaragdina – an

The Emerald Tablet, also known as the Smaragd Tablet, Tabula Smaragdina, or the Secret of Hermes, is a compact and cryptic piece of the Hermetica that is said to contain the secret of prima materia and its transmutation. Widely regarded as one of the pillars of Western alchemy, it has been revered by alchemists, philosophers, and mystics throughout the ages.

Although the origins of the Emerald Tablet are shrouded in mystery, it is believed to have been discovered in a cave tomb, clutched in the hands of the corpse of Hermes Trismegistus, a legendary Hellenistic figure who is often a combination of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth. This figure is credited with the wisdom and insight to transcend time and space, embodying the convergence of Egyptian and Greek thought in the early centuries of the Common Era.

Tabula Smaragdina

The text on the Tabula Smaragdina itself, though brief, is immensely profound, offering a formula for personal transformation and embodying the Hermetic maxim “As above, so below. This maxim suggests that the macrocosm of the universe is reflected in the microcosm of individual existence and vice versa, a principle that has influenced various philosophical, religious, and spiritual traditions around the world.

The exact date of the Tablet’s creation is unknown, and its text has been translated into numerous languages over the centuries. Its first known appearance in Arabic translations dates back to the 8th century, and from there it made its way into Latin and other European languages during the Middle Ages, becoming a cornerstone document in the study of alchemy, hermeticism, and the esoteric tradition. The teachings of the Emerald Tablet, though cryptic, are believed to outline the process of alchemical transmutation and spiritual enlightenment, making it a key text in the Western mystical tradition.

English Translation of the Emerald Tablet of Hermes

“True, without falsehood, certain and most true, that which is above is as that which is below, and that which is below is as that which is above, for the performance of the miracles of the One Thing. And as all things are from One, by the mediation of One, so all things have their birth from this One Thing by adaptation. The Sun is its father, the Moon its mother, the Wind carries it in its belly, its nurse is the Earth. This is the father of all perfection, or consummation of the whole world. Its power is integrating, if it be turned into earth.

Separate the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross, smoothly, and with great ingenuity. It ascends from the earth to the heaven and descends again to earth, and receives the power of the superiors and of the inferiors. This way, you have the glory of the whole world; therefore, let all obscurity flee from you. This is the strong force of all forces, overcoming every subtle and penetrating every solid thing.

So the world was created. Hence were all wonderful adaptations, of which this is the manner. Therefore, I am called Hermes Trismegistus, having the three parts of the philosophy of the whole world. What I have said is completed, concerning the Operation of the Sun”