Part II Text of the Emerald Tablet


I examined several translations of the Emerald Tablet and found one that I thought held most closely to the Latin. Obviously the Latin we have is a translation from the Arabic, so we must be cautious about certainty even when dealing with that.

As common with these ancient writings, the text is so mystical and obscure that you can make out of it just about what you want – as obscure as the predictions of Nostradamus, the hexagrams of the I Ching or even verse from the Bible. Heinrich Khunrath or Dr Henricus Khunrath as he was also called, was a famous physician, Hermetic philosopher, and alchemist. He was born in Germany, probably in Dresden or Leipzig, around the year 1560. Heinrich Khunrath (1560-1605) http://www.crystalinks.com/khunrath.html


Tabula Smaragdina Hermetis Trismegisti – The Emerald Table of Hermes Trismegistos

Latin version of H. Khunrath
: Verba secretorum Hermetis — 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 omnes res fuerunt ab uno, mediatione unius, sic omnes res natae fuerunt ab hac una re, adaptatione. Pater ejus est Sol, mater ejus Luna; portavit illud Ventus in ventre suo; nutrix ejus Terra est. Pater omnis telesmi totius mundi est hic. Vis ejus integra est si versa fuerit in terram. Separabis terram ab igne, subtile a spisso, suaviter, cum magno 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. Hic est totius fortitudine 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 philosophius totius mundi. Completum est quod dixi de operatione Solis.


ENGLISH TRANSLATION of above LATIN (from German) I speak not of fictitious things, but that which is certain and true. What is below is like that which is above, and what is above is like that which is below, to accomplish the miricles of one thing. And as all things were produced by the one word of one Being, so all things were produced from this one thing by adaptation. Its father is the sun, its mother the moon; the wind carries it in its belly, its nurse is the earth. It is the father of perfection throughout the world. The power is vigorous if it be changed into earth. Seperate the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross, acting prudently and with judgement. Ascend with the greatest sagacity from the earth to heaven, and then again descend to earth, and unite together the powers of things superior and inferior. Thus you will obtain the glory of the whole world, and obscurity will fly away from you. This has more fortitude than fortitude itself, because it conquers every subtle thing and can penetrate every solid. Thus was the world formed. Hence proceed wonders, which are here established. Therefore I am called Hermes Trismegistus, having three parts of the philosophy of the whole world. That which I had to say concerning the operation of the sun is completed.


The most significant stanza of the text is the very beginning:

1 I speak not of fictitious things, but that which is certain and true.

2 What is below is like that which is above, and what is above is like that which is below, to accomplish the miricles of one thing.

3 And as all things were produced by the one word of one Being, so all things were produced from this one thing by adaptation.

Lines 2 & 3 are the foundation of astrology and alchemy and the basis of Greek philosophy, that the microcosm of mankind and the earth is a reflection of the macrocosm of the heavens (or God). This doesn’t seem very revolutionary on its face, but in considering application to a way of living, it sets the ground rules for the The Secret. If we are all one, if we all come from the same one, if what is above reflects what is below, and vica versa, then what we think (and do) must effect everything else. That all things derive from adaptation of the one implies that everything is in a constant state of change, but only change in form, as all manifestations of the one are inherently unified (the same). The one can be defined as energy. We all come from the same energy, are presently manifesting one form of that energy, but our energy is not truly separate from all other forms of energy.

The alchemists searched for the way to transmute the energy of lesser metals into the energy of gold. In theory, there should be just such a method. We are talking about re-arranging the nuclear structure of one element to become the structure of another, simply adapting the energy by rearranging it. It seems simple enough, but the alchemist never found the method. The Secret states that we can perform a similar alchemy in our lives, that there is a method to rearrange the energy of our lives and manifest something higher from something baser. But now we have the human mind and perception of reality that play a role. You can easily see if a piece of lead has become gold, it is more difficult to judge events in our lives. Some claim that you can manifest exactly the items that you visualize. But are we distorting those images to fit an expectation and are we ignoring the lumps of lead that stubbornly resisted transmutation to gold?

The Emerald Tablet continues:

4 Its father is the sun, its mother the moon; the wind carries it in its belly, its nurse is the earth.

5 It is the father of perfection (Telesmi) throughout the world.

This word telesmi is more than a bit suspect in my opinion. Given that the translation has come from Arabic, I would venture that something has definitely been lost in translation here. It is sometimes written thelesmi which indicates a Greek origin, while”tela, telae” in latin means loom or incomplete cloth. Telesmi has been variously translated as “talisman”, “every completed thing,” “all perfection,”"all perfection of all things,” “all things,”"enchantments,” “all miracles.” You get the drift. Some translations simply ignore it, but those are ones that supposedly come from another source (The book of Balinas, for example). Like all great books of antiquity that have undergone translations, it is impossible to know the original intent and precise vocabulary without the original document.

The next lines go

6 The power is vigorous if it be changed into earth.

7 Seperate the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross, acting prudently and with judgement.

This is the part that must have convinced the alchemists that there is a way to bring about the transformation of matter – lead to gold.

8 Ascend with the greatest sagacity from the earth to heaven, and then again descend to earth, and unite together the powers of things superior and inferior.

9 Thus you will obtain the glory of the whole world, and obscurity will fly away from you.

10 This has more fortitude than fortitude itself, because it conquers every subtle thing and can penetrate every solid.

11 Thus was the world formed.

12 Hence proceed wonders, which are here established.

13 Therefore I am called Hermes Trismegistus, having three parts* of the philosophy of the whole world.

* Alchemists propose that Hermes is referencing the three elements of the alchemical universe: Sulfur, Salt and Mercury. This interpretation would say that Hermes was called Trismegistus because he had mastered the forces of alchemy as represented by those three basic elemental components.

And in conclusion

14 That which I had to say concerning the operation of the sun is completed.


I discovered a translation of the Tablet “for today’s world.” – how it might be interpreted in our modern context.

“Truly, without hype, religious exploitation, or commercial consideration, you can experience Higher Truths. You are as much a part of the Material as you are of the Mental; and you are as much a part of the Mental as you are of the Material, in order to accomplish the miracles of Light. And just as all things come from this Light, through the concentration of Consciousness, so do all created things originate from this Light, through the transformation of Thought. Its father is Energy; its mother Matter; the Spectrum carries it in its belly; its nurse is the Earth. It is the origin of All, the consecration of the Whole Universe. Its inherent strength is perfected, if it is materialized. Separate Matter from Imagination, the Subtle from the Gross, gently, in deepest Meditation. The Light rises from Earth to Heaven, and returns again to Earth, thereby containing within itself the powers of both the Mental and the Material. Thus will you obtain the Light of the Whole Universe. All Darkness with be illuminated to you. This is the greatest Force of all powers, because it overcomes every Mental thing and penetrates every Material thing. In this way was the Universe created. From this comes many wondrous Manifestations, because this is the Formula. Therefore, this deals with all three parts of reality and shows the underlying relationship between Energy, Matter, and Light. Herein is completely explained the Fountain of Consciousness.”

Source: http://www.alchemylab.com/modern_emerald_tablet.htm


Related Part III Linguistic Trail of the Emerald Tablet, Part I The Emerald Tablet