of the Tablet by Heinrich
The Emerald Tablet, also
known as Smaragdine
Tabula Smaragdina, or The Secret of
a text purporting to reveal the secret of the
primordial substance and
its transmutations. It claims to be the work of Hermes
Trismegistus ("Hermes the Thrice-Great"), a
legendary Egyptian sage
or god, variously identified with the Egyptian god Thoth
and/or the Greek god Hermes.
This short and cryptic text was
highly regarded by
European alchemists as the foundation of their
art, in particular of its
The tablet text
A new translation bypassing the
Latin has just been
published by Nineveh Shadrach from the original
Arabic of Book of Causes
attributed to Apollonius
One translation, by Isaac
Newton, found among his alchemical papers as
reported by B. J. Dobbs
in modern spelling:
1. It contains an accurate
commentary that can't be doubted.
2. It states: What is the above
is from the below and
the below is from the above. The work of wonders
is from one.
3. And all things sprang from
this essence through a single
projection. How marvelous is its work! It is the
principle part of the
world and its custodian.
4. Its father is the sun and its
mother is the moon. Thus
the wind bore it within it and the earth
5. Father of talismans and keeper
6. Perfect in power that reveals
7. It is a fire that became our
earth. Separate the earth
from the fire and you shall adhere more to that
which is subtle than that
which is coarse, through care and wisdom.
8. It ascends from the earth to
the heaven. It extracts
the lights from the heights and descends to the
earth containing the power
of the above and the below for it is with the
light of the lights. Therefore
the darkness flees from it.
9. The greatest power overcomes
everything that is subtle
and it penetrates all that is coarse.
10. The formation of the
microcosm is in accordance with
the formation of the macrocosm.
11. The scholars made this their
12. This is why Thrice Hermes was
exalted with wisdom.
13. This is his last book that he
hid in the catacomb.
1. Tis true without lying,
certain most true.
2. That which is below is like
that which is above that
which is above is like that which is below
to do the miracles of one
3. And as all things have been
arose from one by the meditation
of one: so all things have their birth from this
one thing by adaptation.
4. The Sun is its father, the
moon its mother,
5. the wind hath carried it in
its belly, the earth its
6. The father of all perfection
in the whole world is
7. Its force or power is entire
if it be converted into
7a. Separate thou the earth from
the fire, the subtle
from the gross sweetly with great industry.
8. It ascends from the earth to
the heaven again it descends
to the earth and receives the force of things
superior and inferior.
9. By this means ye shall have
the glory of the whole
world thereby all obscurity shall fly from you.
10. Its force is above all force.
for it vanquishes every
subtle thing and penetrates every solid thing.
11a. So was the world created.
12. From this are and do come
admirable adaptations whereof
the means (Or process) is here in this.
13. Hence I am called Hermes
Trismegist, having the three
parts of the philosophy of the whole world.
14. That which I have said of the
operation of the Sun
is accomplished and ended.
Another translation from Aurelium
by Georgio Beato:
1) This is true and remote from
all cover of falsehood.
2) Whatever is below is similar
to that which is above.
Through this the marvels of the work of one
thing are procured and perfected.
3) Also, as all things are made
from one, by the consideration
of one, so all things were made from this one,
4) The father of it is the sun,
the mother the moon.
5) The wind bore it in the womb.
Its nurse is the earth,
the mother of all perfection.
6) Its power is perfected.
7) If it is turned into earth,
7) Separate the earth from the
fire, the subtle and thin
from the crude and coarse, prudently, with
modesty and wisdom.
8) This ascends from the earth
into the sky and again
descends from the sky to the earth, and receives
the power and efficacy
of things above and of things below.
9) By this means you will acquire
the glory of the whole
world, and so you will drive away all shadows
10) For this by its fortitude
snatches the palm from all
other fortitude and power. For it is able to
penetrate and subdue everything
subtle and everything crude and hard.
11) By this means the world was
12) And hence the marvelous
cojunctions of it and admirable
effects, since this is the way by which these
marvels may be brought about.
13) And because of this they have
called me Hermes Tristmegistus
since I have the three parts of the wisdom and
Philosophy of the whole
14) My speech is finished which I
have spoken concerning
the solar work.
Original edition of the Latin
Nuremberg 1541): 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.
rendering of Latin
1. True, without error, certain
and most true
2. That which is below is as that
which is above, and
that which is above is as that which is below,
to perform the miracles
of the one thing.
3. And as all things were from
[the] one, by [means of]
the meditation of [the] one, thus all things of
the daughter from [the]
one, by [means of] adaptation.
4. Its father is the sun, its
mother[,]the moon, the wind
carried it in its belly, its nurse is the earth.
5. The father of all the
initiates of the whole world
6. Its power is integrating if it
be turned into earth.
7. Separate the earth from the
fire, the fine from the
dense, delicately, by [means of/to] the great
[together] with capacity.
8. It ascends by [means of] earth
into heaven and again
it descends into the earth, and retakes the
power of the superior[s] and
of the inferior[s].
9. Thus[,] you have the glory of
the whole world.
10. Therefore[,] may it drive-out
by [means of] you of
all the obscurity.
11. This is the whole of the
strength of the strong force,
because it overcomes all fine things, and
penetrates all the complete.
12. Thus[,] the world has been
13. Hence they were wonderful
adaptations, of which this
is the manner.
14. Therefore[,] I am Hermes the
Thrice Great, having
the three parts of the philosophy of the whole
15. What I have said concerning
the operation of the Sun
has been completed.
The oldest documentable source for
the text is the
Sirr al-Asrar, a compendium of advice
for rulers in Arabic which
purports to be a letter from Aristotle
the Great. This work was translated into
Latin as Secretum
Secretorum (The Secret of Secrets)
by Johannes "Hispalensis"
or Hispaniensis (John
of Seville) ca. 1140 and by Philip of
Tripoli c. 1243.
In the 14th century, the alchemist
a substantial exegesis on "The Secret of Hermes,"
which was influential
on the subsequent development of alchemy. Many
manuscripts of this copy
of the Emerald Tablet and the commentary of
Ortolanus survive, dating at
least as far back as the 15th century.
The Tablet has also been
found appended to manuscripts
Kitab Ustuqus al-Uss al-Thani (Second
Book of the Elements
of Foundation) attributed to Jabir
Hayyan, and the Kitab Sirr al-Khaliqa wa
("Book of the Secret of Creation and the Art of
Nature"), dated between
650 and 830 AD.
In its several Western recensions,
became a mainstay of medieval and Renaissance
alchemy. Commentaries and/or
translations were published by, among others,
Magnus, and Isaac
Jung identified "The Emerald Tablet" with a
table made of green stone
which he encountered in the first of a set of his
dreams and visions beginning
at the end of 1912, and climaxing in his writing The
Seven Sermons to
the Dead in 1916.
Because of its longstanding
popularity, the Emerald
Tablet is the only piece of non-Greek Hermetica
to attract widespread attention in the West. The
reason that the Emerald
Tablet was so valuable is because it contained the
instructions for the
goals of alchemists. It hinted at the recipe for
alchemical gold, as well
as how to set one's level of consciousness to a
the original Arabic of Book of Causes
attributed to Apollonius
"Newton's Commentary on the
Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus"
in Merkel, I. and Debus,
A. G., Hermeticism and the Renaissance.
Folger, Washington 1988.
Sometimes written Thelesmi.
This indicates a Greek
origin. The Latin word "Tela" (ae,fem.) roughly
means "loom" or "incomplete
cloth". The true meaning of the word is somewhat
E.J. "The Emerald Table" Nature, No. 2814,
Vol. 112, October 6 1923,
Holmyard, E.J. Alchemy, Pelican,
Needham, J. Science and
Civilisation in China, vol. 5,
part 4: Spagyrical discovery and invention:
Apparatus, Theories and gifts.
Julius. Die Alchimie ar-Razi's. n.p.,
Ruska, Julius. Quelques problemes
de literature alchimiste.
Stapleton, H.E., Lewis, G.L,
Sherwood Taylor, F. "The
sayings of Hermes quoted in the Ma Al-Waraqi of
Ibn Umail. " Ambix, vol.
3, 1949, pp 69–90.
M.Robinson. "The History and
Myths surrounding Johannes
Bulletin of Hispanic Studies vol. 80, no.
2003, pp. 443–470, abstract.