The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus

Editor’s Note:  Supplementing the Quick and Dirty Overview of Hermetic Philosophy, much of this material, too, is from a 2016 Wikipedia article.  Note also that, for some reason, the Theatrum Chemicum translation has since been removed from the Wkipedia entry.

Quoting Wikipedia: “Despite the claims of antiquity, it’s believed to be an Arabic work written between the sixth and eighth centuries. The oldest documentable source of the text is the Kitāb sirr al-ḫalīqa (Book of the Secret of Creation and the Art of Nature), itself a composite of earlier works.”

Theatrum Chemicum translation, circa 1613:

Isaac Newton’s translation,
Late 17th or Early 18th Century:

  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, by conjunction.
  4. The father of it is the sun, the mother the moon. The wind bore it in the womb. Its nurse is the earth, the mother of all perfection.
  5. Its power is perfected. If it is turned into earth.
  6. Separate the earth from the fire, the subtle and thin from the crude and [coarse], prudently, with modesty and wisdom.
  7. 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.
  8. By this means you will acquire the glory of the whole world,
  9. And so you will drive away all shadows and blindness.
  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 founded
  12. And hence the marvelous conjunctions 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 universe.
  14. My speech is finished which I have spoken concerning the solar work
  1. Tis true without error, 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 only thing
  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, the wind hath carried it in its belly, the earth is its nurse.
  5. The father of all perfection in the whole world is here.
  6. Its force or power is entire if it be converted into earth.
  7. 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 & receives the force of things superior & inferior.
  9. By this means you shall have the glory of the whole world.
  10. & thereby all obscurity shall fly from you.
  11. Its force is above all force. For it vanquishes every subtle thing & penetrates every solid thing.
  12. So was the world created.
  13. From this are & do come admirable adaptations whereof the means (or process) is here in this. 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 & ended.


To Repeat: Both of these translations are from the 2016 Wikipedia entry.  The Theatrum Chemicum translation has since been removed…


This diagram is from Page 62 of “Forgotten Truth: The Common Vision of the World’s Religions”, By Huston Smith

 * The assertion, “As Above, So Below”, is from
The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus.

The diagram from Huston Smith provides a good point of transition into the next subsection –>  Plato, Plotinus, and the Great Chain of Being

  1. Quick and Dirty Overview of Hermetic Philosophy
  2. The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus
  3. Plato, Plotinus, and the Great Chain of Being

–> Next Up:  6. Archetypical Psychology and Spirituality