The Emerald Tablet, also known as the Smaragdine Table, or Tabula Smaragdina, is a compact and cryptic piece ofHermetica reputed to contain the secret of the prima materia and its transmutation. It was highly regarded by European alchemists as the foundation of their art and its Hermetic tradition. Although Hermes Trismegistus is the author named in the text, the first known appearance of the Emerald Tablet is in a book written in Arabic between the sixth and eighth centuries. The text was first translated into Latin in the twelfth century. Numerous translations, interpretations and commentaries followed.
The text of the Smaragdine Tablet gives its author as Hermes Trismegistus ("Hermes the Thrice-Greatest") a legendary Hellenistic combination of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth.
The Smaragdine Tablet was first translated into Latin in the twelfth century by Hugo von Santalla. The text is also in an enlarged thirteenth century edition of Secretum Secretorum (also known as Kitab Sirr al-Asrar).
A translation by Isaac Newton is found among his alchemical papers that are currently housed in King's College Library, Cambridge University.
- Tis true without lying, certain & most true.
- 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
- And as all things have been & arose 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 hath carried it in its belly, the earth is its nourse.
- The father of all perfection in the whole world is here.
- Its force or power is entire if it be converted into earth.
- Separate thou the earth from the fire, the subtile from the gross sweetly with great indoustry.
- It ascends from the earth to the heaven & again it descends to the earth & receives the force of things superior & inferior.
- By this means you shall have the glory of the whole world
- & thereby all obscurity shall fly from you.
- Its force is above all force. For it vanquishes every subtile thing & penetrates every solid thing.
- So was the world created.
- 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
- That which I have said of the operation of the Sun is accomplished & ended.
Theatrum Chemicum translation
Another translation can be found in Theatrum Chemicum, Volume IV (1613), in Georg Beatus' Aureliae Occultae Philosophorum:
- This is true and remote from all cover of falsehood
- Whatever is below is similar to that which is above. Through this the marvels of the work of one thing are procured and perfected.
- Also, as all things are made from one, by the [consideration] of one, so all things were made from this one, by conjunction.
- 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.
- Its power is perfected. If it is turned into earth,
- separate the earth from the fire, the subtle and thin from the crude and [coarse], prudently, with modesty and wisdom.
- 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.
- By this means you will acquire the glory of the whole world,
- and so you will drive away all shadows and blindness.
- 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.
- By this means the world was founded
- and hence the marvelous cojunctions of it and admirable effects, since this is the way by which these marvels may be brought about.
- And because of this they have called me Hermes Tristmegistus since I have the three parts of the wisdom and Philsosphy of the whole universe.
- My speech is finished which I have spoken concerning the solar work
- 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.
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