Msg#: 285                                          Date: 09-18-96  12:02
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URL - http://www.levity.com/alchemy/emerald.html


Emerald Tablet of Hermes

Many years ago, a group of people decided to publish different 
translations of the Emerald Tablet and various commentaries upon it. The 
group broke up, the work was never finished.... Here is some of what 
remained. Verses have been numbered for comparison. - Jon Marshall.
Back to pieces on Emerald Tablet . Back to alchemical texts . Back to 
home page


The Emerald Tablet of Hermes

History of the Tablet

History of the Tablet (largely summarised from Needham 1980, & Holmyard 

The Tablet probably first appeared in the West in editions of the 
psuedo-Aristotlean Secretum Secretorum which was actually a translation 
of the Kitab Sirr al-Asar, a book of advice to kings which was 
translated into latin by Johannes Hispalensis c. 1140 and by Philip of 
Tripoli c.1243. Other translations of the Tablet may have been made 
during the same period by Plato of Tivoli and Hugh of Santalla, perhaps 
from different sources.

The date of the Kitab Sirr al-Asar is uncertain, though c.800 has been 
suggested and it is not clear when the tablet became part of this work.
Holmyard was the first to find another early arabic version (Ruska found 
a 12th centruy recension claiming to have been dictated by Sergius of 
Nablus) in the Kitab Ustuqus al-Uss al-Thani (Second Book of the 
Elements of Foundation) attributed to Jabir. Shortly after Ruska found 
another version appended to the Kitab Sirr al-Khaliqa wa San`at 
al-Tabi`a (Book of the Secret of Creation and the Art of Nature), which 
is also known as the Kitab Balaniyus al-Hakim fi'l-`Ilal (book of 
Balinas the wise on the Causes). It has been proposed that this book was 
written may have been written as early as 650, and was definitely 
finished by the Caliphate of al-Ma'mun (813-33).

Scholars have seen similarities between this book and the Syriac Book of 
Treasures written by Job of Odessa (9th century) and more interestingly 
the Greek writings of the bishop Nemesius of Emesa in Syria from the mid 
fourth century. However though this suggests a possible Syriac source, 
non of these writings contain the tablet.

Balinas is usually identified with Apollonius of Tyna, but there is 
little evidence to connect him with the Kitab Balabiyus, and even if 
there was,the story implies that Balinas found the tablet rather than 
wrote it, and the recent discoveries of the dead sea scrolls and the nag 
hamamdi texts suggest that hiding texts in caves is not impossible, even 
if we did not have the pyramids before us.
Ruska has suggested an origin further east, and Needham has proposed an 
origin in China.

Holmyard, Davis and Anon all consider that this Tablet may be one of the 
earliest of all alchemical works we have that survives.
It should be remarked that apparantly the Greeks and Egyptians used the 
termtranslated as `emerald' for emeralds, green granites, "and perhaps 
green jasper". In medieval times the emerald table of the Gothic kings 
of Spain, and the Sacro catino- a dish said to have belonged to the 
Queen of Sheba, to have been used at the last supper, and to be made of 
emerald, were made of green glass [Steele and Singer: 488].

From Jabir ibn Hayyan.

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0) Balinas mentions the engraving on the table in the hand of Hermes, 
which says:
1) Truth! Certainty! That in which there is no doubt!
2) That which is above is from that which is below, and that which is 
below is from that which is above, working the miracles of one.
3) As all things were from one.
4) Its father is the Sun and its mother the Moon.
5) The Earth carried it in her belly, and the Wind nourished it in her 
7) as Earth which shall become Fire.
7a) Feed the Earth from that which is subtle, with the greatest power.
8) It ascends from the earth to the heaven and becomes ruler over that 
which is above and that which is below.
14) And I have already explained the meaning of the whole of this in two 
of these books of mine.
[Holmyard 1923: 562.]

Another Arabic Version (from the German of Ruska, translated by 

0) Here is that which the priest Sagijus of Nabulus has dictated 
concerning the entrance of Balinas into the hidden chamber... After my 
entrance into the chamber, where the talisman was set up, I came up to 
an old man sitting on a golden throne, who was holding an emerald table 
in one hand. And behold the following - in Syriac, the primordial 
language- was written thereon:

1) Here (is) a true explanation, concerning which there can be no doubt.
2) It attests: The above from the below, and the below from the above 
-the work of the miracle of the One.
3) And things have been from this primal substance through a single act. 
How wonderful is this work! It is the main (principle) of the world and 
is its maintainer.
4) Its father is the sun and its mother the moon; the
5) wind has borne it in its body, and the earth has nourished it.
6) the father of talismen and the protector of miracles
6a) whose powers are perfect, and whose lights are confirmed (?),
7) a fire that becomes earth.
7a) Separate the earth from the fire, so you will attain the subtle as 
more inherent than the gross, with care and sagacity.
8) It rises from earth to heaven, so as to draw the lights of the 
heights to itself, and descends to the earth; thus within it are the 
forces of the above and the below;
9) because the light of lights within it, thus does the darkness flee 
before it.
10) The force of forces, which overcomes every subtle thing and 
penetrates into everything gross.
11) The structure of the microcosm is in accordance with the structure 
of the macrocosm.
12) And accordingly proceed the knowledgeable.
13) And to this aspired Hermes, who was threefold graced with wisdom.
14) And this is his last book, which he concealed in the chamber.
[Anon 1985: 24-5]

Twelfth Century Latin

0) When I entered into the cave, I received the tablet zaradi, which was 
inscribed, from between the hands of Hermes, in which I discovered these 
1) True, without falsehood, certain, most certain.
2) What is above is like what is below, and what is below is like that 
which is above. To make the miracle of the one thing.
3) And as all things were made from contemplation of one, so all things 
were born from one adaptation.
4) Its father is the Sun, its mother is the Moon.
5) The wind carried it in its womb, the earth breast fed it.
6) It is the father of all ‘works of wonder' (Telesmi) in the world.
6a) Its power is complete (integra).
7) If cast to (turned towards- versa fuerit) earth,

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  Msg#: 287                                          Date: 09-18-96  12:02
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7a) it will separate earth from fire, the subtile from the gross.
8) With great capacity it ascends from earth to heaven. Again it 
descends to earth, and takes back the power of the above and the below.
9) Thus you will receive the glory of the distinctiveness of the world. 
All obscurity will flee from you.
10) This is the whole most strong strength of all strength, for it 
overcomes all subtle things, and penetrates all solid things.
11a) Thus was the world created.
12) From this comes marvelous adaptions of which this is the proceedure.
13) Therefore I am called Hermes, because I have three parts of the 
wisdom of the whole world.
14) And complete is what I had to say about the work of the Sun, from 
the book of Galieni Alfachimi.
[From Latin in Steele and Singer 1928: 492.]

Translation from Aurelium Occultae Philosophorum..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 condsideration of one, 
so all things were made from this one, by conjunction.
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.
6a)Its power is perfected.
7) If it is turned into earth,
7a) separate the earth from the fire, the subtle and thin from the crude 
and course, 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 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.
11a) By this means the world was founded
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 Philsosphy of the whole universe.
14) My speech is finished which i have spoken concerning the solar work
[Davis 1926: 874.]

Translation of Issac Newton c. 1680.

1) Tis true without lying, certain & most true.
2) That wch is below is like that wch is above & that wch is above is 
like yt wch is below to do ye miracles of one only thing.
3) And as all things have been & arose from one by ye mediation 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 nourse.
6) The father of all perfection in ye whole world is here.
7) Its force or power is entire if it be converted into earth.
7a) Seperate thou ye earth from ye fire, ye subtile from the gross 
sweetly wth great indoustry.
8) It ascends from ye earth to ye heaven & again it desends to ye earth 
and receives ye force of things superior & inferior.
9) By this means you shall have ye glory of ye whole world & thereby all 
obscurity shall fly from you.
10) Its force is above all force. ffor it vanquishes every subtile thing 
& penetrates every solid thing.
11a) So was ye world created.
12) From this are & do come admirable adaptaions whereof ye means (Or 
process) is here in this.
13) Hence I am called Hermes Trismegist, having the three parts of ye 
philosophy of ye whole world.
14) That wch I have said of ye operation of ye Sun is accomplished & 

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  Msg#: 288                                          Date: 09-18-96  12:02
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[Dobbs 1988: 183-4.]

Translation from Kriegsmann (?) alledgedly from the Phoenician

1) I speak truly, not falsely, certainly and most truly
2) These things below with those above and those with these join forces 
again so that they produce a single thing the most wonderful of all.
3)And as the whole universe was brought forth from one by the word of 
one GOD, so also all things are regenerated perpetually from this one 
according to the disposition of Nature.
4) It has the Sun for father and the Moon for mother:
5) it is carried by the air as if in a womb, it is nursed by the earth.
6) It is the cause, this, of all perfection of all things throughout the 
6a) This will attain the highest perfection of powers
7) if it shall be reduced into earth
7a) Distribute here the earth and there the fire, thin out the density 
of this the suavest (suavissima) thing of all.
8)Ascend with the greatest sagacity of genius from the earth into the 
sky, and thence descend again to the earth, and recognise that the 
forces of things above and of things below are one,
9) so as to posses the glory of the whole world- and beyond this man of 
abject fate may have nothing further.
10)This thing itself presently comes forth stronger by reasons of this 
fortitude: it subdues all bodies surely, whether tenuous or solid, by 
penetrating them.
11a) And so everything whatsoever that the world contains was created.
12) Hence admirable works are accomplished which are instituted (carried 
out- instituuntur) according to the same mode.
13) To me therefor the name of Hermes Trismegistus has been awarded 
because I am discovered as the Teacher of the three parts of the wisdom 
of the world.
14) These then are the considerations which I have concluded ought to be 
written down concerning the readiest operations of the Chymic art.
[Davis 1926: 875 slightly modified.]

From Sigismund Bacstrom (allegedly translated from Chaldean).

0) The Secret Works of CHIRAM ONE in essence, but three in aspect.
1) It is true, no lie, certain and to be depended upon,
2) the superior agrees with the inferior, and the inferior agrees with 
the superior, to effect that one truly wonderful work.
3) As all things owe their existence to the will of the only one, so all 
things owe their origin to the one only thing, the most hidden by the 
arrangement of the only God.
4) The father of that one only thing is the sun its mother is the moon,
5) the wind carries it in its belly; but its nourse is a spirituous 
6) That one only thing is the father of all things in the Universe.
6a) Its power is perfect,
7) after it has been united with a spirituous earth.
7a) Separate that spirituous earth from the dense or crude by means of a 
gentle heat, with much attention.
8) In great measure it ascends from the earth up to heaven, and descends 
again, newborn, on the earth, and the superior and the inferior are 
increased in power.
9) By this wilt thou partake of the honours of the whole world. And 
Darkness will fly from thee.
10) This is the strength of all powers. With this thou wilt be able to 
overcome all things and transmute all what is fine and what is coarse.
11a) In this manner the world was created;
12) the arrangements to follow this road are hidden.
13) For this reason I am called Chiram Telat Mechasot, one in essence, 
but three in aspect. In this trinity is hidden the wisdom of the whole 
14) It is ended now, what I have said concerning the effects of the sun. 
Finish of the Tabula Smaragdina.
[See Hall 1977: CLVIII,]

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  Msg#: 289                                          Date: 09-18-96  12:02
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From Madame Blavatsky

2) What is below is like that which is above, and what is above is 
similar to that which is below to accomplish the wonders of the one 
3) As all things were produced by the mediation of one being, so all 
things were produced from this one by adaption.
4) Its father is the sun, its mother the moon.
6a) It is the cause of all perfection throughout the whole earth.
7) Its power is perfect if it is changed into earth.
7a) Separate the earth from the fire, the subtile from the gross, acting 
prudently and with judgement.
8 ) Ascend with the greatest sagacity from earth to heaven, and unite 
together the power of things inferior and superior;
9) thus you will possess the light of the whole world, and all obscurity 
will fly away from you.
10) This thing has more fortitude than fortitude itself, because it will 
overcome every subtile thing and penetrate every solid thing.
11a) By it the world was formed.
[Blavatsky 1972: 507.]

From Fulcanelli (translated from the French by Sieveking)

1) This is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth:-
2) As below, so above; and as above so below. With this knowledge alone 
you may work miracles.
3) And since all things exist in and eminate from the ONE Who is the 
ultimate Cause, so all things are born after their kind from this ONE.
4) The Sun is the father, the Moon the mother;
5) the wind carried it in his belly. Earth is its nurse and its 
6) It is the Father of all things,
6a) the eternal Will is contained in it.
7) Here, on earth, its strength, its power remain one and undivded.
7a) Earth must be separated from fire, the subtle from the dense, gently 
with unremitting care.
8) It arises from the earth and descends from heaven; it gathers to 
itself the strength of things above and things below.
9) By means of this one thing all the glory of the world shall be yours 
and all obscurity flee from you.
10) It is power, strong with the strength of all power, for it will 
penetrate all mysteries and dispel all ignorance.
11a) By it the world was created.
12) From it are born manifold wonders, the means to achieving which are 
here given
13) It is for this reason that I am called Hermes Trismegistus; for I 
possess the three essentials of the philosophy of the universe.
14) This is is the sum total of the work of the Sun.
[Sadoul 1972: 25-6.]

From Fulcanelli, new translation

1) It is true without untruth, certain and most true:
2) that which is below is like that which is on high, and that which is 
on high is like that which is below; by these things are made the 
miracles of one thing.
3) And as all things are, and come from One, by the mediation of One, So 
all things are born from this unique thing by adaption.
4) The Sun is the father and the Moon the mother.
5) The wind carries it in its stomach. The earth is its nourisher and 
its receptacle.
6 The Father of all the Theleme of the universal world is here.
6a) Its force, or power, remains entire,
7) if it is converted into earth.
7a) You separate the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross, 
gently with great industry.
8) It climbs from the earth and descends from the sky, and receives the 
force of things superior and things inferior.
9) You will have by this way, the glory of the world and all obscurity 
will flee from you.

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10) It is the power strong with all power, for it will defeat every 
subtle thing and penetrate every solid thing
11a) In this way the world was created.
12) From it are born wonderful adaptations, of which the way here is 
13) That is why I have been called Hermes Tristmegistus, having the 
three parts of the universal philosophy.
14) This, that I have called the solar Work, is complete.

[Translated from Fulcanelli 1964: 312.]
From Idres Shah

1) The truth, certainty, truest, without untruth.
2) What is above is like what is below. What is below is like what is
above. The miracle of unity is to be attained.
3) Everything is formed from the contemplation of unity, and all things 
come about from unity, by means of adaptation.
4) Its parents are the Sun and Moon.
5) It was borne by the wind and nurtured by the Earth.
6) Every wonder is from it
6a) and its power is complete.
7) Throw it upon earth,
7a) and earth will separate from fire. The impalbable separated from the 
8) Through wisdom it rises slowly from the world to heaven. Then it 
descends to the world combining the power of the upper and the lower.
9 )Thus you will have the illumination of all the world, and darkness 
will disappear.
10) This is the power of all strength- it overcomes that which is 
delicate and penetrates through solids.
11a) This was the means of the creation of the world.
12) And in the future wonderful developements will be made, and this is 
the way.
13) I am Hermes the Threefold Sage, so named because I hold the three 
elements of all wisdom.
14) And thus ends the revelation of the work of the Sun.
(Shah 1964: 198).

Hypothetical Chinese Original

1) True, true, with no room for doubt, certain, worthy of all trust.
2) See, the highest comes from the lowest, and the lowest from the 
highest; indeed a marvelous work of the tao.
3) See how all things originated from It by a single process.
4) The father of it (the elixir) is the sun (Yang), its mother the moon 
5) The wind bore it in its belly, and the earth nourished it.
6) This is the father of wondrous works (changes and transformations),
the guardian of mysteries,
6a) perfect in its powers, the animator of lights.
7) This fire will be poured upon the earth...
7a) So separate the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross, 
acting prudently and with art.
8) It ascends from the earth to the heavens (and orders the lights 
above), then descends again to the earth; and in it is the power of the 
highest and the lowest.
9) Thus when you have the light of lights darkness will flee away from 
10) With this power of powers (the elixir) you shall be able to get the 
mastery of every subtle thing, and be able to penetrate everything that 
is gross.
11a) In this way was the great world itself formed.
12) Hence thus and thus marvellous operations will be acheived.
[Slightly altered from Needham 1980: 371.]


On #3 Some Latin texts have meditatione (contemplation), others 
mediatione (mediation). Some texts have adaptatione (by adaptation), 
some have adoptionis (by adoption).

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  Msg#: 291                                          Date: 09-18-96  12:02
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On #6 Telesmi' is a greek word, some texts have thelesmi'.
On #6, 7 In some texts Its Power is Complete' is a separate line. In
the generally accepted reading, this runs into #7 producing ‘Its Power 
is complete if versa fuerit to earth'. Where possible this has been 
indicated by diving these lines in 6, 6a, 7, & 7a
On #7, 8 In some texts the Wisdom, capacity' (magno ingenio) is read as
referring to #7, and hence the operation of Separation is to be carried 
out carefully', in other readings the wisdom' is held to refer to #8
and the product of the Separation which thus ascends with wisdom'.
Needham quotes Ruska to the effect that sections 3, 12 and 14 are 
probably late additions (op. cit)


On #1

Hortulanus: "... the most true Sun is procreated by art. And he says 
most true in the superlative degree because the Sun generated by this 
art exceeds all natural Sun in all of its properties, medicinal and 
otherwise" (Davis modified by `Linden')

On #2

Albertus Magnus: Hermes says "the powers of all things below originate 
in the stars and constellations of the heavens: and that all these 
powers are poured down into all things below by the circle called Alaur, 
which is, they said, the first circle of the constellations". This 
descent is "noble when the materials receiving these powers are more 
like things above in their brightness and transparency; ignoble when the 
materials are confused and foul, so that the heavenly power is, as it 
were oppressed. Therefore they say that this is the reason why precious 
stones more than anything else have wonderful powers" (60 -61). While 
the "seven kinds of metals have their forms from the seven planets of 
the lower spheres" (168).

Hortulanus: "the stone is divided into two principle parts by the 
magistry, into a superior part which ascends above and into an inferior 
part which remains below fixed and clear. And these two parts moreover 
are concordant in their virtue since the inferior part is earth which is 
called nurse and ferment, and the superior part is the spirit which 
quickens the whole stone and raises it up. Wherefore separation made, and
conjunction celebrated, many miracles are effected."

Burckhardt: "This refers to the reciprocal dependence of the active and 
the passive... essential form cannot be manifested without passive 
materia.. the efficacy of the spiritual power depends on the 
preparedness of the human container' and vice versa.... Above' and
below' are thus related to this one thing and complement one another in
its regard".

Schumaker: "There are corresponding planes in various levels of 
creation, hence it is safe to draw analogies between macrocosm and 
microcosm, the mineral kingdom and the human, animal and vegetable 
kingdoms etc".

Needham: "the whole affirmation looks remarkably like the doctrine that 
extreme of Yang generates Yin, and vice versa".

On #3 

Hortulanus: "our stone, which was created by God, was born and came 
forth from a confused mass, containing in itself all the elements- and 
hence our stone was born by this single miracle".

Trithemius: "Is it not true that all things flow from one thing, from 
the goodness of the One, and that whatever is joined to Unity cannot be 
diverse, but rather fructifies by means of the simplicity and 
adaptability of the One" "What is born from Unity? Is it not the 
ternary? Take note: Unity is unmixed, the binary is compounded, and the 
ternary is reduced to the simplicity of Unity. I, Trithemius, am not of 

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  Msg#: 292                                          Date: 09-18-96  12:02
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  Subj: 08:Emerald tablet of Herm
three minds, but persist in a single integrated mind taking pleasure in 
the ternary, which gives birth to a marvelous offspring" (Bran)
Burckhardt: "the undivided, invisible Light of the unconditioned One is 
refracted into multiplicity by the prism of the Spirit". As the Spirit 
contemplates the Unity without full comprehension "it manifests the 
‘many-sided' All, just as a lens transmits the light it receives as a 
bundle of rays".

Schumaker: As God is one, all created objects come from one thing, an 
undifferentiated primal matter.

On #4

Hortulanus: " As one animal naturally generates more animals similar to 
itself, so the Sun artificially generates Sun by the power of 
multiplication of...the stone.... in this artificial generation it is 
necessary that the Sun have a suitable receptacle, consonant with 
itself, for its sperm and its tincture, and this is the Luna of the 

Redgrove: Sun and Moon "probably stand for Spirit and Matter 
respectively, not gold and silver".

Burckhardt: Sun "is the spirit (nous), while the moon is the soul 

Schumaker: "If the moon is associated with water, as because of its 
‘moisture' [as] was usual, and the sun with fire, the prima materia is 
understood to have been generated by fire, born of water, brought down 
from the sky by wind, and nourished by earth".

On #5

Albertus Magnus: by this Hermes "means the levigatio [making light 
weight] of the material, raising it to the properties of Air. And why he 
says the wind carries the material [of the stone] in its belly is that, 
when the material is placed in an alembic- which is a vessel made like 
those in which rosewater is prepared- then by evapouration it is 
rendered subtle and is raised towards the properties of Air... And there 
distills and issues from the mouth of the alembic a watery or oily 
liquor with all the powers of the elements" (17). In metals the moisture 
is not separated from the dryness, but is dissolved in it; and being so 
dissolved, it moves about there as if it had been swallowed by the Earth 
and were moving about in its bowels. And on this account Hermes said 
The mother of metal is Earth that carries it in her belly'".

Hortulanus: "It is plain that wind is air, and air is life, and life is 
spirit... And thus it is necessary that the wind should bear the whole 
stone.... [However] our stone without the ferment of the earth will 
never come to the effect, which ferment is called food"
Trithemius: "the wind carries its seed in her belly".

Maier: By "the wind carried him in its belly" Hermes means" He, whose
father is the Sun, and whose mother is the Moon, will be carried before 
he is born, by wind and vapour, just as a flying bird is carried by 
air'. From the vapours of winds, which are nothing else but wind in 
motion, water proceeds, when condensed, and from that water, mixed with 
earth, all minerals and metals arise". The substance carried by the wind 
is "in chemical respect.. the sulphur, which is carried in mercury". 

Lull says "The stone is the fire, carried in the belly of the air'. In
physical respect it is the unborn child that will soon be born". To be 
clearer, "All mercury is composed of vapours, that is to say of water,
which the earth raises along with it into the thin air, and of earth, 
which the air compels to return into watery earth or earthy water" As 
the elements contained within are each reduced to a watery condition, 
they either follow the volatile elements upward as in common mercury, or 
they stay below with the solid elements as in philosophical Mercury "and 
in the solid metals". So "Mercury is the wind which receives the 
sulphur... as the unripe fruit from the mothers womb, or from the ashes 

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  Msg#: 293                                          Date: 09-18-96  12:02
  From: Don Allen                                    Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: 09:Emerald tablet of Herm
of the burnt mother's body and takes it to a place where it may ripen". 

Ripley says "our child shall be born in the air, that is the belly of 
the wind" [de Jong 1969: 55- 7.]

Maier (2nd Comment) on "The earth is its nurse": Food changes into the 
substance of the eater and is then assimilated. "This harmony dominates 
the whole of nature, for the like enjoys the like". The same happens in 
the Work and Nature "just as is the growth of the child in the mother's 
womb. So also a father, a mother and a nurse have been attributed to the 
philosophical child... it comes into being from the twofold seed and 
then grows as an embryo does". As a woman must moderate her diet to 
avoid miscarriage, "in the same way one must set about philosophical 
work with moderation". The Seeds also have to be united. "Philosophers 
say that the one comes from the East and the other from the West and 
become one; what does this mean but combining in a retort, a moderate 
temperature and nourishment?". "One may wonder why the earth is referred 
to as the nurse of the philosophic child, since barreness and dryness 
are the main properties of the element earth". The answer is that not 
the element, but the whole Earth is meant. "It is the nurse of Heaven 
not because it resolves, washes and moistens the foetus, but because it 
coagulates, fastens and colours the latter and changes it into sap and 
blood... The Earth contains a wonderful juice which changes the nature 
of the one who feeds on it, as Romulus is believed to have been changed 
by the wolf's milk into a bellicose individual" [de Jong 1969: 63 -5.]
Burckhardt: "The wind which carries the spiritual germ in its body, is 
the vital breath". Vital breath is the substance of the realm between 
heaven and earth, it "is also Quicksilver which contains the germ of 
gold in a liquid state". The earth is "the body, as an inward reality".

On #6

Burckhardt: the word talisman is derived from Telesma. Talismans work by 
corresponding to their prototype, and by making a "condensation', on
the subtle plane, of a spiritual state. This explains the similarity 
between the talisman, as the bearer of an invisible influence, and the 
alchemical elixir, as the ferment' of metallic transformation".

On #7

Hortulanus: The stone is perfect and complete if it is turned into earth 
"that is if the soul of the stone itself.... is turned into earth, 
namely of the stone and is fixed so that the whole substance of the 
stone becomes one with its nurse, namely the earth, and the whole stone 
is converted to ferment"

Trithemius: it is the seed from #5 that must be cast upon the earth.

Bacstrom: "Process- First Distillation".

Burckhardt: "when the Spirit is ‘embodied', the volatile becomes fixed".

Schumaker: if the prime matter is to be used it must be fixed into a 
substance "capable of being handled".

On #7a 

Hortulanus: "You will separate, that is, you will dissolve, because 
solution is separation of parts.."

Burkhardt: The separation "means the ‘extraction' of the soul from the 

Schumaker "Since the volatile principle is fire -or sometimes, air- 
stability is produced by its removal. Or, alternatively but less 
probably, the earth is impurity (‘the gross') and a purified fire (‘the 
subtle') is what is wanted.

On #8

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  Msg#: 294                                          Date: 09-18-96  12:02
  From: Don Allen                                    Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: 10:Emerald tablet of Herm
Albertus Magnus: In intending to teach the operations of alchemy Hermes 
says the stone "‘ascends to heaven' when by roasting and calcination it 
takes on the properties of Fire; for alchemists mean by calcinatio the 
reduction of material to to powder by burning and roasting. And the 
material ‘again descends from heaven to earth' when it takes on the 
properties of Earth by inhumatio, for inhumation revives and nourishes 
what was previously killed by calcination".

Hortulanus: "And now he deals with multiplication [of the stone]." 
"Although our stone is divided in the first operation into four parts... 
there are really two principle parts". The ascending, non fixed, and the 
earth or ferment. "It is necessary to have a large quantity of this non 
fixed part and to give it to the stone which has been made thoroughly 
clean from dirt.... until the entire stone is borne above by the virtue 
of the spirit"

"Afterwards it is necessary to incerate the same stone,..with the oil 
that was extracted in the first operation, which oil is called the water 
of the stone" Roast or boil by sublimation until the "entire stone 
descends... and remains fixed and fluent". "That which is coporeal is 
made spiritual by sublimation, and that which is spiritual is made 
corporeal by descension".

Trithemius: "When the ternary has at last returned to itself it may, by 
an inner disposition and great delight, ascend from the earth to heaven, 
thereby receiving both superior and inferior power; thus will it be made 
powerful and glorious in the clarity of Unity, demonstrate its ability 
to bring forth every number, and put to flight all obscurity".
Bacstrom: "Last Digestion". "The Azoth ascends from the Earth, from the 
bottom of the Glass, and redescends in Veins and drops into the Earth 
and by this continual circulation the Azoth is more and more subtilised, 
Volatilizes Sol and carries the volatilized Solar atoms along with it 
and thereby becomes a Solar Azoth, i.e. our third and genuine Sophic 
Mercury". The circulation must continue until "it ceases of itself, and 
the Earth has sucked it all in, when it becomes the black pitchy matter, 
the Toad [the substances in the alchemical retort and also the lower 
elements in the body of man -Hall], which denotes complete putrifaction 
or Death of the compound".

Read, suggests this section describes the use of a kerotakis, in which 
metals are suspended and subject to the action of gasses released from 
substances heated in the base, and from their condensation and 

Burckhardt: "dissolution of consciousness from all formal coagulations'
is followed by the crystalisation' of the Spirit, so that active and
passive are perfectly united."

Schumaker: "Separate the volatile part of the substance by vaporization 
but continue heating until the vapour reunites with the parent body, 
whereupon you will have obtained the Stone".

On #9 

Trithemius: When the ternary has returned to Unity cleansed of all 
impurities "the mind understands without contradiction all the mysteries 
of the excellently arranged arcanum".

Bacstrom: the black matter becomes White and Red. The Red "having been 
carried to perfection, medicinaly and for Metals" is capable of 
supporting complete mental and physical health, and provides "ample 
means, in finitum multiplicable to be benevolent and charitable, without 
any dimunation of our inexhaustable resources, therefore well may it be 
called the Glory of the whole World". Contemplation and study of the 
Philosopher's Stone ("L. P.") elevates the mind to God. "The 
Philosophers say with great Truth, that the L.P. either finds a good man 
or makes one". "By invigorating the Organs the Soul makes use of for 
communicating with exterior objects, the Soul must aquire greater 
powers, not only for conception but also for retention". If we pray and 
have faith "all Obscurity must vanish of course".

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  Msg#: 295                                          Date: 09-18-96  12:03
  From: Don Allen                                    Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: 11:Emerald tablet of Herm
Burckhardt: "Thus the light of the Spirit becomes constant..[and] 
ignorance, deception, uncertainty, doubt and foolishness will be removed 
from consciousness".

On #10 

Trithemius: The Philosopher's Stone is another name for the one thing',
and is able to "conquer every subtile thing and to penetrate every 
solid". "This very noble virtue... consists of maximal fortitude, 
touching everything with its desirable excellence".

Bacstrom: "The L.P. does possess all the Powers concealed in Nature, not 
for destruction but for exhaltation and regeneration of matter, in the 
three Departments of Nature". "It refixes the most subtil Oxygen into 
its own firey Nature". The power increases "in a tenfold ratio, at every 
multiplication". So it can penetrate Gold and Silver, and fix mercury, 
Crystals and Glass Fluxes.

Burckhardt: "Alchemical fixation is nevertheless more inward... Through 
its union with the spirit bodily consciousness itself becomes a fine and 
penetrating power". He quotes Jabir "The body becomes a spirit, and 
takes on... fineness, lightness, extensibility, coloration... The 
spirit... becomes a body and aquires the latter's resistance to fire, 
immobility and duration. From both bodies a light substance is born , 
which.. precisely takes up a middle position between the two extremes".

Schumaker: The product of the distillation and reunion will "dominate 
less solid substances, but because of its own subtlety it will 
penetrate' and hence dominate, other solid things less pure and
quasi-spiritual than itself".

On #11 

Burckhardt: "the little world is created according to the prototype of 
the great world", when the human realises their original nature is the 
image of God.

Schumaker: "The alchemical operation is a paradigm of the creative 
process. We may note the sexual overtones of what has preceeded"

On #12

Burckhardt: "In the Arabic text this is: This way is traversed by the

On #13 

Hortulanus: "He here teaches in an occult manner the things from which 
the stone is made." "the stone is called perfect because it has in 
itself the nature of minerals, ofvegetables and of animals. For the 
stone is three and one, tripple and single, having four natures.... and 
three colours, namely black, white and red. It is also called the grain 
of corn because unless it shall have died, it remains itself alone. And 
if it shall have died... it bears much fruit when it is in 

Newton: "on account of this art Mercurius is called thrice greatest, 
having three parts of the philosophy of the whole world, since he 
signifies the Mercury of the philosophers.... and has dominion in the 
mineral kingdom, the vegetable kingdom, and the animal kingdom".
Bacstrom: the wisdom of the world (?) is hidden in "Chiram and its Use". 
Hermes "signifies a Serpent, and the Serpent used to be an Emblem of 
Knowledge or Wisdom."

Burckhardt: "The three parts of wisdom correspond to the three great 
divisions of the universe, namely, the spiritual, psychic and corporeal 
realms, whose symbols are heaven, air and earth".
Schumaker: "The usual explanation of Tristmegistus.. is that Hermes was 
the greatest philosopher, the greatest priest, and the greatest king".

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  Msg#: 296                                          Date: 09-18-96  12:03
  From: Don Allen                                    Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: 12:Emerald tablet of Herm

Trithemius: "our philosophy is celestial, not worldly, in order that we 
may faithfuly behold, by means of a direct intuition of the mind through 
faith and knowledge, that principle which we call God...."

Trithemius: "Study generates knowledge; knowledge prepares love; love, 
similarity; similarity, communion; communion, virtue; virtue, dignity; 
dignity, power; and power performs the miracle".

Newton "Inferior and superior, fixed and volatile, sulphur and 
quicksilver have a similar nature and are one thing, like man and wife. 
For they differ from one another only by degree of digestion and 
maturity. Sulphur is mature quicksilver, and quicksilver is immature 
sulphur: and on account of this affinity they unite like male and 
female, and they act on each other, and through that action they are 
mutually transmuted into each other and procreate a more noble offspring 
to accomplish the miracles of this one thing". "And just as all things 
were created from one Chaos by the design of one God, so in our art all 
things... are born from this one thing which is our Chaos, by the design 
of the Artificer and the skilful adaptation of things. And the 
generation of this is similar to the human, truly from a father and 

Blavatsky: the mysterious thing "is the universal, magical agent, the 
astral light, which in the correlations of its forces furnishes the 
alkahest, the philosopher's stone, and the elixir of life. Hermetic 
philosophy names it Azoth, the soul of the world, the celestial virgin, 
the great Magnes, etc" It appears to be that which gives organisation 
("the maze of force-correlations"), and form i.e. the perfect geometry 
of snowflakes.

Sherwood Taylor: "the operation of the Sun.. was carried out by a 
‘spirit', universal, the source of all things, having the power of 
perfecting them. Its virtue is integral [# 6a] (ie having the power to 
convert the diverse into a single substance), if it be turned into earth 
(ie. solidified). This conveyed that the Stone was to be a solidified 
pneuma. Pneuma was the link between earth and heaven, having the virtue 
of the celestial and subterranean regions- the power of the whole cosmos 
from the fixed stars to the centre of the earth. It overcomes every 
nature and penetrates every solid. It is the source of the whole world 
and so it can be the means of changing things in a wonderful way. The 
three parts of the philosophy of the whole world are presumably of the
celestial, terrestrial, and subterranean regions".

Shah: The table is "the same as the Sufi dictum... ‘Man is the 
microcosm, creation the macrocosm - the unity. All comes from One. By 
the joining of the power of contemplation all can be attained. This 
essence must be separated from the body first, then combined with the 
body. This is the Work. Start with yourself, end with all. Before man, 
beyond man, transformation'".


HERMUS said the secret of everything and the life of everything is 
Water.... This water becomes in wheat, ferment; in the vine, wine; in 
the olive, olive oil.... The begining of the child is from water.... 
Regarding this spiritual water and the sanctified and thirsty earth, 
HERMUS the great, crowned with the glorious wisdom and the sublime 
sciences, said [#1] Truth it is, indubtible, certain and correct, [#2] 
that the High is from the Low and the Low is from the High. They bring 
about wonders through the one, just as things are produced from that one 
essence by a single preparation. Later by his statement [#4] Its father 
is the Sun and its mother the Moon he meant their male and their female. 
They are the two birds which are linked together in the pictures given 
regarding the beginning of the operation, and from them the spiritual 
tinctures are produced. And similarly they are at the end of the 
operation. Later in his statement [#7 ?] the subtle is more honourable 
than the gross, he means by the subtle the divine spiritual water; and 
by the gross the earthly body. As for his later statement [#8] with 

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  Msg#: 297                                          Date: 09-18-96  12:03
  From: Don Allen                                    Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: 13:Emerald tablet of Herm
gentleness and wisdom it will ascend from the earth to the sky, and will 
take fire from the higher lights, he means by this the distillation and 
the raising of the water into the air. As for his later statement [#8a] 
It will descend to the earth, containing the strength of the high and 
the low, he means by this the breathing in (istinshaq) of the air, and 
the taking of the spirit from it, and its subsequent elevation to the 
highest degree of heat, and it is the Fire, and the low is the body, and 
its content of the controlling earthly power which imparts the colours. 
For there lie in it those higher powers, as well as the earthly powers 
which were submerged in it.

The natural operation and decay causes it to be manifest, and hence the 
strength of the earth, and of the air, and of the higher fire passed in 
to it. Later he said [#9] it will overcome the high and the low because 
it in it is found the light of lights: and consequently the darkness 
will flee from it. [See Stapleton et al. p 74, 81.]


Translation from Roger Bacon's edition of Secretum Secretorum made c 

1)Trouth hath hym so, and it is no doubt,
2) that the lover is to the heigher, and the heigher to the lower
The worcher forsoth of all myracles is the one and sool God, of and fro
Whom Cometh all meruelous operacions.
3) So all thynges were created of o soole substance, and of o soole
4) the fader wherof is the sone, and the moone moder,
5) that brought hym forth by blast or aier in the wombe, the erthe taken
fro it,
6) to whom is seid the increat fader, tresour of myracles, and yever of
7) Of fire is made erthe.
7a) Depart the erthe fro the fire, for the sotiller is worthier than the 
more grosse, and the thynne thynge than the thik. This most be do wisely 
and discretly.
8) It ascendith fro the erth into the heven, and falleth fro heven to 
the erthe, and therof sleith the higher and the lower vertue.
9)And yf it lordship in the lower and in the heigher, and thow shalt 
lordship aboue and beneth, which forsoth is the light of lightes, and 
therfor fro the wolle fle all derknesse.
10) The higher vertue ouer-cometh all, for sothe all thynne thyng doth 
in dense thynges.
11a) After the disposicion of the more world rynneth this worchyng.
13) And for this prophetisyng of the trynyte of God Hermogenes it called 
Triplex, trebil in philosophie, as Aristotle seith.
[See Manzalaoui 1977: 65 -6.]
Translation of same source, made c. 1485.
1) The trwthe is so, and that it is no dowght,
2) that lower thyngis to hyer thyng, and hyer to lower be correspondent. 
But the Werker of myraclis is on Godde alone, fro Home descendyth euiry 
meruulus werk.
3)And so alle thyngis be creat of one only substauns, be an only 
4) of home the fadyr is the sonne, and the mone the modyr,
5) qwyche bar her be the wedyr in the wombe. The erthe is priuyd fro
6 )This is clepyd or seyd the fadyr of enchauntmentis, tresur of 
myracclys, the 
yessuer of vertuys.
7) Be a lytil it is made erthe.
7a) Depart that qwyche is erthly fro that qwyche is fi Fry, for that 
qwyche is sotel is mor wurthy han that qwyche is grose, and that rar, 
porous, or lyght, is mor bettyr than qwiche is thyk of substauns. This 
is done wyseli or dyscretly.
8) It ascendyth fro the erth in-to heuyn and fallyth fro heuyn in-to 
erth, and ther-of it sleth the ouyr vertu and the nedyr vertu, so it 
hath lorchyp in the lowe thyngis and hye thingis,

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  Msg#: 298                                          Date: 09-18-96  12:03
  From: Don Allen                                    Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: 14:Emerald tablet of Herm
9) and thu lordschyppist vppeward and downward, and with the is the 
lyght of lyghtys. And for that alle derkness schal fle fro the.
10) The ovyr vetu ouircomyth alle, for euiry rar rhyng werkyth in to 
euiry thyk thyng.
11a) And aftyr the dysposicion of the mor world rennyth thys werking.
13) And for that Hermogines is clepyd threfold in filosophye, and of the 
meruellys of he world.
[See Manzalaoui 1977: 174-5]


Albertus Magnus, Book of Minerals, trans D. Wyckoff, OUP, 1967.

Anon Meditations on the Tarot. Amity House, 1985 pp21-6

Brann, N.L. "George Ripley and the Abbot Trithemius", Ambix, vol 26, no 
3, pp 212- 220, 1979.

Blavatsky, H.P. Isis Unveiled. Theosophical University Press, 1972. pp 

Burckhardt, T. Alchemy. Stuart and Watkins, London 1967 pp 196 -201.

Davis, Tenny L. "The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Tristmegistus: Three Latin 
versions which were current among later Alchemists", Journal of Chemical 
Education, Vol.3, no.8, pp 863-75, 1926.

de Jong, H.M.E. Michael Maiers's Atlanta Fugiens: Sources of an 
alchemical Book of Emblems. E.J. Brill, Leiden, 1969.

Dobbs, B.J. "Newton's Commentary on the Emerald Tablet of Hermes 
Trismegistus" in Merkel, I and Debus A.G. Hermeticism and the 
Renaissance. Folger, Washington 1988.

Fulcanelli. Les Demeures Philosophales. Jean Jacques Pavert, Paris, 

Hall, M.P. The Secret Teachings of all Ages. Philosophical Research, 
L.A. 1977 pp CLVII -CLVIII.

Holmyard, E.J. "The Emerald Table" Nature, Oct 6th pp 525-6, 1929.

Holmyard, E.J. Alchemy, Pelican, Harmondsworth 1957. pp95-8.

Linden, Stanton J. ed. "The Mirror of Alchimy Composed by the 
Thrice-Famous and Learned Fryer Roger Bacon (1597), Garland, NY. 1992.

Manzalaoui, M.A. Secretum Secretorum: Nine English Versions, Early 
English Text Society. OUP, 1977.

Needham, J.Science and Civilisation in China vol 5, part 4: Spagyrical 
discovery and invention: Apparatus, Theories and gifts. CUP, 1980

Read, John Prelude to Chemistry, G Bell, London, 1939 pp15, 51-5

Redgrove, S. Alchemy: Ancient and Modern. William Rider, London, 1922. 

Sadoul, J. Alchemists and Gold. G.P. Putnams, N.Y. 1972 pp 25-6.

Schumaker, Wayne. The Occult Sciences in the Renaissance. University of 
California, Berkely 1972, pp 179-80

Shah, Idres. The Sufis. Octagon, London 1977, p 198

Sherwood Taylor, F. The Alchemists. Paladin, London, 1976, pp77- 8.

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, pp 69-90, 1949.

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  Msg#: 299                                          Date: 09-18-96  12:03
  From: Don Allen                                    Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: 15:Emerald tablet of Herm
Steele, R. and Singer, D.W. "The Emerald Table". Proceedings of the 
Royal Society of Medicine vol 21, 1928.
See also:

McLean, A & Tahil, P. Ampitheatre Engavings of Heinrich Kunrath. pp. 28, 

Anon, Secret Symbols of the Rosicrucians (i.e. Paul Allen A Christian 

Rosenkreutz Anthology, Steinerbooks, third edition pp228-30)

AMORC Supplementary Monograph: Hermetic Teachings RAD-13, Lecture Number 
2, Inner hermetic teachings.

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