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Tabula Smaragdina Hermetis

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Unique ID : al.00.0001
Edition : parchment engraving

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Tabula Smaragdina Hermetis. The above diagram is the best explanation of the Emerald Tablet of Hermes because it stimulates right brain responses. It arouses intuition, imagination and insight. Any verbal explanation is inadequate, but it gives us a starting point. Let us look at the diagram carefully. Around the outside there is a Latin saying. What does it mean? Centuries ago, a student asked his master, Basilius Valentinus, “What is the secret of alchemy?” The master replied, “In VITRIOL is the answer.” Observe: Visita - Visit, Interiora - the interior, Terrae - of the earth, Rectificando - in rectifying, Invenies - discover, Occultum - the hidden, Lapidem - stone. What does all that mean? First let us note that there are 7 Latin words in the statement. In alchemy, the Below, there are 7 metals. In astrology, the Above, there are 7 planets. In each of us there are 7 chakras. Taken together, they point to 7 levels of action internalised by us. Secondly, the “stone” is a reference to the Stone of the Philosophers. But beware, this is not the same as the Philosophers' Stone. The rectification is what changes the one into the other. Thirdly, the centre of the earth is a reference to our own being. We must rectify something that is utterly fundamental to our true nature. That should give us a starting point for meditation and visualisation. Next, let us look at the symbols. Overall, there is a circle and it brings to mind unity, wholeness, completeness and perfect Oneness. It is the stone, rectified. Inside the circle at both left and right there is a hand pointing inwards. This indicates polarity and this is the key to the Art. We must unite the duality of our being in the Chymical Marriage. Above the two hands are the 7 planets. The Sun and the Moon are pouring their life substance into a chalice, thus uniting their opposite natures. The chalice is supported by Mercury the hermaphrodite, both male and female. Another union of opposites. We are reminded of the alchemical koan that the Great Work consists of the union of the Sun and the Moon with the aid of Mercury. More material for meditation. To the left are Mars and Saturn and to the right, are Venus and Jupiter. These planets are also arranged in a balanced and polarised fashion. Below them are 3 shields, standing for the 3 alchemical principles of Sulfur (Lion), Salt (7 pointed star) and Mercury (Eagle). Note that alchemical Mercury is related to astrological Mercury, but they are not the same. If we change our point of view, we can take the chalice as the element Water, the lion as Fire, the eagle as Air and the star as Earth. Finally, there are 2 spheres (Heaven and Earth) which emphasise the polarity of the Above and the Below, which must also be united. In the very centre is a ring which symbolises the microcosm inside the macrocosmic circle. A reminder of the Above and the Below. Have you noticed the last symbol? Below the ring and above the shield of the star, is the alchemical symbol of VITRIOL. It is on the opposite side of the ring to Mercury. So what? The hidden stone arises out of the conjunction of these two. It emerges in the centre of the empty ring. That is the focus of our meditation. Truly, in VITRIOL is the answer. The entire diagram must be used for meditation and visualisation. That is its primary function and that is how its true value will be revealed. Let us now look at the text of the Emerald Tablet of Hermes. VERBA SECRETORUM HERMETIS. 1. It is true, certain, and without falsehood, that whatever is below is like that which is above; and that which is above is like that which is below: to accomplish the one wonderful work. 2. As all things are derived from the One Only Thing, by the will and by the word of the One Only One who created it in His Mind, so all things owe their existence to this Unity by the order of Nature, and can be improved by Adaptation to that Mind. 3. Its Father is the Sun; its Mother is the Moon; the Wind carries it in its womb; and its nurse is the Earth. 4. This Thing is the Father of all perfect things in the world. 5. Its power is most perfect when it has again been changed into Earth. 6. Separate the Earth from the Fire, the subtle from the gross, but carefully and with great judgement and skill. 7. It ascends from earth to heaven, and descends again, new born, to the earth, taking unto itself thereby the power of the Above and the Below. 8. Thus the splendor of the whole world will be thine, and all darkness shall flee from thee. 9. This is the strongest of all powers, the Force of all forces, for it overcometh all subtle things and can penetrate all that is solid. 10. For thus was the world created, and rare combinations, and wonders of many kinds are wrought. 11. Hence I am called HERMES TRISMEGISTUS, having mastered the three parts of the wisdom of the whole world. 12. What I have to say about the masterpiece of the alchemical art, the Solar Work, is now ended.


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