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The Emerald Tablet, also known as Smaragdine Table, Tabula Smaragdina, or The Secret of Hermes, is an ancient 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 Hermetic tradition.
Additional recommended knowledge
The tablet text
One translation, by Isaac Newton, found among his alchemical papers:
Another translation from Aurelium Occultae Philosophorum by Georgio Beato:
Original edition of the Latin text. (Chrysogonus Polydorus, 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.
Contemporary rendering of Latin text
The oldest documentable source for the text is the Kitab Sirr al-Asrar, a pseudo-Aristotelian compendium of advice for rulers authored by Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani in around 800 AD. 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 Ortolanus wrote 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 of the Kitab Ustuqus al-Uss al-Thani (Second Book of the Elements of Foundation) attributed to Jabir ibn Hayyan, and the Kitab Sirr al-Khaliqa wa San`at al-Tabi`a ("Book of the Secret of Creation and the Art of Nature"), dated between 650 and 830 AD.
In its several Western recensions, the Tablet became a mainstay of medieval and Renaissance alchemy. Commentaries and/or translations were published by, among others, Trithemius, Roger Bacon, Michael Maier, Aleister Crowley, Albertus Magnus, and Isaac Newton.
C.G. 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 new degree.
The Emerald Tablet has influenced songs from many rock artists including Cirque du Soleil Dralion, the U.S. jazz duo Cahill & Delene, the German ambient music composer - Thomas Köner, the musical group Doleful Lions, and the progressive art rock/metal group Tool.
Today, the film and book titled, The Secret, (by creator Rhonda Byrne), uses the Emerald Tablet as historical support for the ideas expressed in the film.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Emerald_Tablet". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|