The Emerald Tablet

I can’t quite remember when I first heard about the Emerald Tablet. It might have been when I was searching grimoires, or possibly when thumbing through one of the hundreds of research books I’ve looked at over the years, but it has fascinated me ever since I first heard about it.

The Emerald Tablet is a thick slab of green emerald or crystal (depending on which legend you are reading) on which is enscribed the secrets of all alchemical knowledge. It was reported to have been fashioned by Thoth/Hermes Trismegistus himself, who is a legendary synthesis of both the Egyptian god, Thoth and the Greek god, Hermes.

Thoth is the god of learning and scribes, the god who gave wisdom to man, so it makes sense that he would have carved this tablet. He was also the god who gave magic to mankind, so clearly it is in keeping with his reputation to share alchemical knowledge with humanity.

There is some disagreement, however, as to whether alchemical knowledge was ever truly supposed to turn lead into gold, or whether it was always intended more as a philosophy or a spiritual process to help us move our thoughts onto a higher, less physical plane of existence.

Personally? I vote for both, that the alchemical knowledge contained in the tablet is both practical and spiritual.

Some legends say that the tablet was one of the most widely copied texts in the Alexandrian Library, and that when it was destroyed in the 4th century, it was spirited away into the desert, where it remains hidden.

Or did, until it ended up in the Museum of Legends and Antiquities’ basement. ☺

Below is Sir Isaac Newton’s translation of the Emerald Tablet (via Wikipedia, but confirmed through a number of other sources as well.)

1. Tis true without lying, 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 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 nurse.
6. The father of all perfection in the whole world is here.
7. Its force or power is entire if it be converted into earth.
7a. 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 and receives the force of things superior and inferior.
9. By this means ye shall have the glory of the whole world thereby all obscurity shall fly from you.
10. Its force is above all force. for it vanquishes every subtle thing and penetrates every solid thing.
11a. So was the world created.
12. From this are and do come admirable adaptations whereof the means (Or process) is here in this.
13. 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 and ended.

13 Responses to “The Emerald Tablet”

  1. Philosopher Says:

    hey Theo, I was wondering, How are things going with the Black Sunners? Do you think you could schedule an appearance at Barnes&Noble in Exton, PA? that would be awesome!

  2. Mae Says:

    Hey, Theo, is there ever going to be a fourth book? I love your books so much! You know, there are some other books involved with Egypt coming out soon, The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan.


  3. R.L. Says:

    Sadly, Philosopher, there are no signings scheduled for Pennsylvania this time around. So sorry!

    Mae, YES! There will be a fourth book! I just turned it in to my editor and it will be out in about a year.

    And I have heard much about the Kane Chronicles, although I haven’t decided if I should wait to read them until AFTER I have written the last Theo book.

  4. Megan Says:

    is the fourth book going to be the last one?

  5. Claire Says:

    I find the Emerald Tablet FASCINATING (I hadn’t heard about it until now but I find it amazing nevertheless!) —thank you for posting such interesting Egyptology on here, R.L.!

  6. R.L. Says:

    Megan, I do have more than four books planned for Theodosia, Megan. And sorry I didn’t answer this comment sooner–I got sick with a bad cold. :-(

    You’re so welcome, Claire! Glad you found it interesting.

  7. seaweed Says:

    Can you please, PLEASE schedule an appearance at Borders (or Barnes&Noble) in Madison, WI. PLEASE?

  8. Greek Girl/Athena Says:

    Hi, I absolutely love your books! My friend got me introduced and now I am hooked! Maybe, after the Theodosia series is finished, you could write one about Greek mythology?

  9. R.L. Says:

    Okay Seaweed. I’ll see what I can do about WI!

    And Greek Girl, you’re the second person to tell me I should write about Greek mythology! It just so happens, I have a couple of ideas I’ve been playing around with…but it will be a while before I can get to them.

  10. Greek Girl/Athena Says:

    OK, thanks. Anyway, do you know who Athena would be in Egypt? I have been wondering that for a while.

  11. Greek Girl/Athena Says:

    Oh, and… what’s the fourth book going to be called? And could you post a pic of it when it’s done?

  12. R.L. Says:

    Greek Girl, the fourth book will be called THEODOSIA AND THE LAST PHARAOH. I will post a picture of the cover as soon as we have one.

    And I don’t know the equivalent of Athena! Excellent question. My first hunch is to say Sekhmet, but I’d have to research that to be sure.

  13. Greek Girl/Athena Says:

    OK, guess so. But wouldn’t it be a combo of Thoth and Sekhmet? Thoth for wisdom, and Sekhmet for war strategy.