That a tablet, now called the Smaragdine, was found there is no doubt. Its discovery is attributed by tradition to an isarim or initiate, who it is said, took it from the dead body of Hermes—this could not have been the Egyptian god Thoth—which was buried at Hebron, in an obscure ditch. The tablet was held between the hands of the corpse. Some authors say that it was of emerald, which I do not believe; it probably was of green strass or paste, an imitation of emerald, in the manufacture of which the Egyptians excelled. Be it as it may, the contents evidently refer to that subtile body, called by the great scientist Sir William Thompson, “the luminiferous aether,”—to that mysterious, invisible to us, some-thing, in which the matter-atoms float, the azoth of the Hermetic philosophers, the astral light of the occultists, the akasa of the Hindus; which physical science attempts to grasp, comprehend and sometimes use, under the name of electricity, magnetism, heat, light, etc; which is experimentally made visible, in one of its forms, by means of Professor Crooke’s “radiant matter” and which he terms the fourth state of matter. It permeates all things, going through flesh and blood, and steel and glass, the diamond and sapphire, with the facility of water through a net. A translation of this tablet is:1
“It is true without falsehood, certain and very veritable, that that which is below, is as that which is above, and that that which is on high, is as that which is below, so as to perpetuate the miracles of all things.
And as all things have been and come from One, by the mental desire of One, so all things have been produced from that One only by adaptation.
The Sun (Osiris) is thence the father, and the Moon (Isis) the mother. The Air, its womb, carries it thence, and the Earth is its nurse.
Here is the producer of all, the talisman of all the world.
Its force (or potentiality) is entire, if it is changed into the Earth, you separate the Earth from the Fire, the subtile from the gross. Sweetly, but with great energy, it mounts from the Earth to the Heaven, and again descends to the Earth with powerful energy, and receives the potentiality of the superior and inferior things.
You have, by this means, the light (or fire) of the whole universe. And upon account of this, all obscurity itself, with that, will fly entirely thence.
In this is the energy the strongest of all energy, for it vanquishes all subtile things and penetrates all the solid things.
Thus the world was created. From this will be and will go out admirable adaptations, of which the medium is here.
And because of these reasons I am called Hermes Trismegistus, possessing the three divisions of the philosophy of the universe.
It is complete, this that I have said of the operation of the Sun.”
The reader must take note, that the fire referred to here, is not the perceptible fire, but the hidden occult fire, which is concealed in all things, and only becomes evident through a tearing asunder of the atoms. The fire, which we see, is the black fire, the other the unseen, is the white fire. So the ancient Hebrew philosophy says, the Tablets of the Law given to Moses, were written by the Deity with black fire on white fire. It is referred to but concealed in the Maasey B’reshith, the great occult book of which is the Book of Genesis.
1. The emerald table is from the collection commencing with Le Miroirs d’Alquimie de Jean de Mehun, philosophe, tres—excellent. Traduict de Latin en Francois, A Paris, 1613, pp. 36 – 39, to which is also attached, the Petit Commentaire de L’Hortulain, philosphe, dict des Jardins maritimes, sur la Table d’Esmerande d’Hermes Trismegiste pp. 42 – 64.