The Tabula Smaragdina or the Emerald Tablet
in relation to Ireland and the Initiation of Tobit
First let us just orient ourselves and note that the tablet we will be discussing comes from the “Secret Figures” of the Rosicrucians. (Click here to view the Tabula in a tab for reference)
VERBA SECRETORUM HERMETIS
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. 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.
Its Father is the Sun; its Mother is the Moon: the Wind carries it in its womb: and its nurse is the Earth. This Thing is the Father of all perfect things in the world. Its power is most perfect when it has again been changed into Earth. Separate the Earth from the Fire, the subtle from the gross, but carefully and with great judgment and skilL
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. Thus the splendor of the whole world will be thine, and all darkness shall flee from thee.
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. For thus was the world created, and rare combinations, and wonders of many kinds are wrought.
Hence I am called HERMES TRISMEGISTUS, having mastered the three parts of the wisdom of the whole world. What I have to say about the masterpiece of the alchemical art,
the Solar Work, is now ended.
In the tablet we are actually dealing with an inscription on a piece of paper. We are not dealing with the inscription on an emerald. Therefore let us turn to the emerald as a beginning, keeping in mind that our point of departure is what lives in the Rosicrucian strivings. Another aspect of the Emerald Tablet is that it is said to come from Egypt. It is considered to be the Tablet carried by Hermes.
The emerald is a relatively rare rock formation, crystal formation, in our earth. Some of the oldest emerald mines have been found in Egypt and have played a significant role in the life of the Egyptian pharaohs, particularly between 1,000 and 2,000 B.C. Today there are extensive emerald mines in South America. At the moment the emerald has become a most precious stone, most precious crystal, even more valuable than the diamond in terms of modern economy. Its makeup is silica. What appears to give it the color green is the chromium. As known, the emerald is usually green – of varying shades.
The emerald as well as eleven other mineral crystals play a role in the religious life of the Hebrew race. Each of the 12 tribes of Israel has been related to a precious stone – a crystal. The breast plate of the High Priest in the Jewish tradition carried 12 different precious stones. Each mineral was related to different aspects of the cosmos, 12 aspects of the cosmos and the earth. Each tribe of Israel was held to have a cosmic connection – was considered to be related to the crystal sphere of the zodiac. In regard to our present considerations – it is the tribe of the Napthali with which Tobit was connected. The diamond is the precious stone and Pisces the constellation. It was actually the tribe of Levi who had the emerald as its precious stone, related to the constellation of Scorpio.
If we look to the formation of the emerald, we find that this is quite unusual. Emerald is formed within the solid formations of the earth. It is not found within cavities as are many precious stones. It implants itself in the midst of either silicious and particularly into calciferous rock formations. Very important in its whole constitution is that it is made up of many fine cracks. This is what gives it its value. This is in distinction to the diamond which if it has cracks is an imperfect specimen. In the case of the emerald, the cracks give it its quality. Also quite unusual is that the emerald is not totally solid in the earth. It is quite soft. Emerald can be easily destroyed because of this softness. Great care is needed to peel the emerald out of rock formations. Since its native state within rocks it is fairly soft and can be destroyed, it has to be dried first – it then becomes hard and brittle. Removal from a mineral bed is possible after the crystal has hardened. These are extremely interesting aspects of the emerald. Its softness is unusual and its cracks – micro and macroscopic cracks are important. A mercurialness remains in this precious stone. The cracks permit inclusion of air (and light) within the precious material.
The emerald has played a significant role in mystery tradition. It is said that Hermes wrote into this emerald. This stone is important in Rosicrucian initiation. A form, a figure, a tablet was configured by the Rosicrucians and beneath the figure stand thirteen lines of text. This is all a part of the tablet. In the case of Hermes it is stated that emerald was the background for the tablet – for the Rosicrucian – paper. The Egyptian used earth matter – the Rosicrucian plant substance – paper.
In terms of Hermetic tradition we can consider that we are dealing with an initiate who knew substance, knew the earth. This is very much the part of the Hermetic tradition. Important – was to know the dark earth, the Al-Chem. Hermes was able to transform substance for meaningful use. This included the preparation of remedies -therapeutic substances. Hermes was the organizer of Egyptian culture. He gave the possibility to transform the earth – create a new geography and use earth matter to create new forms -e.g. buildings. He brought the possibility of inscribing the human spirit into substance. He was the originator of writing – in picture form – the hieraglyph. This became the expression of the human word in picture form. He is held as the initiator of speech where the airy element of our earth was inscribed in the process of word formation.
If we turn to Hermes, himself, I can put together two aspects of his make-up. One aspect takes into consideration that Hermes is the individuality who was born as Enoch within the Abel stream. Benard Lievegoed distinguishes this Enoch from the Enoch in the Cain stream. The latter built the first city, the city of Enoch. Thus the individuality of Hermes is he who was born as Enoch in the Abel stream, he who wrote the book of Enoch. We meet him as the individuality of the thrice-great Hermes. In addition we have from Rudolf Steiner the indication that the astral body of Zarathustra passed over into the body of Hermes, so that we have the individuality of Enoch-Hermes carrying the mighty astral body of Zarathustra. This astral body was one attuned to the cosmos as well as the earth. This permeated Enoch-Hermes to bring the domain of the heavens to the earth. Writing in picture, surveying, measuring – speaking in word with meaning – all this flowed out of the creative activity of Hermes. In addition the direct transformation – the chemical process of substance transformation was brought to mankind by Hermes. The potential for creativity in word was given to man. The world as an expression of the creative word was given by the spiritual world. Man can become an active, co-creator in word formation. From this I surmise that the inscription of Hermes in the Emerald Tablet means that the emerald is able to bear and give expression to a significant aspect of Hermetic work in Egypt. Through Egyptian culture – the dark earth becomes raised. It is raised through the work with the earth and its substances. It seems to me that the gem stone – emerald by its make-up carries this lifting-resurrecting-substantial transformed quality. The air and light in this gem bears evidence of this fact. The gem gives testament of a Raphaelic like activity of raising substance into such a state that a uniting with soul and spirit can take place. The whole early Egyptian culture is a kind of resurrecting process – which is carried by the very make-up of the emerald.
Now let me try to bring forth the emerald in relation to man. Within man we have also a crystalline structure, a structure that in a way is a crystal but is still slightly liquid. The structure I am thinking of is the crystalline lens of the human eye. The lens in its make-up is similar to the emerald which begins softish and can with age become brittle and hard. This possible association with the eye process can be extended to the visual-perceptive activity of the eye in general. As we can look at the emerald in relation to light, the same can be said of the eye. Further we can extend eyeness from the head to the heart to the abdomen. The visual image process can be related to all three areas of man – head – chest and abdomen.
Let us turn to the emerald and diamond and experiment a little, I have both crystals on hand. One is a large multifaceted diamond, which is set in a ring. I also have a large emerald with an old cut. The emerald is also set in a ring, and has four carved surfaces so that it is semi-pyramidal form, each side is slightly curved. I have set the two rings into small cylinders so that light can pass only through the crystal. Let us turn off the light. Now if light is passed through the diamond – we can note the dispersing of the light in the diamond itself and a circumscribed beam passes directly through the center of the diamond from the hole in the metal of the ring base. Some light passes through to form a beam and the crystal itself appears to take up light and distribute light within. The light seems reflected within the faceted gem – and does not surface to our gaze. Now if we look at the diamond with the lights turned on, the facets act like mirrors. If I. move the diamond there is a glitter of reflected light and a play of many colors on the surface of the diamond.
Let us again turn off the lights. If we shine light through the emerald – with the room darkened, we will notice that the light is dispersed and passes through the emerald without the formation of a beam or light rays. The light carries the green, dark green of the gem into the Goethe room so that a large area of this space is filled with an aura of green. Green hangs as enlightened cloud in the dark room. One can almost experience the room filled with a green aura, with a kind of resurrected green which has arisen right out of the emerald on the wings of light. The color of the emerald has risen out of the crack-filled gem and has risen in the light. The particular emerald at hand is not faceted so therefore does not reflect inwardly very much. If we‘turn on the lights and shine light on the emerald from outside it appears dark within and holds its color as if the color were swimming in dark waters.
I would like to emphasize that the emerald easily gives up its darkness and permits light to carry color into the atmosphere of the room space. A certain selflessness appears. In contrast the diamond shows its being by furnishing light the possibility of being reflected showing its relation to darkness with the array of colors which appear on the surface of the diamond. From these observations I would look at the mirroring and reflecting of light. The diamond reveals the secrets of light and darkness – but also formation activity. Glittering light – and color forms play on the surface of the diamond. The emerald works in a different fashion. When light is passe through the emerald it seems to contain something of a living light within. Seen from outside it appears dark. When shone through the darkness the emerald becomes a resplendent green and is carried as an ethereal color into the atmosphere of space. Something of an amazing etherealness lives in the emerald. The emerald seems to permit a stepping from the physical into the etherialness of existence. It is this ethereal domain that we have to look in our consideration here. The gem points us to a script which lives in the ether world. As something of the physical is raised into a refined state of existence the human soul can begin to gaze upon forms and inscriptions – images – in this ethereal color and light.
Now let us move on to the Tabula itself, the Rosicrucian figure. As noted this is one of the many Rosicrucian figures. The two preceding figures in the book of “Secret Figures” points to the solar plexus and then the heart. These two figures precede the Tabula. In a way we have to move from the plexus, to the heart and to the human eye. This is the path I have followed.
If we look at the figure with fantasy and imaging activity – a thinking and picturing activity – we can consider the figure to be an eye with the iris bearing inscriptions-pictures and a pupil in the center. The iris bears the various forms and configurations which stand within the Tabula. The very center of the Tabula is an empty circle – the pupil – which has to permit light to lift the figures off their surface of the page and become mobile symbols. The planetary symbols, the clouds, the hands, the chain, the shields, etc. – all have to become mobile and fluid in the light of thoughtful observation. The figures have to be brought forward or pushed back -the tablet has to be immersed into the dimensionality from the surface of the page. An above-below, right-left, fore and hind, have to be created in thinking observation. The dead tablet with configurations has to come alive – be raised – be enlightened. The dead-tablet, the dead-eye-symbol on the paper has to be enlivened.
In order to carry this consideration further, we will have to exercise our fantasy-imaging (thinking-imaging) in relation to the given figure. Let us pull the upper part of the Tablet out into the world .towards us and push the lower portion into the space in back of the page. Let us put the lower portion into the eye itself – into the vitreous. Let us enter the eye – through the pupil, to carry the lower portion of the figure and inscribe this portion into the vitreous. This lower portion of the Tablet is chained – is chained to the physical. If we look at this lower portion which is “chained” -anchored to the physical – it is almost a pentagram.
If we look at the upper part of the tablet we have to draw the figures off the page – towards us. We have to pass from the anchored -salted – through a mercurial process and draw the figures into the airy – into the sulfury where two hands are gesturing-blessing, in the cosmos. The hands extend from cosmic clouds. We are now in this process – enlivening the dead figures. This flow from the sal to the mercurial to the sulfur we can liken to the visual process itself. The dead figure is resurrected into a life-filled, light-active space of our soul. In this way we can consider the visual process in terms of sal, mercury and sulfur processes.
If we descend into the eye we become chained to the physicality of the eye. We again have to go through the mercurial and enter into the inner eyeness. There we come upon the earthly. There we also enter into the domain where the activities of the lion and the eagle take place. The third placard does not contain a bull or cow but a seven pointed star. For me, this seven-pointed star is a transformed bull process. The bull process – the metabolic bull-liver process is now being changed. A seven-folded star ego process is now at work where in former times the archetypal bull-metabolic process held sway. In ancient times the middle placard with the star would have carried the figure of a bull or cow.
Here, in this formulation, there is a seven-folded ego star being that is working into the bull nature, into the metabolism. This seven-starred activity, this astral-ether-physical activity swings between the earth and the cosmos bringing about a metabolic activity that is true for the individual of the present time. It seems to me that this star points to the differentiation that has taken place in the evolution of mankind. Metabolic process is individualized, has become individual. In the past – at this stage of initiation – the stage of imaginative cognition turned on man himself – the “Paradise Imagination” – of the eagle, lion and bull arose in the soul. Human organic function – the function of lung, heart and liver appeared in animal forms. Today on a Rosicrucian path the working of the seven-folded ego – works through the star-astral into the bull metabolism-liver process. Metabolism has changed. The two globes -earth and cosmos – work into metabolism. As man has become individualized his metabolism has had to change – the alchemy is different. The Tabula is an expression of this mystery – how the heaven and earth stand in relation to the individual.
As just indicated, two globes stand on each side of the plaque with the star. We can see the earth on the left – the heavens with sun, moon and stars on the right. There are two aspects of metabolism. One aspect relates to cosmos and one to the earth. On the one side we can contemplate an earthly nutritional stream – on the other the cosmi’c nutritional stream. Rudolf Steiner has tried to awaken us to these two aspects. Here it is the individual, the cosmic ego who has to unite these two streams in his metabolic activities. Earthly and cosmic substance – the salt of the earth – the sulfur of the cosmos have to unite in our changing mecurial processes of metabolism.
These processes – the metabolic-chemical processes are seven-fold. This is the demand of the age of the consciousness soul. We have discussed what I consider the seven processes for nearly two years at our ANTHA () gatherings. These processes I have called homeopathic-pharmaceutical. In the verses accompanying the Tabula – in the Rosicrucian text you will find seven alchemical processes as a part of creating healing substances. This is the healing -health-giving activity of the human organism guided by Raphael. So I would think we could look at this.
Thus we can say that this seven-pointed star or the transformed metabolic bull becomes the individuated metabolism. This has very much to do with the liver. The individuated metabolism has to be raised through the region of the heart, the lion, to the eagle. Here the former working of the archetypal animal – the view of the human astral organic activity, the Bull, Lion, and Eagle by an initiate – now is seen differently. A star activity – a new star activity has entered the process.
This change in metabolism has an influence on the eye of the head. (The eye of the heart and liver is changed as well) The ascending line of metabolism culminates in the life of the eye – the vitreous humor (the retina also). The initiate can look from outside -through the pupil on to the living waters of the eye. There in the life of the eye -as seen through the resurrecting activity of the emerald (lens) – imaginations of the human organic functions – etheric physical activities – can be seen. The emerald-lens permits the ascending light of the human metabolism to be seen in imagination as a resurrection of the human form – the human phantom. Looking into the life of the eye – through the emerald lens – the light of the Resurrected form of Man – true Man – can be seen in the green aura of the human being. Here we can grasp something of the human-individual Christened ego.
Now let us go out of the eye – through the pupil – into the world. We have to go through a mercurial process as we see in the Tabula. In sight we have to go through a mercurial activity to enter the light of the cosmos. We pass out through the emerald lens, the aqueous humour and cornea into the outer light of day. Through the mercurial – sight process the inner light of the day dawns in consciousness as we enter the outer light – though the emerald lens. In the outer light we meet the reflected-radiating light of the diamond (purified carbon). But we can within this outer light continue an inner path. We can pass from a salt-like condition, a chained existence within the eye to an unchained free existence in the cosmos. We exit via the pupil and emerald through a mercurial process into the air and light of the day. It is there that we will meet the light of the sun and the moon but also on this path we follow the inner light which we have come to recognize in the emerald. There in the cosmos the outer light of the diamond forms itself into a chalice.which receives inner light from the sun and moon – both of which ring within the airy celestial spheres with the other planets. Here the diamond multicolored chalice becomes green – and then blood red through the inner light. The diamond as resplendent carbon in the cosmos forms the chalice which changes color through the green colored living light which enters as it were, from above. The activity, the will – the blessing gestures of our hands, carries our soul in the outer light -as we breathe out into the cosmos in a new inspired seeing. There in the play of the planetary world what was earthly bound, now is -23- liberated. Our soul carried by inner light rises into the chaliced outer light seen in the moon at Easter time – but carried further into the glare of the noon-time sun. Our two eyes, structured out of the forces of sun and moon, can carry us as-soul – with the gestures of blessing hands into the domain of the noon-time sun. There the sun and moon become the sources of new life, the draught of the life from the cosmos, a kind of cosmic nutrition. The sun and the moon as cosmic entities bringing the nourishment from the distant reaches of the light crystal world.
From Rudolf Steiner we know that the crystals carry a spirituality. Their inner being is guided out of the breadths of the cosmos. There we seek the workings of the first hierarchy – the Thrones, Seraphim and Cherubim. This domain of the loftiest enters through the crystal into the mineral world, into existence. Here new light, new life enters existence – and can enter our soul. Through the door of the sun and the moon we enter this region – but by virtue of going through the secrets of mercury we come to the healing activities of the cosmos. We are not-only nourished out of the cosmos, we are healed as well. The inner light of the emerald;helps to guide us, awakens us.
As we noted from the Tabula man is chained and salted to the earthly element. He can penetrate this with soul-spirit, to resurrect the earth through a mercurial process present in the earth. This can be grasped in image form. That which is of the earthly element can be raised into the heights of the cosmos, in the gesture of sulphuriness. In the mercurial we weave between the two. Salt, Merc and Sulf can become a basis for the function of the eye as an organ of imaging. Today the imaging process has to be individualized, has to be grasped out of the innost core of man – the seven-starred individual, the cosmic ego.
Now let us go back to the story of Tobit. As I have tried to share with Tobit’s initiation we might consider that in him that which is of the earthly has been raised and raised up so that that which is of the cosmic can approach the earthly through man. I tried to indicate how we might seek the working of the two Archangels – Michael and Raphael in this process. We could actually include Gabriel on the earthly side but this goes too far. Botticini, the artist, has painted the three Archangels with Tobias. We next turned to the Isle of Ireland. We have considered that with Ireland we are not concerned with a Raphaelic healing of man but a Raphaelic healing of the earth itself. The earth, Ireland, as constituted out of heaven and earth we might consider as a Raphaelic healing. The Michael working is active in the Mysteries of Ireland. We might contemplate the activities of Bridget – St. Bride as a Raphaelic deed. Here the earth is transformed to support the emergence of the individual in human evolution. The blood line is not healed here the earth itself gains new workings. The Island must become green – must become an emerald green. Raphael-Bridget-Bride works at this task.
As we turn now to the Tabula again we can also – as already indicated consider the activity of Raphael. What we have discussed conserning the visual process and the Tabula suggests a possible new use of the human eye – human senses – for the unfolding of imaginative activities. Indicated in the Tabula – is the. requirement of our day -in the time of the consciousness-soul, for the emergence of the individual. The emergence of the true individual – the higher cosmic ego, is needed for new faculties of knowledge* Healing of the bloodline is not addressed – healing of the earth is not in the foreground. Healing for the sake of the individual to emerge in the act of knowledge – this seems a central concern. The foundation for the emergence of the individual was layed (laid – editor) at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha. With the Tabula we find the individualization of the actual visual process so that ini the act of looking it is possible to be able to peer into the spiritual world while standing as a conscious human being in the physical world. We need to cognize spiritual beings as a waking, walking, talking, speaking, thinking, human being who uses his senses in the light of day. We need to cognize them imaginatively. I gather this latter activity is the activity of a modern Rosicrucian.
So our considerations have led us to the initiation of Tobit where healing of the bloodlines becomes a foundation for the future – the New Jerusalem. We have considered the Isle of Ireland as a place on earth where the New Jerusalem can be found. And we have contemplated the healing of the senses in order that the cognition of the New Jerusalem can occur. This healing we have discussed as the deeds that flow in the working together of Michael and Raphael.