Every day, we are bombarded with phrases và mottos that just make language rich.

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Some of these expressions can be pretty straightforward, such as “be the change you want to see in the world” and “insanity is doing the same thing over và over and expecting different results.”

In fact, some of these mottos have become second nature to us to lớn such a degree that we can just reference part of them while expecting the listener to lớn understand exactly what we mean.

For instance, if your friend keeps trying khổng lồ solve a problem with the same method yet khổng lồ no avail, you can just tell them “well, you know what they say about insanity” & expect them lớn fully understand the gist of what you’re saying.

On the other hand, other mottos can be a bit esoteric. This can be due to lớn the phrasing of the expression or due to its rich history. One such phrase is “as above, so below.”

What does “as above, so below” mean?

“As above, so below” has many interpretations, the simplest of which is that whatever happens on earth is reflected in the astral plane. Another interpretation is that the microcosm, such as the world of the individual, is affected by the macrocosm, such as society at large. In essence, the expression looks at any place there is a duality, one where half of the duality is deemed “above” while the other half is deemed “below,” and tries to lớn establish a relation between the two.

The expression has ties khổng lồ Hermeticism and can be traced back to the Emerald Tablet. It is also a core component of alchemy và has influenced several facets of our lives, including the Christain religion.

A closer investigation of the origins of “as above, so below”

To truly appreciate this expression, we need lớn cover a few main key points first.

What is Hermeticism?

Hermeticism is an ancient religion và philosophy.

The main writings of this esoteric tradition come from Hermes Trismegistus & have been very influential to lớn western culture, particularly during the Renaissance and the Reformation.

Interestingly, Hermeticism can trace its origins lớn Prisca Theologia, a monotheistic doctrine.

So, who was Hermes Trismegistus?

Well, here is where things start khổng lồ get tricky. He is the supposed tác giả of the Hermetic Corpus, the texts that form the basis of Hermeticism, sort of like the Bible for Christianity.

On the one hand, some writers such as Giordano Bruno & Ralph Waldo Emerson believed Hermes lớn be a sage prophet who was able lớn foretell the rise of Christianity.

Moreover, Christians adopted a large part of Hermetic teachings, a big reason for which was to validate the teachings of the Prisca Theologia, so they considered Hermes lớn either be a contemporary of Moses or be another individual who predated Christianity.

Some may even go further & say that Hermes Trismegistus has relations lớn both the Greek God Hermes as well as the Egyptian God Thoth.

The idea was that the ancients realized that Hermes, the God of interpretive communication, was equivalent khổng lồ Thoth, the Egyptian God of wisdom.

Ergo, the two gods were combined and worshiped as one.

On the other hand, when analyzing the Hermetic texts, a discrepancy arose.

According to lớn a Swiss philologist named Isaac Casaubon, the Hermetic texts weren’t written in ancient times. Instead, they were written sometime around the second or third century C.E.

However, this was later disputed by Ralph Cudworth, who claimed that Casaubon’s analysis didn’t apply lớn all Hermetic texts.

Interestingly, one of the Hermetic texts whose origin is uncertain is the Emerald tablet.


And, what is the Emerald Tablet?

The Emerald Tablet, which also goes by the names Smaragdine Tablet & Tabula Smaragdina, is a part of the Hermetic texts.

It focuses on the prima materia, which was considered to be the necessary starting material for all other matter, making it a cornerstone of alchemy.

This is why the Emerald Tablet was so important for alchemists.

Now, no one knows the source of the Emerald Tablet. And, while Hermes Trismegistus is considered to lớn be the author, the text first showed up in an Arabic text that had been written sometime between the sixth và eighth century.

In fact, the text wasn’t translated into Latin until the twelfth century. As a result, some historians believe that the Emerald Tablet was actually first composed in Arabic.

It is in the Emerald Tablet that we find our expression.

”As above, so below” in Hermeticism

If we were khổng lồ look at one of the translations of the Emerald Tablet, the one done by Isaac Newton, we would find that the first few lines go as follows.

Tis true without error, certain & most true,

that which is below is lượt thích that which is above & that which is above is lượt thích that which is below

to bởi vì the miracle of one only thing.

Ergo, as you can see, “as above, so below” is a paraphrase of the line bolded above.

So, what does “as above, so below” mean in the text?

Well, by now, we have enough context to explore this a bit. We already know that the Emerald Tablet was about alchemy and focused on the prima materia.

Ergo, one interpretation of the line can be that whatever happens in Nature, i.e. What is above or in the macrocosm, is mirrored in the alchemical lab, i.e. What is below or in the microcosm.

Other meanings of the expression “as above, so below”

However, this expression has developed other meanings. For example, while the “as above” part could refer to lớn nature và the cosmos, the “so below” part could refer to lớn what happens inside of us as human beings and creatures.

In other words, the Prima Materia could be considered lớn be the Anima Mundi, the latter of which is an expression denoting consciousness.

Astrologers have taken the expression to mean that what happens in the stars affects our everyday lives.

Others have chosen lớn see it as meaning that the human body, the microcosm, can act as a miniature version of the outside world, the macrocosm.

Ergo, they believe that the best way lớn understand the outside world would be khổng lồ start by studying the human body. This is where arts such as palmistry and Tarot derive their main arguments.

Another group has chosen to lớn see the universe as composed of two main components, the physical và the spiritual.

According to them, whatever happens in one component is bound to lớn affect the other.

This is where the concepts of magic and the astral plane come from. It is also where the idea of doing good things in the physical world will reflect in the spiritual world, purifying the actor’s soul.

Others have chosen lớn toss away the mystic interpretations và to look at more concrete relations.

For instance, the human toàn thân contains patterns that can be seen reflected in the cosmos, bearing in mind the difference in scale.

The dendritic patterns drawn by our veins and nerve cells are very similar to lớn the patterns seen in trees and rivers.

Another instance is how a number lượt thích Phi can be seen in different aspects of nature, including the human body. The proportions of the toàn thân seem lớn follow a very regular numerical pattern.

The phrase "as above, so below" is an ancient quote khổng lồ describe the idea that what happens in a higher realm or plane of existence also happens in a lower realm.

It comes from an ancient piece of writing called the Emerald Tablet.

To understand the meaning of "as above, so below," we have to take a brief look at history & philosophy.

In this article, we"re diving deep into this phrase"s meaning and origin, as well as how to use it in sentences.


What Does "As Above, So Below" Mean?

The exact "as above, so below" meaning isn"t clear because the phrase has been co-opted by so many different belief systems.

However, all the phrases are based around the same idea: What happens in a higher or large sense will also occur in a lower or small sense.

When Christians use the phrase "as above, so below," it"s often meant almost as a wish. They want things on earth khổng lồ be like what happens in heaven.

You can see this idea phrased a different way in the Lord"s Prayer:

"Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven..."

It"s the same idea. Christians will use "as above, so below" as a way lớn invoke God"s will.

Various metaphysical & occultist religions also use the phrase "as above, so below," but with different meanings.

Instead of invoking the will of heaven, the phrase might refer to an astrological idea that the planets and stars affect what happens here on earth.

It can mean that what happens in the physical world mimics what occurs on a different astral plane or in the spiritual world, which is very similar to the Christian usage.

Certain metaphysical beliefs center around repeated patterns in nature. "As above, so below" can refer to lớn what"s happening inside the human body mimicking what is happening in the wider world.

For example, some people believe that humans get sick because the earth is sick.

"As above, so below" can also be a thought-terminating cliché, which is a phrase meant lớn provide an easy answer lớn keep people from questioning complicated topics.

It"s simple to answer hard questions such as, "why bởi vì people get cancer?" or "why is there evil in the world?" with a phrase like, "as above, so below."

Speaking of clichés, Pro
Aid has a Cliché Report which will find overused phrases that make your writing sound trite.

You can then find new ways of expressing the same ideas to liven up your writing.


What Is the Origin of "As Above, So Below?"

It"s impossible to truly understand the complicated idea of "as above, so below" without understanding its origins.

We have to lớn travel back in time lớn the first millennium CE in Ancient Greece & Arabia.

The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus


The "as above, so below" origin dates khổng lồ sometime between 200 CE và 800 CE. It is attributed khổng lồ an ancient document called the Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus.

Hermes Trismegistus supposedly wrote several texts, including the Hermetic Corpus. But these works span centuries.

Hermes Trismegistus is a mythical figure, not one person. He"s a combination of the Greek god Hermes và the Egyptian god Thoth.

Like the other Hermetic texts, it"s impossible lớn accurately date the Emerald Tablet. There are early translations in Arabic from around 800-900 CE.

Indeed, it"s possible that the phrase "as above, so below" came from earlier Arabic texts instead of the Emerald Tablet.

In the Middle Ages, the Arabic version was translated into Latin, then into English a few centuries later. Here"s the original English translation:

"That which is above is like to that which is below, và that which is below is like to that which is above."

You can see that the phrase "as above, so below" has been shortened in modern usage. It"s a parallelism that shows that things in the celestial realm are the same in the earthly realm.

The Emerald Tablet was a significant influence in Renaissance và Enlightenment philosophies và was also important in the work of alchemists during this time.

What Is Hermeticism?

"As above, so below" is an esoteric belief that can feel convoluted lớn understand.

Let"s look at the beliefs of the ancient religion of Hermeticism lớn figure out what "as above, so below" originally meant.

Hermeticism was an early monotheistic and pantheistic religion. God, or "the All," is both everything in existence and the creator of existence.

There are three guiding principles of Hermeticism that are mentioned in the Emerald Tablet. These help illuminate the meaning of "as above, so below."


The first principle is alchemy. The traditional definition of alchemy is the pursuit of turning lead into gold.

But in Hermeticism, it"s about major transitions, such as between states of matter or existence. Natural processes lượt thích fermentation are likened to spiritual changes in the human body.

Hermetics also believe in astrology. They believe that celestial bodies influence life on earth, but they do not dictate our actions.

Finally, theurgy is the practical application of alchemy. It"s "the science of divine works." The goal of theurgy is to lớn achieve divine consciousness.

In these principles, you can see the idea of "as above, so below."

Natural processes echo spiritual changes. The stars và planets influence earth, and people can work to lớn achieve a higher consciousness.

Some Hermetic ideas, like the idea of "as above, so below," were adopted by early Christians & other monotheistic religions.

And many of the metaphysical concepts are still seen in the Esoteric tradition, modern Occultism, and other New Age philosophies.

Examples of "As Above, So Below" in Sentences

Let"s take a look at how "as above, so below" might be used in sentences.

We get better with age, like a fine wine. As above, so below, am I right?
God"s love is always present—as above, so below.Mercury is in retrograde again, và as above, so below. Everything is going wrong right now!Pollution isn"t just affecting the climate; it"s affecting our health! You know what they say: as above, so below!May there be more faith và love in the world. As above, so below!I understood the phrase "as above, so below" once I had my star chart read.Your cells are always dying & being created, just like stars are always dying & being formed—as above, so below.

You don"t have to lớn have read the Emerald Tablet or be an Esoteric philosopher to lớn use "as above, so below."

But understanding where this phrase came from can help you comprehend the significance of this common proverb.

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