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Above & Below WHAT?

Andro

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We're all familiar with "As Above - So Below".

But the deeper question may not be what this says, but perhaps what it doesn't say?

Above WHAT? Below WHAT?

What is the point of reference?

Is there a LINE ???

If yes, where do we draw it?

Above & Below "ground level"? Above & Below "sea level"?

Above my head and below my feet?

As "Six Feet Up" - so "Six Feet Under"?

As in Olympus - so in Tartarus?

There may be a mystery hidden here :cool:

Just a little something to ponder :confused:
 

zoas23

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You are playing the fool like Hamlet, but I'll bite the bait.
The question does not begin with a Tabula Rasa and it is certainly linked to a vast literature that precedes it.
The notions of "above" and "below" are not completely unrelated to some of the options that you gave in a humorous way (i.e, "above the mont Olympus and below the mount Olympus"), because Religion came first and philosophy came second, but was forced to use some ideas that the first one had (i.e, most Religions placed the God "above" something and the world was a "below" of that something --that something could be the mount Olympus or whatever).

Philosophy created the notion of two different worlds... sometimes with a few others in between as to make a smooth transition (i.e, Plotius clearly identified 4 "realms": the Monad -Hen-, the Intellect -Nous, the Soul -Psyche- and the Matter). Other previous philosophers have been clearly "geographical" (i.e, Aristotle would draw that "line" you mention in the ecliptic of the moon that divides a place of the universe composed by Aether and a lower region composed of 4 elements)... Other philosophers were less "geographical" (thankfully)

The point of the Emerald Tablet is to compare the two extremes a superior one that is Spiritual, an inferior one that is material... But somehow making them a bit relative by stating that the two realms are similar as to make the "miracles" of only one thing.

... But I feel like I am talking to Socrates who is asking me a naive question because he knows the answer! (otherwise I would be writing: "Welcome to Alchemy Forums, Andro!" :p )
 

Kiorionis

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What is the point of reference?

From my perspective ‘As Above, So Below’ suggests the point of reference is from outside a system.

If the phrase was meant to be looked at from inside a system, it might sound more like ‘That is Above, and That is Below.’

The syntax of ‘As Above, So Below’ (to me) definitely suggests an outside perspective, perhaps directing the attention at a microcosmic object like a glass vessel or the interaction within a macrocosmic system such as the Sun and Earth.
 

Florius Frammel

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One of von Welling's answers:

[image link broken]


The number of circles/places of heaven and hell vary (see for example Dante in the Divine Comedy)

A meaning that might not go that far:

"Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."

It could mean to make something that usually only exists in heaven manifest down here below. Something with action above (wherever that is) and below where we live.

The perspective then would be that of the angel with the trumped on the ladder.

Mutus_liber_1677_1.jpg


Sometimes the perspective is not from a ladder, but from the middle of a chain:

golden-chain-of-homer-photo-researchers.jpg


Or the black ray of Saturn, that connects the old one with the salt in that image:

Vitriol-1-stolzius_von_stolzenburg-1614-1.png
 

Andro

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The syntax of ‘As Above, So Below’ (to me) definitely suggests an outside perspective, perhaps directing the attention at a microcosmic object like a glass vessel or the interaction within a macrocosmic system such as the Sun and Earth.
Sounds like you're talking about Scale Invariance :)
 

Awani

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The microscopic world looks like the macrocosmic world. The dream is reality, reality is the dream. Heaven is hell, hell is heaven.

In other words, for me, there is no such thing as above or below. The phrase implies there is no difference between any dualistic states... everything is ONE. So it is clear to me that the phrase never inteded to imply "above something" or "below something".

:p
 

Florius Frammel

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The microscopic world looks like the macrocosmic world. The dream is reality, reality is the dream. Heaven is hell, hell is heaven.

In other words, for me, there is no such thing as above or below. The phrase implies there is no difference between any dualistic states... everything is ONE. So it is clear to me that the phrase never inteded to imply "above something" or "below something".

:p

If that's really the case, there would be no possibility of any interaction imo.
 

Awani

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Florius Frammel

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How do you mean?

:p

When you say

Awani said:
The phrase implies that there is no difference between any dualistic states.

you seem to exclude the possibility of an exchange of information between two parties. Be they of any kind.
Talks and discussions become useless. Sex gets pointless. Feelings of a possibility of transcendence or numinosity were nonsense, if there isn't a distinction made between the "I"(or "you", or "self", or the term you feel is most appropriate to describe "yourself") and an (assumed?) other.

You seem to rather understand this part of the Tabula Smaragdina as a description of a state that imo isn't really possible to achieve in this life. At least not until you have to go to the store to buy yourself some food.

The Tabula imo is intended to describe a process and interaction of polarities and not a state. The goal though may be the unification of dualities, which is maybe the state you describe, if I understand you right.

But one has to work (process) for it and in it's last instance it isn't completly achievable within the physical boundaries. Only in parts or perceived as an idea. What possibilities may occur after life is a different story, if there is one.
 

Awani

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On a "high" level there is no dualism. Everything is nothing (no-thing), useless (use-less), pointless (point-less) and nonsense (non-sense).

The phrase "as above, so below" means that it is the "same" above and below i.e. no difference. Pretty clear in my opinion. Nothing about something being above or below something else... because nothing can be.

Naturally dualism exist on the "microscopic" level, for example in the piss ant world of human beings... and (according to The Law) dualism exist on the "macrocosmic" level as well... but the mirror image of each to the other reflect - at the end - the same thing.

Is it a paradox that dualism is in fact oneness in disguise? Probably, but a paradox is not proof something is wrong... only proof that our comprehension is limited by our "dualistic" minds. In the perfect state of mind a paradox becomes tautology.

IMO.

:p
 

zoas23

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On a "high" level there is no dualism. Everything is nothing (no-thing), (...)

Two interesting and unrelated things:

1: We seem to be trapped into a geographical mess (which is maybe the subject of this thread): above and below... and now we have a "high level", but probably our languages relate the holy ideas with things which are above or in high levels or upstairs.

2: Even the nothingness can be a paradox. I recently saw how even the nothingness can be controversial in at least some Buddhist schools: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rangtong-Shentong (the wiki article explains the basics of two different ways of understanding what you've said).
 

tAlc

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The microscopic world looks like the macrocosmic world. The dream is reality, reality is the dream. Heaven is hell, hell is heaven.

In other words, for me, there is no such thing as above or below. The phrase implies there is no difference between any dualistic states

Well there's at least some level differences. One is subtle, one is dense, Subtle and gross, Oneness in proportion.

In the great divide, 900x UP the octave, there will be a great difference if you were to go many levels down the "bottomless pit". One can also expect the behaviors expressed by the individuals in both places to be completely different than each other in comparison as well and they most certainly look much much different than each other, in my experience.

I guess as subtelty goes up, Quality as well, and this change is expressed naturally, like how the Red Stone, after The Order of the Stone is raised up a level, to a certain point begins to emit it's own light whereas before it did not... who knows the potential of Above and how different it may become :p
 

Kiorionis

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Sounds like you're talking about Scale Invariance :)

Generally, perhaps I am. I haven’t read much about scale invariance. But at this point in time I think that as things coagulate together and grow larger, their attributes change and/or adapt as they move up the scale. Same with moving down the scale.

Much like what tAlchemist wrote above.
 

Andro

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I haven’t read much about scale invariance.
Scale Invariance can be thought of as 'Self-Similarity'. What this really means is that regardless of how much you zoom into or out of an object (be it a function, or a physical object, or the like) it looks exactly the same. Fractals are good examples of self-similarity. Shown below is an animation of the self-similarity of the Mandelbrot Set:

nwgmX.gif


Another well known example of scale invariance in physics is the Wiener process, which is a continuous-time stochastic (random) process. It's also often called standard Brownian motion. No matter how much you zoom into a Wiener process you still get quantitatively the same thing:


kAik2.gif
kAik2.gif



SOURCE

I think that as things coagulate together and grow larger, their attributes change and/or adapt as they move up the scale. Same with moving down the scale.
That would be Non-Scale-Invariance :)
 

Kiorionis

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Haha well then I support both concepts.
 

Coleridgean

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Above the firmament versus Below the firmament. The waters were separated, in the beginning, as in Genesis. By waters below we mean that which proceeds in the little alembic which is our glass, the glass itself being the Firmament, and then the waters (or air) above and outside the glass, where we regulate our outer fire so that the inward fire might burn right. In the glass you will have the fire of the philosophical sulfur, AND the fire of the philosophical mercury. When you have extracted the seed of gold through a continual circulation, regulated by the outer fire, you will finally bring about that fourth fire, which is the fire against nature. This is the beginning of Hermes Tree, which grows from the ashes of the former calcination. All the things you do outside of the glass (ABOVE), which is Hermetically Sealed, will have their corresponding sympathies Within the glass (BELOW).

In the meaning of planet Earth there is the sublunary (below) and the Astral and Celestial (above). A better wording might be "As Outside, So Within"
 

Coleridgean

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The solid dome (back when the Earth was considered flat, the notion was a dome rather than a sphere around Earth) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firmament

There are four sublunary elements in ascending order Earth, water, air, and fire, which comprise the sublunary world. Then the firmament, which is the boundary, then luna and the other planets (astral), then the celestial.

For an alchemist, the hermetically sealed GLASS alembic is the firmament, literally. Once all the stuff goes in at the beginning (mercury and sulfur), then the work is kind of on its own, except for the regulation of the outer fire (athanor) and light and darkness. George Starkey explains it quite well in Ripley Revivd.

See Nordenskjold 1789 -- An ADDRESS to the True Members of the New Jerusalem Church, revealed by
the Lord in the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, who sincerely wish to separate
themselves both internally and externally from the Old Church. :

XXIV. That the only genuine Science of Alchemy consists in the three following Branches ; namely, 1st, the
Theory concerning the Matter ; 2d, the Theory of the Furnace ; and, 3d, that of the Regulation of the Fire. The
first Theory shews that Gold is the only Subject Matter of the Work ; the second shews that this Work requires a
Furnace that can stand the Fire for the Space of a Year at least, and admits of being regulated with Ease and Facility ;
and the third Theory shews by what a Regulation of Fire Gold may be so opened in the Furnace, as to discover it’s
two-fold and it’s three-fold Principles, and how to put them into Action, in Order to accomplish it’s Perfection.

XXV. That the characteristic Difference between the true and the false Alchymist may be seen at once from
the Theory of Matter, for, as the first works on no other Subject except Gold per se, so the other, works on all
Sorts of Materials, and is always employed with Compositions and Mixtures ; as is the Case with Theology, for
true Divinity admits of no other God save Jesus Christ alone, whereas the false, on the other Hand, does not accept
of the Lord, or when it does, it takes him always in Conjunction with other Powers.

XXVI. The Alchymist who will not see, when it is laid open for him, that Gold only is the Subject Matter of
the Philosopher’s Stone, shews thereby he has little Knowledge in natural History, little in natural Philosophy, little in
Chemistry, and none at all in the Science of Correspondences ; for from these four Sciences it may be confirmed
that Gold per se is really the only Subject Matter of the Philosopher’s Stone.

XXVII. That true Alchymy to this Day has been an entirely sealed Science, and an absolutely impenetrable Mystery,
is from no other Reason but because they have not been able to see and perceive that Gold per se is the only
Subject for the Philosopher’s Stone, and that by Means of this only can Gold be made, or Transmutation rendered
possible.
 

Andro

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I'm suggesting there may be a deeper meaning to this "firmament" archetype.
 

Coleridgean

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Well, electrons do 'orbit' the nucleus of an atom, and planets do orbit the sun, and the sun does orbit the center of the galaxy. Point and circumference, weaving the circle of Trismegistus.
 

Andro

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Awani

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Why speak in riddles? Either speak out or don’t speak at all.

At least that is how I feel about it...

:p
 

Awani

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Speaking in riddles equates in my world to master suppression techniques [MST], which is somewhat common in the alchemical community as well as in certain guru communities. Silence is one thing, but implying knowing without revealing the knowing is snakeoil salesman tactics. I see this in many threads in the forum and elsewhere.

Interestingly (according to a study at Stockholm University) a countermeasure to MST is to question it... i.e. my post. ;)

MST - withholiding information
When a group or individual withholds information, or addresses important issues, when certain individuals are not present or privy to the complete picture, this master suppression technique is exercised.

So what do you think is below the Above and above the Below?


:p
 

Coleridgean

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The first English review of Dom AJ Pernety's which appeared in the 1770's gives a pretty decent answer as to why riddles, in my opinion:

MEM. IV. Concerning the Custom of proposing Riddles, to be solved, and its Observation, both by Ancients and Moderns. By Dom Pernetty.

In this Memoir, in which there is more erudition and labour, than accuracy and order, we learn that, among the ancients, the Egyptians, Phenicians, Hebrews, Greeks, and other civilized nations, conveyed truths of all kinds under the cover of riddles, hieroglyphics, and symbols: that the learned, or the heads of these nations, followed this practice, either through singularity of taste, or to give a certain air of importance and solemnity to their discourses, or to make an ostentatious display of their inventive genius and subtility, or to conceal from the people the secrets both of science and government, and to maintain their own importance by keeping these hidden treasures in their own hands, and covering them with a veil of mystery, that rendered them doubly the objects of ignorant and superstitious veneration. Some of these motives, and perhaps all of them, jointly occasioned the invention, and perpetuated the use of enigmatical and symbolical erudition, according to Dom Pernetty; and modern Rome, if we are not mistaken, has known how to avail itself of this manner of keeping the multitude in subjection, as well as ancient Egypt.-—The Academician pours forth a treasure of well-known erudition and trite reflexions on this subject, passes in review the characters and courts of Hermes Trismegistus, Solomon, and the queen of Sheba, and marks the period (even the conquests of Cambyses in Egypt) when the Egyptian arts, sciences, and symbols were carried into Greece and elsewhere by the scattered priests, and laid the foundation for those superstitious absurdities, that overfiowed the earth for so many ages, and are not yet entirely effaced. He shews that God, and his attributes, Nature, and her operations, were often the secret and sublime objects of these enigmatical fictions. He points out the necessity of distinguishing four sorts of enigmatical, or hieroglyphical writing, in order to come at the true knowledge of the wisdom and science of the Egyptians: he explains the doctrine of the transmigration, as Pythagoras derived it from the Egyptians, the nature of the famous sphinx, which he considers as the riddle itself, or the symbol of the riddle, which it is said to have proposed. He shews the use made of riddles at the convivial meetings of the ancients; but says little or nothing of the place they hold in modern times, in the scale of wit and pleasure. -