Christoph Kriegsmann commentary on the most enigmatic Tabula Smaragdina’s sentence, made of Suns-fathers, Moons-mothers, Winds-bellies and Earth-nurses.
Wilhelm Christoph Kriegsmann (1633-1679) was a little known german author who wrote in 1667 “Hermetis Trismegisti Phoenicum Aegyptiorum sed et aliarum Gentium Monarchae Conditoris sive Tabula Smaragdina”, or the Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus founder of egyptian, phoenician and other people monarchies.
Under the evocative engraving in the frontispiece, we also find a quote from Deuter. 33, verse 13.14.16: “Blessed are the precious fruits by God coming from sun, moon and earth” (we will see how Kriegsmann embeds this statement). In addition an excerpt from Arnaldus Villanovensis testamentum will follow.
Ferguson in his Bibliotheca Chemica says: ” Kriegsmann has got but little esteem for all his learning and writings“. And it was a pity, since in my opinion the commentary on the Emerald Table we are going to examine is not only worth to be read, but to prefer to other best known authors. Of the same opinion was the french physician Manget, who published Kriegsmann exegesis in his Bibliotheca Chemica Curiosa, first tome (page 400), along with Gerard Dorn’s work.
Kriegsmann’s Tabula Smaragdina explanation goes along with accurate philologic researches, which, in my opinion, do not add precious information to a modern researcher. Be aware that Kriegsmann is mainly known for having presented an alleged Phoenician translation of the Hermes work. A Hebraic version is also provided. So in the end he can put forward four Tabula versions: from Phoenician, a latin paraphrases, latin from Phoenician, and german from Phoenician. All unverified, of course, as was the custom of the age. Anyway I produced Phoenician and Hebraic versions images of the entire tabula taken from the book. I can only attest he wrote very poorly in latin, but …….this too was the custom of the age.
I have not published the whole translations, but only the charming and enigmatic verse number four. I thought, before getting caught up in the Tabula Smaragdina poetic charisma, it was extremely important to give technical names to the lyrical figures of Sun, Moon, Wind and Earth, because they might be applied to any religion or esoteric doctrine. So:
a) Pater eius est Sol, mater eius Luna, portavit illud ventus in ventre suo, nutrix eius terra est, or Sun is its father, Moon its mother, Wind carries it in its belly, Earth is its nurse;
b) Paraphrases: Pater eius est Sol, mater Luna, ventus in utero gestavit, nutrix eius est terra, or its father is Sun, mother Moon, Wind carries it its womb, its nurse is earth;
c) Pater ea habet Solem, matrem Lunam; ab aere in utero quasi gestatur, nutritur à terra, or as a father it has the Sun, as mother the Moon, by means of Wind is in a sense gestated, and nourished by the Earth;
d) Translation into german from phoenician: instead of copying the original from Gothic, I prefered to embed an image. Even so, there was a gap on a word. Perhaps a german reader can do better than me. The following is my try: its father is the Sun, and its mother the Moon, the air behaves as if it were their nurse, and its ….. is the Earth.
We have already said in this site that hermetic symbolism is described by the rule of three, by which every symbol may stand for at least three different meanings. In fact this truth fits very well with the above mentioned verse. Because of that we shouldn’t give an univocal sense to these words. We don’t have to choose among these meanings, but we have to do like our brain which can reassemble a single tridimensional object from various inputs. But let’s Kriegsmann explains now:
When Hermes in his Tabula says: “Quod est superius, est sicut quod est inferius“, translated into the famous ” as above so below”, he doesn’t mean a difference between a macrocosm and a microcosm. In fact :”Agere tabulam Smaragdinam Universali Philosophorum Mercurio, qui & tenuia & solida corpora penetrando enudat ( enubat, I presume), mercedem laboru id si ferens….”, or tabula Smaragdina is an issue on universal Mercurius Philosophorum, which gets married by making subtle and solid bodies being penetrated by each other. But, if consequently many of us might think to be just before our Mercurius Philosophorum stunning performance inside a vessel (1), they forget that Mercurius Philosophorum does exist outside our vessel as well. So, in a sense, a whole free macrocosm cannot be denied outdoor. In fact we call the latter, Secret Fire from stars and suns, or Mercurius Universalis, or Aurum Astrale astral gold (2). Thus, what in Tabula Smaragdina final verse Hermes calls “Operatione Solis”, or the Sun Operation, we have to understand this enigmatic verse as the performance of our Mercurius/Secret Fire both inside the vessel microcosm and outside in the macrocosm. Both practical and spiritual. In fact “Sun” is also a synonym of Secret Fire, since in our world it comes from our asters. But do not presume an alchemist makes divisions between a material and a spiritual world: it is just an issue of densities.