As above, so below
The phrase derives from a passage in the Emerald Tablet (variously attributed to Hermes Trismegistus or Pseudo-Apollonius of Tyana). The 16th-century scholar Chrysogonus Polydorus provides the following version translated from the original Arabic into Latin:
Quod est inferius est sicut quod est superius. Et quod est superius est sicut quod est inferius, ad perpetranda miracula rei unius.
In Hermeticism, the phrase can be taken to indicate that earthly matters reflect the operation of the astral plane, particularly "by other means than mundane chains of cause and effect, such as Jungian synchronicities or correspondences."
In a secular context, the phrase can refer to the idea that the microcosm reflects the macrocosm – for example, that individual or domestic ills can result from larger societal ills.
The Message, intended as a "version of the New Testament in a contemporary idiom", uses the maxim in its translation of the Lord's Prayer from Matthew 6:10. (The prayer's phrase is traditionally rendered "on earth, as it is in heaven".)
Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what's best – as above, so below.
- Lydia Amir. Rethinking Philosophers' Responsibility. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2017. Page 7.
- "Introduction to the New Testament, from The Message". Retrieved 2018-04-16.
- "The Message, Matthew 6:7–13".