One of the most comprehensive interpretation of Tabula Smaragdina was provided by a Traditionalist writer virtually unknown among English speaking readers: Bela Hamvas. Below a few, random excerpts, the full test is available at the following link.
“Tabula Smaragdina survived in Latin. Some think that it had a Greek version but it was lost. Others think that it was originally written in Latin. This is contradicted by the Greek words that are contained in the text. Tabula Smaragdina is thirteen sentences. Its author is Hermes Trismegistos (three time the greatest Hermes). Hermes’ name is mentioned throughout Gnostic and Alexandrian writings. The most likely hypothesis is that he was Egyptian, although the name is not a personal name but a so called initiation level. It is possible that he was a Toth. Toth is the high caste of the Egyptian Levitas, like Zarathustra in Iran, or Risi in India. Today we’d say he was a grand master. His age is uncertain. Some think it was the first generation of the Great Flood but it’s unknown if they mean the flood of 8,000 BC. or the one at 12,000 BC. Hermes Trismegistos’ authority was undoubtedly great, even the fathers of the Church mention him with great respect.”
“What Tabula Smaragdina teaches is the analytical method of inner chemia. A kind of initiation according to which man can put things, but mostly himself –as Paracelsus says-, into the state of perfection. A transformation that can be applied to all existing things.”
“How to start? By distinguishing. Separating the light from the heavy. The example will illuminate it: Apostle Paul wrote that man can live by body or by spirit. Also, he makes a 3-fold differentiation between the body, soul and spirit. Sarkikos, psykhikos, pneumatikos. Paul also taught the differentiation between natural and spiritual man.”
“By starting out from modern European philosophy one can’t and won’t understand archaic thinking. Philosophy in Europe, by removing all other components of existence, only focused on organizing knowledge alone, and thus wished to entirely become a science. Since only science had an active relationship with reality, philosophy had become a curious branch of pre and post science, which is as temporary as it is arbitrary.”
“The basis for all archaic initiation is arithmology. It is also the basis of European philosophies, even if they are not aware of it. Arithmology doesn’t only concern number theory but also all the consequences of number theory. Europe adopted two of the archaic arithmologies. One of them is the orphic decimal (10), which it had made the basis of its numerical system. The other is the Caldean 12, with which it measures time. Tradition knew the arithmology of the Chinese 64, the Sankhja 25, and the Cabala 22. Arithmology is also the basis of the various mythologies, even calendars and letters –among other things. Initiation is based on arithmology because knowledge and the creation and execution of the life plan also happen according to the laws of numbers.”
“69. Axiom: the logic of analogy, the logic of identity and the logic of unity is not separate. All three logics are one in the logic of unity. In the personality-arithmology that corresponds with the logic of unity, all three arithmologies are one.
70. Axiom: Unity is the prerequisite for the development of all possibilities (characteristics).
71. Axiom: the number sequence is the manifestation of One (its revelation, its apocalypse)
One contains all numbers
One contains all numbers as non-manifested many.
One contains all operations.
In One, all operations are united by unification.”