“Alchimia est impuri separatio a substantia puriore”
“Alchemy is the separation of the impure from the most pure substance”

The Tabula Smaragdina was allegedly found in Hermes's hands, in the cave serving as his tomb. Although not the oldest known text, the Emerald Table is nevertheless a fundamental text in which alchemists read the entire work of nature and the process for obtaining the Philosopher's Stone.

The Emerald Table of Hermes Trismegistus, the Father of philosophers

I. True, without error, certain and most true.
II. That which is above is as that which is below, and that which is below is as that which is above, to perform the miracles of the One Thing.
III. And as all things were from One, by the meditation of One, so from this One Thing come all things by adaptation.
IV. Its father is the Sun, its mother is the Moon, the wind carried it in its belly, the nurse thereof is the Earth.
V. It is the father of all perfection and the consummation of the whole world. Its power is integral,
VI. If it be turned to Earth.
VII. Thou shalt separate the Earth from the Fire, the subtle from the coarse, gently and with much ingenuity.
VIII. It ascends from Earth to heaven and descends again to Earth, and receives the power of the superiors and the inferiors. Thus thou hast the glory of the whole world; therefore let all obscurity flee before thee.
IX. This is the strong fortitude of all fortitude, overcoming every subtle thing and penetrating every solid thing.
X. Thus the world was created.
XI. Hence are all wonderful adaptations, of which this is the manner.
XII. Therefore I am called Hermes Trismegistus, having the three parts of the philosophy of the whole world. That is finished which I have to say concerning the operation of the Sun.

The Emerald Table (Tabula Smaragdina)
The Philosopher's Stone is created via a complex chemical process. The alchemist must find the Prima Materia from the depths of the earth, and then dissolve it, in other words, transform it into water before draining off the superfluous quantity. This is known as volatilisation. The product resulting from these initial modifications is coagulated and transformed into a viscous matter. Only afterwards can the materials be separated to leave only the most pure, which will go towards the Philosopher's Stone.
To simplify matters, the process can be explained by three operations that bear the name of their associated colour.
1- Black work or putrefaction is used to remove the impurities from the matter.
2- White work or albification of the result of the previous operation leads to a white stone that can transform the base metal into silver.
3- Red work, Great Work or rubification results in gold, the Philosopher's Stone. It is symbolised by the phoenix, the mythical bird that is reborn from its ashes.
Although the Philosopher's Stone may be obtained by these three principles of transformation, there is a second theory relating to sulphur and mercury, which is based on the purification of the four elements.
The Emerald Table (Tabula Smaragdina)
The theory of sulphur and mercury (according to the Arab tradition)
First matter
> Earth
> Sulphur > Fire
> Salt > Quintessence (extract of the four purified
> Mercury > Water
> Air
The power of the Philosopher's Stone stems from the perfection of its composition, combining harmonious proportions of metals and base elements, to which quintessence, the fifth synthetic element, is added. It is used to obtain the elixir of life, or drinkable gold, and transform metals into gold.

The Kybalion is a book written in the USA by three initiates: William Walker Atkinson, Paul Foster Case and Mabel Collins. It is the indispensable companion to the Emerald Table.
This book is the outcome of the oral transmission of the Hermetic doctrine from initiate to initiate down the centuries. Down through time, this chain was called the Kybalion. Its knowledge embraces the links between Man and Nature. Its practice makes the initiate “King of the Material Universe” hence its name of Royal Art. In it are to be found the definitions of the seven Hermetic principles, the Laws of Life, the Mental Universe, the Divine Paradox, the All, the Planes of Correspondence, of Vibration, of Polarity, etc.

The fundamental esoteric and occult teachings that have had such a powerful influence on the philosophies of all races, all nations, and all people, for thousands of years, have come down to us from Ancient Egypt.
Egypt, the land of the pyramids and the sphinx, was the cradle of hidden Knowledge and mystical teachings. Every country has borrowed from its Secret Doctrines. India, Persia, Chaldea, China, Japan, Syria, Ancient Greece, Rome and the other ancient nations partook liberally of the Feast Of Knowledge which the Hierophants and Masters of the Land of Isis so freely provided for those who came prepared to partake of the great store of Mystic and Occult Lore revealed by the masterminds of that ancient land.

The 7 hermetic “Principles” transmitted by the Kybalion are as follows:

1. The Principle of Mentalism [MENTALISM]
“The All is Mind; the Universe is Mental.”
This Principle embodies the Truth that “All is Mind”. It explains that the All (which is the Substantial Reality underlying all the outward manifestations and appearances which we know under the terms of “the Material Universe”, the “Phenomena of Life”, “Matter”, “Energy”, and in short all that is apparent) is Spirit which in itself is unknowable and indefinable, but which may be considered as a Universal, Infinite, Living Mind.
It also explains that all the “phenomenal” world or universe is simply a Mental Creation of the All subject to the Laws of Created Things; that the Universe, as a whole, and in its parts, has its existence in the Mind of the All, in which mind we “live, and move and have our being.” This Principle, by establishing the Mental Nature of the Universe, easily explains all the varied mental and psychic phenomena that occupy such a large portion of the public attention, and which, without such explanation, are non-understandable and defy scientific interpretation.
2. The Principle of Correspondence [CORRESPONDENCE]
“As Above, so Below; as Below, so Above.”
This Principle embodies the Truth that there is always a Correspondence between the laws and phenomena of the various planes of Being and Life. The old Hermetic axiom ran in these words. ““As Above, so Below; as Below, so Above”. Grasping this principle gives one the means of solving many a dark paradox and hidden secret of Nature.
There are planes beyond our knowing; but when we apply the Principle of Correspondence to them we are able to understand much that would otherwise be unknowable to us. It is of universal application and manifestation, on the various planes of the material, mental, and spiritual universe; it is a Universal Law.
3. The Principle of Vibration [VIBRATION]
“Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.”
This Principle embodies the Truth that “everything is in motion”, “everything vibrates”, “nothing is at rest”, facts which modern science endorses and which each new scientific discovery tends to verify. Yet this Hermetic Principle was enunciated thousands of years ago, by the Masters of Ancient Egypt. It explains that the differences between different manifestations of Matter, Energy, Mind, and even Spirit, result largely from varying rates of Vibration. From THE ALL, which is Pure Spirit, down to the grossest form of Matter, all is in vibration; the higher the vibration, the higher the position in the scale. The vibration of Spirit is at such an infinite rate of intensity and rapidity that it is practically at rest – just as a rapidly moving wheel seems to be motionless. At the other end of the scale, there are gross forms of matter whose vibrations are so low as to seem at rest. Between these poles, there are millions upon millions of varying degrees of vibration.
From corpuscle and electron, atom and molecule, to worlds and universes, everything is in vibratory motion. This is also true on the planes of energy and force, which are but varying degrees of vibration; and also on the mental planes (whose states depend upon vibrations); and even on the spiritual planes.
4. The Principle of Polarity [POLARITY]
“Everything is Dual; everything has poles; everything has its pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled.”

This Principle embodies the truth that “everything is dual”; “everything has two poles”; “everything has its pair of opposites”; these phrases are old Hermetic axioms. It explains the old paradoxes that have perplexed so many, and which have been stated as follows: “Thesis and antithesis are identical in nature, but different in degree”; “opposites are the same, differing only in degree”; “the pairs of opposites may be reconciled”; “extremes meet”; “everything is, and isn’t, at the same time”; “all truths are but half-truths”; “every truth is half-false”; “there are two sides to everything”, etc.
The Principle of Polarity explains that, in everything, there are two poles, or opposite aspects, and that “opposites” are really only the two extremes of the same thing, with many varying degrees between them. For example: heat and cold, although “opposites” are really the same thing; the differences consisting merely of degrees of the same thing. Look at your thermometer and see if you can discover where “hot” ends and “cold” begins! There is no such thing as “absolute heat” or “absolute cold”; The two terms “heat” and “cold” simply indicate varying degrees of the same thing, and that “same thing” which manifests as “heat” and “cold” is merely a form, variety, and rate of Vibration. So “hot” and “cold” are simply the two poles of that which we call “Heat”, and the phenomena attendant thereupon are the manifestations of the Principle of Polarity. The same Principle manifests in the case of “Light” and “Darkness,” which are the same thing, the difference consisting of varying degrees between the two poles of the phenomena. Where does “darkness” leave off, and “light” begin? What is the difference between “Large and Small”? Between “Hard and Soft”? Between “Black and White”? Between “Sharp and Dull”? Between “Noise and Quiet”? Between “High and Low”? Between “Positive and Negative”?
The Principle of Polarity explains these paradoxes and no other Principle can supersede it. The same Principle operates on the Mental Plane. Let us take a radical and extreme example – that of “Love and Hate,” two mental states apparently totally different. And yet there are degrees of Hate and degrees of Love; and a middle point in which we use the terms “Like” or “Dislike,” which shade into each other so gradually that sometimes we are at a loss to know whether we “like” or “dislike” or “neither”. These opposing sentiments are simply different degrees of the same thing.

5. The Principle of Rhythm [RHYTHM] 
“Everything flows, out and in; everything has its tides; all things rise and fall; the pendulum-swing manifests in everything; the measure of the swing to the right is the measure of the swing to the left; rhythm compensates.”
This Principle embodies the truth that in every thing there is manifested a measured motion, to and fro, a flow and inflow, a swing backward and forward, a pendulum-like movement, a tide-like ebb and flow, a high-tide and low-tide; between the two poles which exist in accordance with the Principle of Polarity described a moment ago.
There is always an action and a reaction, an advance and a retreat, a maximum and a minimum. This is in the affairs of the Universe, suns, worlds, men, animals, mind, energy, and matter. This law is manifest in the creation and destruction of worlds; in the rise and fall of nations; in the life of all things; and finally in the mental states of Man; it is with this latter that the Hermetists find the understanding of the Principle most important. This Principle and the Principle of Polarity, and the methods for overcoming them, for neutralizing them, have been minutely studied by the Hermetists, and using them forms an important part of the Hermetic Mental Alchemy.
6. The Principle of Cause and Effect [CAUSE EFFECT]
“Every Cause has its Effect; every Effect has its Cause; everything happens according to the Law; Chance is but a name for Law not recognized; there are many planes of causation, but nothing escapes the Law”

This Principle embodies the fact that there is a Cause for every Effect, and an Effect for every Cause. It explains that: “Everything happens according to the Law”; that nothing ever “merely happens”; that there is no such thing as Chance; that while there are various planes of Cause and Effect, the higher dominating the lower planes, still nothing ever entirely escapes the Law.
The Hermetists understand the art and methods of rising above the ordinary plane of Cause and Effect, to a certain degree. By mentally rising to a higher plane they become Causers instead of Effects. The masses of people meekly let themselves be carried along, obedient to environment; the wills and desires of others stronger than themselves; heredity; suggestion; and other outward causes moving them about like pawns on the Chessboard of Life. But the Masters, rising to the plane above, dominate their moods, characters, qualities, and powers, as well as the environment surrounding them; they become Movers instead of pawns. They help to play the game of life, instead of being played and moved about by other wills and environment. They use the Principle, instead of being its tools.

7. The Principle of Gender [GENDER]
“Gender is in everything; Everything has its Masculine and Feminine Principles; Gender manifests on all planes.”

This Principle embodies the truth that there is Gender manifested in everything; the Masculine and Feminine Principles ever at work. This is true not only of the Physical Plane, but of the Mental and even the Spiritual Planes. On the Physical Plane, the Principle manifests as SEX, on the higher planes it takes higher forms, but the Principle is ever the same.
No creation, physical, mental or spiritual, is possible without it. An understanding of its laws will throw light on many a subject that has perplexed the minds of men. The Principle of Gender works ever in the direction of generation, regeneration, and creation. Everything, and every person, contains the two Elements or Principles, or this great Principle, within it, him or her. Every Male thing has the Female Element also; every Female contains also the Male Principle.

kybalion, seven hermetic principles
First version written into French