As Above So Below Meaning, origin and interpretations

As Above So Below is a phrase that has been used for centuries in spiritual, religious, philosophical and mystical circles. Its origins can be traced back to ancient Hermeticism, a school of thought that combines elements of Greek philosophy and Egyptian religion.

This phrase suggests that the microcosm reflects the macrocosm, and that everything in the universe is connected. Some think that this phrase holds the key to all mysteries. All systems of magic function with this formula. «‘That which is above is the same as that which is below‘…Macrocosmos (as above) is the same as microcosmos (so below).

However, It doesn’t have a unique meaning but many meanings. The concept of As Above So Below has been interpreted in various ways. But the main message remains the same: the universe operates according to a set of laws and patterns that can be understood through observation and contemplation.

In this article, you will discover the significance of the quote «As Above So Below,» its origin and history, as well as its interpretations within Wicca tradition, the occult, the Illuminati, and spirituality.  Additionally, we will explore its relation to alchemy, astrology, and astronomy.

as above, so below

Meanings of As above so below as within so without quote

We will explore the meaning of As Above So Below, its implications, and how it relates to various spiritual and mystical traditions.

The quote is about what is in the spiritual plane (AS ABOVE, as it is above) and what is in the reflection in the physical plane (SO BELOW, so it is below). There is a relationship between the microcosm (small-scale) and the macrocosm (large-scale). Whatever happens in one realm reflects what happens in the other.  There is a unity and interconnectedness between all things in the universe.

In general, the phrase suggest that there are similarities between different levels of existence. The patterns that govern one level of reality also govern others.

The universe is the same as God.

God is the same as man.

Man is the same as the cell.

The cell is the same as the atom.

The atom is the same as…and so on, ad infinitum.»

This message theorizes that man is the counterpart of God on earth. As God is man’s counterpart in heaven. Thus, it is a statement of an ancient belief that man’s actions on earth parallel the actions of God in heaven, there is a correspondence.

This pivots on the belief that «all things have their birth from this One Thing by adaptation». The next expression of the message is as within so without:

«As within, So Without, as the universe so the soul«.

The significance and explanation of As Above, So below

There are many interpretations and possible meanings.


Spiritual and esoteric traditions meaning

The spiritual world and the physical world are connected. The laws that govern the spiritual world are reflected in the physical world. There is a the relationship between the divine and the human, or between the soul and the body.

Macrocosm and microcosm

There is a correspondence between the larger universe (the macrocosm) and the smaller individual (the microcosm). This also appears in psychology, it describes the relationship between the individual psyche and the larger social world.

Unity and diversity

Another interpretation is that there is a balance between unity and diversity in the universe. There is a fundamental unity between all things, but there is also diversity and variation in the way that this unity is expressed.

Order and chaos

There is order and structure in the universe, even it seems an apparent chaos. There is an organization to things, even when they seem random or chaotic. So it exists some balance and harmony between different aspects of the universe. There is a natural order to things that is reflected across different levels of reality.

Action and consequence

Our actions have consequences, both in the physical world and in the spiritual or moral realm. It suggests that what we do on one level of reality will be reflected on another level.

Reflection and mirroring

«As above, so below» can also be interpreted as a mirroring or reflection between different levels of reality. What happens on one level is reflected or mirrored on another level.

Intention and manifestation

Our intentions and thoughts can manifest in the physical world. What we think and feel on a spiritual or mental level can be reflected in our physical reality.

Divine and human

As above so below can also be a dual relationship’ between the divine and the human.There is a connection between the divine or spiritual realm and the human or physical realm.

Knowledge and understanding

When we have a deep knowledge and understanding of a level of reality, we can see and enter other levels.



Spiritual and occult interpretations

In occult traditions such the previously mentioned Hermeticism and Kabbalah, the phrase is often used to describe the principle of correspondence. The correlations between different levels of reality, and that these connections can be used to gain insight and understanding.

Another interpretation is related to the law of attraction. Our thoughts and intentions can shape and influence our reality. What we focus on and believe on a spiritual level can be manifested in our physical reality.

Spiritual transformation: By aligning your spiritual and physical self, you can experience a greater sense of harmony and wholeness.

Inner and outer worlds:Inner and outer worlds are connected. Our inner thoughts and beliefs can be reflected in our external circumstances and experiences.


In Alchemy

It is a central tenet of alchemy, an ancient branch of chemistry that sought to transmute base metals into gold and achieve spiritual transformation. Alchemists believed that the process of transmutation in the laboratory reflected a larger process of spiritual transformation in the individual.

Ancient alchemical texts also included references to it. The relationship between spiritual and material realms. The processes of spiritual transformation and physical transformation are connected.


In Astrology

As Above So Below is a fundamental principle of astrology, which holds that the positions and movements of celestial bodies have a corresponding effect on human affairs. Astrology uses the movements of the stars and planets to understand the patterns and cycles of human life.


in Christianity

It has also been interpreted in a Christian context, in the Lord’s Prayer. It includes the line «on earth as it is in heaven». This line suggests that there is a correspondence between the earthly realm and the heavenly realm, and that the two are interconnected.


In Buddhism

As Above So Below is a concept that can be found in Buddhist teachings, particularly in the idea of dependent origination. This principle suggests that everything in the universe arises in dependence upon other things. And that there is a fundamental interconnectedness between all phenomena.


History and origin of as above, so below

The phrase as above, so below has its root in ancient Hermeticism and it is written in the beginning of The Emerald Tablet and the hermetic principle.

The Emerald Tablet states:

«That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracle of the One Thing.»

This statement suggests that the universe is a unified whole, and that everything in it is connected. It also implies that the key to understanding the universe lies in recognizing the correspondence between different levels of existence.

It embraces the entire system of traditional and modern magic which was inscribed upon the tablet in cryptic wording by Hermes Trismegistus

Hermes Trismegistus was the man who wrote it in the hermetic text,  Hermetica book the 7 hermetic principles. This book was about Hermeticism. An ancient spiritual tradition from Egypt and Greece. Hermeticism suggest that all things in the universe are connected.

Some ancient astrologers also mentioned it to describe the planets movements and its reflection in earth.

It also appeared in Christian theology. It is often interpreted as a reference to the connection between God and humanity.





The Magic Macrocosmos and microcosmos

This is the magic relation to the quote.

The magical act is causing a transformation like alchemy to a thing or things without any physical contact. It is done by an imaginative act accompanied by the will that the wanted change will occur. The magical act and imaginative act becomes one and the same.

The magician knows with certainty that for the change to occur he must will it to happen. And also believe it will happen. Here it may be noted that magic and religion are akin. Both need belief that a miracle will occur. To bring about such a change the magician uses the conception of «dynamic interconnectedness».

It describes the physical world as the sort of thing that imagination and desire can effect. The magician’s world is an independent whole. A web of which no strand is autonomous. Mind and body, galaxy and atom, sensation and stimulus, have a strong relation. Witchcraft imbues the view that all things are independent and interrelated.

These concepts pivot on the belief that all things come from the One Thing, or First Cause. And «Its power is integrating, if it be turned into earth.»

Rituals about union of spiritual and physical realm

The purpose of all rituals in ceremonial magic is to unite the microcosm with the macrocosm. This is to join God, or gods when invoked, with the human consciousness.

When such a supreme union is achieved the subject and object becomes one. This is because the magician feels that he is in touch with all elements of the universe. Thus, he can control them. The magician feels connected with the universe. This feeling intensifies the more the magician practices his skills.

Whenever he experiences a failure he knows that the ritual was not performed well. When feeling unison with the universe, the magician knows he has reached his Higher or True Self. It is because he has attained mastery of himself and the universe.

Thus he feels his «skillful work ascends from earth to heaven and descends to earth again. And receives the power of the superiors and of the inferiors». Thus, he «hast the glory of the whole world so let all obscurity flee from thee.» Now the miracles are possible. Some magicians, like Aleister Crowley, claimed this.

When the magician reaches this ultimate peak of altered consciousness the miracles are no longer important. The extreme goal becomes the direct union with God.


Video explanation of the quote significance


The Movie As Above, so Below

There is a horror movie about the quote from the director john erick dowdle. It is a found footage horror film. The release date is 2014. It is based on the search of the philosopher’s stone which provide eternal live in the paris catacombs.


Other movie references

  • «The Da Vinci Code» (2003): This popular novel by Dan Brown includes a reference to «as above, so below» in a scene where the main character is studying a painting by Leonardo da Vinci. The phrase describes the connection between the physical and spiritual worlds.
  • «The Matrix» (1999): It appears in a speech by the character Morpheus, where he describes the nature of reality and the interconnectedness of all things.
  • «The Magicians» (TV series, 2015-2020): In this fantasy series, the quote is used to describe the relationship between the magical and non-magical worlds, and to suggest that there are deeper connections between them.
  • «As Above, So Below» (EP, 2014) by Angel Haze: This is an EP by the American rapper Angel Haze, which takes its title from the phrase. The EP explores themes of spirituality and personal transformation, and the title track includes references to the phrase throughout.
  • «Doctor Strange» (2016): In this Marvel superhero movie, the Ancient One explains the phrase to Doctor Strange as a way of describing the relationship between the physical and mystical dimensions.
  • «American Horror Story: Apocalypse» (TV series, 2018): In one episode of this horror anthology series, the phrase «as above, so below» is a key to unlocking a hidden location.
  • «The OA» (TV series, 2016-2019): This science fiction series explores themes of spirituality and interdimensional travel, and it is used in a scene where the characters are attempting to move between dimensions.
  • «The Alchemist» by Paulo Coelho (novel, 1988): This popular novel includes a reference as a way of describing the connection between the physical and spiritual worlds.
  • «The Craft: Legacy» (2020): In this sequel to the 1996 cult classic «The Craft,»  the expression is a mantra by a group of young witches who are exploring their powers and abilities.


Frequently asked questions

What does as above so below mean in the Bible?

It doesn’t appear in the bible. But, a meaning related to the Bible is that what we do on earth will be reflected in heaven.

Where does it come from and who wrote it?

It comes from the emerald tablet and it was wrote by Hermes Trismegistus.

Which is the spiritual definition?

There is a connection between the individual and the universe. Understanding and using this connection, one can become more spiritually aware and enlightened.

Does it mean inversion?

Not inversion but reflection. Some kind of relation between earth and sky.



Sources: 29, 45, 66.