As Above so Below - Meaning, Origin and Usage

If someone tells you "as above, so below," what do they mean? Are they talking about heaven and hell? This post unpacks everything you need to know about the meaning, origin, and use of this expression.

As Above so Below Meaning

The expression, "as above, so below," has a religious or spiritual meaning. The most straightforward interpretation of the phrase means that anything that happens on the astral plane also occurs on earth. While most experts believe this definition to be the true meaning, there are a few other interpretations.

The saying can also refer to the fact that microcosms of the individual are simply reflections of microcosms of society as a whole. Another way of putting this is that attributes of small groups also reflect in larger groups.

This expression looks to examine any situation or place where duality exists, drawing comparisons between the two. The phrase often appears in occultic writings and has an esoteric tradition of use in literature.

Some astrologers believe this expression proves that the stars affect your thinking and everyday choices in life. Some experts interpret the phrase to mean that whatever is going on inside the body also plays out in nature.

As Above so Below Example Usage

Tim: "I can't believe that so many people think that the stars play a role in their personality and who they are as a person."

Ben: "You can't control the outcome, as above, so below."


Joe: "Do you believe in destiny? I think there must be something to fate and how it plays out in our lives."

Melissa: "True, there is something to astrology. As above, so below."


Sarah: "Do you think that there is anything to spirituality and the heavens?"

Astrid: "As above, so below. We're all at the mercy of the heavens and its effect on our behavior."

As Above so Below Origin

According to historians and language experts, the origin of the phrase, "as above, so below," comes from the "Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus." As a result, the term has close ties to the Hermetic culture.

Sir Isaac Newton gets the credit for translating the Emerald Tablet. According to Newton's translation, the tablet features the phrase "as above, so below" in reference to what happens in the heavens also plays out on earth.

Hermes Trismegistus wrote the "Hermetic Corpus," a collection of writings with a religious context. Some of the most prolific authors in history, such as Emerson and Bruno, think Hermes was a prophet who foretold the rise of the Christian faith.

Some experts believe Hermes is a relative of the Greek God Hermes and the Egyptian God Thoth.

Phrases Similar to As Above so Below

  • What goes around comes around.
  • Hell on earth.
  • Heaven on earth.
  • In God's hands.

Phrases Opposite to As Above so Below

  • We control our destiny.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • As above, so below.

Ways People May Say As Above so Below Incorrectly

"As above, so below" won't apply to physical objects alone; for example, using it to describe things on shelves is the incorrect use of the phrase. Most generations will understand the meaning of the phrase.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase As Above so Below

You can use the phrase, "as above, so below," when you're referring to unexplainable events in your life or the feeling of karma. The phrase links the astral planes to the physical realm, referring that what happens in the heavens will also play out on earth. The phrase suits social and professional settings, and most people in all generations will understand the meaning of the phrase.

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