As above so below – The veil of Maya

As above so below – The veil of Maya

The multiplicity dazzles our senses – and we take it for reality. This is the veil of maya. It veils the creative emergence.

What is below is like that which is above, and that which is above is like that which is below so that the miracles of the One can be realised. Just as all things have become from the One through mediation, they are all born of this One.

“As above so below, as below so above.” This hermetic description of a cosmic law, which is found in the Tabula Smaragdina, provokes contradiction. Surely it cannot be meant literally! To equate the heavenly-divine with the the earthly-human seems to be a parody when one sees how things are on earth with us humans. Yes, there is also “down here” unprecedented good: people who dedicate their lives to others and the planet to the point of complete exhaustion. And time and time again, something can break open in people that reveals a deep connection with all other human beings, an inner oneness that is not perceived in everyday consciousness. There are countless examples of people providing help when someone is in great need or in mortal danger. The spontaneous willingness to help, the commitment that comes from the heart has always existed. And yet it cannot be said that this has turned the world into a “heavenly place”. A glance at current world events shows that the opposite is the case.

The process of appearing manifestation

Understanding the hermetic axiom As above so below, as below so above can be approached if one realises what the veil of maya is. It leads to our perception being distorted, making us believe in a reality that does not exist in the way we experience it. But what changes when the veil lifts a little? Then we receive impressions of the way in which living beings appear, come into existence – including ourselves. The spiritual-mental emerges “outwards”, without ceasing, and makes itself visible. In a continuous flowing process, life creates its forms, maintains them for a while and then dissolves them again to create new ones.

Our earth and all its inhabitants are projections of spiritual essences and entities. Taken as a whole, they express the potential of all the will, knowledge and desire of one creator, the innermost heart of everything that lives. The contents and qualities of the spiritual worlds are so inconceivably deep and rich that in our sphere of life, the sphere of projection, they can be found only in an incalculable variety. In their origin they are one, but it is impossible on our level to put them together like the pieces of a puzzle. Here, with us, they are full of contrasts and contradictions. We experience them as the opposite of unity, as forces that are in constant conflict with each other.

We generally consider the individual phenomena to be the full reality, claim the qualities of one or the other for ourselves, identify with them and make them the meaning of our lives. Others do the same as we do, but refer to other qualities and phenomena. This applies to religions, cultures and even to the simple things we fill our lives with. And everyone is convinced of their own and is right in a certain way. This is how we transform the polarities that form a unity on the levels of their origin, into opposites in our world, and fight against each other. And everyone feels something of the rightness of their conviction.

The veil of maya

The all-encompassing whole fans out into the multiplicity of its aspects. What here is a many, is one on the levels of origin. The multiplicity dazzles our senses – and we take it for reality. This is the veil of maya. It veils the creative emergence. The materialistic view of natural science today is one of the most dramatic effects of this veil. But the spirit of enquiry of scientists is penetrating deeper and deeper into the world of phenomena and has reached the point at which the materialistic world view cancels itself out. This is evident in quantum physics. But shouldn’t we also, detached from mathematical formulae and the measurements of complex apparatuses, be able to acquire new eyes?

The sense of spiritual origins lies within us. If we pursue it with great perseverance, when our being turns around towards the void, the fathomless, the innermost, then IT, the whole, the reality, can project its knowledge, its wisdom, its love, its indivisible being into us. It creates soulful eyes in us and we experience how we ourselves and everything in nature emerge from the innermost being.

The all-encompassing confronts itself

In this endeavour, the great, all-encompassing life gives us something of itself. By doing so, it comes face to face with itself, has contact with itself, makes itself a companion – in us. This is the beginning of a long, hitherto undreamt of path on which our spiritual self blossoms more and more. When we surrender to it completely it penetrates our consciousness, takes possession of it more and more often and begins to work through us, in us and with us in the world.

And what previously seemed irreconcilable is now coming together. In a new perception we allow the things of the world to enter us. Through us – from below, as it were – they come into contact with their origin.

The Tao-Te-King says in its first chapter:


He who is eternally without desire,
will see the most secret;
he who always has desire,
beholds only his hem.

These two are one and the same.
Having emerged, their names are different.
Their union we call mystical.
Mystical and mystical again:
the gateway to every secret.


The secret is our innermost being, the “hem” is our form of appearance. The hem and the innermost are one. Everyone is looking for “their” place in the world. But the place where we are one with life is not easily found here. Fears flood humanity because there is no reliable ground in the area of the “hem”.


Now, in this situation, the “miracles of the One” can take place, as it says in the Tabula Smaragdina. The miracles of peace, love and fulfilment, the irrefutable aspects of the eternal being – they are now revealed “down here”. In the midst of transient and dazzling plays of light, the silent, imperishable light appears in the consciousness of the human being. Our heart, our new consciousness, now takes in the mirror images, the projections, and they reach their origin in our inner spaces. How seamlessly the two fit together, the hem and the essence it surrounds! The veil is lifted.

Jesus expresses this process in the Gospel of Thomas with the words:

When you make the two into one, when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside and the upper as the lower, that is, you make the male and the feminine into one, so that the masculine does not continue to be masculine and the feminine does not continue to be feminine, and when there are new eyes instead of the old, a new hand instead of the old, new feet instead of the old, a completely new form instead of the old, then you will enter into the dominion of God. (Logion 22)

A new form

The “completely new form” is now emerging in us alongside the old one. It is the fruit that we bring to the Godhead, the “long-sought, the golden fruit, fallen from the ancient trunk in shaking storms”, as Friedrich Hölderlin writes in his epic Peace Celebration (Friedensfeier). He continues: “it is the figure of the celestials”. It consists of our original essence and the essences of everything that has been able to make its way upwards within us.

The “golden fruit” is a never-ending spiritual birth, a never-ending transfiguration, that takes place in the centre between above and below. The place of the centre oscillates, just as life oscillates between above and below.

The „Ancient One“ emerges from the innermost, the above. He seeks us, we seek him. We are changing, and so the place of encounter changes. In the union with the Ancient One, our spiritual self, the sphere of the centre is always new, it is the new form. The “hem”, the form in which the Spirit expresses itself, the form in which it works in the soul worlds (worlds above ours), is in a constant state of flux. The revelations of the Spirit in the etheric soul find no end.

The places of the centre are places of fire. The soul increases its vibration, the Spirit reduces its own. The soul changes from “water” to “wine”. It gets into an ever new „drunkenness“ and has to sober up again and again in order to be able to take its place in the “House of the Lord”.

On this path, we open ourselves up to more intense soul vibrations as often as we can, higher vibrations in which the Spirit expresses itself more fully. Spiritual communities can help here. The more we surrender to these new forces, the more they burn within us; they have a purifying, painful effect, tear open inner abysses and release fears. They show us our current state, our apparent wisdom. But the higher forces also carry us if we entrust ourselves completely to them: We experience upliftment, joy, certainty of a species we never knew existed.

Reality – the infinite foundation

Maya occurs at all levels of development. For the Spirit always requires a structure, a “form” in order to be able to work, even if it is highly spiritualised. Indian wisdom calls the comprehensive reality Parabrahman. Parabrahman is the only reality, the infinite foundation. However, although everything else, everything that is below, is maya, this maya is nevertheless the universe in which our constitution exists, just as we are connected to Parabrahman through our innermost being. And because Parabrahman is the universe, Maya is also its envelope or manifestation.

Parabrahman is the Reality. We as beings are mayavi (illusory), but the heart of the heart of us is Parabrahman and therefore every atom of these mayavic sheaths that we wear contains its own fundamental element, its basic essence, which is also Parabrahman. (Gottfried von Purucker)

In all developmental steps, the veil of maya persists as long as we maintain it, until we turn our gaze and strive for renewed union with the with the spirit of origin.

Because of our actions, we are always carriers of a destiny. Through our connection with the inner God, he shares our fate, experiences fate himself in a certain way, and through this „alienation” he experiences himself. What a miracle! The upper experiences itself with the help of the lower, the lower with the help of the upper. The miracles of divine love take place.

Jan van Rijckenborgh, The Egyptian Arch-Gnosis, Volume 1, Rozenkruis pers, Haarlem, the Netherlands
Das Kybalion – Die sieben hermetischen Gesetze (The Seven Hermetic Laws), (E-book), Chapters IX and XI, 2022 George Lagrange,
Gottfried von Purucker, Quelle des Okkultismus (Source of Occultism)
Armin Risi, Gott und die Götter (God and the Gods)

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Date: February 2, 2024
Author: Anita Vieten (Germany)
Author: Gunter Friedrich (Germany)
Photo: spiral-Gerd Altmann auf Pixabay HD

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