Updated: Jan 11
Unlock the hidden wisdom of ancient Latin phrases. Enhance your knowledge and perspective with these 12 powerful, esoteric sayings
Language is the way we communicate with each other, and there are approximately 6500 languages around the world. Geographical differences appear to be the reason for so many different languages, while the Heavenly Religions mention an event that led people of the ancient world to speak more than one language — the destruction of the Tower of Babel.
With the rise of the Roman Empire, the Latin language dominated the world. Greeks influenced Carthage and Macedonia; Carthage influenced Rome; Rome influenced Europe and the western civilizations. The Latin script, the most widely used alphabetic writing system globally, is a true alphabet that originated in the 7th century BC in Italy and has changed continually over the last 2500 years. Not only the Semitic alphabet, but also the alphabets of the Phoenician, Greek, and Etruscan influenced it.
Still, in the 21st century, there are many Latin phrases, either knowingly or unknowingly, we use. Some of them will help you look like the noble and intellectual aristocrats of the old times. A shortlist of others will open the path to wisdom for you if you know how to find true meanings behind the letters.
1. Visibilia ex invisibilibus
The visible comes from the invisible.
All that is visible in our lives, all that we see and touch, what we call reality, comes from the invisible. Look at the Big Bang. The universe started from a tiny spot smaller than an atom. That is why symbols carry so many veils of secrets.
2. Potenta scienta est
Knowledge is power.
It is commonly attributed to Francis Bacon. The phrase speaks for itself, especially in a modern world where it is easier than ever to reach information. However, the information does not lead to knowledge without analysis. Moreover, knowledge does bring wisdom.
3. Ex oriente lux
Originally refers to the sun rising in the east.
Sun, as the source of energy and the light for Earth, has been the most revered figure since the early periods of humanity. It was also the sacred symbol of the Creator, the circle representing His infinity.
In esotericism, it alludes to culture coming from the Eastern world. The Renaissance also started with the Hellenistic and Hermetics heritages discovered in the Middle East by the Knights Templar. They brought knowledge from the east again to Europe and planted the seeds of humanism and enlightenment that opened up the path to a new age.
4. Mea culpa
Through my fault. Or in other words — it is my fault.
It is a humble way of accepting our own mistakes and accepting that our consciousness creates our external environment. It strongly relates to the law of attraction in times when we fail to attract what we wanted. Free will and taking responsibility for our choices make this phrase significant.
5. Momento mori
Remember, you must die.
No one will live forever; nothing will last forever in this VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) universe. Every living being will experience death. This motto is great to remember that death will come one day and that it is important to seize the day, be in the moment, and live a meaningful life that will not end with regret.
6. Carpe diem
Seize the moment or seize the day. This motto is mostly misunderstood as if it meant enjoying the pleasures of life only. It becomes more meaningful with the phrase, momento mori.
Death is not something to fear from. Instead, death makes life precious because nobody wants to die with regret knowing s/he wasted a long life. Everyone looks for meaning. Some of us are lucky to find it and live each day by our mission, and others are on a quest to find it going after the dreams of others instead of living theirs.
Carpe Diem is about the importance of the moment. Neither living in the past nor living in the future. Instead, just focusing on whatever is happening now and becoming a silent witness.
It is the acronym of the alchemists for visita interiorae terrae rectificando invenies occultum lapidem. It means “Visit the interior of the earth and [by] purifying [yourself] you will find the hidden stone.”
Do you remember the philosopher`s stone from Harry Potter?
The acronym talks about it, but it is not about finding treasures. The one who takes an inner journey of self-discovery will find self-realization that will lead to self-actualization, wisdom and enlightenment, and the discovery of universal truths. As you can see, the rewards are spiritual, and the journey cannot be taken for its rewards.
8. QUO VADIS?
“Where are you marching?” or “Where are you going?”.
It is a question we all must ask ourselves. Where do we come from, and where do we go? It is not a rational question but a spiritual one. Remember the first phrase — visibilia invisibilibus.
We are on a spiritual journey to learn precious lessons in the physical world because the magnitude of obstacles is bigger in this realm. The immortal spirit experiences harder tests in this physical plane of existence. However, born without memories for the period before birth, and forged by the environmental factors shaping our paradigms, we tend to forget our divine source and true potential. The journey of self-discovery is about finding spiritual treasures, that is invisible.
Think about it with more depth with some more questions.
What do you want in life? What is is that you want to achieve in life? What would you do if you had infinite power and wealth?
9. Ordo ab chao
Order from chaos.
The English translation is quite similar to the original phrase. Big Bang explains the universe’s creation as an expansion from a tiny sub-atomic spot of singularity to a vast cosmic ocean with multiple dimensions and various forms of existence. The first 380,000 years after the first moment of creation is thought to be a cosmic soup of matter and anti-matter in perfect balance, and then this equilibrium ends, causing a huge expansion that is still active for the last 13.9 billion years. It was chaos in the beginning, and entropy was forced into order.
The universe is based on the dance of opposites that changes with every breath. There is no eternal balance between the opposites. It is about dynamic balance. The ancient Chinese symbol, Yin Yang, is a good one to explain this dance.
10. Veni, vidi, vici
‘I came, I saw, I conquered.’
The only thing to conquer in the world is the dark side of your ego. You need to make a decision to transcend your ego, be brave enough to recognize and take action for change, and persevere to conquer in the long haul.
The only competition in the one is not with the others, but the one inside you with yourself to reach your higher-self
11. Audi, vide, tace, si vis vivere
Hear, see, and be silent if you would like to live.
Here is my personal advice in light of this phrase.
Talk to the ones who can understand and be silent to the ignorant and the arrogant. However, never label anyone before trying. That is, be a helping hand, and you will see who wants to receive it and who is not.
12. E pluribus unum
Out of many, one.
Cosmos is a vast ocean of existence consisting of an infinite number of living and non-living beings. It is an ocean of diversity. Everything is interconnected by what we think of neutrinos or tachyons that travel faster than light somehow.
In this interconnected universe, all dimensions exist together, like the layers of an onion symbolically. If the universe is like a body, we are like its cells.The cells make up the entire body, whereas they cannot exist without them. It is coexistence led by a supreme consciousness greater than the sum of all cells.
Therefore, all is one, and one is all.
Sun Tzu, the author of the Art of War, describes it as follows — one is ten, ten is one hundred, one hundred is ten thousand, and ten thousand is one.
I intentionally let this phrase to be the last one, because it complements the first phrase — visibilia ex invisibilibus.
The beginning is the end. Moreover, everything has one single source and the same final destination.
These phrases have much more to tell us, and I leave it up to you to dig, deep dive, and learn more. All you need to do is to start contemplating with your mind and continue with your heart.