Member Login

Lost your password?

Not a member yet? Sign Up!

Money Grows on the Tree of Knowledge, Part IV

An image of Baal holding a sacrificial infant

The sacrifice of one’s own child, particularly that of the first-born, was always seen as one of the highest sacraments in the ancient world. Going back to the oldest cults in history, people sacrificed their own children to the gods. Priests, kings, and even the gods themselves offered up the fruit of their wombs. In reward for this, they believed they would receive blessings from Heaven: prosperity, fertility, health, and protection from evil.

Sacrifice to Baal-Molech

In the Old Testament, God condemns child sacrifice, but only because it is part of the customs of rival cults; because the sacrifices are not done unto him. Burnt offerings to Baal-Molech, in which babies were placed inside of an oven made in the shape of the bull-horned god of the Phoenicians, are mentioned repeatedly throughout the Bible, always as an abomination.

A Moloch oven for burning children

However, it does appear the the spiritual principle of child sacrifice is an inseparable part of religion, and the Lord of the Hebrews demanded that it be observed in substitute form if nothing else. This is demonstrated by the story of God’s test of Abraham, demanding the sacrifice of his son Isaac to see if he would go through with it. When God provided the ram as a substitute, he was instituting a religious tradition that Abraham’s descendants would continue to observe for many generations to come, although it would mutate in a number of ways. It was also a metaphor for the real sacrifice of Abraham’s first-born son that is described in the text of Genesis just before this incident.

The sacrifice of Isaac

Abraham’s other son, Ishmael, was the eldest, and the rightful heir to the birthright blessings that came with Abraham’s covenant with God. But Ishmael’s mother was Abraham’s slave woman, Hagar. So when Abraham’s wife Sarah became pregnant as well, Hagar and Ishmael were cast off into the wilderness, and left to die. They were only saved by the intervention of God, who laid a blessing upon Ishmael that his sons were to be the princes of twelve tribes. However, these descendants were also cursed to be subservient to the twelve tribes that would also descend from Isaac, condemned to ever be a slave race to them.

Ishmael and Hagar being cast out into the wilderness.

Foreshadowing of many of these themes can be found in the earlier story of Cain and Abel. Cain’s sacrifice of grain was not accepted by God, but Abel’s blood sacrifice of a lamb was accepted. This made Cain angry, and supposedly led him to murder Abel out of jealousy. Thus, not only did the Lord demonstrate that the shedding of blood was necessary for sacrifice, but he also inadvertently achieved the sacrifice of both of Adam’s first-born sons.

The story of Cain and Abel illustrated. Note how it looks like Cain is literally eating his brother alive.

After the murder, Cain was branded with a mark of protection by God, to prevent others from killing him in revenge. He was then cast out into the wilderness, to the “land of Nod,” cursed to be a “fugitive and vagabond” for the rest of his days. Parallels can clearly be seen between this and what later happened to Ishmael.

Israelite priests slaughter a lamb

Later still, when the Hebrews were attempting to escape captivity in Egypt, God decided to take as a sacrifice to himself all of the firstborn of the land, except for those of the Hebrews who sacrificed a lamb and painted the blood on their front door. The Angel of Death passed over these houses, but from that point onward, the Hebrew tribe of Levi was taken by God as a living sacrifice. They were to have their inheritance taken away from them, and were forbidden to own property or practice a trade. They were to serve solely as the slaves of God in the priesthood. As it says in Numbers 18:

And the LORD said unto Aaron, Thou and thy sons … shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood… And I, behold, I have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel: to you they are given as a gift for the LORD, to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation….

But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance. But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.

The marking of the threshold with lamb's blood on the first Passover

So once again we see thematic similarities. There are multiple layers of substitution for the sacrifice of the firstborn son going on here. First, the demand for blood is being met with the animal substitute: the Paschal Lamb, the ram in the thicket, etc. Secondly, the tribe of Levi is being disinherited and enslaved, just as Ishmael’s bloodline had been, as a substitute for the principle of the firstborn. Thirdly, tithe offerings made to the temple by the congregation were seen as a way of crediting the sacrifice that the Levites were making to the whole community. People were expected to give one-tenth of their harvest, their flocks, and their money in support of the priesthood. Later they also came to be expected to donate their first-born sons or daughters to serve in the temple, a practice that was continued in medieval Catholic Europe, usually with second-born children.

Agnes Dei, the sacrificial Lamb of God

On Yom Kippur, another substitute animal sacrifice would occur. One goat would be killed in the Temple to atone for the sins of the people. Those sins were then laid upon the head of a second goat, the Scapegoat. This poor creature was then cast out into the wilderness to die of thirst in the desert, just like Ishmael and Cain were cast out, just as Adam and Eve had been cast out of Eden, and just as the Hebrews as a group were forced to wander the desert after the Passover.

The Scapegoat

It is possible that this reveals a truth behind the Cain story: that Abel was sacrificed to appease the bloodlust of God, and Cain was cast off to bear the blame of the sacrifice. Interestingly, the Yom Kippur Scapegoat was said in the Bible to be a sacrifice to “Azazel,” a Middle-Eastern goat god I mentioned in a precious installment of this series as being analogous to the goat-demon Baphomet worshipped by the Templars.

A happy goat ready for sacrifice

The very same principles seem to be at work in the story of Jesus. Here God chose to sacrifice his own firstborn son, and then laid the blame upon Judas Iscariot, who exiled and sacrificed himself through suicide afterwards. The Gnostics saw Judas as playing an important sacramental role, sacrificing his own soul willingly in the fires of Hell in order to make the Gospel story happen. He then suffered the iniquity of being the outcast, the scapegoat of Christianity.

An modern ultra-Orthrodox Yom Kippur ritual with a young child playing the role of the Scapegoat

Supposedly, since the death of Christ, all need for blood sacrifice has ceased and God now only demands tithes to the church to appease him. Every Sunday priests and pastors across the world tell their congregation that they will be blessed with prosperity, health, and safety from evil if they just give ten percent of their income to the Church. There is no further need for either child sacrifice or animal sacrifice because the sins of all mankind have been washed in the blood of the Lamb, Jesus. But there have always been those who see in the rite of child sacrifice a power that can be utilized for practical purposes.

Jesus as the Passover lamb

There are veiled references to child sacrifice in the allegories of alchemy, and particularly in the work attributed to Nicolas Flamel that was discussed in the previous installment of this series. I am speaking of his translation of The Book of Abraham the Jew, and the hieroglyphic pictures from it which he had reproduced in stone at the entrance to the Cemetery of the Innocents just outside of his apartment in Paris.

In the annals of alchemical research, from medieval to Renaissance times, each coded manuscript that has been written describing the process has done so in its own way, with its own set of symbols. To this day almost none of them have been fully decoded. (Or, at least, no one who has truly decoded any of them has published their findings.) However, there are certain commonalities to be found amongst most of them.

As I discussed previously, Nicolas Flamel’s manuscript made use of an image of Saturn cutting off the feet of Mercury. I showed how modern economics could be interpreted according to alchemical metaphors, and that this could be seen as a representation of how we all must sacrifice our own youth, through time dedicated to work, in order to earn money. I showed how this helps the money created out of nothing by the banking system, the artificial “gold,” to come into manifestation.

Images from Book of Abraham the Jew

One of the other images in Flamel’s manuscript also involves Saturn. Flamel said that it showed King Herod and the Massacre of the Innocents from the Gospel story. However, in the very same passage, Flamel himself remarks that Herod is made to look like “Saturn devouring his own children.” In the myth of Saturn, known to the Greeks as Chronos, he was said to have eaten his own children in an attempt to prevent a prophecy from coming to fruition.

Massacre of the Innocents from The Book of Abraham the Jew

It had been predicted that Chronos would be usurped by one of his progeny, so when his consort Rhea gave birth to their children, she was ordered to hand them over to her husband immediately to be devoured. Zeus managed to escape the massacre because his mother, Rhea, gave Chronos a stone wrapped in swaddling clothes and told him that it was their son. Zeus was then raised in hiding by a she-goat named Amalthea.

Saturn eating one of his children

Chronos was in fact just continuing a family tradition. His father, Ouranous (Uranus), had likewise resented his children, the Titans, and imprisoned them underneath the Earth in order to keep them from threatening his rule. Since his consort’s name was Gaia, or Earth, this really means he was imprisoning them inside of her. Indeed some versions of the story refer to Ouranous shoving his children back into their mother’s womb as a way of jailing them. It was Gaia who then put Chronos up to the task of slaying his father, and she gave him the sickle to do it with. It thereafter became one of his signature fetishes, associated with both his patronage of agriculture, and his role as Father Time, the reaper of souls.

When he grew to manhood, Zeus disguised himself and became the royal cupbearer to his father’s throne. This allowed Zeus to slip a poisonous coction into Chronos’ drink one day. The poison caused Chronos to vomit out the children he had swallowed, as well as the stone that had acted as a decoy standing in for Zeus.

Rhea handing Chronos the Omphalos stone as a decoy

Then followed a long and brutal war against Chronos and the other Titans. Eventually Zeus dethroned his father just as the prophecies had predicted, and from that point on, the dynasty of Mount Olympus took over from that of the Titans. The decoy stone became known as the “Omphalos,” the naval of the world, and was used for oracular purposes at Delphi for centuries to come.

Interestingly, Saturn’s reign was called in Roman myth “the Golden Age,” when all of the wealth of the Earth could be obtained without labor, and nobody had to work for a living. Everything was held in common, and there was no need for written law. In Virgil’s poem Georgics, he wrote of the Golden Age:

Fields knew no taming hand of husbandmen
To mark the plain or mete with boundary-line.
Even this was impious; for the common stock
They gathered, and the earth of her own will
All things more freely, no man bidding, bore.

The Golden Age, by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1530

Likewise, in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, he wrote:

The Golden Age was first; when Man, yet new,
No rule but uncorrupted Reason knew:
And, with a native bent, did good pursue.
Unforc’d by punishment, un-aw’d by fear.
His words were simple, and his soul sincere;
Needless was written law, where none opprest:
The law of Man was written in his breast.

So Saturn ruled over a Golden Age of anarchy, when rule was not even needed. This may explain why his festival of Saturnalia, celebrated at the end of December, was a time of temporary libertinism, much like Carnival. It must have been seen as a ritual homage to this mythical Golden Age. Seventh century Greek poet Hesiod, in his Works and Days, described the Golden Age as being followed by the Silver age, the Bronze Age, the Heroic Age, and the Iron Age, each ruled by a different race of beings.


There is a connection here with the Freemasonic and Neo-Platonic Enlightenment philosophy that inspired the creation of the United States. The Great Seal, seen most famously on the back of the one-dollar bill, contains the words “Novus Ordo Seclorum,” translated variously as “New Order of the Ages” or “New World Order.” This is supposed to have been inspired by a passage from Virgil’s fourth Eclogue, where he again speaks of the Golden Age, this time prophesying a return of a new Golden Age in the future.

Now the last age by Cumae’s Sibyl sung
Has come and gone, and the majestic roll
Of circling centuries begins anew:
Astraea returns,
Returns old Saturn’s reign,
With a new breed of men sent down from heaven.

When Sir Francis Bacon wrote The New Atlantis, about what he believed to be the spiritual destiny that lie ahead for the New World in the Americas, he described the continent as one day being the seat of a “philosophic empire.” This would be a nation of freethinking men working together as equals to pursue the mysteries of the universe, and they would have penetrated the secrets of nature to such an extent that human labor would no longer be necessary. Thus they would have nothing but time on their hands to study at what he called “The College of the 6 Days’ Work.”

This of course is a reference to the six days that God took in Genesis to create the universe. Bacon predicted that at one point alchemists would have created technologies that would bring man perpetual plentitude and ease, allowing him the luxury of time to devote to the full contemplation of science. He also predicted that America would be the seat of the “shining city on the hill” that would lead the world in this effort. Later, the Freemasons that guided the destiny of the burgeoning republic of the United States looked to Bacon’s vision as an inspiration.

Life in the Philosophic Empire

Perhaps the most fascinating thing about the myth of the Saturnian Golden Age is the idea that Chronos is not really dead, but merely asleep. Supposedly he will one day awaken and return to the Earth to rule over a new Golden Age. As Julius Evola writes in The Mystery of the Grail:

“…according to classical tradition, after having been the lord of this earth, the king of the Golden Age, Kronos-Saturn, was dethroned and castrated… he still lives, though asleep…”

This is part of a recurring theme throughout the myths of the world. It is the legend of “Le Roi du Monde” — the benevolent King of the World who lies in a death-like slumber in a sacred tomb hidden at “the Center of the Earth,” waiting to be discovered by the right person. The body in the coffin has been variously identified as Adam, Osiris, Hermes, Prester John, and even as the female goddess of love, Venus. The tomb is often said to be lit by an “inner sun.”

In Alchemy, the lead or “prima materia” is identified with Kronos and sometimes called the “Black Sun,” or the “hidden stone.” There is a famous alchemical mneumonic maxim hidden in the word “VITRIOL” that reads: “Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultem Lapidem.” This is Latin for “Visit the Center of the Earth. There you will find the hidden stone.” The graves of Hermes Trismegistus and Christian Rosenkreutz, the mythical founder of the Rosicrucian brotherhood, are both said to contain this hidden stone.

V.I.T.R.I.O.L.: The Hidden Stone in the center of the Earth

This corresponds to a folk legend popular amongst the cultures of the Himalayas pertaining to an alleged underground kingdom, populated by a quasi-human race of beings, and lit by a “black sun” that resides at the “center of the Earth.” Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler took this myth seriously, which is why the inner circle of the SS was called the “Black Sun.” They sent out teams of people to scour the Far East looking for the entrance to this hidden kingdom.

To alchemists, however, the black sun was the base matter waiting to be transformed. As Evola writes:

“… In the Hermetic tradition, Saturn-Kronos is the deceased who must be resuscitated; the royal art of the heroes consists in freeing lead from its ‘leprosy,’ namely, from its imperfections and darkness, transforming it into gold, thus actualizing the Mystery of the Stone.”

If we turn our attention now to the European myth of the Holy Grail, a pattern begins to emerge. The Fisher King rules over a hidden dream-like “Otherworld.” Although it was at one time a paradisal garden of delight, full of prosperity, peace, and happiness, it has turned from a dream into a nightmare. The king was wounded in battle, in the thigh, or, in more explicit versions of the tale, in the genitals. The wound festers and will not heal, but keeps the king in a state half-way between life and death. All of the courtiers, too, are in a similar death-like state. Outside of the Grail castle, the crops are failing and all of the people are starving. This is connected, in a metaphysical sense, to the suffering of the king. The kingdom, now called the “Wasteland,” suffers by sympathy.

Amfortas, the wounded Fisher King

The only things that sustains the king and his court is the power of the Holy Grail, which is under his possession. From the Grail they are able to obtain the sustenance that they need, as food regularly comes forth from it each day. The “power” of this Grail food also helps to alleviate the pain of the king’s wound, although that pain gets worse whenever the planet Saturn is ascendant in the heavens. The job of the hero Parzival in the Grail myth is to discover the secret of the Grail and somehow use it to either heal the wound or allow the king to finally die. This then heals the Wasteland by sympathy, and it becomes a thriving peaceful kingdom once again.

Food from the Grail, served by children

The Fisher King clearly represents the castrated Saturn or Chronos, sleeping in his tomb in the center of the Earth, ruling over a hidden kingdom of non-existence, or existence in potentia. I believe this is the same thing represented by the “land of Nod” that Cain was banished to. Likewise, Osiris, who slept in his tomb in a mountain at the center of the Earth, was never really “alive” in the earliest myths. His story begins with that of his wife and son seeking revenge for his death. The Underworld was a fictional bizarre zone of negation, a no-man’s land where the sun went to die each night. Osiris only truly existed when he was “reborn” as his son Horus.

Osiris in his tomb at the center of the Earth, lit by an inner sun

In the bas reliefs discussed by Fulcanelli in The Mystery of the Cathedrals, the alchemists’ athanor is represented by a castle, which he describes as “the occult furnace with two flames — potential and actual…” These perhaps can be viewed as the two opposing states of the alchemical matter: that of the Black Sun — the lead, or “nigrido,” or gold in potentia — and the Golden Sun — the Philosopher’s Stone, the end matter of the work. But the Philosopher’s Stone is hidden in the bowels of the Earth, hidden within the Black Sun or the lead, and must be brought out by the Universal Solvent, just as Zeus brought his siblings, and the Omphalos stone, out from his father’s gullet with the poison coction he served him.

The Nigrido, or Black Sun, from Splendor Solis

Returning to the Grail myth, we should now wonder about what this magical food is which is said to come forth from the Grail to perpetually nourishes the Fisher King, and to keep him in a zombie-like state. It is never said outright, but represented in code in each of the variants of the tale. In some versions, a bleeding lance or sword is seen dripping eternally into the Grail cup. In another, a dove flies down from heaven each day and places a wafer inside of the cup. The wafer then becomes a human child. All of this seems to be indicating something very specific. Considering that the king represents Chronos, and Chronos is famous for eating his own children, it seems to me that we should turn ourselves once again to that topic.

Scene from Parzival, the Grail story

Nicolas Flamel and his wife Perrenella lived next to something called the “Cemetery of the Innocents,” as I mentioned before. According to the aforementioned confessional treatise attributed to Flamel, after they became wealthy through alchemy, they used a great deal of their money for charitable purposes. One of these acts of charity involved rebuilding the entrance to the cemetery.

It was on the archway that Flamel had the seven images from The Book of Abraham the Jew reproduced. These included the image portraying the biblical “Massacre of the Innocents,” which Flamel himself allegedly commented upon as being representative of Saturn devouring his children. The blood of the slain is shown being collected in a barrel. Flamel’s commentary explains, in veiled language, the purpose of this:

“On the last side of the fifth leaf there was a King, with a great Fauchion, who made to be killed in his presence by some Soldiers a great multitude of little Infants, whose Mothers wept at the feet of the unpitiful Soldiers, the blood of which Infants was afterwards by other Soldiers gathered up, and put in a great vessel, wherein the Sun and the Moon came to bathe themselves.”

King and Queen bathing in infants' blood

This image of the Sun and the Moon, or a king and a queen bathing in some liquid coction is found in several other alchemical manuscripts. Apparently there is a representation of the same concept also on the walls of Notre Dame in Paris. Fulcanelli explains the image and its meaning in The Mystery of the Cathedrals, referring to the work of Flamel in the process:

“It synthesises and expresses the condensation of the universal Spirit, which, as soon as it is materialized, forms the famous Bath of the Stars, in which the chemical sun and moon must bathe, change their natures and become rejuvenated. Here we see a child falling from a crucible as large as a jar. This is supported by a standing archangel with a halo and outspread wing, who appears to be striking the innocent. The whole background of the composition is occupied by a night sky studded with stars. We recognize in this subject a very simplified form of the allegory, dear to Nicholas Flamel, of the Massacre of the Innocents…”

The Bath of the Stars at Notre Dame

So what is the substance of this “Bath of the Stars” which rejuvenates those who dip themselves in it? Fulcanelli comes right out and says it:

“Without entering into details of the operative techniques — which no author has dared to do — I will, however, say that the universal Spirit, embodied in minerals under the alchemical name of Sulphur constitutes the principle and the effective agent of all metallic tinctures. But one cannot obtain this Spirit, the red blood of the children, except by decomposing what nature had first assembled in them. It is, therefore, necessary that the body should perish, that it should be crucified and should die, if one wishes to extract the soul, the metallic life and the celestial Dew imprisoned therein. And this quintessence, transfused into a pure, fixed and perfectly digested body, will give birth to a new creature, more splendid than any of those from which it proceeds. The bodies have no action on one another; the spirit alone is active.”

From Rosarium Philosophorium, 1550

So are we literally talking about infanticide and brephophagy (the eating of babies)? I believe that is the prima materia of alchemy, both literally and metaphorically. Flamel, in his commentary, seemed to allude to it, and his allusions hint at a deeply felt guilt about the matter. He stated that while some diabolical alchemists might use the blood of children, he would never do such a thing, and can’t even speak of it for fear that he may inspire others to engage in the process. Says Flamel:

“… because that this History did represent the more part of that of the Innocents slain by Herod, and that in this Book I learned the greatest part of the Art, this was one of the causes why I placed in their Church-yard these Hieroglyphic Symbols of this secret science. And thus you see that which was in the first five leaves. I will not represent unto you that which was written in good and intelligible Latin in all the other written leaves, for God would punish me; because I should commit a greater wickedness than he who (as it is said) wished that all the men of the World had but one head, that he might cut it off with one blow.”

Massacre of the Innocents

Flamel goes on to explain that the first image of the book, showing Saturn cutting off the feet of Mercury, “represented time, which devoured all.” Mercury is of course the universal agent of the alchemical process, the “Argent Vive” (literally “live silver” or quicksilver), of which, he wrote:

“…they could not fix, nor cut off his feet, that is to say, take away his volatility, save by that long decoction in the purest blood of young Infants … I tried a thousand broulleryes, yet never with blood, for that was wicked and villaneous: for I found in my Book that the Philosophers called Blood the mineral spirit which is in the Metals, principally in the Sun, Moon, and Mercury…”

Sun and Moon copulate in bath

Flamel here seems to protest too much. I think he’s actually confessing that the blood of young infants is in fact exactly what he used for his alchemical transmutations. The Cemetery of the Innocents may have been the quarry from which he obtained his hidden stones, for with a name like that it was undoubtedly the local burial ground for young children who died of illness and accidents, or who died in birth, or who miscarried. It would also be the perfect place to bury the unused remains of other infant bodies that Flamel may have had another source for.

The homunculus baby boiling in the athanor

Flamel practiced his alchemical works in secret, but he did not work alone. His partner was his wife Perenella, as he repeatedly stressed in his commentary:

“I may speak it with truth, I have made [the Philosopher’s Stone] three times, with the help of Perenella, who understood it as well as I, because she helped in my operations, and without doubt, if she would have enterprised to have done it alone, she had attained to the end and perfection thereof…”

Nicolas Flamel and his wife Perenella

Many have speculated that alchemy is just a metaphor for sex magic, and that Flamel was practicing tantric sex rites with his wife. It certainly is possible that sex magic was taking place. Sex magic in modern times involves the breeding of “magical children,” and this is usually taken to mean spiritual children. But flesh and blood are believed in all cultures to be a source of spiritual power, particularly that of innocent youth. Perhaps Perrenella’s womb was the original “athanor” of this alchemist.

Sacrifice of the fertilized egg, from Atalanta Fugiens

While publicly the Flamels are said to have died without children, it is quite possible that children were produced, but only as a source of raw materials. Nicolas said that it was because they were without children that they devoted themselves to charity, because “the change of evil into good takes away from him the root of all sin.” Flamel also warns those who would aspire to the Royal Art of alchemy to be humble, “…remembering himself that he learned this secret amongst the bones of the dead, in whose number he shall shortly be found…”

The images on the cemetery archway include several of children being slaughtered, their blood drained into a barrel. One shows gardeners tilling the Earth in a garden that looks like it is really a graveyard, with several fountains erected in the field. It is as though he is depicting people digging up and/or planting the alchemical substance in a graveyard. This would correspond with images in other alchemical texts that show alchemists planting gold coins in a field, with the Sun King and the Moon Queen laying down on the ground as if dead, while an angel nearby blows a horn, calling souls forth from the grave to judgment. Another one of the images from Flamel’s cemetery archway shows a man praying in repentance before an angel with a sword, surrounded by a banner that says “De Le Mala Que Feci”: “Blot out the evils that I have done.”

It takes gold to make gold

It seems from the writings of Flamel and Fulcanelli that they believed blood to contain the essences of each of the seven major metals they were working with. Each one of these metals also corresponded to a planet, and they seemed to be saying in their writings that the spiritual essence of these planets, these “wandering stars” as they were once called, could be brought down into the alchemical mixture of babies blood that they called the “Bath of the Stars.”

There are numerous versions of this image of the “Bath of the Stars” to be found in old alchemical literature. Frequently these pictures include the image of a pelican stabbing it its own breast to obtain blood to feed its young. This isn’t what pelicans actually do, but in medieval times there was a folk legend that they did, so this image was adopted by the Church as a symbol of Christ’s blood sacrifice. It was apparently adopted by alchemists as well for similar reasons. Other images used to represent this part of the process include a lion eating a bleeding sun.

Green lion eating the bleeding Sun

In his book Magic: A History of Its Rites, Rituals, and Mysteries, occultist Eliphas Levi described the mystical properties of blood, and seems to be saying that it is in fact the source of the alchemists’ gold. Referring to the “occult medicine” used by Paracelsus, a famous 16th-century physician and alchemist, Levi writes:

“This truly Universal Medicine is based upon a spacious theory of light, called by adepts fluid or potable gold … light, astralised in the stars, animalised in animals, humanised in human beings; light, which vegetates in plants, glistens in metals … this is that light which exhibits the phenomena of magnetism, divined by Paracelsus, which tinctures the blood, being released from the air as it is inhaled and discharged by the hermetic bellows of the lungs. The blood then becomes a true elixir of life, wherein ruby and magnetic globules of vital light float in a slightly gilded fluid. These globules are actually seeds ready to assume all forms of that world whereof the human body is an abridgement. They can become rarified and coagulated, so renewing the humours which circulate in the nerves and in the flesh encompassing the bones. … Its globules are bisexual, magnetised and metalled, sympathetic and repelling. All forms and images in the world can be evoked from the physical soul of blood.”

Alchemical alembic containing a human hand

The alchemical gold, in addition to making one wealthy, was also said to be a cure-all for disease. Consuming it allegedly made one live forever. And alchemists like the Compte de Saint Germaine were said to have been witnessed appearing at different times and places over the course of several hundred years. Stories like this circulated about the 18th-century figure Johann Conrad Dippel, the alchemist who inspired Mary Shelley’s story of Dr. Frankenstein.

Certainly the concept that drinking blood or bathing in it will bring eternal youth is nothing new. This is of course at the heart of the vampire myth. Elizabeth Bathory, the famous “blood countess” of 16th-century Hungary, was said to have killed up to 600 young virgin girls for the purpose of bathing in their blood, which purportedly gave her skin an eternally youthful appearance. Similar activities took place at the castle of Gilles de Rais, a French army leader who served under Joan of Arc. He purportedly kidnapped, raped, murdered, dismembered, and bathed in the blood of hundreds of children out of a maniacal quest for the Philosopher’s Stone of the alchemists. Eternal youth was one of the objects he hoped to achieve from bathing in the “Fountain of Youth”: the blood of innocents.

The Chemical Wedding in the Fountain of Youth

Benjamin Franklin, in addition to his many other interests, was also a student of metaphysics, and a member of several secret societies, including the debaucherous Hellfire Club. This group was said to practice the “black mass,” a Satanic parody of the Holy Mass of the Church. In it, the rites of the Church were mocked, and an unheavenly host was consumed that supposedly contains, amongst other horrible things, the blood of unbaptized infants.

The Black Mass

In 1998, the Times of London reported that the bones of six children were discovered underneath the floorboards of Franklin’s old home near Trafalgar Square, where he lived while he was ambassador to England. It was during this time that his participation in the Hellfire Club occurred. The skeletons showed that the bodies had been cut up, and some of the skulls had holes drilled into them.

This brings to mind stories I have heard of a mythical substance called “occultum,” described as having all the same properties as the Philosopher’s Stone. This substance allegedly could be obtained from human bones, particularly skulls. However, the “live occultum,” the freshest, most potent kind, supposedly can be obtained from the freshly-harvested pineal glands of live humans. Rumors, probably false, circulate that this is the true secret behind the giant skull collection at the headquarters of the Skull and Bones Society of Yale University. In alchemy, the Prima Materia was frequently symbolized with the image of a “death’s head” (a skull and crossbones).

Consuming human flesh, particularly that of babies or fetuses, for the purposes of obtaining health and vigor is still disturbingly common in the world. It is part of traditional medicine as practiced in some parts of China, where there is an underground market for human fetuses and deceased infants. There is also an endless supply available due to the country’s stringent one-child policy. In Southern Africa, human body parts are referred to as “muti,” and are traded at high value on the black market for use in witchdoctor ceremonies. The most expensive and sought-after parts are the heads and genitals of young children. Virgin’s blood is believed to cure all maladies, including AIDS.

A human baby being prepared for soup in China

But in addition to the fetus or baby, the placenta and other substances that coagulate within the human womb have long been valued by alchemists, magicians, and practitioners of traditional medicine. Here we touch upon a profound mystery. As Malcolm Godwin writes in The Holy Grail: Its Origins, Secrets, and Meaning Revealed:

“At the time when the Grail legends first appeared it was generally accepted that the blood women spilled at the moon was responsible for new birth. Blood which was retained in the womb was believed to coagulate into a child. Even Aristotle claimed that human life is a coagulum of menstrual blood, while the Roman Pliny, author of the encyclopedic Natural History, insisted that it formed the material substance of generation. The curious notion was still taught in European medical schools only two hundred years ago. Far earlier, the ancient Mesopotamian Goddess Ninhusag was said to have created humankind out of clay mixed with her ‘blood of life.’ The Jews, the Muslims and the Christians borrowed this and similar creation myths to form their own. Even the name Adam can be traced to the feminine ‘adamah’ meaning bloody clay.”

This corresponds with the theories of Nicholas de Vere, who writes in his book The Dragon Legacy that the true primal matter of alchemy is menstrual blood. He wrote of a tradition of “Royal Witchcraft,” passed on through aristocratic families going all the way back to the beginning of history, that involves the consumption of menstrual blood and other female substances. This, he says, was called “starfire” by European witches, and was ritually imbibed during secret sexual ceremonies that, according to him, constitute the central mystery of the Western esoteric tradition. This would connect with the “Bath of the Stars,” and the belief seemingly expressed in the alchemical texts that the essences of the stars are drawn down into the bloody mixture. Considering that people at that time believed that the stars ascendant in the heavens could permanently affect the lives of children born under them, this is not such an unusual concept.

The Dew of May -- womb blood -- at St. Chapelle

Royal witches, who came from blueblood stock and believed themselves to be descended from the gods of the ancient world, have purportedly kept the tradition in the family so that the blood consumed would contain the most potent magical essences. De Vere claims that people form certain bloodlines have a greater quantity of certain neurotransmitters and hormones that he believes have an enlightening effect upon the brain, and an enlivening effect upon the body.

In a similar vein, Malcolm Godwin writes about the traditions surrounding the drinking of menstrual blood:

“… In most cultures men view this life-essence with holy dread … But many magical and mystical initiations of the hero, from the Hindus of India to the Norsemen, have the theme of drinking, bathing in or worshiping a vessel filled with the magical stuff in order to transform the initiate. In Greece it was called the supernatural red wine. In India the goddess Kali invited the gods to bathe in and drink in the flow of her womb in order that they might rise blessed to heaven. The Norse God Thor reached the mystical land of enlightenment by bathing in the moon-blood of the Primal Matriarchs. And Soma, the archetypal drink which transforms, heals, and allows glimpses of the Otherworlds, was secreted by the moon-cow. In India the Goddess of Sovereignty, Lakshmi, gave her menstrual blood to Indra, who on drinking it became, like the Goddess, the Mount of Paradise with its many hued rivers… In the north any Celtic king could become immortal by drinking the ‘red sovereignty’ and to be stained red with it signified being chosen as Sovereignty’s consort.”

The queen pours her essence into the fountain

Similar reports are made about the rituals of the Gnostic sects known as the Ophites. As I mentioned previously in this essay series, the Knights Templar were believed by Orientalist scholar Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall to have operated a secret Ophite cult within their inner circle of initiates. Some of the Templar preceptories had rooms with walls on which images of strange sex orgy rituals were depicted. People were shown fornicating in front of their goat-headed demonic idol, Baphomet. This may have been the Templars’ version of the Ophite “Agape” rite, which Saint Epiphanius of Salamis described thusly in the Fourth Century :

“…The wretches mingle with each other and after they have consorted together in passionate debauch the woman and the man take his ejaculation into their hands and offer to the Father, the Primal Being of All Nature, what is on their hands, with the words, ‘We bring to Thee this oblation which is the very body of Christ.’ … They then consume it in shame saying, ‘This is the Body of Christ, the Paschal Sacrifice through which our bodies suffer and are forced to confess to the sufferings of Christ.’ Even when the woman is in her period they offer up her blood in the same fashion.’”

Ophite sex rite with Baphomet, from Templar domains

In his book, The Mystery of Baphomet Revealed, Von Hammer-Purgstall featured a line drawing of an image he had found at a Templar preceptory of a winged goat-demon thought to be Baphomet. On either side of the demon there was an athanor-like or womb-shaped vase. The one on the left had a penis descending into it. The one on the right had a baby emerging from the top.

Image from Templar preceptory

Baphomet’s name, as I mentioned before, has been interpreted to mean “Baptism of Wisdom.” The etymological ancestry of the words “baptism,” “bath,” and “baby” is all entwined. These are also connected with the words “brother,” “brood,” and “breed,” as well as “broth” and “imbibe.” Furthermore, the word “met” is related to words in several languages that mean both “wisdom” or “mind” and “mother.”

So is the Baptism of Wisdom referring to a baptism of blood? Specifically, one of menstrual blood, sacrificed babies’ blood, and/or afterbirth? According to Nicholas de Vere, all of the above are true. Also, at least one modern Templar order, out of Germany, is known to still perform rituals to Baphomet in which the goat-demon is referred to with the name “Mother of Blood.”

Divine brephophagy in the orient

Even Aleister Crowley, who took on the title of “Baphomet” as the high priest of his own sex magic cult, said that the best blood to use for communion rituals was that “of the moon, monthly,” followed by “the fresh blood of a young child.” He wrote of sex magic rituals in his Book of the Sangreal, likening it to the creation of the Holy Grail, and to alchemy. The end result of the rite was the creation of the “Elixir of Life,” made from the mixture of male and female fluids, which he described as the red and white “tinctures.” He also likened them to the Sun and the Moon, and to gold and silver. These are all terms he borrowed from the vocabulary of alchemy.

As gory as all of this is, the truth is that it is no different than what the earliest Christians in Rome were accused by their detractors of doing. For the “agape” ritual was not just confined to the Ophites, but was practiced by many Gnostic sects, some Christian and some not. Clement of Alexandria said that Gnostics ate fetuses for Passover and consumed menstrual blood with semen for their Eucharist. These stories were the cause of many rumors and accusations that this was what the Christian communion rite consisted of. Apologists had to constantly explain that Jesus was being metaphorical when he told his followers to “Eat of my flesh and drink of my blood.”

Is this, then the secret of the “fruit of the Tree of Knowledge” which Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat? It certainly could be, especially if we interpret this symbol as referring to carnal knowledge and procreation. After eating the fruit, Adam and Eve realize they are naked. They are cast out of the Garden. Then they “know” each other carnally and Eve becomes pregnant. They have two children, but one of them is killed and the other one disappears. Noteworthy, perhaps, is the frequent depiction in alchemy books showing trees and bushes with fruits or flowers on them that look like the heads of small children. (Often they are made in the likeness of little sun faces or moon faces, which could indicate male and female infants.)

The Divine Androgyne, next to a tree of baby heads

In the 1960s, neo-pagan feminist Merlin Stone published the book When God Was a Woman. In it she proposed the theory that a primordial goddess figure was at one time the main deity worshipped in the ancient world. She was remembered and worshipped by various cultures as Inanna, Ishtar, Isis, Venus, Aphrodite, and Astarte. She was viewed simultaneously as a harlot and as a virgin, a mother, a lover, and a young maid. She was also a goddess of wisdom, just like the later figures of Athena in Greece, the Gnostic Sophia, and the Semitic demoness Lilith were also viewed. She was frequently shown with an owl as a companion or familiar spirit.

The ancient goddess

Ms. Stone argued that the earliest civilizations were dominated by a matriarchal culture at one point that worshipped this goddess. Women were in control of their own lives economically, she said, and were able to engage in whatever business they chose. The kings who ruled the various city-states of Mesopotamia at that time she described as merely the husbands of the queens who, as representatives of the goddess, were truly in charge.

Piecing together various goddess myths, Ms. Stone was able to decode the basics of the original legend that they were all based on. As the story goes, the goddess married her own son when he was very young, probably still a child. Later she had him killed in a fit of narcissistic rage because he had disrespected her in some way. Afterwards she mourned his death with much weeping, but the story got changed over time so that someone else was to blame for his death.

Goddess holding her son

Stone believed that in the earliest times, queens ruled and passed on their birthright to the next generation, but that kings were temporary. This was indeed something practiced by many Neolithic cultures, and is discussed most thoroughly in Sir James Frazer’s book The Golden Bough. Frequently the king was a lad, much younger than the queen, and he would be sacrificed shortly after the wedding, sometimes a few days later, sometimes a few years later. He was immediately replaced by another young man who was made to play the same role. This was done as a fertility rite, and in ritual remembrance of the original relationship between the goddess and her husband/son.

It was ultimately this same goddess who was worshipped through the practice of sacred prostitution that I described in Part II of this series. As I stated earlier, the origin of coin money can be traced back to this practice, specifically to the shekel coin that was minted for the men in the congregation to use as payment for the sexual services of the priestesses. In the beginning, it was merely a token to represent the bushel of wheat that they had already given the temple as a standard offering. It was probably from the fruit of these unions with the temple prostitutes that the temporary kings were taken.

At some point, though, as Merlin Stone explained, the goddess cult and culture was overthrown by a patriarchy that worshipped a male god. She described a possible foreign invasion from the north, perhaps coupled with an internal revolt by a prince who did not wish to be merely a “temporary” king. One of the supplanting male gods was Baal-Molech, who was seen by the Greeks as analogous to Chronos.

Baby sacrifice in the ancient world

“Baal” means “husband,” and his marriage to Astarte was, according to Stone, the original source of his divinity. He too had a myth about being slain, and the goddess mourning his death. It was to him that babies were sacrificed in the fiery belly of the Moloch oven, built in the shape of a bull. Interestingly, Sumeriologist L.A. Waddell believed that the Biblical figure of Abel was the same as the Babylonian figure of Baal. If this were true, it would certainly lend credence to the idea and the story of Cain murdering Abel is a cover-up for a story of children sacrificed by one or both their parents.

Perhaps this is what is at the heart of the myth of Chronos killing his father, taking the throne, and then eating his own children. Perhaps it describes a revolution of this sort by a son of the royal court who refused to be sacrificed in honor of the goddess. After achieving victory over his elders, he may have demanded that the first-born of each house be sacrificed in order to eliminate potential political rivals with royal birthrights and loyalty to the goddess cult.

Statue of Saturn

One of the popular cults that existed contemporary with early Christianity was that of Mithras Sol Invictus. It was a solar cult with many mythological, theological, symbological, and ritual similarities to Christianity. Emperor Constantine himself, who made Christianity the official religion of Rome, was said to have been a member of the Sol Invictus cult until the day he died.

Mithras slaying the bull

Mithras allegedly was born from a rock, and created the world from the blood of a bull that he slew. Afterwards, the Sun god descended from Heaven to eat the bull meat with him. From that moment on, the two became one, the Father and Son. This concept influenced the later development of the Christian trinity. In the rites of Mithras, his followers would sacrifice bulls, then revel and bath in the entrails as a baptism of blood. Afterwards they would eat the flesh together as a form of communion. This may be related to the Christian concept that sin can be “washed away” with the blood of a sacrificial victim.

Blood is drained from bull into barrel as Mithras points his caduceus wand at it

It also seems possible that this myth of slaying the bull was in some sense a racial memory of the slaying of Baal. Perhaps also, the murder of Baal was in some way being paid homage to by the sacrifice of babies in the Moloch oven. According to Julius Evola, the Knights Templar were accused of making similar offerings to Baphomet. Apostate knights confessed to their inquisitors that they “used to burn before their idol the children that they begat in sin. All this probably amounted to a ‘baptism of fire’ …”

European witches were often targeted with accusations from Christians of a similar nature about what went on at their supposed “witch’s sabbath.” So it is interesting to note that the stereotyped “witch’s brew” steaming in the cauldron in children’s fairy tales often was said to include the bodies of children. The modern Hebrew translation of “sabbath” is “day of rest,” and it is not unrelated to the concept of refreshment through bathing. Even in modern parlance, the word “bathroom” and “restroom” are used interchangeably. This may be because, until recent times, people rarely bathed. In societies where they did regularly bathe, it was usually a once-a-week occurrence that was scheduled for Saturday, just as the modern sabbath, Sunday, is laundry day now in many households. In Scandinavian countries, the word for Saturday is “lordag,” or something like it, meaning, literally, “bath day.”

Witch cauldron

As sick as it may seem, those practicing child sacrifice may have been under the impression that they were raising the child up to a higher level of being, just as the alchemist dissolves the prima materia and cooks it, by degrees, through various processes, until it is perfected as the Philosopher’s Stone. One bizarre and disturbing aspect of the myth of the harvest goddess, Demeter, seems to indicate that this was a belief that at least some people had in the ancient world.

As the story goes, Demeter, disguised as an old woman, was searching the Earth for her lost daughter, Persephone, who, unbeknownst to her, had been kidnapped and taken to the underworld. Along the way she came to Eleusis, and was taken in by the household of King Keleos. She was put in charge of babysitting the king’s infant son, who she became so smitten by the boy that she decided she was going to make him immortal.

She went about this by feeding him ambrosia each evening, and then roasting him slowly every night on the hearth. As each day went by, a little bit more of his mortality burned away. Eventually he would have become a god, just like the Philosopher’s Stone might be created from lead through repeated distillations. Unfortunately for Demeter, the process was intercepted by the queen, who was horrified to find her son roasting alive on the coals.


Perhaps this connects with the myth of the phoenix, the sacred bird of Phoenicia, where Baal-Molech was worshipped. The phoenix allegedly descends from Heaven down to the “firestone” and is burned to ashes. But then, by virtue of the stone, a new egg is formed out of the ashes, and from it the phoenix is born again. Similarly, in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s version of the Grail myth, the Holy Grail is the firestone. As Malcolm Godwin sums it up:

“The hermit tells Parzival that many Templars abide with the Grail in Montsalveshe. They live by the virtue of a stone called lapis exilis. By the power of the stone the phoenix is burned to ashes, but the ashes restore it to life more beautiful than before. The stone nourishes, restores and promotes youth… lapis exilis derives from lapis exilii, which means The Stone of Death …”

The etymology of “Holy Grail,” called in French the “Sangreal,” is one of contention, and many believe it was a play on the French words “Sang Real,” meaning “royal blood.” Another argument that has been made is that “greal” comes from the French “gradale,” a dish used for serving a meal with several courses. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, this French word is also related to the words “griddle,” “gridiron,” and “grill.” In other words, we are talking about cooking something over an open flame through a succession of processes.

As for the alchemists, however, they cooked their babies in the athanor, a word which literally means “digesting furnace.” The most commonly-used athanor was the “balneaum marie,” (now known commonly as the “bain-marie”), a double-boiler invented by Maria Prophetessa. Sometimes called “Mary the Jewess”, she was one of history’s most influential alchemists, active during the second century. The name of the object comes from “balineum,” the Latin word for “bath” or “bathhouse.”

Homunculus boiling in balneum marie

Mary the Jewess was said by some to be an incarnation of Miriam, the sister of Moses, about whom there is a legend that Hermes gave her the Emerald Tablet for safekeeping. Others relate her in some metaphysical sense to Mary Magdalene, who famously transformed a white egg into a red egg as part of a miracle she performed for the Emperor Titus. Mary Magdalene, of course, has been interpreted by some as the living “Holy Grail,” as they believe she carried the sacred royal blood of Jesus in her womb.

Mary the Jewess wrote a poem describing the alchemical process that became known as “Mary’s Cry.” It states: “One becomes Two; Two becomes Three; and out of the third, comes the One as the Fourth.” Alchemy consists of a series of unions, births, deaths, and rebirths. This procreation and sacrifice symbolism is central to the whole art. The image of a baby, the alchemical homunculus, or “little man,” boiling in the upper chamber of the balneum marie is one of the most commonly reproduced among the alchemical manuscripts. At a certain stage in the process, called the “red stone” or “the reddening,” the child is referred to as the “red baby” or the “red man.” This brings to mind a newborn or fetus covered with afterbirth, as well as a child whose skin has been made red by being cooked over a flame.

The Red man, from Splendor Solis

Other aspects of the alchemical process, as described allegorically in the old manuscripts, match up quite handily with the old pagan fertility rituals recreating the goddess’ marriage to, and then murder of, her son, the dying and reborn Sun god. Almost always, the process is described as involving a “chemical wedding” of the “king and the queen,” or “the sun and the moon.” The moon is associated traditionally with silver, and is considered female, related to procreation. Meanwhile, the Sun is equated with gold, masculinity, and semen. Sometimes the king and the queen are said to represent sulphur and mercury. At any rate, shortly after the “wedding,” the king is sacrificed, and his body dissolved.

Cooking of the King

In Fulcanelli’s book, there is a photograph of a relief on the central porch of Notre Dame in Paris, which the author labels “The Queen Kicks Down Mercury, Servus Fugitivus.” Within the text he provides a more complete description of it: “… a queen seated on a throne kicks over the servant, who comes with a cup in his hand to offer her his services.” This could just as easily be a depiction of the goddess of the ancient world abusing her young husband, who was in reality her sex slave. “Servus Fugitivus” means “runaway slave.”

The Servus Fugitivas at Notre Dame

Matheus Franciscus Maria van den Berk wrote about this concept in his alchemical analysis of Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute. He said that Mercury was the “Universal Agent,” whose “blood” was used as a solvent to “wash” gold from out of the dross of other metals, and was also viewed as a coagulant that could unite elements to turn them into gold. (Alchemists thought this was possible only because, in their view, Mercury contained within himself both lunar and solar essences, and was thus naturally hermaphroditic. Because of his work as a mediator, Mercury was viewed as a slave by alchemists, and was literally called a “Servator,” a term now used by ceremonial magicians to refer to demons that can be captured and bound to serve the master’s wishes, the proverbial “genie in a bottle.”

King and Queen in the Fountain of Youth

Likewise, in keeping with Mercury’s reputation as a trickster God, alchemists were warned that the philosophic mercury needs to be somehow imprisoned or kept on a leash. As 17th century alchemist Eirenaeus Philalethes put it: “You must be very way how you lead him, for if he can find an opportunity he will give you the slip, and leave you to a world of misfortune.” Mercury was described in terms very similar to that of the devil. This makes sense when you consider that the earlier, Greek legends of this god as Hermes depict a man that was half-goat and looked very much like the modern conception of Satan. The admonition to alchemists about the importance of imprisoning Mercury could be a warning to trap the mercury vapors that are emitted during the process, rather than breathing them in, which famously causes madness.

This was done via the “Vas Hermeticum,” or vase of Hermes, closed air-tight, to prevent mercury leakage (which is the actual origin of the term “hermetically sealed.”) This was part of what was called “fixing” the Mercury, and this is the practical reason why Chronos is shown in the manuscripts chopping off Mercury’s feet: to prevent his escape. As van den Berk notes, alchemy involves breaking these substances down into their base components, which he believes is the reason for the profusion of alchemical images depicting violent death and dismemberment. “The substance must fall apart completely, be smelted and die in order to be fertile again afterwards. Especially Mercury needed to be tortured.”

Dismemberment of the body, from Splendor Solis

It is important to realize that there are many layers of meaning to each alchemical symbol, and even when different interpretations seem to conflict, upon reflection is is usually discovered that they complement each other. “Alchemy” is really a term that describes the process of creation and transformation in general. It is the way that a baby is made, the way God formed the universe, as well as the way enlightenment is achieved, and it can be used for many other purposes as well. Ultimately the “prima materia” of creation can be found anywhere, and the Philosopher’s Stone can be made from anything, because of the primal transcendental spiritual power that connects every particle in the universe. The Emerald Tablet of Hermes refers to this as the “One Thing,” and says of it:

“Its parents are the Sun and the Moon. The Wind caries it in its belly; Its nurse is the Earth. … In this was was the Universe created. From this comes many wondrous applications, because this is the pattern.”

The One Thing

The practice of Taoism, which has been called “Chinese alchemy,” revolves around this concept of the “One Thing” that is within all and has the power to transform all. The Taoist text The Secret of the Golden Flower speaks of an “immortal spirit-body” of gold formed in the “germinal vesicle” of the solar plexus through the meditation by cultivating one’s chi, astral light, or vital fluids within the body. Eventually this body crystallizes and becomes a perfected, independent being, a little man (just like an alchemical homunculus) which will live forever after you die. In so doing, he will release you from the obligation to incarnate into future births.

The immortal spirit-body, from Secret of the Golden Flower

The recommended method of achieving this, according to The Secret of the Golden Flower, is to mentally reverse the flow of energy going out of your body, and force it to circulate back inward. This is related to the concept of Tantric sex magic, in which the “golden” essences of the sperm are retained within. The thought that this would somehow form a baby, spiritual or otherwise, within the man’s own body may be related to the ancient concept that there was actually a homunculus, fully formed but smaller, inside of each sperm. (This was of course conceived back when sperm could not even be seen with microscopes and were merely theoretical.) By following this logic to its natural conclusion, those spermatic homunculi might also contain within them the spiritual essence of all of their potential descendants. So by retaining the sperm within, you are keeping all of that spiritual power for yourself by preventing others from being born.

The germinal vesicle, from Secret of the Golden Flower

Conversely, in the world-view of European alchemists, if you choose to deposit that little bit of gold (associated with the sun) into the womb of a woman (associated with the moon, and thus with silver), it coagulates into a baby, the Philsopher’s Gold or Stone. As they say, “it takes gold to make gold.” The golden homunculus in the sperm is turned into a golden child through the alchemical process of gestation. Eating that child after it is produced would then have a similar, but more potent effect on the practitioner as compared to someone practicing Tantra, or Taoist meditation ala the Golden Flower.

Homunculi trapped in sperm

Knowledge of these secrets brings new meaning to some of the memes of modern pop culture. For instance, in the earliest episodes of “The Smurfs,” Gargamel is an alchemist on the quest to create the Philsopher’s Stone through ritual magic. According to the magical grimoire he uses, the secret of alchemy is to find these miniature people called “Smurfs” who live in the forest, and through arcane processes, transform them into gold. Prior to the invention of Smurfette, the Smurfs were originally asexual, just like the alchemical homunculus is often an androgyne. In later episodes, Gargamel’s goal is to eat the Smurfs, and whenever he manages to catch them, he always attempts to boil them alive in his witch’s cauldron.

Gargamel using smurfs for alchemy

So would people in medieval times have sacrificed their own children, or even those of others, for the selfish goal of manufacturing gold or obtaining eternal youth? They certainly would, and indeed, they would sacrifice their children for much lesser goals as well. Children, up until modern times, were merely disposable resources to be used by their parents, or by other adults in the community who had authority over them. An excellent free resource on this subject is The Origins of War in Child Abuse by Lloyd de Mause, in particular chapter 8, entitled “Infanticide, Child Rape and War in Early States.” Here are some vivid descriptions of what life used to be like for the most innocent members of society:

Mothers are usually described by witnesses as being furious, out of control, ‘fierce and eager upon the child, striking, flinging, kicking it, as the usual manner is.’ Most children in antiquity would have agreed with Xinophon who said he would ‘rather bear a wild beast’s brutality than that of his mother.’ Mothers would dress up as monster dummies and terrorize their children, saying they were ghosts/Lamias who would eat them up. Ovid describes how children were often terrorized by saying they would at night be eaten by witches, strigae….

Most children in antiquity would … have watched their mothers drown, suffocate and stab their siblings to death. Mothers often simply gave birth to their babies in the privy, smashed their heads in and treated the birth as an evacuation. Romans reported watching hundreds of mothers throwing their newborn into the Tiber every morning. So many infants were killed that even though mothers had eight or more babies the populations of antiquity regularly decreased. … Children playing in dung heaps, rivers and cess trenches would find hundreds of dead babies, ‘a prey for birds, food for wild beasts to rend’ (Euripides). Those few exposed children who were rescued were raised as slaves or prostitutes…

In antiquity, since ‘women were an alien and inferior species,’ sex with wives was a rare duty engaged in mainly to provide offspring, and men were addicted to raping young children, both boys and girls, in order to prove their virility and dominance. Their rapes were almost always agreed to by their parents, who often pimped their children and slaves for a price, rented them out to neighbors as servants to be raped, sold their virgin daughters for marriage for fifty pieces of silver, gave their children to pedagogues for sexual use, made their children serve at their banquets so they could be raped after dinner, went to war in order to rape the children of enemies, and handed over their children to the brothels, bath-houses and temples that could be found in any city of antiquity. Physicians advocated the rape of children as a way to overcome depression and as a cure for venereal disease. … Parents taught their children that ‘the teacher’s thrusting his penis between his thighs or in his anus is the fee which the pupil pays for good teaching’…

Parents in early ancient states proudly sacrificed their children to avenging deities. As I have documented in detail: ‘Child sacrifice was the foundation of all great religions.’ Maccoby’s book, The Sacred Executioner, portrays the entire history of religion as based upon a vengeful, bloodthirsty executioner with a child figure, from Isaac to Christ, being killed for the sins of others. Mass burials of thousands of sacrificed infants have been discovered in early states from Germany and France to Carthage, where archaeologists found one cemetery filled with over 20,000 urns containing bones of children sacrificed by their parents, who would kill them if the gods would grant the parents a favor—like if their shipment of goods were to arrive safely. As Quintilian said, ‘To put one’s own children to death is at times the noblest of deeds.’

… Sacrifices are always necessary whenever independence and success is achieved and the avenging Killer Mother goddess must be placated. Even when people built new buildings or bridges, little children were usually sealed in them alive as ‘foundation sacrifices’ to ward off the avenging maternal spirits who resent the hubris of building the structure. Not even ancient Greeks could dispense with human sacrifices; early reports of burning and eating of children in human sacrifices were followed in classical Athens by the practice of keeping victims called Pharmakoi who were ritually stoned to death as scapegoats for the sins of others.

This, then, is the past from which we have supposedly “evolved” into a civilized society, where child abuse and rape, while still quite common, is at the very least frowned upon, and in some cases punishable by law. But the notion that true power lies in the sacrifice of one’s own child is still at the heart of our religions and our public institutions. It is one of the most closely-guarded hidden truths of the ancient mystery schools, the ceremonial magicians, the alchemists, the Rosicrucians, and other secret societies.

The sport of the ancient world

The truth is that, at the very foundation of our modern systems of government, which are controlled by banking and finance, there lies a terrible secret that is in fact the cornerstone of the whole edifice: a child sacrificed to appease the spirits of the otherworld, in order to acquire wealth and accomplish great achievements. Modern particle physicists who have succeeded in increasing the mass of a particle in a vacuum theorized that maybe the extra mass was obtained from the future through inter-dimensional time travel. The alchemical production of money (artificial gold) by the banking system, seemingly out of nothing, is actually based upon the use of youth, and future progeny, as resource material to create wealth that can be enjoyed today by their parents. More importantly, that wealth can then be taken by the people whom those parents are obliged to serve.

A perfect metaphor for how the this works can be found in the fairy tale Rumplestiltskin. A young girl’s father brags to the king that his daughter has the ability to spin straw into gold. The king then demands that she do it for him, and so her father puts her in a room with a spinning wheel and demands that she somehow produce gold. In her despair, the girl is contacted by a “little man” (clearly a demon) who promises to spin the gold for her if she promises him her first-born child.

Rumplestiltskin spinning the gold

This is similar to how the state enslaves humanity by demanding taxes that are impossible to pay with the money we presently have. So the demand gets passed down the line to future generations. The state (represented by the king) demands an impossible payment of gold from one of his subjects. That subject then presses his young daughter into servitude, demanding that she figure out some way to produce this gold, magically. This requires her to sacrifice her first-born child to a demon.

In the story of Hansel and Gretel, children are kidnapped by a witch who fattens them up for weeks in a cage, and then tries to cook them in an oven. This happens after their parents abandon them in the woods because it is too expensive to feed them. Realizing their fate, the children work together to outwit the witch, and shove her in the oven instead. After the children kill the witch, they return home to discover that their mother has died while they were gone. This leads many analysts to believe that the witch was really the mother all along.

Gretel pushes the witch into the oven

What we find when we examine mythology, religious traditions, folk legends, and mystical teachings is a recurring theme of the ruling class sacrificing their own children in order to obtain or retain youth, wealth and power. They are also shown forcing the underclass of society to sacrifice their children to the god and or goddess of the state, so that the rulers can steal whatever is benefitted therefrom.

The foundation of modern society

In fact, we find that the underclass are, in some societies, really the descendants of elders from past generations who sacrificed their children by selling them into slavery. This sacrifice can also take the form of enslavement and/or abandonment to the “wilderness,” as in the story of the Scapegoat, and the exile of Ishmael. Eventually the abused children rebel against their parents, ally with their enemies, overthrow them through warfare, and then immediately create a slave class of their own to abuse, so that they can stay in power.

Just look at the story of the Annunaki gods of Sumer. They were said to have created humans beings as a slave race by interbreeding with lower primates. One of the activities their slaves engaged in, interestingly, was mining, something that children in particular have always been recruited for, because they can fit in tiny spaces. The Annunaki then continued to interbreed with select humans over generations to create a race of kings and queens more closely allied genetically with their own race. These were bred to rule over the lesser humans, and to do some of the more skilled tasks.

The Annunaki creating man for slavery

Is this perhaps how the “Golden Age” of Saturn or Chronos was maintained: through the enslavement and sacrifice of the youth? Is this a memory of a time when nobody had to work because they had somebody to do it for them. No laws were necessary because they were free to take out their aggressions on those who were weaker. Perhaps the rulers never grew old because they could always bath in the fountain of youth, filled with the blood of infants.

This could be why Saturn is remembered as the personification of death. Maybe this is why he is shown by Nicolas Flamel as having hobbled the flight-footed young Mercury with the swing of his blade. It was to keep the young man from trying to get away, because Mercury was his slave. He needed Mercury to make the gold.

This could also explain the famous Cremation of Care ritual performed each year at the Bohemian Grove summer encampment in Northern California. This is a secret club to which many of the most powerful people in the United States belong. At the ritual, which takes place on the traditional pagan feast day of Midsummer, a mock baby sacrifice is performed with a bundle of sticks, which is thrown into a fire in front of a depiction of a giant owl.

The Cremation of Care

This ritual has rightly been compared by outsiders with the sacrifice of infants to Baal-Molech, especially since the owl, like Baal, was the companion of Astoreth, the baby-killing goddess. Most telling, however, is the name given to the sacrificial victim, which also provides the name of the ritual. It is called “Dull Care.” The participants are casting aside all of their worldly concerns. Through the sacrifice of the youth of others, they can relax now. As the ritual states: “Midsummer sets us free.”

To learn more about alchemy and economics, buy the book Money Grows on the Tree of Knowledge, by Tracy R. Twyman:

This book is printed in an exclusive limited edition of 200 hand-numbered copies autographed by the author, and comes with a DVD with the first 26 episodes of Tracy R. Twyman’s notorious podcast about esoteric economics and psycho-politics, The Invisible Hand, compiled in a DVD in mp3 format. SHIPPING IS FREE TO THE US AND CANADA, $7 to all other countries. BUY IT HERE.

Comments are closed.