Archive for the ‘Occult’ Category

As Above So Below

Posted: September 28, 2013 by phaedrap1 in Occult, Spirituality
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The 13 Crystal Skulls

Posted: September 7, 2013 by phaedrap1 in Conspiracy, Occult

One of the most compelling mysteries of all time is the conspiracy of the 13 Crystal Skulls.. Many of these skulls have been found around the world and near many mysterious places including the Great Pyramids and the Stonehenge… Many people think these skulls are believed to between 5000 and 35,000 years old… Some people “think” these skulls posses magical powers and healing properties but no one knows where they came from or why they even exist! There are many theories; that they came from the lost city of Atlantis or from the Mayan civilization… The most weird theory is that they can be used to see into the past and even the future!

Historians have found a story which mentions these 13 crystal skulls, and it comes from an Indian legend which claims that these were property of the Goddess of Death. They had to protect these skulls from pagan priests and warriors..But many people have claimed that they have found a crystal skull but many turned out to be a complete fake! Most of these skull collections are privately owned in the USA, Mexico, Brazil, France, Mongolia and in Tibet.. Most of these skulls are not in perfect condition but the most famous one of all is the Mitchell-Hedges Skull which is one of the several in existence today… Most recently a skull was found on March 9th in Germany… This is why I’m sharing this conspiracy with everyone.. Read more information below!

The Mitchell-Hedges Skull

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos This skull was found by a famous English Archeologist F. Albert Mitchell-Hedges in Central America in 1927.. He was clearing out an ancient Maya settlement in Yucatan in 1924 and he burned the forest down to make the dig easier.. Now after the smoke cleared he saw amazing ruins of stone pyramids, and a ancient city, called Lubaantun.(The Place of the Fallen Stones) Now three years later he organized another expedition with his daughter Anna.. It was her 17th birthday (On April 1927) She discovered a strange item under the debris; it was the polished rock crystal skull.. The skull was not complete it was missing the lower jaw but that was found three months later buried a couple meters below the surface… They claimed that when they touched the skull they had strange feelings..

That was the story was later labeled as a “fake” and there has been documents that verify that it was purchased by Mitchell-Hedges as a auction in Sothebys in London..(1943) Today it’s still in the hands of the family (Anna Mitchell-Hedges) and you can view it at her house in Canada.. She claims that when it’s in the same room with her while sleeping she has really vivid dreams about the life of Indians that lived thousands of years ago…She never mentions a connection between the skull and these weird experiences… This is not the only weird thing that happened; over the years she has told many stories that have some serious historical evidence that scientists can’t even explain..

After her father died (1960′s) she decided to give the skull to scientists for a investigation.. She believed that it was too “perfect” for the Indian civilizations to make…The first person to investigate the skull was Frank Dordland and after taking a look at it; He discovered that it has a complicated system of lenses, prisms and channels producing unusual optical effects.. There was no signs of processing, it was completely perfect and he even contacted a company famous for crystal oscillators and they said it was unbelievable that someone made this skull.. So who or what made this skull?

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos The results from HP were shocking and it was found that it was made long before the first civilization that appeared in America, where the skull was found! The quality of the crystal was amazing; nothing we ever seen before! The skull was 5.13 kg, 203.4 mm long and 125.4 wide.. After very close analysis they found that it was three or four joints grown together. It has a hardness slightly lower than topaz, and a diamond but was cut with diamonds.. It so crazy how these ancient civilizations made this skull so perfectly! There also was a prism that was found at the back/bottom of the skull:Any ray of light strikes the eye-sockets is reflected and if you look into the eyes you will see the entire room reflected.. They all say that it was made regardless of all laws and rules.. Here is what they said: “The damned thing can’t exist at all. Those who had done it had no idea of crystallography or of fiber optics. The people completely ignored the axis of symmetry, which was to prevent the crystal from splitting during processing. It is strange why it didn’t split at that!”

So it was carved against the natural axis of the crystal but many sculptors today take the axis into account because if you carve against the grain it was most likely shatter! Even when using high-tech cutting methods… There was no microscopic scratches which would indicate that they were carved with metal instruments.. The theory is that it was hewn out with diamonds and with the use of sand and water.. Its thought that it would of taken over 300 years to complete this one skull! We might never know the right answer to this mysterious skull but Ill include the other stories below!

British Crystal Skull and Paris Crystal Skull

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Here is a pair of similar skulls known as the Paris Crystal Skull and British Crystal Skull and both were bought by mercenaries in Mexico in 1890s… Some people claim that one of them was copied off the other that’s why they are identical. In comparison to the Mitchell-Hedges skull it’s made of “cloudier” crystal and are not finely sculpted.. The British Skull is on display at London’s Museum of Mankind and the The Paris Skull is on display at the Trocadero Museum of Paris…

Mayan Crystal Skull and Amethyst Skull

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos Both of these were discovered in the early 20th century in Guatemala and Mexico.. They were brought to the US by a Mayan Priest.. The Amethyst Skull is made of purple quartz and the Mayan skull is clear.. And these two skulls are alike and very similar to the Mitchell-Hedges skull. It was also studied by HP and was found to be cut on the axis.. Someone is going through so much trouble to make these skulls. So what the is purpose or the meaning behind them? We need more scientific evidence about these skulls and who made them! Are they connected to our higher enlightenment or a dooms-day theory? Could they have been created by Extraterrestrial beings? Could they be ancient computers? They have been claimed a powerful tool for healing the body, mind, and spirit but these are not all the skulls.. I’ll include the rest of the skulls below! Keep reading more more great information on this conspiracy!

Texas Crystal Skull (A.K.A. MAX)

In the early 1980s a “human sized” quartz crystal skull surfaced in Texas. It was first owned by Norbu Chen, a Tibetan Healer… It was later given to Carl and Jo Ann Parks as a payment for debt. It was stored in their home in Texas for over seven years and she later realized it was an important artifact after watching a documentary on TV.. She later called the person she acquired it from and he told her that the skull was indeed authentic.. She was later told that the name of; Max. It’s a single clear piece of crystal weighing 18 pounds! The origin is believed to be from Guatemala… You can see this skull in various exhibitions across the United States today..

ET Skull

Also found in the 1980s, by Joke Van Dieten Maasland who resides in Miami Beach, Florida.. He bought this smokey quartz skull from a dealer in Los Angeles.. It was first owned by a family in Guatemala which found it in 1906 while excavating a Mayan Temple.. Joke states that it helped her in healing a brain tumor. She shares her story in her book called the Messengers of Ancient Wisdom! The ET skull is a smoky quartz and it gets it’s name from the pointed cranium and exaggerated overbite.. She also brings the skull to many different places to “share” the healing powers, that she believes it possess..

Rose Quartz Crystal Skull

The only skull that comes the closest to resembling the Mitchell-Hedges Skull.. It was found near the border of Honduras and Guatemala..It’s slightly larger than the Mitchell-Hedges and it’s not clear in color.. It’s the same high quality craftsmanship but it includes a removable mandible!

Aztec Skulls

The Aztec Skull is located in the Museum of Man in London and is no longer on display.. The reason why is that the skull moves on it’s own in the glass container.. Many workers were “scared” of this skull and they demanded that it would be covered with a cloth at night in order to clean up the area around it…This has been confirmed by the museum personnel and visitors.. It was bought by the museum at the turn of the century by a dealer in New York.

The Paris Museum of Man also contains another called the Aztec Skull which also is no longer on display.. These skulls were much smaller than the Mitchell-Hedges Skull and not as perfect..So why are some of these skulls more perfect than others? Could they be fake? Or are they made by all different people?

Sha-Na-Ra, Jaguar Man and the Rainbow Skull

Now on this website he states that when he was on a lecture tour in Mexico.. He was invited to function which had several crystal carved objects from this ancient city.. There was two different crystal skulls one owned by Nocerino.. The weight of this one is about 13 pounds and 3 ounces and both are carved out of clear quartz. Nocerino calls the skull Sha-Na-Ra in memory of Shaman Healer..The second one is owned by Dael Walker who is a well known crystal researcher and an author of several crystal healing books.. It’s smaller than the other and it weights about 9 pounds..The reason he calls it the Rainbow of Colors is because of what the skull does when it’s in natural light! There was much more artifacts that were found including several smaller carved skulls, half skuls which were hollow and a thing called “The Jaguar Man..” It’s five inches high, two inches in diameter and carved of quartz crystal. It depicts a head of a Jaguar with the head of a man in it’s mouth. The piece is currently owned by Charles C. Pelton (Founder of Paranormal Research) and currently is undergoing serious research..

They Just Found The 13th Crystal Skull!!!

Found recently in Germany! On March 9th 2011! I have to translate the link for everyone…
As the magazine “Mysteries” reports, was the Swiss journalist Luc Bürgin skull (12 kilograms, up 17.5 centimeters, 21 centimeters deep) in the attic of his Bavarian informants – hidden in an old wooden box. “A custom-made, which in turn was located in an old, worn-out leather knapsack.”

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This discovery enables historians in an uproar! For centuries give the mysterious skull of riddles.

Twelve of these crystal skulls are known, this would now be the secret thirteenth. Apparently they are from the remains of the civilizations of Central and South America, where the priests of the Maya or Aztecs with them religious rituals performed. According to legend, all 13 together on 21 December 2012, when the Mayan calendar ends and will go under the world, create a new age of light and prevent the apocalypse.

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On the unknown, four-page paper to find 35 valuable art treasures, by order of the top Nazi leadership of Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler shortly before the end of Augsburg in the south Bohemian Strakonice (Sudetenland) should be transported. Including Item 14: The Crystal Skull. “263-2 FRSs collection Rahn, No. 25 592, leather case, crystal skull, colonies, South America.”

According to list skull belonged to the former the researcher Otto Rahn, of the Nazis on a quest for the Holy Grail went for, and in 1939 under mysterious circumstances, was killed. And the inventory number 25 592 on the list was also on the wooden box. If the skull that the informant allegedly bought three years ago, “the price of a sandwich,” Now the real question is that; is it actually real?

Close Encounters Of The Black-Eyed Kind Part 1

Posted: August 25, 2013 by phaedrap1 in Occult
Tags: – It’s Saturday evening. A 34-year-old suburban school teacher is home alone when hears a knock at her door.

Just one knock.

She ignores it at first, but moments later she hears another knock, and begins to feel very uneasy. Her heart starts beating very rapidly. Cautiously she goes to the window and looks outside. There’s a nondescript middle-aged woman standing on the sidewalk, gazing blankly at her house. Her panic subsides and she opens the door, presuming it’s one of her neighbors needing help.

The woman walks forward and stops six feet in front of her. She looks into her eyes and there’s nothing there. All her thoughts dissolve and it’s as though she cannot perceive the rest of the world.

She feels numb, hollow, as if she’s no longer in control of her own body. She can see nothing in the woman’s eyes, no emotion, no life. They are just black.

As she stands there numb with shock, the black-eyed woman standing outside her doorway opens her mouth and says, “Let me in.” When the woman speaks, her breath quickens and she feels faint. So she quickly shuts the door and locks it, too terrified to even look out the window again. She admits that she has never encountered this strange woman again, but can still feel her presence, and suffers from episodes of panic which make her feel as if she’s going to die. It’s as if the moment she opened the door, this being gained access to her.

She still see’s her in her dreams. It’s as if she’s taken over her mind. She doesn’t know what she is, or what to do about it.

You can leave a haunted house…but how do you leave a haunted body or mind?


Image Credit – Dustin Naef


A man in Abilene, Texas is sitting in his parked car late at night, writing out a check to put in a drop-box when a rapping comes at his car window.

He turns and sees two young boys standing outside his car, asking for help. They urgently need a ride home so they can get some money from their Mom, and catch a movie that’s playing at the theater across the street from where he’s parked.


“C’mon mister, let us in. We can’t get in the car until you do, you know.” One of the boys pleads.The other boy doesn’t say a word.

The man becomes uneasy, noting the movie showing the kids want to see, at this late hour, is already half over.

“Just let us in,” the boy desperately pleads.

“We’ll be gone before you know it.

We’ll go to our mother’s house.”

To his shock, the man suddenly becomes aware of the fact that his hand is straying towards the lock on his car door, which is engaged.


Almost as if some compelling, hypnotic force is mysteriously guiding his movements; he’s in the process of almost opening the car door when he suddenly comes to his senses and pulls away, his mind snapping back into sharp focus.

That’s the moment he looks into the boys eyes, as if seeing them for the first time.

They are coal-black. No pupils. No irises. Just two black orbs reflecting the glittering red and white lights of the theater’s brightly lit marquee.

His face flushes with fear, betraying his horror. The silent kid’s facial expression changes, seeming to indicate to the man that whoever they were, and whatever they really wanted, they have just been found out.

The other boys face is livid now with anger. “C’mon mister,” he says again, “we won’t hurt you. But you have to LET US IN! We don’t have a gun!

“An edge of panic and desperation creeps into his clearly agitated tone: “WE CAN’T COME IN UNLESS YOU TELL US IT’S OKAY–LET…US…IN!”

Suddenly the man grips his gear shift in a panic, he slams his car into reverse, and then tears out of the parking lot.

From that day on, he wonders what would have really happened to him if he’d let those boys into his car and given them a ride.

The Black-Eyed People

Those who have encountered them describe sensing an air of evil malevolence behind their vacuous gaze; but other people who have met them face-to-face say that their strangeness goes much deeper than that. Some people who have met them report feeling an alien presence staring at them, something demonic . . . something not human.

They’re often described as emotionless, gaunt, hollow beings, almost as though they have no soul.

People report them appearing seemingly out of nowhere, they come knocking on your door or appearing next to you by your car, or on the street.

Sometimes you feel someone staring at you, and you look up to find their glassy black eyes locked on you in hunger. They always want something from you. They want a ride, to use your telephone, to be invited into your space, or for you to go with them. If you refuse, they grow more insistent.

Stories of these strangers, whose eyes appear to be black, began appearing on the Internet around 1998, and the encounters are eerily similar.

These strangers usually appear and ask for an invitation into your house, or car, or to go for a walk with them down some lonely path.

People from across the globe have reported encounters with black-eyed people.

You have to wonder who (or what) are these soulless beings are that approach calmly, quietly, and strike fear into those who encounter them?

Some people have speculated these black-eyed beings to be everything from extraterrestrials to demons – they have been here for millennia, living alongside us, working alongside us, breeding with us – and most of us don’t realize it. Not until we accidentally catch a glimpse of their dead black-eyes.

Witnesses frequently report odd variations in their manner of appearance, which tends to cause them to stand out; sometimes they’re dressed in clothing from some bygone-era, or wearing inexplicably strange color combinations–like someone who either wants to call attention to themselves–or alternately, someone who’s completely oblivious about how they’re dressed in public. Some make terrible mimics when they try to pass themselves off as a normal person and blend in with a crowd.

If the black-eyed beings are children, they do not act shy and reserved in front of strangers like most kids. They’re very forceful about what they want, and insistent in their attempts to intimidate and persuade people in verbally demanding some kind of help or assistance. Black-eyed children are said to be able to cultivate their speech and express themselves in a manner far, far beyond their years.

Evil and malevolence is a common feeling people get in their presence, but this is not reported in every encounter. Sometimes there’s just a very odd, amorphous, ill-defined feeling of alien strangeness in connection with eyewitness reports. There’s a sentiment that many of these black-eyed people appear homeless, and roaming about forlornly, seemingly without a place to go. Like lost souls doomed to wander the earth endlessly. They’re routinely described as showing up unexpectedly at someone’s house or vehicle. For some odd reason, they need to feel invited in by somebody, like some kind of supernatural vampire.

Recently I’ve begun to wonder if encounters of black-eyed people have anything to do with “energy vampires” or “mind parasites”.

Could there be some kind of connection?

Part 2 of this article will be published on 26 August – Don’t miss it!

Written by Dustin Contributor


About the author:
Dustin Naef has been a student of ancient mysteries and the paranormal for as long as he can remember. He has worked in screenwriting, graphic design and illustration, produced and designed video best-selling games, and is currently involved in the production of a film documentary and book about the mysteries surrounding Mount Shasta, California. – The enigma of streetlight interference (SLI) has been recorded in various parts of the world. Many people say they are able to turn off the streetlights just by walking under them.

Is this an explainable electrical phenomenon or the product of unknown energies?

How can we explain that a street lamp nearest a particular person suddenly blinks out, turning on again as soon as the person passed it.

If it happened once, we could easily explain it as a coincidence, but if it occurs over and over again just to that particular person then it is an enigma.


The true reason why some people cause streetlight interference remains a mystery.The opinions vary and it is an interesting subject worthy to explore in more detail.

Late Fortean writer and researcher Hilary Evens was prior to his death in 2011, the foremost authority on SLI.

“SLIder” is the term he coined to refer to someone who reports a SLI experience.

After receiving numerous reports from people claiming that street lamps respond to their presence in an inexplicable way, Evans decided to investigate the enigma.

He collected hundreds of accounts of SLI and presented the result of his research in his book SLIders: The Enigma of Streetlight Interference.

In his book, Hilary Evens writes: “History demonstrates that there can be widespread belief in a phenomenon which is nonetheless nothing more than an artifact derived from an erroneous interpretation of witness testimony.

However, SLI has a basis in physical reality which is amenable to investigation: street lights are physical objects and the SLI effect, if it exists, must be ultimately a physical process. By its nature, SLI lends itself to methodical observation and controlled testing.”

“Frankly, when I first heard of SLI I considered it largely insignificant and boring, regardless of whether or not the phenomenon had a paranormal basis.

I hastily concluded that most, if not all, SLI experiences could be accounted for as a result of people perceiving connections that have no basis in reality. For, as everybody knows, street lamps can and do malfunction from time to time, and people are bound to walk past them at the moment these malfunctions occur.

After taking a deeper look at the phenomenon, however, I came to the unavoidable conclusion that we’re dealing with a genuine mystery – and, what’s more, an important and fascinating one. If true… claims [of SLI] carry profound and exciting implications for science and for our knowledge of human potential, ” Evens wrote in his book explaining his own attitude and take on the subject.

SLIders are often treated with great skepticism and yet they are told that there is no sufficient explanation for the phenomenon they experience.


How Do They Do That? A young man of Dublin walks past a row of streetlights at night–and they go out, one by one, as he passes.

An engineer in Woodville, Washington, is stopped by police and his car searched to find out what he’s doing to their streetlights.

An Australian in the entertainment industry parks his car in a parking lot, and the light above him goes out-until the following evening when he parks in precisely the same space and the light comes on again. And that’s not all. When a guest in a restaurant in Athens, Greece, asks that the music be turned down, they refuse–whereupon she “kills” the restaurant’s electricity and they eat the rest of their meal by candlelight. Other people affect traffic lights, computers, railway crossings… This is Street Light Interference (SLI). Once considered to be folklore–something that happened to a friend of a friend–today it is recognized as a scientific enigma with implications for our knowledge of the universe, including ourselves. In this, the first full-length book on SLI, we hear from some of the hundreds of SLIders who have reported their uncanny experiences, and consider the wider implications of this fascinating phenomenon. Read more here:
Evens describers plenty of stories reported to him by people who experienced streetlight interference.

“It occurred to me that the ones I zap are all on light-sensing switches, and perhaps my energy at certain times for who knows what or why, is the right kind and strength to trick the switch into thinking it is daytime,” explains one individual who considers himself to be a SLIder

Richard M, says he became aware of his SLI ability as a teenager. He recalls “lights were going out when we walked under them and then flickering back on when we had passed. It didn’t frighten me but I became conscious of it. I remember walking under them trying to make them go out but I couldn’t.


Streetlight interference has been reported worldwide.

The moment I stopped willing it to happen, it would start again – like someone catching me out. I sort of anticipated it for a while and didn’t really tell anyone about it. A few years ago, I noticed it happening again – the first time for a long time.

Again, I was with my dog and this time we turned out a number of lights in a car park across the road. I told a close friend when I got home and he came out to watch from the other side of the road. As we walked around the park, they all went out as we passed under them, and then came back on when we had moved away… I seem to recall that both periods coincided with stress, some of it quite intense.”

Some skeptics suggest that SLI occurs as a consequence of lights near the end of their life, but the intermittent illumination of aging streetlights does not resolve many of the cases of SLI.

“These appliances need not be street lights, of course: and the reports we have of persons affecting computers, supermarket check-outs, etc. can be seen as providing confirmatory testimony to this. However, there is good reason to think that street lights are particularly sensitive compared with other types of equipment: this could be because they operate at close to the critical level, or because it is not normally considered necessary to provide them with substantial shielding,” Evens writes.

Those who treat SLI as a true phenomenon believe that certain people possess a level of energy that interacts with the streetlights or electrical equipment and this energy causes lights to go on and off.

According to Evens’ theory a “force” at work in SLI operates by affecting the voltage of the current, most likely by causing a surge in voltage that triggers the lamp’s internal cut off switch.


Are you also a SLIder?

“To perform this feat,” he speculates, “SLI would have to be an electro-dynamic force, somehow generated within or through the human biological system, and somehow externalised into the neighbouring environment, where it will act on any appliance which happens to be vulnerable.”

It should be added that the majority of SLI cases happen while people walk. However there , are also those who say it occurs while riding on bicycles, motorbikes, or even the bus.

SLIders also often experience problems with compasses or clocks, causing them to stop or malfunction.

The seventh person connected to the discovery of a prehistoric man found in the Alps has died, adding to the legend of a curse behind the ancient warrior.

Is Oetzi haunting his discoverers?

That a 63-year-old man should die of natural causes would normally raise few eyebrows. But when that man was a scientist connected to the discovery of a 5,300-year-old frozen corpse known as Oetzi the Iceman — and the seventh such person to die within a year — talk about a curse is inevitable.

US-born molecular archaeologist Tom Loy was found dead in his Brisbane home two weeks ago as he was finalizing a book about Oetzi, according to The Australian newspaper.

The director of the University of Queensland’s archaeological sciences laboratories had suffered from a blood-related condition for about 12 years, members of his family told the paper. The condition was diagnosed shortly after he became involved with the Iceman.

Loy “didn’t believe in the curse,” a colleague told The Australian. “It was just superstition. People die.”

Stone Age warrior

Oetzi was discovered high in the Italian alps near the Austrian border in 1991, and reports and pictures of the perfectly preserved Stone Age warrior sparked worldwide interest. But so did the murmurings about a curse, built around the theory that the Iceman was angry at being disturbed after 53 centuries.

The rumor of the curse began a year ago when the German tourist who discovered the mummy, Helmut Simon, 67, fell to his death during a freak blizzard while hiking near the same spot where he saw Oetzi through the ice.

Is it a curse such as those thought to surround the tombs of ancient Egypt?

Within an hour of Simon’s funeral, the head of the mountain rescue team that was assigned to find him, Dieter Warnecke, 45, died of a heart attack. Then in April, archaeologist Konrad Spindler, 55, who first inspected the prehistoric corpse, died of complications from multiple sclerosis.

The head of the forensic team examining Oetzi, Rainer Henn, 64, died in a car crash on the way to give a lecture about the iceman. The mountaineer who led Henn to the Iceman’s body, Kurt Fritz, 52, died in an avalanche, the only one of his party to be hit. And the man who filmed Oetzi’s removal from his icy mountain grave, celebrated Austrian journalist Rainer Hoelzl, 47, died of a brain tumor.

He didn’t die alone

Loy was renowned for discovering human blood on the Iceman’s clothing and weapons. His work — the subject of a National Geographic documentary in 2002 — debunked the theory that Oetzi, age 30-45, died alone in the mountains after a hunting accident. By revealing four different types of human blood on Oetzi’s clothing, he surmised that the Stone Age man was hunting with a companion when the pair got into a territorial skirmish.

Fatally wounded, Oetzi appears to have leaned against his companion for support.

These days, Oetzi rests in a refrigerated room at the South Tyrol Archaeological Museum in Bolzano, which attracts around 300,000 visitors a year and brings in $5 million (4 million euros) in tourism.

True Tales of Haunted Dolls

Posted: July 16, 2013 by phaedrap1 in Occult, Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Dolls have long been a source of amusement for both children and adults. However, they can also bring terror as well as joy. Read on for chilling true tales of haunted dolls and possessed playthings.

The Legend of Robert the Doll

When it comes to haunted dolls, Robert is arguably America’s most famous. The Key West doll is a fixture on local ghost tours and even served as an inspiration for Chucky in Child’s Play.

robert the haunted doll

Robert belonged to Key West painter and author Robert Eugene Otto. In 1906, a Bahamian maid reportedly gave the doll to Robert and then cursed the toy after Robert’s parents displeased her. Soon after the maid’s departure, strange events began plaguing the Otto household.

Young Robert enjoyed talking to his namesake, and servants insisted the doll talked back. They also claimed the plaything could change expressions at will and move about the house on his own. Neighbors reportedly saw the doll move from window to window when the family was away, and members of the Otto household heard maniacal giggles emanating from the toy.

Robert the Doll spooked plenty of folks during the day, but at night he focused on young Robert Otto. The boy would wake in the middle of the night, screaming in fear, as the heavy furniture in his room crashed to the floor. When his parents demanded to know what happened, Otto’s response was always the same: “Robert did it! It was Robert.”

Robert Otto died in 1974, and his notorious doll now sits on display at the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West. Legend has it the doll will curse anyone who takes a photo without permission, which Robert grants by slightly tilting his head. Visitors who forget can always beg for forgiveness which is what cameramen from the Travel Channel did after their HD camera mysteriously stopped working.

haunted doll

The Eyes Follow You

Though dolls like Robert grab headlines and spark imaginations, they’re not alone. Hundreds of haunted doll tales fill ghost blogs and forums across web, including one from an average woman in Moundsville, WV.

Years ago, the woman had a grade school friend named Emily and the two spent a lot of time at Emily’s home. The entire house had a strange feeling to it, but it was the attic that was the most unnerving.

“The attic was finished, but had that ‘death’ smell to it, like an abandoned building,” the woman writes. “It was always cold, despite the hot air that would rise from the floors below. The attic contained four small rooms, and one room was entirely devoted to dolls which I always found terrifying.”

One afternoon, the girls played with a few of the dolls until Emily’s grandmother called them to lunch. They placed the rag dolls back on the shelf, but one tumbled off just as they were about to leave. This was strange as the doll fell in a way that seemed physically impossible. Puzzled, the woman returned the doll to its shelf and went downstairs to eat. However, that wasn’t the end of the encounter.

“Later on that day, Emily and I were playing in the woods adjacent to her house, and I squatted down to pick up a pretty stone,” the woman writes. “When I went down, I felt something poking me in my pocket. I put my hand in the pocket, and I found two doll eyes …the eyes from the doll I had picked up earlier that day. Needless to say, I have been terrified of dolls ever since.”


Haunted Doll Sites

Though most people avoid haunted dolls, some have a passion for possessed playthings and share their knowledge and interest online.

The Doll House Cam

The Doll House Cam streams videos of haunted dolls 24/7, giving armchair ghost hunters the chance to spot a possessed doll in action.

“Set in a farmhouse in rural Pennsylvania, amongst the mountains and streams, is a little known secret,” reads the title page of “Seven dolls that once were loved by little girls now adorn the home of a family of five. They don’t just sit on a shelf looking pretty. These porcelain beauties, for lack of a better description, have taken on a life of their own.”

David’s Haunted Dolls

doll_eyesDavid’s Haunted Dolls is dedicated to educating the public about haunted dolls and the best way to care for any “Spirit Children” they might come across.

“A haunted doll is not your everyday Betsy Wetsy,” he writes. “Haunted dolls are real life spirits that are attached to a certain host doll. Nobody really knows if the spirit picks that host doll, or if they are just drawn there, but we do know it happens. You might even have a haunted doll in your home, and not even know it.”

AJ’s Haunted Dolls

Folks looking to buy a haunted doll need look no further than AJ’s Haunted Dolls. The site offers a variety of creepy playthings, ranging from the innocent and sweet to the dark and destructive.

“Each and every one of my Spirit Children and paranormal items are unique in their own special way,” AJ writes. “Not only because they are inhabited with a beautiful spirit, but because of the vessel they have chosen. I try and collect a variety of hosts, spirits, and unique paranormal magical items.”

By Christie Gordon

Tarot and Kabbalistic Sacred Geometry by J.S. Kupperman

Posted: July 10, 2013 by phaedrap1 in Occult
Tags: ,

In issue thirteen of the JWMT appeared an article on sacred geometry derived from the proto-kabalistic text The Sefer Yetzirah. That article described a way to read the first five chapters to develop what is commonly referred to as the “Cube of Space” and discussed its relationship to the aura and the kabbalistic souls. The current article builds upon the previous and will discuss a kabbalistic tarot in relation to the Sefer Yetzirah, but also later kabbalistic text. As the Sefer Yetzirah deals with the letters of the Hebrew alefbet this article will focus on the corresponding major arcana of the tarot, which are associated with those letters. This will include not only their placement on the Cube, and on the Tree of Life, but will also imply interpretations of those cards based on their location on the Cube and the sefirot that surrounds it as well as how they may be understood because of their location on the Tree of Life.

The cards of the so-called “major arcana,” the series of twenty-two image bearing or “trump” cards, of the modern tarot deck have been associated, in one way or another, with the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alefbet for over two hundred years. Though developed by the likes of Papus and Eliphas Lévi Zahed modern decks that employ those letters are largely derived from the tarot work of Samuel Liddell “MacGregor” Mathers, one of the founders of the Order of the Golden Dawn. Following this are decks based on the work of Aleister Crowley in his Book of Thoth, and A.E. Waite’s Key to the Tarot, both of whom based their tarots on Mathers’ work.

The Golden Dawn’s attribution of the letters to the trumps is founded on William Wynn Westcott’s “corrected” translation of the Sefer Yetzirah, a proto-kabalistic text dating from between the third through sixth centuries C.E. Later tarot enthusiasts have used a similar ideology in developing the “Cube of Space,” much as I had done in the issue thirteen of the JWMT. One difference, however, is that previous authors have been working from the perspective of modern magical qabalah while my own perspective is derived more from traditional Jewish kabbalah. Applying this to the Cube of Space and the tarot creates a somewhat different, and very interesting, understanding of the trump cards.

Importantly, I am not claiming to represent the “correct” version of the tarot. The tarot was derived from a game; there is no “correct” version. To make such a claim is to mistake the map for the terrain. However, there are possibly some systems that work better than others and, worse, some things that present themselves as systems that, ultimately, are dead ends. Not having mistaken the map for the terrain, we must read our maps carefully if we are to proceed forward at all.

Over the last few centuries there has been any number of different orderings, names, etc. of the major arcana. Some early decks, designed for game play rather than divination, have included upwards of thirty trumps. Standardization of the trumps, their names and order has only occurred in the last one hundred or so years. This article will use the following set of card to letter attributions. I refer you to the previous article for a greater understanding of how the letter-to-sign correspondences were derived.

Table 1: Association of Letters, Signs and Cards

It is important to note that I have decided to keep the usual letter-card attributions.[1] This means that the planets here are not necessarily associated with the same cards as found in modern tarot decks.

Part I: The Placement of the Cards and Letters

Shelosh Imot – Three Mother

Verse six of the third chapter of the Sefer Yetzirah tells of the position of the three Mother letters, , , :

The head is created from fire,
The belly is created from water,
And the chest, from breath,
Decides between them.[2]

The Sefer Yetzirah is here describing parts of what will eventually be known as Adam Kadmon, the Holy or Divine Human. Though Rabbi Isaac Luria will eventually associate this with one of his five kabbalistic worlds it is also a term sometimes used to refer to the human form on the Tree of Life itself. Through this ideology the triad of Keter-Chokmah-Binah make up the head, Chesed and Gevurah the right and left arms,[3] Tiferet the torso or trunk of the body, Netzach and Hod the right and left legs, Yesod the phallus[4] and Malkhut the feet.

The twenty-two extra-sefirotic paths of the Tree of Life are divided into three horizontal, seven vertical and twelve diagonal lines. These perfectly mimic the divisions of the Mother letters, Double letters and the Simples. Placing the Mothers becomes a simple matter at this point. Breath, given to the letter A decides between fire () and water (), and is located at the level of the chest. The path corresponding to this letter runs between Chesed and Gevurah. Fire, the head, runs between Chokmah and Binah and Mem, the belly, between Netzach and Hod.

Diagram 1: The Mothers on the Tree of Life

Placement on the Cube of Space is an easy prospect at this point. Following the previous article we find that the Mothers run through the X, Y and Z axes. This is demonstrated in the diagram below:

Diagram 2: The Mothers in the Cube of Space

As you will recall, the three-way axis formed by the Mothers extend through the cube of space, connecting to the sefirot beyond. A connects to Chesed and Gevurah,  to Netzach and Hod and  to Tiferet and Yesod. This double connection, each of the Mothers being situated between not two, but four[5] will be important when it comes to interpreting the cards.

Alef: To this letter is given the element of air and the Fool card. For some time it has been given the number 0 and placed either towards the end of the deck or at the beginning, with the advent of Mathers’ “corrected” sequencing. Kabbalistically one might suggest that it is more appropriately give then number 1. There are at least three possible reasons for this. First, it is the first card and the first element, from which the others come from. In gimatria there is no number 0, so 1 is entirely appropriate and it is the gimatric value of the letter . Second, and equally important, , and all the letters after it, are distinctly in manifestation, it is only Ayin Sof, the fully transcendent deity, that is innumerable. Finally, the Fool is the card of beginnings, but not of origination; it is not the nothing from which everything came, but the very first something, walking the balanced path between water and fire, love and fear.

Mem: is the 13th key of the tarot, associated with the Mother element of water and the Hanged Man card. Given water’s association with Chesed it may seem that the Hanged Man is an unlikely match. However water is also an element used for punishment, such as seen in the Biblical story of the flood. The path between Netzach and Hod has to do, amongst other things, with divine protection and the cessation of divine protection.[6] It is we who have tied ourselves up, whether or not we will be freed before the water rises depends upon our actions in this world, whether or not we have gained protection or have lost it and so will suffer for our falling in with the “evil inclination.”

Shin: The 21st key of the tarot and the second to last letter,  has attributed to it the element of fire and the Judgment card. The sefira Gevurah is given to the idea of judgment and so , with its Gevuric fire, is entirely appropriate here and no more explanation is needed.

Shevah Kefulot – Seven Doubles
The fourth chapter of the Sefer Yetzirah explains the role and placement of the seven Double letters and their planetary associations. Having already established the Mothers as the horizontal lines on the Tree of Life, the Doubles are naturally placed on the seven vertical lines. Again, the association of the letters and planets has already been established. As mentioned in the introduction, in order to maintain some semblance with the now normative positioning of the letters, signs and trumps on the Tree of Life, I have decided to link the planets with their Hebrew letters, rather than their tarot cards.

Table 2: Letters, Planets, Cards

The same idea that caused this ordering, the use of the Chaldean order of the planets, will also help us place the Doubles on the Tree of Life. This is necessary as even though we know they are to be placed on the verticals, the Sefer Yetzirah is not as obvious about their individual placement as it is for the Mothers. However, for exact placement, we will also turn to the earliest of the of kabbalistic texts, the Sefer ha-Bahir.

In a theme that will be later taken up by the Zohar, the Bahir discusses the natures of many of the Hebrew letters. These brief discussions will help us place the Double letters on the Tree of Life, causing an apparent change to their perhaps logical order. Thus, as you will see, the letter  will be placed beneath Chokmah, the second sefira and not Keter, the first.

Diagram 3: The Doubles on the Tree of Life

It is obvious from diagram two that even though the cards are being associated with the same letters as with the modern forms of tarot, their positioning on the Tree of Life is radically different as it does not employ the “path of return” model used in modern decks.[7] Also, and perhaps more radically, the card-sign relationships are altered, as they were with the Mother letters. A brief discussion of the reasoning behind how the letters are placed on the Tree of Life follows:

Bet: The Bahir,[8] playing on the etymology of the name of the letter , tells us that we should not read it as “bet,” the letter, but “bayit,” “house.” It quotes Proverbs 24:3, saying: “With Wisdom the house is built. . .” Thus  and Chokmah, wisdom, become directly related in kabbalistic thought. Further, the Zohar[9] tells us that the Bible begins with the letter  because it is the letter of blessings, connecting the idea of beginnings with the letter. The kabbalists associated the ten depths of creation mentioned in the Sefer Yetzirah with the ten sefirot.[10] Most commonly they decided that Chokmah represented the depth of beginning, further establishing an association between  and Chokmah. As this is a Double letter, the only place for it is descending vertically from Chokmah to Chesed, where the blessings will fill the “cup of blessing” found in the sefira of Loving Kindness.

To is given the Magus card and the planet Saturn. Astrologically, Saturn is the great teacher whose slow lessons give us wisdom. This is the role of the Magus, the knower of all wisdom. It is through this wisdom, which is experiential, not just intellectual, that the Magus is able to manipulate the world as he does. As Chokmah contains the blueprint of all possible creation the path of the Magus is one of supernal wisdom. For this reason we might rename the card Theurgos or Theurgist, the God-Worker, which in Neoplatonic cosmology is associated with Nous, or the Divine Mind.

Gimel: The letter is described as something that renders (gomel) kindness. is to render goodness to the lower sefirot, to the poor.[11] All of the sefirot are poor in comparison to Keter, for it is from Keter that everything else emanates. Thus , with its attribution of “wealth”[12] can only be appropriately placed beneath Keter, the source of all spiritual wealth.

Gimel is the High Priestess and the planet Jupiter. The rendering of kindness, the blessings of Keter is highly appropriate for Jupiter, the greater benefic. Here the High Priestess might be seen as a kind of Upper Shekhinah, hinting not only at the Empress descending from Binah but the World card that leads into Malkhut. These two cards, the High Priestess and the World, may be seen and upper and lower reflections of one another. The High Priestess’ work, like that of the Magus/Theurgos, is truly spiritual in nature, leading us only higher and higher on the path of tikun, rectification.

Dalet: According to the Bahir,[13] dalet represents poverty (dal, poor). This may be read as an allusion to the Shekhinah and Malkhut, both of which ultimately stem from Binah, through Gevurah. Malkhut is “poor” because it does not give its own blessings; it only receives them from above. D is also given the power of “seed” in the Sefer Yetzirah, an appropriate power for Binah, who is also called Ima, mother.[14]

The Empress card is associated with , along with the planet Mars. This is significantly different from its now normative planetary correspondence, Venus. The martial ideology here is a reflection of kabbalistic thought. Binah, as the head of the left-hand pillar, is the source of all severity and restriction. It is through the power of restriction that all creation comes, symbolized by the pregnant Empress. This idea is reflected in Genesis, where the name of God that creates is Elohim. This, according to kabbalistic tradition, is the divine name of Binah when spoken.[15] Mythologically, it could also be added that the Roman god Mars, though a god of war, was a god of crops as well, linking the above ideas together.

Kaf: The fourth Double letter, K, comes from kaf, the palm of the hand. Of this it is written that the palm is called a “pan of merit” (kaf zechut). In the Sefer Yetzirah the “pan of merit” is associated with the letter  as the element of water, which is given to Chesed, loving kindness.[16] Further, K has the power of “life,” which is only appropriate for the life-giving sun.[17]

The 11th key is the Wheel of Fortune, connected to the Sun. In the modern systems this card is given to Jupiter and represents, ultimately, good fortune. The idea of the Sun connected to fortune has a kabbalistic precedent. According to the Zohar whether or not one will have children is a matter of fate, mazel. Mazel has the literal meaning of “star,”[18] of which, of course, ours is the sun. So, we pray for good fortune, loving kindness stemming from Chesed, for the giving of children, one of the greatest blessings a couple can have in Jewish thought. This can, of course, be seen symbolically as representing good fortune in general, so its placement here in fact replaces the planetary attribution of the modern deck.

Peh: , to which is given the planet Venus, descends from Gevurah and has the power of “Dominance” given to it by the Sefer Yetzirah.[19] The Bahir is silent about , though given its commentary on , and the Zoharic attribution of Luna for  suggest this is the only other place for the letter to be placed.

Normally associated with Mars, here  is given to Venus and the Blasted Tower. While the Tower may be the Tower of Babel, which was destroyed because of the arrogance of humanity, that destruction also allows for new growth, life and rectification, a major theme of kabbalistic works, especially after Rabbi Isaac Luria. The Zohar simultaneously associates  with redemption (purqena) but also the serpent by the shape of its body. Traditionally kabbalistic sources blame Eve, Venus, for humanity being exiled from the Garden of Eden by being tempted by the serpent, opening the way of the evil inclination, represented by the serpent, to dominate the world. It is through the Shekhinah, or in Christian belief theVirgin Mary, that this will be rectified. So the Tower can be seen as a symbol of both destruction and resolution.

Resh: The Bahir[20] says that  is the root of every tree. Leading into Yesod, the root or foundation of the Tree of Life, we can see that  is thus logically placed. This logic of discussing Yesod rather than Tiferet directly is continued in a kabbalistic interpretation of the Sefer Yetzirah. Here  is given the power of “peace,” shalom, a title of Yesod.[21]

The letter is here associated with the Sun card and the planet Mercury, which is the planet closest to the sun. The Sun card is here appropriately placed between Tiferet and Yesod, both of which are symbolized by the sun in kabbalistic texts. It is the sun, the Bride Groom or Blessed Holy One that connects to the moon, Shekhinah, a kabbalistic pageantry of the higher self coming into the lower and rectifying it. Thus this card may be said to represent the completion of a cycle, with the higher and lower married, with new prospects in the future.

Tav: The last of the Doubles, indeed the last letter of the alefbet is , to which is given the moon. According to Aryeh Kaplan, in his commentary on the Bahir and its discussion of tohu, “chaos,” the letter , being the final letter, represents Malkhut, the final sefira.[22] More significantly, the Zohar makes constant allusions to the full moon being the symbolic manifestation of the Shekhinah, the presence of God in creation.[23] Thus, it can be seen how the World, Malkhut, is entirely appropriate for this letter and its position.

In the Cube of Space the planets form a secondary axis, supported by the Mother letters. Unlike the Mothers, the axis of the Doubles extends only to the perimeter of the Cube of Space, which is made up of the Simple letters. The Doubles, with their tarot and planetary attributions, are as follows:

Diagram 4: The Doubles in the Cube of Space

Unlike as with the Mothers, which have a double set of trump-between-sefirot attributions, the Doubles do not extend beyond the Cube of Space. That being said, as we will see, the sphere of the sefirot described in the previous article will come to influence the Doubles, in fact all of the letters, in unexpected ways.

Shtem Esray Pashutot – Twelve Simples
Chapter five of the Sefer Yetzirah deals with the Simple letters, which are associated with the signs of the zodiac. Of all the chapters of this short text, this is the most explicit about the placement of the letters, telling us their general position on the Tree of Life and their precise position in what will make up the actual cube part of the Cube of Space.

Twelve Elemental
Their foundation is the twelve diagonal boundaries.[24]

Table 3: Letters, Signs, Cards

There are many different ways that the Simples can be placed on their paths. For instance there is an emanatory method. Each sefira, with the exception of Malkhut, projects from it one or more netivot, paths. The emanatory method simply allows for the paths to extend naturally and chronologically, with each sefira emanating its path(s) before the next. In the cases of Keter, Chokmah and Binah, all of which have two, or three in the case of Keter, netivot leading from them, rather than one, paths are projected first to the higher then the lower sefira

Diagram 5: The Simples on the Tree of Life

It will be noticed that unlike in the form of the Tree of Life used by most modern qabalists, there are no diagonal paths connected to Malkhut. This is in keeping with kabbalistic doctrine that Shekhinah receives only through union with Yesod, the divine phallus, and nothing else.[25] The reader should also notice that this creates a fundamentally different looking Tree of Life from what is found in most modern books on the qabalistic tarot. Its attributions also differ greatly from versions of the Tree of Life given by the Gra and Rabbi Isaac Luria.

Associated with Aries and the Emperor,  has the 5th key of the tarot. Though this card’s attributions are in keeping with modern tarot decks, its placement is not. To H is given the power of speech,[26] the ultimate creative act in all of the Abrahamic religions. As the first of the Simples to come from Keter it is fitting that the first and most proactive zodiacal sign be associated with it. The Emperor is here the true King, descending from the Crown, empowering the divine Will of Chokmah with sacred and creative speech.

Vav: Corresponding to is the sign of Taurus and the Hierophant card. The Hierophant is a card of creation, something that gives shape. The numerical value of the letter is six, which alludes to the six directions in space and the six seals of the Divine name that surround it.[27] This is appropriate for a card that inspires Binah, which means intuition and understanding and is given the power of thought. [28] It is this thought that gives meaning and form to the speech of .

Zayin: has associated with it the Lovers card and Gemini. This netivah runs between Chokmah and Gevurah, which is perhaps fitting for a letters whose very image, is that of a sword[29] and whose name means “weapon.” is given the power of motion according to the Sefer Yetzirah.[30] Coupled with Gemini, the twins, we have the suggestion of strife or the sword of God cleaving between two things to separate and restrain them as found in the beginning of the alchemical process, which is necessary to create the perfect gold.

Chet:  is the Chariot and Cancer. It has the power of sight as bridges the gap between Binah, the supernal Mother, and Chesed, the lower father. The chariot is the merkavah or throne upon which the Upper Shekhinah, Binah. We see upon the chariot the image of God, a vision of creation in its supernal form; the union of Mother and Father. It is this chariot that carries us from the lower sefirot to the Supernals. The feminine nature of Cancer supports both the image of the Shekhinah as chariot rider and the armored chariot itself.>

Tet: leads from Chokmah to Tiferet and is associated with Justice and Leo. Justice is a fitting card for this path as Tiferet is the sefira of justice and true justice can only come from the Supernals, which exist beyond the subjective realm. Justice occurs through the careful listening of the complaint and deciding with wisdom, and hearing is the power associated with this letter.[31] Leo is the honorable lion, which is also a symbol for Christ streaming down from the Father. Courage is necessary in the carrying out of justice, as it is often the case that we do what is easy, not what is right.

Yod: The card connected with  is the Hermit, its sign Virgo.  connects Binah, the Mother, and Tiferet, the son. The power of  is action,[32] which, along with its receiving of power from Binah, seems contradictory to the idea of the virgin and the reclusive hermit. However, the virginal hermit is one who, through action and compassion has rectified themselves, overcoming the evil inclination in order to lead others along the path of tikkun

Lamed: Typically Justice is attributed to Lamed, but here it is Fortitude, its sign is Libra. Lamed is the ox goad, and idea which connects this card to , the ox. Fortitude can be seen as the perseverance of moving under pressure, the goad moving the ox. It also speaks of a requisite spiritual fortitude necessary to move from the place of beauty beyond, to higher levels of spirituality that are not so easily gained, and never gained without trial and ordeal. This is represented by the woman taming a lion on the trump. Classically the soul was seen as being feminine in nature, thus it depicts the soul in its ordeal. Lamed is also associated with kingship,[33] as Tiferet is the king of the Kingdom, Malkhut. The ordeal must be met and passed for that kingship to remain, and for it to vivify the world it must be tempered with loving kindness.

Nun: The sign that corresponds to  is Scorpio, the card is Death, which connects Gevurah and Tiferet. The power of  is that of smell,[34] fitting for Death. The letter is also association with nofelim, fallen,[35] as all eventually fall to death, who is called the End of all Flesh.

Samekh: This is the Temperance card, associated with Sagittarius, a sign of spiritual seeking. Samekh is the support of the world, holding up the fallen.[36] This idea works well with Netzach, which is accorded the role of giving divine protection to those who need it.[37] The power associated with  is sleep, which is also fitting, as Netzach, along with Hod, are responsible for the spiritual gifts of vision and prophecy.[38]

Ayin: is the Devil and Capricorn, connecting Tiferet to Hod. Whereas Netzach is given authority to protect, Hod withdraws that protection,[39] leaving us vulnerable when we have given ourselves to the evil inclination, which is associated with Satan and the power of anger[40]. Further,  is associated with avon, iniquity.[41]

Tzaddi: The Star and Aquarius, connecting Netzach and Yesod.  is tzaddikim, the righteous of the world, which is associated with Yesod.[42] It has the power of taste,[43] which refers to the flowing water coming from the water bearer’s vessel; this is the flow of divine blessings from above, originally being poured out from the High Priestess.

Khof: Finally,  is the Moon, which is associated with Pisces and the power of laughter.[44] Khof is associated with deceit,[45] the most common trait of the new moon, which is given over to the power of the Evil Inclination and Satan. It was for this reason that the Azazel goat sacrifice was implemented, to distract the Evil Inclination so the blessings from above could descend unmolested.

Chapter 5:2 of the Sefer Yetzirah gives us explicit directions for the placement of the diagonal paths to create the actual Cube of Space proper.

The east upper boundary
The east northern boundary
The east lower boundary
The south upper boundary
The south eastern boundary
The south lower boundary
The west upper boundary
The west southern boundary
The west lower boundary
The north upper boundary
The north western boundary
The north lower boundary

The implication here is that the letters should be placed in the above sequence according to how they were listed in four sets of three in the earlier portion of the same section.

Diagram 6: The Simples forming the Cube of Space

The so-called “Cube of Space” isn’t exactly a cube, however. The boundaries described in chapter 5:2 do not form a six-sided shape but a four-sided one, the top and bottom are open, perhaps allowing for the influx of supernal energy into the quasi-cube. Or, as Netzach and Hod are associated with the gifts of vision and prophecy,[46] this may be the opening through which those gifts are brought into manifestation. That these two sides are open is not entirely relevant to the current discussion, though perhaps interesting given the general subject matter; i.e. divination.

The Cube of Space, as it pertains directly to the tarot trumps, is now complete. However, these first five chapters of the Sefer Yetzirah don’t deal solely with the letters of the alefbet; they also discuss the sefirot belimah, the sefirot of nothing. The role these sefirot play here has to do with the overall influence they have on different sections of the Cube, and how that influence relates to the trumps there and their interpretations. The next section of this paper will discuss the how all of this reflects upon those interpretations.

Part II: The Influences of the Cube of Space and External Sefirot on the Trumps
The Cube of Space, as defined by the twelve diagonals of the Simple letters, is surrounded by two sets of sefirot. The first are those outside of the whole system, designated by the Sefer Yetzirah as Beginning (Chokmah) and End (Binah), Good (Keter) and Evil (Malkhut).[47] In accordance with their relative positions on the Tree of Life, I have placed these four sefirot around the other depths. These sefirot cut the sphere created by the six directions in space into four quarters. Each of these quarters is influenced by their respective sefira:

Table 4: The Sefirot and the Quarters

The whole system can be seen in the following diagram:

Diagram 7: The External Sefirot and their Influence on the Cube of Space

When the above diagram is broken down, we see that each quarter has within it multiple letters. The cards of these letters fall under the influence of the sefira that dominates the quarter that it is in. The sole exception to this is , which lies in the precise center of the sphere and is either influenced by all four of the surrounding sefirot or none. Given the hypercube that will form around the center of the Cube, the former is more likely than the later. Also, some of the Simple letters, being on the borders dividing the quarters, will fall under the influence of more than one sefirot. The Mothers will likewise be associated with the powers of two sefirot as they pierce the central access of the Cube.

Beneath this is another of influences, determined by the six depths that correspond to the six directions. This will create a second set of influences. Though this becomes very difficult to represent graphically, the follow set of tables in Chart 1 demonstrates how the externals influence sefirot of the six directions. Chart 2 shows how they influence the letters and Chart 3 how the sefirot of the six direction influence the letters. Missing from these charts is the letter , which is affected by all the sefirot.

Chart 1: Externals/Directionals
Chart 2: Externals/Letters

Chart 3: Directionals/Letters
As can be seen each letters, and thus each chard, is governed by not only its astrological sign but multiple sefirot.

What does all of this mean for a kabbalistic tarot? In fact, many things. First, and perhaps most importantly, it allows for a richly complex cosmology. This in turn will affect the use of the cards both for scrying and for divination. In designing each trump the confluence of forces can, and should, be taken into considering, providing for multiple levels of symbolism for interpretation. Also, as the minor arcane and the court cards can be placed on this system, it is a complete system.

On a practical magical level, much as discussed in the previous article, this system also creates a map of energies present in any magical space that is created using this ideology. Thus, for instance, physical postures can be developed to tap into these energies, much like the Order of the Golden Dawn’s grade signs. It also suggests initiatory purposes wherein each progressive initiation moves the candidate through different portions of the hall corresponding to the various levels discussed here and elsewhere.

The tarot is a deeply rich cosmological system. When attached to a kabbalistic paradigm that richness is enhanced many times. Through the Sefer Yetzirah and kabbalistic texts such as the Bahir and Zohar a complex and complete system can be developed to enhance both one’s magical and spiritual journey. The map thus created consists not only of a five-dimensional hyper-cube but one with external and internal structures that can be utilized to explore both the micro- and macrocosm. Such a system must be carefully produced and, more importantly, explored. It will be through a complete investigation of the kabbalistic tarot that its true fruits will be harvested.


[1] With one exception for those who are used to a Golden Dawn style set of attributes. The version above pre-dates the Golden Dawn’s attributes (Christopher I. Lehrich, The Occult Mind: In Theory and Practice (Ithica, NY: Cornell University Press, 2007), 135).

[2]Aryeh Kaplan, trans., Sefer Yetzirah: The Book of Creation (York Beach, ME: Weiser Books, 1997), 3:6. As with the previous articles, unless otherwise stated, all quotations from the Sefer Yetzirah are from the Kaplan translation.

[3] Respectively. Traditional kabbalah does not reverse the right and left sides as later hermetic qabalah does. Thus, in texts such as the Zohar, constant references to the “Left-hand side,” the side of the demonic derived from Gevurah, are made.

[4] Traditionally Yesod was associated with the place of the Covenant, the circumcised penis. Though generally considered masculine, Yesod is also the place of union between the Blessed Holy One (Tiferet) and Shekhinah (Malkhut) and a portion of its Divine Name, Shaddai, shares a root with the Hebrew words for “mountain” and “breast,” suggesting a hidden feminine side as well.

[5] With the exception of A, which is lays between Chesed and Gevurah on both the Cube and the Tree of Life. This, in and of itself, suggests something about the nature of A and the Fool card.

[6] This theme is woven throughout the chapter on Netzach and Hod in Gikatilla’s Sha’are Orah. Joseph Gikatilla, Gates of Light: Sha’are Orah, trans. Avi Weinstein (San Franscisco: Harper Collins Publishers, 1994), 115-146.

[7] This model traces the letters going sequentially down from Keter to Malkhut, These can then be followed back upwards forming the Golden Dawn’s “Serpent of Wisdom.”

[8] Aryeh Kaplan, trans., The Bahir: Illumination (York Beach, ME: Weiser Books, 1979), 6.

[9] Daniel C. Matt, trans., The Zohar (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004-6), 1:3b.

[10] C.f. Kaplan, Sefer Yetzirah, 44-6.

[11] Matt, Zohar, 1:3b.

[12] Kaplan, Sefer Yetzirah, 4:9

[13] Kaplan, 11.

[14] C.f. Geoffrey W. Dennis, The Encyclopedia of Jewish Myth, Magic and Mysticism (Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2007), 34 and Matt, Zohar vol 1,  459.

[15] It is spelled YHVH but said Elohim. See, for example, Gikatilla, Gates, 283.

[16] Kaplan, I believe, mistakenly associates the three Mothers with Keter, Chokmah and Binah. The Zohar fully establishes Chesed, Gevurah and Tiferet as being archetypal for mercy, judgment and balance; i.e. the scale described by the Sefer Yetzirah. See, for example Parsha Bo, 201.

[17] Kaplan, Sefer Yetzirah, 175.

[18] C.f. Matt, Zohar, 1:115a, 1:137a.

[19] 4:12.

[20] Kaplan, 30.

[21]< 4:16; Gikatilla, Gates 66-7.

[22] 90.

[23] C.f. Matt, Zohar, 1:136a,1:237a.

[24] 5:2.

[25] C.f. Gikatilla, Gates, 55.

[26] Kaplan, Sefer Yetzirah, 5:7.

[27] Kaplan, Bahir, 12. This refers to the numerical value of the letter.

[28] Kaplan, Sefer Yetzirah, 5:7.

[29] Matt, Zohar, 1:3a.

[30] 5:7

[31] Ibid., 5:8

[32] Ibid.

[33] Matt, Zohar, 1:3a.

[34] Kaplan, Sefer Yetzirah, 5:8.

[35] Matt, Zohar, 1:3a.

[36] Ibid.

[37] Gikatilla, Gates, 115-146.

[38] Ibid.

[39] Ibid.

[40] Kaplan, Sefer Yetzirah, 5:9.

[41] Matt, Zohar, 1:3a.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Kaplan, Sefer Yetzirah, 5:9.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Matt, Zohar, 1:2b.

[46] Gikatilla, Gates, 130-33.

[47] Kaplan, 1:5.

The Haunting of Wells Hall

Posted: July 2, 2013 by phaedrap1 in Occult
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The building was quiet. Wells Hall, built in 1938, is home to Northwest Missouri State University’s Department of Communication and Mass Media, and two radio stations. During the school year, students work on projects, or at the campus media, at all hours. However, on Sundays in June, the building is empty; at least of the living.

College senior Victoria Bailey sat in the studio of KXCV radio around 8 a.m. on Sunday 9 June when she realized she might not be alone. “I was putting together news stories, and I saw something pass by the observation window,” she said. “It was out of the corner of my eye. I turned around really quick to see if I could catch who it was and nothing was there.”


She got up and walked into the long hallway the person would have had to go down, but she was alone. “Nobody is here on Sundays,” she said. “Not even janitors.”

Victoria brushed off what she thought she saw and went back to work. At a break, she went into the hallway to get a drink of water. “I thought I saw somebody in the hallway through a glass door,” she said. “I looked up after I got my drink and nobody was there.” She considered she may have seen her relief coming in early for his shift, but quickly dismissed it. “At that point I’m creeped out a little bit,” she said. The creepy feeling would only escalate. “About 15 minutes goes by and I go use the bathroom, and get another drink.”

When she came back to the studio door, she looked through a small glass panel and saw something that froze her. A man she didn’t recognize stood outside the observation glass opposite her, looking into the studio. “There’s a person standing on the other side just staring at the computer equipment,” she said. “I don’t know how I can duplicate my scream.”

The man looked to be a college student, “Asian. Dark hair,” Bailey said. “He was wearing khakis and a blue shirt. It was creepy.”

As Bailey stood, looking at this apparition, one of her contact lenses suddenly ripped. After she fished it out of her eye, she looked back toward the observation window, but the man was gone. “I went down the observation hallway and no one was there,” she said. “I yelled, ‘hello,’ and no one was here.”

Although Bailey had heard rumors Wells Hall was haunted, she’d never heard details, until she posted her encounter on Facebook. Then she got a name and a date: Amos Wong, 1991. Walking with some trepidation into the hallway to a bookshelf containing decades of Tower yearbooks, she pulled out the 1991 yearbook and flipped to the index. “I felt he was looking at it with me,” Bailey said. “I was flipping pages, looking up his name. I felt someone was with me.”

Then she found him, Amos Wong, a photographer for Tower yearbook. The face in the group picture staring up at her was he face she’d just seen through the window of the radio studio. “It creeped me out,” she said. “It was really weird.”

Bailey isn’t the first person who encountered Amos Wong.

Dominic Genetti, a former reporter for the student newspaper The Northwest Missourian, saw Amos in 2008. “I turned and looked out the corner of my eye and I could have sworn I saw somebody in a button-down blue shirt,” he said. “Not a royal blue, just blue. And I couldn’t really get the body type out of it, but it was definitely a person I saw walk by.”

When Genetti looked, expecting someone to turn the corner toward him, no one did. “I walked into the hallway and there’s no one in the basement,” he said. “There were times in the Convergence Lab that the light above me will flicker. There will be a reflection in the Mac computer that looked like someone walked behind me. And I looked behind me and no one was there.” Before digital cameras, the room known as the Convergence Lab was the darkroom.


Amos Wong died in a 1991 car accident. Assistant Professor Laura Widmer, former student publication adviser at Northwest Missouri State, said Wong had a passion for photography.  “He was just on staff for a year,” Widmer said. “He was an international student that enjoyed photography and joined the yearbook staff. He was a go-lucky kind of guy. Wouldn’t hurt anyone. Just a little mischievousness in his eye.”

In fall 1991 after Wong’s death, students working at the school’s media outlets started noticing something strange in the basement.  A student who had worked on staff with Wong told Widmer, “‘You know, Amos is back in the darkroom,’” Widmer said. “I’m not sure he ever saw Amos, but there are things like music going on and lights going on. Just strange occurrences. Photographers would say there was someone in the darkroom with them. It just felt like someone.”

That feeling seems to lurk in Wells Hall. “There are times where you just get that feeling you don’t want to go to the other end of the basement,” Genetti said in 2008. “There are times I just don’t want to go down there.”

Bailey agrees. She sometimes feels uncomfortable coming to work when the building’s supposedly empty because she knows what she saw. “Was it a ghost?” she asked. “I’ll answer my own question. Yes. You hear stories about Wells Hall being haunted – it is.”

By Jason Offutt

Possessed Patients: True Tales of Hospital Demons

Posted: June 21, 2013 by phaedrap1 in Occult
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While the woods are full of things that go bump in the night, forested areas hardly have a monopoly on the supernatural. If the stories from medical professionals are accurate, hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical facilities also play host to spirits, particularly those of the demonic variety.


A Patient Possessed


Nurses deal with death on a daily basis, so it’s hardly surprising that many turn to religion as a source of wisdom and comfort. However, encounters with demonic forces may also influence nurses’ views on the battle between good and evil. In a chilling tale on, one nurse shares her experience with a dying patient who was more than he seemed. According to the nurse, the patient suffered from a variety of ailments that could end his life at any time. However, the man was terrified of death and raged at the nurses to keep him alive. “Every time his heart monitor beeped, he would go into a rage screaming, ‘Don’t let me die! Don’t let me die,’” the nurse writes. “We soon found out why he didn’t want to die.”




One night, the patient took a turn for the worse, and the nurse rushed into his room with emergency supplies. However, she wasn’t prepared for what she found. “This man was sitting about two inches above the bed and was laughing,” the nurse writes. “His whole look completely changed. His eyes had a look of pure evil and he had this evil smile on his face. He laughed at us and said, ‘You stupid bitches aren’t going to let me die are you?’”. After this frightening outburst, the man went into cardiac arrest and died 20 minutes later. However, the terror was far from over. Five minutes after a doctor pronounced the patient dead, the newly-deceased man sat up in bed and started to laugh, saying “You let him die. Too bad.” What happened next sounds like something from a horror movie. “We heard a horrible, agonizing scream and then you could hear ‘don’t let me die’ whispered throughout the unit,” the nurse reports. “Every one of the nurses that night was pale and scared. Nobody went anywhere by themselves. By morning, the whispers of ‘don’t let me die’ were gone.”


A Terrifying Vision


Another tale, also from, describes a patient’s terrifying vision just minutes before her death. “She was given a patient who was passing away and had been unconscious for several days,” a nurse writes of her friend who worked in an oncology unit. “At one point during the night, the nurse went into the room and the patient was at the top of the bed and looked at her and said, ‘Don’t let them take me.’ The nurse was freaked out and asked the patient who was going to take her, and she said ‘that black thing up there’ and pointed up in the air. This patient died within minutes.”


creepy hospital corridor


The Mark of the Beast


Nurses aren’t the only medical professionals to encounter sinister forces on the job. A paramedic on shares his experience with a dying patient and a number many call the mark of the beast. Like the dying man in the hospital, the paramedic’s patient was highly agitated, and he seemed to dread his impending death. “We get there and it’s this poor guy in his early 40′s who is bald from chemo and sitting on his brother’s couch,” the paramedic writes. “He just kept saying, ‘Ooh. No. No. Oooh.’ and looking around the room, flinching every now and then like he was waving away flies. We got him to sit on the stretcher, and he said, ‘No, not now.’” The man sadly crumpled to the ground a few minutes later and died with tears on his cheeks. As the paramedic drove the man’s body to the emergency room, he wondered about the patient’s post-death fate. That’s when things started to get weird.




“As I wondered if the man would go to heaven, I got a bad feeling, like darkness was creeping all around us,” the medic writes. “I happened to look down at the volt-meter and I saw the number 666 flashing. This panel normally doesn’t flash at all, it just reads voltage. It went 666, then .1, then 666, then .1, then 666, then .1, and then it went back up to 1200 or so and stayed that way. The uneasy feeling went away, but I still prayed the whole way to the hospital.”  For those unfamiliar with the significance of 666, many Christians associate the number with evil due to a passage in Revelation. In the New International Version of the Bible, Revelation 13:15-18 reads:


“The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.


This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.”


Do demonic entities prey on the souls of humans? Let’s hope not. However, many religions teach that evil spirits are a real risk to both the faithful and disbelievers. What do you think?

Christy Gordon

Secrets of Siberian Shamanism

Posted: June 12, 2013 by phaedrap1 in Occult, Spirituality


Today, especially in New Age circles, the term ‘shamanism’ is often used in a generalised way to describe all kinds of indigenous magical practices in a wide range of cultures worldwide. It has also been projected back into a past that it never had, so we can find modern books on so-called ‘Celtic shamanism’ and even ‘Ancient Egyptian shamanism’. Modern writers on the subject such as Dr. Michael Harner have also created what is called ‘core shamanism’ or ‘urban shamanism’. 

This takes the essence of shamanic beliefs and practices and repackages them in a safe, sanitised and often diluted form that is acceptable for Western seekers of alternative spirituality. In this article, however, we examine and describe the real ‘core shamanism’ as it has been practised for hundreds of years in its homeland of Siberia and the Turkic-speaking areas of Mongolia, and where it is now being revived.

In the late 16th and early 17th centuries the area known as Siberia was colonised by the Russians. They were led there by its abundance of wild animals that created a flourishing trade in animal skins and furs. The Tsars used the income from this enterprise to boost their economy and access the foreign currency that helped create the Russian empire. The influx of Russian hunters, fur traders and merchants drastically affected the local population, which consisted of many different tribes. By the 1900s the native population had dwindled to about 10% of the total people living in Siberia. Along with the fur traders there also came missionaries and, in later times, anthropologists. The former were interested in converting the indigenous population to Orthodox Christianity, while the latter wanted to study their tribal culture, spiritual beliefs and ritual practices. Both these groups of outsiders contacted the tribal shamans of Siberia and, for totally different reasons, recorded and commented upon their religious observances.

The earliest references to magical practitioners that could be described as shamans in fact date back to the 13th century. It was then that the first Western travellers penetrated Central Asia and visited the court of the Mongol rulers. The explorer Marco Polo, for instance, met magicians who were healers and could diagnosis diseases by the use of divination. Polo says they became possessed by what he described as “a devil,” who then used their vocal chords to speak through them.

However, it was an English explorer called Richard Johnston in the 16th century who first described what sounds very like the activities of shamans proper. He reported witnessing a tribal priest wearing animal skins and playing a drum “shaped like a great sieve” in “devilish rites.” During the ritual the drummer fell into a trance and was possessed by “evil spirits.”

In 1692 another Western explorer, Nicholas Witsen, described seeing a “shaman” or “priest of the Devil.” He was clad in ritual regalia, consisting of an antlered head-dress and a richly decorated robe, and chanted and beat on a drum to attract the spirits. Generally, reflecting the Catholic culture they came from, these Westerners regarded the shamans as fanatical “devil worshippers” who forced their ignorant and uneducated followers to serve evil spirits and demons.

What is Siberian Shamanism?

The meaning of the word ‘shaman’ is shrouded in linguistic mystery and various explanations have been put forward for its origin. One theory is that it is possibly derived from an ancient Chinese term for a Buddhist priest or monk. The Oxford English Dictionary defines its meaning as “a priest or witch-doctor [sic] of (a) class claiming to have sole contact with gods etc.” It says the word comes from the Russian “shaman” and is a translation of the Tungusion word “saman.” In Siberia and Mongolia, shamanism was known as Tengerism, meaning a reverence for sky spirits. It reflected an animistic belief system where everything in the natural world was alive, permeated by spirit force or, in simple terms, inhabited by spirits.

These spirits had to be respected and appeased or else the land would become infertile and barren, the animals relied upon for food would disappear and eventually the world would come to an end. To achieve this essential and vital balance between humans, nature and the spirit world, a magical specialist was required and the shaman took that role. He or she acted as an intermediary or middle person between humanity and the Other, and a caretaker of cultural and magical tradition. Their job involved conducting blessings, especially on new-born babies, performing rituals of protection, divining the future, healing the sick, exorcising ghosts and demons, overseeing the burial of the dead, and generally communicating on behalf of the tribe with the spirit world and its denizens.

Initiation into the shamanic cult could be achieved in several different ways. The easiest was the hereditary route where magical knowledge, power and skill were passed down from grandfather or father to son or, more rarely, from grandmother or mother to daughter. Sometimes children were chosen at a very early age or even at birth by the spirits and instructed by them through the medium of visions and dreams. Young people who suffered a serious illness or disease or from epileptic fits, were introverted and dreamy, or had any form of mental condition or disability, were regarded as natural shamans who had been specially chosen by the spirits.

In later life those who felt a strong calling to become a magical practitioner would retreat from society, usually to a remote place in the wilderness, and undergo a vigil during which they invited the spirits to contact them and teach them the shamanic ways. When a person was actually taken on by another shaman as his assistant or sorcerer’s apprentice, a formal initiation rite was often carried out. The candidate offered an animal sacrifice, called on the spirits to aid them in their task, took an oath of loyalty to their shamanic master or spiritual clan, and accepted the special ritual regalia of a shaman’s office.

Often these initiations by either another shaman or the spirits involved a traumatic visionary death and rebirth experience. Sometimes this included a journey to the underworld, meetings with deities and the would-be shaman’s body being dismembered and then put together again.

The ritual regalia given to the new shaman reflected the fact that he or she was a special person who was separate and different from other members of the tribe. Siberian shamans wore robes made from animal hide and fur and decorated with embroidery, bird’s feathers, silk tassels, ribbons, bells, small mirrors, jewellery representing symbolic motifs such as the World Tree, and assorted metalwork such as copper discs. Headwear consisted of a conical or pointed cap made from felt or fur or the antlers of a reindeer. Some shamans wore iron-shod fur boots so when they stamped their feet they could drive away evil spirits.

The majority of shamans carried a ritual drum similar in shape to the traditional Irish bodhran. These were made from an animal skin stretched over a wooden frame and decorated with feathers and magical symbols representing spirit journeys to the Otherworld or the shamanic cosmology. The drum was very important and represented the symbolic and magical steed that enabled the practitioner to travel from Middle Earth to the realm of the spirits. It was also a magical object in its own right that contained and focused spirit force or energy. By playing it the shaman could both attract spirits and exorcise them. In addition to the drum a magical staff was often carried. This was made of either wood or metal and was decorated with feathers, bells, ribbons and the pelts of small woodland animals.

Different Types of Shaman

Although Westerners used the generic term ‘shaman’ to describe all the tribal magical practitioners of Siberia and Mongolia, in practice they were divided into several different types, categories or classes with specific magical duties and responsibilities. Using English terminology, these included ‘conjurors’ who summoned and controlled spirits, prophets or psychics who foresaw the future, sorcerers who practised ‘black magic’, trance-workers who travelled in spirit form to the Otherworld, healers who were experts in folk medicine and herbalism, and guides to the dead who laid out corpses and conducted funeral rites.

The shaman-healers were often female and they specialised in health matters connected with human and animal fertility, sexuality and children. They were recognisable by their distinctive skirts made from animal hide and brightly coloured woollen hats. Instead of the ritual drum used by the male shamans, they carried a silk fan and prayer beads. Unfortunately when Buddhism came to Siberia and Mongolia many of these female healers were ruthlessly persecuted and exterminated by the misogynist monks. As a result their extensive knowledge of herbs and plants used for natural healing was either lost completely or taken over by Buddhist healers and only practised in a debased or diluted form.

Another female practitioner was the shaman-midwife, who inherited her power from the maternal line of familial descent. As well as ensuring that babies entered this world safely in a physical sense, she was also responsible for their spiritual protection from evil influences during birth and their well-being as children. In this sense she took on the role of a human fairy godmother. Immediately after a birth the shaman-midwife cut the umbilical cord and then purified the new-born baby with salt water and fire. Any (female only) witnesses to the birth could only be present if they had first been ritually purified by the midwife with fire and water. During the first few weeks of a baby’s life it was very important that the proper rituals were performed to protect the child until its spirit was fully established in the material world. If they were not performed properly then the baby’s spirit might return from whence it had come. These essential rites were the responsibility of the shaman-midwife and her assistants.

Another type of shamanic healer was a bone-setter who called upon spirit guides to help them in their healing work. They mainly repaired broken and dislocated bones and torn ligaments, healed back pain caused by spinal injuries or disease and also skin infections such as boils, rashes, psoriasis and eczema. These gifts were inherited from the paternal side of the family and, because the bones of the human body were considered to be spiritually ‘masculine’ in nature, these shamanic bone-setters were always male.

Most of the shamans worked with what modern New Agers call animal allies or spirit-helpers in animal form. These entities assisted them with their magical work and also taught them. For instance, the shaman-midwives described above worked with an animal spirit in the form of a mountain fox. The first bone-setter is supposed to have been taught his skills by a snake so that creature was sacred to the clan. Other shamanic practitioners were assisted by reindeer or wolves for attacking and destroying evil spirits, and ravens for getting rid of diseases. Other important animal spirit helpers included owls, wild ducks, geese, squirrels, bears, frogs and toads, dogs, seagulls and eagles.

One of the most important and respected types of magical practitioners was the shaman-smith. In all cultures all over the world from Europe to Africa the smith took a central role in tribal society and was regarded as a powerful magician or sorcerer because of his mastery over fire and skill in working with metal. There are many legends about blacksmiths making pacts with demons, gods or the Devil or tricking and outwitting them to acquire their skills. There are also many smith gods in ancient mythology who were magicians, made weapons for the Gods or acted as cultural exemplars by inventing agricultural tools. In Siberia the shaman-smiths made and magically consecrated the ritual metal objects used by other shamans. They were only chosen by the spirits and instead of a drum they used their anvils to communicate with the spiritual realm.

‘Black’ & ‘White’ Shamans

As well as the different types of magical practitioner, the shamans were also divided into two separate, but sometimes overlapping, categories – ‘black’ or ‘white’ shamans. The former were regarded as the most powerful of the two and were sometimes known as ‘warrior-shamans’ because they battled evil forces and were consulted as military advisors. They obtained their power from the north (possibly the North Pole or the North Star) and could be easily identified as they always wore black robes with very little, if any, decoration. The primary function of the black shaman was to deal with demons and the dark gods on behalf of their clients. In this role they were hired to curse their enemies and blight their crops and livestock.

In wartime the black shamans attached themselves to the army rather like the modern padres and helped to win battles using their occult powers. In peacetime they took a more positive role as diplomats, political advisors and emissaries and they oversaw the preparation and signing of treaties with the appropriate magical rites. Black shamans were greatly feared, even after their deaths. In the 19th century when a famous one died she was placed in a coffin made from the ‘unclean’ wood of an aspen. Her corpse was then nailed down with aspen stakes so she could not become a ‘night walker’ and haunt the living.

In contrast, the so-called ‘white’ shamans obtained their magical power from a westerly direction, the home of the benevolent deities and spirits. They operated at a tribal level almost exclusively as healers and diviners and they only had dealings with beneficent entities. It was their role to pacify angry or evil spirits, exorcise them if they possessed human beings and help the tribe live in harmony with their natural environment and the spirit world. To this end on a physical level they were often employed in an administrative role to oversee tribal affairs.

The Yurt, the World Tree & Spirit Flight

In Siberian and especially Mongolian shamanism the yurt, a traditional dwelling constructed from a framework of wooden poles covered with animal skins and with a central smoke-hole in the roof, was a microcosmic symbol or representation of the universe. For this reason all movement inside the yurt was conducted, if at all possible, in a deosil or sunways direction. This also reflected the traditional direction of movement used in shamanic rituals and dances. The centre of the yurt, where a fire burnt in a hearth and was seldom extinguished, was symbolic of the actual centre of the world or universe. The column of smoke that drifted up from the fire and left the yurt through the central smoke-hole in the roof was symbolic of the axis mundi – the World Mountain, World Pillar or World Tree. This links the underworld below with the heavens above and ends at the North and Pole Star around which all the other stars revolve in the night sky.

The shamans believed in three worlds of existence connected together by the World Tree or Tree of Life. They were the lower world or underworld inhabited by the dead who are awaiting reincarnation, the middle world or Middle Earth, the material plane of existence in which human spirits are incarnated, and the upper world or Heaven, the dwelling place of the Gods. Numerous non-human spirits also inhabit each of these three worlds. The shaman can access these other worlds in trance by means of spirit travel. His soul body ascends the column of smoke from the fire and passes through the aperture in the roof of the yurt. It is interesting to note that in medieval times European witches were supposed to fly to their Sabbats by ascending the chimney on their broomsticks. It is obvious that this was not done physically so they also were practising a shamanic type of spirit flight.

Shamans can also fly through the air when they spirit travel, either by shapeshifting into the form of birds (such as geese) or by riding on the back of a flying deer, horse or some other large animal. Again, there are many woodcuts dating from the Middle Ages depicting witches riding through the night sky on the backs of goats and rams. Sometimes the shaman visited the spirit world by ascending the World Tree itself or by travelling along a rainbow. This is another symbol that is found in Northern European paganism where a rainbow bridge connects Midgard (Middle Earth) with Asgard, the realm of the Gods.

One of the methods used by the Siberian shamans to achieve trance and spirit travel was the hallucinogenic fungi amanita muscaria or fly agaric. This red capped white-spotted toadstool has a symbiotic relationship with both birch and fir trees, which grow profusely in northern and arctic climes. It is so closely associated with magical properties in myth and fairy tales that it is frequently depicted in illustrations to modern children’s stories about woodland elves, faeries and goblins. Fly agaric is reputed to be able to open up the ‘crack between the worlds’ and experiments in the 20th century by the two well-known ethonomycologists Gordon and Valentina Wasson revealed the ethenogenic qualities of this most famous of ‘sacred mushrooms’.

In Siberia fly agaric was sometimes fed to reindeer and then the animal’s toxic urine is drank. The shamans said that taking it put them in touch with the spirit of the plant, who appeared as small mushrooms with eyes and arms and legs attached. Needless to say that in large quantities fly agaric is highly poisonous and can be deadly. It must, as with all hallucinogenic plants used in magical practice, be used in small quantities, treated with respect and only taken after the proper spiritual preparation and then only under expert supervision. It should also be noted that in many countries fly agaric and other psychedelic fungi are classified as dangerous drugs and the possession or partaking of them is illegal.

In common with indigenous folk beliefs in the West, it was accepted in shamanism that the spirit world was not entirely separated from the material one. There are special places in the natural environment – sacra loci – where the two realms meet and touch and interconnect. These can be a sacred mountain or hill, a stone, a river, a lake, a forest or any natural landmark in the countryside. While the shaman may be able to access such ‘gateways’ or ‘portals’ between here and there easily, lesser mortals may be unaware of them or, if they are sensitive, they may feel they are ‘different’ or ‘other’. Spooky places, whether natural sites in the landscape or buildings, associated with folklore, paranormal phenomena and hauntings are usually spirit gateways.

In shamanistic belief all inanimate objects were inhabited or possessed by spirit energy or force who controlled their environs. Some shamans taught that living beings, especially human ones, could have more than one spirit inhabiting their physical body. Many accepted that humans had an etheric, astral or spirit double and this could be projected in trance or spirit travel to roam over the Earth and also enter the Otherworld. The shamans believed that the soul of a human being resided in a spherical or ovoid energy field that surrounds each of us. It is probably what Western occultists would refer to as the auric field or aura. It was this energy field that was attacked by demons or black shamans when they psychically attacked their victims and in that way they could cause illness or death. It was the task of the white shaman to redress the balance by healing the damaged aura and if possible bring the victim back to full health.

Earlier we saw how animals were important clan totems and spirit guides to the shaman. Before the 20th century and the rise of industrial scale food production, hunting was widespread on the Siberian steppes and in the forests. Unlike Christian belief, it was accepted without question that animals had souls and when hunting them down and killing them it was essential that their sprits were respected and appeased. If they were not, disaster and misfortune could befall the hunter, his family and tribe. When a hunter killed his prey it was always despatched quickly, cleanly and without cruelty. Before it was killed the hunter apologised for having to do so and after death its remains were treated with care and respect. The same rule applied to domestic animals. A master animal spirit ruled each species and prayers and sacrificial offerings of incense and fire were made to them before the hunt began. Hunting purely for pleasure, as practised in the West, was an unknown concept.

Buddhism & the Stamping Out of Shamanism

Despite the early arrival of the fur traders and merchants in Siberia and Mongolia, shamanism survived. In the 16th century, however, a Mongolian ruler called Altan Khan invited a Tibetan Buddhist mission to the country. His motives were political as he wanted to consolidate his own position as the supreme tribal leader by claiming to be the reincarnation of the great Kubla Khan. The Buddhists agreed to recognise his claim and in return the Khan gave the head of the Buddhist Order the spiritual title of Dalai Lama, which of course exists today even though the present holder is in exile in India. As a result of the Khan’s one conversion, he passed laws banning shamanic rituals and granted the Buddhist priesthood a special status in society and privileges that were not granted to the shamans.

In the 17th century attempts were made by the Mongolian rulers to eradicate shamanic survival entirely. The black shaman brotherhood refused to submit to the new religion and many were killed. Some of the white shamans came to an accommodation with it. This led to the creation of a third way called ‘yellow shamanism’ that submitted to the control of the lamas and combined shamanic beliefs and practices with Tibetan Buddhism.

During the 18th century in Siberia, Buddhist, Orthodox Christian and Muslim missionaries attempted to convert the native population and opposed the practice of all rival religions. Considering their modern peaceful and pacifist image, the Buddhist monks were the most severe in this respect and they hunted down shamans, beat them and destroyed their sacred sites, replacing them with their own image-filled shrines. The Russian Orthodox Church also forced the pagan tribes to accept baptism at the point of a sword and they flogged or imprisoned anyone who dared to practice shamanic rites such as divination and animal sacrifice.

Despite this religious persecution, shamanism survived the forced conversions and it continued underground in remote rural areas. Sometimes shamanic elements were incorporated into an unorthodox form of folk Christianity that flourished despite the censure of the priests. This movement produced hybrid sects who coincided their sacrifices with Church festivals and made offerings to saints. Some shamans accepted the patron saints of Russia, SS George and Michael, as their deities. St Michael was even given the honorary title of ‘Master of the Shamans’ and blood sacrifices were made to his icons.

After the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, shamanism had a brief revival as the power and influence of the Orthodox Russian Church and Buddhism in Siberia faded away. However, with the beginning of the bloody Stalinist regime in the 1920s, the new policy of agricultural collectivism caused drastic changes in Siberian society. The Soviet communists regarded the shamans as an example of primitive superstition and social inequality and they were condemned as enemies of the state. There are horrific stories of KGB agents throwing shamans out of helicopters to prove to their followers that they could not fly and also randomly executing them by firing squad. In 1980 the central government in Moscow claimed that shamanism was extinct in Siberia.

When Professor Ronald Hutton of Bristol University visited Siberia in the early 1980s he was told by experts in the field that there were no more shamans alive and shamanism had died out. At the time he accepted this, but later he came to believe that a number of former shamans had managed to survive the pograms. With the collapse of Soviet communism in the later 1980s and early 1990s there was a revival of traditional culture among the ethnic peoples of the former USSR. Professor Hutton has described an encounter by some British musicians visiting Siberia in 1997 with a person who claimed to be a hereditary shaman. He said he had inherited his powers and knowledge from his grandfather, who had been a blacksmith, and he used his skills for healing and exorcising evil spirits.


In the 1990s a neo-shamanic movement known as Tengrism arose in Central Asia and the new Russian Federation. It quickly organised itself and now claims a rather inflated membership of 500,000. One of its prominent leaders is a Kyrgyzstan Member of Parliament called Dastan Sarygulov, who also runs an international scientific centre for Tengrist studies. Its members have a political agenda and attempt to spread their beliefs and ideology in government circles. Apparently they have had some success as a former Kyrgyz president and the present President of Kazakhstan have both declared that Tengrism is the natural and national religion of the Turkic population.

Unlike the shamanism of former times, Tengrism is a monotheistic form of religion with a cosmology that is suitable for the modern world. It is firmly based on trendy ‘green’ or environmental concerns and believes that humanity should live in harmony with the natural world. Forgetting or ignoring the persecution of the past, it also preaches tolerance towards other religions and seeks to co-exist with them in the spirit of interfaith. Strangely it is also a religion without dogma, prayers or a priesthood. The American academic Marlene Larvelle, who has studied Tengrism, claims that it has been influenced by the atheism of the Soviet years and contemporary ideas about modernity. Its political agenda calls for a recognition of Turkic national ideals and the ultimate unification of all Turkic-speaking peoples.

The revival of shamanism in its modern Tengrist form would seem to hearken back to a romantic past that probably never existed in reality. Its increasing popularity among urban Russians is based on an idyllic image of yurts on the steppes, a nomadic lifestyle and living in harmony with nature. This is in direct contrast to the struggle of daily existence in a modern neo-capitalist and corrupt society governed by autocratic rulers.

An inner desire to reconnect with the natural world and follow spiritual values in a technocratic consumer society, a romantic view of the past and an urge to ‘save the planet’ is also the driving force behind so-called ‘urban shamanism’ in the West. However, the Siberian shaman and his Mongolian counterpart were not so much interested in preserving the environment than surviving day by day appeasing the spirits they believed inhabited it. In that sense the shamanism of the past was an essential part of daily life.

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Select Bibliography

Dr. Mircea Eliade, Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy (Princetown University Press, USA, 1972)

Professor Ronald Hutton, Siberian Shamanism and the Western Imagination (Hambledon and London, UK, 2001)

Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods: A Radical History of Plants, Drugs and Human Evolution (Bantam Press, USA 1992)

Marlene Laurelle, ‘Tengrism: In Search of Central Asia’s Spiritual Roots’ in Central Asia-Caucasus Institute Analyst, (22 March 2008), and


MICHAEL HOWARD has been studying occultism, magic, folklore and witchcraft for over forty years and lives in England. He is the editor and publisher of the witchcraft magazine The Cauldron and can be contacted by writing to BM Cauldron, London, WC1N 3XX, England or emailing: