3 - The Truth Inside
The Ancient Mystery of the Skull Cup
For some reason, many of us just seem to know that the answer to all our
searching questions about time, the universe, and life after death could be
answered by our own minds, and this almost paradoxical situation has been
with mankind for thousands of years.
Man searched within himself for the
answers and I believe man found them. Here, in this short piece, I hope to
relay some of the amazing symbols of that searching and reveal the hidden
meanings behind some of the most enigmatic objects and images of history.
This chapter will concentrate on one of the most profound of symbols
utilized by secret societies - the skull.
But before I move forward into the
skull I must concentrate on the energy that is supposedly raised towards it
and which was and is believed to infuse it with power - the kundalini.
The kundalini, in one form or another, is found in almost all secret
societies - whether they know it or not. It is the core basis of the energy
and centered self that they speak of. Without this “energy” they would have
no wise masters seeing visions or entering trance states. There would be no
This kundalini is the serpent energy within, the
hidden power inside each of us - or so we are told.
She, the subtlest of the subtle, holds within herself the Mystery of
creation, and by her radiance, it is said, the universe is illumined,
eternal knowledge awakened and liberation attained. She maintains all beings
of the world by means of inspiration and expiration.
(Serpent Power, Arthur
The kundalini must be roused by one with a powerful, willful, and controlled
He or she must be a skilled craftsman - this, like Masonry, is the
ability to unify the physical with the mental. A true adept can master this
art and raise the feminine coiled serpent into the mind - the cerebral center.
And this is how the skull becomes important and why certain skull cups
became the Grail of all Grails.
We too must now follow the path of the ancients and search within the skull.
We shall begin with one of the most recondite of images - the Tantric Skull
In Sanskrit, skull cups are known as kapala (hence “cap” and “cup”), and
they are generally formed from the oval section of the upper cranium. They
served as libation vessels for large numbers of deities, which were mostly
Baptism in the Grail, Cyprus
However, these skull cups are not
always associated with wrathful deities; they are also seen with gods such
as Padmasambhava, who holds the “skull cup,” which is described as holding
an ocean of nectar (Elixir) that floats in the longevity vase.
immediately we have a clue to the contents of this receptacle and its real
purpose - the Elixir. This Elixir was at the heart of many secret orders and
was one of the carrots used to entice people to join.
But it was more than the contents that were of importance. The selection of
the right skull was paramount, and the users were looking for Tantric powers
or energy. Therefore a violent death would always be better, such as
decapitation. The symbolism of the Tantric Skull Cups is very similar to
that of the Holy Grail in that they are symbolic of immortality.
western alchemical writings advise the use of skull cups in the process of
the “great work,” which is of course the search for the Elixir of Life. We
find again and again that the “energy” spoken of in relation to these skull
cups is exactly the same as the “serpent energy” or “fire” that secret
societies across the world search for and claim to be able to manipulate.
The Tantric Skull Cups are said to parallel the clay pots of the Vedic
sacrifices and the begging bowl of Buddha, which I found in at least one
myth contained the serpent. 1
The skulls are said to serve as a constant
reminder of death. The contents of the skulls are often blood, but also the
blood of Rudra - the “Lord of wild animals” similar to Cernunnos.
Rudra’s etymological origins are uncertain. It could mean “the red one” or
“the weeper,” or derive from the Syrian “Rhad” meaning serpent. In other
areas it also means the “removal of pain” or “healer.” Rudra is identified
with Siva, and he is the divine healer.
Mahadeva, one of Siva’s names, is often represented with a snake entwined
around his neck, arms, and hair. His consort, Parvati, is likewise
represented. Bhairava, the Avatar of Siva, sits upon the coils of a serpent,
whose “head rises above that of the gods.”
Also, according to Hyde Clarke and C. Staniland Wake in Serpent and Siva
Worship, Siva is the same as Rudra, the healer, and is called the King of
He is depicted with a garland of skulls, symbolizing time measured
in years, the changing of ages. He is called sometimes Nagabhushana
Vyalakalpa or “having serpents round his neck” and Nagaharadhrik or “wearing
serpent-necklaces” and also Nagaendra. Nagesha or “king of Nagas” is also
known as Nakula, the “mongoose” which means one who is immune from the venom
of the snake.
Siva is also seen as a “horned god” and is connected with the serpent
worship in many ways. Both Siva and “Siva in the form of Rudra” are seen in
their dynamic aspect as being entwined with serpents. These are serpent
deities of old and are connected here with the cup of the head, bringing
several disparate elements together - the skull, the grail, the mind, the
snake, and time or immortality.
They are regenerative serpent deities
offering longevity via their blood within a cup. In essence, what we have
here is the serpent, which resides within the mind and therefore skull,
which gives us all those things that Grail is said to give.
But can any of this relate further away in time and space and arrive in
Europe, the supposed true home of the Holy Grail?
Livy in Historae mentions a similar Celtic operation from the 3rd century
A.D., which simply must be connected to the Indian skull cups.
when the Boii tribe got hold of a victim, they,
“cut off the head, and
carried their spoils in triumph to the most hallowed of their temples. There
they cleaned out the head, as is their custom, and gilded the skull, which
thereafter served them as a holy vessel to pour libations from and as a
drinking cup for the priest and the temple attendants.”
The sacred water used in the skull cups was often taken from a holy well,
which, as I have established elsewhere, 2 were places linked intrinsically
with the worship of the ancient serpent.
The idea here is that this ritual
practice goes back beyond even the total memory recall of the Celts to a
time when the cups employed the real power of the serpent, not just symbolic
water. In essence, the water, whether of wells, lakes, pools, or seas, was
seen by man across the globe as an entryway or portal into the Otherworld.
Taking this otherworldly water in a sacred cup fuses a special power into
the water - no different to the Holy Water taken from the font in any
The etymology of the skull gives some interesting insights.
In Old German it is Scala, which is also a seashell; the symbol used by
pilgrims on their way to the shrine of St. James in Spain - a symbol of life.
Old Norse it is Skel, which means “to have scales” or be “scale-like.” The
word skoal, now a fairly common drinking cry, is also closely related and
means to “toast from a skull.”
This etymology alone shows the deep-seated
element of the skull in Western Europe and its use as a drinking vessel.
Remarkably, skoal was also used to refer to a chalice! (The Ukranian word
Cherep refers both to skull and chalice.)
We must not forget the Christian Messiah was also crucified at the “place of
the skull,” Golgotha. That is, his sacrificial blood was spilled into the
But there is more to this than meets the eye.
This place, Golgotha, is also connected to the sign Capricorn - the
half-goat, half-fish, or serpent. Capri is from Latin, meaning “goat” or
“head,” and corn is “horn.”
This then, is the “horn of the head” or
“goat” - the Golgotha.
Christ crucified at Golgotha, Kykkoss Monastery, Cyprus
So Jesus spilled his blood into the secret Grail on that fateful day - the
secret Grail being the horn or cup of the skull.
Just as the serpent blood is found in the skull cups, so too is the blood of
Now we can see why the Templars’ infamous Baphomet head 3 was seen as a
skull and a goat; it was a hidden mystery - a mystery which has been
misunderstood ever since. The Brazen Serpent, the healing snake of Moses now
seen as Christ in the New Testament, was lifted up at the place of the skull
and his offering of blood 4 was collected - the ultimate sacrifice on the tree
of life for the ultimate prize of immortality.
But truly, if Christ is all
and in all, as we are told by the Bible, then we can all obtain this
immortality of the one, the shaman deity or Jesus, who visited the
Jesus went down into hell for us, we are told; the shaman would
enter a trance, drink from the skull cup, and visit the Otherworld for us;
the priests of Egypt, South America, and the Celtic lands would do the same.
This then is a universal experience expressed in symbolic form via the
skull. The reason is clear, because the mind resides within the skull; the
Tantric power and the perceived wisdom of the united serpent energies all
act within the skull. No wonder it was cut off, turned upside down, and
But is there any more evidence showing this remarkable symbolism?
There is a Naga 5 myth that relates to the place of the skull. It is about
Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) or simply Padma. He is revered in many places,
and in Tibet held alongside Buddha; indeed, many see him as the “second
coming” of Buddha.
He is inseparable from the primordial Buddha. He was “in
the beginning,” the way Jesus was “the Word.”
He received the wish-fulfilling jewel from the daughter of
a Naga king and
used it to restore sight and make riches. He is said to have transformed
himself into a demon by tying a snake into his hair, and practiced a secret
language to enable the Nagas to assist him. He spoke to those who had ears
to hear; Arjuna (John) taught him astrology and he learned all about
medicine from Jivakakumara.
While Padma was practicing his skills in a cemetery, Garab Dorje was born to
a virgin daughter of King Dharmasoka. Now, please don’t try this at home,
but she had no use for the bastard son and so tossed him into a burning pit;
but the child survived. Then she remembered a dream in which she gave birth
to a celestial being, so she pulled him from the pit after seven days 6 and,
finding him alive, called him Rolang Dewa.
During the child’s early years he learned many wise things and debated
against 500 great pandits who all said he was the Buddha.
Padma then came, as a wise man and (very much as John the Baptist did to
Jesus) taught Garab Tantras. Padma then went on to seek the secret of
longevity and was directed to Kungamo, who dwelt in the palace of skulls.
Kungamo turned Padma into a syllable, like Jesus as the word, and swallowed
him. Inside the stomach he found the secrets he was searching for.
Padma is often seen holding a cup filled with the divine liquor, which he
offers to his disciples - saying “drink of this to attain liberation.”
Padma then is linked to the Naga serpent cult, to healing, to the Elixir via
the palace of skulls. He is the word; the teacher of the Christ, like Garab
who was born of a virgin; and he gives the Eucharist cup to his disciples.
All of this is a symbolic representation of the almost exact process an
initiate into the mysteries of secret societies must go through. It is a
parable of the pathway.
In all respects, this wonderful stylized Indian tale has all the elements we
could possibly require to show that the Christian and medieval Grail stories
are nothing more than a retelling of much more ancient concepts, and that
these concepts revolve around a universal and archetypal truth. This truth
is that our own immortality and our own salvation lies within our own minds.
Secret orders that teach these processes remain in the world today. Some
teach the truths through Eastern methods and others have Westernized them,
but all speak of the truth that is inside our own skulls.
Now you know the
truth; will it set you free?
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