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INTRODUCTION
The heart of this lesson is based upon RITUAL, and how to create your own, based
upon the structure of others or upon a structure you design yourself from scratch. Don't
let anyone fool you into believing there is a set way to perform any ritual. We will
examine how others approached the process of their rituals. We will cover a vital area,
an area usually overlooked by almost all occult books. The aforementioned vital area is
that of the state of mind or "state of consciousness". This state will allow you to shift
reality in order to make the ritual work for you. Without this proper state of mind, the
ritual is reduced to a theatrical performance, although this too is an important role in a
ritual. We will step further into "reality shifting", providing you the proper tools to step
into another dimension. Next, we should also look at some of the "necessary"
components of rituals. This description shall not be all-inclusive but will provide a springboard upon which you may launch ideas of your own into your Magical Grimoire. I hope
that you will practice the techniques prescribed in the foregoing lesson.
Lastly, we will look at the works of some notable occult subjects of rituals, Voodoo
and Kabbalah. The information will train youand inspire your creative mind in magical ritual.
This lesson will arm the apprentice with extreme levels of power. It is cautioned that you
wield this great power responsibly. Cultivate it to help others, and never use it for attack.
The knowledge contained herein will allow for major transformations in consciousness and
reality.
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TRANSFORMING

YOUR

REALITY

What is a state of consciousness? I could spend pages on explaining the meaning
of this, but I won't. Instead, I will take you by the arm and walk with you through this
dark place. Have you ever gone into a building with many rooms, did something,
attempted to leave, and despite the fact you just walked in, you felt everything looked
different, and you didn't know the way out? Or, have you ever heard a song
somewhere, and suddenly it reminded you of a moment from the past, instantly making
you feel like you were there once again? Or, have you ever been in a theater, and
found that you were so deep into the movie that you realized you forgot you were in the
theater, or worse, you also forgot where you parked (Smile)? If you have had these
experiences, or similar, then you have experienced an "altered state of
consciousness" (ASC).
I've experienced severe states like these. For example, I could be in a place, a building,
a city, or even in my own home, and instantly feel like I was somewhere I'd not been
before. Some believe that ASC must be induced. I know otherwise. ASC can come
intentionally or unintentionally. The type we want to utilize is the "intentional ASC", for
magical purposes, of course.
First, I want you to know a secret. Through the use of ASC, you can literally
transform "your world" (not "the world"), into another world. To be clearer on this let me
use a simple example. 1. you enter an ASC and believe you are in a world of Demons
(hell); 2. you then begin to see strange and horrific things; 3. you perceive people as

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evil beings or possessed by evil beings; 3. you perceive the nights are longer. This list
may continue indefinitely.
It's important to know why I termed the world "your world". In magic, always
understand you live in a "make believe" world. Whatever you believe, is what you
literally make it. This is a very dangerous knowledge, so handle it with care. Or, you
could find yourself in a place a long, long way from home.
Incidentally, Some movies I enjoyed, which dealt with transformations of reality
were Phantasm, Hell Raiser, and Darkness. In Darkness, the ultimate transformation took
place near the end of the movie. See these.
You can use ASC to transform your world into any kind of world you desire. This is
not without proper practice. One does not merely just think of something and suddenly,
poof! The art requires a persistent, earnest application. Oh but wait, this forest is deeper
than that! There are Karmic ties to this journey. If you take pleasure from the universe,
by creating your own paradise, there are invisible beings who will visit you for some
type of repayment. The point here: use this art responsibly. And if you gain pleasure
from this, then you must make a sacrifice and/or help others to have a better life.
Now it time for me to hand you the keys and show you which door.
First start with breath. Learn to control your breathing. Observe how deep your
breathing affects you.
Next, get in touch with your body. Learn to be in touch with how it feels, emotionally
and physically, every minute. By doing this, you shall start to record the various "states"
your body is "capable" of. By knowing the states, thoroughly, you will then be able to
summon the state you want and then use it for its power. You could walk into a room
with four white walls and a chair, and after sitting into the chair, you will be able to close

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your eyes, and upon opening them, suddenly feel as if you were sitting somewhere
entirely different, such as in your favorite chair at home. (You could research how some
people can even alter bodily responses through these principles. And, in Magical
Advice Seven, we will cover some incridible knowledge along the lines of perception.
You will be amazed.)
Next, eat foods which give you energy. A lack of energy degrades your capacity to
enter into a desired state.
Next, through regular, daily meditation, learn the control your mind. You must be
able to control your mind as you would a horse, a car, or a bicycle. Please, let this flow
from an egoless state, or you will only be spinning your wheels, getting nowhere.
Finally, I must say, if you haven't tried any drugs, then you can choose to
experiment. However, don't depend on them. Experiencing LSD (or similar) in small
doses only, is important for understanding the capacity of your own consciousness.
Slap my hand if you must, but trust me on this. Weed/pot, likewise is important. I don't
use any drug currently. It's been a long time, but I can recall how it opened doors of
consciousness. Hear me. Unbelievable, as it may seem, if you don't understand
something in your life, smoke a joint, and the tackle the problem. You'll find that it forces
you to struggle with the problem from "another perspective", which may lead to a viable
solution. Moreover, pot, in my opinion, is considerably useful for self-evaluation. If you
sit down and seriously analyze yourself, using pen and paper, while stoned, you will
come out ahead.
I don't recommend that anyone with a weak will power toward drugs attempt either
of these. Most people with a strong will power can try these drugs and not have a need
for them afterward. This is the case with me.

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When you reach the level of being able to enter any desire ASC, then you are
ready to design your ritual with the "explicit state" written into it. At this point, you are
empowered to enter realms where your magical supplications can truly retain
substantial substance, returning with a force that mortals cannot produce on their own.
Now we may consider aspects of the "Ritual"
The following articles shall provide sufficient review of ASC. Be sure to retain notes
in your study booklets.

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Altered States of Consciousness and Psychotherapy
A Cross-Cultural Perspective
Mário Simões
Psychiatric University Clinic
Lisbon, Portugal

The main physiological and induced Altered States of Consciousness (ASCs) are outlined, as
well as methods of induction. The phenomenology of ASCs is described and related to
psychopathology. A short commentary is given about ASCs used in some ethnopsychotherapies.
Psychotherapies of Western origin using ASCs, especially hypnosis, Holotropic Breathwork,
and Personalized Experiential Restructuralization Therapy (Past-Life/Regression Therapy) are
outlined and discussed.

Altered (Waking) States of
Consciousness (ASCs)

C

were included, although in
a limited fashion, in the diagnostic manuals ICD-10 (World Health Organization,
1992) and DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). As Fabrega (1995) points out, the
study of the cultural sciences as they pertain to
psychiatry offers a necessary corrective to the increasing impersonality and reductionism that has
come to characterize the neurobiological approach. A major enterprise in cultural psychiatry in recent years has been the integration of
clinical science and anthropology (Minas, 1996).
This paper is also an attempt to make such an
integration. It deals with a psychological phenomenon that is rooted in the cultural life of a wide
variety of peoples and which has only recently
come to the attention of Western researchers, in
spite of a long European tradition in research on
Altered States of Consciousness (Beringer, 1927;
Stoll, 1947).
There is a current view that accepts the
existence of different levels of reality, according
to the state of consciousness (level) which an
individual is in at the moment. Normal daily
consciousness (the ordinary state of
consciousness) gives access to an ordinary reality,
ULTURAL ISSUES

but altered states of consciousness, for example,
in dreaming, permit contact with a nonordinary
reality. Less familiar forms of consciousness are
those categorized under the general designation
of altered states of consciousness (ASC). These
should be understood as altered or modified in
relation to the waking state of consciousness,
since this ordinary state of consciousness can be
considered, itself, an unusual state, impossible
to maintain for long, and secured only by a
modicum of perceptual intake and continuous
interior discourse (Gowan, 1978). In fact, a
discrete fluctuation in the ordinary state of
consciousness exists, giving rise to what Tart
(1975) calls discrete states of mind.
An ASC is present when there is a deviation
in subjective experience or psychological
functioning from certain general norms for that
individual, recognized by the subject or observers
(Kokoszka, 1987; Ludwig, 1966). Some authors
(Dittrich, von Arx, & Staub, 1986) add some other
features to this basic definition:
1. Every ASC has certain verbally comprehensible features which occur only infrequently
during the normal waking state. The number
of such differential characteristics determines
the state of an ASC on dimensions ranging
from the normal waking state to an extreme
ASC.

The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 2002, Vol. 21, 145-152
© 2002 by Panigada Press

145

2. ASCs normally last for only a few minutes
to hours, which is an important difference
from psychiatric diseases.
3. ASCs are self-induced, that is, they are
usually voluntarily induced, or may occur in
the normal way of life. They are not the result
of illness or adverse social circumstances.
4. The various means of inducing ASC can be
grouped into four types: (a) hallucinogens of
the first order (e.g., LSD, DMT, THC); (b)
hallucinogens of the second order (e.g.,
Scopolamine, nitrous oxide); (c) reduction of
environmental stimulation or contact in the
broadest sense (e.g., sensory deprivation,
meditation, falling asleep, awakening); and (d)
increased environmental stimulation and
contact (e.g., intense rhythmic stimulation,
extremely variable stimuli).

Using the APZ (Abnorme psychische
Zustaende) questionnaire (Dittrich, 1975) for
scanning ASCs of the different types mentioned
above, various authors in different countries
(Dittrich, von Arx, & Staub, 1986; Simões, Polónio,
von Arx, Staub, & Dittrich, 1986) found that some
common characteristics of ASCs remained
sufficiently stable under different methods of
induction. Analyses on a dimensional level
identified three primary subscales, positively
intercorrelated, and designated as follows with
regard to content: (1) Oceanic Boundlessness; (2)
Dread of Ego-Dissolution; and (3) Visionary
Restructuralization. The first subscale describes
a state similar to mystical experiences; the second
subscale contains features which indicate a very
unpleasant state, similar to what is called a “bad
trip” by drug users and similar to some symptoms
in schizophrenia; and the third subscale includes
items on visual (pseudo)hallucinations: visions,
illusions and coenaesthetic hallucinations, or a
change of significance of the surroundings. As
Dittrich, von Arx, and Staub (1986) point out,
referring to Huxley (1961), it could be said that
the three primary etiology-independent aspects of
ASCs correspond to Heaven, Hell, and Visions.

Altered States of Consciousness
and Society

A

SCs, even when recognized in Western societies, still possess negative connotations.
They are labeled as different, irrational, strange,
abnormal, or pathological. This is more likely to

146

happen if these states emerge spontaneously,
because the so-called “functional” psychiatric diseases also arise in an apparently spontaneous
way. An acute paranoid syndrome triggered by
marijuana, in its early stages, is very similar to
an acute schizophrenic episode, giving some support to the classification of an acute paranoid
syndrome as an ASC (Simões, 1995). The phenomenology included in the three subscales mentioned above can be present simultaneously in a
psychotic and in a spiritual/mystical experience,
but the degree of involvement of each subscale is
different in the two kinds of experience (Dittrich,
1988). These data indicate the possibility that
both experiences may have a common psychophysiologial basis, such as a common path of final expression. As Mandell (1982) admitted, this
common path may “reflect the neurobiological
mechanisms underlying transcendence, God in
the brain,” or, metaphorically, the brain as a hologram of the all-one.
But the question remains whether a given ASC
is to be considered pathological. Its classification
as pathological is not strictly based on biological
or phenomenological criteria, for the stigma of
pathology can as well be seen as a measure of
social control (Dittrich, 1996).
Crombach (1974) believes that ASCs would
lose their strange and “irrational” character if
they were considered as “another” way of getting
knowledge or “framing reality.” Pathological ASCs
should be recognized as those that arise
spontaneously and present the following
characteristics: (1) they are a dominant
experience in daily life; (2) they serve to enable
the experiencer to avoid the necessity of finding
adequate solutions for the problems of daily life;
and (3) the context in which they emerge provides
no cognitive or social structures with which those
ASCs can be dealt with. The last situation, for
example, is the case where societies, although
used to spontaneous or induced ASCs, cannot
integrate in their cultural frame the ego
dissolution experienced by schizophrenic patients
(Scharfetter, 1990).
Ethnological studies (Bourguignon, 1973)
indicate that in ninety percent of societies quoted
in the Ethnographic Atlas (Murdock, 1967), ASCs
are used for some social events, so one can speak
of them as an anthropological constant. Earlier
on, ASCs were thought to be an uncommon
experience in Western societies, and those

The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 2002, Vol. 21

experiencing them did not talk about the subject,
fearing to be considered psychiatric patients. But
now, the results of a survey conducted by Hay
(1982) have been confirmed (Kokoszka, 1989;
Valla, 1992) and indicate fifty-four percent of the
population experiencing a “deep” (mysticlike)
ASC, whereas eighty-four percent referred to
some form of “slight” (alteration in reality feeling
and disturbance of cognitive process) ASC,
occurring more often in religious situations than
in everyday situations or during cognitive
processes. The tendency to emphasize rationality
and intersubjective communication makes an
ASC more likely to be considered abnormal. It
evokes fear of mental disease because it does not
conform to experiential stereotypes. It should be
noted that relaxation techniques, socially spread
as meditation or autogenic training, can be
followed by ASCs. In Western societies, mysticlike
ASCs can be considered as a healing mechanism
(Lukoff, Turner, & Lu, 1992; Valla, 1992).

diction here because according to the current understanding of the interdependence of the mindbody, psychological processes affect biomedical
changes and vice versa.
When we study ASCs in different cultural settings, the first problem we must face is whether
these states are internally consistent or dependent
upon social or cultural factors (Ward, 1989). The
data indicate that these positions are not antagonistic. Although behavior during ASCs in some
aspects can be different, ways of induction, and
social and cultural objectives exhibit some similarities. There is not always social and functional
equivalence, however, even when neurophysiological mechanisms are common. The greatest difference between what is observed in Western cultures and those of other cultures in relation to
psychotherapy has to do with causal attribution
(Lambek, 1989). It is interesting to note that in
Western societies there are different schools of
psychotherapy, each with its own etiological model of disease.

Altered States of Consciousness in
Ethnopsychotherapy

M

ANY NONINDUSTRIAL cultures

employ ASCs in
various spiritual and healing rituals.
Anthropologists have used phrases such as trance
or possession states to describe these practices.
Psychologists have used other terms to describe
them in Western cultures: hypnotic states,
mystical experiences, and hysterical dissociation
are some examples (Jilek, 1989). Differences
among these states are considered to be more
cultural than psychological or neurophysiological
in nature. The capacity to enter into an ASC is
common to all human beings, but frequency is a
function of social and cultural variables. Among
these, there is the possibility that an individual
may be required to fulfill certain social roles in
the culture, to practice certain permitted “roles”
sometimes sought after in that culture to satisfy
social, personal, or other healing needs.
Some cultures use ASCs in healing rituals that
are similar to Western psychotherapeutic techniques. These rituals may employ psychoactive
plants (Rios, 1989) or rhythmic stimuli such as
dancing or drumming (Jilek, 1989) in the induction process, while in the Western psychotherapeutic context, other means (e.g., sensory overload
or deprivation, with or without guided visualization) are generally preferred. There is no contra-

Yoga

Y

been practiced in Asia for millennia,
and has often been used therapeutically in
contemporary times to treat insomnia and other
psychological problems (Hehr, 1987). A
practitioner of yoga strives to become aware of
corporeal sensations and perceptions, while
keeping this bodily awareness free of ego
involvement. To attain this state, one uses
visualization techniques as well as physical
postures, or asanas, frequently in combination
with controlled breathing. This state has
neurophysiological correlates which are similar
to those observed in opium smokers (Hehr, 1987)
—thus leading to the endorphin hypothesis for
explaining these sensations associated with Yoga.
OGA HAS

Umbanda and Voodoo

H

EALING CEREMONIES in Umbanda (Brazil) and
Voodoo (Haiti) cults contain psychophysical
techniques which manipulate consciousness.
According to Umbanda, the etiology of disorders
is centered on supernatural fluids that are
prejudicial because of ethical-religious errors,
magic, spiritual and karmic forces, or derived
from an underdeveloped mediumship. Therapy
is executed by a medium in an ASC under the
influence of a spirit of a deceased person that

Altered States of Consciousness and Psychotherapy

147

blows away those fluids. Many clients themselves
seek to become mediums, which brings them
social prestige and assists in the cure. Voodoo
technique is partly similar to Umbanda, and both
aim to promote social and psychological
integration (Pressel, 1987).
The types of “spirit” that orient therapy,
through the medium, which are the caboclo
(handsome man), preto velho (old man), criança
(child), and exu (a supernatural being), represent
aspects of a socially well-adapted personality,
which explains the frequency with which they
appear in terreiros (ceremony playgrounds)
(Pressel, 1987). Voodoo ceremonies are not
principally for healing as in Umbanda—and
animal sacrifice is often involved. The concept of
supernatural fluids permits the medium an
approach to modern neurophysiological and
biochemical correlates on one hand and the social
relations of the patient and other persons on the
other hand. It can be seen as part of an organized,
integrative effort by that society to satisfy the
need of its members to know life’s meaning, as
well as a biological need for a cure (Pressel, 1987).
Induction processes used are dance, mainly
around the body axis, and rhythmic drumming
and hand clapping. These belong to the category,
listed earlier, of ASC induction by sensory
overload with simultaneous rhythmic monotony.
Both rhythms belong to the EEG theta frequency
(4-7 hertz/second) which is the most common
frequency found in ceremonies that lead to trance
(Jilek, 1989) and is confirmed in ceremonies
accompanied by rhythmic batuque in Siberia,
Haiti, Africa, and Indonesia (Neher, 1962).
American Indian Dance

H

through dance have also
been observed among North American
Indians (Salish, Algonqians, Kiowa) (Jilek, 1989).
The patient is brought into an ASC, following the
instructions of an “initiator” and helped by the
community. Production of these ASCs generally
occurs without use of hallucinogenic drugs (e.g.,
peyote, psilocybin). These states are provoked
through waking-sleep variations, hypo- and hyperventilation, or rhythmic acoustic and motor
stimulation (Jilek, 1989). Considering this type of
therapy from a Western point of view, various
therapeutic parameters are clear: occupational
and activation therapy, group psychotherapy,
cathartic abreaction, psychodrama, suggestive

148

EALING CEREMONIES

support, and physical exercises. The psychosocial
function of these ritualistic dances with healing
properties can be interpreted as a way to obtain
emotional and spiritual well-being and
responsibility and self-esteem for autochthones,
especially in modern times when they have
difficulties in finding their identity in a society
dominated by white North Americans (Jilek, 1989).

Altered States of Consciousness in
Western Psychotherapies
Because hypnosis, bodywork, and so-called
“image work” are currently popular, I will briefly
consider them.
Hypnosis

A

WELL- KNOWN

joke is that the first use of
hypnosis was when God hypnotized Adam
in order to take his rib for the creation of Eve. While
this may be stretching things a bit, hypnosis is
certainly an ancient technique, in use for millennia.
We find the phenomenology of hypnosis in Egyptian
sleep temples, for example, as well as in numerous
other sites around the world. Many famous
physicians were involved in the development of
hypnosis in one way or another: among them,
Paracelsus, Mesmer, Faria, Braid, Charcot, Freud,
Pavlov, and Janet. The Portuguese Abade Faria is
notable in that he was the first to consider hypnosis
to be a state of autosuggestion. Interest in hypnosis
is still strong (Burrows & Stanley, 1995; Walter,
1995; Araoz, 1998).
The hypnotic state (as opposed to the practice
of inducing hypnosis) can be defined as an ASC
characterized by attentive and receptive
concentration with a relative suspension of
peripheral awareness (Spiegel & Spira, 1993). To
date, neurophysiological or clinical correlates have
not been found to be specific to this state (Walter,
1995), which is why some authors claim that it
does not exist at all (Barber, 1970; Wagstaff, 1981).
Others see it as self-controlled behavior by
individuals in response to demanding social roles,
while being present as passive actors in a drama
in which they could lose control (Spanos, 1989).
Still others think that a true ASC is involved as
well as learned responses to social roles (Hilgard,
1986; Tart, 1975).
Experiences and behavior under hypnosis are
associated with a subjective conviction similar to

The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 2002, Vol. 21

delusion, and with a sense of unwillingness similar
to compulsion (Kihlstrom, 1985). These aspects
have contributed to some popular misconceptions:
that hypnosis is a dream; that it is passive
(something one does to somebody else); that
everyone is hypnotizable; that it is dangerous; that
it is therapeutic per se; or that it is a special
susceptibility or spiritual weakness. Hypnotic
susceptibility can be evaluated through tests, and
it is influenced by the rapport or trusting
relationship that is established between the
therapist and patient. In hypnosis, “resistance”
does not come from the patient, as in
psychoanalysis, but from a failure in rapport. The
success of the session depends also on hypnotic
susceptibility, which has also been shown to vary
widely among different people, and to vary in
individuals over their lifetime. Hypnotizability
seems to be something that is inherited, in that
parents who are easily hypnotized are more likely
to have children who share this susceptibility
(Matthews, Conti, & Starr, 1998).
Methods of induction are based on monotonous
rhythmic stimuli in an environment of little or
no other acoustic or visual input. Trance levels
range from hypnoidal to somnolent states, and
some of the different phenomena which can be
observed include hallucination, anesthesia, age
regression, and post-hypnotic suggestion. The
spectrum of possible use is wide-ranging from the
treatment of phobias and multiple personality
disorder, to modern research on traumatic
childhood memories (Kluft, 1995). Hypnotic-like
procedures are found in Shamanism, and native
practitioners utilize the same human capacities
(Krippner, 1999; Richeport, 1987). Krippner
(1999), as a cross-cultural psychologist, remarks
that the human psyche cannot be extricated from
the historically variable and diverse “intentional
worlds” in which it plays a co-constituting part.
There is another therapeutic technique in some
Western countries that also uses hypnosis—spirit
releasement therapy—developed by Baldwin
(1993). Such an approach will stretch or overstep
the bounds of some therapists’ credulity and it is
advised that psychotherapists who do this type
of work have a working knowledge of
metaphysics, spirituality, and nonphysical levels
of reality (Wicker, 2000).
There is some controversy about the use of
hypnosis in recovering repressed memories
(Yapko, 1995) that would not exist if therapists

were more careful about verifying subjective
“certainty.” Of course, material obtained under
hypnosis must be considered as deserving further
research—especially when suspicion of sexual
abuse persists.
Hypnosis can be considered an ASC similar to
others common in daily life (e.g., relaxing, reading
a book in deep concentration), but different from
the normal waking state in relation to dreaming
or sleep, where the distinction between these is
stable both for humans and other mammals
(Stengers, 1993).
Holotropic Breathwork

T

of this psychotherapy—holotropic—
derives from the Greek, meaning both “whole”
and “moving toward.” Developed by Grof (1979),
this method facilitates altered states of consciousness by means of conscious breathing, evocative
music, and focused bodywork. Grof ’s research led
him to a map of consciousness with three levels:
the biographical, perinatal (related to traumas
of biological birth), and the transpersonal (experiences supposed to happen in a time and space
out of the ordinary frame). The holotropic approach is intended to bring into consciousness
content from the unconscious that has a strong
emotional charge and is relevant from a psychodynamic point of view (Grof, 1996).
In this therapy, symptoms are seen as the first
stage of healing. Though the majority of
emotional problems have their roots in childhood,
others originate in the other aforementioned
levels. A resolution of problems means letting the
patient experience the other levels associated
with the problems under treatment. Grof (1996)
uses holotropic breathwork to activate the selfhealing potential guided by one’s own deep inner
intelligence.
HE NAME

Personalized Experiential
Restructuralization Therapy
(Past-Life/ Regression Therapy)

T

HIS DESCRIPTIVE title is intended to summarize
and integrate what in some circles is known
as “Past-Life/Regression Therapy,” recent
discoveries on imagery (Achterberg, 1985), and
clinical applications of nondrug-induced states
(Budzinski, 1986). In its early days, this therapy
referred to a concept somehow strange to Western
culture—the notion of reincarnation—the

Altered States of Consciousness and Psychotherapy

149

possibility that an individual could experience
various lives in different bodies in different times
and cultures through the agency of an immortal
spirit or soul. This idea is not strange for many
Eastern societies and can even be found in some
Western cultural circles. Because it is beyond the
scope of this work, I will not discuss reincarnation
here, although there is a growing literature of
rigorous scientific investigations into the matter
(Stevenson, 1970, 1983; Andrade, 1988; Keil, 1994).
This brief introduction makes clear that it is
more neutral to call the therapy “Personalized
Experiential Restructuralization Therapy.” Being
symbolic in nature, imagination permits
representations of things that do not exist or which
are approximations of reality. It is a capacity that
allows elaboration of concepts or precognitions
which would be impossible to realize in any other
way. The graphic representation of mental disorder
in a patient’s inner world is sometimes like a Bosch
picture. In reality though, one’s world is more
similar to daily life than to the representations of
Bosch. There are cognitive distortions leading to
fantasies, logically unsolvable, but able to be
represented in consciousness. This imaginative
potential can be used for healing purposes when
combined with an ASC (Achterberg, 1985). This
procedure is based on hypnosis, and has been used
by Wambach (1978) in an effort to obtain answers
to certain questions. For example, some seek proof
of memories of a supposed past life or to discover
areas in the mind able to be activated under
hypnosis but not in the waking state. Others that
have contributed to “regressive” therapy include
Netherton and Shiffrin (1978), who called it “PastLife Therapy.” The idea of exploring reincarnation
is close to the therapeutic concept that a patient
must reexperience the primal trauma to exhaust
emotion tied to it. It is arguable whether or not
hypnosis is being used since patients remain awake
and in contact with the therapist in a dreamlike
situation, oscillating in alpha-theta EEG frequency
(Simões et al., 1998).
It does not matter if experiences are true or not;
what is important is that an event is experienced
in a personalized way. These scenes can be
dramatizations of unconscious material, facts
experienced in a supposed past life or really in the
biographic life—whatever they are, they are always
accepted as they “happen” (Peres, 1992). It seems
that believing in reincarnation is not important for
success (Clark, 1995), and sometimes the contents

150

of experiences have nothing to do with past lives
(Baldwin, 1993). The growing importance of these
issues is indicated by the appearance of several
journals and a handbook devoted to the subject
(Lucas, 1993).
As in any psychotherapy, rapport is very
important and is a very good clinical indicator in
relation to the success of treatment. Induction of
the ASC varies, depending on the author or
therapist in question; hyperventilation, minimalist
music, autogenic training, or hypnotic suggestions
can all be used. The experience must be
accomplished in the evolutional stages (in the
womb, birth, childhood, and adulthood) and involve
experiences that the patient attributes to past lives.
Some of these experiences are evoked through a
bodily stimulus that lets the patient reexperience
bodily sensations (Woolger, 2000).
According to Peres (1992), each session takes
nearly two hours and passes through several
phases, the core of which is the subjectively
identified trauma and, afterwards, a cognitive
restructuralization is done by the patient, helped
by the therapist. As in hypnosis, a “hidden observer”
(Hilgard, 1986) controls emotions and the patient
experiences only what he or she can comfortably
handle. In this procedure the patient acts as
therapist and works as a helper of the therapeutic
process throughout the session. Afterwards, a
positive suggestion for the future concerning the
problem is made and the patient is brought slowly
back to a normal waking state.
Problematic personal relationships, phobias, and
a lack of meaning and purpose in life have been the
conditions most successfully treated with this
therapy; addictions, weight problems, and
depression have been cited as the least successfully
treated (Clark, 1995).

Some Final Considerations

T

common to Western and shamanic
psychotherapies consists in a reconciliation
with one’s destiny, social group, and the domain
of the transpersonal. These objectives are attained
with a modification of perspective in each of these
three domains, within an ASC where there is an
intense cathartic and dramatic experience
conforming to the prevailing cultural concepts of
disease, shared by patient and therapist.
Use of ASCs in psychotherapy requires a change
in the usual scientific paradigm (Kuhn, 1962)
HE FACTOR

The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 2002, Vol. 21

concerning Kantian logic and consciousness as
exclusive products of the brain. ASCs warrant
more research in terms of their psychotherapeutic
application and will come to be seen as an
important way to understand the mind of an
individual in a cultural context.
Notes
I thank Christopher Ryan for help in the translation of
the manuscript and for some suggestions about the
content. The elaboration of this manuscript was part of
a research project supported by a grant from the Bial
Foundation (Porto, Portugal).

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The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 2002, Vol. 21

The Anthropology of Altered States

Psychological Anthropology
(Transpersonal anthropology)
• relationship between altered states of consciousness 
and culture.
• transpersonal psychology: altered states of 
consciousness (ASC) and transpersonal experience
– differs from mainstream transpersonal psychology: cross‐
cultural

• role of culture in laying the foundations for, in evoking, 
in cultivating or thwarting, and in interpreting ASC
– fundamental to understanding the incidence and function 
of transpersonal experiences

altered states of consciousness 
• conditions in which sensations, perceptions, 
cognition, and emotions are altered
• characterized by changes in: sensing, perceiving, 
thinking, feeling
• modify the relation of the individual to self, 
body, sense of identity, the environment of 
time, space, or other people 
• induced by modifying sensory input
– directly by increasing or decreasing stimulation or 
alertness
– indirectly by affecting the pathways of the sensory 
input by somotopsychological factors

Features of Altered States
alterations in thinking
disturbed sense of time
loss of control
changes in the expression of emotions
changes in body image
perceptual distortion
changes in meaning and significance assigned to 
experiences or perceptions
• a sense of the ineffable
• feelings of rejuvenation
• hypersuggestiblity







Some Types of Alerted States









Trance
shamanistic ecstasy 
prayer ecstasy
sorcery 
"highway hypnosis" 
Hypnosis
alcohol / drugs
yoga / meditation
dream states 
Culture bound syndromes

Stimulation & Consciousness
• a decrease form a presumed preexisting "normal" level of stimulation or 
activity
• highway hypnosis
• sensory deprivation produced either experimentally or as a result of 
solitary confinement 
• involves an increase form a presumed preexisting "normal" level of 
stimulation or activity
• religious conversion 
• healing trances in revivalistic settings 
• "dance and music trance" 
• battle fatigue 
• hysterical conversion neuroses 
• dissociational states 
• mob contagion 
• increase of alertness or mental involvement
– prolonged vigilance or sentry duty, watching a radar screen, fervent prayer 
• decrease in alterness or mental activity
– relaxation of critical faculties in daydreaming, boredom, profound 
relaxation, mediumistic trance, meditation states

Stimulation & Consciousness
• ‘somatopsychological’ 
factors

– drug‐induced 
states
– states resulting 
from other 
changes in body 
chemistry

Some Culture Bound Syndromes
SYNDROME

CULTURAL / GEOGRAPHIC 
LOCATION

SYMPTOMS

amok

Malaysia and Indonesia

dissociative episodes, outbursts of violent and aggressive or homicidal 
behavior directed at people and objects, persecutory ideas, amnesia, 
exhaustion

latah
(startle reflex)

Malaysia and Indonesia

afflicted person becomes flustered and may say and do things that 
appear amusing, such as mimicking people's words and movements

Mediterranean and Latin 
American Hispanic 
populations

fitful sleep, crying without apparent cause, diarrhea, vomiting, fever 
in a child or infant

Latin American Hispanic 
populations in U.S.A., Mexico, 
and Central and South 
America

usually associated with a broad array of symptoms, including 
nervousness, anorexia, insomnia, listlessness, despondency, 
involuntary muscle tics, and diarrhea; thought to be caused by fright 
that results in loss of soul from the body; causes can be natural or 
"supernatural" ‐‐ natural susto may occur after a near miss or 
accident, a supernatural susto may occur after witnessing a 
supernatural phenomena such as a ghost; a supernatural susto might 
be sent by sorcerers; those most likely to suffer from susto are 
culturally stressed adults‐‐women more than men

mal ojo
(evil eye)
susto
(fright sickness)

SYNDROME

CULTURAL / 
GEOGRAPHIC 
LOCATION

SYMPTOMS

pibloktoq
(Arctic hysteria)

Inuit of the Arctic, 
Siberian groups

brooding, depressive silences, loss or disturbance of consciousness during seizure, tearing off of 
clothing, fleeing or wandering, rolling in snow, speaking in tongues or echoing other people's 
words

windigo

Cree, Ojibwa, and 
related Native 
American

depression, nausea, distaste for usual foods, feelings of being possessed by a cannibalistic 
monster, homicidal or suicidal impulses

ghost sickness

Navajo of the 
southwestern 
United States
Yoruba
(Nigeria)

weakness, bad dreams, feelings of danger, confusion, feelings of futility, loss of appetite, feelings 
of suffocation, fainting, dizziness, hallucinations and loss of consciousness

Aiyiperi

hysterical convulsive disorders, posturing and tics, psychomotor seizures 

anfechtung

Hutterites
withdrawal from social contact, feeling of having sinned, feeling of religious unworthiness, 
(Manitoba, Canada) temptation to commit suicide

brain fag

Nigeria and East 
African students

pain, heat or burning sensations, pressure or tightness around head, blurring of vision, inability 
to concentrate when studying, anxiety and depression, fatigue and sleepiness

cholera

Guatemala

nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, severe temper tantrums, unconsciousness and dissociative 
behavior

koro

South China, 
Chinese and 
Malaysian

anxiety in males that the penis will recede into the body and for females that the vulva 
and breasts will recede into the body

shinkeishitsu

Japan

fear of meeting people, feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, obsessive‐compulsive symptoms, 
hypochondriasis

Cross‐Cultural Observations & Altered States



diagnosis and healing
divination and reading signs
Dreaming and dreamworking 
Trance as evolutionary variable
– significance in human life derives from the symbolic 
transformation of experience and the capacity to share 
intrapsychic states. 
– Unlike dreams, ASC derive from models based on 
pathological states
– serve as coping mechanisms for both the individual and 
the society and thus provide a basis for culture building.

Power & Self
• two forms of possession: ritual and peripheral
– ritual is displayed in a ceremonial context and 
includes the social function of reinforcing cultural
morality and established power.
– peripheral represents a more long‐term state in 
which the individual believes that he is unwillingly 
possessed by intruding spirits and functions as an 
indirect form of social protest

• Ritual possession operates as a socially 
sanctioned psychological defense mechanism, 
while peripheral possession constitutes a 
pathological reaction to individual conflict.

Alterations & The State
• legal and illegal
• emphasis on the relationship between these 
alterations and the individual body, the social body, 
and the body politic
• Economies of alterations (political economy)
• motivations behind the development and global 
marketing of both legal and illegal alterations
• policy 
• psychological normalcy
• demographics of legal and illegal use
• historical shifts in the legal/illegal distinction itself.

Deviance & Society
• Modes of action which do not conform to the 
norms or values held by most of the members 
of a group or society. 
• What is regarded as 'deviant' is as widely 
variable as the norms and values that 
distinguish different cultures and subcultures 
from one another. 
• Many forms of behaviour which are highly 
esteemed in one context, or by one group, are 
regarded negatively by others. 

Abnormals
• abnormal types in the social structure are
culturally selected by all groups from every
part of the world
• different degrees of ease with which
abnormals function per each culture
• many abnormals function with ease and
even honor without danger to the society

Deviance and Conformity
• Social constructions
• idealized conduct is most clearly seen in 
marginalized people
• deviance forces them into "discredited" or 
"discreditable" groups, based on the nature of 
their stigma
• deviance & the existence of a stigma

Normality/abnormality
• Multi‐dimensional concepts
– Represents a range of possible perceptions
• Of what is normal and not normal
• Whether it is controlled or not by the norms of society

• Times & places people can behave in an  
abnormal way
• Most cultures disapprove of forms of public 
behavior that are obviously not being 
controlled

Zones of social behavior

Zones of social behavior
• Not static, fluid categories, spectrum of 
possibilities
– Change with time & circumstance
– Normal in one group – abnormal in another




Controlled normality (A)
Uncontrolled normality (D)
Controlled abnormality (B)
Uncontrolled abnormality (C)

Zones of social behavior
• A, D, B – it is assumed that the individual is at 
least aware of what the social norms are
– Whether they conform or not

• Substance use
– Traversing the categories of “bad” and “mad”
– Criminal & Intoxication
– Temporary madness

• Altered States:the cultural and social politics 
of subjectivity 

The Anthropology of the Senses
• Comparison & relativism
– “diverse sensory SYMBOLISM and experience
– study of the senses out of the realm of natural 
history into that of social history
• does not deny the natural history of the senses ‐‐ the 
general process of sensorial experience and its natural 
processes

• able to break the mould of our own sensory 
bias & experience radically different ways of 
making sense of the world

The Anthropology of the Senses
• the particular & the general
• sensory journeys through time and space
• dominant sensory medium of symbolic orientation can vary 
widely ‐‐ can only be understood in the context of a particular 
society & not through generalized external sensory paradigms
– Tzotzil of Mexico – heat
– Ongee of Little Andaman Islands – smell
– Desana of Columbia ‐‐ color & multi sensory, chromatic 
energy flows
– dominant sensory symbolic order of west ‐‐ seeing & 
hearing 
• one kind of visuality (to picture) & one kind of aurality/orality

• “So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives 
this, and this gives life to thee.” (Shakespeare)

Anthropology of the Senses
• “Western” conceptual framework of typical/ 
“normal” sensory experience
– From confusion to order
– Developmentally through repetition and habit
– Physically through neurochemical processes
– Through new sensorial skills
– desire to avoid vague sensations

• OR, another: To perceive the true substance of 
the world beyond sensory & mental habits 

All bodhisattvas, lesser and great, should develop a pure, lucid mind, not depending 
upon sound, flavor, touch, odor, or any quality. A bodhisattva should develop a mind 
which alights upon no thing whatsoever; and so should he establish it. (Diamond Sutra 
10) 

Participant‐Observation & Altered 
States
• Cross‐cultural experience & altered states as a 
psychosis – observations vs. participant 
observation
• Sorcerer’s apprentice
• Going native
• Trust and science

One ‘Popular’ Consciousness Vision/Version
• field expedition to Mexico or someplace ‘other’
• observe the rituals of an isolated Indian tribe, who are said to 
preserve ceremonies that go all the way back to the Toltecs or 
some ‘other’ ancients
• rituals involve the consumption of a potion made with 
powerfully hallucinogenic mushrooms
• not content merely to observe, but an active participant
• unifying theme emerges in hallucinations ‐‐ the origin of life, the 
origin of the Earth, the origin of thought, the origin of humanity.
• opened up a kind of physiological pathway that gives access to 
the vast untapped recesses of his genome
– the primitive, atavistic genetic heritage of humankind’s most 
distant ancestors that lies inactive at the center of his every 
cell

Anthropologies of Alcohol and 
“Drinking”

“Styles” of Alcohol Use as Social Practice
• A “style” of alcohol use is not:
– a psychological manifestation of the individual nor only determined by 
environment

• “Style” as social practice
– “expressive equipment” or “social capital”
– Available for the production of subjectivity (self & identity)

• “universe of stylistic possibilities” 
– represents differing ways to “craft self” and be a “person” 

• Alcohol use is a social and cultural practice some find useful in 
the context of a set of ongoing social relations

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THE

ART

OF

THE

RITUAL

My interpretation of a ritual is: any act that is carried out to achieve a particular
"meaning". In magic, that "meaning" takes on a life of its own to carry out your wish.
Here is just a few categories of ritual -- keep in mind that you can implement techniques
from any, or all, of these, placing them into your ritual:
1. Masonic
2. Christian
3. Voodoo
4. Wiccan
5. Santerian
6. Muslim
7. Hermetic
8. Druidic
9. Satanic
10. Angelic
11. Demonic
12. Superstitious
13. Traditional

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14. Seasonal
15. Yogic
16. Transitional
17. Egyptian
18. American Indian (many tribes)
19. Lunar or Solar
20. Aztec
21. Taoist
22. Buddhist

When I began my journey into rituals, I had an enormous wealth of material to
obtain from a wonderful magic publisher known as The Magickal Childe. They were
based in New York, and they were extremely influential in the genre. Taking up to two
or more blocks, they sold everything related to magic, from swords to herbs, books, and
talismans to herbs, candles, and clothes. Then...as if by a curse, they one day decided
to close their doors permanently, and they shut down everything. I think it was because
Horrible Herman died.
Prior to the power of books on the internet, I had to buy my school books from Magickal
Childe. I spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars, and I wasn't rich. If $70 was all I had
in my pocket, I was spending $65 and using the rest for lunch, so to speak. Fortunately,
their prices were very excellent. Publishers now sell the same books at nearly 125% or
more of what they sold for at Magickal Childe.
One of my first ritual lesson books was called "The Witches Bible Compleat", which
is the same book noted below. I paid $20, plus shipping. After losing the book to a
storage lien/auction, I chose to repurchase the book a few years later, because it is a

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notable book, stuffed with reliable information. The current version had cost about $30,
with free shipping.
Once I began practicing rituals, I witnessed my reality make an extensively
enchanting shift. I felt a transformation. I felt energy from every living thing, especially
plant life. Many doors opened, and I learned to appreciate so much more.
The rituals in the book are intended for witchcraft.
Although the rituals are for witchcraft related matters, they will provide the right
atmosphere to perform any magical operation you desire. It is a good beginner’s
structure, after which the new magician may begin to add or remove structures/
procedures from the ritual.
There are many ways to approach a ritual, and you will run across many persons
who will kick you in the shin if you don't do it the right way. Well, there is no right way.
But there are some basic "right elements", or Components. These are as follows:
1) You must clearly know exactly what you want to achieve. The best way to
do this is to write it on paper (or e-paper). If you are confused,
or contradictory, in your request/intention, then so shall be the results of your ritual.
2) As stated above, you must enter the most effective state of consciousness.
3) You must have faith in the outcome. Tip: Your subconscious mind can have
its own opinions and beliefs. Often a person will say they have faith in a particular
matter, while their subconscious mind is resisting the same matter the entire time. My
point: be in
absolute harmony with the beliefs of your subconscious mind. How? Through
meditation. (as instructed in pervious Magical Advice lessons.)
Once again, I must emphasize the need to study the previous lessons before continuing

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in this lesson. Meditate. Get in touch.
4) Know the risks involved. Obviously, if you are tossing a curse at someone,
you should know the karmic affects of such. If you are
summoning a spirit, you should know the personality of the spirit, or at least know the
temperament of the being. Some summon powerful
spirits, disturbing them from rest, and order them to do things that even a human would
be insulted if asked to do. Then they wonder why
the spirit turns on them and starts shredding their life into tiny pieces. When dealing
with destructive spirits, be warned, it is what
they like to do. So approach this wisely, or not at all. Also, never step outside your area
of protection until finished -- never.
5) Know what you are going to do. If you are halfway into your ritual, and you
think, "Gee wiz, I forgot the salt, or roots...", or "I don't
know if this should be four home made candles, or three...", then you are weakening
your structure and doomed to fail. Plan, know,
believe, and act.
6) Leave it be when it's complete. This means, avoid changing your thoughts,
or perception, on any aspect of the ritual when you are done.
The best way is to forget about it. Your thoughts can weaken the "wine", so be careful.
7) Keep it within the circle. If an outsider touches, sees, or knows any aspect of
your ritual, this too can weaken the "wine".
Where should you perform it? Anywhere you wish, granted it allows you to follow
the previous steps.
The ritual may be complex, or it may be as simple as chanting while lighting your

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wish upon a small candle.
Although, summoning may be simple, but it should be one with knowledge and
protection. When I was a young wizard, I was foolish to think
that I could summon a spirit without having protection. It was a simple ritual. Upon
calling up the spirit/demon, an unexpected thing happened. It
caught me completely by surprise. The spirit/demon took away my breath. For a very
long 15 seconds, I could not breathe. It felt like forever
before I could breath again. When I was able to breath, I banished the spirit and put
away my tools, and I never made that mistake again.
Be sure you know the place well enough to be safe. I learned this the hard way.
One night, in a cemetery, after finishing some
important things, alone, I was on my way out when I thought I saw several shadows
moving about in a strange manner, several yards in front of me. I stopped. It was too
dark to see what they were, and the large, steel, gated exit was on the other side of the
shadows. Earlier, on my way into the cemetery, I saw a strange fellow, sitting on a
tombstone, shaking a can of what sounded like spray paint, spraying it into a rag and
sniffing it. I recalled movies where such persons weren't real people, and the thought
spooked me. I wondered if the shadows were made by the paint sniffer. I decided to
make my exit out the side of the cemetery. I hurried for the bushes which lined the side
of the cemetery. A very surprising thing happened when I tried to pass through the
bushes and small trees. I found myself stuck and sinking into the ground. I gasped in
disbelief. If I sank in this place, no one would ever have known, and my body would
never have been found. I grabbed at whatever branches I could. The branches my
hands found were thorny rose bush branches. Although painful, I pull myself out of

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muddy hole, and crawled out onto the safety of the sidewalk on the outside of the
cemetery.
Cemeteries...they can provide a potent magical working atmosphere, but they have
to be given respect. Or you might find yourself in a hole you can't get out of.
In the following pages, I provide you with images from "The Witches Bible
Complete" now names "A Witches Bible". Please don't overlook the fact that The
Opening Ritual, and Closing Ritual, is provided for you to use, or for you to use as an
example for your own ritual, if you need it. Some are new at this.
Warning, the images contain NUDITY, because these witches work rituals
"skyclad" (nude). So, this is not for those under 18. But if you feel under 18, maybe we'll
also have you skip that section. (Smile).
Following that is a lengthy discussion on rituals. Beyond that will be a group of
writings which I shall provide for your education and use in constructing your own
magical rituals.

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VENEFICIUM SACER
Part I
The Occult Sciences
The Volitional Faculty - The Will and Imagination - Adeptship - Astrology - Kabalism - Talismans - Numerology Palmistry - Hypnotism, Etc., Etc.

Introduction
Astrology - Section I
I

The Alphabet, etc.

II

The Aspects

III

The Signs

IV

The Houses.
Astrology - Section II

I

Making a Horoscope

II

Foreign Horoscopes
Astrology - Section III

I

Personal Appearance

II

The Constitution

III

Health

IV

Character

V

Accidents

VI

The Fortunes

VII

The Position

VIII

The Occupation

IX

Marriage

X

Progeny

XI

Travelling

XII

Friends and Enemies

XIII

Kinds of Death
Astrology - Section IV

I

The Measure of Time

II

Example of Directions

III

Secondary Directions

IV

Transits and Eclipses, etc.

V

Mundane Astrology

VI

Other Methods
Palmistry

I

Types of Hands

II

Mounts or Cushions

III

The Phalanges

IV

The Lines

V

Nine Prinipal Lines

VI

Incidental Marks
Thaumaturgic Arts

I

The Kabala

II

The Calculatory Art

III

Of Evil Spirits

IV

Man's Spiritual Freedom

V

On Talismans

VI

Numerology
Hypnotism and Mesmerism
Part II
The Occult Arts
On the Art of Divination and the use of the Automatic Faculty - The Subconcious Intelligence - Clairvoyance,
Psychometry, Dreams, Etc. To Which is Appended an Essay on Alchemy.

I

Divination

II

The Tarot

III

Cartomancy

IV

Various Methods

V

Crystal Gazing

VI

Preliminaries and Practice

VII

Visions and Interpretations

VIII

Some Experiences

IX

Geomancy

X

Casting and Judging the Figure

XI

Symbols in the Twelve Houses

XII

Psychometry

XIII

Dreams

XIIV

Sortileges
Alchemy

"Sorcery has been called Magic: but Magic is Wisdom, and there is no wisdom in Sorcery" PARACELSUS.
INTRODUCTION
IT is not my intention in these pages to attempt an exposition of the deeper arcana in connection with the
various subjects treated of; but rather to place before the lay reader a number of methods by means of
which he will be able to demonstrate to his own satisfaction, and that of others, that there is a deep
substratum of truth in what is usually called "Occultism," and that the occult arts are sure and definite
means of exploring them.
The ancient Hermetic philosophers were well aware of a certain subtile correspondence or analogy
existing between the superior and inferior worlds, the world of causation and that of effects. They traced
a connection between the noumenal and the phenomenal, between the mind of man and his bodily
condition, between the spiritual and the natural. They affirmed all this in a trite axiom: As above, so
below. This philosophy extended to concrete observations, and became a science which they embodied in
the Doctrine of Correspondences. The hieroglyphic writings of the Chinese, Egyptians and Assyrians are
the outcome of this science, portions of which are current in our own thought and language. Thus when
we speak of commerce, the merchant and the market, we are going back to traditional knowledge which
associated the "winged messenger" of the gods with the ship in full sail; the word merx (trade) being at
the root of the name Mercury, and the symbol the hieroglyph for all that the name imports. We call the
Sun "he" and the Moon "she," tracing unconsciously a subtile correspondence between the day and the
active male function in nature, and between the night and the passive female function. We speak of jovial
men and infer their connection with the planet Jupiter; and all our destructive and hurtful ideas are
embodied in such words as "to mar," "martial," "murder," etc., linking them to their source in the root
marna (to strike), because the destructive element in nature is represented in our system by the planet
Mars.
This Doctrine of Correspondences is at the root of all occult interpretation. It is our human presentation
of the Universal Law which binds the Microcosm to the Macrocosm as an effect to its antecedent cause.
The mystic, the poet and the creative artist are all unconscious interpreters of this universal law. They
have in some degree the universal sense by which their souls are rendered responsive to the pulsations of
Nature’s own heartbeat. The sybil, the diviner and the seer are in even closer touch with the Great Life,
while they have less conscious enjoyment of that intimacy. Others there are who reach to the heart of
things by a clear and conscious intellection, understanding what they see, analyzing and interpreting what
they feel. These are the Occultists, the true masters of the secret knowledge. Here it is perhaps necessary
to mark the distinction which exists between occultism and mediumism, between the voluntary conscious
effort of the trained intellect and the automatic functioning of the natural "sensitive," in their respective
relations to the occult world.

The Occultist is one who intelligently and continuously applies himself to the understanding of the
hidden forces in nature and to the laws of the interior world, to the end that he may consciously cooperate with nature and the spiritual intelligences in the production of effects of service to himself and to
his fellow-beings. This entails upon him a close study of the mystery and power of sound, number,
colour, form; the psychological laws underlying all expression of faculty; the laws of sympathy and
antipathy; the law of vibration; of spiritual and natural affinity; the law of periodicity, of cosmic energy,
planetary action; occult correspondences, etc. To these labours he must bring a natural gift of
understanding, an unusual degree of patience and devotion, and a keen perception of natural facts. The
Medium, or natural sensitive, is one who holds himself in negative relations to the interior worlds, and
submits himself to the operation of influences proceeding from things and persons, as well as to that of
discarnate intelligences. The medium cultivates an unusual degree of responsiveness to environment and
to the emanations (atomic, magnetic or psychic) and suggestions of other persons. The phenomena
developed by this process of mediumism include automatism (temporary loss of control over the motor
nerves), as in the phenomena of involuntary speech and automatic writing; hypercesthesia, as in the
function of clairvoyance, clairaudience, psychometry, etc.; trance, with its attendant phenomena of
unconscious cerebration, obsession, and a variety of physical effects of a supernormal character. In its
highest manifestation, following upon the "crucifying of the flesh," the subjugation of the passions, and a
process of intense religious aspiration, mediumism is frequently followed by spiritual revelation and
spontaneous prophecy. "But this sort cometh not but by fasting and prayer."
The various forms of divination to which recourse is had in so-called occult circles rest largely upon the
exercise of a faculty which is compounded of occultism and mediumism. They are seen to employ the
automatic faculty in conjunction with an empirical knowledge of certain occult methods of interpretation.
The following pages are intended to place the lay reader in possession of some of the principal methods
of the occultists and mediums; and although nothing of a purely esoteric nature is divulged, it will
nevertheless be found that everything necessary to an initial understanding and practice of the various
occult arts is included in this work. It is within the author’s purpose to place so much information at the
disposal of the student as will effectually debar him from any excuse of ignorance concerning the psychic
powers latent in man and the verity of the occult sciences. it is within the power of everybody to be
convinced, and to convince others, while he who perseveres to the point of perfection in the exercise of
his faculty may justly be dignified by the name of Adept. The Magi of ancient times were astrologers,
diviners and prophets all, and he who would aspire to their high degree must pursue their methods and
live their life. They have committed to us the following maxims, which are still preserved in the
schools—
KNOW - WILL - DARE - KEEP SILENT;
and to the rule of life they enjoin RIGHT THOUGHT - RIGHT FEELING

RIGHT SPEECH - RIGHT ACTION
RIGHT LIVING.

PART I
THE OCCULT SCIENCES

AMO Astrology - Section1 Chapter 1

SECTION 1
CHAPTER I
ASTROLOGY
THE astrologic art is held to be the key to all the occult sciences. Certainly it is the most ancient, and that
which most readily lends itself to scientific demonstration.
Much that is contained in this and the following chapters is traditional knowledge but some portion of it
is the result of modern discovery and experiment. Thus the nature and - significations of the signs of the
zodiac and the planets, the aspects and some other parts of the groundwork of astrology, have come
down to us from times immemorial; but the methods of computing the periods, the exact tunes of events,
together with some methods of interpretation, are of modem or comparatively recent Origin. Of course,
all that is known of Neptune and Uranus is the result of modern discovery.
The subject before us can be divided into three parts :1. The alphabet.
2. The reading.
3. Time measures.
I will deal in this chapter with
THE ALPHABET
This includes the symbols and names of the planets and the signs, their groupings and dominions. The
PLANETS (including, for convenience of phrasing, the Sun and Moon) are nine in number. Stated in the
order of their distances from the earth they are as follows :The Moon, which returns to the same place in the zodiac in about 27 days, and to its conjunction with
the Sun in about 29 days. Every 19 years the New Moons fall in the same part of the zodiac. The Moon’s
characteristic is change or mobility.

AMO Astrology - Section1 Chapter 1

Venus, which returns to the same part of the zodiac about the same date in 8 years. It is at its nearest to
the earth when in inferior conjunction with the Sun. Its characteristic is placidity or peace. It is called by
the Greeks Aphrodite.
Mercury, when in inferior conjunction with the Sun, is next in distance from the earth. It returns to the
same longitude on the same date in 79 years. Its characteristic is activity.
The Sun is the chronocrater of our system, and all time is measured by its apparent movements. It has
an apparent motion round the earth in hours and 4 minutes, and an annual motion through the zodiac in
365 days 5 hours 48 minutes 49 seconds. The earth is nearer the sun than it used. to be, the day is shorter,
and the precession of the equinoxes is greater The equinoxes pass through each sign in about 2,160 years
The vernal equinox is now m the constellation Pisces, and in about 700 years will be m Aquarius The
characteristic of the Sun is vitality.
Mars returns to the same part of the zodiac about the same time at the end of 79 years Consequently
it forms its conjunction with ~ in the same part of the zodiac at the end of that period. Its characteristic is
energy.
Jupiter returns to the same longitude about the same ‘date every 83 years It is called the Greater
Fortune Its characteristic is expansion
Saturn has a period of 59 years, after which it comes to the same longitude about the same date. It is
called the Greater Infortune. Its characteristic is privation.
Uranus has a synodic period of 84 years. Its characteristic is disruption.
Neptune has a period of about 165 years and its characteristic is chaos.
The periods of the planets according to the Chaldeans are 4 years, 10 years, 8 years,
19 years,
15 years,
12 years, and
30 years. Thus the
rules the life from birth to 4 years of age and is succeeded by up to 14, then to the age of 22,
the Sun from 22 to 41, to which
succeeds until 56, and is followed by , who rules
followed by
Saturn.
the life up to the age of 68, the last 30 years, up to the age of 98, being dominated by
These are the periods recited by Shakespeare in his famous passage in As You Like It, beginning "All the
world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players." Thus the
is the babe, "mewling and
the soldier,
the judge "with good capon
puking in its nurse’s arms." is the scholar, the lover,

AMO Astrology - Section1 Chapter 1

lined," and
, the "lean and slippered pantaloon." The last stage of all is that of
paralytic senility of which condition is so aptly described by the Bard.

(disruption), the

Planetary Colours.
Neptune. - Mauve, lilac, heliotrope (admixtures of pale blue and scarlet).
Uranus. - Grey, black and white mixed, in checks or stripes.
Saturn. - Dark brown, black.
Jupiter. - Violet, purple.
Mars. - Scarlet, crimson.
Sun. - Orange, gold.
Venus. - Pale blue, turquoise.
Mercury. - Indigo, dark blue.
Moon. - Opal, iridescent sheens, yellow, and in watery signs (

,

,

) sea green.

Planetary Numbers.
The following numbers transmitted by John Heydon in the sixteenth century have been proved correct:8,
3,
9, 6, 5;
(negative) 4, (positive) 1.
"
2,
"
7.
Planetary Metals.
(unknown);

iron;

uranium;

copper;

lead;

quicksilver;

tin;

silver;

AMO Astrology - Section1 Chapter 1

gold.
The atomic weights of the ancient metals are not presumed to have been known to the ancient
astrologers, yet we find they named the planets and ascribed their dominions in the mineral world in
exact accordance with the facts of modern science. The atomic weights of the various pure metals known
to them are contained in the following glyph :-

This seven-pointed star is read from the ray marked

towards the left. The result is -

atomic weight 56;

iron,
copper

"

63;

silver

"

108;

tin

"

118;

gold

"

196;

quicksilver

"

200;

lead

"

207.

Read alternately in the reverse order we have
ruling Sunday,
" Monday,

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"
"
"
"

Tuesday,
Wednesday,
Thursday,
Friday,

"

Saturday.

If we read from point to point so as to make a heptagram or seven-pointed star, or a star of seven angles,
we have the order of the planets according to the Chaldean system:
,

,

,

,

,

,

.

Sympathies.
The following glyph (see page 9) exhibits at a glance the sympathies and antipathies of the planetsThus Saturn is opposed to the Sun and Moon, Jupiter to Mercury, and Venus to Mars.
This is exhibited in detail by reference to the
Dominions
of the planets, which are set forth in the following schedule governs

and

opposed to
governing

and

governing
governs

and

opposed to
governing

and

governs

and

AMO Astrology - Section1 Chapter 1

opposed to
governing

and

The "Dominions" are sometimes called "Houses" from domus, a house, but as other divisions of the
heavens are so called, I prefer to use the term "dominions" to describe the signs of the zodiac ruled over
by the planets.
In a general sense, and having regard to the specific nature of each planet, Saturn is in sympathy with
Mars, Mars with the Sun, Jupiter with the Moon and Venus; while Mercury is variable, taking its radical
tincture from that planet to which it is in closest aspect at birth.
The following figure shows at a glance the signs owned or ruled by the planets and the luminaries :-

AMO Astrology - Section1 Chapter 1

It will be observed that each planet has two signs, the Sun and Moon one each. Neptune is found to have
, Pisces, and Uranus with
, Aquarius; but these are modern empiricisms
affinity with the sign
and for some time must be received with caution.

CHAPTER II
THE ASPECTS
THE ancients have handed down a tradition which informs us that the triangle is a symbol of the spirit
and is efficacious for good, while the cross which is formed on the square is a symbol of matter and is of
evil import.
In practical astrology we find this dictum to be true. Thus the aspect, or angular distance between two
celestial bodies, or points of the zodiac, is the means by which we determine whether a planet favours
our fortunes or the reverse.
The
trine aspect of 120° is good, and produces harmonizing effects whenever and wherever it
occurs.
The

sextile aspect of 60° is half the trine, and is good in like manner but in less degree.

The
semisextile of 30° is similarly propitious, but in a very subsidiary degree. It serves, however,
to turn the scales when the influences are conflicting.
These, then, are the good aspects :-

120° 60° 30°
and to these are added the conjunctions of

and , and of

when in good aspect to another planet.

The evil aspects are :The opposition

of 180°, which makes for disunion and inharmonious results.

The

sesquiquadrate or square and a half aspect of l35° is powerful for evil.

The

square or quadrature of 90°, which is only a degree less evil than the direct opposition.

AMO Section 1 Chapter 2

The

semisquare of 45°, which is similarly, but in less degree, evil.

To these are added the conjunctions of , ,
and , together with
when in bad aspect to another
is the interpreter of the gods, and brings to us the message of that sphere with which it is
body; for
found in association at any time we may consult the heavens.
The astrological aspects are found to be those angles at which the superior metals crystallize. Water
crystallizes at an angle of 60°. Again, the angles or complemental angles of any regular polygon which
may be inscribed in a circle will be found to be comprehended by the astrological aspects. Thus our
earliest progenitors are found to have been both metallurgists and geometers.
The evil aspects are all included in this ancient glyph :-

and similarly the good aspects are included in the following symbol, known as "the seal of Solomon" :-

AMO Section 1 Chapter 2

The key was found engraved on the back of the Great Tortoise, discovered by Yaou, the Chinese
patriarch and ruler, in the Yellow River, about 2,300 b.c. It forms the basis of interpretation to the oldest
book in the world, known as the Yih King, or Book of Transformations. It is used by the Chinese for all
purposes of divination, and is the basis of their astrological system.
Besides these there are many other points of interest vested in the astrological aspects, and as I shall have
occasion to refer to them in the next chapter of this section, 1 will pass them for the moment.

AMO Section 1 Chapter 3

CHAPTER III
THE SIGNS
THE signs of the zodiac are the symbols of those living forms which among the ancients stood for certain
cosmic principles and evolutional processes. In the zodiacal scroll the gifted interpreter of symbols will
find the history of the human race already depicted. The typical forms represent various stages of human
evolution, as well individual as racial. But we are not now concerned with these esoteric matters, but
rather with the exposition of astrological principles. Observe, then, that the zodiac is composed of
asterisms which, in the year 25,400 B.C., corresponded with the solar signs bearing the same names. The
signs are counted from the vernal equinox, or that point where the sun’s path crosses the earth’s equator.
The line traversed by the sun in its annual path through the asterisms is called The Ecliptic.
This ecliptic circle is divided into twelve equal parts, called Signs, which, counted from the vernal
equinox, are as follows:
Aries,
Taurus,
Gemini,
Cancer,
Leo,
Virgo,
Libra,
Scorpio,
Sagittarius,
Capricornus,
Aquarius,
Pisces.
They have the following relationships and groupings :is opposed by
is opposed by
is opposed by
is opposed by
is opposed by
is opposed by
The Elemental Natures of the signs, with their human correspondences, are shown in the following
tabular scheme:-

AMO Section 1 Chapter 3

Element.

Sign.

Principle.

Property.

Fiery signs

Spirit

Inspiration

Aerial "

Mind

Reason

Watery "

Soul

Emotion

Earthy

Body

Sensation.

"

The majority of the planets being in the Fire signs, shows that the life is expressed chiefly in the
inspirational, aspirational and intuitive faculties. In Air signs, the intellectual life will be dominant. In
Water signs the passional, emotional and imaginative qualities are more pronounced; while if the
majority of the planets are in Earth signs, the more material, matter-of-fact and sordid aspects of the
nature absorb the vital powers. These groups are otherwise known as the igneous, gaseous, fluidic and
mineral, analogous to the upward evolution of the material universe, which is counterbalanced by the
downward involution of the corresponding immaterial principles.
and
signs are related to the formless or
The analysis of the sign groupings shows that the
and
signs relate to the inferior or formative world. Again, it will be
superior universe, while the
noticed the air and fire are mutually conformable, ignition depending on atmosphere; while similarly
water is necessary to the earth for its fertilization. These sets of signs are in mutual sextile to one another.
Thus
to

and

to

and

to

and

to

and

The Constitutional Natures of the signs are derived from another grouping. They are known as the
Fixed or Basic;

AMO Section 1 Chapter 3

Common or Flexed;
Movable or Cardinal.
They may very appropriately be expressed as the acute

, the grave

and the circumflex

.

The grouping for this division of the signs is thus:Acute,
Grave,
Circumflex,
When the majority of the planets are found at the birth of a person to be in
Fixed Signs - the nature will be independent, self-reliant, pivotal, self-centred, original, cautious, firm
and steadfast.
Common Signs.- the nature is versatile, flexible, complacent, sympathetic, suave, and capable of adapting
itself to changes of company and environment.
Movable Signs. - the nature shows ambition, aptitude, executive ability, capable of cutting out a line in
life for itself and making headway in the face of obstacles.
The driving power is represented by the fixed signs, the sharp instrument by the cardinal or acute signs,
and the body that is riven or shaped is denoted by the common or flexed signs.
The thinkers, philosophers, inventors and originators are of the basic or fixed type. The pioneers, the
executive, the partisans and zealots are of the acute or cardinal type. The common populace, the passive
crowd; the numerous agents, fetchers and carriers of business; and whomsoever works at the direction
and under the leadership of others, all and sundry are of the flexed type.
The hand of the archer is fixed, the arrow is direct and acute, and the bow is flexed. These
correspondences are the keys to the interpretation of many occult mysteries.
Sex of Signs.
The signs are alternately male and female, namely :-

AMO Section 1 Chapter 3

Male.

Female.

The signs are divided into three parts, each of 10°, called decanates. These are related to the superior,
middle and lower regions of the zones governed by them, or to which they correspond. The ancients had
a conception of the macrocosm under the image of a man, which they called the Grand Man or Adam
Kadmon, and to which the microcosm or individual corresponded more or less perfectly at all points. The
zones of the body covered by the signs are, in this scheme, as follows :the head;
the neck;

the loins;
the excretors;

the arms;

the thighs;

the breast;

the knees;

the heart;
the bowels;

the shins;
the feet.

From what has been said above it will he seen that if a planet is in
5° it has its location in the
would be located in the middle region
superior region of the head, while one in the 17th degree of
of the bowels. As to whether it be upon the right or left side of the body will depend on the location of
the planet in the heavens, which involves a knowledge of the Houses. These are dealt with in the next
chapter.
If in the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th or 11th House, the left side in a male and the right side in a female is
denoted; and mutatis mutandis if in one of the other Houses. Thus a planet in
5° in the 6th House
would denote the right upper arm in a male and the left upper arm in a female. This example will
doubtless serve for all others.
The signs are also said to have dominion over certain places and countries, but as these do not form an

AMO Section 1 Chapter 3

essential part of the doctrine of Nativities which I am now considering, I may be allowed to pass it by.
The signs, however, have an affinity with those elements to which they belong in the elemental grouping,
and this with be found of practical use in the interpretation of horoscopes.
The Lunar Mansions begin at
0° and are 13° 20’ each in extent. The Arabians gave them specific
names and influences. Modern astrologers have for the most part given them little attention. Yet they are
at the root of the Oriental system of astrology, and are by them known as the Stations of the Moon, or
nakshatrams. They have analogy with the diurnal motion of the Moon.
The Mansions are 27 in number, each of 800’ extent. The Moon changes its signification as it goes from
one to another Mansion. The critical degrees, or points of change, are as follows :0° 0’; 13° 20’; 26° 40’;
10° 0’; 23° 20’;
6° 40’; 20° 0’;
3° 20’; 16° 40.
There are thus nine divisions or Mansions in each 120°. The Hindus ascribe a specific planetary
influence to each of them, and give to each a period of dominion over the life. (See "Hindu Astrology,"
in the Manual of Astrology, by Sepharial.)
The student will do well to consult also the system which divides the zodiac into 28 parts, each quadrant
being subject to a sevenfold division.

AMO Section 1 Chapter 4

CHAPTER IV
THE HOUSES
If you face the south where the sun is at noon, there is a point on your horizon to the left, one
immediately over your head and another on your horizon to the right. An imaginary circle drawn through
these three points and continued round the earth is called the Prime Vertical. An equal division of this
circle into 12 parts gives rise to what are called the Twelve Houses. They are numbered, for purposes of
reference, from the east horizon below the earth to the west horizon, and thence through the zenith to the
east horizon again. The diagram on the next page will perhaps convey the idea better than words.
The horizon east forms the cusp of the 1st House, the upper meridian forms the cusp of the 10th House,
the west horizon forms the cusp of the 7th House, and the lower meridian that of the 4th House.
The 1st and 7th Houses are also called the "Ascendant" and "Descendant" respectively.
The 1st, 10th, 4th and 7th are called the Angles.
The 2nd, 11th, 5th and 8th are called Succeedent.
The 3rd, 6th, 9th and 12th are called Cadent Houses.
Planets in the Angles of a horoscope are by that position rendered more powerful in their action and are
more conspicuous in the life of one born when they are so placed. Many planets in Cadent

AMO Section 1 Chapter 4

Houses will render the career inconspicuous and in a measure servile. Many planets in Succeedent
Houses are an indication of a career that is helped by persistent endeavour.
Thus the angular Houses correspond with the cardinal signs, the succeedent with the fixed signs, and the
cadent with the flexed signs; and this correspondence may be traced throughout the circle,
with the
with the 2nd,
with the 3rd, and so on.
1st House,
THE KABALA OF THE HOUSES
shows them to be divided into four groups, viz:Individual, 1st, 5th, 9th;
Possessive, 2nd, 6th, 10th;
Relative, 3rd, 7th, 11th;
Terminal, 4th, 8th, 12th.
Of these, among the Individual group, the 1st is external and relates to the person or body of the man; the
5th is intermediate and has relation to the psychic nature or soul; and the 9th is internal and is related to
the spiritual nature or individuality. Hence all the Houses are either physical (1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th),
psychic (5th, 6th, 7th and 8th), or spiritual (9th, 10th, 11th and 12th.)

AMO Section 1 Chapter 4

The close study of these intimate relationships of the Houses and their correspondence with the signs of
the zodiac is the most profound work of the astrologer. It is the foundation of the whole art of correct
foreknowledge.
For practical purposes we may brief the dominations and significations of the Houses as follows :SIGNIFICATIONS OF THE HOUSES
The 1st House governs the body, personal appearance, physical well-being, and accidents happening to
the person.
The 2nd House governs the personal property, money in hand, personal effects.
The 3rd House rules the personal relations, the tie of consanguinity, brothers and sisters; also means of
communication, whether by vehicle, letter post, telegraph or other means whatsoever. It denotes cables,
bridges, telegraph wires, viaducts and other means of connection; writings, letters.
The 4th House governs the end of the physical life, the grave; material products, mines, farming produce;
land, houses, freeholds, leases, tenancies and hence landlords.
The 5th House is the extension of the 1st and governs the psychic nature; progeny; passions, pleasures,
love affairs; hence theatres, places of amusement, sport, etc.; the younger generation and such things and
persons as tend to their wellbeing.
The 6th House. is an extension of the 2nd; it governs the food, clothing, servants, personal comforts,
relative possessions generally; also the work or profession in which the subject engages; whatever
contributes to the well-being of the subject’s possessions.
The 7th House is an extension of the 3rd; it governs the tie of conjugality, the marriage partner; persons
in contract; rivals (as opposing the 1st House).
The 8th House is an extension of the 4th; it governs the dissolution of the vital forces; death, matters
relating to the dead; wills, legacies, etc., and (being the 2nd from the 7th) dowry or personalty of the
marriage partner.
The 9th House is an extension of the 5th; it governs the spiritual nature; "the far-off land," whether it be
that across the ocean or beyond the veil, teleological subjects, theology, philosophy; publications; the
law, lawyers; insurances; dreams, visions and other-world experiences.
The 10th House is an extension of the 6th; it denotes the ambitions, success, attainments of the subject;

AMO Section 1 Chapter 4

honour, credit, public esteem; the father or mother. (The 10th is always of the same sex as the 1st, and in
a female horoscope denotes the mother.)
The 11th House is an extension of the 7th, and denotes the tie of friendship; congeners; associates;
syndicates, companies, leagues, clubs, associations of which the subject is a member; his confederates
and supporters.
The 12th House is an extension of the 8th, and denotes privation, confinement, restraint; the hospital,
prison or other place of detention; sequestration, exile; ambushes, plots, secret enemies; the occult.
It will be seen that many other interpretations apply to the House by reflection. Thus the 1st being the
subject of the horoscope and the 7th his wife; the 3rd his relatives and the 9th his wife’s relatives, the
latter house comes to mean brothers- and sisters in-law, i. e. marriage relatives.
The 10th being the father and the 4th the mother (in a male horoscope), the 7th is the maternal
grandfather and the 1st the maternal grandmother.
The 6th being the uncles or aunts on the mother’s side (i. e. maternal aunts or uncles), the relatives of the
mother, the 5th (progeny) from the 6th (i. e. the 10th House) will denote maternal cousins. Similarly with
all those relations which "a man may not marry," as expounded in the Book of Common Prayer.
We have now before us the whole of the alphabet of astrology, and may now proceed to frame a
horoscope and read it by the language of the heavens. It is important that the whole of the planetary
natures should be learned, together with those of the signs and the significations of the Houses, before
the next step is taken. When the alphabet has become a language, that language may be interpreted. Until
then we are faced only by dead symbols.

AMO Section 2 Chapter 1

SECTION II
CHAPTER I
MAKING A HOROSCOPE
FOR the practical pursuit of astrology a horoscope must be drawn for the moment of a birth.
It is of first importance to understand clearly what is meant by "birth" in the astrological sense. Observe,’
then, that there are three stages in the process of obstetrics : (1) Extrusion, (2) Abscission, (3)
Independent and. sustained breathing. The moment of birth is that at which the first breath, usually
accompanied by a cry, is taken and followed by regular breathing. For it should be noted that a
spasmodic breath, followed by a cry, may be only the first of a series of intermittent breathings, regular
breathing being established only after a considerable interval.
The beginning of regular breathing having been noted, the astrologer may thereafter draw a correct
horoscope of the birth. This horoscope, which shows the relative positions of the celestial bodies at the
time of the nativity as regards one another, and their positions as seen from the place of birth, is called
the RADIX. It is the root from which springs the whole tree of life. It represents the environment of the
new life, the conditions under which the incoming soul will be required to express itself, develop its
powers, and gain its new load of experience.
That which, as environment, presses it most closely, is the physical body with all its hereditary
tendencies and acquired habits. Beyond this there are the wills of other units of life, all striving towards
the satisfaction of common human needs, and spurred by individual ambitions. The horoscope of birth is
in this sense accidental and not incidental, and cannot be consulted in any matter prior to the act of birth,
nor in regard to the essential nature, origin, power and motive of the soul.
There is a system of horoscopy which claims to go deeper, and to concern itself wholly with the
evolution of the soul and its migrations; but this has no part in my present scheme and may be
conveniently ignored.
In order to draw a horoscope of the birth, it will be necessary to obtain (1) an Ephemeris of the planets’
places for the year of birth; (2) a Table of Houses for the place of birth, or an approximate latitude; (3) a
set of Transit Tables extending over a hundred years.
An Ephemeris is an astronomical calendar showing the positions of the celestial bodies at noon each day
throughout the year. This information is extracted from the Nautical Almanac or the French

AMO Section 2 Chapter 1

contemporary Connaissance de Temps. It gives the geocentric longitudes and the latitudes and
declinations of the bodies, the sidereal time of the day corresponding to the Sun’s true Right Ascension at
noon; and the aspects formed between the planets (called "Mutual" aspects) and also the solar and lunar
aspects. Some of these terms need explanation to the lay reader.
Geocentric longitude is the position of a body in the ecliptic as seen from the centre of the earth.
Heliocentric longitude, from which geocentric longitude is converted, is the ecliptic position as seen
from the Sun. In astrology we use the geocentric longitudes because we are considering the action of the
planets upon the earth and its inhabitants. If we lived on Mars we should have to take the positions as
seen from Mars. The ignorant contention that the discovery of the heliocentricity of the system
invalidates astrology is of course without rational foundation.
Declination is distance from the equator north or south. It corresponds to geographical latitude. The line
apparently traversed by a star or planet in its diurnal passage round the earth is called the "parallel of
declination."
Latitude of a celestial body is distance north or south of the ecliptic.
Sidereal time is the Sun’s true Right Ascension at noon, measured on the equator from the vernal
equinox and corrected by the difference between Right Ascension and mean or clock time. It may be
expressed in °, ´, •, or in h., m., s., the circle of the equator being equal to 24 hours.
Tables of Houses are computed for various latitudes (as for New York, Paris, London, Liverpool, etc.),
and serve for all places of the same or approximate latitude as these towns, whether north or south of the
equator. The Tables show the points of the ecliptic cut by the cusps of the Houses; thus the cusp of the
10th House is the same as the meridian of longitude, and the point of the ecliptic thereon, at the time for
which the calculation is made, will be that which is on the meridian and culminating.
Local time is the time corresponding to Greenwich time at any moment. The correction to be applied to
Greenwich time in order to find the local time is 4 mins. for every degree of longitude east or west. If
east, add to Greenwich time; if west, subtract from Greenwich time in order to get the local time.
With the ephemeris in hand, turn now to the date of the birth.
Against this date, in the left-hand column, you will find the sidereal time at noon.
To this sidereal time add the "local time" elapsed since the preceding noon, together with an equation at
the rate of 10 secs. for each hour.
The sum will be the sidereal time on the midheaven at the time of birth.

AMO Section 2 Chapter 1

Next turn to the Tables of Houses for the latitude of the place of birth and find this sidereal time. Against
it, under the column marked 10 (10th House), you will find the degree of the ecliptic which is on the
meridian. This is technically called the "midheaven." In the next column (11) you will find the degree of
the zodiac which is on the cusp of the 11th House. In the next column that which is on the cusp of the
12th House. In the next column, marked "Ascendant" or "Asc.," you have the degree which is rising in
the east ; the next column gives the degree on the cusp of the 2nd House, and the last column that which
is on the cusp of the 3rd House.
The 4th House will hold the same degree of the opposite sign to that which is on the 10th cusp. The 5th
cusp holds the opposite to the 11th, and the 6th the opposite to the 12th, and so on to the 7th, 8th and 9th
cusps. The "skeleton" figure is then complete.
The planets’ places must next be inserted, and as the ephemeris is constructed for Greenwich mean time,
the Greenwich time of the birth must be used instead of the local time. The places being given for each
day at noon, the longitudes can readily be found by proportion for any intermediate hour.
For the purpose of illustration we may take the horoscope of King George V. The King was born on the
3rd of June, 1865, in London, at 1 hr. 18 min. a.m. In the ephemeris for 1865 we find against the 2nd of
June, at noon preceding the birth H. M. S.
Sidereal time
To which add time since

4

13 18

0

2

13

_

_

_

18

4

5

And equation at 10" per hour

S.T. on midheaven at birth

43 52

This sidereal time corresponds with the 1st degree of Capricorn, which therefore occupies the
midheaven. The skeleton is then completed from the Tables of Houses for London; and the planets’
places and those of the luminaries are taken from the ephemeris for the 3rd of June, at 1.18 a.m., and in
effect we have the horoscope as follows :-

AMO Section 2 Chapter 1

It is to be observed that the planets are in "aspect" to one another when at birth they are within 5 degrees
of the exact angle; and the luminaries are in aspect at a distance of 7° from the exact angle; and that angle
to which they are severally nearest must be taken as the aspect then in operation. Thus, with the Sun in
0° and
in
17°, the angle is 47°, which is nearest the
semi-square of 45°. The Sun is then
semisquare Mars.
But if with the
in
0° Mars should be in
23°, at an angle of 53°, then the nearest aspect is the
of 60°, and the Sun is then said to be in sextile to Mars.
It is to be observed that the groupings of the Signs already given in Chap. II will be of much use in the
computation of the aspects, for all signs of the same Elemental nature are in trine to one another; those of
the same Constitutional nature are in square aspect to one another.
Any form of horoscopical figure may be used, and each has its advantages. That given above dispenses
with the circle and consists of a series of straight lines, representing the celestial sphere on a Mercatorial
projection.

AMO Section 2 Chapter 2

CHAPTER II
FOREIGN HOROSCOPES
SUPPOSE that the birth took place abroad, let us say in Berlin. The "skeleton" is set for the local time,
and the planets’ place are taken, from the Greenwich ephemeris, for the corresponding Greenwich time.
The Tables of Houses used must be those for the latitude of Berlin.
In all cases the Midheaven is calculated for local time, and the Tables for the Houses must be those due
to the latitude of the place. And in all cases where the Greenwich ephemeris is used, the corresponding
Greenwich time is employed when calculating the planets’ places.
SOUTH LATITUDE
When the figure is to be set for places south of the Equator, calculate the Midheaven for local time as
before. Then add 12 hours to the sidereal time on the Midheaven, refer to the tables for the corresponding
North latitude, and take the opposite signs to those found on the cusps of the Houses, retaining, however,
the same degrees.
Thus, if a birth has taken place in latitude 51° 30’south, at 1.18 a.m. on the 3rd of June, 1865 (see
horoscope of King George V), the sidereal time on the Midheaven is found to be 18 h. 4 m. 5 s. As the
latitude is south we must add 12 hrs., thus H. M. S.
S.T. on M.C. at birth

18

4

5

Add

12

0

0

_

_

_

30

4

5

24

0

0

_

_

_

6

4

5

Subtract the circle

S.T. on midheaven at birth

AMO Section 2 Chapter 2

Referring now to the Tables of Houses for latitude 51° 30’ (London) against sidereal time 6 h. 4 m. 5s.,
1°.
you will find
Place this on the lower meridian, which is the cusp of the 4th House, and follow with
7° on the 5th
7° on the 6th,
0° 47’ on the Descendant, or 7th,
25° on the 8th, and
25° on
cusp,
the 9th cusp, as you find them in the Tables. Then complete the circle by inserting the same degrees of
the opposite signs on the remaining cusps. The places of the celestial bodies are then calculated for the
Greenwich time corresponding to the local time of the place of birth.
The student who finds any difficulty in following these instructions will probably be better guided by
carefully following some of the many examples published in the text-books, manuals and guides, which
are very plentiful and moderate in price. C’est le premier pas qui coûte, it is true, but once the initial
stages of Astrology are passed successfully, a world of fascinating study will reward the careful and
patient worker.
Note. - It should be observed that the Midheaven and Ascendant are the only points which are
mathematically determined by the calculation of a horoscope. The degrees on the cusps of the other
Houses may conveniently, and indeed rationally, be allotted by dividing the entire degrees contained in
each quadrant by three and adding the result to the degree on the Midheaven, or the Ascendant,
according to quadrant involved. This is the method I myself use in practice.

AMO Section 3 Chapter 1

SECTION III
READING THE HOROSCOPE
CHAPTER I
PERSONAL APPEARANCE
THE personal appearance at maturity is to be judged from a combination of the following elements:1. The rising sign.
2. The sign occupied by its ruler.
3. Planets in the rising sign.
4. Those planets in exact aspect to the rising degree.
Note that Saturn rising makes the complexion darker and the face thinner. Jupiter rising gives a fuller
habit. Mars rising disposes to more colour or ruddiness and increases the stature. Thus a child born on the
7th of July, 1909, at 10.20 p.m., with the Moon and Mars rising in Pisces, showed giant proportions
before she was a year old, being then of dimensions equal to a well-nourished child of four years. The
Sun rising gives a fair complexion but often freckled or sunburnt in appearance. Venus gives a beautiful
and florid type. Mercury gives an alert look, with rather small, wizened features. The Moon gives
fullness and disposes to lymphatic pallor. Mars rising generally gives a red mark, scar, cut or mole upon
the face. Chaucer the poet, who was born with the rising of Mars in Taurus, says of himself: "Yet have I
Martes mark upon my face."
There are usually to be found moles or marks upon that part of the body which is ruled by the rising sign;
that which is on the cusp of the 6th House; and the sign occupied by the Moon. This is so generally the
case that I have frequently used these marks successfully in planning a horoscope where the time of birth
was in doubt.
Neptune rising usually gives blue eyes, with a mystical expression. When this is absent, the deportment
is often limp and the expression drowsy and dazed.
Uranus rising gives angularity and slenderness to the body, together with a marked brusquerie or

AMO Section 3 Chapter 1

eccentricity of action.
THE TYPAL FORMS
due to the rising of the twelve signs are briefly as follows :Aries. - Slender figure, lean body, long neck, broad forehead, narrow chin, curling hair, either sandy or
black.
Taurus. - Full body, strong shoulders, full neck, waving brown hair.
Gemini. - Tall, well formed; long limbs, slender bands, long nose, rather wide mouth, brown hair,
generally fine and straight.
Cancer. - Short stature, broad chest, rounded features, brown hair, usually of a light tinge; full, fleshy
body; small hands and feet.
Leo. - Tall, well-developed and upright figure; curling or wavy hair, florid complexion and large grey
eyes.
Virgo. - Lean body, large forehead, high cheek-bones, square jaws, long upper lip., brown hair.
Libra. - Elegant figure, oval face, neat features, good complexion; rich brown hair, good teeth and nails.
Scorpio. - Thick-set figure, sturdy appearance, swarthy complexion, wavy or curling hair; glittering
bright eyes.
Sagittarius. - Tall, well-developed figure; high forehead, long features;. full, expressive eyes; brown hair.
Capricornus. - Strong, prominent features, moderate or small stature; dusky complexion, dark hair.
Aquarius. - Well deve1oped and full figure; fine complexion; blue eyes; flaxen or light-brown hair;
defective teeth.
Pisces. - Small but full figure, small hands and feet; full eyes; pale, dusky complexion; black, straight
hair.
It is to be observed that pure types are seldom met with, but when a planet rises in its own sign it may be
regarded as astrologically pure, if at the same time no planet is in close aspect to the rising degree. There
remains, however, the fact of heredity, which will always operate towards the reproduction of the family
type; so that it becomes a matter of great experience and skill to correctly depict a person from the

AMO Section 3 Chapter 1

horoscope alone. It is a fact, however, that astrologers learn to recognize the various zodiacal types with
great facility. King George V, it will be seen, is of the Aries type, blended with that of Leo in which
Mars is posited. Neptune is rising, and the King early espoused the naval profession. Many of the King’s
portraits reflect the "drowsy" look peculiar to the planet Neptune.

CHAPTER II
THE CONSTITUTION
is governed by the Sun and the rising sign. The vital signs are
and .
while the weakest are , ,

,

,

, the airy signs are less vital;

The
well aspected shows a strong constitution, with freedom from hereditary taint or organic disease.
When badly aspected it shows organic troubles which in favouring circumstances will readily develop.
Hereditary disorders are also thus discovered.
The affliction being from fixed signs shows diseases of the heart, throat, blood and excretory system;
flexed signs, the lungs, bowels and nervous system; cardinal signs, the head, loins, stomach and skin.
Saturn denotes obstructions, defects, privations; Jupiter enlargements and congestion; Mars
inflammatory action, lesions and remedies by the knife; Uranus shows paralysis and rupture; Neptune
hyper-aesthesia and neuropathic conditions, hysteria, etc., and all insidious wasting diseases. Venus
shows defects of the mucous membrane and effects of poisonous elements; -Mercury nervous disorders,
especially of the voluntary arc of nerves and the cerebrum. The Moon disposes to irregularities and lack
of co-ordination in the system.

AMO Section 3 Chapter 3

CHAPTER III
HEALTH
THE is the chief factor, denoting the functional powers. When badly aspected it shows functional
disorders in the same way that the Sun denotes organic disorders. The Sun shows incidental and the
Moon accidental effects. The one is inherited and the other acquired. A functional derangement may
excite an organic disorder and become a chronic illness.
When the constitution is weak and the health good the person may live to a good age, but the first serious
illness may kill. When the constitution is strong and the health bad much sickness may be endured
without fatal effect.
Consider, then, the Sun first of all, in regard to the constitution; and next the Moon, in regard to the
health. When the Ascendant is weak, and both the luminaries afflicted, predict a short life. When the
rising sign is strong, and both Sun and Moon well supported, predict a long life. Moderate years are the
result of mixed influences.
When maladies are indicated by a planet afflicting the
or by evil aspect, the malady will be of the
nature indicated by the afflicting planet, and the part of the body affected will be that indicated by the
in
in square to
in
would indicate inflammatory action in the
sign it occupies. Thus the
in
in square to
in
would denote obstructions in the excretory system,
throat, while
appendicitis, etc.
Children born when a malefic planet is rising and close to the Ascendant, or setting in opposition there
to, while at the same time the is applying to an ill aspect of the malefics, seldom live beyond infancy.
The time of their demise in such case can usually be measured by the number of degrees between the
and its complete aspect to the nearest malefic, accounting one month for each degree.

AMO Section 3 Chapter 4

CHAPTER IV
THE CHARACTER
TAKE the constitutional groupings of the signs (Section I, chap. iii) and see whether the majority of the
bodies are in fixed, flexed or cardinal signs. Judge of the mental type accordingly.
Next observe the elemental groupings and note that which contains the majority of the bodies; and from
this you will know whether the character will be expressed on spiritual, mental, psychic or physical lines.
The relative groupings will therefore work out to one of the following types :-

These symbols have already been explained (Section I, chap. iii), together with their applications, so that
there is no need to repeat them here.
Thus, if the majority of the planets are in airy signs, and next in watery signs, the type will be of the
mental-psychic; and if the majority are also in acute or cardinal signs, you will get the pioneer, with the
initiative and progressive tendency working along intellectual and social lines; the intellect having,
however, control over the emotions.
The individual characteristics are contributed by those planets which are in aspect to
governs the rational faculty and the the natural, as Ptolemy affirms.

in the

for;

Thus the manner and disposition, the expression of feeling, and the domestic and social traits are chiefly
shown by the planetary aspects to the Moon; while the intellectual and business faculties are shown By
the condition of Mercury.
Those planets which at birth happen to be on or near the Ascendant, or in the 9th or 3rd Houses, will

AMO Section 3 Chapter 4

greatly characterize the individual, on account of the great influence these parts of the heavens exert
upon the mind.
The specific characteristics of the planets and luminaries are as follows :Neptune: subtlety, planning and scheming. A tortuous mind, but suave manner. Clever at plot and
counterplot. A diplomat. Disposed to the drug, nicotine or other insidious habit. Fond of mysterious and
detective work. Frequently touched with a mania for something. A possible genius.
Uranus: inventive faculty, originality, waywardness, independence of spirit, abruptness.
Saturn: secretiveness, caution, reserve, self-control, temperance, soberness; philosophical, thoughtful,
brooding, melancholic, faithful. A good staunch friend, and an unrelenting enemy.
Jupiter: generous, just, sympathetic; possessing a knowledge of human nature; joviality, a good
judgment, fruitful intellect; confidence; sometimes too optimistic and even bombastic.
Mars: courageous, daring, energetic; fond of exploits; enterprising; frank, outspoken, petulant, zealous,
and fond of freedom.
The Sun: proud, dignified; possessed of self-confidence, generosity and magnanimity; disposed to the
grandiose and magnificent; sometimes vain and haughty, yet free from meanness, and loving fair play
and transparency; generally honest and opposed to all cliques and cabals.
Venus: gentle, kind, docile and persuasive; loving music and the fine arts, bright and joyous scenes,
jewels and flowers; fond of pleasure, and frequently self-indulgent.
Mercury: active, business-like and capable in affairs; of voluble speech; attentive to details; punctilious
and easily irritated; loving knowledge for its own sake; accessible and communicative.
The Moon: changeful, vacillating; versatile; imaginative; romantic; loving travel and change of scene;
sensitive and whimsical.
Judgment as to character is first made by the grouping of the signs in order to get the type to which the
subject belongs, and then by the aspects of the Moon and Mercury to determine the specific traits or
characteristics. Planets in the 1st, 9th and 3rd Houses have a very marked influence on the expression of
character.
It is here to be observed that the same indication and its corresponding trait of character will work out
differently in persons of the various types. Thus
conjunction in a purely emotional type is liable to
produce dangerous and destructive passions, which in an intellectual type would find expression in

AMO Section 3 Chapter 4

critical diatribe and free-thought; while in the spiritual type it would beget a zealot; and in the material
type a violent and unscrupulous firebrand, a maniac.
There is one axiom which cannot be too strongly emphasized, and the student will do well to keep it
always before him: The planets act upon us only in terms of ourselves.
Mental derangement is shown by the affliction of , or , in , ,
or
. Acute mania is shown
to
and epilepsy by afflicted by . But in such case there will be no
by conjunction or
remedial aspect from the benefic planets and none between the , and the ascending degree.

AMO Section 3 Chapter 5

CHAPTER V
ACCIDENTS
DISPOSITION to accidents is shown by the affliction of the Ascendant or the by the adverse aspects
and . If both the Sun and Moon are so afflicted and the afflicting planet be
of the violent planets ,
elevated above the luminaries, there is liability of a fatal termination, which only the intervening good
or can prevent.
aspect of
Note that a planet intervenes only when its aspect is formed be/ore that of the afflicting body.
Mars when so afflicting the Ascendant or luminaries disposes to accidents by fire; also cuts, bleeding
wounds and abrasions. In human signs ,
,
, it may bring operations or hurts by human
hands. In watery signs, scalds; in fiery signs, burns; in earthy signs, abrasions.
Saturn thus afflicting denotes falls, fractures, bruises, blows from falling objects, etc. In earthy signs by
falls, earthquakes, explosions of mines, etc.; in watery signs, drowning; in airy signs, by falls from a
height; in fiery signs, by explosive missiles, etc.
Uranus similarly afflicting denotes ruptures, broken bones, compound fractures, accidents by machinery,
and all extraordinary casualties.
Neptune shows danger of poisoning by drugs, noxious gases, etc.
The source from which danger emanates is to be seen from the position of the afflicting planet, as if
be in the 6th House, the hurt will come from physicians (surgeons) or servants; in the 3rd, on short
journeys; in the 9th, in foreign lands; in the 5th, by sport or play, etc. The affliction being from the 8th
House is especially sinister, as it threatens a fatality.
It may perhaps be well to note in these days of extended means of locomotion, that has special
denotes collisions,
reference to hurts proceeding from defective machinery, break-downs, etc.
firing or ignition, and when these planets afflict the Ascendant or luminaries from aerial signs, the
danger of aviation is increased; in watery signs, aquatics should be avoided; and in earthy signs motoring
will add to the peculiar dangers to which the subject will be liable.

AMO Section 3 Chapter 6

CHAPTER VI
THE FORTUNES
THE luminaries being in mutual good aspects, and the otherwise well supported in the horoscope by
benefic aspects, shows a successful career. If the planets are chiefly under the horizon or "below the
earth," as it is otherwise called, then success comes after marriage, or late in life, as the case may be. But
if above the horizon, then success is speedily achieved. Evil planets in the 4th House near the lower
meridian show a poor termination to the career, even after a life of much success. Saturn in the
Midheaven will bring a person to a good position and afterwards denude him of all benefits.
Impediments come from those sources indicated by the Houses occupied by the malefic planets or those
badly aspecting the , as if in the 7th by marriage or contracts; in the 8th by legacies; in the 4th by
should be
mining, farming and real estate; and so of the rest. To be exceptionally fortunate the planet
in good aspect to one of the luminaries and angular, especially in the 1st or 10th.
A benefic planet in the 4th House, not afflicted by adverse aspect, shows a successful finish to the career.
The periods of good and ill fortune are to be specifically known only by reference to the "Directional
arcs" (see "Measure of Time ").
Jupiter in good aspect to Uranus shows legacies and windfalls, while the same in good aspect to Saturn
gives promise of an inheritance. Planets in the 2nd House are especially to be regarded in this matter, as
that House has reference to the personal possessions and generally to the financial status of the subject.
The luminaries therein, or one of them, well aspected by
etc., will give financial competence; as
or therein, free from affliction by adverse aspects. The malefics therein, or the luminaries
also
badly aspected, show poverty and a continual struggle for a competence.
Here again there is the personal equation involved, and all judgment is to be regulated by reference to the
sphere of life into which the subject is born, his responsibilities, etc. The poverty of one man might well
constitute the wealth of another in a humbler sphere of life. The planets act upon us in terms of ourselves
and in proportion to the measure of our individual powers.
Note.- In a female horoscope the
apply.

will replace the , but in other respects the rules here given will

AMO Section 3 Chapter 7

CHAPTER VII
THE POSITION
THE majority of the planets rising between the 4th and 10th eastward, show an ambitious and aspiring
nature, a candidate for responsibility, one who will be independent, a "free lance," and restless under the
yoke of servitude. Thus placed, the planets denote effort and ambition which will result according to that
planet which is nearest the Mid-heaven and on the oriental side of it.
The more planets there are in angles, the 1st, 10th, 7th or 4th, the more conspicuous will be the subject in
his sphere of life. If at the same time in cardinal signs, he will be an epoch-making man or remarkable
pioneer.
Planets above the horizon show responsibility and some degree of eminence.
Below the horizon and occidental, there is less prominence in the life.
Benefic planets in the 10th House (which governs the credit, honour and esteem) will contribute their aid
in bringing the subject to a position of influence in his sphere of life.
The end of life is shown by the 4th House. Malefic planets in the 10th bring a man early to a downfall,
but if in the 4th House the end of life will be passed in tribulation or obscurity.
If a man rises by patronage there will be indications of it in the 11th House; and the horoscope of the
benefactor will show marked sympathy with that of his beneficiary.
The mundane aspects are of some considerable significance in this matter, for planets on the cusps of the
Houses will materially affect the position for good, inasmuch as they are then in
or
to the
Midheaven or Ascendant. Perhaps not enough has been made of these mundane aspects, and it is well
that they, should not be overlooked. Placidus de Titus, in his Primum Mobile, makes them the basis of his
system of Prognostics.
Similarly it has been observed that when planets are on the cusps of the Lunar Mansions, the person then
born rises to eminence (Section I, chap. iii.).
The majority of planets in or near any such degrees, viz, the 1st, 13th and 25th of the cardinal signs, the
9th and 22nd of the fixed signs, or the 4th and 17th of the common signs, denotes one born to distinction.

AMO Section 3 Chapter 7

King George V has 5 planets, as well as the Midheaven and Ascendant, close to such degrees.

AMO Section 3 Chapter 8

CHAPTER VIII
THE OCCUPATION
THIS is to be judged from the 6th House and the planets therein, together with the sign on its cusp.
The signs have affinity with those things ruled by the Houses to which they correspond, as
to the 5th, etc.
House,

to the 3rd

The planets have their own significations:Saturn has relation to minerals and heavy bodies, lead, etc.
Jupiter to legal affairs, ecclesiastical matters.
Mars to fire and iron, fighting, the military profession.
The Sun to gold; civic dignitaries, the Crown and its officers, ambassadors, etc.
Venus to art, music and matters of adornment.
Mercury to literature, mercantile pursuits and affairs of traffic.
The Moon to public employment, catering, retail business, etc.
Uranus to electrical and scientific pursuits, and also to affairs of propaganda; the civil service and
positions of civic authority.
Neptune to psychological and mysterious pursuits, also travelling and seafaring.
These are, of course, but loose and general significations. The position of the majority of the planets will
indicate whether the life-work should be along spiritual, mental, social or mercantile lines, and the sign
on the 6th House, the position of its ruler and the nature of any planet in the 6th House, will guide to a
specific occupation.
Fixed signs show inventors and producers, manufacturers.

AMO Section 3 Chapter 8

Flexed signs purveyors and factors, importers, travellers.
Cardinal signs retailers, dispensers, organizers and directors, managers and those in prominent positions.
Some illustrations of known cases may serve to illustrate the manner of interpretation :1.

in

in the 6th House - a dairy company manager.

2.

in

on 6th House - an accountant in a large tea importer’s.

3.

on 6th and

4.

in

5.

in

in the 6th - an estate agent.
in the 6th, with

6.

on the 6th and

7.

on 6th and

8.

on the 6th, with

9.

- a writer on occult philosophy.

in

in
in

in

- a stockbroker.
- a company promoter.

- an exploration promoter.
in

- a coal merchant.

in the 6th - an artist.

Judgement on the choice of occupation must of necessity be guided by a number of considerations,
questions of aptitude, education, training, sex, etc., being all largely involved.
Taking all the planets in all the signs we have but 108 possible significations, while there are obviously
more than that number of distinct occupations. It must therefore suffice if the astrologer can give some
hint of the line along which the occupation may be found.
Thus fiery signs may denote spiritual things equally with those in which the element is the chief agent.
Airy signs all mental occupations from the clerk to the professor of philosophy, as well as all those trades
and occupations in which the pneumatic or air force is employed, even the lately developed pursuit of
aviation and aeronautics generally.
Watery signs may denote the social or emotional side of business, and all trades in which the watery
element is chiefly employed, as in navigation, laundry work, the manufacture and sale of beverages,

AMO Section 3 Chapter 8

painting, etc.
Earthy signs may denote the manual and practical occupations, equally with those in which the products
of the earth, mining, agriculture, estate development and similar occupations are concerned.

AMO Section 3 Chapter 9

CHAPTER IX
MARRIAGE
ON this most important of all questions depend many very vital issues. Not only is the moral and
spiritual welfare of the contracting parties involved, but that also of successive generations.
It is not within the scope of this treatise to consider questions of expediency or fitness, or the deeper
psychological questions of fascination, attraction and destiny.
Suffice it to say that all horoscopes present themselves to the expert as either marriageable or
misogynous.
The indications of marriage are as follows :In a male horoscope the Moon (in a female the Sun) being oriental, i.e. in the S.E. or N.W. quadrant, arid
increasing in distance from the other luminary, shows an early marriage. Oriental and decreasing, or
occidental and increasing, marriage at a more mature age.
But if occidental and decreasing in distance from the other luminary, marriage will be deferred to a
period past the prime of life.
Venus at a male nativity (Mars at that of a female) being afflicted by Saturn shows disappointed
affections in early attachments; by Uranus, romantic attachment followed by enforced breach, or
estrangement and rupture of relationship by exceptional incidents; by Mars (Venus in a female case),
impulsive attachments of a passionate and dangerous order ; by Neptune, deceptions and seductions,
impositions and fraudulent representations.
The luminaries being in square or opposition to one another, and Venus afflicted, there will be no
marriage.
The 5th House governs all considerations of love affairs; the 7th House those of marriage.
Saturn brings about loss of the partner by death, or it militates against happiness in marriage by defects
of nature, by jealousy, coldness and suspicion.
Uranus produces rupture of the marriage tie, divorce or separation, and, by marked eccentricity of the

AMO Section 3 Chapter 9

partner, tends to disturb the relationship.
Mars shows licence, freedom, frequent quarrels and lack of forbearance and self-control. It frequently
leads to violence and fatality.
Neptune deception and insidious hurt. The partner is afflicted mentally or has unnatural and perverted
appetites and desires. The partner may have a legal tie already, and generally has a history.
In female horoscopes we substitute the
is made for both sexes alike.

for the , and Mars for Venus; but in other respects judgment

Happiness in marriage is shown by the
being
or
; and by or , well aspected, being in
(female) first forms an aspect ( ,
, ,
the 7th House. Also if the planet to which the (male) or
or conjuction) after birth, be a benefic and well-aspected, or any planet in good aspect to the benefics,
there will be harmony in marriage.
Unfortunate and unhappy unions take place when the (or
in the case of a woman) applies by evil
aspect to a malefic planet, and the 7th House is occupied by a malefic or a planet badly aspected.
In a female horoscope, the condition after marriage may be fairly predicted by reversing the horoscope
and looking at it from the point of view that the Descendant is then the Ascendant and the Mid-heaven
the Nadir.
The marriage partner is described by the rules of the ‘7th House and the sign it occupies, or if it be
retrograde, by its dispositor.
[N.B. - A planet is said to dispose of another when the latter is in a sign it rules. Thus
, since Jupiter is the ruler of . ]
disposed of by

in

is

A man is most frequently attracted to a woman whose sun at birth occupies the place of Mars in his
horoscope; and always it will be found that a strong attachment is the result of this or a similar
coincidence of the planets in horoscopes of the parties involved.

AMO Section 3 Chapter 10

CHAPTER X
PROGENY
THE 5th House and the 11th (being the 5th from the 7th), the 4th House and the 10th, are regarded in this
matter. The Moon governs the maternal capacity, and the 4th and 5th Houses are those which give
succession.
In a male horoscope the 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th represent the succession on the male side; the 4th, 6th, 8th,
10th on the female side.
In a female horoscope the 5th, 7th, etc., denote daughters, and the 4th, 6th, etc., sons.
These points being duly noted, see if the 4th, 5th, 10th and 11th are free from malefic planets. If so, and
the Moon is in a prolific sign , ,
, then there will be progeny. But if the malefics occupy any of
these Houses there will be some loss of progeny.
A benefic, or the
family.

well aspected in a fruitful sign

,

,

and in the 5th House, shows a large

Lack of progeny is shown by Saturn, Uranus or Mars in the 5th House in a sterile sign (
, ,
); or
the so placed in any House and afflicted by Saturn; and usually Saturn denies succession along those
lines indicated by its House, according to the sex of the horoscope.
It has been argued that when children are born at the same time, the potential of the horoscopes of the
respective parents operates for a difference of fortune. Thus, if two women give birth to progeny at the
same time, and one parent has
in the 5th House, while the other parent has
there at birth: the result
may well be that one child will be properly developed and nourished, while the other, under the maternal
tradition of an evil Saturn, will be puny and of weak vitality. But this is an argument which by the
premises is not, in fact, in accord with nature, for when this diversity of fortune as regards progeny is
shown in the horoscopes of different parents, it will be found that the progeny are born at times which
develop influences in accord with the potential of the parental horoscopes.
Twins are generated by those in whose horoscopes the
planet is in such a sign in the 5th House at birth.

is in a double-bodied sign

,

,

, or a

AMO Section 3 Chapter 10

The phenomenon of twin births is a complete argument for the truth of Astrology. We have the Oases of
the Cloughs of Pudsey, the Webbs who played the two Dromios in the Comedy of Errors; the famous
Morrell twins, and many others whose lives were exactly parallel from birth onwards. The case of John
Hemming the ironmonger’s son, who was born at the same time and in the same Parish of St. Martins-leFields as King George III, proves that planetary influence is more significant than heredity. For John
Hemming’s father died, and he succeeded to the business at the same time that George II died and
George III came to the throne. They were both similarly afflicted by temporary loss of mental faculty,
they had the same number of children, and they died on the same day and nearly at the same hour.
It is to be observed that there are two kinds of twins: monovates and biovates. Monovates are born from a
double fertifization within the same amnion, while biovates are born from two distinct ova. In the latter
case we may look for a great diversity of faculty and development.
The fact that two children born at different times of the same parents, brought up under exactly similar
conditions, and fed at the same board, develop along widely divergent lines, goes to show that heredity
may count for something, but that planetary influence counts for a great deal more.

AMO Section 3 Chapter 11

CHAPTER XI
TRAVELLING
THE signs of travelling are as follows :The majority of the planets in cardinal and common signs (otherwise called movable and flexed), or,
alternatively, many planets in angles and cadent Houses, show travelling.
The circumstance of travelling is judged from the 3rd House for short (inland) journeys, and from the 9th
House for voyages and long journeys.
If the malefic planets are in these Houses, judge evils will befall of the nature of the planet, as Saturn
delays, impediments, privations; Mars hurts and disputes, fighting, fires, etc; Uranus a breakdown,
sudden calamities, mechanical defects, etc; Neptune ambushes, plots, betrayals, frauds, treacheries.
When malefic planets occupy these Houses, it is not good for the subject to travel.
By regarding the threatening planet and the nature of the sign it is in (fire, air, water, earth), you may
predict the exact nature of the danger. But if the benefic planets are in the 9th House, benefits will arise
from foreign travel.
Where there are no planets so placed, regard the nature of the rulers of the signs on their cusps, the
aspects they receive, and judge as if that ruler were actually in the House itself. Thus if no planet is in the
9th, and the sign on the cusp is
Capricorn, then look to Saturn’s position and aspects. If in the 8th
House and afflicted, there is danger of death; in the 2nd, well aspected, gain will follow a long residence
abroad; and so of the rest.
Observe that Saturn always demands the "time" consideration. He does nothing quickly, but he rewards
patience. Uranus, on the other hand, acts without warning either in rewarding or despoiling. Mars always
exacts a tussle, and you must work strenuously and fight hard for his best gifts. Neptune favours a
scheme or plot, and dearly loves the diplomat.
These interpretations may be read into other sections of the book of life. They do not specifically or
solely apply to travelling.
Planets well aspected, especially benefic planets in the 1st, 4th or 10th Houses, promise success in the

AMO Section 3 Chapter 11

land of one’s birth. The allurements of foreign travelling should in such case be ignored. This matter has
much bearing upon the question of emigration.

AMO Section 3 Chapter 12

CHAPTER XII
FRIENDS AND ENEMIES
THE Moon or Mercury well aspected will give many friends; benefic planets in the 11th House, or the
ruler of the 11th House well aspected, the same. The
in good aspect to the always gives many
favours and general success through friends.
The case is quite otherwise if you find these significators badly aspected or malefic planets in the 11th
House. Judge of the effects by the nature of the planets involved, as well as their aspects.
The 7th House shows rivals and open enemies, opponents in business, etc.; but the 12th House shows
secret enemies.
Malefic planets in the angles of the horoscope show many contentions and fatal disputes. Benefics there
denote abundant success through the support of adherents and friends.
SYMPATHY AND ANTIPATHY
It will be found that persons whose horoscopes are in disagreement will inevitably quarrel or oppose one
another’s interests; while those whose horoscopes are in agreement will mutually assist one another and
evince consistent good-will.
Some of these relationships may be localized by reference to the positions of the benefic and malefic
planets in a horoscope. Thus if
be in
10°, it will follow that any person born on or near the 1st of
Sun at his or her birth in the same place as this Saturn, and this is
April in any year will have the
quite sufficient cause for him whose Saturn it is to avoid all persons born on the 1st of April.
The

in one horoscope on or in good aspect to the

When
in one horoscope is on
be developed.

in another, will warrant a close friendship.

in another, and they are of opposite sexes, a dangerous passion may

Nothing, perhaps, in the whole system of astrology can answer more clearly and satisfactorily to the test
of experiment than this matter of sympathy and antipathy as shown by the relative positions in two
horoscopes. Did space permit, it would be possible to display the foundations of every great feud or war

AMO Section 3 Chapter 12

which has set man against man and involved the fate of whole empires and the lives of thousands of men.
It is significant that everything is to be traced back to the relative positions of the planets in the
horoscopes of the rival kings or rulers.

AMO Section 3 Chapter 13

CHAPTER XIII
THE KIND OF DEATH
THE positions of the malefic planets must be considered, especially regarding such as may be in the 8th
or 4th Houses, or those which may afflict the
or when in these Houses. The nature of the sign
occupied by the afflicting planet, together with that of the planet itself, will determine the cause of death
(see "Constitution," Section III, chap. ii.).
Violent deaths are threatened when both the
and are separately afflicted by a malefic ( , , ,
), or one of the luminaries has a double affliction by the conjunction or evil aspect of the malefics.
Saturn thus afflicting brings falls, crushing, suffocation.
Uranus electrocution, lightning-stroke, sunstroke, accidents by machinery, and suicide.
Mars wounds by steel and iron, burning, explosions; scalding by virulent acids; surgical Operation, etc.
Neptune ambushes and traps; insidious poisoning; obsession, etc.
As regards the nature of the signs: Fiery signs have relation to electrical, heat and other phenomena. Airy
signs are related to human agency, atmospheric phenomena, gaseous effects. Watery signs have relation
to the passional phases of human life, and to the watery element, as well as to inflammable oils, petrol,
etc. Earthy signs have relation to mining disasters, matters relating to the earth and its products, coal and
other minerals, earthquakes and seismic effects generally.
A violent death is not to be predicted when, the
or being thus afflicted by the malefics, there is an
or , for then there will be intervention and succour.
interposing ray from one of the benefic planets
An interposing ray proceeds from any planet which throws a benefic aspect to the luminary so that it falls
between the malefic aspect and the luminary. This is called "abscission" by the old authors. It is too often
overlooked by modern exponents.

SECTION IV
THE MEASURE OF TIME
CHAPTER I
ON DIRECTIONS
A VARIETY of methods have been employed by astrologers at different periods and in various countries
to ascertain the precise time at which the portents of the horoscope will find fulfilment.
The Hindus divide the whole life into periods called dashas, and these are again divided into bukthis, and
these again into antarams; so that a very close calculation may be made by this means. The method,
however, is based upon the Sâyana system of astronomy, which reckons from the fixed star Revati (?
Fomalhaut) and ignores the precession of the equinoxes. The system is perfectly consistent, but it cannot
readily be applied to the European zodiac; and it may be omitted from the exposition without hurt to its
integrity. The student is referred to the work of Parâshara known as Parâshara Hora for full instruction
as to the methods of this System, and some account of it will be found in my Manual of Astrology.
The Chaldeans - and after them the Arabians - took account of the progress of the planets and the
luminaries after birth, accounting each day after birth as a year of life; and from the aspects formed
between the celestial bodies by their progress among themselves and as regards their positions at the
birth, they judged of the course of events. This system is the one most in vogue among astrologers today,
and, rightly regarded, it is undoubtedly a ready means to a correct forecast of the time and nature of
events.
Claudius Ptolemy took account chiefly of the rising and culmination of the bodies by the rotation of the
earth on its axis, whereby the bodies are carried round the earth forming aspects to the radical positions.
The measure of time used by him was that of Right Ascension, accounting 4 mins. or 1 degree to each
year of life.
The analogy between this system and that of the Arabians is that the Sun’s progress in the zodiac after
birth is at the approximate rate of 1 degree per day, which is accounted as 1 year of life, while 1 degree
of Right Ascension is also equal to 1 year of life.
Placidus confirmed this system and added the mundane aspects, bringing the bodies to the cusps of the
Houses to form "directions "to the Ascendant and Midheaven, and to proportionate distances from the
meridian or horizon to form mundane aspects to other bodies not at birth upon the cusps. In this system

AMO Section 4 Chapter 1

one-third of the semi-arc of a planet was accounted equal to one House, and half the semi-arc was equal
to an aspect of 45°, the semisquare.
The method I have advocated for many years and have consistently used in practice is as follows :For each year of life add one day to that of birth and set the figure for the hour and place of birth. This
will give the progressed Midheaven, the progressed Ascendant, and the progressed place of the Sun. The
aspects formed by these to the planets at birth and in the progress will constitute PRIMARY
DIRECTIONS, and the aspects formed by the progressed planets to the Midheaven, Ascendant, Sun and
Moon in the Radix will also be included in this category.
This system has the advantage of calculating the Arcs of Direction and equating them by the Sun’s true
motion at the same time. If it be contended that the arcs thus obtained are not as exact as those obtained
by spherical trigonometry, inasmuch as they only measure to the nearest year of fulfilment, I would ask
how many Arcs calculated by the latter method find fulfilment at the fractional part of the year
represented by the minutes of a degree? "Zadkiel" (Commander Morrison, R.N.) frankly admitted that
the influence of an Arc of Direction extended over a considerable period and that it was brought into
effect by the concurrence of Secondary or Lunar Directions, transits and eclipses.
Hence the experiences of "Zadkiel" and myself are entirely in accord, and I have no hesitation in saying
that all the periodic changes in life may be accurately foretold by reference to the Primary Arcs formed
by the diurnal progress of the planets; while the precise time of the crises and the specific nature of
events may be known by reference to the radical import of the planets involved, and to the aspects
formed by the Moon in its progress.
The PRIMARY DIRECTIONS, therefore, will comprise :1. Aspects formed by the progressed Midheaven to the radical and progressed places of the planets.
2. Similar aspects formed by the progressed Ascendant.
3. Similar aspects formed by the progressed Sun.
4. Aspects formed by the progressed planets to the Midheaven, Ascendant, Sun and Moon in the Radix.
It is thus possible at any time to determine the influences operating in a horoscope. Let us take those of
King George V in the year 1911.

AMO Section 4 Chapter 2

CHAPTER II
EXAMPLE OF DIRECTIONS
Primary Directions in Horoscope, 3rd June, 1865 at 1.18 a.m., London.
Arc for 1911 = 46 days, or July 19, 1865.
h. m.
Midheaven, at noon 18-7-’65
Time since noon

7 49 10
13 18

Equation for 13 h. 18 m. at 10"

0

2 12
_

Midheaven progressed

s.

_

21

_

9 22

This gives the Midheaven in
15° and reference to the Tables of the Houses for London shows the
21°. The Sun’s progressed position is
27°.
Ascendant then to be in
We thus have the following positions :Midheaven P.
Ascendant P.

15° - ab
21° - ab

Sun P.

27°-

Sun R.

12° - ad

R- ad

R, ab
P, ab

P - ad
R,

R, ad
R,

R.
R.

R.
P.

[Note.- Progressed positions are marked P, and Radical positions R.]
It will be seen, then, that the Midheaven is departing from a good aspect of the

R and in 1911 will be

AMO Section 4 Chapter 2

exactly in opposition to

P.

Observe that at birth was on the cusp of the 2nd House, and has a distinctly financial bearing on the
destiny. Here it opposes the Midheaven. Hence there will be disquieting developments in financial
circles, and the fiscal position will be such as to create anxiety throughout the country. Taurus, wherein
Mercury was at birth, rules Ireland, and Leo, where the planet is situate in the progress, rules Australia.
We may thus expect many governmental anxieties to arise from these parts of the King’s dominions.
The ASCENDANT is approaching the good aspect of Saturn, which will contribute to the advantage of
the Queen at a near date. The semi-square of Venus about the same time - namely, three years hence will bring a bereavement; while the opposition of Jupiter a year later will produce losses through the
interference of a foreign Power and troubles in Spain (ruled by Sagittarius).
The SUN is in semi-square aspect to its own place, which disposes to discord in the capital and threatens
some unpleasant incidents in the course of short journeys. There may also be dissensions among the
King’s relatives. But the approach of Venus to the radical place of the Sun will largely operate to forfend
against all evils of health or estate, and will in due course contribute to the King’s revenue.
The PRIMARY DIRECTIONS are therefore mainly beneficent. It will be seen that King Edward VII
died under the influence of , , , and Ascendant
, , and a transit of Uranus over the opposition
R in this horoscope.
of Sun P, following the lunar eclipse of the 4th June, 1909, in opposition to the
A glance at the Tables of Houses will reveal the fact that the Ascendant is approaching
29°, in which
degree the malefic planet is situate at birth; while a cursory view of the Ephemeris for 1865 shows the
and
will
Sun at the same time close to the place of Mars in the horoscope of birth, and as both
P it may be inferred with some certainty that the
then be in the early degrees of Leo in transit over
health and fortunes of the King will then be jeopardized. This calculation brings out the year 1918 as
critical. The Midheaven of the horoscope will then be in the 23rd degree of Aquarius where is in
transit, the Ascendant in Gemini 29° being in the longitude held by at the King’s birth.

AMO Section 4 Chapter 3

CHAPTER III
SECONDARY DIRECTIONS
IT has been seen that the Primary Directions give the general tone of the life at any specified period
without definition of time or circumstance. The features are lacking; we have only the general outline. It
is to the Lunar Directions, the aspects formed month by month in the Moon’s progress after birth, that we
must look for the details - or at least some considerable part of them.
The method employed in calculating the Secondary or Lunar arcs is as follows :Take the age of the subject at the commencement of any secular year, in years, months and days. Call the
years days, multiply the months by 2 and call them hours, and the days by 4 and call them minutes. Thus
:yrs. mths.

days

1911

1

1

=

1865

6

3

= 3rd June, 1865.

_

_

_

45

6

28

2

4

_

_

13h.

52m.

1

18 a.m.

_

_

115

10 a.m.

12

0

_

_

_

Add birth time

To convert -

=

1st Jan., 1911.

45y. 6m. 28d.

AMO Section 4 Chapter 3

3
1

10 p.m.

When this amount exceeds 24 hours, subtract 24 hours and add one day to the first column.

We therefore add 45 days to the date of birth, and take the Moon’s place at 3.10 p.m. on that day.
From 3rd to end of June 1865 = 27 days, and 18 more will make 45 days = 18th July.
The

's longitude on this day at 3.10 p.m. =

4° 14’.

The 's diurnal motion at this time is 13° 45’which we divide by 12 = 1° 9’ nearly, since 1 day = 1 year,
and 2 hours = 1 month. The 's directional motion is therefore 1° 9’.
We can now prepare a table for the whole year, as follows, filling in the
progressed places of the planets, thus :-

's aspects to the radical and

1911
Jan. 4°

14’

Feb.

5

23

March

6

32

April

7

41

May

8

50

June

9

59

R

/5

R
R

July 11

8

P

Aug. 12

17

R

Sept. 13

26

Oct. 14

35

Nov. 15

44

Dec. 16

53

P

/7/1/3
/3
/4

P
P

/6
/ 12

AMO Section 4 Chapter 3

The positions of the planets are marked R (radical) and P (progressive), together with the signs they are
in and the House they occupy in the Radix or Progress, as the case may be.
It will be observed that the completes its course and comes again to its own place at the nativity after
27 days, when it begins again to form the same series of aspects to the radical places of the planets, as in
the preceding revolution. But the solar aspects will have changed entirely and do not repeat themselves
for 365 years. Meanwhile the Progress has carried the planets into different signs, and in some cases into
different Houses also; giving them new meanings and significations and bringing them into play under
entirely different relative conditions.
The interpretation of the above directions must have reference to the nature of the planet, the House and
the sign it is in. Thus:February will be likely to develop martial stimulus; increase of military strength; success in arms if
engaged at this time; successful projects and enterprises; colonial expansion and development; military
honours may be given to a Prince of the Royal House.
May brings some danger of indisposition to the Queen. At this time treaties are rescinded or impeded.
June brings naval honours, development of the marine interests; favourable interventions; some pageants,
festivities or celebrations; a prosperous and enjoyable period; felicitations and pleasures.
July is unfortunate for journeys by short sea passage. The health of His Majesty may show signs of
reaction, inducing a feverish habit and some passing derangement of the digestive organs.
August gives opportunity for beneficial changes and journeys, honours, éclat, conventions, etc., in the
capital.
September gives activity, change of venue, successful journeys, beneficial administration of property.
It is particularly to be noted that the Lunar Directions .are subsidiary to the Primary Directions in force,
and can only operate to produce marked effects when in agreement. When contrary to the Primaries they
may pass without appreciable variation of the fortunes. The tendency indicated by the Lunar Directions
will, however, be sufficiently in evidence to warrant attention, even when at variance with the Primaries.
A good period under Primary influences cannot, however, be negatived by Secondaries, but only
temporarily interrupted during the sway of the adverse Lunar configuration.
Thus in the Royal Horoscope we find coming to the Sun’s radical place, and in June 1911
conjunction . The summer season will therefore in every way comport with the auspicious influence
of the planet Venus.

AMO Section 4 Chapter 3

Observe, also, that in every case what is not potential cannot be expressed from the horoscope; nor can
the planets dispose after a manner that is unnatural to the subject, but in all cases the planets evoke that
which is potential in the character and possible in the circumstances. It is in this sense that character and
environment shape our destiny under the action of the celestial modifiers.

AMO Section 4 Chapter 4

CHAPTER IV
TRANSITS AND ECLIPSES
THE Transits of the major planets , , , , , are of great importance. They are capable of
interfering with the fulfilment of any measure of good or ill fortune indicated by the "Directions." The
most marked effects follow upon transits that are in agreement with the nature of current directions. The
word "effects" is of course privileged : a better term is indications. The reason for this is that a planetary
transit or direction may operate in the horoscope of a man to indicate the death of his father, but it cannot
be said with any show of reason that it caused the death, and it is an open question whether similar
positions in the horoscope of the parent can be said to "cause" his demise. It is, at all events, a point on
which I am not prepared to dogmatize.
Be that as it may, it is certainly the fact that the transits of the major planets are of singular value in this
system of prognostics.
The points of the horoscope to be regarded in this connection are the longitudes of the Midheaven,
Ascendant, Sun and Moon, both in the Radix and Progress. The portent of such a transit must be derived
from the House in which the planet may be found: (a) in the Radix, when the transit is over a radical
point; (b) in the Progress, when it is over a progressive point.
The stationary positions of the planets when coinciding with the significant points of the horoscope are
of special significance and have, in the estimation of most astrologers, a value equal to Primary
Directions.
The transits in the Royal Horoscope for 1911 are as shown in the following schedule :-

AMO Section 4 Chapter 4

The most important of these are , ,
P, which is in operation more or less throughout the year, and
R in October. These will undoubtedly have a disturbing
the stationary position of Mars close to the
effect on the affairs of the Empire, and as is in Capricorn it is to be judged that India will be the scene
of many political upheavals. Affairs of State will not go smoothly in the Peninsula, and the political
insurgent will be to the fore. Foreign affairs, denoted by the 9th House of the Progress, will give rise to
many surprising developments.
The transits of Mars are less significant, being of short duration, but the stationary position is very
critical and disposes to strained relationships and frequently threatens war.
In the interpretation of planetary positions in a Royal Horoscope it will be found that a more than
personal signification must be given to them; for the horoscope of a king is representative and focal as
much as personal.
ECLIPSES
The lunations or conjunctions and syzyges of the luminaries recur on the same day every 19 years.
During the course of the year the lunations gain from 10 to 11 days upon the calendar. But whether a new
Moon constitutes an eclipse of the , or a full Moon an eclipse of the Moon, will depend upon the
nearness of the Moon to its Node at the time. The node is that point where the 's path crosses the
ecliptic or path of the Sun.

AMO Section 4 Chapter 4

From most ancient times it has been known that eclipses recur after a period of 18 years and 10 to 11
days. Consequently, we know that the eclipse cycle is carried forward through the zodiac at the rate of
about 10° in 18 years, and that the same eclipse recurs after an interval of 651 years, when the eclipses
will fall in the same part of the zodiac.
Eclipses falling on the significant points of a horoscope portend evil.
Affecting the Midheaven, they are disastrous to the position, honour and credit of the subject. On the Sun
they threaten male life, and on the Moon female life; and are dangerous to the parents or such as may be
of the indicated sex, as well as to the subject of that sex. On the Ascendant, eclipses threaten the health of
the subject. Falling on the places of the planets they show hurts of the nature determined by the planet
and affect the affairs governed by the House in which it falls.
Thus in 1909 there was an eclipse of the Sun in
26°, which fell in opposition to the Ascendant of
King Edward’s horoscope, and in the same month there was a total eclipse of the Moon in opposition to
the place of the Sun in the horoscope of the Prince of Wales. Thus King Edward’s health was threatened,
and danger to the father was shown in the Prince’s horoscope.
Eclipses do not operate at once, but are brought into effect at a time proportionate to their distance from
the horizon at the time of the ecliptic conjunction of the luminaries, and are subsidiary to the Primary
Directions in force at the period.
LUNATIONS
have a current influence in regard to the events likely to happen during the succeeding month. The
lunation falling in good aspect to the radical places of the planets shows a successful month, the benefit
coming from the source indicated by the House in which the planet was at birth.
The positions of the planets at a lunation in regard to the positions of its significators (Midheaven,
Ascendant, Sun and Moon) at birth, are of great importance, and can freely be used as indicators of
events during the succeeding month.
THE DIURNAL HOROSCOPE
This scheme is set each day for the hour and minute of the birth, so that the Sun is always at the same
distance from the meridian as at the nativity.
The days on which the malefic planets cross the angles of the figure, and those on which the radical
places of the malefics similarly affect the meridian and horizon, may be regarded as of evil import.
Thus on the 6th May, 1910, the diurnal horoscope of King George V showed

5° on the Midheaven

AMO Section 4 Chapter 4

and
5° rising. Mercury on that day was in
5°, and therefore in opposition to the Midheaven,
5° was setting, in opposition, therefore, to the Ascendant of the
while the place of Mars at birth in
was in the 5th House, which is the 8th from the 10th,
diurnal horoscope. At the birth of King George
showing the death of the father. King Edward died near midnight of that day, and this sad event was very
clearly anticipated and predicted.
In King Edward’s diurnal horoscope for this date
(Neptune) was setting.

was culminating and the radical place of

The diurnal horoscope may often be used to correct the time of birth, when it is not accurately known,
providing that the exact date of some important event is given.
Thus on the 24th June, 1902, when King Edward was suddenly taken ill on the eve of the projected
Coronation ceremony, Mars in the diurnal horoscope occupied the Midheaven, and from this
circumstance - taken in conjunction with the recent eclipse of the Sun in opposition to the Sun’s place at
the nativity - the opinion was freely expressed that the intended ceremony would not take place then.
PLANETARY CONJUNCTIONS
Great importance is attached to the conjunctions of the major planets, and it may be said that no
phenomenon of this kind ever happens but it is attended by great mutations and upheavals in the political,
religious and physical worlds.
The conjunctions of Uranus with Neptune recur in about 170 years, the last being that in Capricornus in
1821, and the next, which will occur in the same sign, does not happen until 1991.
The conjunctions of and
the next being in the sign

occur every 46th year, having taken place in 1806, 1851 - 52, and 1897,
in 1942.

Those of Saturn and Jupiter occur every 20th year, e. g. 1821, 1842, 1861, 1881, 1901, 1921.
The conjunctions of the two malefic planets
and , which being of opposite nature appear to produce
very remarkable and violent effects, are worth more than cursory notice. They almost constitute
chronometric or historical pointers.
Thus in November 1897 there was a conjunction of
and
in , the ruling sign of Spain, and in
April of the following year Spain was involved in the disastrous war with the United States of America,
by which Spain lost the last of its foreign possessions in the Philippines and was heavily indemnified. In
December of 1899 another conjunction occurred and the following year King Humboldt of Italy was
assassinated. Predictions of the HispanoAmerican War and of the Red Hand in Italy may be found in

AMO Section 4 Chapter 4

"Coming Events" for the years 1897 and 1899. At the end of 1901 there was a conjunction in the sign
Capricornus.
In December 1903 the conjunction took place in Aquarius, the ruling sign of Russia, and was
immediately followed by the Russo-Japanese War in which Russia, represented by Aquarius, was
defeated.
In December 1905 the conjunction again fell in Aquarius, and was followed by the terrible massacre on
"Red Sunday" at Moscow.
In December 1907 the conjunction was in Pisces, the ruling sign of Portugal, which was followed by the
assassination of the King and Crown Prince of Portugal on February 3rd, 1908.
In December 1909 the conjunction took place in
, the ruling sign of England. The death of King
Edward VII followed in May 1910, after a great political crisis in the beginning of the year.
The next conjunction will fall in
the ruling sign of Ireland, in the month of August. The last such
conjunction took place in 1881, the year of the Phoenix Park murders. Who can doubt, in the face of such
evidence as the above, that a period of great distress and violence will ensue? In the year 1913 the
greatest conflagration that has taken place since the Great Fire will probably be recorded, for then the
malefic planets are conjoined in the ruling sign of London. A great upheaval will also doubtless take
place in America.
It will be observed that the conjunctions of
sign further advanced in the zodiac.

and

take place every second year, when they are one

I find a specific reference to this phenomenon in the Works of Sir George Wharton, edited by John
Gadbury, wherein Wharton devotes an essay to Ireland’s War, and this event was referred to the
conjunction of Saturn and Mars in
14° 27’, on the 12th June, 1646 (O.S.). In 1648 the conjunction
fell upon the 28th June (O.S.), and was in II (Gemini),the ruling sign of London. The fate of King
Charles I and the Irish Rebellion are in strict astrological accord with these positions of the malefic
planets. In 1650 the conjunction fell in Cancer, the ruling sign of Scotland, and immediately Cromwell
invaded Scotland, which country had espoused the cause of Prince Charles, and in event the Reformer
accounted for 3,000 killed and 10,000 prisoners. In Holland, also ruled by Cancer, there were at this time
terrible inundations, predicted by Mr. Culpepper.
Dating back to 1644, when the conjunction fell in Aries, the ruling sign of England, we find the decisive
battle of Marston Moor, the bloodiest of the whole Revolution in England, in conformity with the canons
of astrology and the reputation of the malefic planets.
It will be seen that the conjunctions of the two malefics produce sharp and sudden calamities, and as

AMO Section 4 Chapter 4

"chronocraters" they form a valuable feature in celestial revolutions. After 265 years the conjunction
occurs about the same place in the zodiac. Thus in parallel we have the following :1644-1909 Conjunction in Aries
1646-1911 Conjunction in Taurus
1648-1913 Conjunction in Gemini
1650-1915 Conjunction in Cancer, etc., etc.
The effects of the conjunctions of Saturn and Jupiter last for 20 years, those of Saturn and Mars only two
years; yet the latter are mostly to be feared, because of their calamitous nature, their swiftness and
violence. Great mutations and reforms are inaugurated under the influence of
conjunction ,
conjunctions , and the effects are seldom
religious and sectarian strife generally follows upon
conjunction
is of a violent,
prolonged beyond two years in any one place; while the influence of
revolutionary and sanguinary nature.
It is rather in the hope of stimulating research than of presenting a complete case for astrology that the
foregoing notes have been introduced to these pages, Michael Nostradamus was a master of planetary
periods, and his prophecies are among the most remarkable on record.
CONCLUSION
The doctrine of nativities as outlined in the foregoing pages will be found one of the most fascinating and
instructive studies to which the mind of man can be directed. Needless to say, the conviction of the fact
of interplanetary action and that of planetary action in human life cannot fail to open up new views of life
and to stimulate deeper thought concerning the nature, origin and destiny of the soul of man.
Other aspects of the same subject are to be found in State Astrology, which concerns the destiny of
nations and kingdoms, the condition of the people, and matters of a general or public interest. This phase
of astrology is chiefly confined to the writers of almanacs.
Astro-meteorology is now in a position to successfully compete with any system of weather prediction
based upon observations. Although inadequate to an unerring forecast of the daily changes of weather, it
can with great accuracy afford remarkable prediction of storm periods and earthquakes, and has the
advantage of not being limited to current observations. The storm and earthquake periods are given in the
almanacs a year in advance of the event. The general condition of the weather over any period can also
be given with much accuracy.
Horary Astrology is a method of divination based upon the fact of planetary influence, and the sympathy

AMO Section 4 Chapter 4

existing between the constituents of the system to which we belong. A figure is set for the moment of a
discovery, the receipt of a letter or message, the origination of any affair whatsoever, or the moment of
an impression concerning which the mind may be anxious. The positions and aspects of the planets are
then consulted with a view to determine the outcome of such a matter. It was used as a system by
William Lilly with much success, and is still in vogue to some extent among modern astrologers.
To know the measure of one’s soul in the universe, to see the end from the beginning, and to follow the
line of least resistance - this is, in brief, the purport of Astrology.

AMO Section 4 Chapter 5

CHAPTER V
MUNDANE ASTROLOGY
THIS branch of the subject has for a considerable period been left in the hands of the almanac-makers;
but there is no doubt whatever that anciently it held a place of great importance inasmuch as the rulers
were in the habit of looking to their state astrologers for intelligence concerning the welfare of the
country and the people. The astrologer was expected to give timely warning of eclipses, of the probable
condition and yield of the crops, the danger of intestine or foreign warfare, and other matters of moment
to the conduct of public affairs. In the Historical Classic of China, it is said that HI and Ho, the Observer
and Recorder at the Observatory of Pekin, failed in their duty to give due warning of a partial eclipse of
the Sun in B.C. 2154, which occurred in the constellation Fang (Caput Scorpionis), when Chung-Kung
ruled the Yellow Empire; in consequence of which the whole country was thrown into a state of
confusion. The penalty prescribed by the Book of Regulations was death, and this sentence was duly
carried out, it having been proved that the officials named had neglected their duties and had been
addicted to drink. Thus it is said :-" At that time HI and Ho corrupted their principles and abandoned
themselves to wine; they neglected their offices, forsook their posts, began to confuse the celestial laws
and ignored their functions."
The eclipse, which took place on the 12th October, 2154 b.c., at about 7.34 a.m. at Pekin, is of
considerable astronomical interest, being probably the earliest phenomenon of the kind on record. It is
confirmed by Tang in the Kang-Muh. The Earl of Yin at this time proclaimed the virtue of ancient rulers
in observing celestial portents, and it is evident that they regulated their affairs by astrological precepts.
They recognized the scientific importance of eclipses and made extensive observations of the effects
which followed them. They argued from physical effects to moral causes, and from physical causes to
moral effects, and held a rational astrology as an essential part of their system of government. In the
Babylonian Empire also, and in India under the Râjâs, the astrologer held an important position in the
affairs of state; and even at this day, when civilization pretends to be above the need of such instruction,
we find the Râjâs still retain their court astrologers. A capable people can deal with difficulties as they
arise, but a wise nation would already be prepared. The day cannot be far distant when this fact will be
brought home to us, for, as the astute Lord Beaconsfield once said, "Nothing is so likely to happen as the
unexpected."
In Mundane Astrology judgment is made from the positions of the celestial bodies in relation to any
place or centre of government at the time of an eclipse, a great planetary conjunction, a lunation, or a
solar ingress.
The Houses bear the same general significance as in the horoscope of an individual, the 1st House being

AMO Section 4 Chapter 5

representative of the people and the 10th of the government; the other Houses being in similar manner
related to the same things as are denoted in the individual case. Thus :The 1st House denotes the people and their general condition and mood.
The 2nd House: home trade, the money market. The 3rd House: railways, bridges, canals, postal service.
The 4th House: farming and mining interests, the crops, coal pits, quarries, etc; the Opposition party in
Parliament.
The 5th House : the rising generation; playhouses, sports ; speculative interests, the Stock Exchange;
dependencies, colonies, etc.
The 6th House: the public health, sanitation, food-stuffs; the national service, army, navy and police.
The 7th House: foreign relations; belligerent powers; treaties.
The 8th House: deaths, probates, losses.
The 9th House: foreign lands; the high seas; ecclesiastical and legal professions; religious affairs.
The 10th House: the King and his government; the prestige of the country.
The 11th House: the Exchequer; allies of the country.
The 12th House: prisons, asylums and hospitals, places of detention ;- the enemies within the camp.
If the figure is drawn for a solar ingress, the position and aspects of the Sun must be taken chief notice
of, especially those aspects about to be formed. If a lunation, the Moon’s place is the centre of influence,
as also at an eclipse. At a planetary conjunction the position and aspects of the conjoined bodies must be
taken chief notice of.
All eclipses fulfil their portents within a year, but the effects are frequently enduring. According to
ancient writers, the effect of a solar eclipse will endure for as many years as there are digits of the solar
disc obscured, the totality being 10 digits. The magnitude of a solar eclipse being 7.50, the effects will,
by this computation, endure for seven and a half years. Similarly the magnitude of a lunar eclipse will
determine the number of months the effects will endure.
But I have found that a crisis directly due to the eclipse, and signified by it, will take place at a point of
time denoted by the distance of the luminary from the horizon it last crossed. The time of sunrise being
known, and also the time of a visible eclipse, the difference in hours and minutes divided by 2 will give

AMO Section 4 Chapter 5

the number of months and days from the date of eclipse when the crisis occurs. If the eclipse be invisible
because of it taking place at night, the time of sunset must be taken from the time of the eclipse and the
difference divided by 2 will give the months and days which must elapse before the chief effects are
seen.
The Moon’s eclipses are similarly dealt with, but the time of the Moon’s rising and setting must be taken
as the basis of the calculation.
The chief effects may be expected in that part of the world where the luminary is immediately over head
at the time of greatest obscuration; but also those places at which the eclipsed body is just rising, setting,
or on the lower meridian will share in the adverse conditions indicated by the general horoscope for that
time and place.
At an ingress, as that of the Sun to the cardinal signs, the effects indicated usually come to pass when the
Sun in its progress through the zodiac comes to the aspects of the several planets in the horoscope for the
ingress. Thus when a planet is in good aspect to the Sun at an ingress, or promising some good by its
position and aspects, such will come into effect when the Sun reaches the conjunction, sextile or trine
aspect of such planet; and vice versa when evil is threatened.
Earthquakes usually follow immediately on an eclipse, especially in those parts where the luminary is at
the zenith at the time of eclipse. Recurrences may be looked for when one of the major planets passes the
ecliptic longitude of the luminary or that of a major planet at the time of the eclipse.
Whatever may be said of the claims of this subject it is beyond dispute that some of the most remarkable
events in the history of our times have been accurately predicted by modern astrologers. The present
writer is responsible for the successful prediction of the following among other events within recent
times :- The Chino-Japanese War and the outbreak in Korea; the Russo-Japanese War; the HispanoAmerican War; the Leiter Wheat Corner; the Russian insurrection; the South African War; the
Portuguese Rebellion and the revolutionary attempt to end the dynasty by the assassination of the King of
Portugal and the Crown Prince; the General Election in the United Kingdom and the Tariff Reform effort
in 1910; the death of King Edward VII. It is within our experience also that the principles of astrology
have been successfully applied to Stock Exchange fluctuations and other speculative matters; and indeed
there are few departments of life in which astrology cannot be employed with conspicuous success.

AMO Section 4 Chapter 6

CHAPTER VI
OTHER METHODS
HORARY ASTROLOGY
THE name horary (hora, an hour) is given to that section of the science which is applied to the resolution
of questions which may arise in the mind.
A figure of the heavens is erected for the time at which news comes to hand, concerning which the mind
is troubled and anxious to know the upshot; or the time a proposal is made; or that at which a person sets
forth upon a journey or a ship sets sail; the moment a thing is discovered to be lost, and other similar
contingencies. In all these schemes the 1st House and the rising sign denote the querent or consultant,
and the matter inquired about must be referred to its proper House, as set forth in the preceding first
section.
The position and aspects of the ruler of the sign occupying that House, and its relations to the ruler of the
Ascendant, enable us to determine what is the disposition and course of the matter and how it will affect
the consultant.
In the pursuit of this branch of astrology, numerous books have been written since the days of William
Lilly, who wrote in the 17th century, under the patronage of Sir Elias Ashmole, his famous work
Christian Astrology. Such works- being always accessible to the student, there is no need to enter fully
into an exposition of the principles of Horary Astrology. The terms peculiar to this system clearly
indicate an Arabian origin, and there can be little doubt that the art was extensively followed by them to
the exclusion of Genethliacal Astrology, which began to assume a coherent form under the hand of
Claudius Ptolemy, the famous geographer and astronomer of Alexandria, who wrote his Tetrabiblos (or
"Four Books on the Influence of the Stars ") in the 3rd century A.D. Many exponents of astrology prefer
the horary method, because it allows fuller play to the intuitive faculty, and is less constrained by the
rigid rules of art than the more precise and scientific doctrine of nativities. The whole system of Horary
Astrology rests upon the occult sympathy existing between man and nature, so that the same influences
which dispose the mind to the formulation of a question may be said to determine its answer. I am quite
convinced from experience that there is much that is both fictitious and erroneous in Horary Astrology as
expounded, and likewise that there is much truth in the general statement that a figure of the heavens set
for the moment of an initiation will determine the result.
KABALISTIC ASTROLOGY

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In this system the numerical value of the name of a person enters as a factor with the date of birth into the
calculation of the horoscope. The Christian and surnames having been converted into the equivalent
numerical value, they are added to the sign and degree of the zodiac held by the Sun at the time of birth,
and the result is a key number which, when added to the year of birth and reduced to a unit value, gives
the sum of the horoscope answering to one of the twenty-two major Arcana of the Tarot, from which
prognostics are drawn concerning the life and character of the subject. Entry is then made into the circle
of that planet ruling the year at a point corresponding to the Sun’s position in the zodiac, and progression
is made by means of the several values of the sum of the horoscope, the surname, the Christian names,
the position of the Sun, and the year of birth, each of which yields a point corresponding to a planet in a
Sign, and thus the horoscope is completed.
The system requires that the Ascendant of the horoscope is in that sign occupied by the Sun. The
measure of time is made by profection, i. e. the successive rising of the Signs, the Ascendant passing
through one Sign each year; and also by the annual conjunctions in the Alfridary, an example of which is
appended. The system has been thoroughly explained in my Kabalistic Astrology, to which I must refer
the student for further particulars.
CHINESE ASTROLOGY
The Chinese divide the heavens into eight sections. They draw lots by means of reeds, after the manner
of the geomantic system, there being twelve lots, eight of which are included in the figure and four are
stationed at the cardinal points. They then judge the figure according to the principles of astrology,
inasmuch as each of the symbols represents a certain planetary influence and each section of the figure
has relation to certain departments of civil and political life. The more modern practitioners divide the
heavens into twelve parts corresponding to the twelve asterisms of the zodiac, and employ also the
planetary bodies. At best the method amounts to little more than a process of divination, with the signs
and symbols as pointers to guide the intuition.
HINDU ASTROLOGY
The Hindus employ the same signs and planets as ourselves, but they add also Rahu and Ketu, the
Dragon’s Head and Tail, investing them with specific influences and ascribing a periodic rule to them.
The signs, although bearing the names equivalent to ours, are counted by the natural asterisms and not
from the vernal equinox. The Sun’s entry into Aries (Meshâm of their zodiac) takes place about 20 days
after our equinox, which is the amount due to precession since the two zodiacs coincided in the year AD.
498.
The signs and planets are as follows :Meshâm

Tulâm

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Vrishabha

Vrischika

Mithuna

Dhanû

Katakam

Makaram

Simha

Kumbha

Kanya

Mîna

S’ani,
Guru or Brihaspati,
Kuja or Angarika,
North Node - Rahu, South Node - Ketu.

Surya,

S’ukra,

Budhan,

Chandra,

The measure of time is effected by counting from the asterism or nakshatram occupied by the Moon at
birth. Each asterism is under the rule of one of the nine "planets," and the 27 lunar stations are thus
apportioned to them at the rate of three nakshatrams of 13° 20’ each to every planet. The whole circle is
divided into 120 years, the successive periods of the planets being: North Node - 18 years,
16 years,
19 years, 17 years, South Node - 7 years, 20 years,
6 years, 10 years,
7 years - in all
120 years. Thus if one were born when the Moon was in the middle of the asterism ruled by North Node ,
which has a period of 18 years, he would continue under that "star" for 9 years, and in his 10th year
(Jupiter), under whose influence he would continue for 16 years and then
would enter the period of
pass to Saturn.
There are many ramifications of this system, and those who would study it more closely are
recommended to read Brihat Jâtaka, by Varaha Mihira, Parâshara-hora and the other works of
Paràshara, and the Brihat Samhitá, together with other works more or less accessible to English readers,
and on sale at most Indian booksellers’.
ALFRIDARIES
There are Alfridaries of all sorts in existence, each adapted to the system from which it is evolved. An
example of one from the Hebraic system is appended. The idea involved is that the celestial bodies rule
the life in rotation, beginning with the . The rotation of the planets in the reverse direction at the same
time brings another influence to bear upon the life, so that at any given period of the life there is a double
influence in force, the combined effects of which are said to determine the course of events in a general
sense.
A "diurnal" horoscope in this sense is one that is generated from the Sun, whose position is supposed to
be on the upper meridian; and consequently any birth taking place between noon and midnight is under
the Sun and takes its origin from the left side of the Alfridary; while, on the contrary, a Moon or
nocturnal birth is one that happens between midnight and noon, and this takes its origin and course on the

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right side of the Alfridary.
The planets jointly ruling any year of the life are taken account of according to their natural relations in
the astrological system, and particularly in the horoscope of the birth, and prognostications are made in
accord with these indications.

A person born at 4 p.m. is under the Moon for 7 years, in conjunction successively with the Sun, Venus,
Mercury, Moon, Saturn, Jupiter and mars, for 1 year each; then passes to the 7-year period of Mercury,
under the same order of annual conjunctions. At 46 he is in the period of Saturn, and the sub-period of
the Moon.
A person born at 2 a.m. will be under the Moon for 7 years, with the annual conjunction of the Moon,
Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, and Jupiter and Saturn in rotation. At 46 he is in the period of Saturn,
and the sub-period of the Sun.
These examples will no doubt serve for the use of the table in any case that may be required.
Ptolemy made use of a species of Aifridary in which he ascribed the "seven ages of man" to the rule of
the planets in the following order :- the Moon 4 years, Mercury 10 years, Venus 8 years, the Sun 19
years, Mars 15 years, Jupiter 12 years, Saturn 30 years; and these he combined with the ruler of the
"profectional ascendant" to obtain the annual conjunctions.
Shakespeare makes use of the above "seven ages of man" in his play As You Like It, where the
melancholy Jacques is represented as saying :"All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances,

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And each man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages."
These ages are enumerated, and are found to correspond to: the infant, the school-boy, the lover,
the soldier,
the justice,
the lean and slippered pantaloon, ending the story with the senile
paralytic. It will be noticed that the Sun period is omitted, the manly ambitions generated under the solar
influence being given definition and focus in the period of Mars.
According to Ptolemy, a person born with Aries rising would be under the Moon and Mars for the first
year, then the Moon and Venus, then Moon and Mercury, and end the fourth year under the double
influence of the Moon. The fifth year would come under and ; the sixth under 's double influence,
the seventh year under and , the eighth under and , and so on; each year being governed
primarily by the planet of the period and secondarily by the ruler of the profectional rising sign.
Aifridaries exist among the Hindus and Mohammedans, and are in much repute with the Arabs.

AMO - Palmistry Chapter 1

PALMISTRY
CHAPTER I
TYPES OF HANDS
THE science of Palmistry, with its two divisions of Cheirognomy and Cheiromancy, properly belongs to
the domain of Occultism in the sense that has already been indicated. Although in its popular application
it is certainly to be regarded as a means of divination, yet it is not dependent on the use of the automatic
faculty but upon an empirical knowledge of the significance attaching to the lines of the hand. In this
way it may be regarded as upon the same foundation as the science of Astrology, and although it cannot
be said to have attained the same degree of development, it does nevertheless hold a bona fide certificate
for a certain measure of reliability, and therefore warrants our consideration. The outlines of the subject
will probably suffice to indicate the methods employed, and will serve to guide the student in his critical
work of testing and proving the claims of Palmistry for himself.
CHEIROGNOMY
is that section of Palmistry which deals with character and aptitude. The shape, texture and development
of the hand as a whole is consulted for this purpose.
The Three Primary Types of hand are the Conical, the Square, and the Spatulate.
The Conical hand is that in which the fingertips are tapered and pointed, the nails being of the filbert
shape, smooth and well arched. The fingers from the root to the tips gradually taper, the flesh being
smooth and the joints small and well covered.
With this type of hand there is to be found a love of art and adornment; the subject is fond of
embellishments, and possesses what is known as the florid style. The tastes are refined, and the nature
very sensitive to environment. The beautiful and good-looking, the pleasant and agreeable attract him
rather than the useful and practical. The subject is little suited to the work-a-day world or to the strenuous
competition of business life. Sports have no attraction for him, and even domestic duties are positively
repulsive. Yet the owner of the conical hand will be found to make much of culture, refinement and good
taste. You will find many of these people among the cultivated flowers of social life and in the artistic
professions.
The conical hand denotes neatness, order, love of music, flowers, scents, brightness, gaiety, beauty. It is
essentially Venusian, and may easily run to self-indulgence and to licence; but all that it pretends to is

AMO - Palmistry Chapter 1

good taste, refinement and sensitiveness. It lives in the emotional and psychic. Its subjects are intuitive,
impressionable, capricious, and frequently impulsive and inspirational. Feeling predominates over
judgement. It is incapable of the mathematical faculty, and is often illogical. It is not found in connection
with the exact sciences, nor any handicraft except millinery; but art, music and the drama are well
represented by this type.
The Square hand is usually large and broad, the finger-tips are square, the thumb of fair size; and there is
a degree of hardness in the palm.
This hand belongs to those who have a love of order, neatness, punctuality and decision. The emotional
and artistic are not so much in evidence, but the logical and the mathematical faculties are prominent
characteristics. In art they are disposed to exact methods rather than inspirational effects, and are critical
of form rather than colour. Justice is a strong point with them. Exactness, precision and deliberation are
essential qualities of this type. They are not carried away by their feelings, nor are they brusque or
churlish, but observe generally the path of moderation in all things. They can, however, be very critical,
and may even appear narrow-minded on account of a lack of elasticity in their nature. They are
conservative and not very readily open to the reception of new views or doctrines. Self-restraint, caution,
method and patience are the chief business qualifications, and this type of people are capable of gaining
their ends by industry and staying-power rather than by ambitious ventures or by a tour de force. They
have few friends, but frequently have long friendships for one or two of a congenial type.
They make good lawyers, accountants, bankers and secretaries, and many of this type are to be found in
the educational world and in responsible positions of the commercial world.
The Spatulate hand is known by the spade-like tips of the fingers, which broaden out from the joint to the
extremity, the hand being fairly large, firm and muscular.
People with this type of hand are possessed of practical ambitions. They are essentially matter-of-fact
and utilitarian, and are generally hard workers, with a turn for mechanics and handicrafts. They are
possessed of much determination and grit, and can undertake pioneer work. When musical they prefer
instrumentation, and the practical side of art also attracts them, the applied arts being especially followed
by them. Sculpture, mechanics, engineering, building and architecture claim many representatives of this
type. The character is honest and straightforward, the manner brusque and sometimes churlish. These
people are capable of forcing their way forward and making headway against all obstacles. They are not
inventors, but are very capable agents and exploiters of new ideas. They stand for the practical as against
the theoretical, but nevertheless they would be of little use without the man of ideas behind them.
MIXED TYPES
It necessarily follows that beside the Three Primary Types indicated above there are many hands which
are a blend of two or all of them. There are hands in which one finger is square, another conical, and the
other spatulate. In a case like this a little attention should be given to the predominating type, and also the

AMO - Palmistry Chapter 1

thumb should be consulted. The thumb being short in the first phalanx, from the tip downwards towards
the root, shows a not very pronounced type of mind. Such show aptitude in carrying out the ideas and
orders of others; but to be inventors and leaders there must be a good length of the first and second
phalanges. A small thumb or at least a small first phalanx with a mixed type of fingers - indicates a
useful servant but an indifferent master, and one of no originality or decision. Versatility is the chief
asset of this mixed type of hand, and such people frequently change their pursuits and take on a new set
of ideas with every fresh suit of clothes or change of circumstance.
What is called the Philosophic hand is known by the protruding joints of the fingers, the long middle
finger, and the well-developed thumb. It shows a love of philosophy, a desire to know the "reason why"
and the "way how" a thing happens. It is concerned chiefly with the imponderables in Nature, and has a
taste for metaphysics, logic, and analytical methods.
They love truth for its own sake and beauty on account of its harmonious elements. They are sincere,
care little for the practical aspects of life, and are quite content if they can find a reason for things as they
are. They are discoverers of laws and principles, elaborators of philosophical systems; they are very
rarely practical or ambitious in a worldly sense; but are capable of dying for the sake of their beliefs.
The Psychic hand is allied to the conical, but the palm is long and narrow, the flesh soft and the fingers
long and tapering; while the thumb is very pointed and small, but well formed.
This hand denotes a sensitive, impressionable nature, fine nervous organism, quick intuitive mind and an
impractical, idealistic temperament. Mediums, psychometrists and inspirational writers are the most
representative of this type. It is frequently found allied to the artistic temperament, and it has all the
flexibility, weakness and enthusiasm of the psychic nature. The type of hand1 referred to is well
portrayed by Burne-Jones in his figure studies.

AMO - Palmistry Chapter 2

CHAPTER II
THE MOUNTS OR CUSHIONS
THE ancients have allocated the planets to the several Mounts, or Cushions, which are to be found in
every well-developed hand. These Mounts, and the planets associated with them, are as follows
1. The Mount of Jupiter lies at the root of the forefinger (called the Index, because it is that used for
indicating or pointing).
2. The Mount of Saturn at the root of the second finger.
3. The Mount of Apollo, or the Sun, at the root of the third finger or anularis (so called because it is the
ring finger).
4. The Mount of Mercury at the root of the little finger or auricularis.
5. The Mount of Mars lies below the Mount of Mercury on the "percussion" of the hand, between the
lines of the Heart and the Head (which see).
6. The Mount of the Moon is below the Mount of Mars, between the extremity of the Head line and the
wrist.
7. The Mount of Venus is at the root of the thumb, between the second joint of the thumb and the wrist.
In the following diagram the planetary symbols are used for the purpose of location. A study of the
ancient distribution of these symbols will show that

AMO - Palmistry Chapter 2

Fig. 1.
the whole art of Palmistry is based upon astrological interpretations.
The Significations of the Mounts answer closely to the astrological natures of the planets which are said
to rule them: and it may be said that the characteristics of the several planets are found to be prominent
features in the character of a person in whose hand they are found to be well developed.
Thus Jupiter well developed denotes generosity, sympathy, love of justice, conviviality, nobility of
disposition, and a true sense of religion.
Defective - The nature denotes an absence of these qualities.
Excessive - Bombast, pride, ostentation, extravagance and carelessness.
Saturn well developed shows caution, carefulness, watchfulness, sincerity, strong attachment, patience
and thrift.

AMO - Palmistry Chapter 2

Defective - There is a tendency to self-regard only, and a lack of the sterling qualities which inspire
confidence in others. The person is not reliable.
Excessive - It disposes to misanthropy, melancholy and miserliness. There is a tendency to religious
mania when this mount exceeds that of Jupiter.
The Sun well developed shows dignity, sincerity, magnanimity, love of the fine arts, high ideals, great
projects.
Deficient - The nature is proud, assuming, frequently vain, and a tendency to rely upon appearances
rather than upon faculty and attainments, and to play the showman upon all occasions.
Excessive - It denotes a tyrannous, autocratic and despotic character, very proud and haughty, an
inordinate ambition and love of power. It is often shown by a love of pageants and great shows, and
when art is followed it favours the colossal and magnificent.
Mercury well developed shows eloquence, capacity for the pursuit of literature, activity, alertness, a good
memory, desire for knowledge, inquisitiveness. A commercial life is followed with much intelligence
and industry.
Defective - It denotes a mean, querulous and fretful nature, small mental power, a tendency to spy and
play the part of a busybody, a "picker-up of unconsidered trifles," generally cunning and loquacious.
Excessive - The mind runs to the material side of Nature for all its evidence; there is a self-assertion and
positiveness which is seldom warranted. The nature is prolix and concerned with more things than would
fill an encyclopedia or stock a museum. Such people make a business of their hobbies or a slavery of
their business.
The Moon well developed shows a romantic, idealist nature, fond of travelling, with a disposition to the
mystical, marked intuitive power, sentimental and sometimes dreamy.
Deficient - It denotes a prosaic and worldly nature, not affected by the consciousness of the larger life or
the greater universe, and quite devoid of the emotional and imaginative powers.
Excessive - The nature is fantastic, given to exaggeration, hypersensitive, vacillating, fickle and apt to be
carried away by the emotions. Unless Saturn controls and the Head line is well defined there is danger of
insanity.
Mars well developed shows courage, strength, prowess, freedom, frankness and well-defined ambitions.
It denotes an aspiring and enterprising character, willing to take risks and showing a "scorn of
consequence" which inspires others to deeds of daring.

AMO - Palmistry Chapter 2

Deficient - The nature is lacking in courage and the manly attributes, and will never be a pioneer unless it
be in the religious or intellectual worlds. Yet even so there is a lack of zeal and fire which is not apt to be
convincing. A soldier without Mars well developed may be set down as a dandy.
Excessive - The temper is ungovernable, the projects speculative and rash, and the whole nature runs to
overheated determinism and impetuous self-assertion.
Venus well developed shows a refined, genial and sociable person, kind to children, fond of his home,
gallant to women, neat and orderly in his person and ménage, fond of music and festivity, bright lights,
flowers, sunshine and the pleasures of society.
Deficient - There is a lack of taste and refinement; the person and home are disorderly or only
superficially clean; there is a lack of comradeship and a distaste for social life; the friendships are of a
commercial, or possibly a platonic, nature, but never infused with any great degree of affection. The
beautiful in nature and art does not make any appeal to him.
Excessive - The nature is coarse and disposed to debauchery, and the lower sensual appetites are allowed
to have full sway. The sensuous and material are of first consideration, and all the powers are directed to
the attainment of luxuries and the gratification of the passions.

AMO - Palmistry Chapter 3

CHAPTER III
THE PHALANGES, ETC.
THE three sections defined by the joints of the thumb and fingers are called phalanges. The relative
length and shape of these have to be taken into consideration when estimating character and aptitude, and
chiefly the form and development of the thumb.
The first phalanx of the thumb which holds the nail denotes the will-power; the second phalanx stands
for the intellect; and the third, which subtends the Mount of Venus, denotes the animal part. When,
therefore, you find a long and broad upper phalanx, you may be sure there is plenty of determination and
self-reliance; and if it is supported by a long second phalanx the intellect will be adequate to supplement
the efforts of the will and to guide it into useful channels.
A well-developed thumb is inseparable from a high order of intelligence, but a poorly developed thumb
is an indication of small capacity, an inconstant, restless and credulous character, easily swayed by the
opinions of others, and possessing little ability in the management of his own affairs.
Fingers that are short and thick show an abrupt manner and wilful nature, with very little foresight or
diplomacy. But long fingers, especially if smooth and slender, denote a character that is subtle,
diplomatic and astute, attentive to details and capable of finesse. With a short first phalanx of the thumb,
this type of hand shows deception.
A person who carries his thumb in the palm of the hand, with the fingers bent loosely over it, is one
whose nervous energy is fast exhausting itself or whose intellect is embryonic. This is the custom of
idiots, of paralytics and babes. As individuality asserts itself the thumb is unconsciously protruded more
and more, and in the person of concentrated ambition it is found most frequently folded over the fingers,
or standing out at a considerable angle from the hand.
Fingers that are well fleshed and thick at the base show a luxurious nature, and if they lie compact and
close together they show a selfish and self-indulgent nature, and frequently a sordid character.
Fingers that have plenty of air-space between them denote a careless and extravagant nature, but
frequently inquisitive. If allied to an intellectual type of hand, in which the knuckles are large and the
second phalanx of the thumb well developed, this separation of the fingers shows a keen, inquiring mind.
Observe that the shorter and broader the hand the more dogged and resolute the character will be; while
long, slender hands denote a more subtle, shifty and diplomatic mind, with more suavity and politeness

AMO - Palmistry Chapter 3

of manner, but less stability of character. Rugged hands show a rugged and straightforward nature, a love
of Nature and an abhorrence of social observances ; a short and rugged hand denotes a blunt, outspoken
and determined character. But smooth hands show finesse, suavity and gentleness, with a love of
refinement and a respect for les convenances; while if they are long and smooth there will be subtlety
and craft in the character.
These points being duly considered, the character of any mixed type of hand can be readily estimated. A
thorough understanding and recognition of the primary types is, of course, essential to a proper use of the
art of Cheirognomy.
We may now turn our attention to Cheiromancy, which appears to claim more general interest, inasmuch
as it purports to define the circumstance and incident of life by the lines and markings of the hand.
Character, as defined by Cheirognomy, must always be the dominant factor in human destiny, but
environment and incident, as limiting the expression of character in certain directions and at the same
time developing it in others, is certainly also of great importance.

AMO - Palmistry Chapter 4

CHAPTER IV
THE LINES
IF the palm of the hand is distended it will be found that the normal markings take a definite position and
direction, but that a great variety exists in the depth, length, direction, colouring and clearness of these
lines in several hands. It is from consideration of these variations from the normal that there arises the
wide variety of differences to be noted in character, ability and fortune. It is a fact sufficiently well
known not to need special comment that ability is not the only measure of success, and that character
bears no necessary relation to fortune. Consequently, it may be assumed that the indications relative to
mind, body and estate are to be sought in different parts of the same hand. That this is so will sufficiently
appear in the following designation of the lines.
The main lines are six in number, comprising :1. The Life Line, which surrounds the Mount of Venus at the root of the thumb.
2. The Head Line, which joins the Line of Life midway between the root of the index finger and the
thumb and stretches across the hand in a slightly downward direction almost to the percussion of the
hand.
3. The Heart Line, which arises on the percussion of the hand below the Mount of Mercury and proceeds
across the hand, terminating on or beneath the Mount of Jupiter.
4. The Girdle of Venus, which begins between the index and second fingers and follows a curved course,
embracing the Mounts of Saturn and the Sun and terminating between the third and little fingers.
5. The Line of Fate, which has its rise at the wrist near to the end of the Life Line, and proceeds sharply
upward through the palm, terminating on the Mount of Saturn.
6. The Health Line, which has its origin near the wrist by the Mount of the Moon and proceeds upwards
to the Mount of Mercury.
In addition to these there are found in some hands the Line of Fortune, arising in the palm of the hand
and running upwards to the Mount of Apollo, and the Marriage Line, which arises on the percussion of
the hand and crosses the Mount of Mercury. Finally, there is the Bracelet, consisting of one or more lines
across the wrist immediately below the natural fold of the wrist at the root of the hand.

AMO - Palmistry Chapter 4

The meanings of these lines will vary according to their length, definition and colour. When straight,
single, deep and red they indicate all the best elements of character and destiny.

FIG. 2.
The Head Line governs the intellect, the mental attainments and natural aptitudes.
The Heart Line governs the affections and emotions, and has an equal influence with the Head Line over
the fortunes.

AMO - Palmistry Chapter 4

The Life Line shows the constitution, vital powers, and the probable duration of life.
The Fate Line denotes the course of destiny, that which is inevitable, the stages and crises of life.
The Line of Fortune has relation to honours, ambitions and attainments.
The Girdle of Venus denotes the degree of sensibility possessed by the person.
The Health Line shows the condition and probable course of the health.
The Lines, Mounts and types of fingers are all shown in the diagram on page 121, which will serve as a
general guide to the reader in the study of the observations made in the course of this brief exposition.
In some abnormal hands the lines are so widely different from the general direction as to be hardly
recognizable. In others one or more of the chief lines are entirely absent, while in others again there are
additional lines. Some of these abnormalities will be considered in due course.

AMO - Palmistry Chapter 5

CHAPTER V
THE PRINCIPAL LINES
1. The Life Line.
WHEN clear cut, well formed and free from intersecting Lines, it shows a good constitution and a
probability of long life. But it should encircle the whole Mount of Venus and proceed to the wrist
without a break. Its whole span is equal to 90 years, the count beginning at the source above the thumb
and proceeding by stages of 5 or 6 years to the middle point of 45. Some practice is required before the
student can successfully use these time indications.
When the Life Line is chained, crooked, shallow or pale, it denotes delicate health and a feeble
constitution. If terminating or broken off sharply without continuation, the end of life is shown at an age
corresponding to the position of the break or fracture (see Fig. 2). When both hands show the same
termination or fracture it may be regarded as decisive, but otherwise a critical illness only would be
shown.
But if with a short Life Line you find also indications of strong will-power in a long and broad first
phalanx of the thumb, and a twin or sister-line running parallel to the Life Line and continuing beyond it,
then the crisis may be overcome by willpower or the care and protection of somebody nearly affected,
such as a sister, lover, wife or mother.
A line coming from the thumb, cutting through the Life Line and proceeding to the palm of the hand,
denotes a great illness or misfortune which produces a shock to the system.
A line cutting through the Life Line and proceeding on to the Mount of Saturn shows a fatal illness, and
is especially dangerous in the case of a woman approaching maternity at the age indicated. The point at
which the line cuts the Life Line must be taken in estimating the age at which the danger is threatened.
A line from the Life Line to the Mount of Jupiter shows an ambition realized, success and fortune.
A line from the Life Line to the Mount of the Sun gives fame, celebrity and honours.
A line to the Mount of Mercury denotes success in commerce or science, the achievements of the
intellect.

AMO - Palmistry Chapter 5

In a general sense the Mount of Venus with its encircling Life Line represents the vital energy and the
lines coming away from it denote the lines of energy along which the vitality will be utilized and
expended.
A line going out on to the Mount of the Moon from the Line of Life shows fantastic pursuits, frequent
travelling and change of life and occupation; but in an artistic hand it may dispose to publicity and a
passing recognition of the person’s faculty.
2. The Heart Line.
The Heart Line denotes the quality and direction of the affections, the condition of the vital organ, and
the interests in which the mind is centred.
When well defined and unbroken, single and free from blemish, it shows a sincere nature with healthy
affections and a nature that will command friendship and esteem. The longer the line may be the stronger
are the affections.
When terminating beneath the Mount of Apollo, the affections are inconstant and the nature vain; and if
the Heart Line extends to the Mount of Saturn there will be greater constancy but a fatality or
disappointment attaching to the affections; the disposition is then apt to be marred by jealousy and
mistrust.
When the Heart Line extends to the Mount of Jupiter, the affections will be true, sincere and enduring,
and if the line forks on to the Mount, it shows energy, strength of purpose, and successful pursuit of
congenial projects.
When the Heart Line turns down beneath the Mount of Jupiter and touches the Head Line, the affections
will be under the control of the mind, and the nature will hence be more practical; and if at the same time
it throws a branch upward to the Mount of Jupiter, there will be a successful issue to the fortunes after
marriage.
If the Heart Line joins the Head Line beneath the Mount of Saturn it is an augury of a sudden, if not a
violent, end.
Many small lines cutting across the line of the Heart shows some functional disorder of the
corresponding organ of the body, and if the Heart Line is broken beneath the Mount of Saturn or
punctured by a purple or dark blue pitmark, it shows seizure or a serious heart attack which may end
fatally.
3. The Head Line.
The Head Line being long, clear and well marked shows good intellectual ability and capacity to cope

AMO - Palmistry Chapter 5

successfully with the problems of life. The Head Line is best when starting from a conjunction with the
Life Line, for it then shows that the intellect is not dissociated from feeling and refinement. When
separate from the Life Line it denotes a rash and impulsive nature, sometimes egotistical and too full of
self-confidence.
A line falling from the Head Line and going on to the Mount of the Moon shows a tendency to mysticism
and a love of exploration and discovery.
A line going from the Head Line on to the Mount of Mars shows rashness, a headstrong character, of
fevered imagination and great enterprise.
A line rising to the Mount of the Sun from this line denotes honours and success through the use of the
intellect.
A line joining the Head and Heart Lines denotes an intellect that is swayed by the affections to a large
extent and is capable of erring on the side of generosity when its judgement is appealed to.
A short Head Line shows a practical rather than an intellectual character. It also threatens a short life by
nervous derangement if terminating under Saturn and the Life Line also short.
A line running up from the Head Line to Saturn shows a fatalistic tendency or a fondness for philosophy;
but there is a menace of nervous disorders.
A double Head Line shows duplicity, an adventurer.
No Head Line at all shows an impulsive and childlike nature, all feeling and no judgment, and frequently
subject to obsession.
A break in the Head Line shows danger of concussion or cerebral injury.
The Head Line being wavy and irregular denotes a weak and irresolute nature.
4. The Fate Line.
This line shows the worldly fortunes, success or failure, and the position to which we may attain in our
sphere of life. It shows the inevitable outcome of the free use of all our powers, passions and tendencies.
It is capable of modification as the powers of the nature are brought under control and directed into
useful channels. It is the line of fatality only in the sense that Jab karoge tab saoge - As you sow, so you
will reap.
The Fate line extends to a greater or less length in various hands. Its length has a relation to the duration

AMO - Palmistry Chapter 5

of life. The count of years is made on the Fate Line from its origin near the wrist upwards. Where it
crosses the Head Line is at the age of 35 years. At the Heart Line the 50th year is reached. By
subdividing these sections any required age may be discerned. The condition of the line at various stages
shows the fortunes at the corresponding period of the life.
The Fate Line may not always start from or near the wrist, but may begin on the Mount of the Moon, or
on the Life Line, the Head Line, the palm, or even the Heart Line.
When rising from the wrist in a straight and unbroken line direct to the Mount of Saturn it shows success
in life and a good fortune.
But if stopped at the Head Line it denotes an error of judgment or wrong use of the intellect will mar the
progress and spoil the fortunes. If stopped by the Heart Line there will be a romantic episode in the life
or a fatality arising out of an affection or friendship.
When starting on the Mount of the Moon the Fate Line denotes success through the influence of women
or the reverse, according to its own characteristics.
If rising in the Life Line it shows a Fate that is within the power of the individual to possess or to
relinquish.
When rising in the palm of the hand between the Head and Heart Lines, in what is called the Plain of
Mars, it shows many crosses and struggles; but if it runs well up on to Saturn it will give success at last.
The Fate Line to be at its best should be long, clear and unbroken, and should reach the root of the
second finger, but should not go beyond it.
Wherever the Fate Line begins to take a clear and unbroken course, at that age there will be a turn in the
fortunes for good, and this will be continued as long as the Fate Line continues clear and unaffected by
cross lines.
Ending on Jupiter’s Mount it shows success through a happy marriage or an inheritance. When ending on
Sol it shows honours at the end of life.
5. The Health Line.
This line is governed by the functions of the digestive organs and liver, in the same way as the Heart
Line is related to the heart and the Head Line to the nervous system.
When clearly marked and unbroken it shows good health, especially if it rise near the Life Line without
touching it and proceeds direct to the Mount of Mercury.

AMO - Palmistry Chapter 5

In some hands it is absent, but it may then be concluded that the health is good if the Life Line is clear
and long.
A broken Health Line or an island (see Chapter VI) or a black spot or other discoloration of the line,
shows a serious illness, frequent attacks of dyspepsia or gastritis, and general debility.
A line from the Health Line cutting into the Head Line shows nervous disorders.
A line from the Health Line crossing the Heart Line denotes palpitation, heart affection.
A line from the Health Line cutting into the Life Line denotes venery or excess of the passions in a
degree detrimental to health; the constitution is affected by dissipation and pleasure-seeking. This
particularly in a soft hand with a small first phalanx to the thumb.
6. The Ring of Venus.
The Girdle or Ring of Venus, wherever present, shows sensibility. It is never absent from the. poetic
hand. In the intellectual hand it shows touchiness and a worrying disposition, and in the vital hand it
shows restlessness. When extending on to the Mount of Mercury, it denotes the study of Occultism, and a
mind that is controlled by the mysterious.
The sole meaning of the Girdle of Venus is sensibility, i.e. capacity to suffer or enjoy.
7. The Line of Fortune.
This line, starting from a variety of places, is identified by its eventual course to the Mount of the Sun,
which it crosses.
It is the index of fame, honour, merit, especially in art, literature and science.
When clear, deep and straight it denotes good fortune. If there is more than one line on the Mount of
Apollo, there will be natural talent and ability which will meet with recognition in high quarters.
When absent from the hand, there will be misfortune or at least no recognition of ability and endeavour.
Such people should work for the future and live again in their children. What they sow, others may reap.
Position without wealth is shown by a good Line of Fortune and a bad Line of Fate.
When the Line of Fortune rises from the Moon it shows gain by women who assist the career; from
Venus, by art and the dramatic profession; from Mars, by bold enterprises, pioneer work or military
service; from the Head Line, by the use of the intellect; and from the Heart Line, by advantageous

AMO - Palmistry Chapter 5

friendships or associations of an artistic nature; while if rising between the Heart and Head, it may give
success through dramatic work.
8. The Marriage Line.
The Marriage Line being clear cut and unbroken is an index of a deep and enduring attachment to one of
the opposite sex.
When broken it shows an engagement or attachment which does not reach its consummation.
When the Marriage Line splits into two to form a fork, or when a line from the Line of Fate or the Heart
Line cuts through it, there is danger of separation after marriage, and if a line from the Moon also joins
the indications, there will be divorce and publicity.
Two marriage lines show a second attachment. The evidence of several lines frequently signifies the free
lance or coquette.
The Line of Marriage joining the Girdle of Venus so as to continue it to the percussion of the hand is a
sign of idealism which marriage does not satisfy.
Small lines running up from the Marriage Line to the root of the little finger indicate progeny, the
number being shown by the number of such bars or striae. But these are not necessarily the progeny of
one union, as may be the case where two marriages are denoted.
When the Line of Health rises on the Head Line in a cross forming a star with the Head Line, it is a sign
of an anchorite; and if the Life Line at the same time is exceptionally near the root of the thumb, so that
the Mount of Venus is small, there will be no marriage, or yet a barren one.
9. The Bracelet.
This is also called the Rascette. It consists of lines below the fold of the wrist (i.e. where the palm joins
the wrist) and parallel to it. When clearly marked it is an additional sign of a long and useful life.
Lines coming up from the Rascette to the Mount of the Moon and crossing it to some extent denote
voyages. These lines may be seen by compressing the hand. .
The meaning of such a line from the Bracelet may be known by tracing it to its destination. To Jupiter, it
is highly propitious; to Saturn, sinister and dangerous; to Venus, likely to result in a pleasant association
or profitable affiance; to the Sun, honours; to Mercury, good business and a possible inheritance or
windfall.

AMO - Palmistry Chapter 5

General Note.
Never read the lines singly, but take them in their bearing upon one another, and in relation always to the
type of hand you are dealing with.
It is very seldom that we find a strong Head Line in a purely psychic hand, but it would be by no means
remarkable if in a hand of this type the Line of the Head is altogether absent. But it should not thence be
inferred that the intellect was a minus quantity. Madame H. P. Blavatsky had the pure psychic hand with
but a single line stretching across the palm. Of her intellectual powers there can be no doubt, while her
spontaneous, frank and ingenuous nature was altogether suggestive of a strong Heart Line. Possibly Head
and Heart were in unusually close alliance.

AMO - Palmistry Chapter 6

CHAPTER VI
INCIDENTAL MARKS
BESIDE the principal lines to which reference has been made in the preceding chapter, it will be found
that there are a number of other markings, either isolated or affecting the lines themselves. These are in
the nature of Triangles, Crosses, Squares, Stars, Grilles, Islands and Spots.
The Great Triangle embraces the space enclosed by the lines of Health, Life and Head. When the
Triangle is well formed, distinct and embracing a large space, the person will be of a generous and
upright nature with wide sympathies.
When small and formed by broken lines, the character and disposition are cramped and mean, and the
life is far from fortunate. The health also is more or less badly affected.
When there are crosses within the area of the Triangle there will be many misfortunes in the life, and the
person will occasion many enmities.
A Star therein shows eventual success.
Lesser triangles about the hand show success in that department of life which is related to the lines or
mounts affected. Thus a triangle formed on the base of the Head Line shows intellectual achievements,
A Cross is bad wherever it is found, and especially if it affects the principal lines.
When found in the Great Triangle, it shows crosses and difficulties in early life; between the Head and
Heart Lines, difficulties and misfortunes in middle life; and above the Heart Line, similar distress in the
latter part of life.
A Cross on a mount tends to vitiate or pervert the character or fortunes in the direction indicated by the
mount, but on the Mount of Jupiter it is held to signify domestic happiness. Nevertheless, there will be
many trials and vexations to be shared by those in whose hands this sign appears.
A Cross on any of the principal lines is evil, but especially when on the Life Line and the Line of Fate.
A Square is a protection wherever it is found, and denotes security of health and fortune to those who
possess it. Consider the line upon which it is formed, or the mount or part of the hand where it may be,

AMO - Palmistry Chapter 6

and judge accordingly; remembering always that it is a protection.
Thus, on the Head Line, it would denote difficulties surmounted and overcome by the use of the
intelligence; on the Heart Line, by the instrumentality of friends; on the Moon, by a voyage or the
intervention of women.
The Star denotes a danger, except on the Mount of Jupiter, where it shows a winning hazard, or good
fortune by a bold stroke. On Mars it denotes violence. On the Moon, a dangerous voyage or a serious
trouble through women, danger from the populace. On Saturn, a fatality by violence. On the Sun, the
evils of inordinate pride. On Venus, disappointment in love. On Mercury, cupidity and cunning.
A star on the principal lines must be regarded as a menace to that aspect of the life which is denoted by
the line so affected: as the Life Line, the constitution is affected; the Head Line, there are mental
troubles; the Heart Line, social affairs are adversely affected, etc. .
The Grille (see Fig. 1 on Mount of Venus) is an indication of excess. When found on any mount it
augments the activity of the corresponding characteristic. Thus :A Grille on Jupiter shows extravagance and bombast; on Saturn, great misfortune and a chequered
career, ending in trouble; on the Sun, inordinate love of display, consuming pride; on Mercury,
peculation, theft, cunning; on Venus, disappointed affections; on Mars, danger of violent action, frenzy
and woundings; on the Moon, a wandering, restless nature, and sometimes exile.
When in the palm of the hand traversed by the Line of Fate, it indicates much misfortune, especially at
that period of the life denoted by the position of the Grille as measured on the Fate Line.
Islands are formed by the splitting and joining together again of a line in its course. The period embraced
by this Island will be one of dangerous sickness, difficulty, mental incapacity, social ostracism,
imprisonment, etc., according to the line on which the island is formed and the attendant indications.
A small Island shows a difficult crisis; a long Island denotes a protracted period of misfortune or
sickness. An Island is frequently the sign of hereditary disease, either functional or organic. If on
Jupiter’s Mount it shows lung disease; on Sol, the heart may be affected; on Saturn, the liver; on
Mercury, the organs of speech or brain are affected; on the Moon, the stomach is deranged.
Frequently the Island shows some mystery attaching to the career. If at the origin of the Life Line, there
is some mystery regarding the parentage, and if at the same time the Fate Line has an Island at its source,
it is an indication of illegitimacy.
When the Island is formed on any of the principal lines, it will denote danger to the health and fortunes
from some malady or abuse of the faculty or organ involved or denoted by the line.

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An Island on the Head Line shows occlusion of memory, amnesia, loss of mental faculty for the period
involved. A double Head Line whose extremities meet so as to enclose a continuous Island will therefore
denote chronic nervous affection and with concomitant signs (such as degenerate thumb and a chained
Line of Fate) will denote insanity.
An Island on the Line of Health shows a long illness, debility, and a delicate constitution. If on the
Mount of the Moon at the beginning of the Health Line, it shows somnambulism or medium-ship, arising
out of an abnormal condition of the sympathetic nervous system.
Similarly, judgement is to be made in respect of other indications of the Island, by its coincidence with
the mounts or lines. On the Fate Line it sometimes denotes imprisonment, especially if the Mount of
Mercury has a grille or cross upon it.
Spots are always blemishes and denote crises and dangers. They are generally red or purple, but
sometimes black. They show dangers affecting the Life, Head, Heart, etc., according to the line or mount
affected. If on the Fate Line, a grave and sudden crisis in the fortunes. On the Life Line a spot frequently
shows hurt or injury to the eyes, sometimes blindness.
Thus, by a consideration of the typal form of a hand, its mounts, lines and incidental markings, you may
certainly define much of the character and destiny of an individual. But nothing is absolute in the future.
Changes are continually taking place, not only in the main lines of the hand, but also in the incidental
markings of the mounts. Thus if you take an impression of the hand at any period of life, and another
successively on every anniversary, it will be found that in the space of a few years a great difference is to
be detected. You will see islands and grilles forming, squares and crosses coming into existence, lines
breaking up, or becoming firmer and more distinct.
The hand is, in fact, a mirror of the interior nature and expresses very intimately the realized experience
of the soul, whether subconscious or conscious. The subconscious experiences well up into
consciousness as effects springing from their causes, like bubbles which detach themselves from a
submerged body and rise to the surface.
The connection of Palmistry with Astrology will be obvious to any student of both subjects, and
Astrology affords an explanation of the changes taking place in the hand. The planets at birth show
certainly radical tendencies, while their progress in the horoscope thereafter will denote, by their mutual
configurations, the changes which will take place in the tendency and environment of the life.
Hence, Palmistry is effective in the prediction of tendency but not of event, because it has not the means
of calculating the future configurations of the planetary bodies.

AMO - Thaumaturgic Art Chapter 1

THE THAUMATURGIC ART
CHAPTER I
THE KABALA
THE Telesma, or Talisman, was anciently held in great esteem by the Thaumaturgists. We find evidence
of its universality in China, India, Egypt, and among the Semitic nations, the Greeks and Romans, as well
as among the ancient populace of Central America, Peru, Australasia, and the islands of the Pacific.
Indeed, there seems every reason to believe that the telesmic art was in vogue among the Atlanteans, and
by them transmitted to the surviving nations. It comes to us in a modified form from the Hebrews, who
adapted it to their own theological system. A brief account of the principles of this art and its methods
can hardly be omitted from a work of this character, inasmuch as it is directly connected with Astrology
and the Power of Numbers, and forms a very important part of the equipment of the magus.
Necessarily the mind of man must have concrete methods of expression; the most common and limited of
which is language. Symbolism, on the other hand, may be regarded as the common language of
humanity, as also it is that of the gods. The universe is a symbol; so also is man. Colour, Number, and
Form - what are they but symbols? A circle, a triangle, a square, a cross - these are but letters in an
universal language, the only natural medium by which we can compel the notice of the gods. Such was
the belief of the Pythagoreans and the Thaumaturgists of ancient Greece.
The Kabala, or secret interpretation, is divided into three sections The Gimetria, the Notaricon, and the
Temurah. It will be necessary to know these before entering upon the telesmic art, for nothing is brought
to perfection in this art without the magical use of names and numbers.
By magical use we are to understand something in distinction from natural use, as the difference between
the supreme power of the creative will in man and the inherent vegetative power of the soul and of
natural bodies.
First, then, let us examine the principles of the Kabala. Man is the subject of all magical considerations,
as he is also the agent of all magical operations. The Kabalists divide Man into four principles - viz.
Spirit, Mind, Soul, and Body, corresponding to the four "elements " of Fire, Air, Water, and Earth. Of
these the Spirit and Mind are Formless, and the Fluidic Body or Soul and the Physical Body are
Formative. Yet there are three aspects of the Spirit, viz. Life, Will, and Effort, and three aspects of the
Mind, viz. Perception, Reason, and Memory. So also the properties of the Soul are three: Desire,
Imagination, and Emotion; and of the Body three: Absorption, Circulation, and Secretion. For in one
aspect Nature is volatile, in another fixed, and in another mutable.

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Humanity consists of three orders: Lapsed Souls, Elementary Souls, and Demoniacal Souls. We
distinguish between the Spirit and the Soul. The Spirit in itself is of Divine origin, a scintilla of some
spiritual hierarchy to which it is directly related and from which it receives its energy and direction.
These "imprisoned lights" are related to Deity through the spiritual hierarchies to which they severally
belong and of which they are the earthly representatives The Soul, on the other hand, is not of Divine origin, but is derived mediately from the nature-essence
through the operation of the Human Imagination, or - as in the case of the brute creation - by Desire and
the instinctual sense.
Lapsed Souls are such as have fallen from their first estate or pristine nature, and will, by regeneration,
eventually regain their lost heritage.
Elementary Souls are such as have come into human generation in the course of natural evolution or by
magical art, and of these the Sylphides are such as neighbour the human race most nearly. Coming as
strangers into an atmosphere for which their powers are not yet sufficiently evolved, they are born as
naturals, simpletons and fools, a condition which is successively improved during their human
incarnations. Once entangled in the human system of evolution, they cannot go back. By this humanity of
theirs they acquire an immortality not otherwise attainable. Of the same category of Elementaries are the
Undines, Salamanders, and Gnomes, these names being related to the elements of Water, Fire and Earth,
as Sylphs to that of Air.
Demoniacal Souls are such as have by violence thrust themselves into human life by obsessions,
overshadowings and infestings of the bodies of men, whether in frenzy or in trance, in epilepsy or other
abnormal conditions of the mind and body. They are like robbers who take possession of the house while
the owner is away. But some such are born into the world by the will of the gods, operating by means of
sidereal influences, for the fulfilling of large destinies, the despoiling and punishing of nations, and are
demons from their birth. Concerning such an one the Christ said: "You twelve have I chosen, and one of
you is a devil," meaning that Iscariot. From this it will be seen that not all human forms are invested with
human souls.
Also there are certain times and seasons when angels and archangels are temporarily invested with the
human flesh for the high purposes of life, some as teachers and prophets, others as messengers of peace;
but all such are free from the taint of the soul while obeying the laws of their mortal selfhood, yet acting
in all else under the direct inspiration of the Spirit. Of such high order was Melchizedek, the King of
Righteousness, "without father and without mother, having neither beginning of life nor end of days,"
with whom Abraham talked as recorded in the Genesis. Melchizedek was, in fact, a presentation of the
Christ, a great and mighty spirit in temporary human form then reigning in Chaldea over the sons and
daughters of the Magi.
But also there are those spirits of the nature of Apollyon, who are "Princes of Darkness," and whose
dominion is over those "wandering stars for whom is laid up the blackness of darkness for ages upon

AMO - Thaumaturgic Art Chapter 1

ages." These malevolent beings, acting under the laws of their own nature, do from time to time manifest
in human form for a more speedy judgment of the world. They are the Caligulas and Neros of the world’s
history.
The earth is therefore the theatre of a great variety of different souls, and is such because it is in
equilibrium between the Heavens and the Hells, and in a state of freedom where good and evil may
commingle. It is in truth the Field of Armageddon, where must be fought out the great battle between the
Powers of Light and the Powers of Darkness.
The Kabalists mention Seven Heavens and Seven Hells, presided over by the Seven Archangels and the
Seven Princes of Evil. The Archangels of the Seven Spheres of Light are : Michael, Gabriel, Kamiel,
Raphael, Zadkiel, Uriel, and Zophkiel, standing for the Might, Grace, Zeal, Saving Power, Justice,
Splendour, and Mystery of God. These names are invoked under appropriate symbols in the telesmic art
of which the Kabala forms an essential part.
Michael, the archangel associated with the Sun, is derived from the syllables Mi, who; cah, like; al, god;
i. e. He who is like unto God; or Who is like unto him? Gabriel, from Gibur, power; Kamiel, ftom Chem
or Kam, heat; Raphael, from Raphah, healing; Zadkiel, from Zadok, justice; Uriel, from Aur, light; and
Zophkiel, from Zophek, a secret. As spiritual entities they are the express embodiments of the Divine
attributes, though while unrevealed to us they continue only to stand for certain human conceptions of
the Divine Being expressed in terms of human character. All definition is limitation, and all limitation is
imperfection, yet God is the only Perfection and beyond all naming.

AMO - Thaumaturgic Art Chapter 2

CHAPTER II
THE CALCULATORY ART
As already indicated, there are three sections of the Kabala, and these may now be examined more fully.
The Gimetria ascribes to each letter of a name or word a certain numerical value. The Kabalists give the
following values to the Hebrew and Chaldee letters, the English equivalents being substituted and the
order retained :Units - a 1, b 2, g 3, d 4, e 5, v 6, z 7, ch 8, th 9.
Tens - y 10, k 20, l 30, m 40, n 50, s 60, o 70, p 80, ts 90.
Hundreds - q 100, r 200, sh 300, t 400.
Finals - ch 500, m 600, n 700, p 800, ts 900.
Pythagoras has been credited with having preserved an ancient table of numbers, together with their
meanings. They are as follows :A 1

E

5

I

9

B 2

F

6

K

10

C 3

G

7

L

20

D 4

H

8

M

30

N 40

S

90

Z

500

O 50

T

100

Ch 600

P

60

U

200

V

700

Q 70

X

300

Hi

800

R 80

Y

400

Hu 900

AMO - Thaumaturgic Art Chapter 2

W 1400
THE INTERPRETATION
1.

Ambition, Passion, Purpose.

2.

Death, Destruction.

3.

Destiny, Faith, Religion.

4.

Strength, Stability, Power.

5.

Marriage, Happiness, the Stars.

6.

Completion, Attainment.

7.

Rest, Freedom, the Path.

8.

Protection, Equity.

9.

Grief, Wounding, Anxiety.

10.

Success, Logic, Renovation.

11.

Offence, Deception, Strife.

12.

The City, a Town, a Witness.

13.

Obliquity, a Crooked Road.

14.

Sacrifice, Surrender.

15.

Virtue, Culture, Piety.

16.

Luxury, Sensuality.

17.

Misfortune, Carelessness, Loss.

18.

Vice, Brutality, Harshness.

19.

Folly, Insanity.

20.

Wisdom, Abnegation, Austerity.

21.

Creation, Mystery, Understanding.

22.

Punishment, Vengeance, Calamity.

23.

Prejudice, Ignorance.

24.

Travelling, Change.

25.

Intelligence, Progeny.

AMO - Thaumaturgic Art Chapter 2

26.

Beneficence, Altruism.

27.

Bravery, Firmness.

28.

Love, Presents, Gifts.

29.

News, Information.

30.

Fame, Marriage.

31.

Integrity, Ambition.

32.

Union, Embraces, Marriage.

33.

Gentleness, Chastity.

34.

Suffering, Pain, Recompense.

35.

Health, Peace, Happiness.

36.

Genius, Profound Intellect.

37.

Fidelity, Domestic Happiness.

38.

Malice, Avarice, Maiming.

39.

Honour, Credit, Laudation.

40.

Holiday, Feast, Weddings.

41.

Shame, Disgrace.

42.

Short and Unhappy Life.

43.

Churches, Temples, Worship.

44.

Sovereignty, Elevation, Power.

45.

Progeny, Population.

46.

Production, Fruitfulness.

47.

Long and happy Life.

48.

Judgment, a Court, the Judge.

49.

Avarice, mercenary spirit.

50.

Relief, Pardon, Freedom.

60.

Loss of husband or wife.

70.

Science, Initiation.

80.

Protection, Recovery, Convalescence.

90.

Affliction, Grief, Error, Blindness.

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100.

Divine favour, Angels, Spirits.

200.

Hesitation, Fear.

300.

Defence, Philosophy, Belief.

400.

Distant journeys.

500.

Holiness, Virtue.

600.

Perfection.

700.

Power, Dominion.

800.

Empire, Conquest.

900.

Strife, Eruption, War.

1000. Sympathy, Mercy.
In addition to these, the table contains some specific numbers, namely :81.

The Adept.

120.

Honour, Patriotism, Praise.

215.

Grief, Misfortune.

318.

Divine messenger.

350.

Justice, Confidence, Hope.

360.

A House, Home, Society.

365.

The Science of the Stars.

490.

Priesthood, Ministration.

666.

An Enemy, Malice, Plots.

1095. Reserve, Silence.
1260. Annoyances, Terrors.
1390. Persecution.
Unfortunately, the method to be followed in the use of these numbers has not been handed down to us,
but I conceive that a method similar to the Hebrew notaricon may not be entirely amiss. Thus the name
of the great Napoleon is enumerated N 40

B 2

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a 1

u 200

p 60

o 50

o 50

n 40

l

a 1

20

e 5

p 60

o 50

a 1

n 40

r 80

e 5

t 100
e 5

_

_

271

539

The sum of these numbers is 810, which is equal to 800 = empire, conquest, and 10 = success, logic,
renovation. The words "empire, conquest, success, and renovation" have certainly a singular appositeness
in this connection. It is obvious, however, that the import of a name would be altered by change from one
language into another, and it is reasonable to presume that the original or mother-tongue in each case
must be adopted.
The Gimetria ascribes to each letter a definite value, as we have already seen. The sum of a name is then
reconverted into letters of equivalent value, and the meaning of the name thus derived. Thus we read that
an angel talked with John of Patmos, who would have fallen down and worshipped him but was
forbidden. The angel speaks of himself as a man, one of the "keepers of the sayings in the Book." The
word "man" in Hebrew is Aish, the value of which is
A 1, i 10, sh 300 = 311
and the name of the great recorder is Raphael R 200, ph 80, a 1, l 30 = 311.
For this John of Patmos was of the Order of the Recorders and of the Hierarchy of Raphael.
Of the Order of Calculators and Measurers is the Intelligence of Sephery; of the Order of Ordainers and
Judges is the Intelligence of Zadok; and these, with others, are extracted from holy writ wherein their
offices are covertly referred to.
Therefore, if any would know the name of their office, let them take the sum of their name and convert it

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by the Gimetria according to the rules of the kabalistic art. Thus the name "Sepharial" of the Order of the
Sephery is thus computed :S 60, ph 80, r 200, i 10 a 1, l 30 = 381
which is equivalent to: a 1, sh 300, p 80 = 381, the word Asoph being from the root Ashp = a star-gazer
or astrologer, the astrologers of Chaldea being known as the Ashpim.
The Notaricon is used for extracting the Divine names, and those of angels or spirits from sacred writ.
The telesmic art requires that these names shall be employed in the construction of Talismans, as by their
correspondence in numerical value they have a compelling influence over all things which answer to the
same root value.
Thus by taking the letters from the beginnings of words, or their finals, and by other measures of a secret
nature, the names of Spiritual Powers are derived. The Divine Being is of infinite power and presence,
and therefore His names, as expressing the infinite variety of powers, intelligences and forms within the
universe, can never be exhausted. The kabalist, therefore, only seeks to discern those which are of
efficacy in the matter in hand.
From a certain text of three verses in Exodus which begin with the words: Vayiso, Vayibo, and Vayot
respectively, the seventy-two Divine names are derived. These are the Shemhamphore corresponding to
the seventy-two Elders ruling over the Church Universal, i.e. the Middle Spiritual Kingdom. The method
followed in this case is as follows :The first verse is written in Hebrew characters, which are seventy-two in number, from right to left, as is
usual with Semitic texts. The second verse is written from left to right, and the third verse from right to
left as usual, the Hebrew text being used throughout. Then by reading the three letters which fall together
as one word, we have seventy-two triliteral words, to which is added the affix of the sacred names El or
Jah. From the text "Thou art the mighty Lord for ever" is derived the potent name Agla; and from the
sacred affirmation "The Lord our God is one God" we derive the name Yaya. Thus :Jehovah Alohenu Jehovah Achad.
Likewise from the text "One source of His unity one source of His individuality, His vicissitude is one"
we have the magical name Ararita, which is found inscribed on the Seal of Solomon the King. From the
text "Holy and blessed is He" we derive the name Hagaba. From the sentence in the prophetic blessing of
Jacob "Until Shiloh come," when the patriarch was predicting the fate of Judah, we have the name Jesu.
The well-informed kabalist, however, knows that this text has reference to the rising of the Star Shuleh in
the constellation of Scorpio; for Leo, the lion of Judah, with Cepheus the Lawgiver beneath, does not
depart from the Midheaven until Scorpio rises in the East.
Again, from the text "The Lord our King is true" we have the word Amen.

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The Temurah, which means "change," also yields its secret interpretations by the transposing and
exchanging of letters according to the rules of the kabalistic art as set forth in the Table of Tsiruph; and
by the application of this to the Gimetria and Notaricon, we derive the names of spirits and angels whose
offices are expressed in the texts whence they are derived. Some of these are evil and are referred to as
"vessels of iniquity" and "vessels of wrath" and also "lying spirits."
Every man is beset with some temptations arising from his association with the world of spirits, every
good ministration implying a possible evil by perversion, to which evil the malevolent forces correspond.
Thus man has both a protecting angel and an assailant, and he may thus incline to good or to evil, being,
while in the middle world, in a state of equilibrium or freedom. Moreover, it is said that preference
among men is from the superior power of the spirits attached to one man over those of another, for by the
intensity of their wills these men are able to link themselves with the powers of good or evil allied to
them by nature.
Every work undertaken by man has a twofold presidency of spiritual powers attaching to it, whereby it is
brought to perfection or overthrown. Among the kabalists there is a method of deriving the names of
those spirits presiding over the nativity. The figure of the Heavens being erected, the letters of the
Hebrew alphabet are set round in the order of the signs, beginning at the Ascendant; and those letters
which fall on the places of the Sun, the Moon, and the ruler of the Ascendant when brought together
yield the name of the presiding angel or benefie Intelligence. But the same calculation made from the
Descendant, of the horoscope yields the name of the evil spirit or Cachodemon. Others affirm, however,
that the places of the benefic planets must be employed, together with that of the ruler of the Ascendant
for the Agathodemon; while the places of the malefics with that of the ruler of the Descendant must be
taken account of to compute the name of the Cachodemon. But names in themselves bear only such
meanings as we attach to them; their real efficacy consists in their numerical correspondence with the
nature of the symbols employed and their relation to the purpose in hand, and thus in their confirming the
mind in that faith and intention without which, together with the united action of the will and
imagination, no magical work can be brought to completion. For the will is the male force and the
imagination the female power which, by their union, are capable of creating that which is desired.
The evocations within the magic circle, the conjurations of spirits to the crystal, the construction of
talismans, sigils, seals and other works of the thaumaturgic art, have their root in this covert agreement
between Nature and the Soul of man, whereby Spirit answers to matter and Force to form, so that the
material form of every symbol stands for the embodiment of a corresponding Spiritual Force.

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CHAPTER III
OF EVIL SPIRITS
THE Prince of Darkness, Beelzebub, presides over nine orders of infernal spirits, according to the
Kabalists. These spirits are the tempters of mankind. The Occultist affirms that they are the disembodied
spirits of evil-minded men confirmed in wickedness by the perversity of their wills. Even presuming that
they are no more than the evil thoughts and imaginings of embodied humanity, there is yet nothing, in a
world where "thoughts are things," to prevent such from taking bodily shape and substance and thus,
when stimulated by the force of men’s evil desires, becoming active powers for evil.
Everybody has read of Frankenstein’s Monster, that weird output of the imagination of the beautiful
Mary Shelley, but few people have realized that the story embodies a great occult truth. It is perhaps not
difficult to trace this creation of the daughter of Charles Godwin. One has but to study his work on The
Lives of the Necromancers to be confirmed in the idea that what the father suggested the daughter
elaborated in the laboratory of her own gifted mind. It was in the nature of a competitive essay, and
gained the prize of publication. Study this story, and also the chapter on "The Dweller on the Threshold"
in the popular novel by Buiwer Lytton, and you will have some notion of the experiences of those who
are capable of creating, and thereafter of being obsessed by, the images of their own minds. Will and
Desire created the universe. It should not be strange that it may create something equal to man when both
the will and imagination of man are consciously directed to the process.
Of the Nine Orders of Evil Spirits, the first is that of False Gods. Here we have the concentrated worship
and imagination of thousands directed to the same effect, the creation. of "gods." We have knowledge of
the Saturnalias and Baldachinos, the Bacchanalias and orgies of the heathen world. Such a god was that
Satan who tempted the man Jesus. Swedenborg defines the difference between the satans and the devils
when he says that the former apply themselves to the minds of men, instilling false doctrines and lies,
blinding intelligence, stimulating pride and inciting to heresies and seditions; while, on the other hand,
devils are such as apply themselves to the appetites, and by their affinity with the emotional faculty
(whence they have their origin) seek to instil lust, greed, avarice, hatred, and every kind of illicit
affection and perverted or depraved appetite. It may be well to accept this distinction.
The second order are called Lying Spirits, of which sort were those who obsessed the prophet Ahab ; and
over these is set a spirit called Pytho, who is the father of lies. These spirits apply themselves to the
interiors of the vocal and respiratory organs by means of the brain centres. Some such are to be heard
speaking through the mouths of persons entranced, such as demoniacs, pythonesses, and spirit mediums.
Such an one is mentioned in the Bible as crying out in pain at the approach of Jesus, saying: "What have
I to do with Thee, O Son of David ? I know Thee who Thou art!"

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The third order of evil spirits are those called "Vessels of Iniquity" and "Vessels of Wrath," who are the
inventors of all vices for the infesting of men and their ruination. Their prince is called "Belial," who is
without a yoke, being a renegade and disobedient spirit not subject to control. Of this order are the
violent and lawless,murderers, and some suicides who kill themselves in frenzy. Of this order St. Paul
speaks to the Corinthians, saying: "What agreement hath Christ with Belial?" For these spirits of Belial
have no agreement with any, being, as it were, the Ishmaelites of the underworld.
The fourth order of evil spirits is called "The Revengeful," their prince being called Asmodeus, who is
the occasion of judgment. They were of the order let loose upon Egypt in the visitation by plagues, as
recorded in Exodus.
The fifth order of evil spirits is called "The deluders," whose satan is called Nahash, the chief of those
who have the spirit of the serpent. These cause signs and wonders a.nd work all sorts of marvels in order
to seduce men’s minds from the truth. They are represented by the Black Magicians, the wonder-workers
who seek to efface God and arrogate to themselves the power to control the spiritual world. In reflected
degree they work through the minds of cheats, forgers and charlatans. That Satan who tempted Eve is of
this order of the Nahash or Serpents. Of him it is said : "He it is who seduces the whole world, doing
great signs and causing fire to descend from heaven in the sight of men, seducing the inhabitants of the
earth by these which are given him to do," as appears in the Apocalypse.
The sixth order is that of the "Turbulents," presided over by Meririm, the Prince of the Powers of the Air.
It is they who affect the air with tempests, corrupting the air with blights and poisonful exhalations,
destroying crops and polluting the waters of the earth. St. Paul speaks of this "Prince of the Powers of the
Air." These spirits have affinity with the thoughts and passions of men, and are evoked by the turbulence
and passions of men’s minds, as may be seen in great wars and revolutions.
The seventh order is that of "the Furies." Their Prince is called Apollyon, or in the Hebrew Abaddon,
which means "the Destroyer." They are the cause of madness, frenzy, murders, massacres and intestine
wars.
The eighth order of evil spirits is called "The Accusers" or "The Inquisitors." They are under the
dominion of one called Ashtaroth, i. e. "The Searcher." In the Greek he is called Diabolos, or the
Calumniator, and in the Apocalypse is referred to as "the Accuser of the Brethren, accusing them night
and day before the face of God." For these spirits delight in persecuting the righteous, searching out their
weaknesses and railing against them because of their imperfections. The common faultfinder is well
within the category of those who owe allegiance to Ashtaroth.
The ninth order is that of "The Tempters." These are in close association with mankind, and one of their
number is present with those who are in any way subject to the worldly spirit of greed and avarice. Their
prince is called Mammon, i.e. Covetousness.
These nine orders of evil spirits are called transgressors, for they violate the commandments which in the

AMO - Thaumaturgic Art Chapter 3

Hebrews are but nine only, and not ten as commonly conceived: the first and second of the "Decalogue"
being one only, and having reference to the worship of the true God and the sin of the making of false
gods, whether subjective or objective; and Beelzebub is that supreme False God whom the sinful serve
by error under whatever name it may figure.

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CHAPTER IV
MAN’S SPIRITUAL FREEDOM
To the end that mankind may be in freedom and reserve to itself the power to cast in its lot with the good
or evil powers, these nine orders of evil spirits are, according to the kabalists, counterbalanced by a
corresponding array of angelic orders. These are known as Cherubim, Seraphim, Thrones, Do-minions,
Powers, Virtues, Principalities, Archangels, and Angels. These Nine Orders are otherwise referred to as
the Metratton, "they who stand about the Throne "; the Ophanim, otherwise called the Wheels of Life
(referred to by Ezekiel); and the Seven Planetary Spirits, which include the Archangels and their hosts of
subservient angels. These by their representatives are set over mankind for his government and wellbeing; else were man wholly abandoned to the machinations of evil spirits.
In the apocryphal book of Tobias it is related that the Archangel Raphael did apprehend Asmodeus, and
bound him in the wilderness of Upper Egypt. It has been thought that this story has reference to the
presence of the planet Jupiter in the sign Gemini; for Asmodeus is of the sphere of Jupiter’s evil spirits,
and Raphael is Mercury, whose sign Gemini is said to rule over Egypt, and moreover it is the sign of
Jupiter’s debifity. Ingenious as this interpretation may be, it appears to rest upon the association of
Asmodeus with Jupiter, which may very well be the case, as Asmodeus, like Jupiter, is related to the
office of the Judges; but it is not the fact, astrologically speaking, that Gemini rules Upper Egypt, but
Capricorn, or - according to the Egyptian zodiac - the Crocodile. Hence the Egyptians were called the
Mizraim (those born from the crocodile).
Concerning the sphere of Jupiter, Hesiod says: "There are thirty thousand of the spirits of Jupiter, pure
and immortal, who are the keepers of men on earth that they may observe justice and mercy, and who,
having clothed themselves with an aerial form, go to and fro everywhere upon the earth."
No man could continue in safety, it is said, nor any woman remain uncorrupted, and none ‘could come to
the end designed by God, but for the assistance given them by the benefic spirits, or if evil spirits were
alone allowed to sway men’s minds. Thus every man has a guardian angel and a good demon, as Socrates
affirms, and likewise there are spirits of evil attaching to all in whom the passions are allowed free play;
and these good and evil forces contend for the victory, the decision being in the hands of the man whose
soul is the coveted prize. For man is in the middle ground of equilibrium, and freedom being allied to
both the superior and inferior worlds by the dual aspect of his mind, being stirred by passion from below
and illumined by intelligence from above, it is therefore in his will to whom the victory shall be given.
Therefore, we cannot impute evil to spirits that are by nature evil, neither lay our failures to their blame;
nor accuse the benevolent spirits of any lack of zeal, seeing that it is by our own consent that this or that

AMO - Thaumaturgic Art Chapter 4

advantage is gained by the powers of evil. But the evil powers, once overcome, lose their influence over
us in a great measure. And this is the meaning of the saying, "I will give you power to tread upon
scorpions; nevertheless, rejoice not that ye have power over the spirits, but that your name is written in
heaven."
Thus it is seen that evil spirits are compared to scorpions, and that they may be rendered ineffectual and
harmless by the power of the celestial name, which is that spiritual or "new name" which is written upon
the White Stone, as is said in the Revelations. The Christ, or Man made Perfect, is Venus, the Light
Bearer and the Messenger of Peace, who gives his qualities to the overcoming of evil, and "To him that
overcometh I will give the, bright and morning star." Opposed to Venus in the spheres is Mars, the god
of war, the promoter of strife and discord, the ruler of the "Scorpions." He rules over the eighth sphere
and the eighth sign of the zodiac, i. e. Scorpio, which is associated with the House of Death, the terminal
house of the natural soul. When good spirits and powers dominate this principle in man’s nature - i.e. the
Scorpio principle - there is the better hope of a deliverance from the evil of these spirits.
When it is said that Michael (the Sun-Angel) contended with Satan (i.e. Saturn) for the body of Moses,
we understand kabalistically that the good and evil principles were in strife, Saturn contending that the
body belonged to him by natural agreement, while Michael affirmed that he had redeemed it even from
decay; for Moses was an Initiate of the cultus of Ammon-Ra, and his name denotes not only drawn forth
and elected, but kabalistically he is nominated, for he was one of those named and appointed to a typical
work.
This association of the spirits with man, and the sympathies and antipathies arising therefrom, is the
reason that certain men are naturally friends or enemies of others.
A certain magician warned M. Antoninus of his friendship with Octavius Augustus, with whom he was
accustomed to play, Augustus always coming off the conqueror. The magician, it is said, reprimanded
Antoninus because he continued to consort with Augustus, although better born, more skilful and older
than he, for, the magician continued, "Thy genius doth much dread the genius of this young man and thy
fortune flatters his fortune, so that, unless thou shalt shun him, it appears wholly to decline to him." Thus
it is that some men are brought to positions of preference and power irrespective of their individual
merits, because the genius which directs them and presides over their fortunes is more powerful than that
of their rivals. But the Genius of Fortune is not that of Life, nor that of Intelligence, these three being
distinct: so that a man may become possessed of great wealth and die young, or show remarkable faculty
without commensurate benefit. Therefore the Genius of Fortune and Life must be in agreement if the
position is to be enjoyed, while that of the Intelligence and Fortune must be equally well disposed if the
full reward of one’s labours is to be enjoyed. Thus, all things considered, the choice must be in regard to
that calling or profession which most suitably comports with the Genius of Fortune. This is taught in the
horoscopical science, but otherwise is kabalistically determined according to names and numbers. These
things, which have relation to the freedom of man, must be understood by those who would make
election of times and seasons. It is good and proper to know whence benefits will be derived and whence
evil will assail us; also those days, hours and seasons which are proper to our purposes, and those again
which are incompatible; so that between that which is good and that which is evil we may so work that

AMO - Thaumaturgic Art Chapter 4

ultimately we may prevail.

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CHAPTER V
ON TALISMANS
ON the back of the Great Tortoise which the Emperor Yaou found on the banks of the Yellow River after
the great flood of 2348 B.C., there was found inscribed a square of numbers which is now of universal
fanie. It comes to us through the Hebrew Kabala as the Seal of Saturn, or the Table of Fifteen, being
composed of the figures from one to nine so arranged that every way it adds to 15. But the Chinese call it
the Patao, or Eightfold Path, these ways or paths being represented by the numbers leading from the
central figure, which represents Man. Thus we have the most ancient telesma in the world, the mystic
Table of Saturn :4

9

2

3

5

7

8

1

6

This telesma is made on virgin parchment, or lead, which is the metal of Saturn, and on a Saturday, in the
hour of Saturn, being the first and eighth hour after sunrise. On one side is inscribed the above table of
figures, around which is a circle enclosing the name Agial, which is the sum of the numbers included in
the table, namely 45. Thus :A 1, g 3, i 10, a 1, l 30 = 45.
On the reverse side is the Sigil of Saturn and the Seal, together with a text importing the purpose for
which the telesma is made.

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The Table of Jupiter is a square of four, comprising the numbers from 1 to 16 in such form that each way
shall amount to 34, the total of all being 136.
The Table of Mars is a square of five, from 1 to 25. each column and diagonal amounting to 65, and the
sum of all to 325.
The Table of the Sun is a square of six, from 1 to 36, the sum being 111 in every direction, and the total
of all the numbers 666. This is the mystical number which stands in opposition to the "Number of the
Beast."
The Table of Venus is a square of seven, comprising the numbers from 1 to 49, amounting to 175 in all
directions, and the sum of all the figures to 1225.
The Table of Mercury is a square of eight, being numbers from 1 to 64, adding to 260 in all directions,
the sum being 2080.
The Table of the Moon is a square of nine, adding to 369 in all directions, the sum of the numbers being
3321.
Each telesma has to be made in the hour and on the day ruled by the planet, when the Moon is increasing
in light and in good aspect to the ruler of the hour.
An illustration of the method of employing these telesmas may be cited.
If the position is to be improved, take the influence of the planet Jupiter and on a Thursday in the hour of
Jupiter, the Moon being in good aspect to that planet and increasing in light. On a piece of tin, silver or
parchment, inscribe the Table of Four, and over it the name of the Intelligence of Jupiter, which is
Jophial, and beneath it the symbol of the planet. Enclose these in a circle and write around it the names of
Aba. Hevah, Ahi, Alab, which are the powers of its numbers. Close them with another circle.
On the reverse side, inscribe the planetary seal, and the sigil of the planetary intelligence, and enclose
them in a circle. Around this write the purport of the telesma in a verse taken from Scripture which is
appropriate to the operation in hand. Close all in a circle.
The telesma thus made is to be worn upon the person until such time as its operation is effected, when it
is to be regarded as a "dead" talisman, and thereafter will serve for no other person or purpose.
Now in order to complete the knowledge of this telesmic art, the following sigils are given, to be
inscribed on the reverse side to the table of numbers.

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As to the construction of the magical tables of numbers, the following rules are to be followed :For evenly-even squares, i. e. such as have 4, 8 and 12 bases, e. g. the squares of Jupiter and Mercury,
write down the figures in their natural order, as here :1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

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Now draw a square divided into 16 cells. Fill in the numbers in this order, viz, keep the corners as they
are, 1, 4, 13, and 16. Transpose the figures to their diagonal opposites, namely, 5 and 12, 9 and 8, 2 and
15, 3 and 14, leaving the central square of four cells in their natural order.
You will then have a square in which the numbers are so disposed that they add up to 34 in any direction,
thus :1

15

14

4

12

6

7

9

8

10

11

5

13

3

2

16

For oddly-even squares, as 3 x 2 = 6, 5 x 2 = 10, 7 x 2 = 14, a rather different method is employed. Take
a natural square of six. Keep the corner numbers 1, 6, 31, 36 in their natural places, transfer the central
square of four cells to their diagonal opposites, namely, 15 and 22, 16 and 21. Keep the corners of the
next square, 8, 11, 26, 29, in their natural places. We now have the square in this condition :1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

22

21

17

18

19

20

16

15

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

32

33

34

35

36

showing the two diagonals of the grand square completed.
Now transpose 27 and 28, then lift them to the places of 9 and 10, bringing these down to replace them.
Next transpose 17 and 23, and carry them across to the places of 14 and 20, bringing these latter over to
replace them.
Next transpose 12 and 30, and carry them across to the places of 7 and 25, bringing these latter back to
replace them.

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Transpose 19 and 24, leaving 13 and 18 in their natural places.
Transpose 4 and 34, leaving 3 and 33 in their natural places.
Finally, transpose 32 and 35, and carry them across to the places of 2 and 5, bringing these down to
replace them; you will then have the
Magic Square of Sol.
1

35

3

34

32

6

30

8

28

27

11

7

13

23

22

21

14

18

24

17

16

15

20

19

12

26

9

10

29

25

32

2

33

4

5

36

All squares may be dealt with on the principle which is here followed. It will be of interest to note that
the seals of the planets are derived from the numerical sequence of their tables. Thus in the square of
three, which is the Table of Saturn, if you draw a line from 1 to 2 and thence to 3, another line through 4,
5 and 6, and a third line from 7 to 8 and thence to 9, you have the Seal of Saturn. But the other forms of
the seals have been simplified and rendered as equivalent glyphs.
Various other talismans have been handed down to us beside those appropriate to the planets. Thus we
have the most Sacred Seal of Solomon the King, which is a square of four inset with the sacred names
whose letters replace the figures, the same being inscribed in a circle within which are written the words:
Jehovah elohim Jehovah achad (The Lord our God is the only Lord).
On the reverse side are the interlaced triangles with the symbol of Deity, the Yod or perfect number 10
set in the midst.
Another telesma attributed to Solomon is displayed on page 174.
The Seal of Solomon is shown on one side with the word Berasit, i. e. "In wisdom" or "In the beginning
"; and on the reverse side is the name of Solomon with his sigil or mystic signature.
By whatever means we may constrain spiritual forces to our purpose, whether by sigil, charm, telesma or
invocation, it is only by the faith of the operator, aided by the trained will and imagination, which are the

AMO - Thaumaturgic Art Chapter 5

magical faculties of the human soul.
Imagination is the creative or formative power of the mind by which a matrix or mould is delivered to
Nature for the vitalizing power of the Will. For of these faculties the imagination is female and receptive,
while the will is masculine and projective. What in the common mind operates as desultory thought and
desire, the thought taking form and the desire giving life to it, is replaced in the mind of the magician by
an ardent will and conscious imagination directed to the creation of definite things. To a certain extent,
all lovers, all poets and artists are magicians equally with the makers of empires and the reformers of the
religious world. They have definite objects in view; their
imaginations are fired with the vision of a thing greatly desired of them, and their wills are potent and
effectually directed to the goal of their ambitions. These are the people whose dreams come true. Only,
when art supplements and fixes the form, giving voice to the powers which reside in Nature, calling them
forth to defined and determined uses, their efficacy is brought within the control of the human will as raw
materials wrested from the bowels of the earth and fashioned for a purpose.
Paracelsus conveys this same teaching when he says: "The power of the will and the intention of the soul
are the main points in magic as in medicine. A man who wishes everybody well will produce good
effects, while one who begrudges everybody all that is good and who hates himself may experience in his
own person the effects of his poisonous thoughts."
That the magical faculty does not rest with the good and virtuous alone we are well aware; for the
magical power is inherent in every human soul, and has the power of acting not only immediately, upon
bodies that are present to the sense, by means of the subtle powers of the eye and the breath, but also at a
distance, upon bodies and persons more remote, by means of the desire and phantasy of the soul acting
upon the vital principle within them. Recognize only that thoughts are things, creatures of life when
animated by human desire, and in all respects obedient to their creator man, and what hinders that they
should obey the behests of the soul, when sufficiently enforced by the impelling power of the will?
Therefore, we may see that it is motive alone which distinguishes good from evil in the use of occult
forces. That which links the mind to its subject is thought; that which gives it form is imagination; and
that which vitalizes it is the will. The will has no direct relations with motive, and may be used with
equal power for good or evil. Will is but the vital or life-giving power to thought. Life has no qualities
per se, though potential for all things; but it gains qualities by use or function. Motive determines the
quality of our thought, inhering in and tincturing with its own nature every mental action. The motive is a
power in itself, apart from the act, as the soul is a thing apart from the body, though expressing itself
therein.
Therefore causes that are brought into play by occult means will differ in their ultimate effects by reason
of the motive which ensouls them, though to the outward eye appearing in all respects identical.

AMO - Thaumaturgic Art Chapter 5

Hence, to quote the words of a modern physician, "Whoever undertakes to govern and direct these
mysterious powers, attempts a bold task. Let him consider well that he is penetrating, as far as is
possible, into the highest laws of Nature. Never let him enter the sanctuary without reverential fear and
the most profound respect for the principles which he endeavours to set in operation." Every person has
this magical faculty within him, and it only stands in need of waking up. There is no limit to human
perfectibility and power, and nothing which can be conceived of by the human mind that cannot
ultimately be realized by man. Therefore the Magi have but four precepts :KNOW - WILL - DARE - KEEP SILENT.

AMO - Thaumaturgic Art Chapter 6

CHAPTER VI
NUMEROLOGY
THE great philosopher of Croton declared that the universe was built upon the power of numbers. The
divine Plato affirmed the same thing when he said: "God geometrizes." To understand the power of
numbers, their properties and virtues, is the first key to a knowledge of the magic of nature. Number,
whether expressed as quantity, sound, form or colour, will ultimately be found to determine all
sympathies and antipathies, all discord and harmony between natural bodies and between the soul of
Nature and that of man. To understand the power of one’s own soul in the universe is the first essential of
the magical art. To know ‘that power, one must know his number and thence his sympathies and
antipathies in the soul-world. Name and quality, what are these but number, when brought to the last
equation ? By the right use of numbers all magical operations are effected, and by the perfect knowledge
of numbers the predictive art is brought to its perfection.
Daniel the Prophet said of himself in Babylonia:
"I, Daniel, found out by the books, the numbers of the years," and this knowledge was not foreign to the
great astrologer Michael Nostradamus.
All numbers have an occult relation to sounds. Gaffarel says that the Hebrew alphabet was invented by
the first astronomers, who took their forms from lines joining the stars of the zodiacal constellations and
the asterisms north and south of the Zodiac. This is in agreement with the teaching of the Kabalists, who
preferably make use of the Hebrew alphabet in all magical operations. Each letter holds a signification in
reference to the three worlds, the Natural, the Intellectual, and the Divine, in three degrees :-

• Self-dominion, Austerity, Selfishness.
• Thought, Science, Ambition.
• Tenderness, Enjoyment, Luxury.
• Wisdom, Ability, Pride.
• Reverie, Repose, Idleness.

AMO - Thaumaturgic Art Chapter 6

• Aspiration, Freedom, Self-Indulgence.
• Triumph, Conquest, Anger.
• Justice, Equilibrium, Calculation.
• Prudence, Caution, Fear.
• Faith, Learning, Self-Confidence.
• Force, Effort, Violence.
• Patience, Investigation, Indifference.
• Hope, Devotion, Destruction.
• Temperance, Moderation, Vacillation.
• Occult Science, Eloquence, Fatality.
• Veneration, Belief, Abandon.
• Immortality, Beauty, Expression.
• The Universe, Reflection, Error.
• Religion, Reason, Vanity.
• Life, Impulse, Vegetation.
• Existence, Sensation, Folly.
• The Absolute, Truth, Success.
The names and values of the letters have already been given. In making sigils of names, the quarters of
the kabalistic tables are taken instead of the letters they contain. These are combined to form the figure or

AMO - Thaumaturgic Art Chapter 6

sigil which contains these forms in combination: thus the name Jacob is defined:-

By permutations and combinations of numbers many choice secrets are discovered, not only in relation to
individuals but in regard also to nations and the world in general. Such combinations result in the
establishing of important epochs when things are brought to their climax and to their end, or when a new
order of things arises and is brought to its issue. If we examine the power of numbers in certain wellestablished historical cases, we shall have quite sufficient evidence to warrant our thesis that Number lies
at the root of all things.
Thus, the House of Valois began with Philippe and ended with Henri.
Philippe has 8 letters.
Henri has 5
Henri de Valois 13
The House of Brunswick affords a similar kabalism :Ascension of George I

1714
1+7+1+4=

13
____

Ascension of George II
1+7+2+7=

1727
17
____

AMO - Thaumaturgic Art Chapter 6

Stuart Rebellion

1744
1+7+4+4=

16
____

Ascension of George III

1760
1+7+6=

14
____

American Rebellion

1774
1+7+7+4=

19
____

French Revolution

1793
1+7+9+3=

20
____

The Grand Alliance against Napoleon 1813
Again, the history of France affords an epoch in the
Fall of Robespierre

1794
1+7+9+4=

21
____

Fall of Napoleon

1815
1+8+1+5=

15
____

Fall of Charles X

1830
1+8+3=

12
____

Death of Duc d’Orléans, the heir apparent 1842
It has been well said that "history repeats itself." Nothing perhaps could so intimately portray this fact
than the parallelism, even to minute details, of the lives of St. Louis of France and King Louis XVI of
France, as here set forth in detail :-

AMO - Thaumaturgic Art Chapter 6

Birth of St. Louis, April 23

1215
An interval of years

539
____

Birth of Louis XVI, August 23

1754

Birth of Isabelle, sister of St. Louis

1225
Interval

539
____

Birth of Elizabeth, sister of Louis XVI

1764

Death of Louis VIII, father of St. Louis

1226
Interval

539
____

Death of the Dauphin, father of Louis XVI

1765

Minority of St. Louis begins

1226
Interval

539
____

Minority of Louis XVI begins

1765

Marriage of St. Louis

1231
Interval

539
____

Marriage of Louis XVI

1770

Majority of St. Louis (King)

1235
Interval

539
____

Accession of Louis XVI

1774

St. Louis concludes a Peace with Henry III

1243
Interval

539
____

Louis XVI concludes a Peace with George III

1782

An Eastern Prince sends ambassador to St. Louis, desiring to become a Christian 1249

AMO - Thaumaturgic Art Chapter 6

Interval

539
____

An Eastern Prince sends ambassador to Louis XVI with the same object

1788

Captivity of St. Louis

1250
Interval

539
____

Captivity of Louis XVI

1789

St. Louis abandoned

1250
Interval

539
____

Louis XVI abandoned

1789

Birth of Tristan (Sorrow)

1250
Interval

539
____

Death of Dauphin

1789

Beginning of Pastoral under Jacob

1250
Interval

539
____

Beginning of the Jacobins

1789

Death of Isabelle d’Angoulême

1250
Interval

539
____

Birth of Isabelle d’Angoulême

1789

Death of Queen Blanche, mother of St. Louis

1253
Interval

539
____

End of the White Lily of France

1792

St. Louis desires to retire and become a Jacobin

1254
Interval

539

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____
Louis XVI quits life at the hands of the Jacobins

1793

St. Louis returns to Madeleine in Provence

1254
Interval

539
____

Louis XVI interred in the Cemetery of Madeleine

1793

In this return to their native soil the two remarkable lives of these remarkable Kings of France came to a
parallel close. It would of itself appear to afford sufficient grounds for a belief in the reincarnation of
souls. By a certain numerical valuation of the name St. Louis, which is composed of 6154361 = 26 = 8, it
is found equal to 539 = 17 = 8, the number of years between the two kings. Also Louis XVI = 63116 =
17, which again yields a unit value of 8, the number signifying "Cyclic revolution" or, according to the
Kabala, "Justice, equilibrium, the balance." Here it would certainly appear that St. Louis had "come again
to his own."
The law of periodicity has been the means of many remarkable scientific observations, and the law of
cycles has been applied to the facts of history with some startling results, as we have already seen. It has
been shown that a cyclic wave of activity extending over 250 years passes from one quarter of the world
to another with regular precision. Thus :1750 B.C., Mongolian Empire established.
1500 B.C., Egyptian ascendancy.
1250 B.C., Greek epoch.
1000 B.C., Trojan crisis.
750 B.C., Scythian invasion.
500 B.C., Persian Monarchy.
250 B.C., Alexandrian epoch.
A.D. 0, Christian era.
A.D. 250, The Huns.

AMO - Thaumaturgic Art Chapter 6

A.D. 500, Persian new era.
A.D. 750, Byzantine Empire.
A.D. 1000, Second Roman Empire. The Papacy.
A.D. 1250, Chinese incursion.
A.D. 1500, Ottoman Empire.
A.D. 1750, Russian Empire.
A.D. 2000, British Climacteric ?
THE MINOR KEY
The following simple Kabalism of Numbers has been given for purposes of divination by means of
names and dates. In this system One denotes individuality and possible egotism, self-reliance, affirmation.
Two - Relationship, psychic attraction, emotionalism, sympathy or antipathy, doubt.
Three - Expansion, increase, intellectual capacity, riches and success.
Four - Realization, property, possessions, position and credit, materiality.
Five - Reason, logic, ethics, travelling, commerce, utility.
Six - Co-operation, marriage, reciprocity, sympathy, play, art, music, dancing.
Seven - Equilibrium, contracts, agreements, treaties, bargains, harmony or discord.
Eight - Reconstruction, death, negation, decay, loss, extinction, going out.
Nine - Penetration, strife, energy, enterprise, dividing, anger, keenness.
A square of three, which gives nine compartments, is used for the purpose of location. Thus :-

AMO - Thaumaturgic Art Chapter 6

4

9

2

3

5

7

8

1

6

The date of a person’s birth being the 18th June, ‘79, the figures 18679 are marked, and the
characteristics and fate are discerned by these numbers. Thus we should read in this case :"You have much self-confidence, but your aspirations and expectations do not turn out to your
satisfaction. You feel to be worthy of a better fate than falls to your lot. Beware lest pride goes before a
fall. You feel most confident when least secure. Yet you may have success in work that others have
abandoned as useless. You have sympathy, and are especially responsive to praise and sensitive to blame.
You will most probably marry. The fine arts and social life have their attractions for you. You have a fine
sense of value and will be able to estimate the cost of things. You would make a good contractor, or
negotiator. You have some penetration and enterprise; you are keen, alert, and energetic."
And of course much more that is true could be said if the individual environment were known.
It is to be observed that the century is not included, as all who are born therein have this in common.
Moreover, the figures of the year 7 and 9 give only a tendency in the third degree, which may be
considered weak. The figures of the month (June = 6) are more particular, and have a secondary degree
of efficacy; while the day of the month becomes of primary or particular significance. It here stands for
"egotism and self-reliance," with "undoing." Finally, in order to gain the bearing of the whole Kabalism,
we must add together the figures 18679 = 31 = 4, always reducing them to the unit value. We then find
that the nature is a practical one, "seeking material realization, yet one who may easily grasp the shadow
and lose the substance." The sum of the figures composing the date will reinforce any number of the
same value which is in the date, so that a secondary or tertiary comprised in the month or year will thus
become a primary. As in the date 29th January, 1864 = 29164 = 22 = 4, we find that there is a practical
and material side to the character which seeks concrete realization of its projects; the number 4 being in
the sum as well as in the year of the date.
In dealing with inanimate objects or the brute creation (as ships, horses, etc.) which have names we
convert the letters into numbers and take the sum of them, thence deriving our prognostic concerning
them. But this is an art attended with some difficulties and many pitfalls, which it may not be convenient
to enumerate.
THE SECRET PROGRESSION
Some years ago I published a curious Kabala known as "The Secret Progression," by which numbers in
lotteries and other affairs apparently governed by chance might by diligence be discovered. There was at

AMO - Thaumaturgic Art Chapter 6

one time a circle of occultists who had their head-quarters at a certain place in Italy. Prominent among
the members - of this fraternity was Giuseppe Balsamo, Comte di Cagliostro, whose wealth (acquired
none knew how) not less than his learning, was the marvel of all with whom he had relations. For a short
time he dazzled the Courts of Europe, and disappeared with the suddenness of a meteor. It has been said
that he died in prison by poisoning, but I am not now concerned with his history. He-was at all events a
past master in the magic of Numbers, as is evident from the fact that on three separate occasions he gave
Madame de la Motte the winning number in the Paris lotteries.
By the Kabala of the Secret Progression it is possible, when a series of numbers is known, to determine
the next. Some years ago a well-known weekly publication instituted a Birth Competition which was to
predict the number of births in 36 large towns of Great Britain during a particular week, the births during
the corresponding week for five successive years being given.
Considering this to be a good opportunity of, testing the method of the Illuminati, I accordingly took the
problem in hand.
The births in the 36 towns during the specified week in the preceding five years totalled as follows:Year

1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899

Births 6351 6906 6017 6715 6430

?

Taking the highest and lowest of these totals, 6906 and 6017, and allowing a good margin, we may
expect to find the required number between 6000 and 7000. We now proceed to find the key number.
1. By the Minor Differential.
1894 - 6351 = 15
} -6
1895 - 6906 = 21

} = 13
} +7

1896 - 6017 = 14

} = 12
} -5

1897 - 6715 = 19

} = 11
} +6

1898 - 6430 = 13

} = 10
} -4

1899 - ?

= 17

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The series is found by adding together the integers of each given number, thus : 6351 = 6 + 3 + 5 + 1 =
15. It will be seen that the result gives 13, 12, 11, 10, a numerical series whose intervals are equal. We
therefore require a number whose integers added = 17.
2. By the Minor Additive.
1894 - 6351 = 15
} 36
1895 - 6906 = 21

} = 71
} 35

1896 - 6017 = 14

} = 68
} 33

1897 - 6715 = 19

} = 65
} 32

1898 - 6430 = 13

} = 62
} 30

1899 - ?

= 17

Here also the intervals are equal in the final series. We therefore are confirmed in the knowledge that the
required number belongs to the series of 17.
3. By the Major Differential.
1894 - 6351
- 555 = 15 = 6
1895 - 6906

} 13
+ 889 = 25 = 7

1896 - 6017

} 12
- 698 = 23 = 5

1897 - 6715

} 11
+ 285 = 15 = 6

1898 - 6430

} 10
-?=?=4

AMO - Thaumaturgic Art Chapter 6

1899 - ?
Again the intervals are made equal by the supposition of the figure 4. The number required, therefore, is
one which, when 6430 is taken from it, leaves a number whose integers = 4, 13, 22, or 31 = 4.
4. By the Major Additive.
1894 - 6351
} 13,257 = 18 = 9
1895 - 6906

} 17
} 12,923 = 17 = 8

1896 - 6017

} 14
} 12,732 = 15 = 6

1897 - 6715

} 11
} 13,145 = 14 = 5

1898 - 6430

} 8
? = 12 = 3

1899 - ?
The series 17, 14, 11, 8 shows equal intervals. The required number, therefore, is one which, added to
6430, gives a sum whose figures add to 12.
Consequently, we now know that the number is one whose integers add to 17; and that it is a number
which, being added to 6430, yields a sum whose figures add to 12.
Having ascertained these facts concerning the hidden or unknown number, the task is not now a difficult
one to anybody accustomed to handling figures.
Between 6000 and 7000 there are only 70 numbers whose integers add to 17.
Between 6000 and 7000 there are only 31 numbers whose figures amount to 12.
Of these 31 numbers there are only 14 numbers whose difference of 6430 is a number whose figures add
to 13.
Finally, there are only 7 numbers within these limits which exactly satisfy all the conditions of the
Kabala of the Secret Progression. These are: 6470, 6632, 6641, 6650, 6731, 6740, and 6830. By the third
process the Major Differential we found the number to be greater than 6430, so that the field of inquiry

AMO - Thaumaturgic Art Chapter 6

was limited to numbers between 6430 and 7000. We have found seven numbers which are capable of
satisfying all the conditions imposed by the different processes, and since the master-key is not to be
divulged we must be content with a statement which reduces the possible number of chances from 1000
to 7 only.
The Registrar-General returned the number 6731. A moment’s study will show how exactly it fits all the
requirements of the several processes.
1. Minor Differential. - 6731 = 17, which compared with 13 shows the latter yields 4, which added to 6 =
10.
2. Minor Additive. - 6731 = 17, which added to 13 = 30, which added to 32 = 62.
3. Major Differential. - If from 6731 we take 6430, we have 301, which = 4.
4. Major Additive. - 6731 added to 6430 = 13,161, which yields a unit value of 12, which equals 3, which
added to 5 gives 8.
With this singular and unique Kabalism I may now bring the subject of Numerology to a close, and end
the first section of my study of the Occult Sciences.

HYPNOTISM AND MESMERISM

HYPNOTISM AND MESMERISM
IT will no doubt be questioned whether either Hypnotism or Mesmerism forms any legitimate part of
Occultism, and indeed I have put the question to myself before finally deciding to include them. My
reason for so doing is that formerly the whole of the magnetic art, then known as "Fascination" and the
"Laying on of Hands," was an essential factor in the curriculum of the thaumaturgist.. Scripture
references to the transmission of vital energy to those sick or dying, or even dead to all appearances, are
numerous and well known. The use of oil as a medium for the conveyance and retention of the vital or
magnetic energy is also noticed and is commonly in use in India and other parts of the Orient at this day.
Mesmerism may be distinguished in a popular manner from Hypnotism in that it presumes the existence
of an effluvium which is in the nature of a subtle essence capable of being transmitted from one body to
another under the direction of the Will. Paracelsus calls it the Archeus or Liquor Vitae. "The Archeus is
an essence," he says, "which is distributed equally in all parts of the body if the latter is in a healthy
condition; it is the invisible nutriment from which the body draws its strength, and the qualities of each
of its parts correspond to the nature of the physical parts which contain it. . . . The Archeus is of a
magnetic nature and attracts or repels other forces belonging to the same plane. The individual power of
resistance will determine how far a man is subject to astral influences. The vital force is not enclosed in
man but radiates around him like a luminous sphere, and may be made to act at a distance. In those semimaterial rays the imagination may produce healthy or morbid effects. It may poison the essence and
cause diseases, or it may purify it after it has been made impure and so restore the health. . . . If we
separate the vital force from the physical form, the latter will die and putrefy; and by impregnating a
dying body with vitality, it may be made to live again."
Paracelsus further states that diseases may be transmitted from one person to another, or from man to
animal, or animal to plant, by means of the magnetic emanations, and we have ocular demonstration that
this is a belief firmly held by those nations of the East among whom it is practised. The story of the
Gadarene swine is in line with our own experience of the epidemic of crime which follows upon the
death of a renowned criminal. "If a person dies," says Paracelsus, "and seriously desires that another
should die with him, his imagination may create a force that may draw a menstruum from the dead body
to form a corpus, and it may be projected by the impulse given to it by the thought of the dying person
toward that other so that he may also die. Such especially may be the case with a woman dying of
puerperal fever, for if such should desire that the whole world might die with her, an epidemic may be
the consequence of her poisoned imagination."
The suggestion in this case has regard to the known contagious influence of the corpse of a woman dying
of puerperal fever. The point, however, is that the will of the dying person is capable of distributing such
contagion.

HYPNOTISM AND MESMERISM

I have cited these opinions in order to show that Mesmerism, of which Paracelsus was undoubtedly the
earliest known European exponent, has little in common with the beliefs and practice of the Hypnotists.
The Mesmerists, or those who believe in the transmission of animal magnetism, whether we regard it as
the Archeus of Paracelsus or the Odyle of Reichenbach, affirm that the emanation is most active through
certain channels - e. g. the eyes, the lips, and the finger-tips.
They also state that certain natural bodies, such as oil and water, are capable of holding the magnetism
better than others; while vinegar is capable of augmenting the efflux and thus of increasing the
transmission. Volatile spirits are, on the contrary, completely destructive of the magnetic transmission
and storage. Earth and clay are excellent storage mediums, or mumia as Paracelsus would call them.
There is nothing singular in this, if we reflect that all the forces of nature of which we have any
knowledge require certain media through which to operate. Electrical energy, for example, cannot be
conveyed through a length of rope or wood, but only through a natural conductor of electricity, such as
steel or copper. When it is said that Jesus spat upon the ground and made clay and anointed the eyes of
the man who was blind from birth, we see that use was made of the natural odylic power of the saliva,
and the powerful storage medium of clay or earth. The rest is explained by the powerful will of the
magician as expressed completely and decisively in the single exclamation Ephphatha!
The laying on of hands for the cure of sickness is one phase of Mesmerism or Animal Magnetism of
which there is abundant evidence and which conclusively proves the existence of the magnetic fluid.
Touching for king’s-evil or scrofula was in use among our own kings until Rome discountenanced any
delegation of its powers. "Le Roy te touche, Dieu te guerys" (The King touches thee, God heals thee) had
brought new life to thousands before the Divine right of kings was assailed.
Dr. James Esdaile, at one time the Presidency Surgeon at Calcutta, has left us a very remarkable series of
cases which prove the surpassing value of Mesmerism in the medical and surgical treatment of disease.
His book on Natural and Mesmeric Clairvoyance is among the best upon this subject. Incidentally, he
mentions two phenomena by which I think I may claim complete justification for the inclusion of this
subject in a work upon magic.
The first is the dislocation of the senses. Normally each of the senses has its appropriate organ, as the
eye, ear, nose, etc. They are not in themselves the only organs of the corresponding senses of sight,
hearing, smell, etc., but have become specialized as such. This is shown by the fact that in natural and
induced somnambulism, the whole sensorium may be transferred to the finger-tips or the pit of the
stomach, or even the soles of the feet. Fredrika Wanner, better known as the Seeress of Prevorst, was a
natural somnambulist, and in her trances was particularly sensitive to the presence of other persons,
discriminating between them as painful or soothing to her. And on such occasions it was found that her
eyes being closed, or the senses incapable of being affected by ordinary stimuli, she could see, hear, and
even taste by means of the epigastric region.

HYPNOTISM AND MESMERISM

Prof. Dumas is quoted by Dr. Esdaile to the same effect : "It is possible that, by a singular concourse of circumstances, certain organs become apable of exercising
properties and fulfilling functions to which they have hitherto been strangers and which even belonged to
different organs. If rare and extraordinary facts did not inspire distrust, I could allege the singular
transference of the hearing and sight, which, abandoning their usual seat, have appeared to be transferred
to the stomach - so that sounds and colours excited there the same sensations as are ordinarily conveyed
through the ears and eyes. Five years ago a young woman from the department of Ardèche, who gave an
example of a very strange phenomenon, came to Montpellier to consult the doctors for a hysteric
affection attended with catalepsy. She referred all the sensations of sight, hearing and smell to the region
of the stomach, the appropriate organs being insensible to the usual stimuli."
The second phenomenon to which I would call attention is the transference of the senses. In the former
cases we have the dislocation of the normal centres of sensation to the region of the sympathetic ganglion
at the pit of the stomach, and now we may consider the marvellous fact of sensation being transferred
from one person to another.
Finding a specially sensitive subject in the person of Babu Lali Mohun Mitra, a young Hindu of twentytwo years, Dr. Esdaile, after curing him of a loathsome disease for which he had come to the hospital,
subjected him to some experimental development. He would place his watch in Mitra’s hand and with a
few passes would render the whole arm so rigid that under no bribe or persuasion or threat could the
young man stir a finger to loose the watch as he was bidden. "Seeing this man’s extreme sensibility, I
thought it probable," says Esdaile, "that he might exhibit community of taste with his mesmerizer, and
here is the result of the first experiment made upon him. He had never heard of such a thing nor had I
even tried it before.
"One day that the Babu came to the hospital to pay his respects after getting well, I took him into a side
room and, mesmerizing him till he could not open his eyes, I went out and desired the native assistantsurgeon to procure me some salt, a slice of lemon, a piece of gentian, and some brandy, and to give them
to me in any order he pleased when I opened my mouth. We returned, and, blindfolding Lali Mohun, I
took hold of both his hands, and opening my mouth had a slice of half-rotten lime-fruit put into it by my
assistant. Having showed it, I asked, 'Do you taste anything? ' 'Yes; I taste a nasty old lime,' and he made
wry faces in correspondence. He was equally correct with all the other substances, calling the gentian by
its native name, cheretea; and when I tasted the brandy he called it shrâb (the general name for wine and
spirits); being asked what kind, he said: ‘What I used to drink -brandy.'"
It should here be remarked that Dr. Esdaile had cured this man of confirmed brandy-drinking as well as
of his terrible disease. As to the local rigidity of the arm of the patient who otherwise had full and perfect
control of his faculties, it should be remarked that the mesmerizer can not only saturate his patient with
his own nervous fluid, but also determine the energy to various parts of the body so as to place them in
effect beyond the patient’s control. In similar manner local anæsthesia or insensibility can be produced at
the will of the operator. When the volition can no longer act upon a part of the body, it is found that its

HYPNOTISM AND MESMERISM

sensibility is at the same time inhibited, which proves that volition and sensation are consentaneous.
When voluntary action is restored, sensation is simultaneously developed in the part.
The nervous fluid not only follows the direction of the will, but is moreover impressed with our
individuality, both physical and mental. It bears the signature of our thought, it carries the healthy or
diseased tendencies of our body, it is moved by our will and coloured by our desires and passions. The
dictum of Lord Bacon: "The human mind can be placed in communication with other minds and transmit
their impressions," is not inclusive enough to cover the phenomena of statuvolism, animal magnetism,
electro-biology, mesmerism, or by whatsoever name we may indicate the use of this mysterious agent. It
is a force that can be set in motion at any time and made to operate at any distance apart from any
suggestion of the effects it is required to produce. Herein it differs entirely from the "hypnotic
suggestion" of the medical schools and the "auto-suggestion" which the critical writers wholly unskilled
in the knowledge of Occultism bring to bear as explanation of every fulfilled prediction, every
thaumaturgic effect, every case of healing which is in distinction from the known and approved methods,
the clinic and pharmacy, of the medical profession.
On the question of animal magnetism, either as a psychological or a therapeutic agent, the Occultist will
always prefer the experience of such men as Esdaile, Gregory, and Baron Du Potet to the uninstructed
opinions of the critic, however skilful he may be in his own field of research or work.
Baron Du Potet, in his Manual de l’Etudiant Magnetiseur, says: "Nature herself discovered the secret to
me. And how? By producing before my own eyes, without waiting for me to search for them,
indisputable facts of sorcery and magic. And what is it determines these sudden impulses, these raving
epidemics, antipathies and cries, the convulsions that one can make durable? What if not the very
principle we employ, the agent so thoroughly well known to the ancients? What you call nervous fluid or
magnetism the men of old called occult force, the power of the soul, subjection, magic! An element
existing in nature, unknown to most men, gets hold of a person and withers and breaks him down as the
raging hurricane does the bulrush. It scatters men far apart, it strikes them in a thousand places at the
same time without their perceiving the invisible foe or being able to protect themselves. But that this
element should choose friends and elect favourites, obey their thoughts, answer to the human voice and
understand the meaning of traced signs, that is what people cannot realize and what their reason rejects,
and that is what I saw; and I say it here most emphatically that for me it is a truth and a fact demonstrated
forever!"
And this is a phase of Animal Magnetism that has been repeatedly offered as the only intelligible
explanation of the phenomena of sorcery and as repeatedly rejected by the schools that have no
knowledge either of the facts or the agent which alone is capable of explaining them.
According to the experience of mesmerists, the magnetizer can communicate his fluid to a variety of
objects, which thus become conductors or agents of his action to all persons with whom he is in magnetic
relations. These agents are water, oil, woollen and cotton materials, trees, etc. Charles Dickens found a
means of magnetizing water by means of pieces of sugar which had been subjected to magnetization,

HYPNOTISM AND MESMERISM

which were then readily distributed among the old country folk in Kent. Magnetized water is one of the
most powerful agents that can be employed, inasmuch as it is conveyed at once to the stomach and
thence distributed throughout the system, acting upon the circulation and the digestion, taking in turn,
according to the immediate needs of the body, the place of anodyne, diaphoretic, prophylactic and
purgative. An agent of such universal utility is necessarily not thought very highly of by those whose
business it is to scare Nature into obedience by cryptic prescriptions and unnatural concoctions. Given
normal health and a desire to heal the sufferer, you may take a vessel of water, and having thoroughly
cleansed the hands, dip them in vinegar. Shake off the superfluous moisture by flicking the hands
violently towards the ground. Continue so to do until the finger-tips tingle, with a slight streaming
sensation down the forearm and hand.
Now take a clean glass and pour into it some fresh cold water, which must not have been boiled or heated
previously. Place the glass upon the left hand with the fingers closed around it to steady it, and with the
right hand make passes from above the glass downwards for a score of strokes or more. Then bunch the
finger-tips above the mouth of the glass, bringing them almost in contact with the water, and impregnate
it with the nervous fluid by a sustained effort of the will to that effect, letting the mind dwell the while
upon the result you would obtain. A glass of water may thus be treated in from one to two minutes. Thus
given to the patient it immediately goes to work and produces the most remarkable results without in any
way complicating matters, as may be readily done by the administering of improper drugs, and without
having any deleterious reaction, even when used as a soporific.
That such an agent, so inoffensive, so natural and, above all, so efficacious and sure, should have escaped
the recognition of medical men appears to me to be inexplicable, except on the grounds of complete
ignorance of its properties and action. I do not pretend to explain by what magical process the mind of
man is capable of acting upon a glass of water to the end that it becomes either a powerful astringent or a
laxative, or an anodyne, or a stimulant. The chemical nature of the water remains unchanged. It is still a
mechanical compound of H2O. But something has happened, and this something the will of man can
determine while yet his intellect fails to understand.
What I am now saying is not a tradition or an effort of the imagination. It is the record of my own
personal experience. Suggestion ? How does one suggest purgation to a babe that is teething, or peaceful
sleep to one delirious ? The suggestion, if there is one, is directed, not to the mind of the patient, but to
Nature herself, and the suggestion of an intent will is equivalent to a command. In the use of magnetized
water as a purgative, no colic pains are felt either during or after the action. As an anodyne it leaves no
sense of depression or lassitude behind it; while as a tonic it is not accompanied by any rise of
temperature nor followed by the slightest constipation.
A magnetic subject will readily distinguish magnetized water from water that has not been so treated, and
I have known persons who could normally distinguish between them, though at first I was unwilling to
believe this and only convinced myself of it after trying a number of tricks to discover if there were a
possibility of suggestion or fancy. But all I discovered was the fact that in some remarkable way
magnetic water could be distinguished by its taste.

HYPNOTISM AND MESMERISM

But whatever agent we make use of for the purpose of conveying the nervous or vital fluid, it has been
thought, even by those who practise magnetism, that rapport with the patient must first have been
established. This, however, is not the case; though undoubtedly it is more certain in its action when
magnetization by contact has preceded the use of an agent. The agent is the means of continuing
magnetization, and especially of attacking diseases that are internal and deep-seated and not merely
nervous or superficial. But for all that, there is. no reason whatsoever why magnetization should not be
begun by means of a suitable agent. Contactual magnetism is not generally effective at once, but
becomes so by persistence, the action being cumulative. So if water or any other agent is persisted with,
it will bring about the desired effect. Of this I am quite certain, since I have treated persons at a distance
by this means alone, never having set eyes upon them. Yet so wonderful is the sympathy existing
throughout Nature, that I have been presently conscious of changes taking place in my own body, of
pains and sickness, which had no other origin than the subtle connection of sympathy between my
subject and myself viâ the agent I had employed. I know of persons who are capable of communicating
their sensations at a great distance to one with whom they are in close sympathy, though nothing in the
nature of thought transference is observable between them. With others there is ready communication of
thought or of mental images but no community of sensation.
Hypnotism proposes to secure the same results. as magnetization by mechanically-induced trance
supplemented by suggestion. But while this process lends itself peculiarly to the production of
phenomena, and is extremely useful for experimental purposes and psychic research, it cannot pretend to
have the same therapeutic value as magnetization, inasmuch as it does nothing to reinforce nature or to
supplement depleted vitality. Where insensibility is the effect aimed at it is equally useful, and as in all
induced somnambulism the automatic and subconscious self is rendered alert and active, very valuable
results may be produced by hypnotic suggestion.
If, however, you induce the hypnotic sleep by any of the usual methods and then stand aside while a
phonographic record film is set in action to voice the number of original "suggestions," the effect will
surprise many into an entirely new view of the matter, and those who do not now believe that the
personal factor is at all considerable, will come to the conclusion that it is the only factor which counts
for anything in the whole process. The complete insensibility to written or spoken instructions, other than
those which pass through the mind of the magnetizer, is in itself a suggestion which the upholders of the
non-magnetic position would do well to ponder. I prefer, however, to leave the schools of the Salpétrière
and Nancy to thresh out the question to its natural and inevitable conclusion.
Deleuze, who followed the teaching of Puysegur, of Mesmer, Van Helmont and Paracelsus, has some
excellent admonitions to those anxious to practise Animal Magnetism, which may very suitably be
quoted in conclusion : - "Persons who follow this subject may be divided into two classes.
"The first class comprehends those who, having recognized in themselves the faculty of doing good by
magnetism, or at least hoping to succeed therein, wish to make use of it in their families, or among their
friends, or with some poor patients, but who, having duties to fulfil or business to follow, do not
magnetize except in circumstances where it appears to them necessary, without seeking publicity,

HYPNOTISM AND MESMERISM

without any motive but that of charity, without any other aim than that of curing or relieving suffering
humanity.
"The second class is composed of men who, having leisure, wish to join in the practice of magnetism, the
study of the phenomena it exhibits, to enter largely into it, to establish treatments for taking care of
several patients at a time, to form pupils capable of aiding them, to have somnambulists who may
enlighten them to examine closely, compare and arrange the phenomena, in such a way as to establish a
regular code of laws whose principles may be certain, and whose consequences, extending daily, may
lead to new applications.
"This class is separated from the preceding by a great number of degrees which must be successively
mounted before one can find oneself situated where he can command a more extensive horizon. I
therefore advise those of the former class not to think of passing beyond their limits unless they are
masters of their own time and have some preliminary knowledge. Their lot is very good; they are
strangers to the vanities and inquietudes which attend new attempts, to the uncertainty which springs
from the conflict of opinions and of various points of view under which things are presented to us; they
taste without mixture or distraction the satisfaction of doing good. . . . As to the persons who desire to
belong to the second class, I advise them to consider at first the extent of the career they will have to run.
It is better not to enter it than to stop in the midst of their enterprise. In what pertains to practice, a
prudent simplicity is preferable to science. In what relates to theory, imperfect notions expose us to
dangerous errors. The labourer who cultivates his farm as his fathers did before him, collects every year
the price of his labours. Should he give way to an inclination to pursue experimental methods, he may be
ruined before he is enlightened by his own experience."
Up to a point this is very good advice, but it is doubtful whether any amount of advice, however sound,
will deter men from making experiments and sacrificing both life and fortune to the satisfaction of that
desire for knowledge which is inherent in every active and well-developed mind. As between the curative
and experimental practice of Mesmerism and Hypnotism there can be little doubt that Mesmerism as
understood by its best exponents is more adapted to the curative method, while Hypnotism is peculiarly
adapted to the development of experimental psychology. As to which branch of the subject has the
greater claim to our consideration, is a matter not so easily answered, seeing that a profound knowledge
of psychology is very necessary to the practice of even curative magnetism, and the more we know of the
psychic origin of disease the better we shall be equipped to successfully deal with morbid conditions as
they arise.
METHOD OF MAGNETIZING
These brief notes on the subject will hardly be complete without some practical instruction. The
following method of inducing the mesmeric sleep has been found easy and reliable. If the patient is able
to sit up, place him in a comfortable chair with fairly upright support at the back. Take a seat opposite to
him. Take hold of his thumbs and bring your own thumbs into the palms of his hands with a gentle
pressure. Now engage his attention, and fix your eyes steadily on his for five minutes. Allow him to close

HYPNOTISM AND MESMERISM

his eyes should they tire meanwhile. At the end of five minutes let his hands fall loosely into his lap, rise
to your feet and place your hands firmly on his shoulders for a few moments. Next raise your hands
above his head and make passes downwards along the arms as far as the knees. Do this for five minutes.
Now take his right hand in your left, as at first, and with your right make rapid but slight shampoo
strokes over the eyes. These strokes are made with the hand and forearm working loosely from the
elbow, and require practice; the palm of the hand barely touches the closed eyelids. At the end of half a
minute, when you will have made upwards of 200 strokes, give a slight jerk to the right arm of the patient
with your left, and press with the right thumb between his eyes, the fingers of your right resting on the
top of his head.
If the patient has surrendered to this treatment it will be found that the arm, if lifted, will fall back when
loosed as a dead weight. The eyelid being raised, the pupil of the eye will be found to have turned
upwards and inwards to the root of the nose. The breathing will be soft and regular, and a mild warmth
and moisture will pervade the skin.
That will suffice for the first sitting. The patient may be roused by a few sidelong passes right and left
over the eyes, and by blowing into them or wafting a fan over the eyes. A few upward passes must then
be made from the knees to the shoulders, and the patient invited to stand up and thoroughly shake off the
influence.
The next day at the same time and place (this is important) proceed as before. It will be found that
premonitory symptoms of the magnetic sleep will soon be developed. The patient yawns, shivers and
flushes in turn as if hot and cold water were running down his back; there are spasmodic twitches of the
arms and legs, the latter kicking out forcibly from time to time. When these symptoms appear the
magnetic sleep rapidly deepens and fascination1 or rigid catalepsy may be induced. For curative purposes
it is not necessary that the cataleptic stage should be reached, for once the magnetic sleep is obtained, the
patient is not only susceptible to curative agency but also is capable of localizing the complaint and
prescribing a method of treatment which the magnetizer should do all in his power to carry out. For
surgical purposes, however, catalepsy and complete insensibility are essential, but my readers will hardly
require further instruction under this head than is to be found in the works by Dr. James Esdaile and
others who have success-fully applied magnetism to clinical practice.
1The

state in which the phenomenal side of the automatic faculty is conspicuously displayed.

PART II
THE OCCULT ARTS

CHAPTER I

CHAPTER I
DIVINATION
IN the succeeding sections of this work I intend to deal with that aspect of the subject of Occultism
which depends for its evidence on the exercise of the mediumistic or divinatory faculty. What has been
said in Part I has relation to the exercise of a purposive faculty, guided by intelligence and experience. It
represents Determinism in its application to the hidden laws of Nature. We are now, however, concerned
with the automatic faculty, the intuitive and divinatory process of the human mind. Many of the methods
by which the automatic faculty finds expression are allied to the purposive methods of the Occult arts.
Cartomancy or divination by cards, for instance, can only be effected after a preliminary understanding
of the meanings attaching to the cards, and this is in no sense an automatic or unconscious process, but a
voluntary and empirical one. We do not begin to employ the automatic faculty until we shuffle the cards
with a view to ascertain the unknown elements. Even the disposition of the cards for this purpose is a
purely voluntary empiricism. It controls our interpretation and our prognostics. The construction of the
cards, the meanings attached to them, and the method of laying them out for a divination are all
prejudicial elements of the art. The automatic faculty triumphs over these limitations in the simple act of
"shuffling" - and therein lies the whole secret of Nature. Let us suppose for a moment that we decide
upon a certain combination of cards falling together that they shall signify Death. The odds against these
cards coming up in the required order and combination are thousands to one on any occasion. That they
do occasionally turn up is not, however, so remarkable as that, whenever they do, a death immediately
follows, and the faculty of the Cartomante lies in predicting to whom that judgment is determined.
In seership or scrying by means of the crystal, etc., a distinction exists between the purely involuntary or
passive use of the faculty of clairvoyance and that in which media are used. Moreover, some passives see
directly and describe things as they actually are or will be at the time indicated, while others do not see
otherwise than by symbols which require rational interpretation.
In Geomancy also the automatic faculty is directed by definite methods and is supplemented by the use
of the rationa1 faculty in the process of interpretation. Marks made haphazard in the sand or upon a piece
of paper have no meaning for those who are ignorant of geomantic symbolism, so that inasmuch as the
symbols gain their meaning by the intention of the mind, there is a consent between the rational and the
instinctual faculties in man. It is by reason of this consent in nature that the methods of divination we are
about to consider are rendered possible.
Nevertheless, it is not possible to apply any dogmatism or arbitrary methods to the interpretation of
symbols. We cannot, for instance, determine that a flight of two crows is a symbol of death and one of
seven crows a marriage, and straightway go forth to observe if death or marriage is our immediate fate. A

CHAPTER I

symbol is such by reason of its analogy and correspondence with certain principles in nature which are
reflected in our minds. Thus we may speak of the universe as a symbol of the Deity, and of man as a
symbol of the universe (which indeed was anciently depicted as the Grand Man, Adam Kadmon, etc.),
and these are not arbitrary relations but have their origin in a natural correspondence which exists quite
apart from our recognition of it. The symbol is the means by which we express our recognition of that
relationship. Figures are primarily symbolical; if we use them to denote quantities it is a mere
convention. Every material form is a symbol of the forces which generated it.
When we come to the consideration of the automatic faculty, we have to suppose a superior degree of
intimacy between the soul of Nature and that of the individual in whom the divinatory faculty is active. It
is undoubtedly a fact that the more practical the individual may be the less intimate are his relations with
that subconscious or submerged part of his nature which is related to the Universal Soul.
Individual consciousness cannot actively engage in that which is external and that which is internal at
one and the same time, except the person be in a state which is altogether abnormal. The normal mind is
active in the waking consciousness during the day and active in the sleeping consciousness during the
night. The waking consciousness is otherwise known as the attentive mind, and it is by the depolarization
of this that sleep is induced. In certain phases of hypnosis both aspects of the mind may be
simultaneously active in part, and the same phenomenon is observed in somnambulism.
The following diagrams illustrate (1) the normal waking consciousness, (2) the normal sleeping
consciousness, (3) the hypnotic or somnambulic semi-consciousness, and (4) permanent dislocation of
the mental axis in cases of insanity: -

The faculty of self-depolarization and of diving down into the region of the submerged consciousness
appears to be naturally developed in the genuine medium and the diviner. Others may induce this faculty
by the use of suitable media such as the hypnotic disc, the crystal or "the magic mirror." In others, again,
it is induced only by hypnotic treatment.
It is chiefly when in doubt that we make our appeal to it, and no Divination would be possible without its
consent of function.
It has been affirmed, with some show of reason, that the subconscious mind is the intelligence principle
of the evolving human entity, and that it is the storehouse of the digested memories of all past
incarnations. Others, however, affirm that it is nascent and rudimentary, the intelligence of the animal
soul, in distinction from the rational principle of the human soul. But whatever we may argue concerning

CHAPTER I

its status and functions in the human economy, we cannot deny that its powers transcend those of the
supraliminal mind and that its association with the Soul of things is far more intimate.
All divination, in effect, consists in the ability to bring into the region of our normal waking
consciousness the things which lie hidden in the womb of Time. Some of the means by which this is
effected will now be explained.

CHAPTER II

CHAPTER II
THE TAROT
DIVINATION by means of cards is a very ancient practice. It has been affirmed that the cards as we
know them were invented for the purpose of beguiling the hours of a feeble-minded monarch. My only
comment on this statement is that any king who believed the story would be very easily beguiled. I do
not presume to say when cards were first used for gaming purposes, but the Tarot from which ordinary
playing-cards are obviously derived, has a very ancient origin and moreover a very profound one. It is
said that Hermes the Thrice Great engraved the symbols of the Tarot upon 22 laminæ of gold. Various
expositions of the Tarot have appeared from time to time, and all agree in tracing a connection between
the Twenty-two Major Keys and the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, beginning with Aleph. Several
attempts have been made to associate the symbols of the Tarot with the Three Divine Principles, the
Twelve Signs and the Seven Planets, but all attempts appear to me fanciful.
In addition to the Twenty-two Major Keys there are fifty-six Minor Keys, and these are the same as the
ordinary pack of 52 cards, with the exception that there are 4 knights, one of each suit, in addition to the
knaves. These knights or heralds precede the ace of each suit. Of the 52 remaining cards we have four
suits corresponding to the four seasons of the year - Cups, Batons, Deniers and Swords, otherwise called
Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds and Spades.
These are disposed as follows :Spring . . . Diamonds
Summer . . . Clubs
Autumn . . . Hearts
Winter . . . Spades
The 52 cards correspond to the 52 weeks of the solar year. Several works have recently appeared setting
forth the meanings of the Tarot cards and the methods of employing them.
Various methods have been invented for the use of the Tarot cards, which those who desire to follow the
art of divination by this means will find fully set forth in the works of Mons. Encausse (Papus), L’Abbé
Constant (Eliphas Levi), and P. Christian, to which I would add the more recent work by Mr. A. E.
Waite.1

CHAPTER II

It will suffice if I here give the interpretation of the 22 Major Arcana, about which many ingenious
theories have been circulated from time to time.
1

The Key to the Tarot. London: Wm. Rider & Son, Ltd.

Every Arcanum has a threefold application, having relation to the spirit, soul and body of man, or the
spiritual, intellectual and material worlds, according to those Kabalists who have attempted an
exposition. But I conceive a fourfold application, viz, the Spiritual, the Intellectual, the Psychic or
Emotional and the Material or Physical; for the soul of man has two distinct aspects, the Nous, or mind,
and the Antinous, or passional principle; these being otherwise referred to as the Higher and Lower Self
or the Human and Animal Man, the form or Corpus being altogether material and of no active power
save what it derives from the animal soul investing it. On these lines the following interpretation may be
found a useful key to the
TWENTY-TWO ARCANA
1. The Magician - represented by a figure of a man holding a baton or wand over the three symbolical
forms: the Cup, the Sword and the Denier. Around him are springing up roses and lilies. Over his head is
a double nimbus in the form of the figure 8. This is the magician, he who is master of the four worlds, the
four elements and the four principles, who is capable of exercising the creative will - an adept.
In the Spiritual world he stands for the Creative Will.
In the Intellectual world - The pure volition. Transformation; resolution; the ability to propound and to
resolve a problem; to control the mind.
In the Psychic world - Desire, which is the lower expression of the will; the ability to generate and to
destroy; the control of the psychic forces and the mastery of the passions.
In the Physical world - The control of the elements; the mastery of physical forces; the power to acquire
and to dispose of the material benefits of life. A great inventor.
2. The High Priestess. - The figure of a woman seated, her head surmounted by a solar disc between
horns. On her breast is a cross, and on her lap the Tora or Book of the Law, while at her feet is the lunar
crescent. She is seated between the pillars of the temple called Jachin and Boaz - Security and Strength.
It represents Isis, Maya and the Virgin Mother of the world. This Arcanum is also called "The Door of
the Hidden Sanctuary."
In the Spiritual world it denotes the Divine Sophia, the creative imagination, the universal matrix, in and
through which the supreme will is manifested.

CHAPTER II

In the Intellectual world. - The Binary or reflection of Unity, the law of alternation, the pairs of
opposites, positive and negative, etc.; the reason, which weighs and balances, discerning by comparison
of known things.
In the Psychic world - Attraction and repulsion; the relations of the sexes; love and hatred.
In the Physical world - Chemical affinity (as acids and alkalis); trade, commerce, interchange, barter.
The woman related to the man for the furtherance of the ends of destiny.
3. The Empress, otherwise Isis-Urania. A female figure reclining. She holds the symbol of Power in her
hand, and at her feet is the Ankh or symbol of life - Venus. At her feet the corn springs full-eared and
plentiful. She is surrounded by the beauties of nature. She represents Nature in association with the
superior world, or Super-nature. She is the first product of the Supreme Will and Imagination, the
progeny of Divine Wisdom and Love, and unites in herself intelligence and power in their highest
manifestation.
In the Spiritual world this Arcanum denotes the knowledge of the two worlds, the manifest and
unmanifest; the past and future united in the eternal Now.
In the Intellectual world - Ideation, the productive power of the mind, discrimination.
In the Psychic world - The art of generation, fecundity, parentage.
In the Physical world - The power of expansion, of multiplication; growth, development; wealth, plenty.
4. The Stone Cube, also known as the Emperor. A man of mature age seated upon the Chair of Initiation,
the Masonic Cube. In his right hand is the sceptre of deific power, the ansated cross; and in his left the
globe, the symbol of possession.
In the Spiritual world this figure represents the realization, successively and continuously, of the Divine
Virtues in oneself.
In the Intellectual world - The realization of the idea of related and dependent existence; affirmation;
negation; discussion and solution.
In the Psychic world - Attainment of happiness by the satisfaction of desires; the realization of the dual
nature in male and female successions.
In the Physical world - The realization of material effects. The reward of effort and correct judgment.
The concrete. Foundation, establishment.

CHAPTER II

5. The Hierophant, or Master of the Secrets. On his head is the Mitre, in his left hand the triple Cross.
His right hand is uplifted with the sign of the Benediction. At his feet are the Keys of the Kingdom,
which unlock the Gates of Life and Death, of Heaven and Hell. He is the symbol of the Grand Master.
In the Spiritual world it denotes the Universal Law, by which the infinite manifestations of the Divine
Being are regulated.
In the Intellectual world - Religion, the connection between the Infinite and the Finite, the One and the
many.
In the Psychic world - The regulation of the passions; self-control; discipline.
In the Physical world - Liberty within the limits of the law; direction and control of natural forces.
6. The Two Ways, or The Lovers. Beneath the outspread hands of a flaming Cherub stand a man and
woman, with the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge upon either hand. Around the Tree of
Knowledge the Serpent is coiled.
In the Spiritual world this Arcanum symbolizes the knowledge of good and evil; the conscience.
In the Intellectual world - The laws of Necessity and Liberty, of Duty and Privilege.
In the Psychic world - The choice between denial or consent to the promptings of the lower nature. The
determination of conduct. The experience of indulgence and abstention. Instinct.
In the Physical world - The antagonism of natural forces; dissociation; disintegration; fractures, divorce,
parting.
7. The Chariot of Osiris. The figure of the Sun-God stands in a car drawn by two sphinxes, the one black
and the other white. It represents the illumination of the lower nature by the Higher Self, of the earth by
the solar orb, of the soul by the Spirit.
In the Spiritual world - The sacred Septenary; the ascendency of Spirit over Matter; the penetration of the
mysteries by the light of Divine Intelligence.
In the Intellectual world. The dispersal of doubt and error by the light of the intellect. Mental acumen.
In the Psychic world. The dissemination of vital energy by magnetic vigour; geniality and warmth of
nature; vitality.
In the Physical world - The gamut of the seven senses. Radiation; energy; force. The fulfilment of

CHAPTER II

ambitions.
8. Justice, or the Sword and Balance. Justice is seated and vested in the robes of the judge. In the left
hand she holds the scales evenly balanced, and in her right the sword uplifted. She represents the
impartiality of Heaven, and proclaims that God is no respecter of persons, that Heaven has no favourites,
but always rewards virtue and punishes vice.
In the Spiritual world - Divine justice.
In the Intellectual world - Pure reason, correct judgment, comparison, equity.
In the Psychic world - The attainment of peace and happiness by moderation, temperance and
impartiality.
In the Physical world - The balance of forces. The law of equilibrium. Attraction and repulsion.
Compensation. Sense of Value. Rewards and punishments.
9. The Veiled Lamp, or the Hermit. The figure of a sage or philosopher carrying a lamp in one hand and a
staff in the other. He represents the pilgrim soul, the seeker after truth.
In the Spiritual world it denotes the realization of the Divine selfhood by manifestation or embodiment.
In the Intellectual world - Prudence and circumspection, discrimination of true and false, of right and
wrong; classification.
In the Psychic world - Selection, choice, likes and dislikes; morality.
In the Physical world - Molecular construction; science; discovery; distinction of caste; order and
arrangement; carefulness, caution.
10. The Sphinx, or Wheel of Fortune. The Rota or Wheel on which is seated the Sphinx upholding the
sword. Around the wheel are the letters of the law as defined in the Tarot, and the four fixed signs of the
Zodiac, the man, lion, bull and eagle. It represents the law of correlated succession.
In the Spiritual world - The Law of Karma; spiritual cause and effect; spiritual selection.
In the Intellectual world - The rational faculty; induction and deduction; connectedness; perception of
relativity and time intervals, progression.
In the Psychic world - The regulation of the emotions and passions and the application of the psychic
forces by the moral law. Regime, training, orderliness.

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In the Physical world - The law of action and reaction; good and bad fortune; the cyclic law of events;
periodicity; rise and fall; revolution; circulation.
N.B. - This symbol is that of the aspirant to Occult Initiation. The symbols of the man, bull, lion, and
eagle or serpent denote the four maxims: Know, Will, Dare, Keep silent, which are imposed on all
neophytes. These are the keys to the attainment of power.
11. The Muzzled Lion, or Strength. A woman closing the mouth of a lion by a strength which demands no
effort.
In the Spiritual world - The omnipotent.
In the Intellectual world - Moral and intellectual force ; the determination of energy to the
accomplishment of things by knowledge of the law.
In the Psychic world - The use of the psychic forces in the process of development; the conquest of the
animal nature.
In the Physical world - The conservation of energy; control and direction of force; mastery of the
elements; vitality; rejuvenation.
12. The Sacrifice, or the Hanged Man. A man with a golden halo is suspended by one foot from a tree;
the free limb being placed so as to form an inverted figure 4. It represents the Divine Giving-forth, the
revealed law.
In the Spiritual world - The sacrifice of the spirit to matter for the ends of evolution.
In the Intellectual world - The law of repression; antagonism; inversion and self-sacrifice.
In the Psychic world - Madness, offensiveness, misanthrophy.
In the Physical world - Depolarization; reversal; penalty; reaction; loss and undoing.
13. The Reaping Skeleton, or Death. The figure of a skeleton riding upon a horse, to whom even the great
ones of earth do homage. It represents the Divine Law of reversion, the going back of things to their
source; inbreathing.
In the Spiritual world - It denotes manifestation of the Divine activity and life. Creation and
transformation.
In the Intellectual world - The law of action and reaction ; introspection ; inductive reasoning ecstasy.

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In the Psychic world - Disappointment; denial of affections ; reclusiveness; deprivation of psychic force;
catalepsy.
In the Physical world - Death; ruin; paralysis; collapse; nullity.
14. The Two Urns, or Temperance. An angelic figure pours pure water from one vessel to another. On his
forehead is the symbol of Life, and on his breast the ineffable name, Adonai, and the triangle within the
square. It represents the Divine life in activity.
In the Spiritual world - The eternal movement of life.
In the Intellectual world -The combination of ideas; friendship; sociology.
In the Psychic world - The interplay of the emotions; reciprocal affection; intercourse; social life.
In the Physical world - The relations of the sexes; chemical combination; amalgamation; public
intercourse.
15. Typhon, or The Devil. The Evil One seated upon a throne in the Inferno, his footstool an iron cube to
which male and female devils are chained. It represents the spirit of Discord.
In the Spiritual world - The principle of evil, the refractory will opposed to the predestined order of
things.
In the Intellectual world - Magic, mystery; the unknown; controversy; freethought; fatalism.
In the Psychic world - Anger; passion; hatred; malice and fear.
In the Physical world - Antipathy; discord; strife; repulsion; riot and lawlessness.
16. The Blasted Tower, or the Lightning Flash. A tower struck by lightning. A crown is seen falling from
the pinnacle, and also two men. It denotes the Divine visitation.
In the Spiritual world - The overthrow of spiritual pride; the descent of Typhon; the fall of the angels.
In the Intellectual world - The pride of intellect and its consequence; the law of retribution; insanity.
In the Psychic world - Psychic repercussion; ostentation; the humbling of the autocrat.
In the Physical world - Cataclysms; earthquakes, storms; overthrow; reversal; ruin; fatality; sudden

CHAPTER II

death; catastrophe; accidents.
17. The Star of the Magi, or the Star. A female figure pouring water from one vessel into a lake and from
another upon the dry land. Above her are the seven stars, among which there shines the great Pole Star of
the Magi. It represents the Divine Expectancy.
In the Spiritual world - Faith, the realization of Hope. The manifestation of the unrevealed. The beatific
Vision.
In the Intellectual world - Absolute knowledge; the evidence of experience; illumination; astrology.
In the Psychic world - Expectancy; geniality; sympathy; charity; optimism; confidence.
In the Physical world - Birth ; success ; relief sustenance.
18. The Twilight, or the Moon. A night scene, the luminary distilling dew upon the earth, while a dog and
a wolf are baying the moon and a crab is crawling from the water. It denotes the Great Infinitude.
In the Spiritual world - The abysm of the Infinite; the womb of Time; the Divine amplitude; infinity;
spiritual darkness.
In the Intellectual world - The darkness of negation; imbecility; lunacy; vacuity; time and space as
distinguished from duration and distance.
In the Psychic world - Doubt; despair; hesitancy; vacillation and inconstancy.
In the Physical world - Darkness; emptiness; denial; enemies; snares and ambushes.
19. The Resplendent Light, or the Sun. A child with the banner of Life seated upon a white horse. The
child’s head is adorned by a chaplet of flowers, while above him shines a brilliant sun. It represents the
Divine Effulgence.
In the Spiritual world - It is the supreme Heaven; the Presence of the Divine Being; the Kingdom of
Heaven; the angelic life.
In the Intellectual world - The first principle; the origin and source of things; the laws of being.
In the Psychic world - Vital energy; magnetic power; radiant joy; happiness; benevolence.
In the Physical world - Life; energy, force; success, honours; elevation, attainment.

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20. The Resurrection, or the Judgment. The Angel of Life sounding the Trumpet, while the dead rise
from their tombs. It represents the Great Vocation.
In the Spiritual world - Spiritual awakening; the call to the Divine Life and Presence; the Divine
Consciousness.
In the Intellectual world - Revelation of genius; aspiration.
In the Psychic world - Responsiveness; activity; conversion; moral regeneration; new regime.
In the Physical world - Response to stimulus; reflex action; elective affinity; elevation; mission; office;
utility; work.
21. The Crown of the Magi, or the World. In the centre of a circle is seen the figure of a woman,
representing Nature. The circle is variously a serpent with its tail in its mouth, representing eternity, and
a wreath of laurels denoting conquest or attainment. At the four corners are seen the four fixed signs,
denoting stability and endurance, the four quarters of the world and thefour "elements." It denotes
immortality.
In the Spiritual world - Divine continuity. Immortality.
In the Intellectual world - The mystery of the ages. Adeptship. The law of continuity. Supreme
knowledge.
In the Psychic world - Patience; endurance; steadfastness; fidelity; morality; integrity; perfect
satisfaction; the virtuous enjoyment of all delights.
In the Physical world - Position; power; honour; distinction; wealth; long life; happiness; inheritance.
22. The Blind Fool, or Folly. A vain and bedizened youth, carrying a staff and bundle upon his shoulder,
holds in his hand the flower of daffiance. With haughty mien he walks blindly to the verge of a precipice.
It is the symbol of the Divine Inscrutability.
In the Spiritual world - The law of Divine Necessity.
In the Intellectual world - Fatalism; egotism; blind credulity; ignorance; error.
In the Psychic world - Unrestrained passions; selfishness; vanity; speculation.
In the Physical world - Inconsequence; blindness; danger; ruin; detachment, isolation; conspicuous folly.

CHAPTER II

These interpretations are not presumed to be exhaustive nor to follow any other order than that of the
Tarot cards, which, needless to say, have been shuffled considerably since their delivery to the world by
the thrice great Hermes. They represent the three stages of Initiation, with their ten, seven and three
steps, culminating in Attainment (21) or Failure (22). He who can so dispose the symbols of the Tarot, or
Golden Book of Hermes, will need no other initiation than he can himself effect.

CHAPTER III
CARTOMANCY
THE following methods have reference to the ordinary pack of 32 cards, the twos, threes, fours, fives and
sixes being rejected.
THE SHUFFLE
This should be done without effort, prejudice or design. The cards should lie loosely in the left hand
while the right manipulates them, the mind meanwhile resting intently upon the object desired of the
divination. If the consultant is not expert at shuffling, so that it cannot be done automatically and without
the attention being fixed upon it, the cards should be laid face downwards upon a table and mixed by a
light circular pressure with both hands. They are then brought together to form a pack.
THE CUT
The cards being placed face downwards, the pack must be cut with the left (the passive) hand into three
lots, turning them face upwards.
THE CARTOMANTE
then takes the lots one by one, taking note of the cards which lie exposed on the top of each lot. The pack
is then put together in the same order as before the Cut.
A variety of methods may be followed in laying out the cards. Much depends upon the object in view as
to what method should be employed. It will doubtless be sufficient if I recite several of the more
approved methods, leaving the reader to make selection of one or more of them as occasion may require.
But first let us learn the meanings of the cards.
THE SUITS
Diamonds have relation to money, profit, loss. They are governed by the cards which are in touch with
them. In questions of time they denote speed.
Clubs denote business, profession, position; mental pursuits.

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Hearts govern domestic affairs, social relations, love, affection.
Spades denote sickness, death, loss, disappointment, delay, distance.
TIME
Diamonds denote the morning.
Clubs, midday.
Hearts, evening.
Spades, night.
COMPLEXIONS
Diamonds show very fair people, with flaxen or sandy hair and blue eyes. If aged, white-headed,
Clubs show persons of medium colour, inclining to be dark, with brown hair and eyes.
Hearts show rather fair people, with fresh complexion, brown hair and blue or grey eyes.
Spades, very dark people, with black hair and dark complexion, deep brown eyes.
POSITION
Diamonds show officials and persons in authority; also very old people.
Clubs show professionals and such as live by the use of their intellect.
Hearts denote social and domestic attendants; also lovers and friends.
Spades, lawyers (acting under diamonds); widows, widowers; persons in mourning; also those of mean
calling, artisans, etc.
INTERVALS
Diamonds denote speedy effects.
Clubs, punctuality.

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Hearts, leisurely results.
Spades, delay, impediments or failure.
SEX
Kings of the suits stand for men of the appropriate colouring (see "Complexions ").
Queens represent women.
Knaves denote the thoughts of persons indicated by the king or queen of the same suit.
SPECIFIC MEANINGS
Diamonds.
Seven stands for a gift, jewellery, children.
Eight, roadway journeys, short travels.
Nine, speed, sharpness; wounds, quarrels; sudden events.
Ten, a city, town; success.
Ace, money; a ring; a letter.
Clubs.
Seven, victory, success; achievement by intelligence.
Eight, papers, documents; a firm friend; agreements, contracts.
Nine, merrymaking; pleasure; society.
Ten, distant journey by land; business; success by the use of faculty; surmounting.
Ace, good fortune; success; preferment.
Hearts.

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Seven, a small wish; slight gratification; domestic changes.
Eight, clothes; invitations; love and courting; furniture.
Nine, the wished-for thing; gratification; joy.
Ten, marriage; a fortunate change; success.
Ace, the house; a cot or cradle; good fortune.
Spades.
Seven, an upset; a removal; disorder; a reversal.
Eight, night-time; sickness; loss; a split or quarrel.
Nine, disappointment; delay; death; loss; undoing and failure.
Ten, water; a voyage; a great distance; things remote.
Ace, the grave; a foundation; a post or position.
The nine of Diamonds is called the "Sword" and "the curse of Scotland." The ace of Clubs is called "the
Horseshoe," and other cards have their own appropriate symbolic names.
COMBINATIONS
Every card has its own specific meaning, but is capable of conveying a flexed meaning by combination
with other cards. Thus you may have a clutch of two or three cards touching one another, the result being
indicated by the combined meanings of the cards involved. The following combined meanings will aid in
the process of interpretation :—
A Clutch of Two.
Eight of Hearts and Ace of Diamonds, an affectionate letter; a proposal of marriage; a letter of invitation.
Seven of Clubs and Ten of Diamonds, successful business; financial victory.
Nine of Clubs and Ace of Spades, a will.
Seven of Spades and Ace of Hearts, a change of residence.

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Eight of Diamonds and Ten of Spades, a wet journey.
Ten of Clubs and Ten of Spades, a long voyage.
Nine of Diamonds and Seven of Spades, an accident; a flight.
Nine of Diamonds and Nine of Spades, death.
Eight of Hearts and Eight of Clubs, a contract.
Seven of Spades and Eight of Hearts, a change of clothes, or furniture.
Nine of Diamonds and Eight of Clubs, a writ; a summons, or telegram.
Similarly all pairs of cards may be combined to form a reading. The meanings derived will have
reference to any person indicated by the Court Card they may touch. In this respect
Cards above the person signified denote that to which he is striving.
Cards below denote that which lies at his feet, things accomplished.
Cards to the left show what is thrown away or to be avoided; the results of past action; antagonisms.
Cards to the right indicate that which the future holds; the outcome of present action.
A Clutch of Three.
Three Aces, a rise in position.
Three Kings, success.
Three Queens, scandal; company.
Three Knaves, embarrassments.
Three Tens, a rise in position.
Three Nines, delay, if including the Spade Nine; disappointment, if the Heart Nine is absent. Otherwise,
speedy success.

CHAPTER III

Three Eights, success.
Three Sevens, an upset; derangement.
A Clutch of Four.
Four Aces, a denial ; refusal.
Four Kings, a court case; a meeting; a convention.
Four Queens, slander; publicity.
Four Knaves, distraint; imprisonment; an impasse.
Four Tens, great success.
Four Nines, robbery; bankruptcy; failure; dead loss.
Four Eights, achievement; success; merrymaking.
Four Sevens, walled in; confinement; stoppage.
Note. - A preponderance of red cards in any combination is more hopeful than if they were black.
A Run.
A run or sequence of Diamonds shows financial competence; of Hearts, domestic and social happiness;
of Clubs, good business and intellectual achievements; of Spades, illness, misfortune, failure.

CHAPTER IV
VARIOUS METHODS
1. THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE
IN this method the 32 cards only are used. The "positions" correspond to the twelve astrological Houses
(which see), and have the same significations. The cards are laid out in the order indicated by the
numbers in the following diagram, and the pairs are read in relation to their positions.
The 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th cards are called the governing cards. The 17th is the keg card. The three
cards left over are what goes out of the life.
Diamonds belong to the 1st House; Clubs to the 10th; Hearts to the 7th; and Spades to the 4th. The ace of
any suit is in its strongest position when occupying its own House. The kings are in best position when
they are the governing cards of their own angles, e. g. the King of Diamonds in the 13th position; the
King of Clubs in the 14th; the King of Hearts in the 15th; and the King of Spades in the 16th position.
Each of the Houses can be occupied by one of two cards, which will then be in position of greatest
strength; and the angles will have three cards, similarly placed in positions of strength. Thus :1st House is strengthened by Ace of Diamonds, 7 Hearts, or 10 Spades.
2nd House, 8 Hearts, Jack of Spades.
3rd House, 9 Hearts, Queen of Spades.
4th House, Ace of Spades, 10 Hearts, or 7 Clubs.
5th House, Jack of Hearts, 8 Clubs.
6th House, Queen of Hearts, 9 Clubs.
7th House, 7 Diamonds, Ace of Hearts, 10 Clubs.
8th House, Jack of Clubs, 8 Diamonds.

CHAPTER IV

9th House, Queen of Clubs, 9 Diamonds.
10th House, Ace of Clubs, 10 Diamonds, 7 Spades.
11th House, Jack of Diamonds, 8 Spades.
12th House, Queen of Diamonds, 9 Spades.

The cards being shuffled and cut, they are laid out as shown above. The cartomante will then begin the
interpretation, by giving the combined meaning of cards 30, 31, 32, throwing them away as of no further
consequence.
The reading of the future begins with 18-1-13; the pair 18-1 being read together in relation to 13, which
controls the combination. This pair 18-1 has relation to the Consultant.
Next pair, 19-2, is read in connection with finance. Next pair, 20-3, in regard to letters and relations.
The 12 pairs are finally exhausted in the same way. The key card is that which for the time being
dominates the life and fortunes, the means by which success or failure will come, and if a Court Card a
person of that colouring will dominate everything. It is he or she who can say yes or no, confirming or
denying the means.

CHAPTER IV

If the cards read well in the pairing, and appear to promise good fortune, the key card will show the
means by which this good will come, and vice versa.
When the angles or cardinal points - the 1st, 10th, 7th and 4th cards - are good, the whole fortune will be
greatly enhanced for good. But when evil cards occupy these positions, any good will not be of a
permanent or secure nature.
The angular cards, 1, 10, 7 and 4, are to be referred to the governors, numbers 13, 14, 15, 16,
respectively, and thence to the key card.
The wheel may be set out thrice at a sitting. Any questions can be answered from the second tirage or
setting, after the general prognostics have been obtained. In answering to a specific question the
cartomante will only consult those sections of the wheel which have relation to the matter preferred.
Anything in the nature of a second general reading is to be avoided. It is the first setting of the Wheel
only which is to be relied on for a true prognosis.
2. THE STAR
The Consultant’s card is first taken from the pack and set in the centre of a small round table. This card
will answer to the sex and colouring of the Consultant.
The latter then takes the 31 cards remaining and shuffles them thoroughly, desiring to know what is
immediately surrounding him or her. The cards are cut.
The cartomante now takes the cards and lays them out as shown in the diagram on page 244, where C is
the Consultant. The rest of the cards are then laid aside.
The 13th card is laid upon the top of C. It is the Court of Final Appeal, and if a good card, especially a
Heart, it will give a hopeful issue, whatever may be otherwise predicable.
In reading from the Star the 5th and 7th are obstacles and are to be read together, and also in combination
with or reference to 9 and 11. They have a bearing upon what is past.
Cards 1 and 3 are read together, and in reference to 9 and 10. These cards will show the aspirations,
hopes and intentions of the Consultant.
Cards 2 and 4 are read together, and referred also to 11 and 12; the augury having significance in regard
to fortune achieved, the present condition and what lies at the feet of the Consultant as his own.

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Cards 6 and 8 are read together and in relation to 10 and 12, in reference to what is coming; the future;
the result of present action.
After the general reading note the cards touching the Consultant or centre card and also the 13th card;
also the general tone of the cards above and to the right. For if the cards above and to the right are red or
predominantly so, or Clubs touched by Hearts or Diamonds, and especially if the 13th card is a good one,
then you may safely promise the attainment of the ambitions and a brilliant future.
When the tirage has relation to a specific question, the Nine of Hearts must be present and the Nine of
Spades absent, or the wish will fail of fulfilment or be abandoned.
3. THE TABLET
The 32 cards are all employed in this method of divination. After shuffling and cutting the cards are laid
face upwards in four rows of eight cards each, from left to right, working downwards.
The Consultant being found by the sex and complexion, the count is made from this to the ninth card in
every direction, the cards being paired up and read together with those which lie in contact with them.
The cards surrounding the Significator or consultant card must be taken special note of as indicating
events near at hand, the environment, etc.

CHAPTER IV

The House-card or Ace of Hearts is then taken, and the count made from it in the same way, to find out
what fortune attaches to the home. If there is a dominant wish the Nine of Hearts is taken as Significator,
and the count made in the same manner as before. If it counts up to the Consultant or the House-card,
there will be realization of the hopes and desires.
Count can also be made from the left-hand card in the top row (that which was first laid down). The ninth
card in every case, and the ninth from the ninth continuously, are noted and read in connection with those
touching them.
Finally, the cards are taken up in pairs, the 1st and 32nd, the 2nd and 31st, and so on, ending with the
16th and 17th. These pairs are read together and prognostics drawn from their combined meanings.
Many other methods of laying out the cards are in vogue, and there is one which has special application
to the events which occur from day to day, but I am not privileged to give this in its true form, and must
therefore content myself by omitting it entirely. The above methods will, however, serve for all practical
purposes, and will be found to contain a complete justification of the use of Cartomancy.

CHAPTER V

CHAPTER V
CRYSTAL-GAZING
FORTUNATELY I do not feel called upon to give a scientific explanation of the phenomenon known as
Clairvoyance. The facts are numerous; the evidence is unimpeachable; and the exercise of the faculty is
too well attested the world over to leave any manner of doubt as to its claim to a place in the category of
occult phenomena.
Two facts, however, appear to have been established in regard to it, viz. : (1) The faculty is not normal to
the same degree in all persons; (2) in those in whom it is a more or less constantly active faculty it is
nevertheless beyond the control of the will.
The function of the brain - which may be regarded as the bulbous root of a nervous plant whose branches
grow downwards - is duplex; to affect and to be affected. In its active or positive condition it affects the
whole of the nervous and muscular processes in man, finding expression in vital action. In its passive or
negative condition it is affected by impressions coming to it through the organs of sense, the results being
expressed by nervous and mental action. It is this latter phase of brain function with which we are
concerned in the study of clairvoyance, whether natural or induced.
The range of our sense-perceptions puts us continually in relations with the material world, or rather with
a certain part of it only. But the gamut of sensation is limited in us. Many insects, birds and quadrupeds
have keener sense-organs than we. The photographic plate can register beyond the highest range of our
sense of sight. The X-Rays have put us in relations with a new order of impression-records quite beyond
normal sense perception. The animalculæ and microbic life, itself microscopic, have yet their own senseorgans related to a world of life beyond our ken. We know most positively that Nature does not cease to
exist where we cease to perceive her. Yet there are people foolish enough to require the evidence of the
senses in proof of things which cannot normally be perceived and who would scout the idea that visions
may be seen in a crystal unless they could be pointed out and perceived by them.
The relation of our sense-organs to the several degrees of matter, to solids, fluids, gases, etc., vary very
considerably with different persons. The average wool-sorter would leave many an artist behind in his
discrimination of colour-shades. Odours are not only differently sensed by various individuals, but also
they affect people differently.
The perception of sound also affords evidence of a wide range of variability in the acoustic sense.
Neither is it wholly a matter of quantity. Sounds, colours, odours and flavours have a qualitative value
which differs with the individual percipient. Hence arises the variety of "tastes," of likes and dislikes

CHAPTER V

observable in a mixed community. The experience is a general one,but the principle involved appears to
have escaped recognition simply because it is a psychological and not a material or physical one. But to
come to the practical part of our subject, let us examine first of all what we understand by the terms
Clairvoyance and Crystal-gazing.
Clairvoyance or Clear Vision may be natural or induced. Natural clairvoyance is more common among
certain communities than others. It has been stated that the inhabitants of basalt territory are disposed to
natural clairvoyance, which, if true, would certainly lead to the conclusion that the faculty is normal to
man and under certain favouring conditions will become active. It is an established fact that certain
sensitive persons are nervously affected by the presence of water, and this has been utilized by some for
the purpose of finding springs and underground currents. Such persons are known as "Dowsers." If these
are affected by the presence of underground water it is quite reasonable to suggest that others may be
similarly affected by the presence of basaltic rocks beneath the surface of the land.
Natural clairvoyants, then, may be regarded as those in whom the faculty is more or less persistent. In
coming into a locality they will describe things which have already taken place there as if they were
presently conscious of them, or as if the events were actually taking place before their eyes. At other
times they will describe events which are subsequently enacted. There appears to be no sense of time
attaching to the vision.
Induced clairvoyance is, in effect, nothing more than the faculty of natural clairvoyance brought into
temporary activity by suitable excitation.
The Crystal is a ready means of developing clairvoyance where a tendency to it is known to exist. It is
clear pellucid quartz or beryl, sometimes oval in shape, but more generally spherical. Baron Reichenbach
credited it with highly magnetic qualities capable of producing, in a suitable subject, a state analogous to
the ordinary waking trance of the hypnotists. Reichenbach has shown, by a series of experiments upon
sensitive and hypnotized subjects, that metals and other substances produced marked effects in contact
with the human body. The same substance was found to affect different patients in diverse manner. The
hypnotic experiments of Dr. Charcot, the well-known French biologist, have also demonstrated the
rapport existing between the sensitive and foreign bodies in contact; as, for instance, when a bottle
containing poison was taken at random from among a number of others and placed on the back of the
patient’s neck, the hypnotized subject would at once develop all the symptoms of poisoning by arsenic,
strychnine, prussic acid, etc., it being afterwards ascertained that the bottle thus applied actually
contained the toxine whose effects had been portrayed by the subject.
It is not, therefore, a matter of surprise that the crystal, which is a highly "magnetic" body in the sense
that Reichenbach uses the term "odylic," should produce marked effects upon a certain order of
sensitiveS. The fact that it does not act similarly upon all subjects seems to indicate that the difference is
not in its action but in the predisposition of the subject. Where the Crystal does not answer it is often
found that the black concave mirror is effective. I have prepared a mirror of this nature after the recipe of
Sir Richard Burton, and the effects have fully justified the claim that for purposes of clairvoyant

CHAPTER V

development the "Magnetic Mirror" is not to be surpassed. A bowl of water has been found effective as a
medium in some cases, and we learn that Jacob Boehme, while engaged in his work as a cobbler, was
suddenly entranced by the sight of the sun’s rays falling on a vessel containing water. From that time his
interior vision was opened, and we have in consequence a number of remarkable works from an
unlettered man, including "the Aurora," "the Four Complexions," "the Signatura Rerum," and other
works.
As to the medium employed for inducing clairvoyance, it cannot be definitely prescribed. It must remain
a matter of experiment for each investigator. The degree of sensibility to stimulus of this kind differs
with the subject. There are some in whom the psychic faculties are more active than in others. In some
these powers are hereditary, in others they are developed by an innate tendency aided by favouring
circumstances. In most persons the natural powers take a more practical turn, making them successful in
mundane affairs rather than in those that are psychic and spiritual. All are not constituted alike, and it is
well that it is so. The distribution of natural gifts proceeds from the celestial world, and is so ordered that
each person born on this planet may take his part in the economy of life. The spiritual needs of mankind
are included in this economy, and there are born into the world from time to time those who are specially
endowed with the faculty of spiritual interpretation, with psychic gifts such as clairvoyance, telepathy,
psychometry, etc., such persons being the natural channels of communication between the superior and
inferior, or the internal and external worlds. They are to humanity what a certain order of microbic life is
to the body of man - organic interpreters, translating the elements of food into blood, nerve, fibre, tissue,
etc., agreeably to the laws of their being, Among any people who are alive to the paramount importance
of maintaining the open door between this world and the spiritual universe, such media are cared for and
protected and suitable conditions are supplied for the exercise of their faculty. It was so in the case of the
Sybils among the Greeks; it is thus also in India to-day.

CHAPTER VI
PRELIMINARIES AND PRACTICE
IN the practice of Clairvoyance by natural means, patience is very necessary. Admitting that the germ of
the faculty is there, Nature requires not only suitable conditions, but also adequate time in which to
display her powers. Here again we find temperamental differences; and it may be useful in this place to
indicate by what means and by what persons seership may most readily be attained.
In regard to the subject, medium or seer, there are two distinct temperaments in which the faculty may be
expected to develop very readily. There is the nervous temperament associated with a high muscular
development, classified as the "mental motive" temperament. It is characterized by great activity of body
and mind, a certain nervous tension and excitability, prominent features, full osseous development,
prominent brows, intent gaze, and sallow complexion. Mr. Evan Roberts, who figured so prominently in
the Welsh Revival of 1905, is a characteristic example of this class of subjects.
The other class in whom the passive temperament is present and to whom visions come by reflection as
images mirrored in a moveless lake, are known by the following characteristics: full and lymphatic habit,
pale or delicate complexion, blue eyes, straight fine hair, small, plump and cold hands, and a languid
disposition.
There are many variants from these two main types, of course, but they are cited as being very
distinctive, and also they obtain their development by quite opposite means.
The positive seer works with effort, throwing out the soul-images by the power of the will, perceiving
them with more or less accuracy, and thereafter turning them over in the mind, reasoning and questioning
concerning their import and meaning.
The passive seer, on the contrary, works not at all and makes no effort, the visions coming imperceptibly,
almost unconsciously, and having generally a literal interpretation or fulfilment.
In the case of the positive seer the visions are symbolical and seldom capable of a literal application,
even though they may be found to have a material fulfilment. With the passive seer it is otherwise, the
visions being actual visions of what has happened or will thereafter transpire.
Of these two kinds of seership the passive is the more serviceable because more perspicuous, but it has
the disadvantage of being largely under the control of external influences, and so frequently incapable of
being exercised at all.

CHAPTER VI

The positive type of seer exercises an introspective vision, searching inwardly towards the soul-world
whence revelation proceeds. The passive seer, on the contrary, remains in statu quo, open to impressions
coming inwards towards the perceptive faculty, but making no effort towards them. The success of each
depends upon being allowed the free and uninterrupted exercise of that method which is natural to their
respective temperaments.
In practice it is necessary that self-possession and confidence in one’s own soul-power should be
maintained. Faith is the firm rock upon which all revelation must rest. Let the intention be pure and a
desire for Truth constantly present in the mind. Clairvoyance is not an undisputed possession, but a gift
of the Spirit, and accepted as such in a spirit of humble recognition it is more capable of proving a real
and lasting blessing than that "terror of the soul" it is sometimes seen to be. And if under the best
conditions the quest is unsuccessful after a prolonged period of earnest trial, it must be taken as sufficient
evidence that the faculty of Clairvoyance is not in the category of one’s individual powers. Possibly the
same qualifications brought to bear along some other line of psychic development will result in a
commensurate degree of success.
So far, then, in regard to the preliminaries. A word or two now as to practice.
Having obtained a good rock crystal (the glass balls sold as such are quite useless) or a black concave
mirror with a base of bitumen, the same should be kept out of the Sun’s direct rays, and when not in use
may be conveniently kept in a black velvet or silk bag, which will not scratch the surface.
It must not be thought that the visions are in the crystal or mirror itself. They are in the subconscious
mind or soul of the seer; but the mirror serves as a medium for visualizing the impressions which come
up before the mind’s eye, and also produce inhibition of the basilar portion of the brain through the optic
thalami, thus placing the attentive mind in a passive condition. Etheric perturbation caused by
combustion disturbs the odylic substance, and therefore no direct rays of light should be allowed to fall
on the mirror. The diffused light just after sunset is the best for purposing and seering, and the position of
the seer should be facing west with the direct light on the back of the mirror and only reflected rays upon
its surface.
If by artificial light, the gasalier, candle or lamp should be behind the mirror, the latter being between the
light and the seer.
The crystal or mirror must be in contact with the sitter, and no other person should be within arm’s
length.
A person seated behind the seer may act as prompter or director of the séance, and another similarly
placed may act as recorder. The positions are then as shown in the diagram.

CHAPTER VI

The Director will maintain an even and quiet tone, suggesting from time to time what may be looked for.
Thus :Director. There is a house in S. Street; it is No. 17. You will enter by a gate and go along a short pathway
to the door, which is of a green colour. You will go through the door and along the vestibule. Turn into
the room on the left. Now tell me who and what you see there.
The direction should be made by easy stages, and no step should be taken until the seer confirms the
previous direction by saying, "Yes, I am there," or similar form of assent. The director will then know
how the seer is progressing. The "push-off" is very necessary in the early stages of development, and the
above suggestion will be found extremely useful.
When once the seer is "on the move," so to speak, he can be left to himself and will then either recoil at
once to a complete consciousness of his physical surroundings or will go on to the exercise of the
clairvoyant faculty.
The Recorder will make notes of everything that is said during the séance; and the results should be
tested and proved so that imagination may not pass for clairvoyance, as it is apt to do before the faculty is
really developed.
At no time during the séance should the director lose psychic touch of the seer, but as soon as a direction

CHAPTER VI

is satisfied another should be given with, as far as possible, a connecting link, so that the transitions are
rendered natural and not abrupt. Sudden dislocations are apt to break the spell under which the seer is
carried away.
No séance should last more than fifteen minutes, and sittings should be made at the same time of day and
in the same place repeatedly, so that a cumulative effect is produced. A psychic habit is induced by this
means, and it is extremely valuable in all functions of an automatic nature.
Visions when fully developed are of two kinds, Direct and Symbolic. In most cases it will be found that
answers to detached questions take a symbolic form. Passive seers usually have direct visions, and
positive seers favour the symbolic form. The former feels first, and then sees; the latter first sees, and
then thinks.
Special attention must be given in the early stages to the important process of direction. During the
process of abstraction which precedes every vision, the consciousness is gradually withdrawn from the
physical surroundings. The seer forgets that he is in this or that place, or in the presence of this or that
person. He forgets that he is gazing into the mirror or crystal. He hears nothing consciously and sees
nothing save that which is passing before the eyes of his soul. For the time being he loses sight of his
own identity. When, therefore, the soul is suddenly arrested by an apparition which it has not consciously
evoked, the reaction is apt to be violent and rapid and frequently carries the seer back to his normal
condition.
The process of direction, however, if properly conducted, tends to establish a condition of preparedness
in the seer which is decidedly beneficial.
If there is a suspicion of telepathic communication between the seer and the director or recorder, it can be
obviated by directing the seer to a point where the knowledge of those present at the séance is equally nil.
All independent intelligence communicated by the seer can be subsequently checked and tested.

CHAPTER VII
VISIONS AND INTERPRETATIONS
THE passive or direct vision is presumably a representation of the actual state of things perceived,
whether relating to the past, present, or future. The circumstantial account given by the seer is sufficient
to indicate that it is a direct vision.
The symbolic vision is, however, fraught with many difficulties for those who are unacquainted with
symbolism and the method of interpretation. Something, therefore, may be said on this point.
Symbols are thought-forms which convey, by the association of ideas, a definite meaning to the mind
which perceives them. They depend entirely upon the Laws of Thought and the correspondence between
the spiritual and material worlds, between the subject and object of our consciousness.
Among the ancients, symbols were the original form of record, of communication, and of writing. The
hieroglyphics of the Egyptians, the word pictures of the Mayas of Central America, the ideographic
writing of the Chinese are all forms of symbolism derived from natural objects. The Hebrew alphabet is
quite symbolical. Any letter speaks to us of the nomadic people who were "dwellers in tents." Such
names as ox, tent, tent-door, tent-peg, camel, fish, fish-hook, eye, hand, basket, rope-coil, ox-goad,
water, are names of letters which cannot fail to convey an idea of the primitive Semites. They are all
names of natural objects, and they are all symbols. Bring together the letters yod (hand), daleth (tentdoor) and oin (eye), and you have the word yedo. The hand denotes action, power; the door, an entry,
initiation; the eye, sight, perception, - literally, opening the door to see; ideographically, knowledge.
Similarly, in Chinese the words for wall, face, and man, when brought together as a symbol, indicate a
wall-facing man, by which we understand a prejudiced and bigoted person, one who will not see or
enlarge his horizon.
All symbols may be interpreted by their known natures, qualities and uses. Thus an arm will signify
defence, power, protection; a mouth speech, revelation; an ear news, information; if distorted, scandal,
abuse. The sun prosperity, life, honours; the moon crescent, prosperity, increase, improvement; when
gibbous, loss, decay, decline. The sun eclipsed, death of a man; the moon eclipsed, death of a woman;
bread, food, sustenance, knowledge, preservation; and these are all natural interpretations. Every symbol
has reference to the Three Worlds, the physical, intellectual, and spiritual, i. e. to Nature, Man, and God.
If the question be concerning the material world, a ship as a symbol would show commerce, trade, a
voyage, good or bad according to the condition of the ship; as if in full sail under a clear sky, prosperity
is signified; if in distress or with flagging sails, an unfortunate condition is signified.

CHAPTER VII

If the question has relation to the intellectual world, the same symbol would denote the interchange of
ideas, good or bad news, etc.; if to the superior world, the same symbol would denote that
communication with the spiritual world is increasing or decreasing, as the symbol may indicate. A pirate
ship might thus refer to plunder, slander, infringement of rights, or death.
Symbols are almost infinite in number, and the interpretation of them requires unprejudiced skill, but
they are nevertheless an important subject for study, and the use of the Crystal or Mirror by a positive
seer can hardly be beneficial without a profound understanding of this subject.
Although every symbol has some general signification in agreement with its natural qualities and uses,
yet it obtains a particular meaning in relation to the individual. This is also the case in dreams, where
every person is a natural seer. Few, however, pay that attention to dreams which their source and nature
warrant. The Crystal is but a means of bringing the normal dreaming faculty into conscious activity.
No definite rule can be laid down as to the interpretation of visions, and the seer or seeress will be found
the best interpreter. Yet the differences of meaning, whether in dreaming or visions, of any particular
symbol is of common experience. Thus to dream of a naked child imports trouble to some people, while
others have a standard dream of wading in water whenever trouble is to be faced. To dream of butcher’s
meat means financial troubles to some people, while to others it imports gain by speculation.
The controlling factor in this matter is probably to be found in the constitution of the psychic and mental
faculties of the seer as expressed in the nativity. A great deal may be said for a system of interpretation
that has for its basis the dominion of the signs of the Zodiac at the birth of an individual and also the
horary positions of these signs at the time of the visions or dreams as the case may be.

CHAPTER VIII
SOME EXPERIENCES
IT may serve in some part to illustrate the foregoing remarks if I here recite some experiences which
have come within my knowledge and have been either witnessed by me or have been the result of my
own exercise of the faculty of induced clairvoyance. Being of a positive type of mind, and not normally
clairvoyant, the visions have chiefly been of a symbolic character.
A lady friend came to me in June 1896 and asked me to look at the Crystal for her, as her mind was much
exercised on a certain point. In due course she was told that she would hear news from abroad
concerning the birth of a child in some hot country; it would be a boy, and would arrive in the month of
February of the following year. This was not at all what the lady was inquiring about, although I had no
means of knowing what was in her mind as no intimation of any sort had been given to me by her.
Nevertheless, she did hear such news, and in February 1897 a boy was born to the lady’s sister in India,
the late Queen Victoria being godmother to the child.
I next told her that on a certain date, while travelling, she would meet with an accident to the right leg.
On that day my friend actually slipped between the platform and footboard while getting into a train and
suffered severe abrasion of the shin of the right leg, together with serious muscular strain from which she
suffered for several days.
It was further said that this lady would hear some good news concerning her son in connection with
papers and a contest. This was to happen in the month of October, and at that time her son passed his
examination for the military college with honours.
As an illustration of the direct or passive vision, the following is of interest :Mrs. H. the seeress was consulted by a lady of some ability in a special line of literature, though this fact
was not within the knowledge of the seeress. The lady was told that she would go up a staircase into a
dingy room with a roll of papers under her arm. She would see a dark man who was thick-set and of quiet
demeanour. The man would take the roll, and it would be a source of good fortune to her. at a later date.
These circumstances were literally fulfilled by the lady taking a manuscript to a publisher, who accepted
and published it. The description of the man was quite accurate, as .1 who know him can testify.
These two cases will serve as illustrations of the two orders of vision, the symbolic and the literal. The
symbolism of the former case not being recorded, however, but merely the interpretation and its

CHAPTER VIII

fulfilment, it will be of interest to cite another instance in which the symbolism is preserved:Vision. - A public square is seen in which was the effigy of a lamb mounted upon a pedestal. A flash of
lightning is seen to strike the image, melting off one of its ears. A Catholic priest came along and pointed
at the figure.
Interpretation. - A member of the community to which the consultant belonged would thereafter be
converted to the Roman Church.
Fulfilment. - By the next mail the consultant learned that such was the case, an important member of the
body having gone over to the Catholics as predicted.
Vision. - A man is seen dressed in black, wearing the habit of a judge. He holds some papers which he
endeavours to conceal beneath his robe. He appears unsuccessful. The papers are too large. A snake is
seen at his feet. It rises up against him.
Interpretation. - A certain man who is indicated by his profession will be guilty of obscuring the truth
and of misrepresentation. He will be the subject of criticism from a source that is not suspected.
Fulfilment. - The man conspicuously indicated. had followed the legal profession. He was convicted of
having issued misleading and fraudulent testimonies with intent to deceive. Criticism led to inquiry and
conviction.
Vision. - The same man is seen lying on a bed. He is in extremis.
Interpretation. - The man so indicated will be cut off by death three years from this time.
Fulfilment. - His death took place by strangulation due to a throat affection exactly three years from that
date.
It is not always conspicuous from what source the seer derives his interpretations. We have to remember
that the condition in which the seer voices his predictions is a psychological one, whether natural or
induced, and in that state natural symbols take on a very different significance to that which they would
hold in the normal waking consciousness. It is similarly the case with dreams. They may be perspicuous
and natural, or wholly symbolical. The influence they have upon the dreamer while asleep bears no sort
of relation to their significance to the waking consciousness. How pregnant with meaning and how
important and real they appear in the dreaming, only to dissolve into ridiculous triviality and seeming
nonsense the moment our wide-awake reason is brought to bear upon them! It would appear that between
the visionary and waking states of consciousness there is a complete hiatus, so that even the laws of
thought undergo a change when the centre of consciousness is removed from the inner world of thought
and feeling to the outer world of sense and action.

CHAPTER VIII

Not infrequently the visionary state is induced by excessive emotion. Some persons of peculiarly
sensitive nature will fall into the clairvoyant state while engaged in deep thought. This is akin to the
"brown study" when "a penny for your thoughts" is likely to prove a good investment if you are a student
of psychology. In such cases the thread of thought appears to be broken and a vision, wholly unrelated to
the subject but a moment ago in the mind, suddenly appears to usurp the field of consciousness. It is as if
the soul of the sensitive, while probing the depths of thought, suddenly comes into contact with the thin
partition dividing the outer world of thought from the inner world of knowledge, the domain of doubt and
reason from that of intuition and direct perception; and, breaking through this partition, the soul emerges
into the field of light beyond. A rapid alternation of the centre of consciousness from the dream or
psychic state to the waking or normal state will, if sustained, assuredly bring about the phenomenon
known as clairvoyance. Swedenborg claimed to have been-simultaneously conscious in two worlds for
days together. But the centre of consciousness cannot be located in two places or states of existence at
one and the same time, and it may therefore be said that the alternation was exceedingly rapid and
continuous, giving the sensation of being thus divided in consciousness. I have myself experienced this
condition both experimentally and naturally, and at such times it would be impossible to say whether I
was in this or that of the two bodies, one corporeal and the other ethereal, through which I was conscious
of functioning.

CHAPTER IX
GEOMANCY
Probable Chinese Origin.
THIs art is of very ancient origin, and is to be found among the earliest literary monuments. The Yih
King, or Classic of Changes, already mentioned in the course of this work, employs it in the very highest
connection. It would appear that a complete system of occult philosophy is founded upon the changes
produced by the interplay of two Principles in Nature which they call the Yin and the Yang, or the Light
and Dark, active and passive, male and female principles. Thence is derived the "Law of Alternation"
figured by the symbol -

There is a statement to the effect that "the One produced the Three, the Three produced the Seven; the
Seven produced the Ten; these Ten are all things."
The symbols or Kwei employed by the Chinese in their system of Geomancy are based upon the square
of three,which in our section on Talismans was shown to be the exact replica of the Hebrew Table of the
planet Saturn; a square of 9 cells in which the numbers add to 15 in all directions.
The philosophy of the Yih King does not at the moment concern us, although it is an exceedingly
fascinating subject, and I therefore propose to pass at once to a consideration of the divinatory method
employed in ancient China in connection with "the Reeds and the Tortoise."
On the back of the Tortoise which stood for the world and humanity, and in a particular sense was
symbolical of the Chinese Kingdom and its people, was inscribed the famous Key of the Pa-Tao, thus :-

CHAPTER IX

In the centre is the figure 5, which stands for humanity, and the consultant. Around are the numbers 1 2 3
4 6 7 8 9, which represent respectively the Five Factors, namely water, fire, wood, metal, and earth,
corresponding to the five planets Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn.
Five Faculties, shape, speech, sight, hearing, and thinking.
Eight Regulators, the controllers of food, of prosperity and public works; the minister of instruction, the
sacrificer, the criminal judge, the receiver of guests, and the general of the army.
Five Disposers, the Zodiac, the Moon, the Sun, the planetary hour, and the planetary aspects.
Three Virtues, impartial justice, rigid rule, and temperate government.
Examination of Doubts concerning the five divinations and the two prognostics.
General Verifications as to rain, fine weather, heat, cold and wind in their seasons.
Five Blessings, long life, wealth; tranquillity; love of virtue; foreknowledge of the end of life; to which
are contasted the six extremities.
The Tortoise being set in the midst, reeds to the number of 36, of which 12 are of the full length of a span
and 94 of half-a-span each, are taken in hand. The geomantic marks having been made, the
corresponding reeds are set around the Tortoise and divination is made according to the positions and
forms resulting. An odd number is represented by a long reed and an even number by two short ones.
Thus we have the eight primary Kwei :-

CHAPTER IX

and these constitute the geomantic figures in the most ancient Chinese system. By combining 1 with 2 3
4, etc., successively, 2 with 1 3 4, etc., and so on throughout the entire scale, as well as by doubling each
of the primary forms, they obtained 64 distinct kwei to each of which a definite meaning and prognostic
was attached. By this means they guided their affairs of state and their private matters. Similarly they
divided their heavens into eight equal parts and attributed similar meanings to them, judging by the
positions of the planets how the various departments of the public service would be conducted. In this
scheme the emperor was placed in the centre of the wheel of eight spokes, being the neutral point about
which the wheel of the law was said to revolve.
When the Tortoise and the reeds were in agreement, the result was adjudged to be highly goo4, and vice
versa. The Sun stood for the King, the Moon for the Nobility, the planets for the officers of State, and the
stars for the People. The Tortoise represented internal affairs and the reeds external-matters. The
Hebrews are also known to have evolved a system of divination by reeds or rods, and the practice of
geomancy or its equivalent is. found among all ancient civilizations. It is not, however, my intention to
examine these at the present time, and I may at once pass on to an exposition of the system in vogue
among Europeans.
THE SYMBOLS
There are sixteen geomantic figures, the evolution of which appears to have been lost to us, but there can
be little doubt that they are all traceable to the Chinese kwei already referred to. In the European system
each symbol is derived from four lines of points, one point denoting an odd number in the line and two
points an even number. Thus. if I make four lines of points :-

I then derive the symbol of Fortuna Major, which is a symbol of the Sun in its strongest degree of

CHAPTER IX

influence.
The seven celestial bodies Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and the Moon have each two
symbols, one of which is Dexter, or fortunate, and the other Sinister, or unfortunate. The Moon’s nodes
are also represented by the Dragon’s Head and Tail, each of which has a separate symbol.
The geomantic symbols of the planets and the nodes are as follows :-

CHAPTER X

CHAPTER X
CASTING THE FIGURE
A GEOMANTIC figure is made for the purpose of divination by making haphazard, in the sand or upon
a piece of paper, sixteen lines of punctures or dots. Before making these lines, the mind should be
allowed to dwell steadily upon the question to be resolved. While thus immersed in the question, the
hand should be allowed automatically to make the lines of points.
When sixteen lines of points have thus been made, the number of points in each line is to be counted. If
even, two small circles are made at the end of the line, but if an odd number of points are in the line, one
small circle must be set against it. You wifi now divide the sixteen lines into groups of four lines each,
and thus will be derived the first four geomantic symbols.

Note. - The whole of the 16 lines of points must be completed before the counting is begun. At the end of
each fourth line a geomantic symbol is formed, and this may be separated from the next by a stroke as
shown above. These symbols are to be numbered 1 2 3 4 in the order in which they are formed.
The automatic process, on which the divination rests, is completed from the moment that the sixteen lines
of points are finished. The rest of the process is an empiricism founded upon ancient practice. It is

CHAPTER X

necessary to follow the method closely, or the whole scheme will be vitiated.
The next four symbols, Nos. 5, 6, 7, 8, are derived from the combination of the first four. Thus: take the
top line in each of the symbols 1 to 4. This will form the 5th symbol. Then take the second line in each of
symbols 1 to 4, and this will give the 6th symbol. Next take the third line of the same symbols to form
the 7th symbol, and finally take the last line in each of the first four to form the 8th symbol.
Thus from the four symbols already given above we derive symbols 5 to 8 as follows :-

The next four symbols, Nos. 9 to 12, are derived by reading together symbols 1 and 2, 3 and 4, 5 and 6, 7
and 8, thus

Reading the first and second across, we find 4 points in the top line, 3 points in the second line, 2 in the
third line, and 2 in the fourth line. These give us the 9th symbol. The others are formed on the same plan.
The Two Witnesses are now formed by combining symbols 9 and 10, and 11 and 12, in the same manner,
and from the 13th and 14th symbols thus derived, the Judge is finally evolved. These, in the illustration
before us, are :-

CHAPTER X

The first 12 symbols may now be set in a horoscopical figure.
The 1st symbol is to be placed in the 1st House, the 2nd symbol in the 10th House, the 3rd in the 7th
House, and the 4th in the 4th House, etc., as shown below :Positions of Symbols.
1st symbol in the 1st House
2nd symbol in the 10th House
3rd symbol in the 7th House
4th symbol in the 4th House
5th symbol in the 2nd House
6th symbol in the 11th House
7th symbol in the 8th House
8th symbol in the 5th House
9th symbol in the 3rd House
10th symbol in the 12th House
11th symbol in the 9th House
12th symbol in the 6th House

CHAPTER X

The Left Witness, or 13th symbol, is placed on the left of the horoscope in relation to the 1st House; the
Right Witness, or 14th figure, to the right of the horoscope in relation to the 7th House; the Judge, over
the head of the horoscope in association with the 10th House, and the 16th symbol, or Appeal, at the foot,
in association with the 4th House.
You will then have the complete figure as here shown :-

The Arabic figures show the numbers of the symbols as generated. The Roman figures denote the
Houses.
JUDGING THE FIGURE
The status or nature of the person or thing about which inquiry is made must be carefully considered.
The consultant is represented by the 1st House, and the person inquired about is denoted by the 7th
House, if unrelated to the consultant. The significators of the Houses follow the same plan as in
Astrology (see Part I, section I, chap. vi.).
In a legal suit or criminal case the 1st is the prosecutor and the 7th the defendant. In a match or contest,
the challenger is denoted by the 1st House and the acceptor by the 7th.

CHAPTER X

If the question concerns gain or loss it must be referred to the 2nd House; and so of the rest, according to
the canons of Astrology; for let it be understood that the system of Geomancy was founded upon the
accredited influences of the planets, the symbols taking the place of those employed by astronomers, and
the method of computing them was designed to replace the anciently complex process of finding the
positions of the celestial bodies.
With the specimen figure before us, let it be supposed that the question has reference to a suit at law.
Here we find Fortuna Major in the 1st and Caput in the 2nd, showing good fortune and gain. In the 7th
there is Via (a malefic indication), denoting that the course of affairs is adverse to the defendant, while
Cauda in the 8th shows his financial prospects as likely to suffer by this suit.
The witnesses are both of equal strength, being denoted in such case by Acquisitio.
The Judge (symbol 15) is repeated in the 5th House (which is the 11th from the 7th), and this shows the
Judge to be favourably disposed to the defence. But nothing can overrule Destiny, and the 16th symbol,
derived by combining the 15th and 1st symbols, viz. Populus and Fortuna Major, must inevitably give
the verdict to the Prosecutor.
Had the question been concerning a speculation, then Populus in the 5th upheld by the Judge, with the
1st and 2nd Houses well occupied, is sufficient augury of a successful result.
As will be readily seen from this brief exposition of practical Geomancy, the basis is wholly dependent
on the exercise of the automatic faculty; but like most of the divinatory processes it is linked on to a
system which is entirely judicial. It has the advantage of being free from all complicated or intricate
calculations, and where the automatic or divinatory faculty is actively developed it can be safely relied
upon to give a true and speedy answer to all questions whatsoever.
Similar in many respects to this geomantic art is the Hebraic method of divination, called Kabalistic
Astrology, of which I have already given a complete exposition in a separate volume, so that there is
perhaps no need to advert to it in this place.
It may facilitate the process of judging a figure if I here give an interpretation of the effects due to the
positions of the various symbols in the several Houses of the horoscope. But it should be remembered
that the repetition of a symbol in two or more Houses may materially alter its final significance; while
invariably the summation of the figure and the conclusion of the whole matter is in the hands of the
Judge; or if there be any element of doubt, the sixteenth figure, which is the Appeal, will give a
conclusive verdict.

CHAPTER XI

CHAPTER XI
SYMBOLS IN THE TWELVE HOUSES

Tristitia
1. IN the 1st House this symbol denotes short life if the question be to that point; but not otherwise.
Much vexation, sorrow and disappointment. The mind is melancholy and misanthropic, brooding and
taciturn.
2. Acquisitiveness is strong. Money will be acquired by slow, penurious methods. Losses occur through
forgetfulness, displacement, and lack of initiative. The stolen goods will not be returned.
3. Relatives are few. The subject will outlive his kindred. His journeys will be unfortunate. Letters will
be delayed.
4. The house will prove unfortunate. Mining and real estate investments will cause losses. The parent
will not survive except to cause trouble. The end of life will be miserable.
5. Children are denied. Love affairs prove unfortunate. Speculations will cause trouble and loss. There is
no patrimony or inheritance.
6. The health is afflicted. Servants are a source of annoyance and trouble, and yet difficult to get rid of.
The occupation is not profitable.
7. Marriage is delayed. The wife is of a sickly nature. Contracts are fulfilled after delay only, and
generally show a loss. The opponent is not likely to succeed except he takes much time to do so.
8. Death is the result of a protracted illness. There will be no dowry. Legacies, if any, will be the
occasion of trouble.
9. The dream is unfortunate, denoting grief and loss. - The voyage will not be successful, and may prove
dangerous. Publication will prove successful only after a long time. The lawyer will cause
disappointment.
10. The credit will be secure but not large. The position steady. The preferment will not be obtained.

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Powerful but unpopular.
11. Steadfast friends, but some bereavement. A friend inquired about is unhappy. The wish will not be
granted at once, or if obtained will prove disappointing.
12. Enemies are not numerous but persistent. The prisoner will be convicted. The secret will be kept. The
confinement will prove unfortunate.

Carcer
1. A short life. A cramped and impoverished nature; selfish and taciturn.
2. Much poverty. The property will be lost, or hidden away. Goods will be confiscated or seized.
Anything lost will be locked away.
3. Restraint and even hatred among relations. The journey will be very unfortunate. Letters will be lost or
detained.
4. The house will be distrained upon. No value attaches to the estate. Minerals cannot be worked. The
end of life will be in an asylum or other place of detention. There will be dissension with the parents.
5. No children or those born will be very unfortunate. Speculations will prove disastrous and may leave
the person penniless. Love affairs will be secret and unfortunate.
6. The sickness will be enduring. Servants will cause loss. Creature comforts will be difficult to obtain.
The occupation will be sedentary or much confined.
7. There is no love between the partners in marriage. Contracts are broken. The opponent will be
withheld or rendered powerless.
8. The wife will have no dowry or it will be tied in trust or chancery. Death takes place obscurely, or by
violence and in solitude. There will be no legacy.
9. Exile; the traveller will not return. The voyage will not be fortunate, and the ship may be stranded. The
dream is very unfortunate, and denotes privation and suffering. Legal affairs cause loss. Publications will
be quite unsuccessful.
10. A bad master. No position, credit or esteem. Separation or estrangement from the parents.
11. A paucity of friends. Loss of those associated. The wish will never be fulfilled. The advice is evil.

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12. Many enemies. Prisoners will be detained. The confinement will be dangerous and tedious. Affairs
do not improve. There is no way out of difficulty.

Laetitia
1. The health will be good. The person jovial, bright and winsome, pleasant and kind to all. A long life.
2. Financial affairs will be quite satisfactory. But expenses will be heavy. Things lost will be recovered.
Prosperity will increase with time.
3. Harmony will abound between relatives, but they will die before the subject and be a source of benefit
to him. Journeys will be more pleasant than profitable. The letter will be satisfactory and may cause
merriment.
4. The property will give adequate profits. Agreement and affection with the parents. Mining interests
and estate investments will be fairly successful, but not without commensurate expense. The end of life
will show a competence and much happiness.
5. Children will be bright and happy and distinguished by their good qualities. A son will be born, who
will be tall, fair, handsome and prosperous. There will be a moderate inheritance. Speculations will be
satisfactory. Love affairs will proceed smoothly. The affection will be returned.
6. Servants will be honest and devoted. The health will be good. The sickness will be soon over. Food
and clothing will be adequate. The occupation should be moderately remunerative.
7. A handsome and well-endowed wife is shown. Contracts will be equitable and of profit. The opponent
will be well equipped and qualified, and may win.
8. The wife will have money by a legacy. You will have money left to you. The colleague is faithful but
needs watching.
9. The voyage will be bright and prosperous. The traveller is well and happy. The lawyer will prove
satisfactory. The dream is auspicious and prognosticates joy. Publications will be successful
10. Honours will be attained. The position will be influential, and the credit good. High patronage. Good
social standing. The parent lives to a good age and is respected.
11. Many friends. Conviviality. The wish will be fulfilled. Associations more numerous than profitable.
12. The enemy will become a friend. The prisoner will be liberated. The confinement brings happiness.

CHAPTER XI

Good fortune attends alienation or sequestration.

Acquisitio
1. The life will be long and flourishing. The person is of full stature and well developed; fair complexion.
The person will prevail by influence and means. Well-disposed but mindful of his own interests.
2. Much wealth. You will gain. The goods will be found. Success in dealing with real estate, stocks and
shares.
3. Relatives will be well disposed and moderately fortunate. The letter will bring you benefit. The
journey will be profitable.
4. The parent will live long and be very prosperous. The property will extend and be very valuable.
Mining interests will bring profit. The end of life will be very fortunate and highly prosperous.
5. Few children, but those very fortunate. There will be an inheritance of considerable value. The
speculation will be successful and profitable. Love affairs will succeed.
6. The sickness will be a long and difficult one, due to congestion or surfeit. Servants will be a source of
benefit. The occupation will be profitable. Creature comforts will be plentiful.
7. A rich wife. Will probably marry again. The opponent will have means to pursue the suit and will gain
the victory. Contracts will be highly profitable.
8. A dowry is denoted. Legacies will be received. Colleagues are staunch and faithful.
9. The voyage will be prosperous. The lawyer will be grasping but capable. The dream denotes gain and
prosperity. The publication will be highly remunerative.
10. High position; honours. Good credit. The parent will live long. The judge will be severe but just.
11. Many and influential friends who will be a source of benefit. The wish will certainly be obtained.
Profitable alliances and good advisers.
12. The prisoner will be detained. The exile will not return. The confinement will be enduring but safe.

Puer

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1. Life of moderate length. Great energy, frank and open character, strong temper. ‘ Executive abffity. A
good soldier or pioneer. Subject to fevers and wounds.
2. Good earning capacity and always busy, but not able to save money. Speculative and rash. Loss by
theft or’ fire. The goods will not be recovered. Disputes on financial matters.
3. Dangerous journey. An irritating letter. Quarrels with relatives.
4. Property spoiled by fire or plunder. Mining interests of no profit Disputes with a parent. The end of
life unfortunate.
5. No inheritance. Children will be male. Superior achievements among the progeny. Speculations hardly
successful. Love affairs unfortunate and disputatious.
6. The health suffers from a fever. Servants will be thievish. Creature comforts difficult to maintain. The
occupation is in fire, iron or hardware.
7. An unfortunate and short-lived wife. Disputes in marriage. Contracts only occasion strife and rivalry.
The opponent is strenuous but hardly fortunate.
8. Money by marriage; a small legacy. The colleague is too venturesome. The death is due to violence, or
poison by acids.
9. Dangerous voyage. A dream denoting strife and loss. The lawyer is alert and active. There is no
success abroad.
10. Position attained by own efforts. Some scandal. The parent is fairly long-lived but of contentious
mind. Credit good. The judge will show asperity and hastiness.
11. Friends will not be good counsellors. Dissensions occur with associates. The wish will come speedily
if at all.
12. The prisoner will be freed. The exile is in danger. The confinement will be hazardous and painful.
The distress will be raised with loss.

Rubeus
1. A short life and a dangerous one. Violent disposition, unscrupulous. Brusque and. forceful manner.
Ruddy complexion.

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2. Loss and difficulty in finance is shown. The goods will not be retrieved. Extravagance will
result in need. The livelihood is precarious.
3. Estrangement from relatives. A dangerous journey and accidental. The letter will be disagreeable and
offensive.
4. The parent will not live long, and will be of
ill-disposed nature. Mining interests will fail. The house is in danger of fire or accident. Property will
depreciate.
5. Poor and ill-conditioned progeny. Dangerous liaisons or love affairs. Speculations very ruinous. No
inheritance.
6. Poor health. Deceitful servants. Needy surroundings. Arduous but ill-paid work.
7. A bad wife of irregular habits. Contracts will not prove remunerative. The opponent will lose his case.
8. There will be no dowry. The death will be-violent and ignominious. No legacy. The colleague is
untrustworthy.
9. The voyage will be highly dangerous. The dream is of sinister import. The lawyer is not to be trusted.
The publication, will fail.
10. Without hope of a good position. Small credit. The parent is irascible and badly disposed. The judge
will prove adverse.
11. Friends are of low degree. Associates not advantageous. The wish will not be granted.
12. Vindictive enemies. The prisoner will be punished. The confinement will be unfortunate and
dangerous. The exile will not return.

Fortuna Major
1. A long life. Open, honest and fearless character. A tall fair person. Very fortunate and well, beloved.
2. The fortunes will be excellent. Riches. The lost goods will be recovered.
3. The journey will be bright and prosperous. Relatives will be attached and noted for high

CHAPTER XI

accomplishments. The letter will be of pleasant import.
4. The parent will enjoy long life and be distinguished. Property will be increased and will gain in value.
There will be gold found. The end of life will be brilliant.
5. A rich inheritance. A son of great promise. Favours and high fortune in love affairs. Domestic and
social felicity. Speculations are fortunate.
6. Excellent health. The sick will recover quickly. The servant is loyal and faithful. There will be good
fare and fine clothing. The occupation may be artistic, but in any case will be distinctive.
7. A wealthy wife and one who is beautiful, but not very long-lived. The opponent will lose the suit or
contest. Contracts will prove moderately profitable.
8. A dowry is shown. A rich legacy. The colleague is faithful but proud.
9. The voyage wifi be abundantly successful.
The dream is most auspicious. The lawyer will be distinguished and capable. Publication will be highly
successful.
10. High honours. A title. Patronage of royalty. An excellent position. Sound credit. The parent will live
to old age. The judge is perfectly honourable.
11. Friends not very wealthy but sincere and of good position. Advisers not fortunate in their advice. The
wish will be granted, but not fully.
12. The prisoner will be released. The exile will return. The enemy will be powerful. The confinement
highly successful.

Fortuna Minor
1. Good vitality but some feverish ailments. A person of small stature but proud. Freckled or sunburnt
complexion.
2. Moderate means. Prodigality. Things lost will not be recovered.
3. Unfortunate relatives. An unpleasant letter. The journey will not be very fortunate.
4. There is nothing to sustain the value of property The house is not fortunate The parent is of short life.

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Mining interests are slow in development and expensive The end of life will be moderately fortunate.
5 A small family, mostly boys The child to be born will be male Love affairs are not fortunate, but
honourable. Speculations will hardly be successful and at best but moderately so There will be a meagre
inheritance
6 The sick will continue so awhile The health is indifferently good The servant is honest but lax.
Creature comforts will be moderately abundant. The occupation will be fairly remunerative and
honourable.
7. A happy marriage but not a rich one. Wife lives to middle years. The opponent is not very influential
and the result is doubtful. Contracts will be carried through with difficulty.
8. A small dowry. There will be a small legacy. The colleague is hardly reliable.
9. The voyage is troublesome and not very fortunate. The dream denotes vexation. The lawyer will be of
quite moderate ability, but honest. The publication will hardly pay.
10. Honours of minor degree, but position unstable. Credit moderately good. The parent will soon die.
The judge will be overbearing and censorious.
11. Friends induce to bad effects. Associates are not profitable. The wish will be denied or very much
delayed.
12. The prisoner will continue in custody. The exile will not return. Enemies are numerous, but of low
degree. The confinement will hardly be fortunate and will be protracted.

Puella
1. The life will be happy, peaceful and moderately long. A fair complexion, graceful and slim figure,
grey or blue eyes.
2. Wealth will accumulate but much will be spent on pleasure and finery. Lost things will be restored.
Gain by women and gaming.
3. Sisters will be genial and kind. The letter will be pleasant and will contain an invitation. The journey
will be safe and moderately fortunate.
4. The parent will be beloved, and will live to moderately long years. The mine will contain silver or
copper. The house will be advantageous and very pleasant. Property will increase. The end of life is

CHAPTER XI

happy.
5. A small inheritance. Love affairs numerous and generally of good effect. Domestic happiness.
Successful speculations. A girl is born.
6. The health is weak and the patient in a bad way. Servants will be of irregular habits and bad character.
Creature comforts adequate, but tending to depreciate and diminish.
7. A beautiful and good wife. Contracts will be very profitable. The opponent is strong and has support
from women of position.
8. A small dowry soon expended. No legacy of significance. Death by poison. The colleague should not
be trusted.
9. The dream is very auspicious. The voyage. will be bright and fortunate. The lawyer is capable. and
will be sincere. Publications will prosper.
10. The position can be improved or ruined by women’s influence. The parent is of sordid character. The
credit is moderate only.
11. Friends will be numerous and beneficial. The wish will be granted and will give pleasure. The
associates are fairly fortunate.
12. The prisoner will be set free. The exile is in great prosperity. The enemy will be a woman who is
short and dark. The confinement will result favourably and be quite normal.

Amissio
1. The person is of short life, ill-favoured in appearance, and distorted in character.
2. There will be loss and squandering of money. Riches will diminish. The lost goods will not be
recovered. Gaming and women will be the ruin of this person.
3. Few and uncongenial relatives. The journey will be unfortunate. The letter will speak of loss or be the
occasion of loss.
4. The parent has a short life. Property will diminish. The house is unhealthy. Mining interests will be
unfortunate and a dead loss. End of life penurious.
5. No inheritance or one that is lost. Love affairs disappointing. Death or separation comes to the loved

CHAPTER XI

one. Speculations will be ruinous. Children, if they live, will be ill-favoured and deformed.
6. The health is bad. The patient will not recover. The servant will cause loss and trouble. There will be a
lack of comforts. Occupation mean and unprofitable.
7. The wife will soon die or will abscond. Contracts will cause loss. The opponent lacks means and will
lose the case.
8. No legacies, no dowry. A violent death, or by poison in the system. The colleague is despicable.
9. The voyage is unfortunate and will be the cause of loss. The dream is unfortunate and denotes failing
health and fortune. The lawyer will be extortionate and untrustworthy.
10. Position of no importance, or ruined by women. No credit. The parent will die early. Dishonour. The
judge will be adverse.
11. Friends will be ruinous and dissolute. Advisers and associates of no value. The wish will be denied.
12. The prisoner will perish. The exile is abandoned to his fate. The confinement will be dangerous and
disappointing or abortive. The enemy is a low-minded and despicable woman.

Albus
1. A sprightly, active and intelligent person, talkative and a busybody. In danger of an accident. Sharpwitted and cunning.
2. Gain by trade or the use of the intellect. The goods lost may be recovered if followed up quickly.
3. Relatives will be numerous but scattered. The journey will be successful but worrying. The letter is
about business and will be satisfactory.
4. The parent is weak and irritable. The house is not fortunate and very unsettled. Mining interests are not
without prospects if well worked. Quicksilver or silver ore may be found. Property. will be a contentious
matter and will hardly increase. The end of life will be restless and unsettled.
5. No inheritance of value. Love affairs unsatisfactory. Progeny intelligent but few. Speculations not very
fortunate and causing anxiety.
6. The patient will recover. The health is good. Servants are industrious but inquisitive and talkative. A
mercantile or clerical occupation. Commensurate creature comforts, food, clothing, etc.

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7. A good and industrious wife with some artistic faculty. The opponent will hardly sustain his cause.
Contracts will prove mainly beneficial, but will require hard work and alacrity.
8. Disputes will occur about legacies. A small dowry, if any, and that soon dissipated. The colleague is
very acute and cunning.
9. The voyage will not be fortunate. The dream is contentious and denotes quarrelling. The lawyer is not
dependable. The publication will fail.
10. The position is hardly assured. Honours attained with patience and industry. Credit, doubtful. The
parent will live long but is very aloof. The judge will be stern and severe.
11. Friends will be numerous and beneficial. The wish will be granted. Associations will lead to business
and profit.
12. The prisoner has no hope. The exile will never return. The enemy is a trifler and has no position or
influence. The confinement will be unfortunate arid anxious. The distraint will be withdrawn with loss to
you.

Conjunctio
1. The person is of a subtile and crafty nature, of mean appearance, small sharp features, unfortunate and
dishonest.
2. Gain by the sharp use of faculties; but in danger of spurious methods. The goods will not be found or
returned. The financial prospects are hazardous and chiefly associated with litigation.
3. Relatives will be inimical. The journey has its dangers but is fairly successful. The letter proposes a
meeting or understanding.
4. The parent is of low degree and of short life. The House is unfortunate. Mining prospects are hardly
good, bringing disputes and anxiety. The end of life will be full of small troubles and anxieties.
5. The child will be a girl. The progeny are few, well equipped and fairly fortunate. Speculations are not
profitable. There will be no inheritance. Love affairs cause anxiety.
6. The health is rather poor. The patient may recover with care and attention. Servants will be deceptive
and gossiping. There will be anxiety as to the livelihood.
7. The wife will be well-disposed and, intelligent, but will not live long. The opponent will fail. The

CHAPTER XI

contract can hardly be made to pay.
8. There will be no dowry, but disputes arise's about the wife’s money. No legacies, but quarrels over the
goods of the dead. The colleague is beyond. all trust, being crafty and. d.eceitful.
9. The voyage is very unfortunate. The dream denotes loss, trouble and disputation. The lawyer is not to
be relied upon, and will seek to defraud. The publication has no chance of success.
10. The position is sustained by the use of the faculties, but there are no honours. The credit is indifferent
and liable to be assailed. The judge is querulous and crotchety. The parent will be a source of trouble.
11. Friends will be of little avail. The wish will not be attained. Associates are not the best advisers; they
can well be fewer and better.
12. The prisoner is condemned. The exile will remain in oblivion. The enemy is petty and vindictive. The
confinement will be dangerous. Distraint is enforced with loss.

Via
1. The person is tall and slender and has a clear-spoken and direct manner. A long and successful life.
2. Gain by new openings and enterprises. Good fortune. The lost goods will be recovered if followed.
3. The journey will be successful and without delays. Relatives are few, but well disposed. The letter
concerns a journey and will be fortunate.
4. The parent is well favoured and will travel much. The house is fairly fortunate. The property will be
cut up. Mining is fairly successful. Silver may be found in small quantity. The end. of life will be
unsettled and changeful.
5. Love affairs will be moderately favourable. The child will be a male. Progeny few, but gifted.
Speculations show small profits. There will be an inheritance for partition.
6. The health is good. The patient will recover. The servant is useful and industrious. The livelihood will
be assured. The occupation involves travelling.
7. A good and capable wife. The opponent will lack support but will proceed successfully. Contracts will
be carried through.
8. Only a small dowry. A legacy will be secured. The colleague may be relied upon.

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9. The voyage is successful and smooth. The dream denotes a journey in store and a way out of
difficulties. The lawyer is master of his case. The publication will meet with a ready reception.
10. The parent is unfortunate and of narrow -views and close habits. Honours are attained. The credit is
good. The judge will be impartial but impatient.
11. Friends will be fortunate. Associations profitable. The wish will be granted.
12. The exile will return. The prisoner will escape. The confinement will quickly be over. The enemy is a
dark, slender woman. The distraint is effected.

Populus
1. The person is fair, short and of full figure. Moderately long life.
2. Changeful but increscent fortunes. Gain by public service or publicity in some capacity. The lost
goods will be restored in part.
3. Many relatives, but also many troubles with them. The journey is good. The letter is concerning a
public affair, and is of good import.
4. The parent is fortunate, but changeful. There will be gain from property. The house is fortunate.
Mining interests will be supported. The end of life will be by the sea or in the midst of an assembly.
5. The child will be female. Love affairs fickle and uncertain. Speculations fairly successful. A small
inheritance which will be divided.
6. The health will be uncertain and changeful. A dropsical affection. The patient is in danger of a relapse.
The servant is not dependable. The occupation is connected with the public and is precarious. The
livelihood is uncertain.
7. The wife will be good looking and pleasant, but fickle. The opponent will have public sympathy, but
will hardly succeed. Contracts more numerous than profitable.
8. A legacy is lost, but disputes and falls into Chancery. No dowry. The colleague is vacillating and
inconstant. Death by drowning or in a public place.
9. The voyage will be fairly fortunate. The dream denotes publicity and increase. The lawyer is too much
occupied and cannot be relied upon. The publication will become popular.

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10. The position is unstable and the credit doubtful. Honours may be achieved by public aid or
recognition. The parent is unfortunate, short-lived and very restless. The judge will be controlled by
public opinion.
11. Friends more numerous than useful or dependable. Associates will change with circumstances. The
wish will be granted at the full of the moon.
12. The prisoner will be released by petition or not at all. The exile will come back to his country. The
distraint will not be effected. The confinement will be difficult but safe. The enemy is a short, stout and
fair woman, a great busybody.

Caput (ascending node)
1. The person is tall and fair; of fortunate and honest nature; a good organizer. Long life.
2. Abundant means. Gain by initiative and the use of the faculties. The lost things will be recovered.
3. Fortunate relatives and well-disposed. The journey will be successful. The letter makes a proposal and
is of good import.
4. The parent is fortunate and long-lived. The property is good. The house is desirable. The mines will
yield well and will be extended. The end of life will be highly fortunate.
5. The child will be a male. Progeny will be highly fortunate. Love affairs will prosper. The speculation
is sure to be successful. There will be a rich inheritance.
6. The health is good. The patient will recover quickly. The servant will be faithful and trustworthy. Livelihood is well assured and abundant. The occupation may be medical and will be fortunate.
7. A good marriage, but bereavement; and more than one marriage is denoted. The opponent will be
powerful and a man to be feared. Contracts will be profitable.
8. A rich dowry. Certain legacies. The colleague is capable and will benefit you. Death by snake or insect
bite or poison.
9. The voyage will be highly fortunate. The dream denotes success and a new opening. The lawyer will
do himself credit and benefit you. The publication will be well received.
10. Certain honours. High patronage. Good credit. The parent is long-lived but impulsive and headstrong.

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The judge will be impartial and just and inclining to a good cause.
11. Faithful and good friends. Honourable associations. The highest wish will be obtained.
12. The prisoner will be pardoned. The exile will return quickly. The confinement will be fortunate and
safe. The enemy will be active and persistent.

Cauda (descending node)
1. A short life and a miserable one. The person is of poor aspect and mean disposition, crabbed and
vindictive.
2. Poor estate. A competence earned with difficulty. Failing fortunes. The goods will not be recovered.
3. Few relatives and those distant or unsympathetic. The journey will be highly dangerous and may be
fatal. The letter concerns a departure and is unfortunate.
4. The parent dies early. The property is of no value. The mine will not yield anything. The house is
fateful and may be demolished. The end of life is miserable.
5. The child will die at birth. The progeny will be few and ill-favoured. There will be no inheritance.
Speculations will ruin you. The beloved will die or become as dead to you.
6. The health is very bad, the excretory system is imperfect. The patient cannot recover. The servant is
wholly undesirable and will be a source of great danger. The livelihood is poor. The occupation is menial
and undesirable, or yet nefarious.
7. The wife will be ill-disposed and violent, or there may be no hope of marriage at all. The opponent has
no chance of success. Contracts, will never be completed but to your ruin.
8. No dowry but an extravagant wife. Legacies are very remote from you. The death will be a violent
one. The colleague is malicious and to be avoided entirely.
9. The voyage will be fatal. The dream portends dire distress and trouble. The lawyer will fail to pursue
his case. The publication is a dead failure.
10. The parent is shortlived and of ill repute. Honours are distant and beyond your reach. The credit is
assailed and cannot be upheld. The judge will be malicious and will exceed his functions.
11. Friends will prove ruinous and a cause of danger. Associations unprofitable. The wish is denied.

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12. The prisoner will perish if he does not escape. The exile will never return. The enemy is very
malicious. The confinement will be extremely dangerous.
The foregoing interpretations are due to the signification of each of the symbols in the Twelve Houses,
and will apply to all questions which are proper to each House. Judgment is not, however, to be made
from the single position, but must also take into account the duplicated or repeated positions, the
witnesses and the judge. Observe that the 13th symbol is the witness for the inquirer or consultant; the
14th for the opponent; the judge is impartial and is related to the 10th House, while the 16th symbol is
the final appeal and is the end of the matter, as denoted by the 4th House to which it is related. Any
question can be answered by relating it to its proper House (see "Astrology," Part I), and observing what
symbol falls in that House, how it is sustained by the witnesses, or reflected in other parts of the figure,
and what the judge may determine.
The Geomantic art is by no means an easy one except to those versed in the nature and signification of
the symbols, the Houses, and the planetary affinities.
Some attempt has been made by Agrippa and others to introduce the signs of the Zodiac into the
Geomantic scheme, but the evident disagreement between the various methods submitted clearly shows
that they form no part of a coherent tradition. It will be found in practice that the signs normal to the
Houses can be presumed with satisfactory results; the 1st House and Aries, the 2nd and Taurus, and so
on, being the foundation of the true Geomantic figure, the modifications being, of course, due to the
symbols which fall into them.
The root nature of the symbols should be known, for many of them are capable of considerable variation
of meaning, according to the Houses they fall in, the corresponding signs, and the nature of the question
to be resolved.
Root Meanings of the Symbols.
Carcer. - A prison. Denotes privation, confinement, restriction, inaction. It corresponds to
Tristitia. - Sorrow. Denotes grief, disappointment, bereavement, condemnation. It is of the nature of
Laetitia. - Joy. Denotes joviality, success, laughter, good health, and confidence. It corresponds to

.
.

Acquisitio. - Obtaining. Denotes gain, achievement, success, fulfilment and expansion. It corresponds to
.
Puer. - A boy. Denotes impulse, ardour, zeal, impetuosity and energy. Corresponds to

.

CHAPTER XI

Rubeus. - Redhead. Denotes a rash, passionate and fiery nature; accidents, violence. It corresponds to

.

Fortuna Major. - Great fortune. Denotes success, honours, illumination and protection. It corresponds to
.
Fortuna Minor. - Lesser fortune. Denotes the above in less degree; benefits conferred rather than
attained. Corresponds to .
Puella. - A girl. Denotes pleasure, gaiety, brightness, things that are pretty and sweet, attractive but
elusive schemes, a promise but not a certain fulfilment. It corresponds to .
Amissio. - Loss. Denotes bereavement, reversal, expenditure, loss (whether of faculty, position, money,
etc., according to its House), and is unfortunate. It corresponds to .
Albus. - White head. Denotes intelligence, experience, wisdom, judgment, and is fortunate, of the nature
of .
Conjunctio. - Union, Denotes combination, counsel, coming together, support, partnership, marriage. It is
good or bad according to the House-sign with which it is associated in the figure. Of the nature .
Via. - A way, or road. Denotes a passage or way through, an entrance and exit, a direct course, a means
to an end, connections, singleness, communication. Of the nature of the New Moon.
Populus. - People. Denotes a mass, swelling, gathering together, a crowd, plurality, the tide of opinion. It
is fortunate and of the nature of the Full Moon.
Caput. - The head. Denotes entering in, accession, increase, ascending, acquiring and absorbing. Of the
nature of tile Dragon’s Head or Moon’s Ascending Node.
Cauda. - The tail. Denotes going out, recession, decrease, descending, losing and relinquishing. Of the
nature of the Dragon’s Tail or Moon’s Descending Node.
The Pairs
It will be observed that the sixteen symbols are brought into relations as eight pairs of opposites. Thus :
Acquisitio
Laetitia

and Amissio.
Tristitia.

CHAPTER XI

Puer

Puella.

Albus

Rubeus.

Fortuna Major

Fortuna Minor.

Caput

Cauda.

Populus

Via.

Conjunctio

Carcer.

These "pairs of opposites," which are at the root of the ancient Chinese system of Geomancy, have no
relation to the natures of the respective planets involved, or the signs or Houses ruled by them, but -they
are founded upon the natural antithesis of certain spiritual principles which begin with the yin and the
yang, the dark and light sides of the manifested universe, and extend to all the relationships of the cosmic
elements. Those who would pursue the subject should take in hand the text of the Yih King with the
commentary by Confucius, who said of this great work that if he lived to one hundred years he would
devote thirty to the study of it. What has filtered through to the Occident is a simple but practical system
of Geomancy which I have here attempted to display.

CHAPTER XII

CHAPTER XII
PSYCHOMETRY
THE trained occultist is capable not only of manifesting intense psychic activity under the direction of
his will, but also on occasion of maintaining a perfect passivity which enables him to receive and register
impressions of a subtile nature from the external world and to give free play to the subconscious side of
the mind-sphere.
The psychometric sense is that by which we receive impressions coming to us imperceptibly through the
sense-organs. The functions of this sense imply not only the existence of a subtile aura attaching to every
material object, but also the ability to perceive the effects produced in ourselves by attention to the auric
emanations of such objects.
The occultists affirm the existence of an aura to, every solar system, to every planet of that system, and to
every person or thing upon that planet. This aura is a plastic sensitized medium of an etheric nature
which interpenetrates and extends beyond every material body. It is the storehouse of every experience
attaching to the body it is related to. A piece of rock will thus preserve to us not only the record of the
earth of which it is a part, but also the individual record of its detached existence; and this will be the
case with every minutest particle, in less degree of intensity, of any body whatsoever. The greater the
mass the stronger will be the auric emanation. In the case of the molecule, the aura would seem to
correspond with the heat-sphere; but unlike the aura, the size of the heat-sphere will depend on the
elasticity of the atoms composing it, and this again on the activity of its electrons.
The aura which surrounds the earth has been called Alkahest, "the Astral Light," and the Memoria Mundi.
It is the universal library of fact and fiction to which every sensitive, every writer, every inventor, every
occultist, has conscious or unconscious access. Not only does it contain the record of all that has
happened in the world, but also all the thoughts that have been projected from men’s minds, and all the
plots and schemes and glorious ideals which have found place in the imaginations of sinners and saints
the world over. This recording film, this cinemato-phonograph, is capable of reproducing its records or
rather we are capable of perceiving them, wherever the faculty of clairvoyance or clairaudience is
developed to a sufficient degree to be able to penetrate beyond the riot of auric emanations by which we
are continually and immediately surrounded. But even without either clairvoyant or clairaudient faculty,
we may contact this emanation by the Psychometric sense.
It is inferred from the conditions under winch Psychometry is practised that the range of this sense is not
comparable with that of either "clear" seeing or hearing. In the exercise of the faculty it is necessary to
have some object such as a letter, a lock of hair, a glove, belonging to the person concerning whom

CHAPTER XII

inquiry is made.
This object is then held for a short while between the hands of the psychometrist or "Passive" and
sometimes it is raised to the level of the forehead and placed between the eyes.
If the Passive is sufficiently sensitive to get en rapport with the subject, there will arise before the mind’s
eye a series of pictures or scenes, or yet only vague apperceptions of form, colour, distance, locality,
time, etc. These must nevertheless be at once communicated byword of mouth to a Recorder, however
detached and irrelevant they may appear. The mind of the Passive must be kept entirely free from
speculation, reasoning or guessing. If the automatic faculty is allowed free play it will inevitably lead to
correct impressions after it has been allowed a certain amount of free exercise.
When it is considered how seldom in daily life this subconscious self is allowed to function, it is hardly
to be wondered at that a faculty which has lain dormant since childhood should, upon being aroused by
the will, take occasion in the first place to stretch its limbs and gather its forces. Give it opportunity and
time in which to carry out the behests of the Will, and it undoubtedly will prove itself a faithful servant.
The psychometric sense is in all respects analogous to that exercised by the passive seer in the act of
crystal-gazing or "scrying"; only it does not necessarily or generally extend to vision, but rests in a
certain apperception or "impression" which takes no definite mental form.
There are, moreover, certain difficulties always to be encountered in the exercise of psychometry.
"Clouding" may result from a state of incomplete rapport, which does not always rest in the degree of
sensitiveness enjoyed by the Passive. It may well be due to the fact that the glove or article submitted for
contact has not sufficiently strong associations with the person to whom it belongs. A letter, for instance,
has frequently but slender association with the writer of it, while it is saturated through and through with
the magnetism of the recipient owing to its having been long carried about by him.
"Overlapping" may arise from cross-influences, as when an article, long in the possession of one person,
is given as a memento or keepsake to another, and then is submitted for contact by the Passive. In such
case the whole of the later associations have to be waded through and obliterated from the test before the
information sought concerning the original possessor can be arrived at. Meanwhile, the psychometric
sense is becoming tired and blunted in its perception, so that little that is to the actual point of inquiry
may be elicited at first. In a second or third test from the same article the familiar surface ground will be
traversed more speedily and there is then every likelihood of a satisfactory conclusion.
"Obliquity" may very easily result from the error of applying remarks concerning one set of impressions
to the wrong person. Thus if I go to a Passive to make an inquiry about a person named A, and take with
me an article which was at one time in A’s possession, but has some time been held by me, the Passive
may very well be voicing some valuable information about myself while I am erroneously trying to apply
it to the subject of my inquiry, namely A. Until therefore the Passive has given some unmistakable
indication that he or she is on the track of the actual point of inquiry, care must be exercised in the

CHAPTER XII

interpretation or application of any remarks that may be made.
It is usually found that the best results are obtainable under conditions of complete isolation both
physical and mental. If the mind of the Passive is troubled about his own affairs or is labouring under the
least degree of physical discomfort, there will be a surface-ripple or superficial disturbance of the mindsphere which will effectually prevent the Passive from getting down to those still, mysterious depths of
consciousness in which the secrets of the ages lie hidden.
"Misinterpretation" may occur in cases where the clairvoyant faculty lends itself to the psychometric and
evolves a symbolic figure by way of expression.
Thus I was once asked to psychometrize an envelope taken haphazard from a packet of papers then in the
possession of Colonel Olcott at Madras. On applying the envelope to my forehead I was presently
affected with a sense of distance and some degree of giddiness. The inference was that I was in contact
with conditions which implied estrangement, loss or obscuration, and that the position referred to was an
elevated one either physically or spiritually. Following on this immediate perception I saw a black vault
like an ebon sky in which flamed a comet. This passed away and nothing more, was seen or sensed. I
suggested that the comet was a stranger to the system, implying a person of wandering habits, one who
had distinctive merits or a certain celebrity - a possible "cynosure for wandering eyes." And then comet from Latin coma, the hair - was there any suggestion there? Assuredly there was, for on disclosure I saw
that the envelope contained a lock of black hair which I was told was that of Damodar K. Mavalankar, a
young student of Occultism, who had been fired with an ambition to go to Tibet and who last was heard
of from Darjeeling before crossing into Tibet. Involuntarily there sprang to my mind the words of
Tennyson: "And some of them have followed wandering fires, lost in the quagmire." In some few minds
there still lingers a belief - or it may be only a hope - that the pilgrim will one day return.
Another instance of a more direct sensing owing to the illumination of the symbolic element, was
afforded me by a lady who had an eye to the value of test conditions. This lady handed me a box of some
three inches cube, wrapped around with a paper which was tied and sealed. On holding this in my hands I
presently perceived a wide flowing landscape of undulating fields on which were cattle grazing. I
remarked with interest that they were of milky whiteness. On the neck of one of superior proportions a
bell was hanging. I heard this bell ring, and from that point I gathered no other impressions save that the
country to which this scene belonged was Greece.
On opening the package at request, I found it to contain the box first mentioned, and within, securely
packed and stuffed with soft paper - the identical cow-bell of which I had received both clairvoyant and
clairaudient impression!
Providing the student is willing to be perfectly honest with himself and frank with others, there is nothing
that should prevent him from acquiring a mass of first-hand evidence of the existence and exercise of this
psychometric faculty.

CHAPTER XII

I would particularly recommend a reading of Denton’s The Soul of Things as being one of the earliest and
most convincing of the many works extant dealing with this subject.
DOWSING
The psychometric sense is very clearly displayed in the process of water-finding by means of the hazelrod, called "Dowsing." The following account of some successful experience of this sort will prove of
interest.
"A few weeks ago," says the Westminster Budget of December 1893, "there took place some operations
with the divining-rod by Mr. Stears, of Hull, who was called to Mr. S. Campion’s farm at East Hesluton,
near Malton, to search for a water supply. At that time he marked two places near the farmhouse where,
he said, the. presence of water was indicated by the rod. Since then Mr. E. Halliday, plumber, of Malton,
has bored an artesian well at one of the places indicated and found a plentiful supply of water at a depth
of 87 feet, after going through sand, clay and a bed of what Mr. Halliday says is quartz and lead ore. Mr.
Campion, who was previously without a supply of pure water, is delighted with the results of the visit of
the diviner, and has faith in the power of the rod. These and other experiments were conducted in the
presence of Julia Lady Middleton, the Hon. Geoffrey and Mrs. Dawnay, Lord Middleton’s agent, and
others. Mr. Stears also claims to be able to locate minerals as well as water, and affirms that not one
person in ten thousand can use the rod successfully."
I do not know how Mr. Stears arrives at his figures, and I do not suppose that one person in ten thousand
has ever attempted to employ the faculty. As a fact well within the experience of students of Occultism,
and fully illustrated nearly a century ago in a book called Welton’s Rod, it serves but to enforce the fact
that the divinatory faculty extends to all the senses, including that of sight, that of hearing, of smell, of
touch, and even, as here, the nervous sense of feeling, which is not the same as touch, but is an auric
sense extending over a very wide area.
As yet, however, the majority of people are oblivious of the fact that such psychic faculties exist, and
even those who possess them and have them in something like working order are conscious of having but
little control over them. The functions of the higher senses are as yet imperfectly understood. Every sense
has its octave, but the involuntary functioning of any "sense octave" is apt to be regarded as a sign of
insanity by those who have no knowledge of the psychic faculties. Even genius has been related to
insanity and Lombroso and Nordau have sought to prove genius is often a form of insanity. It should
rather be regarded as an exaltation of faculty which relates -its subject to a plane of consciousness
removed from one’s normal experience by some degrees. Thus while new centres of activity are being
opened up, and are as yet under imperfect control, whole areas of the brain are left in neglect. Hence, to
the casual observer, genius is not distinguishable from some incipient forms of insanity. The eccentricity
of genius is one of the most significant indications of the functioning of the subconscious part of the
mind. In just the same way the opening up of new centres of activity in the psychic nature of man is
frequently attended by temporary loss of control over the normal brain functions. Loss of memory
(amnesia), hysteria, absent-mindedness, unconscious utterance of one’s thoughts, illusions and

CHAPTER XII

hallucinations, irritability, indifference to one’s surroundings, spasmodic muscular actions and similar
eccentricities, are among the products which signalize the evolution of the newly-acquired psychic
faculty. These symptoms will, however, subside as soon as the new faculty has been established. Nature
is jealous of her offspring, and all her forces are concentrated in the process of generation. The
abnormalities incident to the period of gestation clearly prove this. Once her end is attained, however,
she resumes her normal functions. Those who aim at the development of psychic faculties must therefore
be prepared to pay toll to Nature, according gladly whatever she demands by way of tribute. "The
universe is thine. Take what thou wilt, but pay the price."
And what is the price of seership, of the divinatory faculty, of any of these superior gifts of Nature ?
What is it worth to oneself? That is the price we may be expected to pay.

CHAPTER XIII

CHAPTER XIII
DREAMS
ACCORDING to the Yoga Philosophy of India, the states of consciousness are primarily threefold: -(1)
Jagrata, or waking consciousness; (2) Svapna, or -sleeping consciousness; and (3) Sushupti, or spiritual
consciousness. That which is normal to the dreamlife is svapna. It is convenient to regard the ego or
conscious individual as a thread (sutrâtma, the thread-soul, as the Hindus call it), upon which is a bead
representing the centre of consciousness. If the thread be divided into three coloured sections, we shall
then have the three planes of life upon which the centre of consciousness can function. In the present
instance we are concerned with the a middle stage or plane, that of dream-life. There is a neutral or nodal
point separating each of these stages of consciousness from that above it. As regards the mass of people,
the jagrata, or waking consciousness, is the norm. But in mystics and visionaries the svapna, or dreamconsciousness, is the norm, and just as the ordinary, matter-of-fact person passes in sleep from jagrata to
svapna, so the visionary to whom svapna is normal, passes in sleep to sushupti.
This being understood as the concomitant result of variety of evolution or individual development as
distinguished from mere intellectual accomplishments, we may next consider the nature and cause of
sleep and then pass to a study of dreams, their nature and significance.
During the activity of the body during the day every muscular action, every mental effort, is followed by
the breaking down of a number of minute cells all of which discharge their vital contents into the system.
This vital content of the cell is called in the Yoga philosophy prâna. It is like an electrical charge. So
long as it remains in the cell it can be used and directed at will in the form of a current of energy, but
when the cell is broken up the force is dissipated into the free ether of space, and goes to swell the sum
total of latent energy in the world. When this process of breaking down has gone on in the system for
some time, the body is flooded with the vital principle, and if this were to go on to any great extent,
disease and death would be the inevitable result. Vitality is not to be measured by the amount of the
prâna in the body, but by the amount of it we have under our control. There is a good deal of life in a
putrid carcase, but none of it is co-ordinated or under control.
For the purpose of reabsorbing the vitality and repairing the cellular structure of the exhausted battery,
Nature has provided that exhaustion shall be followed by sleep; as day is followed by night and summer
by winter. When the powers of recuperation become impaired, when this subtile Archæus passes beyond
our power of automatic refreshing, then age and disease begin to assert themselves.
Ad rem. - We sleep because we are exhausted; we awake because we are refreshed. When we are asleep
we dream, because the immortal soul of us, that which we call the Man (manas, or mind.) never sleeps,

CHAPTER XIII

since it is never exhausted, and this transference of its activity and of its dual functions to a higher or
more interior plane of consciousness is the cause of dreaming.
Of what nature, then, are dreams? Obviously they are only the perceptions of the soul in its middle or
twilight state of consciousness. Dreamland is shadow-land, neither darkness nor pure light, but a
chiaroscura of mingled perceptions. Dreams are primarily of three kinds :(1) Those which arise as memories of the waking state of consciousness; (2) those which have their
origin in the current changes of thought and feling taking place in the dreaming state; and (3) those which
descend as illuminations from the superior plane of spiritual consciousness.
These three kinds of dreams may be called the memory dream, the phantastic dream, and the clear dream.
They are related to the physical, psychic and spiritual principles in man.
The transition from one stage to another is called mutation, and the sleeping condition is then known as
the higher or lower mutative sleep. The following diagram shows the various stages of consciousness :-

Every kind of dream is in some measure illuminative, for even though the dream may consist entirely of
our memory-products, it is the selective faculty of the soul which, taking a little here and a little there,
fashions the fabric of a dream and builds up the mosaic from the multitude of detached experiences. The
dream thus presented to the mind is reflective of a state of existence which is interior to that of the
waking perception and to that extent instructive to it. Excessive or indiscreet feeding will cause disturbed

CHAPTER XIII

dreams, nightmare and a sense of oppression, and this instructs us that even though mind forms matter, it
is certain that matter conditions mind, and that undigested or unassimilated food, which would hardly
trouble the wakeful mind, becomes a source of impediment to the soul that would willingly spread its
wings were it not hindered and restrained by its care for the body. A good tenant cannot go away upon a
holiday leaving his house in disorder, for should he do so it would be a constant source of anxiety to him.
It is right that he should find it clean-swept and garnished at such time as he would again take possession.
The greater number of dreams are of this psycho-physiological nature and origin, and must chiefly be
interpreted in relation to the body or those mundane events which bear upon the immediate personal
interests of the dreamer.
Dreams that are disconnected from the physical senses are in the nature of soul images, for the soul
thinks in symbols and understands by natural interior perception of their significance. Hence, frequently
the allegorical or symbolic dream carries with it to the waking perception a sense of its true significance.
All true dreams can be interpreted by natural correspondence, and anybody who is versed in symbology,
not as an archaeological science but as a soul-language, can interpret dreams. But in order to apply such
interpretations to the individual dreamer it is necessary to know to what order in the sidereal world such
individual may belong. In so far as the individual is reflected in the horoscope of birth by means of his
physical persona, it becomes possible to use the astrological key for the interpretation of dreams.
To many people flowers mean sickness, while to others they signify joy and festivity. A probable
explanation of this difference lies in the fact that certain persons are in the habit of being visited with
gifts of flowers during illness, and there is hence an associated idea of flowers and sickness; while others
not so fortunately placed as to be recipients of floral condolences have only associated flowers with the
brightest days of their lives, for flowers belong to the summer days and to the country, where leisure and
rest are usually sought.
In similar manner names have a distinct significance when closely associated with events of our waking
life. Thus I know a lady to whom any name with the syllable NOR in it is disastrous; and "Normanhurst"
was lost by her through an unfortunate financial crisis; "Norma" was the name of a fine pedigree St.
Bernard dog that died from pneumonia brought on by careless exposure while the animal was with the
veterinary surgeon; "Norsa" was the name of a ship christened by her which went down on its first
voyage; "Norland" was the name of a place in which her child was rendered speechless through a fail;
and I regard this as
sufficient reason why, without being able to ascribe any reason for her prejudice, the name of Nora puts
her on the defensive whenever she meets a person of that name. The soul in the dream-state instinctively
surrounds itself with the images of those things, their forms, colours, names, which in waking experience
have been associated with happiness whenever its interior state is a happy one; and, on the contrary,
when its unclouded perception of the future is fraught with prognostics of evil import, it throws down
upon the brain of the sleeping personality the images of such things as, within the experience of that
personality, are associated with danger or hurt to mind, body or estate. With such solicitude does the soul

CHAPTER XIII

watch over its physical instrument that it will forewarn it of any danger that is likely to befall it providing
the conditions for conveying and registering such a I message are present.
Similarly the Spirit of Man watches over its Psyche, or female counterpart, and in clear dreaming
conveys to it that degree of spiritual instruction or admonition which it is capable of receiving or of
which it has present need.
This Spirit has its own imperishable vehicle, the solar body, into which the soul or lunar body is merged
after the death of the physical. The solar body is called the "golden bowl," the holy grail; the lunar body
or thread-soul is called the "silver cord," and the physical body is called "the pitcher" and the vessel of
clay Thus in Ecclesiastes we read: "And desire shall fail, because man goeth to his long home, and the
mourners go about the streets : or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the
pitcher be broken at the fountain."
These things are necessary to be known before we can attempt to regulate our knowledge concerning the
nature and origin of dreams.
The symbolism of dreams has therefore a threefold application: a material, a psychic, and a
spiritual or mental. We call that spiritual which arises in the mind from the illumination of the spirit, that
psychic which arises from the emotions, and that physical which has its origin in material experiences.
The spiritual dream is distinguished from the psychic by its being unattended by any degree of emotion
as doubt, anxiety, trouble or fear; but only a sense of great beatitude, the mind being detached from the
vision and regarding it as a magnificent spectacle. The psychic dream, on the contrary, is attended by a
distinct emotional disturbance, and if the dreamer does not actually take an active part in the scene as one
of the dramatis personæ, it at least identifies itself sympathetically with one of the actors and experiences
by repercussion just as much as if it were taking an active part. What a mother feels for her child in joy
or sorrow, in pleasure or in pain, the Psyche feels for the images of its creation, for they are indeed its
children. It is a rare, but nevertheless certain, fact that men
experience in their physical bodies that which they have been dreaming. Thus I have recently read of a
man who dreamed that he was lying upon the sands exposed to a burning sun, and on awaking he
continued to experience the burning sensation in his face, and going to the mirror discovered to his vast
astonishment that his face was actually and most thoroughly sunburnt. This phenomenon is known as
astral repercussion.
I once saw the wraith of a living person walk into the room where I was sitting in company with others,
and it was observed that the wraith, which appeared in all respects a figure of flesh and blood and
properly clothed, knocked his head against the projecting corner of a wardrobe and instantly disappeared
in thin air. The next morning the person whose wraith we had seen appeared with his eye bandaged up
and explained that he had a bruised swelling and must have been stung in the night by a mosquito. We,
however, told him a different story.

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Paracelsus says: "Artists and students have frequently obtained instruction in their dreams regarding
things which they desired to learn. The imagination was thus free and commenced to work its wonders. It
attracted to it the Evestra of some philosophers, and they communicated their knowledge to them.
"Such occurrences frequently take place, but it often happens that part of that which is communicated is
forgotten on awaking to the outer world. In such case it is necessary to observe strict silence, not to speak
to anybody, nor to leave the room, nor take any note of things ; but to eat nothing and remain still; and
after a while we shall remember the dream."
I have found that if, on awaking from a dream part of which is obscure or forgotten, I continue in the
same position, keeping my eyes closed to all external things, and then go over the dream in my
imagination, the missing part is generally restored, as if I had dreamed the dream all over again. Every
one knows how readily a disturbing dream may be dispelled by changing the position of the body. It is
sometimes more convenient to change the position of the mind.
"The astral life," says a well-known occultist, "is most active in man during his sleep. The sidereal (solar)
man is then awake and acts through the evestrum (or astral body), causing occasionally prophetic dreams,
which the person will remember on awaking. But there are also elusive dreams, caused by other
influences, and man must therefore use his reason and discrimination to distinguish the true from the
false."
But, according to Paracelsus, "There may be more reliance placed in dreams than in the revelations of the
necromantic art; because the latter are usually false and deceptive, and although the elementals which use
the astral bodies of the dead on such occasions will give correct answers to questions and often confirm
their assertions with oaths, yet no implicit confidence can be placed in what they say because they do not
wish to speak the truth nor are they able to speak it.
"Therefore the patriarchs, prophets and saints preferred visions and dreams to any other method of
divination. . . . Supernatural dreams take place at times among the present generation, but only the wise
pay any attention to them. Others treat them with contempt, although such dreams are true and do not
deceive.
"There are some people whose natures are so spiritual and their souls so exalted that they can approach
the highest spiritual sphere when their bodies are asleep. . . . Dreams, visions and omens are gifts of the
sidereal man, and not of the elementary body. . . . The elementary body has no spiritual gifts, but the
sidereal body possesses them all. Whenever the elementary body is at rest, the sidereal body is awake
and active, because the latter needs neither rest nor sleep; but whenever the elementary body is fully
awake and active, the activity of the sidereal body is then restrained, and its free movements are impeded
or hindered like those of a man who is buried alive in a tomb."
A man who is content with the rushlight of his own reason will hardly welcome the effulgent rays of the
universal sun. What benefit can such people derive from the most perspicuous dream?

CHAPTER XIII

Localization of dreams is a very remarkable phenomenon. Yet almost all persons have some select spot,
some haunt to which they repair from time to time in their dreams. It is always the same place and
thoroughly well known to the dreamer, though quite outside all waking recognition. At such places one
meets the same persons, and the dream is continuous of that which preceded it. For many years I had
such a place where I met and discussed with one whose name I afterwards saw in an old Italian book of
biographies, and since then I have not been able to revive the experience in my dreams. But I know that
in some cases these localizations are retrospective and are reminiscent of a former life, while in others
they are prospective and have reference to a place and environment which will eventually be known in
experience (See the Occult Review, August 1910, in which many remarkable cases are given).
"The interpretation of dreams," says Paracelsus, "is an art that is known to the wise." Many books
proposing to interpret dreams have appeared from time to time, but from their contents it is readily seen
that they are designed to impress the ignorant reader or to express the ignorant author, for by no rule of
art or understanding of universal symbolism (which is the only language known to the soul of man) can
the interpretations be justified. A very valuable initiatory work has been delivered to us by Emanuel
Swedenborg, the Swedish seer, in his Hieroglyphic Key to Natural and Spiritual Mysteries. I consider it a
misfortune that the enlightened author did not see fit to extend his work, but so much as appears is of the
utmost value, especially when the sense is extended beyond the ordinary limit of the mere word.
The present work does not permit of a thorough exposition of the symbolism of dreams, and it is not
therefore thought advisable to attempt the task of formulating a system of interpretation. Such a system,
however, does exist and has been reflected in all the scriptures of all peoples from time immemorial. The
universe and man are consentaneous. There is an universal symbolism, an universal language, and - if
you please - an universal Dream-book. But this same book needs reading.

CHAPTER XIV

CHAPTER XIV
SORTILEGES
AMONG all the methods of divination which have found favour in the eyes of the uninitiated, none has
received greater recognition than that of sortileges or "drawing lots." Admitting the sanctity which
attaches to any body of scripture to be acknowledged by the consultant, what method of obtaining a
knowledge of the will of Heaven could be more facile or more dependable than to take haphazard a text
from the revealed Word?
The Bible among Christians, the Koran among Mohammedans, and the religious books among various
nations have been consistently used for purposes of divination by sortilege. Various of the religious books
of India are consulted in the same manner, and like ourselves they have books constructed for purposes of
divination. In all sortileges drawn from holy writ the direct action of the divinatory faculty is relied upon,
and the lot drawn is accepted as the expressed will of Heaven in regard to the matter about which the
inquiry is made; the belief in such a divination being that the Spirit not only directs the mind to this means
of resolving its doubts, but also guides the hand to an appropriate and true selection.
In the case of books constructed specially for the purpose of divination, of which there are a great number,
the automatic or divinatory faculty is by means of numbers, geomantic points and other intermediaries, so
t-hat in effect the diviner is guided to a sortilege or oracular sentence which is designedly in apposition to
the question and presumed to satisfy it, being favourable or otherwise according to the lot or number
involved.
The usual method of making such books of divination is to formulate a certain number of questions, from
which the diviner may choose such as answer nearest to the matter in hand, and then to arrange a codex
by which each question is related to a variety of answers, so that at some point or other in the process the
automatic faculty may avail itself of the element of "chance." Thus, while there is a great variety of
methods, the principal factor in all cases is the exercise of the automatic or divinatory faculty.
And if we rightly consider the matter there is no reason why such sortileges should not be true and
effective, for it is constantly under observation that problems which cannot be solved by the voluntary
exercise of the faculties will be speedily and successfully surmounted by the automatic or involuntary
action of the brain. Such cases are on record in connection with the experience of somnambulism or sleepwalking, from which it appears that a person may retire to sleep with the mind in a state of anxiety
concerning some problem of study, some article lost, some circumstance forgotten, and during sleep the
person will rise from his bed and go about without harm or danger to himself and accomplish with great
ease that which had been upon his mind before falling asleep. The morning finds the problem solved, the

CHAPTER XIV

lost article restored, the forgotten incident carefully set down in writing. These facts prove two things: (1)
that the soul of man knows more than it can impress upon a tired or disturbed brain; and (2) that all action
is followed by reaction. Concerning the first of these, it is well known that intuitive knowledge transcends
reason and that instinct surpasses the highest use of the senses. What intuition is to the mind of man,
instinct is to the animal soul. Both are in the nature of direct and unerring knowledge, but the one is
related to the imponderable and the other to the material world. When the brain is at rest, and when
Reason, the great Doubter, has done its best and failed, then the soul is able to throw down the images of
its thought upon the clear and unruffled surface of the mind, as if it should say, "Be still and know that I
am the lord!"
As to the second deduction from experience, one may quote Scripture to the same effect: "Ask and ye
shall receive; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you." But it is also possible, and to
the ordinary mind may be more acceptable to cite a common experience of everyday life. A name is
forgotten which it is important should be recollected; we worry over it, we twist and turn about in the
storehouse of the memory to find that particular name; we go through the alphabet in the hope of getting a
lead-off in the right direction from the initial letter; we make various futile attempts at a combination of
sounds; but all to no purpose. We give it up and turn for distraction to some other theme. No sooner has
the attention become entirely diverted than, spontaneously and perfectly, the much-sought name springs
to the brain, the eye, the tongue on the instant.
The moral of this is: When you have ploughed and sown, leave the harvest to Nature; or, as I have heard it
otherwise put: "When you can’t crack a nut, give it to a monkey," which means, I take it, that Nature is allsufficient and that what she can make she can break, by one means or another. And this is the faith of the
devout; for, having tried by all rightful means to compass an end, and finding the task beyond his powers,
a man does well to leave the issue in higher hands. By doing so he affirms his faith in the beneficent
power of his Creator.
An instance of the kind of sortileges referred to as "indirect," may be found in the "Wheel of Pythagoras,"
though it is difficult to trace any connection between this and the philosopher of Croton. A person desires
an answer to a question. Such answer may be propitious or adverse, of immediate fulfilment, or delayed,
according to the quarter of the heavens to which the divination refers.
The letters of the alphabet are valued for this purpose as follows: 2Y

11 I J N

21 G

3Z

12 E L R P 26 C

4AFS

13 C

6BT

16 K

8Q

18 D W

CHAPTER XIV

9 O U V 19 M
The days of the week, with their corresponding numbers and the planets governing them, together with
their numbers, are contained in the following Table :Sun Mon

Tues Wed Thurs Fri

Sat

106

52

52

102

31

68

45

34

45

39

114

78

45

55

In order to effect the divination, it is first of all necessary that the diviner should think of a number, and
set it down. To this must be successively added:
1. The initial of the Christian name.
2. The number of the day of the week.
3. The number of the planet answering to the day.
The sum of these four numbers is then to be divided by 30, and with what remains the diviner must refer
to the

CHAPTER XIV

If the number is found in the 1st quarter of the Heavens, success will come speedily.
If in the 2nd quarter, success will be delayed.
If in the 3rd quarter, failure will be met speedily.
If in the 4th quarter, failure will attend in the end, and after delay.
Moreover, the four quarters correspond to seasons, I Spring, II Summer, IV Autumn, Winter.
Also to the four physical types, I - tall and fair, II - short and fair, III - short and dark, IV - tall and dark.
If the question be in regard to time of day, its Spring corresponds to the morning, the Summer to the
afternoon, the Autumn to the evening, and the Winter to the night.
Here it will be seen that the divination is regulated from the commencement of the number thought of in
connection with the subject of inquiry.
When in India I learned a system of arudha, i. e. the undiscovered, which is based entirely on this occult
law of the geometrical relations of thought. By means of this I have constantly been able to find things
that were lost and to give circumstantial answers to questions propounded, to define the nature of a
person’s thoughts and perform many other apparently marvellous feats. But the only marvellous thing in

CHAPTER XIV

the whole matter is the aforesaid correspondence, which exists between a person’s thoughts and the
number which spontaneously springs into his mind in association with such thoughts. An instance or two
will suffice to show the method followed.
On taking our places at table one evening, my viv-à-vis suddenly discovered that her coral necklace with
pendants in gold had disappeared. I at once engaged to find it for her. After dwelling intently on the image
of the thing in her mind she gave me the number 43. I then said she had been a short Journey and that the
necklace was lost at a place where there was an iron fencing, and that she would know the spot by the fact
that a horse was standing close to it. I assured her she would recover the articles, and on learning that she
had only been for a short walk of a mile or two along the riverside, I elected to go in search of the thing
myself, which I did without delay, fearing that the conditions which then obtained would presently alter.
Walking quickly in the direction indicated, I found the footpath by the river flanked by continuous hedges
and trees, beyond which were fields. But at last I came to a place where the hedgerow was broken and
some old iron rails had been set to fill the gap, and there also was the horse with his head over the
railings. It was now quite dusk, and I had to strike several matches in succession to obtain light enough.
But almost the first thing I saw was the broken necklace, not much scattered, upon the ground; and I
returned with it in complete satisfaction.
Speaking of this system to a gathering of occult students on a recent occasion, I was asked to give them an
illustration of it. I therefore asked my hostess to think of any event in her past life, as, for example,
marriage, and then give me the first number that came into her mind. But I warned her not to think of her
marriage, as I had suggested it. Presently she gave me the number 25. I was surprised, and my first
comment was that she had thought of something connected with her marriage On admitting that this was
the case, I said it concerned a short journey, a removal from the house, and a jewel which was a gold ring
set with a blue stone, most probably a turquoise.
In confirming this divination, the lady informed us that she had set out for a drive with her husband,
starting from home, and had met with an accident, in which she lost a gold ring set with a turquoise, and
that was the subject of her thought. The ring had been a wedding present.
Another kind of sortilege or divination akin to it, but somewhat in the nature of a Kabala, is contained in
a manuscript by Born written in old Italian. The method is as follows :- A question of any sort being
written down, the number of words in the sentence are noted and successively the number of the letters in
each of the words. These numbers are set in a row, and are then added by pairs from right to left, the nines
being excluded and the remainders set down in a second row. The same process is followed out
continuously until, at length only two numbers remain to be added together, and the sum of them gives
the final number, which may be 1, 3, 5, 7, or 9 on the one hand, or on the other 2, 4, 6, or 8. If the number
be odd, the result is adverse; but if even, the augury is good.
An example will serve for all cases. Let the question be - Will my operation be successful? The number of
the words is 5, and the number of letters in the words successively are 4, 2, 9, 2, 1. The word successful
has ten letters, but rejecting the nine, 1 is left. These figures are then set out in order from left to right:

CHAPTER XIV

5

4
9

2
6

6

9
2

8
5

2
2

4
3

8

1
3

5
9

3
2

and added together in pairs, rejecting the nines when the sum of any two exceeds that number. As a final
result we have the figure 2, which shows that the operation will be successful, and that speedily, for the
smaller the number the quicker will be the realization of the good or evil thus prognosticated.
From a similar configuration Cagliostro, following the methods of the Illuminati, would have foretold that
the winning number of the next lottery would be 22,246; but his method was more complex and involved
the extraction of a series of numbers The divination in the above example rests upon the unpremeditated
and spontaneous use of words which are employed to express the question in mind. It is perhaps needless
to add that the forcing of a sentence by studied art is not in the nature of an appeal to the automatic or
subconscious part of one’s nature, and no reliance can be placed upon an answer thus obtained. Neither is
it possible to successfully engage the divinatory faculty upon all and trivial occasions. The use, as
distinguished from the abuse of the faculty, consists in its employment only upon serious occasions and
concerning issues which cannot be otherwise known.
There is in Nature a conspiracy between the volitional faculty and the rational faculty, and another
between the automatic faculty and the intuitive faculty, and these alliances are set in opposition to each
other, so that the ascendency of the one means the subjugation of the other. This being understood, and
also that the Rational Soul and the Psyche are opposed to one another by nature and constitution and
method, the one being as it were the man and the other the woman within us, there remains to us the
choice of either. But in the Adept, who has brought his nature into equilibrium and has celebrated the
Nuptials of the Soul, these two act as one to the production of the most perfect results.

ALCHEMY
IT has always been within the scope of practical magic to attempt the Magnum Opus, which consists in
the production of the Elixir Vitæ and the Lapis Philosophorum. Those who have failed in the great work
have consoled themselves with the belief that there is an alchemy of the soul of greater consequence to
immortal man than the mere transmutation of gross metals. Hence we have the two schools, everywhere
in evidence in the literature of this subject, the Alchemists who claimed that all metals sprang originally
from a single menstruum - and are convertible by art; and the Higher Alchemists or Mystics, who saw in
the principles and prescriptions of the spagyric art nothing but a sublime system of spiritual philosophy
having direct reference to the spiritual regeneration of man.
The Alchemists affirmed that the ens of gold or silver could be extracted and a subtile tincture made by
which all the gross metals such as copper, lead, etc., could be impregnated and changed to the pure gold
or silver, copper lending itself more agreeably to the tincture of gold and lead to that of silver.
They affirmed, moreover, that this ens of gold could be fixed and rendered as a red "powder of
projection" which, being applied alchemically to Mercury, would change it into gold. "All metals in the
earth are generated from Mercury," says one writer, "and thus Mercury is the first matter or prima
materia of all metals."
Avicenna illustrates thig dictum, to which he gives consent, when he says: "As ice, which by heat is
dissolved into water, is clearly generated out of water, so all metals may be resolved into Mercury,
whence it is clear that they are generated out of it."
Bernard of Trevisa is quoted to the same effect:"Similarly quicksilver is the substance of all metals: it is as a water by reason of the homogeneity which
it possesses with vegetables and animals, and it receives the virtues of those things which adhere to it in
decoction." And he further says: "Gold is nothing but quicksilver congealed by its sulphur."
Elsewhere he says: "The solvent differs from the soluble only in proportion and degree of digestion, but
not in matter, since Nature has formed the one out of the other without any addition, even as by a process
equally simple and wonderful she evolves gold out of quicksilver."
Now, in the name of Occultism I affirm that the conclusions of Bernard Trevisan are as fully entitled to
credence among the scientific as that of Sir William Crookes, whose Protyle or Mother-substance lies at
the base of all modifications of matter, and is responsible for the genesis of the elements. The same
daring thinker has been credited with the statement, though I have not myself seen it, that it is

amoalc

scientifically conceivable that we may take copper or any other metal and, having resolved it into that
prime element from which it is a differentiation, thereafter shunt it on to the lines which make for gold.
The alchemical idea is that all metals are generated from, and are indeed only modifications of, a primum
ens or original matter, and that they are mutually convertible; the medium in all cases being Mercury,
which is the coagulated menstruum of this Mother-substance.
Again: "The sages have it that gold is nothing but quicksilver perfectly digested in the bowels of the
earth, and they have signified that this is brought about by sulphur, which coagulates the Mercury and
digests it by its own heat. Hence the sages have said that gold is nothing but mature quicksilver." (The
Aichemical Writings of Edward Kelly, by A. E. Waite. London: Wm. Rider and Son, Ltd.).
Certainly it does not seem improbable that chemical science should be able to bring about in a short time
that which Nature produces in the course of years or even ages. And the alchemists may be right in their
assertion that all metals have a common base in Mercury, and that this Mercury is the menstruum of all
metals, and itself the coagulate of the Prima Materia. We do not know certainly what these metals are,
nor by what process they are delivered to us by Nature, but we know that primarily they all come from
the same homogeneous and universal substance, which some call ether, others protyle, the elementum,
akâsa, primum ens; meaning, in effect, one and the same thing.
The honour of having revived the principles of Alchemy is accorded to Hermes the Thrice Great, and
hence it is called the Hermetic Art. According to Bernard of Trevisa, Hermes found seven tablets of
stone at the foot of Mount Hebron, on which the principles of the seven liberal arts had been inscribed
before the flood. From Hebron the arts penetrated to Persia, Chaldæa, and Egypt; and were variously
called by them Magia, Kabala, and Sophia.
The principles of Alchemy have a dual application, the spiritual and the terrestrial; and these are
represented by the Triangle and the Square, or the Pyramid and the Cube, or again the square pyramid, i.
e. a pyramid with a square base, the area of which base is equal to the area of a circle whose radius is the
perpendicular axis of the pyramid. Such a pyramid is that which was completed by Khufu or Cheops
under the superintendence of one of the Hyksoi. "The One emaned the Three, the Three evolved the
Seven," as expressed in the symbol on page 348. (Webmaster's Note - the next image)
When reversed we find the Mason’s Apron, part of the insignia of the craft, but the fact that the thing is
worn upside down need not trouble us, for we know that the Little Man or Microcosmos is but the
inverted reflection of the Grand Man or Macrocosmos.
Alchemy teaches us also that the elements are mutually convertible, and how one comes to predominate
over others and whence the substance of metals is generated. The Four Elements were figuratively
spoken of as Fire, Air, Water and Earth, and their qualities are fourfold, hot, cold, moist and

amoalc

Dry. Two are imponderable and two heavy. The substance of all metals is the living Mercury, as
distinguished from quicksilver. To this Nature added sulphur and also salt, and these three things
digested together and coagulated.
"The mineral principles are living Mercury and sulphur. From these are generated all metals and’
minerals, of which there are many species, possessing diverse natures."
"Gold is a perfect body, of pure, clear red Mercury, and pure, fixed, red, incombustible sulphur."
Primum Ens
Sulphur-Mercury-Salt
Gold
With what perfect facility the writings of the ancient Alchemists lend themselves to the higher
interpretation may be illustrated by an extract, which formed part of the treatise written for the
edification of King Rudolf of Hungary by Edward Kelly :- "When the soul of gold has been separated
from its body, or when the body, in other words, has been dissolved, the body of the Moon should be
watered by its proper menstruum and reverberated, the operation being repeated as often as is necessary,
i. e. until the body (of the Moon) becomes supple, broken up, pure, dissolved, coagulated. This is done,
not with common fire, but with that of the Sages, and at last you must see clearly that nothing remains
undissolved. For unless the Moon or Earth is properly prepared and entirely emptied of its soul, it will
not be fit to receive the Solar seed; but the more thoroughly the Earth is cleansed of its impurity and
earthiness, the more vigorous it will be in the fixation of its ferment. This earth or Moon of the Sages is
the trunk upon which the solar branch of the Sages is engrafted. This earth with its water, putrefies and is
cleansed; for heat, acting on a dry substance, causes whiteness. Azoth and fire wash Laton, or earth, and
remove its opacity."

amoalc

Obviously, the Mystic, who has no sense of the greed of gold in him, who regards values as in relation
only to their ultimate products, and finds the virtue of all things to consist only in their uses, may be
justified in his Higher Alchemy. He reads the. above quotation, not literally, but allegorically, and
paraphrases in accord with his perceptions, somewhat as follows :When the spiritual Soul is freed by death from the body, the animal soul reverts to its own sphere and is
afterwards reincarnated, the operation taking place as often as is necessary, in fact, until it has become so
highly evolved as to constitute an apt matrix for the implanted germ of the solar body. And this is to be
effected, not by means of the terrestrial, but the celestial fire, which is the Fire of the Holy Spirit; and at
length it will come to pass, after many incarnations, that the Lunar Body or astral soul will be purged of
all impurities. For unless the astral, and the physical by means of the astral, is entirely emptied of its soul
which is the brute or passional nature, and the cupidity of the lower mind, it will not be fit to receive the
spiritual seed. But the more completely the lower nature is purged, the more perfect will be the union of
the spiritual soul with its Psyche. This Psyche is the stock upon which is engrafted the spiritual branch
bearing seed fruit, whose seed is in itself, a tree springing up as a Tree of Life. The body, with its astral
or fluidic counterpart, putrefies and is cleansed; for the fire of the Spirit, acting on the dry substance of
the dead body of Adam, produces in it a whiteness and purity and renders it crystalline by the removal of
its gross elements. Thus the whole body becomes full of light, spiritualized and free from corruption, and
the Psyche partakes of the immortality of the Solar Man.
The key to this interpretation is as here shown in the glyph of

amoalc

Yet it would be altogether foolish to presume the Higher Alchemy of the Mystic to be the only possible
application of the Arcana. The spiritual interpretation infers the material in this world of relativity. The
one is based upon the other. They are in apposition. The salting of the earth is the work of the Initiates of
all ages. They themselves have effected the Higher Alchemy of the Soul, or they possess the key to the
lower or chemical art, for they know the correspondence of things spiritual and natural. If the Abbot of
Glastonbury essayed the Magnum Opus before he was himself prepared, he had only himself to blame
that his vessels were overturned by the elemental forces he invoked without understanding; for one
inversion is followed by another, and the material can never take precedence of the spiritual without
incurring great risk of hurt. Hence, the admonition: Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things
shall be added unto you.
But what was found by the despoilers included only a manuscript and two small ivory vessels, one
containing a red powder and the other a white powder; and these, for the sum of one guinea, passed into
the possession of Edward Kelly, who afterwards allied himself to Dr. Dee. Then later on we find these
two colleagues engaged, under the patronage of King Rudolph, in making transmutation, for which work
Kelly obtained the distinctions of a Marshal. That Kelly was no Alchemist, but only a usurper and

amoalc

profligate user of the treasure trove of Glastonbury, appears from the fact that "the powder, diminished
by excessive projection, became exhausted; it was squandered still further in futile attempts to increase it;
and when the Emperor (Rudolph) commanded his guests to produce it in becoming quantity, all
experiments proved failures.
The impotence of the exhausted Alchemist was attributed to obstinacy, and the guest was changed into a
prisoner . . . confined in a dungeon of Zobeslau. To regain his liberty he promised to manufacture the
stone, on condition that he was permitted to return to Prague and take counsel with Dr. Dee. To that city
he was permitted to go back, but his house was guarded, and as fresh experiments in the composition of
the transmuting powder were abortive as ever, the alchemist, seized with rage, made a futile attempt to
escape, which ended in the murder of one of his guards." (‘Edward Kelly: Alchemy and the Alchemists,
by Louis Figuier.)
This incident resulted in a second imprisonment, and although at the instance of Dr. Dee, Queen
Elizabeth was pleased to claim Kelly as her subject, the King of Hungary would not release him, but held
him on the grounds of the murder of one of his own subjects. From this second incarceration Kelly
attempted to escape by means of a rope, but falling from a height he sustained injuries which led to his
death at the age of forty-two. Sir Edward Kelly was born at Worcester on the 1st August (O.S.), 1555, at
about four o’clock in the afternoon, and those who care to examine his horoscope will observe that the
conjunction of Mars, Uranus and Jupiter in the Midheaven is in singular conformity with his strange and
eventful career, promising as it does a rich windfall fraught with the danger of the Sword in the Balance!
Nor is it possible to overlook the significance of the planet Neptune in opposition from the lower
meridian, with its sinister indication of plots and schemes directed against his person and reputation; in
which even one sees that this exploiter of treasure trove and usurper of the supreme title of Adeptus came
by some of his own in the final settling of accounts. That he was actually possessed of the Powder of
Projection and the method of Projection, there seems no reason to doubt, for else he had not been able to
satisfy the numerous demands of his royal patron and newly-made friends at Prague. But that he was not
master of the art and had no knowledge or means of increasing the Powder of Projection or making more,
even when it would have saved his life, not to mention the satisfaction of his own cupidity, is also a
matter beyond all question. His writings on the alchemical art are chiefly valuable on account of their
reference to the writings of others. There is, however, the great probability that the Book 0f St. Dunstan,
as it is called, and so mentioned by Dr. Dee, in connection with "the powder found at the digging in
England," is the original manuscript of the Glastonbury sage, or at least founded upon it, and so of much
value to the purpose of this inquiry. There seems to be some warrant for the belief that Kelly did, so far
as his knowledge extended, seek to satisfy the demands of King Rudolph, inasmuch as he hoped thereby
to regain his liberty. The King, however, was not to be appeased by obscure discourses on the Hermetic
Art. He wanted the plain rules of procedure for the making of gold, and this Kelly could not give him.
Yet for all that there is reason to think that he probably gave him of his best.
Beside the art of the Transmutation of Metals, the Alchemic Art is applied to the production of certain
powerful medicines, including the Elixir Vitæ. Paracelsus has stated that there is a gold which can be
rendered permanently fluid - an aurum potabile, and he speaks also of the production of Tinctura
Physica in a work of that name. He has left us a prescription for the making of the magic Electrum, a

amoalc

combination, according to alchemic art, of the seven "primary metals." He also gives instructions for the
making of the Primum Ens Melissæ and the Primum Ens Sanguinis. I am of opinion that Paracelsus’
prescriptions are to be taken literally, but some of his commentators, being solicitous of popular opinion
and not wishing to be thought crude, advise that they should be taken in an occult sense, whatever that
may mean, when the whole process is in itself the very expression of practical occultism. Paracelsus
himself affirms that he had seen the Electrum Magnum on frequent occasions, and he recites many of the
wonderful phenomena produced by its means. When the learned are disposed to accept Paracelsus at his
word the world will be more generously disposed concerning this great philosopher, who stands in
singular distinction from the majority of Initiates in his freedom from all ambiguity and obscurantism. It
is in the same spirit of unfettered freedom of thought that I have endeavoured to treat of some. aspects of
Occultism and allied subjects, with, 1 trust, no greater hurt to my reputation among those whose opinion
I value.
THE END

Untitled Document

RITUALISTIC

KNOWLEDGE

The section to follow contains material to educate you on the origin of two
predominant fields of magic, Voodoo and the Kabbalah. I selected these works because
of their clarity in covering the subject matter, as well as their usefulness. The Practical
Kabbalah is presented by Robert Ambelain, who has many other occult related books
for review. I want you not to struggle with every detail as if reviewing a law book, but
rather examine it for its methods and style. Ask yourself, If you were to write your
version of similar material, how would you go about it; what material would you include
within its pages; what things would inspire your magical creativiy? Likewise, do the
same for "Voodoos and Obeahs", presented by Dr. Joseph Williams. The combined
knowledge and prescribed practices in this lesson will make you a very powerful
Wizard, Witch, of Magician. I wish you good speed on your journey.

file:///C|/Mysticalgod/Magical%20Advice/segment%20C.html2/24/2009 1:55:32 AM

MAGICAL 333

VOODOOS AND OBEAHS
Phases of West India Witchcraft
BY

JOSEPH J. WILLIAMS, S.J.
Ph.D. (Ethnol.), Litt.D.

Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts; Fellow of the Royal Geographical and the American
Geographical Societies; Honorary Member of the Société Académique Internationale (Paris)
Member of the International Institute of African Languages and Cultures (London); Member of
the Catholic Anthropological Conference; Member of the American Folk-lore Society; etc.
Author of "Hebrewisms of West Africa,
"Whence the 'Black Irish' of Jamaica,
"Whisperings of the Caribbean," etc.

LINCOLN MAC VEAGH
DIAL PRESS INC.
NEW YORK MCMXXXII

COPYRIGHT, 1932, BY JOSEPH J. WILLIAMS
{copyright lapsed due to non-renewal}
{scanned at sacred-texts.com, August 2001}

First printing December, 1932
Second printing January, 1933
MANUFACTURED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
BY THE VAIL-BALLOU PRESS, INC., BINGHAMTON, N. Y.

INTRODUCTION
The NEW YORK TIMES of August 14, 1925, printed the following news item:--"SEIZE PRICE LISTS
OF VOODOO DOCTOR--POLICE GET CIRCULARS OFFERING 'WISHING DUST' AND LUCKY

1

MAGICAL 333
CHARMS TO NEGROES AT $1 TO $1,000.--Special to the New York Times.-ATLANTIC CITY, Aug.

13.--Twelve thousand circulars said to have been sent to this city by a New York voodoo doctor
were seized by the police here today as they were being distributed to negro homes on the north
side by six negro boys.
"The circulars bore the address of D. Alexander of 99 Downing Street, Brooklyn, N. Y.
"All sorts of love powders, wishing dust, lucky charms and incantations are offered for sale in
the circular, with prices ranging from $1 to $1,000.
"'Guffer Dust, New Moon, No. 1, good, $50; Happy Dust, $40; Black Cats' Ankle Dust, $500;
Black Cat's Wishbone, $1,000; King Solomon's Marrow, $1,000; Easy Life Powder $100; Tying
Down Goods, $50; Chasing Away Goods, $50; Boss Fix Powders, $15, and Buzzard Nest, $100,'
were some of the goods offered."
"Inquiry developed that 'Bringing Back Powders' were designed to return an errant wife or
husband to a grieving spouse, 'Tying Down Goods' were said to keep the subject of one's
affections from departing, while 'Chasing Away Goods' had the opposite effect. 'Boss Fix
Powders' keep one's employer in a friendly mind."
Four days after the appearance of the foregoing in The Times, we find this despatch from Cuba
on the first page of The BOSTON POST:-"SAVE CHILD FROM TORTURE--RESCUED DURING VOODOO DEATH RITES--HAVANA, Aug.
17.--Paula Cejes, a three-year-old white girl, was saved from a horrible death at the hands,
{p. vi}
of Voodoo worshippers at Aguacate, Havana Province, today, due to the rapidity of a search after
she had disappeared.
"Paula, who lives with her parents on the Averhoff sugar plantation, was enticed away by
Voodoo worshippers who bound and gagged her in a cane field and were in the act of performing
their rites when a posse of searchers came upon them.
"Rural guards later captured a white man and a colored man who had in their possession articles
used by voodooists in sacrificing life."
It may have been items such as these that inspired William Buchler Seabrook to go to Haiti with
the set purpose of learning first hand whatever he could of Voodoo and kindred practices. At all
events, after some stay in the island, he published in 1929 The Magic Island which at once
became the centre of heated controversy. To some it was a weird conglomeration of fact and
fancy worthy of little serious consideration and of even less credibility.[1]

2

MAGICAL 333
On the other hand, the usually conservative LITERARY DIGEST[2] apparently accepted it in its
entirety as historic fact, and without question or cavil devoted five entire pages almost entirely to
excerpts from its more startling passages and the reproduction of
[1. Note:--Magic Island was unquestionably received with fulsome praise by reviewers generally. Thus THE
BOOKMAN, February 1929, p. 68: "It has been a long time since a volume has held my attention so completely as
W. B. Seabrook's Magic Island. It is not a twice told tale but a vivid record of things seen." The NEW YORK
HERALD-TRIBUNE, January 8, 1929: "Here in its own field is the book of the year." The NEW YORK EVENING
POST, January 12, 1929, calls it "a sensational vivid and immensely important book." To the OUTLOOK, January
9, 1929: "It is a prize among travel books." While the SATURDAY REVIEW, February 23, 1929, declares: "Mr.
Seabrook has done justice to this remarkable subject not only in investigating the system, but in presenting the
results of his work."
The more thoughtful reviews, however, refuse to be entirely carried away by the general acclaim, and modify their
praise with almost hesitant reserve. Thus the YALE REVIEW, Autumn, 1929, p. 185, makes the restriction: "He
spoils much of his material by his exaggerated style and his dubious psychology." The AMERICAN JOURNAL OF
SOCIOLOGY, September, 1929, p. 316, insists: "He has written as an artist, not as an ethnologist." And the
NATION, February 13, 1929, p. 198, urges: "It is time for a tempered intelligent presentation on the manner in
which they live, one that staying close to facts, probing under the surface, and eschewing rumors, will make quite as
fascinating a tale."
We may be pardoned, then, if we seem to delay too long on Mr. Seabrook and his sensational book, but we must risk
the criticism in the interest of fair play as regards Haiti and the popular estimate of Voodoo.
2. February 23, 1929, p. 35 ff.]

{p. vii}
several photographs. One single reference to "the element of the occult which Mr Seabrook
seems to believe" is the nearest approach to a guarded caution about the actuality of the most
improbable details, a few of which may be mentioned in passing,
Thus, for example, at the "blood baptism," a truly voodooistic rite, when the author was to
receive the "ouanga packet" prepared for him by Maman Célie, after the preliminary sacrifice of
two red cocks and two black, an enormous white turkey and a pair of doves," in due course the
sacrificial goat was led forth. "He was a sturdy brown young goat, with big, blue, terrified,
almost human eyes, eyes which seemed not only terrified but aware and wondering. At first he
bleated and struggled, for the odor of blood was in the air, but finally he stood quiet, though still
wide-eyed, while red silken ribbons were twined in his little horns, his little hoofs anointed with
wine and sweet-scented oils, and an old woman who had come from far over the mountain for
this her brief part in the long ceremony sat down before him and crooned to him alone a song
which might have been a baby's lullaby."[3]
After a further ritual with the goat, Catherine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of Maman Célie was
led in by her brother Emanuel who "had to clutch her tightly by the arm to prevent her from
stumbling when they brought her to the altar. Maman Célie hugged her and moaned and shed
tears as if they were saying good-bye forever. The papaloi pulled them apart, and some one gave
the girl a drink from a bottle. She began to protest in a dull sort of angry, whining way when they
forced her down on her knees before the lighted candles. The papaloi wound round her forehead

3

MAGICAL 333
red ribbons like those which had been fastened around the horns of the goat, and Maman Célie,
no longer as a mourning mother but as an officiating priestess, with rigid face aided in pouring
the oil and wine on the girl's head, feet, hands and breast. All this time the girl had been like a
fretful, sleepy, annoyed child, but gradually she became docile, somber, staring with quiet eyes,
and presently began a weird song of lamentation."[4] The song
[3. Seabrook, Magic Island, New York, 1929, p. 61.
4. Seabrook, l.c., p. 62.]

{p. viii}
itself is summed up in the last verse: "So I who am not sick must die!"[5] The author then
continues: "And as that black girl sang, and as the inner meaning of her song came to me, I
seemed to hear the voice of Jephtha's daughter doomed to die by her own father as a sacrifice to
Javeh, going up to bewail her virginity on Israel's lonely mountain. Her plight in actuality was
rather that of Isaac bound by Abraham on Mount Moriah; a horned beast would presently be
substituted in her stead; but the moment for that mystical substitution had not yet come, and as
she sang she was a daughter doomed to die."
"The ceremony of substitution, when it came, was pure effective magic of a potency which I
have never seen equaled in Dervish monastery or anywhere. The goat and the girl, side by side
before the altar, had been startled, restive, nervous. The smell of blood was in the air, but there
was more than that hovering; it was the eternal, mysterious odor of death itself which both
animals and human beings always sense, but not through, the nostrils. Yet now the two who were
about to die mysteriously merged, the girl symbolically and the beast with a knife in its throat,
were docile and entranced, were like automatons. The papaloi monotonously chanting, endlessly
repeating, 'Damballa calls you,' stood facing the altar with his arms outstretched above their
heads. The girl was now on her hands and knees in the attitude of a quadruped, directly facing
the goat, so that their heads and eyes were in a level, less than ten inches apart, and thus they
stared fixedly into each other's eyes, while the papaloi's hands weaved slowly, ceaselessly above
their foreheads, the forehead of the girl and the forehead of the horned beast, each wound with
red ribbons, each already marked with the blood of a white dove. By shifting slightly I could see
the big, wide, pale-blue, staring eyes of the goat, and the big, black, staring eyes of the girl, and I
could have almost sworn that the black eyes were gradually, mysteriously becoming those of a
dumb beast, while a human soul was beginning to peer out through the blue. But dismiss that,
and still I tell you that pure magic was here at work, that something
[5. Ditto, p. 63.]

{p. ix}
very real and fearful was occurring. For as the priest wove his ceaseless incantations, the girl
began a low, piteous bleeting, in which there was nothing, absolutely nothing, human; and soon a
thing infinitely more unnatural occurred; the goat was moaning and crying like a human child. . .
.[6]

4

MAGICAL 333
"While the papaloi still wove his spells, his hands moving ceaselessly like an old woman carding
wool in a dream, the priestess held a twig of green with tender leaves between the young girl and
the animal. She held it on a level with their mouths, and neither saw it, for they were staring
fixedly into each other's eyes as entranced mediums stare into crystal globes, and with their
necks thrust forward so that their foreheads almost touched. Neither could therefore see the leafy
branch, but as the old mamaloi's hand trembled, the leaves flicked lightly as if stirred by a little
breeze against the hairy muzzle of the goat, against the chin and soft lips of the girl. And after
moments of breathless watching, it was the girl's lips which pursed up and began to nibble the
leaves . . . . [7]
"As she nibbled thus, the papaloi said in a hushed but wholly matter-of-fact whisper like a man
who had finished a hard, solemn task and was glad to rest, 'Ça y est' (There it is).
"The papaloi was now holding a machette, ground sharp and shining. Maman Célie, priestess,
kneeling, held a gamelle, a wooden bowl. It was oblong. There was just space enough to thrust it
narrowly between the mystically identified pair. Its rim touched the goat's hairy chest and the
girl's body, both their heads thrust forward above it. Neither seemed conscious of anything that
was occurring, nor did the goat flinch when the papaloi laid his hands upon its horns. Nor did the
goat utter any sound as the knife was drawn quickly across the throat. But at this instant as the
blood gushed like a fountain into the wooden bowl, the girl with a shrill, piercing, then strangled
bleat of agony, leaped, shuddered, and fell senseless before the altar."[8]
But let us pass to an even more grewsome narrative. According
[6. Ditto, p. 63 f.
7. Ditto, p. 65.
8. Ditto, p. 66.]

{p. x}
to Seabrook, Celestine, the daughter of Antoine Simone,[9] "although under thirty, was reputed
to be secretly the grande mamaloi of all Haiti, its supreme high priestess."[10] The author adds:
"And not only Celestine herself but her father, Antoine Simone, president of the Republic, was
reputed to be active in black sorcery. It was commonly said that magical rites and practices
occurred even within the confines of the palace walls and probably they did."[11]
In explanation, then, of his chapter "Celestine with a Silver Dish," Seabrook writes: "The story of
the silver dish is based on the evidence of two credible eye-witnesses, one a Frenchman who
may still be seen and talked with at the Cape, the other a Haitian now dead. I talked with
numbers of people about it and found none who questioned its approximate truth. It is current
among the Haitians themselves; so they will forgive me for including it." . . .[12]
"One moonlight night in the Spring of 1909--it was during Easter week--the Frenchman who
now lives at the Cape was sitting in one of the vine-covered summer-houses with his Haitian
friend. . . . Towards one o'clock in the morning they heard a tramping of feet from the direction
5

MAGICAL 333
of the palace, and presently saw a black sergeant with two squads of soldiers marching toward
the stable yard, along a pathway of the deserted gardens. They passed close to the summer house.
Behind them, at a little distance, came Celestine. She was barefooted, in a scarlet robe, and
carried in her hands a silver dish.
"In a small, open, moonlit glade, close to the summer house, the sergeant halted his eight men,
and lined them up at attention, as if on a parade ground. Except for his low voiced commands,
not a word was spoken. Celestine in her red robe which fell loose
[9. Note:--The author spells it with a final e, Simone. While in Jamaica, the family themselves always spelt it simply
Simon.
10. Seabrook, l. c., p. 117.
11. Note:--As one who knew the Simons in Jamaica, I can categorically deny both this assertion as well as the
plausibility of the pseudo-voodooistic murder which is shortly to be described.
12 Seabrook, l. c., p. 121.]

{p. xi}
like a nightgown to her bare feet, laid the great silver platter on the grass.
"The sergeant handed Celestine a forked bent twig, a sort of crude divining-rod, and stepped
back a little distance. Celestine, holding the wand loosely before her, facing the eight soldiers
standing at attention, began a gliding, side-stepping dance, singing her incantations of mixed
African and Creole in a low voice alternating from a deep gutteral contralto to a high falsetto, but
never raised loudly, pointing the wand at each in turn as she glided to and fro before them.
"The men stood rigid, silent as if paralysed, but following her every movement with their rolling
eyeballs as she glided slowly from end to end of the line.
"For a long ten minutes that seemed interminable, Celestine glided to and fro, chanting her
incantation, then suddenly stopped like a hunting-dog at point before one man who stood near
the center of the row. The wand shot out stiff at the end of her outstretched arm and tapped him
on the breast.
"'Ou la soule, avant!' ordered the sergeant. (You there, alone, step forward.)
"The man marched several paces forward from the ranks, and halting at command, stood still.
The sergeant, who seemed unarmed, drew the man's own knife-bayonet from its scabbard
grasped the unresisting victim by the slack of his coat collar, and drove the point into his throat.
"While this was taking place, the other seven men stood silent obediently at attention. The victim
uttered not a single cry, except a gurgling grunt as the point went through his jugular, and
slumped to the grass, where he twitched a moment and lay still.

6

MAGICAL 333
"The sergeant knelt quickly over him, as if in a hurry to get .the job finished, ripped open the
tunic, cut deep into the left side of the body just below the ribs, then put the knife aside, and tore
out the heart with his hands.
"Black Celestine in her red robe, holding the gleaming platter before her, returned alone beneath
the palm trees to the palace,
{p. xii}
barefooted queen of the jungle, bearing a human heart in a silver dish."[13]
The general reaction on the author of such scenes, whether given as personal experiences or
otherwise, is utterly appalling.
Thus he tells us in connection with the ceremony described a few pages back: "Not for anything,
no matter what would happen, could I have seriously wished to stop that ceremony. I believe in
such ceremonies. I hope that they will never die out or be abolished. I believe that in some form
or another they answer a deep need of the universal human soul. I, who in a sense believe in no
religion, believe yet in them all, asking only that they be alive--as religions. Codes of rational
ethics and human brotherly love are useful, but they do not touch this thing underneath. Let
religion have its bloody sacrifices, yes even human sacrifice if thus our souls may be kept alive.
Better a black papaloi in Haiti with blood-stained hands who believes in his living gods than a
frock-coated minister on Fifth Avenue reducing Christ to a solar myth and rationalising the
Immaculate Conception."[14]
Of an earlier function at which he was present, he wrote: "And now the literary-traditional white
stranger who spied from hiding in the forest, had such a one lurked near by, would have seen all
the wildest tales of Voodoo fiction justified: in the red light of torches which made the moon turn
pale, leaping, screaming, writhing black bodies, blood-maddened, sex-maddened, godmaddened, drunken, whirled and danced their dark saturnalia, heads thrown wierdly {sic} back
as if their necks were broken, white teeth and eyeballs gleaming, while couples seizing one
another from time to time fled from the circle, as if pursued by furies into the forest to share and
slake their ecstacy.
"Thus also my unspying eyes beheld this scene in actuality, but I did not experience the revulsion
which literary tradition prescribes. It was savage and abandoned, but it seemed to me
magnificent and not devoid of a certain beauty. Something inside myself awoke and responded
to it. These, of course, were individual
[13. Ditto, p. 122 f.
14. Ditto, p. 61 f.]

{p. xiii}

7

MAGICAL 333
emotional reactions, perhaps deplorable in a supposedly civilized person. But I believe that the
thing itself--their thing, I mean--is rationally defensible. Of what use is any life without its
emotional moments or hours of ecstasy?"[15]
We must not be surprised, then, that after watching the construction of the "ouanga packet" that
was to preserve him "safe from all harm amid these mountains"[16], when bid to make a prayer,
this should be the author's response: "May Papa Legba, Maitresse Exilee and the Serpent protect
me from misrepresenting these people, and give me power to write honestly of their mysterious
religion, for all living faiths are sacred."[17]
And how was this unholy pact carried out? Candidly, the glaring mistakes in ritual that the
author makes in connection with his description of a Catholic funeral service,[18] which is open
to the whole world to witness, does not inspire confidence in his exposition of the esoteric
functions that are jealously reserved for the initiated alone.
As a matter of fact, Mr. Seabrook has divided his volume, perhaps of set purpose, into two
distinct parts. First we have 282 pages devoted to the general story with weird fantastic
drawings, more suggestive than illuminating, wherein the details are at variance with the text.
Then follows, 52 pages under the general caption, "From the Author's Notebook" together with
27 photographs by the author. This second part is made up of quotations from standard authors
and other references, with very few personal experiences and those of the most ordinary type.
While accepting, then, the latter portion of the book at its face value, it would seem safer to
classify the earlier section as that sensational type of narrative that has become associated with
the name of Trader Horn. This impression is strengthened by the fact that many passages in the
story, especially those placed in the mouths of Louis and other informants, read almost as
paraphrases
[15. Ditto, p. 42.
16. l. c., p. 48.
17. l. c., p. 53.
18. l. c., p. 118 f. Note:--For example, not only is the Dies Irae badly misplaced, but there can be no Credo in a
funeral Mass.]

{p. xiv}
from some of the authors who are mentioned later as references, and it seems as more than a
coincidence that the quotation from Labat appearing on page 292 is probably copied without
acknowledgment from Eugène Aubin,[19] as the same two variations from the original[20]
appear in both places. The opening word has been changed from "ces" to "les" and "ils" has been
omitted before "conservent."

8

MAGICAL 333
It is not at all surprising, then, that Dr. Price-Mars of Petionville, Haiti, whom Seabrook actually
mentions in the course of his narrative[21] should publish an indignant reply to what he must
needs consider a gross libel against his native island.
Of Magic Island as a whole, Dr. Price-Mars says: "This is nothing more than a chronicle, a rather
long chronicle, if you will, but throbbing, passionate, sensational. It contains whatever Mr.
Seabrook has seen, or thinks that he has seen, in Haiti, during a few months stay. I am forced to
remark that this book is throughout very amusing and very cruel--amusing, on account of the
material replete with savage humor, and abominable, because the American reader, and even the
Haitian who is not in a position to check up the facts advanced, is drawn to ask himself: 'Is what
he relates true? In any case, these grewsome facts, such as are recorded, seem likely if they are
not true.'"[22]
Dr. Price-Mars further states: "From the very beginning, Mr. Seabrook. . . . has grasped the two
essential elements of Voodoo, religion and superstition; religion, whose rites are preserved by
oral tradition alone, and superstition which is its grotesque caricature. Not only is this distinction
unknown to nine-tenths of the Haitians, but most assuredly, as the writer expresses it, Voodoo is
a cause of astonishment, nay of a scandal, for most of us. And it is on account of this disdain, of
this fear of a fact, however important, in the life of our plebian and rural masses, that our pitiful
ignorance records the sinister narratives
[19. En Haïti, Paris, 1910, p. 46.
20. P. Labat, Nouveau Voyage aux Isles de L'Amérique, La Haye 1724, Vol. II, p. 44.
21. Seabrook, l. c., p. 318.
22. Dr. Price-Mars, Une-Étape de I'Évolution Haïtienne, Port-au-Prince, 1929, p. 153.]

{p. xv}
of which we make ourselves the complacent echo. And it is no less in this way, that, as a ripple
of culture, our mystic mentality displays itself. When, then, foreign writers arrive among us, I
mean above all journalists who as a rule are in quest of sensational copy, they have only to
imbibe at this fount of absurd beliefs the most marvellous discourses and put them on the lips of
authentic individuals, to color them with an appearance of truth. Their misconception or even
evil intention is nothing in comparison with the Haitian ignorance. How pitiful!"[23]
Dr. Price-Mars stamps the "Goat-Cry--Girl-Cry" episode as "A ceremony in which he pretends to
have taken part. But to my way of thinking, this ceremony is a creation of his fertile
imagination."[24] And again, he positively asserts: "As regards the ceremony of initiation, it is in
every way false."[25]
Furthermore, after recounting the description of the "Petro Sacrifice" which Seabrook[26] claims
to have attended, Dr. Price-Mars continues: "And was he, then, the spectator that he claims to
be? I don't think so. It is probable that he did assist at Voodoo ceremonies. I personally sought to
secure the opportunity for him, because, in the interviews that we had, I was made aware that he

9

MAGICAL 333
was familiar with the comparative history of religions, and the occasion seemed to me opportune
to call attention to certain rites which indicate the antiquity of Voodoo, the solid foundation of
my theory, to wit, that Voodoo is a religion. I was disappointed in my purpose, because I
encountered a persistent distrust on the part of the peasants to whom I addressed myself, despite
my long established and friendly relations with them. That Mr. Seabrook may have succeeded in
winning the confidence of a Maman Célie. I am willing to concede to him, on the condition,
however, that he does not dramatize the situation by depicting to us the peasant community
whose guest he has been as a nook lost in the highest and most inaccessible mountains, isolated
from all communication with urban centres. These conditions render his account absolutely
[23. Dr. Price-Mars, l. c., p. 154 f.
24. Ditto, p. 54.
25. Ditto, p. 172.
26 Seabrook, l. c., p. 28 ff.]

{p. xxi}
improbable, because there is not a single peasant in a true rural centre who would consent to
organize real Voodoo ceremonies for the sole pleasure of a stranger. On the other hand, the
ceremony which he has described is only half true. At the very outset, he has committed a ritual
absurdity in making the bull the principal sacrificial matter of the Petro. They sacrifice the bull
as the fowl and the goat in nearly all the Voodoo ceremonies, but the victim proper to the Pedro
is the pig. The absence of this animal in a ritual display of Pedro is equivalent to a blunder so
stupid that it would falsify its meaning. Moreover, the sacrifice of the bull considered as a god,
or symbol of a god, is totally unknown in Voodoo. It seems to me an invention or at least a very
fantastic interpretation and which the footnote of Seabrook sufficiently explains."--This
reference is to "the Bacchae" of Euripides.[27] Here we may leave Mr. Seabrook for the
present.[28]
Just as fetishism was for a long time accepted as a generic term covering all that was nefarious in
the customs of the West African tribes, so in the popular mind today, Voodoo and Obeah are
interchangeable and signify alike whatever is weird and eerie in
[27. Dr. Price-Mars, l. c., p. 161 f.
28. Note:--It must not be supposed that what has been written is intended in any way to impeach the veracity of Mr.
Seabrook. Personally I am convinced of his sincerity and straightforwardness and that in his really fascinating
account he is no party to an imposition. Of course I can never agree with his extraordinary profession of faith, and I
doubt if he really takes himself seriously in that regard. He was probably carried away by the spirit of his narrative.
As regards the story itself, I honestly believe that he has tried to stick to facts as he has seen them or in many cases
as they have been told to him, with perhaps just a little of the personal element added for effect. But what I do fear is
that he has been too credulous in accepting all that has been told to him.
The West Indian Negro, especially if paid by results, is a mine of "information." The workings of his imagination
are extraordinary. A couple of years ago I was striving to collect all the various anansy stories, in connection with a

10

MAGICAL 333
folk-lore study of Jamaica. The teacher of a government "bush" school, seriously offered to invent for me all the
stories, that I wanted if I gave him sufficient time and paid for the results. Fortunately for the value of my collection
I was restricting the contributors to children of school age. I have no doubt that Mr. Seabrook must have
encountered the same generous spirit, especially if he was paying by results.
Even the goat scene may have been a clever piece of acting. The histrionic powers of the West Indian are no wit
inferior to his ability as a raconteur.
But in any case, no matter how we are to explain away the objective inaccuracies of Magic Island, even if we must
invoke hallucination or that subtle form of hypnotic influence, such as is at times ascribed to Voodoo worship, let
there be no suspicion that there is any intention of questioning Mr. Seabrook's honesty of purpose.]

{p. xvii}
the practices of the descendants of these same tribes as they are found throughout the West
Indies and the southern portion of the United States.
And yet technically, not only are Voodoo and Obeah specifically distinct, one from the other,
both in origin and in practice, but if we are to understand the true force and influence which they
originally exercised over their devotees, we must dissociate them from the countless other forms
of magic, black or white, that have gradually impinged themselves upon them as so many
excrescences.
Logically, then, we must begin our study, not in the West Indies but in Africa itself, going back
as far as possible to the origins of the present day practices, and watching their development,
both before and after their transplanting, through the medium of slavery, to new and fertile soil
where they have become a rank, though exotic, growth.
The present writer first visited Jamaica in December, 1906, and he became at once intensely
interested in the question of Obeah, and in a less degree in Voodoo. Since then he has made three
other visits to the island and has spent there in all about six years. He has penetrated to the least
accessible corners of mountain and "bush" and has lived for some time in those remote districts
where superstitious practices are prevalent. He has steadily sought to extend his knowledge of
the Black Man's witchcraft, both by conversation with the natives of every class and by seeking
out its practitioners. He has conversed with professional Obeah men, whom, however, he has
invariably found evasive and noncommittal. But despite this latter fact he has by chance, rather
than by any prearrangement, had occasion at times to watch surreptitiously the workings of their
grewsome art.
Meanwhile, for a quarter of a century he has culled the works of others and sought not only to
familiarize himself with the smaller details of Voodoo and Obeah, but no less to discriminate
judiciously between fact and fiction to the best of his ability. The result of his researches and
observations are now set forth in the following pages.
{p. xix}

11

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CONTENTS
CHAPTER

PAGE

INTRODUCTION

V

I

AFRICAN OPHIOLATRY

1

II

SERPENT CULT AT WHYDAH

22

III

VOODOO IN HAITI

56

IV

ORIGIN OF OBEAH

108

V

DEVELOPMENT OF OBEAH IN JAMAICA

142

VI

CONCLUSIONS

209

BIBLIOGRAPHY

237

INDEX A--PLACES, PEOPLES, ETC

249

INDEX B--TOPICS

252

INDEX C--INDIVIDUALS AND REFERENCES

254

{p. 1}

Chapter I
AFRICAN OPHIOLATRY
Edward B. Tylor writing as long ago as 1871 observed: "Serpent worship unfortunately fell years
ago into the hands of speculative writers, who mixed it up with occult philosophies, Druidical
mysteries, and that portentous nonsense called the 'Arkite Symbolism,' till now sober students
hear the very name of ophiolatry with a shiver.'[1] Yet it is in itself a rational and instructive
subject of inquiry, especially notable for its width of range in mythology and religion."[2]

12

MAGICAL 333
Dr. C. F. Oldham, Brigade Surgeon of his Majesty's Indian Army, tells us in the Preface of his
interesting little volume, The
[1. Note:--Cfr. C. Staniland Wake, Serpent-Worship and other Essays, London, 1888, p. 105 f.: "The facts brought
together in the preceding pages far from exhaust the subject, but they appear to justify the following conclusions:-"First. The serpent has been viewed with awe or veneration from primeval times, and almost universally as a reembodiment of a deceased human being, and as such there were ascribed to it the attributes of life and wisdom, and
the power of healing.
"Secondly the idea of a simple spirit re-incarnation of a deceased ancestor gave rise to the notion that mankind
originally sprang from a serpent, and ultimately to a legend embodying that idea.
"Thirdly, This legend was connected with nature--or rather Sun-worship--and the Sun, was, therefore, looked upon
as the divine serpent-father of man and nature.
"Fourthly, Serpent worship, as a developed religious system, originated in Central Asia, the home of the great
Scythic stock, from whom all civilized races of the historical period sprang.
'Fifthly, These peoples are the Adamites, and their mythical ancestor was at one time regarded as the Great Serpent,
his descendants being in a special sense serpent-worshippers." This of course, would presuppose that Adam was the
founder of only a family and not of the human race that long antedated Adam.
Wundt, on the other hand, with equal assurance, suggests as a reason for the fact that spirits are so often depicted as
assuming the shape of snakes, since the serpentine form naturally suggests itself to the primitive mind through the
association of ideas with the maggots that commonly infest dead bodies during the process of decay.--Cfr. C.
Meinhof, Die Dichtung der Afrikaner, Berlin, 1911, p. 18. This is perhaps about as reasonable as the claims of those
who connect the snake with phallic worship.
2. Edward B. Tylor, Primitive Culture, Boston, 1874, p. 239.]

{p. 2}
Sun and the Serpent:[3] "This work, which is based upon papers read before the Royal Asiatic
Society in 1901, was at first intended to refer only to Indian serpent worship. It was soon found,
however, that the serpent worship of India did not originate in that country but was, in fact, a
branch of the worship of the Sun and the Serpent, which was once well-nigh universal. It became
evident, therefore, that a history of the Indian cult would go far to explain the nature and origin
of serpent worship, in other countries and in other times." While we cannot accept many of the
views expressed in the course of this work, his final conclusion is most important, coming as it
does from such a source. He says: "It would seem, moreover, that the deification of totems, of
kings, of ancestors, and of the heavenly bodies, which furnish so many of the divinities
associated with the Sun-god; as also the human sacrifices and other abominations, which
occurred in some Sun-worshipping countries, all arose from the corruption of the earlier worship
of a supreme deity who was believed to reside in the Sun. The Gayatri--the most sacred text of
the Veda, which must not be uttered so as to be overheard by profane ears, and which contains
the essence of the Hindu religion, is a short prayer to the Sun-god, who is addressed as Savitri,
the generator or creator. The early Egyptians, and other ancient peoples also, seem to have
worshipped the Sun-god as the Creator."[4]

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[3. London, 1905, p. 5.
4. Ditto, p. 206 f. Note:--Dr. Oldham also states, p. 183: "It seems in the highest degree improbable that this close
connection between the Sun and the serpent could have originated, independently, in countries so far apart as China
and the west of Africa, or India and Peru. And it seems scarcely possible that, in addition to this, the same forms of
worship of these deities, and the same ritual, could have arisen, spontaneously, amongst each of these far distant
peoples. The alternative appears to be, that the combined worship of the Sun and the serpent-gods must have spread
from a common centre, by the migration of, or communication with, the people who claim Solar descent." This is
Elliot Smith's theory which would derive the entire cult from Egypt. Oldham, however, differs from Elliot Smith in
as much as he would make Asia and not Egypt the point of origin. Thus, p. 197: "The social customs and religious
rites of the Egyptians were closely related to those of the Sun-worshipping people of Asia. There can, indeed, be
little doubt as to the Asiatic origin of the Pharaohs and their followers." Nevertheless, {footnote p. 3} Wilfrid D.
Hambly, in the case of serpent worship, at least, rejects the whole explanation. He finds in zoological evidence,
sufficient reason for spontaneous origins of the serpent cult in various parts of the world.--Cfr. Wilfrid D. Hambly,
Serpent Worship in Africa, Chicago, 1931, Chapter VII, p. 68 ff.
Cfr. also, John Bathurst Deane, The Worship of the Serpent, London, 1830, who states in his Preface, p. xii f.: "The
plan of this treatise is simple. It professes to prove the existence of Ophiolatreia in almost every considerable
country of the ancient world, and to discover in the mythology of every civilized nation, evidences of a recollection
of the events in Paradise. If these facts can be established, the conclusion is obvious--that all such traditions must
have had a common origin; and that the most ancient record, which contains their basis, must be the authentic
history. The most ancient record containing this basis is the Book of Genesis, composed by Moses. The Book of
Genesis, therefore, contains the history upon which the fables, rites, and superstitions of the mythological serpent
are founded." The Reverend Mr. Deane, M.A., F.S.A. is recorded in the first edition of his work as "Late of
Pembroke College, Cambridge: Curate of St. Benedict Finck; and evening preacher at the Chapel of the
Philanthropic Society." His avowed purpose, the support of the Biblical narrative and his unquestioning acceptance
of the Mosaic origin of Genesis, etc., effectively excludes him from the consideration of most so-called critical
scholars. However, while admitting his partiality and bias, and even his lack of modern scientific methods, there is
much that he has to say that is really worthy of serious consideration.
Reference should also be made to Professor Clemen of Bonn, who after stating: "Every possible kind of animal is
regarded as a higher being by both primitive and civilized peoples, and it is not always easy to give a reason in the
various cases," adds: "Especially frequent is the worship of the snake, whose power of locomotion without feet, as
well as its repeated sloughing of its skin, its fixed gaze and its poisonous fangs, no doubt attracted special attention."
Carl Clemen, Religions of the World, New York, 1931, p. 30.
Finally, M. Oldfield Howey, The Encircled Serpent, Philadelphia, 1928, p. 17, asserts: "The origin of Egyptian
Ophiolatry is lost in the mists of antiquity, but it is said to have been derived from Chaldea, which country is thought
to have given it birth, and certainly produced enthusiastic adherents of its tenets. Put the serpent is everywhere in the
mythologies and cosmogonies of Eastern lands, so that to trace out the ultimate source of its appearance in so
ancient a civilization with any certainty is probably impossible."]

{p. 3}
in speaking of Africa, however, Egypt, at least for the present must be excluded from our
consideration. For our question now deals with rites distinctively belonging to the black tribes,
whether we class them as Bantus or Negroes in the strict sense of the word. And while at first
glance it seems but natural to assign an Egyptian origin for the cult, as far as the dark continent is
concerned, Wilfrid D. Hambly, Assistant Curator of African Ethnology at the Field Museum of
Natural History, Chicago, the first to produce a strictly scientific work on the question of serpent
worship in Africa[5] after a prolonged and careful study, has adduced strong and convincing
reasons to the contrary. Hence his conclusion: "Examination of African Python worship in
relation to cults and beliefs from other parts of the world provides
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[5. Field Museum of Natural History Publication 289, Chicago, 1931, Anthropological Series, Vol. XXI, No. 1.]

{p. 4}
no evidence that Africa received Python worship from extraneous sources. On the contrary, the
evidence is strongly in favour of an indigenous origin of Python worship."[6] And again: "There
is nothing more than a superficial resemblance between the snake beliefs of Africa and those of
ancient Egypt."[7]
In any case, the subject does not really come within the scope of the present work. We are, it is
true, in quest of the origin of Voodoo as a serpent cult, but precisely, as we shall see later, under
the particular aspect of worshipping the non-poisonous python. We have nothing to do here
directly with rainbow-snakes, or other like variants of the serpent cult.[8]
Canon Roscoe furnishes us with a description of the principal centre of serpent worship in East
Africa. He tells l-is: "The python god, Selwanga, had his temple in Budu, by the river Mujuzi, on
the shore of the lake Victoria Nyanza. . . . The appearance of the new moon was celebrated by a
ceremony extending over seven days; for this the people made their preparations beforehand,
because no work was done during the festival. A drum was sounded as soon as the moon was
seen, and the people gathered together to make their requests and to take part in the ceremonies.
Those who wished to make any request brought special offerings, whilst the rest brought beer
and food as they pleased. The priesthood of this deity was confined to members of the Heart
Clan; the chief of the. state upon which the temple stood was always the priest. His dress was the
usual priestly dress, that is, it consisted of two barkcloths, one knotted over each shoulder, and
two white goat-skins as a. shirt; round his chest he tied a leopard-skin decorated with beads and
with seed of the wild banana, and in his hand he carried two fly-whisks made from the tails of
buffalo. The priest first received the offerings for the
[6. Ditto, p. 74.
7. Ditto, p. 75.
8. Note:--Hambly remarks, p. 55: "My general conclusion is that Python worship is an indigenous factor of Negro
culture; but on the contrary African ideas of rainbow-snakes, snake-monsters, and birth-snakes, are derived from
Hamito-Semitic beliefs of southwestern Asia." And again, p. 64: 'I am reluctant to accept any statement with regard
to. the Egyptian origin of snake-sun beliefs. There are, however, many Egyptian serpent beliefs, both ancient and
modern, which may assist in tracing the origin of African beliefs and customs."]

{p. 5}
god and heard the people's requests; then, going into the temple to the medium, he gave the latter
a cup of beer and some of the milk from the python's bowl mixed with white clay. After the
medium had drunk the beer and milk, the spirit of the python came upon him, and he went down
on his face and wriggled about like a snake, uttering peculiar noises and using words which the
people could not understand. The priest stood near the medium and interpreted what was said.
During the time that the medium was possessed the people stood round, and the temple drum
was beaten. When the oracle ended, the medium fell down exhausted, and would lie inanimate
for a long time like a person in a deep sleep."[9]
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To further clarify our position, we may at the outset accept Hambly's distinction between
worship and cult as a scientific working basis. Thus he says: "The difficulty of supplying a rigid
and logical definition of an act of worship is indisputable, but in practice confusion of thought
may be avoided by using the word in connection with certain beliefs and acts. These might
reasonably include ideas of a superhuman being, a priesthood, provision of a special house or
locality, and also the employment of sacrifice and ritual procedure. The word 'cult' may be used
to designate beliefs and acts whose nature is less clearly defined than is the case with concepts
and ceremonies surrounding an act of worship. . . . The subject of serpent worship has suffered
from hasty generalizations and a lack of classificatory treatment. Consequently there have been
assumptions of similarities and identities where they do not exist."[10]
Of Africa in general, Hambly says: "The distribution of Python worship is clear. The main foci
are the southwest shore of Lake Victoria Nyanza; also several centres in the coastal regions of
the west, from Ashanti to the south of the Niger. Python worship was probably indigenous to an
ancient possibly aboriginal Negro population, which was driven to the west by
[9. John Roscoe, The Baganda, An Account of their Native Customs and Beliefs, London, 1911, p. 320f.
10. Hambly, l. c., Preface, p. 8.]

{p. 6}
racial pressure in the cast. Eventually the python-worshipping people were forced into
unfavourable situations in the Niger delta, where they are found at present. Around the main
centres of python worship are python cults; also python and snake beliefs."[11]
Let us now follow Hambly's argument and see in a general way what facts have led him to this
conclusion. "West Africa," he remarks, "undoubtedly yields evidence of python worship,
especially in Dahomey and southern Nigeria. There is also supplementary evidence with regard
to python cults and beliefs. . . . A geographical survey through the Congo, South Africa, and up
the east is negative with regard to the existence of python worship.[12] Not until the region of
Lake Victoria Nyanza is reached is there evidence of a definitely organized python worship with
a sacred temple, a priesthood, and definite ritual acts including sacrifice. There appears to be no
definite evidence of python worship in Cameroon, but the serpent design is often employed in
wood carving and the equipment of medicine-men."[13]
[11. Ditto, p. 75. Cfr. also p. 48: "Python and snake worship were undoubtedly more firmly established in Africa
years ago than they are at present." And, p. 55: "Python worship of West Africa is found to be strongly intrenched
among people of Negro blood who speak non-Bantu languages, and of these the Ijaw are the best example. In East
and West Africa the python is associated with success in agriculture and fishing. These occupations were followed
by Negroes who were driven out by pastoral immigrants."
12. Cfr., however, Thomas J. Hutchinson, Impressions of Western Africa, London, 1858, p. 197. Writing from
Fernando Po, where he was his Britannic Majesty's Consul, having spent eight years in West Africa, Hutchinson
says: "The coronation of a king is a ceremonial that I have not yet had the pleasure of witnessing; but it has been
reported to me as one possessing interesting features. It is so bound tip with their notions of a spirit or devil, that I
deem it necessary to explain the peculiarity of their belief on this latter point. 'Maaon' is the title given to the devil,
and the Botakimaaon (his high priest) is supposed to have influence with him through communication with the
cobra-capella, the 'Roukarouko.' Their faith in God, to whom the name of 'Rupe' is given, is a loftier aspiration than

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that of the devil; but they believe that the Deity's favour can be only obtained by intercession through the
'Botakimaaon' with his master. At the ceremony of coronation, the Botakimaaon steps into a deep hole, and pretends
to hold conversation with one of the Roukaroukos at the bottom; the candidate for regal honours standing alongside,
and all his subjects, in futuro, being about. This conference is, I believe, carried on by means of ventriloquism,--a
faculty with which many of the Fernandians are reported to me to be endowed. The Botakimaaon then delivers to
the king the message from the Roukarouko for his guidance in his high station." The "Maaon" referred to is probably
not the devil, but some ancestral or other spirit as happens elsewhere in the serpent worship.
13. Hambly, l. c., p. 18. Hambly further observes, p. 69: "Pythons of various kinds have a distribution ranging from
the southern Sahara to Natal. The {footnote p. 7} Python sebae, the largest of all, may be found almost anywhere
through the Sudan from Senegal to Dafur. Pythons of some species attain enormous size, have great crushing power,
are non-poisonous, are easily tamed, seldom attack human beings, and are slow to bite if handled gently. With these
points in view it is not difficult to understand why the python should have been selected as a suitable snake for
captivity in temples. The reptiles are easily controlled by priests, and at the same time are harmless to those who
come with petitions and sacrifices." He had already said, p. 44: "Most observers have remarked on the fearlessness
with which priests and priestesses handle large pythons. These snakes are, however, non-poisonous, and their
general harmlessness and domesticability are well attested. Very seldom do they attack human beings. The question
of immunity in handling poisonous snakes is another problem, but in this connection it must be admitted that many
poisonous snakes, unless disturbed suddenly and startled, are reluctant to strike."]

{p. 7}
Again: "There are two unquestionable areas of python worship, namely West Africa and a
smaller region in Uganda, but there is no definite evidence of similar institutions in the great
extent of country between the two centres. There are, however, usages which may be the residue
of a decadent python cult. . . . The following factors are common to the East and West African
forms of python worship: (1) The python only, but no other snake, is selected for definite
worship. This choice may be due to the impressive size of the large species of python. The
reptiles are tractable and non-poisonous. All observers are agreed that the python rarely attacks a
human being. (2) Hut structures (temples) contain internal arrangements for feeding the reptiles.
(3) The python embodies a superhuman being, god of war, spirit of the water, patron of
agriculture, or goddess of fertility. (4) The king sends messengers and offerings. He asks for
prosperity. (5) Sacred groves are found in addition to temples. (6) Acts of worship bring people
who offer sacrifice and make requests. (7) Priests and priestesses are employed; the latter are
wives of the python. Both dance themselves into ecstatic trance in which they make oracular
utterances which are given in a language not understood by the worshippers."[14]
Hambly later returns to the same point: "One of the most important questions is the possible
relationship between the python worship of Uganda and that of West Africa. The points of
comparison between these two centres have already been given in
[14. Hambly, l. c., p. 29 ff. Note:--He has already observed: "In Uganda the main ceremonies of supplication are
carried out at new moon; to this I have found no parallel in the ceremonies reported from West Africa."--l. c., p. 21.]

{p. 8}
detail. Briefly they are: The acceptance of the python as a supernatural being; the honouring of
the reptile, which is fed and generally cared for; the appointment of priests and priestesses who
undergo special preparation; belief in the python as a source of productiveness in relation to
human fecundity, agriculture, and fishing; making of petitions and the offering of sacrifice;
17

MAGICAL 333
ecstatic dances of priests and priestesses. These go into trance during which they prophesy and
answer the requests of worshippers. These points suggest relation rather than independent origin,
though it has to be admitted that the points of resemblance are of a rather general nature.
Zoological observations prove that the python is likely to be accepted anywhere as an object of
adoration."[13] Despite the last assertion, then, Hambly would trace the python worship of
Uganda and West Africa at least to a common source rather than ascribe them to independent
origin.
He continues; "Knowledge of racial migrations in Africa points to the probability that python
worship passed across the continent from east to west.[16] To a certain extent the movement of
African races are understood; the defect of our knowledge lies in the absence of a chronology for
the mass movements of races. It is known, however, that under Hamitic pressure in the Horn of
Africa the primitive Negro of the Lake Region moved across the continent from east to west,
sending branches of the migratory stem into the Congo area, in which the movement was from
north to south and from east to west. There is not a fragment of evidence to suggest that the
intrusive Hamites brought python worship with them. The most reasonable suggestion is that the
worship is indigenous to the early Negroes of Uganda though the ritual is now practiced by
people who are somatically and linguistically Hamitic. The migration of python worship was
probably of a purely racial character. The forms of worship are found in their fullest structure
and activity at both ends of the main racial
[15. Hambly, l. c., p. 49.
16. Note:--Later he states, p. 75: "Within the African continent itself migration of ideas has probably played a more
important part than has independent invention. Easy communication from east to west, and from north to south;
known Hamitic and Semitic movements; also the appeal made by transmigration and fecundity ideas in all grades of
society, have assisted a ready diffusion."]

{p. 9}
migratory line; that is, in Uganda at the eastern end, and southern Nigeria and Dahomey at the
western end of the line. . . . When the main masses of migrants had passed across the continent,
they were fifteen degrees north of the equator, that is, to the north of Dahomey, Ashanti, and
Nigeria. Owing to pressure from the Fulani and the Hausa, these Negro tribes from East Africa
had to move south into the unfavourable coast regions of the area from Liberia to the mouth of
the Niger. It is precisely in these non-Bantu regions that python worship, cults, and beliefs are
found at present. They were exceptionally strong at Brass, the terminus of some of the oldest of
these racial migrations."[17]
This theory of Hambly is amply supported by independent observations. Thus as regards East
Africa, we may quote one or two in passing." A. L. Kitching published a work in 1912 of which
he says himself: "This book embodies the experiences and observations of ten years spent among
the outlying tribes of the Uganda Protectorate."[19] In the chapter on "Superstition" he writes:
"While some of the tribes in Uganda may be said to know God in a certain sense, and to look to
and pray to a Supreme Being, whose influence is expected to be benign and helpful, the religion
of the majority . . . consists largely, in common parlance, of dodging evil spirits."[20] Then,
speaking of the Gan' people of northwest Uganda, he states: "In the same vague fashion

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sacrifices are offered to demons on the rocks that abound throughout the district; the spot usually
preferred is one where there is a hole in which dwells a snake. The demon, so I was informed, is
supposed to reside in the body of the snake, a statement which has decided Biblical flavour,
although there was no suspicion of Christian knowledge about my informer."[21]
Canon Roscoe writing of the Banyoro, or as he prefers to call
[17. Hambly, l. c., p. 50 f.
18. Note:--The fact that among the Lango only the wizards eat snakes might indicate at least a vestige of serpent
cult.--Cfr. J. H. Driberg, The Lango, a Nilotic Tribe of Uganda, London, 1923, p. 105.
19. A. L. Kitching, On the Backwaters of the Nile, London, 1912, Foreword, p. xi.
20. Ditto, p. 256.
21. Ditto, p. 259.]

{p. 10}
them the Bakitara, located along the eastern shore of Lake Albert in Uganda, stresses the point
that in the common estimation rivers and waterholes are usually under the guardianship of snakes
to whom sacrifices are offered. Thus, for example, "At the Muzizi there was a medicine-man,
Kaupinipini, who was in charge of the river and cared for the snake, to which he made offerings
when people wished to cross. He affirmed that it was useless to attempt to build a bridge over the
river for the snake would break it down, and the only means of crossing was by large papyrus
rafts on which the people, after giving offerings to the medicine-man for the snake, had to be
ferried over. The king sent periodical offerings of black cows to this snake and the medicine-man
presented them to it with prayers that it would not kill men."[22] And again: "Pythons were held
to be sacred, and in some places offerings were made regularly to them to preserve the people. A
few men kept pythons in their houses, taming them and feeding them on milk with an occasional
fowl or goat. It was said that these pythons did not kill children or animals in their own villages
but went further afield for their prey. The king had a special temple at Kisengwa in which a
priest dwelt with a living python which he fed on milk."[23]
[22. John Roscoe, The Bakitara or Banyoro, Cambridge, 1923, p. 42
21. Roscoe, l. c., p. 44. Note:--After twenty-five years of missionary work in Africa, Canon Roscoe undertook an
ethnological expedition there in 1919. He tells us, John Roscoe, The Soul of Central Africa, London, 1922, Preface,
p. vii: "For some time funds for such a purpose were not available, but Sir James G. Frazer, who first aroused in me
an interest in anthropology, was unceasing in his attempts to find some means of financing the work. At length,
owing to his efforts, Sir Peter Mackie, of Glenreasdell, became interested in the project, and most generously came
forward and shouldered the whole financial burden, handing over to the Royal Society ample sums for the purpose."
It is interesting then, to find Frazer writing from Cambridge on Feb. 5, 1908, to his friend Sir Spencer Gillen in
Australia, Spencer's Scientific Correspondence Sir J. G. Frazer and others, Oxford, 1932, p. 107: "I wish if possible
to relieve J. Roscoe of his mission work in Central Africa, and set him free there entirely for anthropology. We
should learn very much from him. I know no keener anthropologist than he." Particular value, then, is attached to the
following testimony of Roscoe, taken from the very book that we have quoted in the text, The Bakitara or Banyoro,
p. 21: "Though the Bakitara had a great number of objects of worship, there was but one god, Ruhanga, the creator
and father of mankind. With him were associated the names Enkya and Enkyaya Enkya, whose identity it is not easy

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to separate from that of Ruhanga. One man asserted that they were a trinity and yet one god; but as he had been for
some years a devout Christian, in constant attendance at the Roman Catholic Mission Station his statement may
have {footnote p. 11} been coloured by Christian ideas. The general impression gathered, however, was that their
belief was entirely monotheistic, and that, if the three were not one deity, then Enkya and Enkyaya Enkya were
subordinate gods whose appearance in their theology was later than that of Ruhanga, and more frequently, Enkya
and Enkyaya Enkya were called upon by the people in distress or need; prayers were made to them in the open, with
hands and eyes raised skywards."
In connection with East African Ophiolatry, the following citations might be noted.
"The only disquietude to a stranger in their houses arises from the snakes which rustle in the straw roofs, and disturb
his rest. Snakes are the only creatures to whom either Dinka or Shillooks pay any sort of reverence. The Dinka call
them 'brethren' and look upon their slaughter as a crime. I was informed by witnesses which I have no cause to
distrust, that the separate snakes are individually known to the householder, who calls them by name, and treats
them as domestic animals."--Georg Schweinfurth, The Heart of Africa, London, 1874, Vol. I, p. 158.
"When a medicine-man or a rich person dies and is buried, his soul turns into a snake as soon as his body rots; and
the snake goes to his children's kraal to look after them."--Masai saying recorded by A. C. Hollis, The Masai: Their
Language and Folklore, Oxford, 1905, p. 307.
"Under ordinary circumstances a snake is killed at sight. A snake is also killed if it enters a house, and a hole has to
be made in the wall in order to eject the body, as it may not be thrown out of the door. But if a snake goes in to the
woman's bed, it may not be killed, as it is believed that it personifies the spirit of a deceased ancestor or relation, and
that it has been sent to intimate to the woman that the next child will be born safely."--A. C. Hollis, The Nandi:
Their Language and Folklore, Oxford, 1909, p. 90.
"According to the belief of a great many Bantus, especially in South Africa, the dead appear chiefly in the form of
snakes."--Lucien Lévy-Bruhl, The "Soul" of the Primitive, New York, 1928, p. 292.
"The Zulu . . . recognizes the soul of an ancestor in the snake which visits his kraal."--Frank Byron Jevons, An
Introduction to the History of Religion, London, 1896, p. 303.
These instances refer rather to serpent cult than to formal Ophiolatry.]

{p. 11}
it is well to note here what has been remarked by Hambly: "The Wa Kikayu regard the snake and
some other animals as having a mysterious connection with spirits. When a snake enters the
village the people offer it milk and fat. These snakes are not exactly the spirits themselves, but
their messengers, who give warnings of future evils and come to indicate that an offering to the
spirits will be opportune.[24]
Having thus sufficiently established the fountain-head of Negro Ophiolatry at Uganda, we may
turn to West Africa for a more intimate and detailed study of its development at what Hambly
calls the western end of the racial migratory line.
Major Arthur Glyn Leonard, writing in 1906, after ten years of personal contact with the natives
of South Nigeria, came to the conclusion that here at least the Ophiolatry practiced was a
[21. Hambly, l. c., p. 34.]

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{p. 12}
form of ancestor worship. In his opinion the Nigerian venerates the snakes precisely because he
believes that the spirits of his ancestors are embodied in them. Thus he states: "In Benin City, at
Nembe, Nkwerri, and in various localities all over the Delta, Ophiolatry, so-called, exists and
flourishes, as it has always done ever since man taught himself to associate the spirits of his
ancestors with the more personal and immediate objects of his surrounding. And as snakes-living
as they did in the olden days in caves and trees, and as they now do not only in the towns, but
inside the houses, underground as well as in the thatched roofs-were very closely associated with
man, it is no wonder that they were early chosen to represent ancestral embodiment."[25]
[25. Arthur Glyn Leonard, The Lower Niger and its Tribes, London, 1906, p. 327. Note:--In a Preface to Major
Leonard's work (p. xii) Professor A. C. Haddon thus explains the author's general animistic theory. "We learn that
the religion of the Niger delta natives is based on the adoration of ancestral spirits, materially represented by
emblems, the latter being nothing more nor less than convenient forms of embodiment which can be altered or
transferred according to circumstances. These objects, rude and senseless as they may be, are regarded as vehicles of
spiritual influence, as something sacred because of their direct association with some familiar and powerful spirit,
and not as objects which in themselves have, or carry with them, any so-called supernatural powers. It is not the
object itself, but what is in or is associated with it. The object accordingly becomes nothing more nor less than a
sacred receptacle, and its holiness is merely a question of association. The thing itself is helpless and powerless. it
cannot do harm, just as it cannot do good; the spirit, which is invariably ancestral, even when deified, alone does the
mischief and wrecks the vengeance in the case of neglect or impiety, or confers the benefits and the blessings when
the ancestral rites are performed with due piety by the household."
According to Major Leonard, ancestor worship eventually postulated a Supreme Being. Thus he argues, p. 89:
"Surrounded on all sides by evil, i. e. by people who were inimical to him, and spiritual influences, who sought his
life on every opportunity, the family looked to its head for protection. But he, poor man, was to a greater extent then
this family circumvented by enemies on all sides, and in spite of his skill, his strength, and his prowess, he felt
himself powerless in the face of them all. So in his misery he turned to the spirit of his father, whom during his
lifetime he had honoured and revered, and to whose spiritual aid, when he was victorious, he had once attributed the
victory. But victory did not always shine upon him, for the race was not always to the swift, nor was the battle
always to the strong. Therefore it was in these moments that be looked beyond his father to the first or spirit ancestor
who had made every man and everything, good or evil. A moment this of supremest exaltation, arising out of the
lowest depths of despair. Of supremest triumph also, for the Supreme One had once more asserted his power and
given him the victory. Having recognized the existence and presence of a Creator, and evoked his aid, the next stage
in the process was the formation of a system by which the victory of the Supreme One and his great influence were
to be commemorated and kept alive." We cannot accept the Major's process of reasoning on the part of the so-called
primitive. But it is sufficient for our purpose that he does require a Supreme Being in the present-day belief. To all
appearances, Major Leonard is {footnote p. 13} only following Frazer who says: "The theology of the Bantu tribes,
especially of such of them as have remained in the purely pastoral stage, appears generally to be of the most meagre
nature: its principal element, so far as we can judge from the scanty accounts of it which we possess, is the fear or
worship of dead ancestors, and though these ancestral spirits are commonly supposed to manifest themselves to their
descendants in the shape of snakes of various kinds, there is no sufficient ground for assuming these snakes to have
been originally totems."--J. G. Frazer, Totemism and Exogamy, London, 1910, Vol. IV, p. 32.
In his chapter on "The Gods of the Priests and People," Major Leonard states; p. 416: "This system of religion is
based fundamentally--that is, purely and entirely--on the close and naturally inseparable ties and associations of
family or ancestral relationships, which is regarded by these natives as a natural order, direct from the Supreme
God."]

{p. 13}

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To one observation of Major Leonard we must draw particular attention. It is this: "Irrespective
of tribe and locality, one fact in connection with these natives impressed me very forcibly, and
that was that in every case, with regard to snakes, the emblem revered is the python, and not one
of the poisonous varieties, such e.g. as the cobra or horned viper. . . . The snakes whose bite
means death are looked on as representing the spirits of evil."[26]
In Northern Nigeria there are comparatively few vestiges of the serpent cult, which may formerly
have existed there, as indicated by certain finds. Thus C. K. Meek reports in connection with the
Bauchi Plateau:[27] "From a surface deposit at Rop there was discovered a representation in tin
of a coiled snake. This evidently had some religious or magical significance, and once again
points to the presence of a former people who knew how to work in tin, who had a developed
artistic sense, and among whom the cult of the serpent was perhaps a feature of their
religion."[28] And again, "The Hausa states were foreigners from the East and all belonged to the
same racial stock. . . . The legend further suggests that the ancient people of Hausaland
reverenced the snake. This we can readily believe, as certain snakes are still regarded as sacred
by the Angas, whose language is closely allied to Hausa, and representations of snakes have been
dug up on the Bauchi Plateau."[29] Later he adds: "Before the introduction of Islam, among the
early peoples of the Hausa states various snakes were apparently common totem animals,
especially among
[26. Leonard l. c. p. 328.
27. Located about N. 10º; E. 10º.
28. C. K. Meek, The Northern Tribes of Nigeria, Oxford, 1925, Vol. I, p. 54.
29. Ditto, p. 76 f.]

{p. 14}
the people of Katsina and Daura. The Abayajidu invaders of the Daura traditions would appear to
have slain the local snake and substituted their own sacred animal, e. g. the lion (zaki), or some
other worship instead."[30]
Percy Amaury Talbot of the Nigerian Political Service published
[30. Meek, l. c., p. 174. Note:--In a later work, Tribal Studies in Northern Nigeria, London, 1931, Meek adds further
details. Thus, Vol. I, p. 164, we read: "The Melim are natural objects worshipped publicly in the bush, but families
and individuals protect themselves with minor objects known as 'habtu' which are amulets or 'fetishes,' according as
the efficacy is transmitted from outside or is due to the presence of an indwelling spirit." He is referring to the Bura
and Pabir tribes located around N. 12º½; E. 10º½. Again, p. 165; "Habtu Pwapu is a striking representation in iron of
a snake (pwapu means 'snake') which is commonly seen in houses. Or it may be attached to the leg as an amulet. In
the houses they may be seen set in pairs (male and female) in the shell of a baobab nut. They are said to ward off
evil influences and appear to have a fertility signification. Their custodians are women, but every householder must
at harvest offer benniseed and cotton and the blood of a chicken to his Habtu Pwapu, otherwise one of his household
will be bitten by a snake. It may be noted here that the figure of the serpent appears as a personal or house-protecting
amulet all through Egyptian history. A specimen of a Habtu Pwapu was obtained."

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MAGICAL 333
Writing of the Mumuye, located about N. 9º; E. 11º½, Vol. I, p. 468, Meek states: "The rain cult par excellence for
all the Mumuye and surrounding tribes is that centred at Yoro. When a serious drought occurs all the senior priests
of the tribe proceed with gifts to the rain-maker Yoro. To this cult even the chief of Kona appeals as a last resort, by
sending numerous gifts. The rites are said to be as follows. The priest (the kpanti mi, i. e. rain-chief) removes from a
large pot the symbol of the cult, which is a piece of iron fashioned like a snake. It is kept rolled up in a curtain of
black string. The priest unwinds the curtain and fastens it to two pegs on opposite walls of the hut. Then taking a
blacksmith's hammer in his right hand and a pair of iron scissors in his left, he says: 'What I am about to do my
forefathers did before me. Grant that this drought may cease, and that we may have corn to eat.' He then chews a
piece of the vitis quadrangularis creeper and spits it out on the implements. which he lays on the ground. Picking up
the iron snake he says, 'You we received from Yoro in the East; a drought has come upon us, and if we do not have
rain, how shall we obtain food to eat? Grant, therefore, that by your graciousness we may have rain in abundance.
and that in due course we may reap a sufficient harvest,' He again takes a piece of the creeper, chews it and spits it
out on the iron snake. He then hurls, the snake against the hammer and scissors, and it is said that as soon as this is
done the first peal of thunder is heard. It is a sympathetic rite, the clanging of the iron being a simulation of
thunder."
As regards the Hausa, C. G. Seligman, Races of Africa, London, 1930, p. 81 f., records the derivation of the word
title which now signifies king or chieftain in the Hausa language. The founder of the royal line was said to have
been a son of the King of Bagdad. On his arrival at Daura he found the well guarded by a serpent called Ki Serki,
who prevented the drawing of water. He slew the serpent, married the Queen of the country, and was thereafter
called Mai-Kai Serki, the man who killed Serki. Seligman adds: "This legend is recorded since. on the one hand, it
seems to preserve some features of the older organization of the land (matrilineal descent, snake-worship): and on
the other emphasizes the constant tendency to borrow and greatly exaggerate Eastern connections, due to the
increasing prestige & pressure of Islam."]

{p. 15}
in 1912 the conclusions resultant of five years of intimate contact with the Ekoi who were
located on both sides of the boundary between the Cameroons and Southern Nigeria. It is his
suggestion that Ophiolatry reached Nigeria from Egypt and had its origin in the introduction "of
non-poisonous snakes into granaries, in order to protect their contents from predatory rodents."
He writes: "Possibly the cult of the snake and crocodile has come down from very ancient times.
It is well known that both were honoured in Egypt as tutelar gods, and if the Ekoi have trekked,
as seems likely, from the cast of Africa, it is probable that the original reason for deifying snake
and cat, i. e. that these creatures were the principal scourges of the plague-carrying rat, lies at the
back of the powerful snake cult, while traces of cat worship are still to be found. Rats are a great
pest all over the land, and every possible means is taken to keep them down, though with little
result. In Egypt the snake was not only the guardian of house and tomb, but a snake goddess
presided over the harvest festival, held in the month of Pharmuthi or April. Doubtless among
other attributes she was regarded as the protectress of the garnered grain, and her cult grew from
the practice of introducing non-poisonous snakes into granaries, in order to protect their contents
from predatory rodents."[31]
Fourteen years after the appearance of his first book, Talbot brought out a truly scholarly work in
four volumes entitled, The Peoples of Northern Nigeria.[32] He was still of opinion that "The
striking resemblance between the Nigerian cults and those of
[31. P. Amaury Talbot, In the Shadow of the Bush, London, 1912, p. 25. Note:--Of the religion of the Ekoi, Talbot
says, p. 13: "The religion of the Ekoi is altogether a fascinating study. Its principal features are the Cult of Ancestors
and of Nature Forces.... Of actual Deities there are only two, Obassi Osaw, the Sky God, and the Earth God Obassi
Nsi."

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MAGICAL 333
Major A. J. N. Tremearne, The Ban of the Bori, London, 1914, p. 413, remarks: The names of many snakeworshipping tribes in the West Sudan consist of sa or so, in combination with other letters. But sa or za alone or in
combination, also mean chief and rulers with these names are said to have come from the cast; Sa, a younger son of
Misraim or Menes, the earliest historic king of Egypt, being given the district bordering the Fezzan route to the
desert." He personally rejects the opinion of those who hold that the Sa in question really stands for serpent.
32. Oxford, 1926.]

{p. 16}
ancient Egypt and the Mediterranean area generally can only be explained by intercourse, direct
and indirect."[33]
The following excerpts are of interest: "Minor deities often assume the form--or inhabit the
bodies of snakes, some species of which, especially pythons, are held sacred throughout the
region of marsh-lands and waters inhabited by the most ancient tribe of all, the Ijaw, while there
are traces of Ophiolatry in many other parts."[34]
"The chief juju in the Badagri region used to be Idagbe, symbolized by a large python."[35]
"In some parts of the Brass country, the principal worship is that of Ogidiga which was
apparently introduced from Benin by Isalema, the first settler at Nembe. He is represented by a
python and is supposed by some to be identical with the Bini and Yoruba Olokun, God of the
Sea."[36]
"The Elei Edda worship a male Alose named Aru-Nga, who resides in a very nimble snake,
probably Dandrapis augusticeps. If anyone kills this, a chief dies. It lives in a grove near the
town and comes out when the priest sacrifices to it; it is supposed to bite and kill any bad
person."[37]
"The Ake-Eze Edda chiefly worship Ezi-Aku, 'the property of the Quarter,' to whom sacrifices
are offered at the foot of a special tree. Snakes are called her children and no one may touch or
hurt them."[38]
"Among the Ekoi the most usual name for juju is some form of Ndeum. . . . The Ejagham appear
to confine the word to those spirits, usually female, who live in trees, though they manifest
themselves at times in the shape of snake or crocodile."[39]
Finally after another six years, Talbot further enhances his reputation as the leading authority on
Southern Nigeria by publishing
[33. Ditto, Vol. II, p. 14.
34. Ditto, Vol. II, p. 83 f.
35. Ditto, Vol. II. p. 93.
36 Ditto, Vol. II, p. 103.

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MAGICAL 333
37 Ditto, Vol. II, p. 112.
38 Ditto, Vol. II, p. 112.
39 Ditto, Vol. II, p. 126.]

{p. 17}
his Tribes of the Niger Delta,[40] where we read: "There is a special snake called Adida, which
is also worshipped at Tombia. This is said to be the wife of Simingi and may never be slain.
Should any Oru-Kuru-Gbaw find one of these lying dead, she would give it burial just as the juju
priests do for the Adumu serpents."[41]
That this serpent cult can have its disadvantages at times is evidenced by the following incident
related by Talbot: "One evening, when staying in the rest house at Omi-Akeni, an Ibo town in
Owerri District, Chief Gabriel Amakiri Yellow came to say that he had heard of a woman's juju
named Ogugu, the shrine of which was near at hand. Our informant began: 'Ogugu is the chief
juju of the women of this country, and is very powerful for the granting of children. . . . If
anyone promises something to the juju and fail to give this, or swear on it name but does not
carry out the thing, Ogugu always sends visitors to remind the person. Big snakes she sends to lie
across the threshold of the house. At midnight, one will creep into bed, or coil by the head of the
sleeper. Never, never does such a messenger leave again until the promise has been
fulfilled.'"[42]
Before passing on, it should be remarked that despite the insistance of Mr. Talbot that the serpent
cult of Nigeria probably owes its origin to Egypt, as he bases his supposition in great part on the
fact that the Ijaws are ultimately from distant East Africa, so far from weakening Hambly's
theory, he only strengthens it as the latter has already shown that the Ijaw derive their origin, in
all probability, not from Egypt but from Uganda.
Stephen Septimus Farrow, in his thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the University
of Edinburgh, 1924, tells us: "Among the Ibo tribes of the Owerri District (near neighbours of
the Yorubas) the boa-constrictor is worshipped. On the 27th day of each month a white cock is
offered to him, with cowries, palm-oil or palm-nuts, white cloth and kola nuts. The sacrifice
[40. London, 1932.
41. Ditto, p. 78.
42. Ditto, p. 92.]

{p. 18}
is deposited at cross roads, away from the town. There is, however, no reptile worship among the
Yorubas, except in the case of crocodiles, belonging to Olosa the lagoon-goddess.[43]

25

MAGICAL 333
Briefly, then, to sum up our present chapter. Prescinding from the question whether African
Ophiolatry is a diffusion from abroad or of independent origin, we may accept Hambly's theory
that as regards the Dark Continent itself, the local centre from which it eminated was in all
probability in Uganda. Further we may accept his assertion that it was indigenous to distinctively
Negro tribes which under pressure from Hamitic invasion, trekked across the continent, carrying
with them their old tribal beliefs and customs. Thirdly, we agree that while the oppressors in East
Africa assimilated in some small degree more or less of its principles, West and not East Africa
gradually became its true centre of influence.
While the examples thus far cited in connection with the practice in West Africa have savoured
rather of the cult than of the formal worship of the serpent in the strict sense of the word, still the
following points are of value. Independently of Whydah, where in the next chapter we will find
Ophiolatry practiced in detail, scattered around this centre we have all the requisites to satisfy
our definition of serpent worship. True, it is, that they serve as confirmatory evidence and
nothing more. But the very fact that they are scattered over many localities and not restricted to
one place, adds to the strength of the argument. For local causes may at times lead to some
particular introduction of a temporary cult, as in the instance related by Colonel Ellis, who
writes: "Djwi-j'ahnu . . . was a god who formerly resided at Connor's Hill. Tradition says that the
people of Cape Coast first discovered his existence from the great loss which the Ashantis
experienced at this spot on the 11th of July, 1824. The slaughter was so great, and the repulse of
the Ashantis so complete, that the Fantis, accustomed to see their foes carry everything before
them, attributed the unusual result of the engagement to the assistance
[43. S. S. Farrow, Faith, Fancies and Fetish, or Yoruba Paganism, London, 1926, p. 20.]

{p. 19}
of a powerful local god. They accordingly sacrificed some prisoners to him, and sent to
Winnebah to inquire of the priests of Bobowissi if their surmise was correct. The reply being in
the affirmative, a regular cult was established, according to the directions of the priests of
Bobowissi. At that time Connor's Hill was covered with usually dense bush, which swarmed
with snakes. Indeed, even at the present day, when the bush is cleared every year, they are still
very numerous, and large numbers are killed by the West India soldiers employed in his work.
From this circumstance probably arose the idea that Djwi-j'ahnu ordinarily presented himself to
his worshippers in the shape of a serpent--in the shape of the cerastes, one of the most deadly of
the ophidia.[44] Other snakes accompanied him, and were regarded as his offspring or
dependants. The first sacrifices offered were human victims, but in later times eggs became the
ordinary offering. If the god did not present himself to his worshippers in his assumed form., it
was imagined that one of their number had given him offence, and the priests then made
inquiries to discover the offender. He, being found, would then be mulcted of a sheep, a white
cloth, and some rum; and with this special propitiatory offering the worshippers would again
proceed to the hill. If the god still remained invisible, it was assumed that he was still
dissatisfied, that the atonement was insufficient; and additional offerings were enforced upon the
guilty member till the god revealed himself. Djwi-j'ahnu was also believed to assume other
shapes; and a leopard, which some thirty years ago haunted the vicinity of the hill, and became
by its depredations the terror of the neighbourhood, was believed to be the god who had adopted
this form. When undisguised, Djwi-j'ahnu was believed to be of human shape and black in
26

MAGICAL 333
colour, but of monstrous size. He was represented as bearing a native sword in his right hand.
His worship has now been extinct for some twenty years, the acquisition of
[44. Note:--Here we should observe that in the case of this local cult the serpent chosen is a poisonous one; which
fact immediately distinguishes it from the general acceptation of the non-poisonous python. Indeed if the origin of
this local cult had not been preserved for us historically, the instance might have been quoted to weaken the claim
that one of the characteristics of the serpent peculiar to African Ophiolatry is that it is of the non-poisonous type.]

{p. 20}
the hill by the Imperial Government, the clearing of the bush, and the building of huts for the
accommodation of troops, having proved fatal to the continuance of this particular cult."[45]
Before going on to examine Ophiolatry as it existed at Whydah, we must accentuate one detail
that already asserts itself, and that is the prevalence with which the veneration of the serpent,
whether as a cult or worship, is associated with what is usually called ancestor worship. But even
here, while the reptile may be regarded as the receptacle or dwelling place of the spirits, they in
turn are only intercessors or messengers of the Supreme Being to whom the petitions or
venerations ultimately tend.[46] It is not, then, idolatry, if we confine ourselves to the strict
definition of the word, as was so frequently assumed by the early African travellers who came in
contact with it and only too frequently described it in distorted terms.[47]
[45. A. B. Ellis, The Tshi-Speaking Peoples of the Gold Coast of West Africa, London, 1887, p. 40 ff.
46. Note:--Cfr. C. Staniland Wake, Serpent Worship, p. 28: "The fact is that the serpent was only a symbol, or at
most an embodiment of the spirit which it represented, as we see from the belief of several African and American
tribes, which probably preserves the primitive form of this superstition. Serpents are looked upon by these peoples
as embodiments of their departed ancestors, and an analogous notion is entertained by various Hindu tribes." Also,
M. Oldfield Howey, The Encircled Serpent, p. 17: 'The religion of ancient Egypt is from the earliest times closely
interwoven with the symbolic worship of sun and serpent. Not only was the serpent looked upon as an emblem of
Divinity in the abstract, but it was connected with the worship of all the Egyptian gods." And a couple of pages later,
p. 19: "Both serpent and sun were emblems of the Celestial Father and participated in the honours that through them
were paid to the Supreme Being." And finally, J. B. Schlegel, Ewe-Sprache, p. xiv: "Serpents hold a prominent place
in the religions of the world, as the incarnations, shrines or symbols of high deities. Such were the rattlesnake's
worshipped in the Natchez temple of the Sun, and the snake belonging in name and figure to the Aztec deity
Quetzalcoatl; the snake as worshipped still by the Slave Coast Negro, not for itself but for its indwelling deity!' As
quoted by Edward B. Tylor, Primitive Culture, p. 241.
47. Note:--In cases where the serpent cult of Africa may actually imply more than the invoking of the intercessory
power of ancestors with the Supreme Being, and where seemingly perhaps the Deity himself is venerated in the
reptile, before ascribing the act of worship to idolatry, it would be well to weigh carefully Father Hull's explanation
of a similar phase of Hindu worship in India, where not serpents but figures of stone are the object of the cult.--Cfr.
Ernest R. Hull, Studies in Idolatry, Bombay, 1912, p. 1 ff. He says: "A European just come out to India, if asked
what he means by idolatry, will point at once to some Hindu salaaming or prostrating himself in front of a lump of
stone. 'That man,' he says, 'is worshipping a stone. He is paying to it that supreme reverence which is due to God
alone. Idolatry means worshipping a stock or stone as God, and instead of God.'
{footnote p. 21}
"Now it is difficult to believe that idolatry of this crude kind exists. Could any man short of an idiot believe that a
stone--as such--is God?

27

MAGICAL 333
"Those who think that the uneducated Hindus really regard the material object as God seem to be misled by the
crude way in which simple Hindus express themselves. They certainly do call the stone object a God. But they must
all know well enough that before certain ceremonies the stone was an ordinary stone; and in one of their festivals
they actually drive the God out of the image before throwing it into the sea. This clearly shows that the God is rather
an inhabitant of the stone than the stone itself. In short, all the facts we know about Hindu worship are totally against
this view. . . .
"A second explanation current among the exponents of Hinduism, is as follows:--The man does not believe that the
stone as such is God. What he believes is that a stone, when selected, and set up, and consecrated in some way,
becomes the dwelling place of God. In this case, worship is directed, not to the stone as such, but to the God present
in the stone, which is merely an outward and visible object marking that presence. . . . Hence the material stone is
reverenced or respected as sacred on account of its connection with the divine presence. But no Hindu, they say,
dreams of paying divine worship to the stone as such. . . . It is true that the common people do not think
metaphysically on the subject. The divine presence is in the material object, and they venerate the object in the
rough divine. Still there is. no difficulty in allowing that their worship is far removed from the utterly preposterous
idea that God is the stone as such, or that the stone as such is God. The real object to which their worship is directed,
is sometimes as it were behind the stone-some preternatural being, real or imaginary, whom they believe to be God,
whose special presence has been induced therein by certain religious rites.
"As far as one can see, the normal belief of the mass of Hindus, is of this kind. A fairly educated Hindu layman and
a well educated Hindu priest may be quoted for this. The layman said:--'I believe in the divine presence in the
image, and I suppose three-quarters of my fellow Hindus do the same.' The priest said:--'The common people
believe that the image contains the God, but we educated men do not. What we believe is that the object is a
representation of an avatar, i.e. the form under which God has manifested himself on earth; or, if not a representation
of the actual form, it is a symbolic representation of some divine attribute manifested to man.' This introduces the
third view, according to which the object is a mere stone unendowed with any divine presence; it is at most a symbol
or representation embodying some divine fact. The image in this case is respected as sacred, being devoted to a
sacred purpose; but worship is not directed to it. An educated Hindu praying towards it is really praying not to it but
to his God; that is to say, his worship, which is outwardly directed towards the stone, is internally directed to the
God in heaven, and not to the God as specially present in the stone." In the African serpent cult the second
explanation holds true in such cases as the serpent itself seems to be venerated. Usually, however, the reptile is
merely the habitation of some spirit, ancestral or otherwise, who acts as an intermediary with God and through
whom the veneration is actually. given to God himself.]

{p. 22}

Chapter II
SERPENT CULT AT WHYDAH
Père Labat writing of the year 1698 in the Island of Martinique, recounts what he had personally
heard from the lips of Père Braguez, who in turn had actually witnessed the serpent cult at
Whydah when the King himself was in attendance to consult the oracle. This is probably the
earliest recorded account of an eye-witness, before European contacts had modified the ritual.
The narrative runs as follows: "The people on their knees and in silence were withdrawn some
distance apart; the King alone with the Priest of the country entered the enclosure, where after
prolonged prostrations, prayers and ceremonies, the priest drew near to a hole where supposedly
he had a serpent. He spoke to him in behalf of the King and questioned him as regards the

28

MAGICAL 333
number of vessels that would arrive the following year, war, harvest and other topics. According
as the serpent replied to a question, the priest carried the answer to the King who was kneeling a
short distance away in an attitude of supplication. This by-play having been repeated a number of
times, it was finally announced that the following year would be prosperous, that it would have
much trade, and that they would take many slaves. The multitude expressed their joy by loud
shouts, dancing and feasting." Père Braguez further stated that he had subsequently interviewed
the officiating priest who assured him: "That the cult rendered to the serpent was only a cult in
its relation to the Supreme Being, of whom they were all creatures. That the choice was not left
to themselves, but that they had adopted it through obedience to the common Master's orders,
which were always founded on sound principles. The Creator knew perfectly the dispositions of
the creatures who had come from his hands, and
{p. 23}
appreciated only too well man's pride and vanity, not to take every means suitable to humble
him; for which purpose nothing seemed more effective than to oblige him to bow down before a
serpent, which is the most despicable and the vilest of all animals."[1]
Reynaud Des Marchais, the French navigator, went on his first voyage to Guinea in 1704. During
the next twenty years, on recurrent visits, he made a close study of the customs and practices of
the various kingdoms. In 1724 he sailed on his last voyage to the Coast and spent several months
carefully revising his notes and checking up on his sketches. Shortly before his death he gave his
manuscript to Père Labat who published it in 1730.[2] In his Preface Père Labat accentuates the
fact that on the voyage of 1724 Des Marchais had corrected "the observations which he had
made on several earlier ones."[3] The narrative itself shows that Des Marchais was an eyewitness of the scenes that he describes concerning the serpent cult at Whydah and the dates on
his sketches indicate that he attended these functions in different years.
Concerning the origin of this worship of the serpent at Whydah he states: "The principal divinity
of the country is the serpent, although it is not known just when they began to acknowledge him,
to render him a cult. They only know as absolutely certain that this pretended divinity came from
the Kingdom of Ardra. These Whydahs having undertaken to give battle to the Ardras, a large
serpent left the enemy's army and came to deliver himself to that of Whydah. But he appeared so
gentle, that instead of biting like the other animals of his species, he caressed and embraced
everybody. The chief sacrificer made bold to take hold of him and raise him up on high to bring
him in view of the entire army, which, astonished at the prodigy, prostrated themselves before
this compliant animal, and rushed on their enemies with such courage that they completely
routed them. They did not fail to attribute their victory to this serpent. They respectfully carried
[1. P. Labat, Nouveau Voyage aux Isles de l'Amérique, Vol. II, p. 41 f.
2. Cfr. Nouvelle Biographie Générale, Paris, 1860, Vol. XXXIII, p. 467.
3. P. Labat, Voyage du Chevalier Des Marchais en Guinée, Isles Voisines, et à Cayenne, fait en 1725, 1726 & 1727,
Amsterdam, 1731, Vol. I, Preface, p. ii.]

{p. 24}

29

MAGICAL 333
him along, built him a house, brought him sustenance, and in a short time this new god eclipsed
all the others, even the fetishes which were the first and oldest gods of the country."[4]
Des Marchais adds: "It is of particular note that the most thoughtful Negroes very seriously
assert that the serpent which they venerate today is really the identical one which came to find
their ancestors, and which enabled them to achieve this famous victory which freed them from
the oppression of the King of Ardra."[5]
This would suggest that the centre of Ophiolatry at Whydah is of comparatively recent origin,
and other indications point strongly in the same direction.
Up to the beginning of the nineteenth century the capital of Whydah is usually marked on the
maps as Xavier or Sabi, also spelt Sabe, Saby, Savi, etc., and presumably a corruption of the
word Xavier which alone appears on the D'Anville map of Guinea dated April, 1729. Des
Marchais, also, heads his chapter on the subject merely as "The Town of Xavier."[6] It is hard to
believe that at so early a date this name should have been applied anywhere except to a Jesuit
Mission. As a matter of fact from about 1600 to 1617, one or more Jesuits were labouring
continuously along the Guinea Coast with headquarters at Sierra Leone. In 1607 Fr. Balthasar
Barreira, S. J. certainly visited Benin and in 1613 Fr. Emmanuel Alvarez, S. J. built a chapel at
Lagos.[7]
Whether or not the Jesuits did actually establish a mission in Whydah and named it Xavier, this
much is certain; that, in connection with their labours along the Guinea Coast, there is absolutely
no mention of serpent worship in any form. And as
[4. Labat, Des Marchais, Vol. II, p. 133 f.
5. Ditto, p. 134. Note:--For his own part, Des Marchais seems to be rather sceptical about the longevity of this
serpent. He writes: "If he is still alive, and it has always been so believed since he was given to this people, he
should be of prodigious length and thickness. But it is needful to pay attention to what these people say of it and
then believe what one thinks proper. For it is only the chief Sacrificer who has the privilege of entering its secret
apartments, the King himself can do so only once when he goes to present his offerings, three months after his
coronation."--Des Marchais, l. c., Vol. II, p. 136.
6. Ditto, Vol. II, p. 36.
7. Cfr. Antonius Francus, Synopsis Annalium S. J. in Lusitania, 1540-1725, Augsburg, 1726.]

{p. 25}
the Jesuits in their Relations are proverbially so detailed in such matters, we have a strong
presumption that it was non-existent within their field of activity at the beginning of the
seventeenth century.
This presumption is strengthened by the fact that Charles Chaulmer in 1661, while describing the
fetish practices of Guinea does not mention the subject." Moreover Dr. O. Dapper who goes into
great details about each of the Guinea Kingdoms and their religions in 1668,[9] as well as John
Ogilby, two years later,[10] are both silent on this point of serpent worship.
30

MAGICAL 333
From all this it is safe to conclude that in all probability the Ophiolatry of Whydah had its origin
in the latter half of the seventeenth century as it was well established there before the century's
close.
The whole story of the advent of the serpent, it must be admitted, if taken by itself savours
somewhat of a mythological derivation of the cult from neighbouring Ardra. But this suggestion
would be scarcely compatible with known facts, as we find no indication that Ophiolatry had any
previous existence there. Actually Des Marchais takes care to point out that, in the fetishism of
Ardra, it is the buzzard that is singled out for veneration, and that they show these birds "the
same respect and the same attention as is had for the good serpents at Whydah."[11]
But even if we exclude this mythological aspect of the story, at least as far as Ardra is concerned,
there is still a possibility that it may have reference to some migration from the east that brought
to Whydah, together with Ophiolatry, much-needed succour in the time of some war against
Ardra.
Before leaving Des Marchais, attention should be called to his minute description of the
procession held on April 16, 1725, in honour of the serpent after the coronation of the King of
Whydah.[12] He also goes into great detail about the recruiting and
[8. Charles Chaulmer, Le Tableau de l'Afrique, Paris, 1661.
9. Dapper, Naukeurige Beschrijvinge der Afrikaensche Gewesten, Amsterdam, 1668.
10. John Ogilby, Africa, London, 1670.
11. Labat, Des Marchais, Vol. II, p. 261.
12 Ditto, Vol. II, p. 145 ff.]

{p. 26}
training of little girls for the future office of priestesses and their subsequent marriage to the
serpent.[13]
We may now take up chronologically the principal accounts of the serpent worship at Whydah
that have come down to us. The earliest detailed narrative and antedating even that of Des
Marchais is from the pen of William Bosman, the Chief Factor for the Dutch at the Castle of St.
George d'Elmina. Written originally in Dutch in 1700, it was quickly translated and circulated
throughout Europe. Concerning Whydah, or as he calls it Fida, he declares: "It is certain that his
country-men have a faint idea of the true God, and ascribe to him the attributes of Almighty and
Omnipotent; they believe that he created the universe, and therefore vastly prefer him before
their idol-gods: but yet they do not pray to him, or offer any sacrifices to him; for which they
give the following reason. God, say they, is too high exalted above us, and too great to
condescend so much as to trouble himself or think of mankind: wherefore he commits the
government of the world to their idols; to whom, as the second, third and fourth persons distant
in degrees from God, and our appointed lawful governors, we are obliged to apply ourselves.

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MAGICAL 333
And in firm belief of this opinion they quietly continue. Their principal gods, which are owned
for such throughout the whole country, are of three sorts. First, a certain sort of snakes, who
possess the chief rank amongst their gods. . . . Their second-rate gods are some lofty high trees;
in the formation of which Dame Nature seems to have expressed her greatest art. The third and
meanest god or younger brother to the other is the sea. These three mentioned are the public
deities which are worshipped and prayed to throughout the whole country.[14]
"They invoke the snake in excessive wet, or barren seasons: on all occasions relating to the
government and the preservation of their cattle, or rather in one word, in all necessities and
difficulties in which they do not apply to their new batch of gods. And for
[13. Ditto, Vol. II, p. 144 ff.
14. William Bosman, A New and Accurate Description of the Coast of Guinea, divided into the Gold, the Slave, and
the Ivory Coast, London, 1705, p. 368.]

{p. 27}
this reason very great offerings are made to it, especially from the King.[15]
"The snake-house . . . is situated about two miles from the King's village, and built under a very
beautiful lofty tree, in which, say they, the chief and largest of all the snakes resides. He is a sort
of grandfather to all the rest; is represented as thick as a man, and of an unmeasurable length. He
must also be very old, for they report that they found him a great number of years past; by reason
of the wickedness of men, he left another country to come to them, at which being overjoyed,
they welcomed their new-come god with all expressible signs of reverence and big veneration
and carried him upon a silken carpet to the snakehouse, where he is at present."[16] This is a
slight variation from the account of Des Marchais.
Bosman continues: "The reverence and respect which the Negroes preserve for the snake is so
great that if a black should barely touch one of them with a stick, or any otherwise hurt him, he is
a dead man, and certainly condemned to the flames. A long time past, when the English first
began to trade here, there happened a very remarkable and tragical event. An English Captain
having landed some of his men and part of his cargo, they found a snake in their house, which
they immediately killed without the least scruple, and not doubting but they had done a good
work, threw out the dead snake at their door, where being found by the Negroes in the morning,
the English preventing the question who had done the fact, ascribed the honour to themselves;
which so incensed the natives, that they furiously fell on the English, killed them all and burned
their house and goods.[17]
"In my time an Aquamboean Negro took a snake upon his stick, because he durst not venture to
touch it with his hands, and carried it out of the house without hurting it in the least, which two
or three Negroes seeing, set up the same cry that is usual on account of fire, by which they can in
a small time raise the
[15. Ditto, p. 369.

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MAGICAL 333
16. Ditto, p. 370.
17. Ditto, p. 376.]

{p. 28}
whole country. . . . By these instances we are deterred from meddling with the accursed gods or
devilish serpents, notwithstanding that we are frequently molested by them, since in hot sunshine
weather, as if they were lovers of darkness, they visit us by five and six together, creeping upon
our chairs, benches, tables, and even our beds, and bearing us company in sleep: and if they get a
good place under our beds, and our servants out of laziness don't turn up our bedding, they
sometimes continue seven or eight days, where they have also cast their young. But when we are
aware of these vermin and do not desire to be troubled with them any longer, we need only call
any of the natives, who gently carries his god out of doors.[18]
"But what is best of all, is, that these idolatrous snakes don't do the least mischief in the world to
mankind. For, if by chance in the dark one treads upon them, and they bite or sting him, it is not
more prejudicial than the sting of the millepedes. Wherefore the Negroes would fain persuade us
that it is good to be bitten or stung by these snakes, upon the plea that one is thereby secured and
protected from the sting of any poisonous snake. But here I am somewhat dubious, and should be
loth to venture on the credit of their assertions, because I have observed that the gods themselves
are not proof against these venomous serpents, much less can they protect us from their bite. We
sometimes observe pleasant battles betwixt the idol and venomous snakes, which are not wanting
here.[19]
"The species of these idol serpents here are streaked with white, yellow and brown; and the
biggest which I have seen here is about a fathom long, and the thickness of a man's arm."[20]
"If we are ever tired with the natives of this country, and would fain be rid of them, we need only
speak ill of the snake, after which they immediately stop their cars and run out of doors. But
though this may be taken from a European that they like; yet,
[18. Ditto, p. 377.
19. Ditto, p. 379.
20. Ditto, p. 380.]

{p. 29}
if a Negro of another nation should presume to do it, he would run no small risk.[21]
"In the year 1697, my brother factor Mr. Nicholas Poll, who then managed the slave trade for our
Company at Fida, had the diversion of a very pleasant scene. A hog being bitten by a snake, in
revenge, or out of love to god's flesh, seized and devoured him in sight of the Negroes, who were
not near enough to prevent him. Upon this the priests all complained to the King; but the hog
could not defend himself, and had no advocate; and the priests, unreasonable enough in their

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MAGICAL 333
request, begged of the King to publish a royal order, that all the hogs in his kingdom should be
forthwith killed, and the swiny race extirpated, without so much as deliberating whether it was
reasonable to destroy the innocent with the guilty."[22]
Twenty years after Bosman wrote his narrative, John Atkins, Surgeon in the Royal Navy, sailed
from Spithead, February 5, 1720, on an expedition in quest of the pirates that were infesting the
slave route from the Guinea Coast to the West Indies. Under the caption "Whydah" he wrote in
his account of the voyage: "This country is governed by an absolute king, who lives in Negrish
majesty at a town called Sabbee, six miles from the sea. His palace is a dirty large bamboo
building, of a mile or two round, wherein he keeps near a thousand women, and divides his time
in an indolent manner. . . . He is fattened to a monstrous bulk, never has been out since he
became king (nigh twelve years)."[23]
Concerning the religion of the country, Atkins remarks: "The most curious of their customs, and
peculiar to this part, is their snake worship, which, according to my intelligence, is as follows.
This snake, the object of their worship, is common in the fields, and cherished as a familiar
domestick in their houses, called deyboys; they are yellow, and marbled here and there, have a
[21. Ditto, p. 381.
22. Ditto, p. 381.
23. John Atkins, A Voyage to Guinea, Brasil, and the West Indies in His Majesty's Ships, the Swallow and
Weymouth, London, 735, p. 110.]

{p. 30}
very narrow swallow, but dilatible (as all of the serpent kind are) to the thickness of your arm on
feeding. It is the principal deity or fetish of the country, and brought into more regularity than
others, by the superior cunning of their fetishers, who have one presiding over them, called the
grand fetisher, or high priest, who is held in equal reverence with the King himself; nay,
sometimes more, through gross supersitition and fear, for they believe an intercourse with the
snake, to whom they have dedicated their service, capacitates them to stop or promote the
plagues that infest them. He hath the craft by this means, to humble the King himself on all
occasions for their service, and to drain both him and the people, in supplying their wants. It is
death for a native to kill one of these snakes, and severe punishments to Europeans. When rains
are wanted at seedtime, or dry weather in harvest, the people do not stir out after it is night, for
fear of the angry snake, which, provoked with their disobedience, they are taught, will certainly
kill them at those. times, if abroad, or render them idiots."[24]
All this was written on the eve of the destruction of Whydah as a nation. The Dahomans of the
interior were bent on securing an outlet to the sea, that they might eliminate the coastal tribes
from their position of middle-men in the lucrative slave trade. After the conquest of Ardra,
Whydah alone stood between them and the consummation of their plan. Ordinarily a stout
resistance might have been expected. But, as Atkins' description has shown us, the reigning king
was devoid of the most fundamental qualities for directing affairs in such a crisis.

34

MAGICAL 333
William Snelgrave who visited the country three weeks after the event, places the date of the
destruction of Whydah by the Dahomans as March, 1727.[25] In this connection he writes: The
King of Dahomey "was obliged to halt there by a river, which runs about half a mile to the
northward of the principal town of
[24. Ditto, p. 113.
25. William Snelgrave, A New Account of some Parts of Guinea and the Slave-Trade, London, 1734, p. 2.]

{p. 31}
the Whidaws, called Sabee, the residence of their King. Here the King of Dahomey encamped
for some time, not imagining he could have found so easy a passage and conquest as he met with
afterwards. For the pass of the river was of that nature, it might have been defended against the
whole army, by five hundred resolute men: but instead of guarding it, these cowardly luxurious
people, thinking the fame of their numbers sufficient to deter the Dahomans from attempting it,
kept no set guard. They only went every morning and evening to the river side, to make fetiche
as they call it, that is, to offer sacrifice to their principal God, which was a particular harmless
snake they adore, and prayed to on this occasion, to keep their enemies from coming over the
river.
"And as worshipping a snake may seem very extravagant to such as are unacquainted with the
religion of the Negroes, I shall inform the readers of the reasons given for it by the people of
Whidaw. This sort of snake is peculiar to their country, being of a very singular make; for they
are very big in the middle, rounding on the back like a hog, but very small at the head and tail,
which renders their motion very slow. Their color is yellow and white, with brown streaks; and
so harmless that if they are accidentally trod on (for it is a capital crime to do so wilfully) and
they bite, no bad effect ensues; which is one reason they give for their worshipping of them.
Moreover, there is a constant tradition amongst them, that whenever any calamity threatens their
country, by imploring the snake's assistance, they are always delivered from it. However this fell
out formerly, it now stood them in no stead; neither were the snakes themselves spared after the
conquest. For they being in great numbers, and a kind of domestic animal, the conquerors found
many of them in the houses, which they treated in this manner. They held them up by the middle,
and spoke to them in this manner: If you are gods, speak and save yourselves: Which the poor
snakes not being able to do, the Dahomans cut their heads off, ripped them open, broiled them on
the coals, and ate them. It is very strange, the conquerors
{p. 32}
should so far condemn the gods of the country, since they are so barbarous and savage
themselves, as to offer human sacrifices whenever they gain a victory over their enemies."[26]
Another valuable witness is William Smith who was sent out by the Royal African Society of
England which desired "an exact account of all their settlements on the coast of Guinea."[27] He
arrived at Whydah. Road, April 7, 1727, that is, immediately after the snake incident. He adds
many interesting details to Captain Snelgrave's account. Thus he tells us: "His Majesty of
Whydah, who is the largest and fattest man I ever saw, thinking himself a little too bulky to fight,
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MAGICAL 333
was, upon the first alarm, privately conveyed away by the main strength of a couple of stout
lusty Negroes in a hammock, by which means he saved his life.[28]
"The city of Sabee was above four miles in circumference. The houses neatly built, though only
mud-wall covered with thatch, having no stone in all that country nor even a pebble as big as a
walnut."[29]
Concerning the serpent worship, Smith states: "They are all pagans and worship . . . a large
beautiful kind of snake, which is inoffensive in its nature. These are kept in fittish-houses, or
churches, built for that purpose in a grove, to whom they sacrifice great store of hogs, fowls, and
goats, &c. and if not devoured by the snake, are sure to be taken care of by the fittish-men, or
Pagan priests. . . . The laity all go in a large body by night with drums beating, and trumpets of
elephant's teeth sounding, in order to perform divine worship, and implore either a prosperous
journey, fair weather, a good crop, or whatsoever else they want. To obtain which from the
snake, they then present their offering, and afterwards return home. They are all so bigoted to
this animal that if any Negro should touch one of them with a stick,
[26. Ditto, p. 10 f.
27. William Smith, A New Voyage to Guinea, London, 1745, p. I.
28. Ditto, p. 190.
29. Ditto, p. 192. Note:-According to Robert Norris, Memoirs of the Reign of Bossa Ahadee, King of Dahomy,
London, 1789, p. 69: "The infatuated Whydahs contented themselves with placing, with great ceremony, the fetish
snake in tile path, to oppose the invading army, which not answering their hopes and expectations, they deemed all
other resistance vain, and fled precipitately before the conqueror."]

{p. 33}
or otherwise hurt it, he would be immediately sentenced to the flames. One day as I walked
abroad with the English Governor, I spied one of them lying in the middle of the path before us,
which indeed I would have killed had he not prevented me, for he ran and took it up in his arms,
telling me, that it was the kind of snake which was worshipped by the natives, and that if I had
killed it, all the goods in his fort, and our ship would not be sufficient to ransom my life, the
country being so very populous that I could not stir without being seen by some of the natives; of
whom there were several looking at us that happened to be on their march home from their
captivity at Adrah. They came, and begged their god, which he readily delivered to them, and
they as thankfully received and carried it way to their fittish-house, with very great tokens of
joy."[30]
The destruction of Whydah as a Kingdom did not put an end to the veneration of the serpent
there. According to William Davaynes, who was one of the directors of the East India Company
and who had left the Coast of Africa in 1763 after having resided there twelve years, eleven
years as Governor at Whydah and the other at Annamboe, "The snake was the peculiar worship
of the ancient people of Whydah, and when this province was conquered by the King of
Dahomey, the worship of the snake was continued upon motives of policy. Formerly a person

36

MAGICAL 333
who killed a snake was put to death; but now a goat is sacrificed as an atonement."[31] The last
statement must apply to the case of Europeans alone, for as we shall see the death penalty against
[30. Ditto, p. 196 f. Note:--Speaking of Dahomey and vicinity he says, p. 213: "All the natives of this Coast believe
there is one true God, the Author of them and all things." C. des Brosses, Du Culte des Dieus Fetiches, ou Parallèle
de l'Ancienne Religion de l'Égypte avec la Religion de Nigritie, Paris, 1760, pp. 25-37, drawing his information
principally from Atkins, Bosman and Des Marchais, gives us a detailed account of the serpent cult at Whydah which
he calls by its old name Juidah. As the title of his book suggests, he would make Egypt the source of this Ophiolatry
of West Africa.
31. Note:--Cfr. Report of the Lords of the Committee of Council appointed for the consideration of all matters
relating to trade and foreign Plantations, London, 1789. Part I, View of the Evidence that the Committee had
obtained of the present state of those parts of Africa from whence slaves have been exported.--This is a large folio
volume of some twelve hundred pages which are unfortunately not numbered, thus making reference difficult.]

{p. 34}
natives who injured the sacred snake continued for some time to come.
Concerning the continuation of the serpent cult itself, Robert Norris states: "By Trudo's
management (in tolerating his subjects with the free exercise of their various superstitions; and
incorporating them with the Dahomans by intermarriage if it may be so-called), no distinctions
being made between the conquerors and the conquered, who were now become one people,
many of those who had fled their native countries, to avoid the calamities of war, were induced
to return and submit quietly to his government."[32] And "The remnant of the Whydahs who had
escaped the edge of Guadja's sword, were abundantly thankful to him, for permitting them to
continue in the enjoyment of their snake worship.'[33]
Archibald Dalzel went out to Africa as a surgeon in the year 1763, and resided three years on the
Gold Coast, some little part of the time as Governor, and four years as Governor of Whydah,
returning to England in the year 1770. He was one of the witnesses who testified before the
Committee of Council appointed for the consideration of all matters relating to trade and foreign
plantations. Reference has already been made to the Report of this Committee which was
published in 1789, and which contains the following statement: "With respect to the religion of
the people at Whydah and the general object of their worship, Mr. Dalzel observed that in no part
of Africa had he been able to understand the religion of the natives. At Whydah they pay a kind
of veneration to a particular species of large snake, which is very gentle. In Dahomey they pay
the same kind of veneration to Tigers. Thus veneration does not prevent people from catching
and killing them if they please, but they must not touch the beard, which is considered as a great
offence. They have a great number of men they call Fetiche men, or padres. The word fetiche is
derived from a Portuguese word meaning witchcraft."[34]
[32. Norris, Memoirs of the Reign of Bossa Ahadee, King of Dahomey, p. 2.
33. Ditto, p. 105, Note.
34 Note:--Cfr. also, Archibald Dalzel, History of Dahomey, an Inland Kingdom of Africa, London, 1793,
Introduction, p. vi: "Most of the savage nations {footnote p. 35} have some confused notion of a Supreme
intellectual Being, the maker of the universe; but this idea not being easily understood among a people not much

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MAGICAL 333
addicted to metaphysical reasoning, a variety of corporeal beings have been selected as objects of devotion, such as
the sun, moon, living animals, trees, and other substances. The tiger is the fetish of Dahomey; the snake, that of
Whydah."]

{p. 35}
For the condition at Whydah in the closing days of the eighteenth century, when throughout the
British Empire the slave trade was coming to an end, we have the testimony of Dr. John M'Leod
formerly of the British Navy who in 1803 served as surgeon on a ship, bound from London to the
Coast of Africa, in the slave trade. On this occasion. he visited the centre of the serpent cult and
tells us: "In Whydah, for some unaccountable reason, they worship their Divinity under the form
of a particular specie of snake, called Daboa, which is not sufficiently large to be terrible to man,
and is otherwise tameable and inoffensive. These Daboahs are taken care of in the most pious
manner, and well fed on rat, mice and birds, in their fetish-houses or temples, where the people
attend to pay their adoration, and where those also who are sick or lame apply to them for
assistance."[35]
That the British abolition of slavery made little change in the serpent worship at Whydah, is
evidenced by ample testimony. Thus, John Duncan in his journal records at Whydah in the
Spring Of 1845: "The snake is also a fetish here; and houses are built in several parts of the town
for the accommodation of the snakes,
[35. John M'Leod, A Voyage to Africa with some Account of the Manners and Customs of the Dahomian People,
London, 1820, p. 32. Note:--Dr. M'Leod had previously stated of Dahomey in general:--Snakes of the boa species
are here found of a most enormous size; many being thirty to thirty-six feet in length, and of proportionate girth.
They attack alike the wild and domestic beasts, and often the human kind."--l. c., p. 32. These are certainly not the
sacred species, as he tells us on the very next page: "The bulk of the animals these serpents are capable of gorging
would stagger belief, were the fact not so fully attested as to place it beyond doubt. The state of torpor in which they
are sometimes found in the woods after a stuffing meal of this kind, affords the Negroes an opportunity of killing
them"--l. c., p. 31. If they were of the sacred variety they would not be killed by the Negroes.
To this same period belongs Pierre Labarthe, who writes, Voyage à la, Côte de Guinée, Paris, 1893, p. 133: "They
have here a kind of high-priest whom the Negroes call the Great Fetisher or Great Voodnoo; he claims to have
descended from heaven and poses as the interpreter of the gods on earth; under this guise he demands the same
honours as are shown to the King." And again: "Despite their superstitions, these people have a confused idea of a
Supreme Being, all Powerful, immense; they seek to placate Him through their fetishers: they are persuaded that
God is too good to do them harm: that is why they render Him no worship."--l. c., p. 135.]

{p. 36}
where they are regularly fed. These houses are about seven feet high in the walls, with conical
roof, about eight feet in diameter, and circular. The snakes are of the boa-constrictor tribe, and
are considered quite harmless, although I have my doubts upon it. They generally leave this
house at intervals, and when found by any of the natives, are taken up and immediately conveyed
back to the fetish-house, where they are placed on the top of the wall, under the thatch. It is
disgusting to witness the homage paid to these reptiles by the natives. When one of them is
picked up by anyone, others will prostrate themselves as it is carried past, throwing dust on their
heads, and begging to be rubbed over the body with the reptile. After taking the snake up, a very
heavy penalty is incurred by laying it down, before it is placed in the fetish-house. Wherever a

38

MAGICAL 333
snake is found it must be immediately carried to the fetish-house, whether it has ever been placed
there before or not. Snakes abound about Whydah; their average length is four feet and a half;
head flat, and neck small in proportion."[37]
Another entry in Duncan's Journal is of particular interest, as it gives us in detail the punishment
inflicted on the natives for even accidentally killing a sacred serpent. Earlier writers merely
indicate that such an individual was given to the flames. Here, however, we have a full
description. Under date of May 1, 1845, he writes at Whydah: "Punishment was inflicted for
accidentally killing two fetish snakes, while clearing some rubbish in the French fort. This is one
of the most absurd as well as savage customs I ever witnessed or heard of. Still it is not so bad as
it was in the reign of the preceding King of Dahomey, when the law declared the head of the
unfortunate individual forfeited for
[36. John Duncan, Travels in Western Africa in 1845 & 1846, London, 1847, Vol. I, p. 126. Note:--The Reverend
Thomas B. Freeman, who visited Dahomey in 1843, to promote the interests of the Wesleyan Missionary Society
under date of March 14th records in his journal, Journal of various Visits to the Kingdoms of Ashanti, Aku, and
Dahomi in Western Africa, London, 1844, p. 265: "When we had proceeded about two miles and a half we passed
one of the King's fetish-houses; from whence a fetishman came and pronounced a blessing, begging of the fetish a
safe journey for us to Abomi. Though I pitied the people on account of their superstitions, yet I could not help
admiring their apparent sincerity."]

{p. 37}
killing one of these reptiles, even by accident. The present King has reduced the capital
punishment to that described below. On this occasion three individuals were sentenced as guilty
of the murder of this fetish snake. A small house is thereupon made for each individual,
composed of dry faggots for walls, and it is thatched with dry grass. The fetish-men then
assemble, and fully describe the enormity of the crime committed. Each individual is then
smeared over, or rather has a quantity of palm-oil and yeast poured over them, and then a bushel
basket is placed on each of the heads. In this basket are placed small calabashes, filled to the
brim, so that the slightest motion of the body spills both the oil and the yeast, which runs through
the bottom of the basket on to the head. Each individual carries a dog and a kid, as well as two
fowls, all fastened together, across his shoulders. The culprits were then marched slowly round
their newly prepared houses, the fetish-men haranguing them all the time. Each individual is then
brought to the door of his house, which is not more than four feet high. He is there freed from his
burthen, and compelled to crawl into his house on his belly, for the door is only eighteen inches
high. He is then shut into this small space with the dog, kid and two fowls. The house is then
fired, and the poor wretch is allowed to make his escape through the flames to the nearest
running water. During his journey there he is pelted with sticks and clods by the assembled mob;
but if the culprit has any friends, they generally contrive to get nearest to him, during his race to
the water, and assist him, as well as hinder the mob in the endeavours to injure him. When they
reach the water they plunge themselves headlong into it, and are then considered to be cleansed
of all sin or crime of the snake-murder."[37]
Mr. Duncan subsequently returned to Whydah in 1849 as Vice Consul to the Kingdom of
Dahomey,[38] and it was at his personal request that Commander Forbes was appointed to
accompany him

39

MAGICAL 333
[37. Ditto, Vol. I, p. 195.
38. Frederick E. Forbes, Dahomey and the Dahomans: being the Journals of two Missions to the King of Dahomey,
and Residence at his Capital, in the years 1849 and 1850, London, 1851, Vol. I, p. 43.]

{p. 38}
to the Court of Dahomey in the interests of the suppression of the slave trade. We may profitably
cull some extracts from the Journal kept by Commander Forbes on this occasion.
Thus he writes: "The religion of Dahomey is a mystery only known to the initiated. There is no
daily worship, but periods at which the fetish-men and -women dance. They who are initiated
have great power and exact much in return. It is a proverb that the poor are never initiated. The
Fetish of Abomey is the leopard, that of Whydah the snake. The human sacrifices at the See-queah-nee are neither to the invincible god 'Seh,' nor to the fetish Voh-dong,' but to the vitiated
appetites of the soldiery. At the Cannah Customs there are sacrifices to the Voh-dong; and at the
See-que-ah-nee there are sacrifices to the manes of their ancestors; the Dahomans, like the
disciples of Confucius, looking to their departed ancestors for blessing in this life."[39]
March 8, 1849, he records: "The lions of Whydah are the snake fetish-house and the market. The
former is a temple built round a huge cotton tree, in which are at all times many snakes of the
boa species. These are allowed to roam about at pleasure; but if found in a house or at a distance,
a fetish-man or woman is sought, whose duty it is to induce the reptile to return, and to reconduct
it to its sacred abode, whilst all that meet it must bow down and kiss the dust. Morning and
evening, many are to be seen prostrated before the door, whether worshipping the snake directly,
or an invisible god, which is known under the name of 'Seh,' through these, I am not learned
enough to determine."[40] In a supplementary chapter on "Religion," however, he states
unequivocally: "The 'Voo-doong,' or fetish, represents on earth the supreme god 'Sell,' and in
common with thunder and lightning,' Soh.'"[41]
Humour at times creeps into the Journal. On March 10th, Commander Forbes writes: "Called on
the viceroy, and had a long conversation with him about trade. . . . On leaving a fetish-man
[39. Ditto, Vol. I, p. 32.
40 Ditto, Vol. I, p. 108 f.
41. Ditto, Vol. I, p. 171.]

{p. 39}
was passing the gate, with two large snakes. State officers in most barbarous countries find it
more convenient to remain at home, except when duty calls them abroad. The burly officer, was,
according to custom, seeing me beyond his gate-and this was an opportunity not to be lost,-the
fetish-man addressed him at great length, in praise of his extraordinary liberality to the fetish, for
which be had no doubt to pay handsomely."[42] And again, on July 12th he records: "On leaving
the British fort this morning, we learned that an extraordinary instance of the gorging of the

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fetish snake had taken place in the night. The reptile lay in the kitchen in dreadful pain, trying to
force the hind legs and tail of a cat into his distended stomach, now in the shape of the halfswallowed victim. A fetish-woman arriving, carried the deity to the temple."[43]
It is not so surprising then, to find Father Lafitte, who arrived at Dahomey in 1861, and devoted
eight years to missionary work, reporting that among those employed in the service of the sacred
serpents was a physician, "charged especially to watch over the welfare of their laborious
digestion."[44]
Another witness covering this same period is J. Leighton Wilson, who devoted eighteen years to
missionary work in Africa and subsequently became a Secretary of the American Presbyterian
Board of Foreign Missions. Of the sea-port town of Whydah, he says: "There is no place where
there is more intense heathenism; and to mention no other feature in their superstitious practices,
the worship of snakes at this place fully illustrates this remark. A house in the middle of the town
is provided for the exclusive use of these reptiles, and they may be seen here at any time in very
great numbers. They are fed, and more care is taken of them than of the human inhabitants of the
place. If they are seen straying away they must be brought back; and at the sight of them the
people prostrate themselves on the ground, and do them all possible reverence. To kill or injure
one of them is to
[42. Ditto, Vol. I, p. 112.
43. Ditto, Vol. I, p. 201.
44. J. Lafitte, Le Dahomé, Tours, 1873, p. 101.]

{p. 40}
incur the penalty of death. On certain occasions they are taken out by the priests or doctors, and
paraded about the streets, the bearers allowing them to coil themselves around their arms, necks,
and bodies."[45]
This brings us to Richard F. Burton of Arabian Nights fame, who, writing in 1864, more than a
century and a quarter after the event, thus details the debacle of the over-trustful devotees of the
serpent-god at Whydah. "The infatuated "Whydahs," he says, "instead of defending their frontier
line, were contented to place with great ceremony Danh, the fetish snake, Dan-like, in the path.
Agaja had retired to levy his whole force, leaving the field army under his general. The latter
seeing only a snake to oppose progress ordered 200 resolute fellows to try the ford. They not
only crossed it unimpeded, but were able to penetrate into the capital."[46] He has already said:
"When the Dahomans permitted
[45. J. Leighton Wilson, Western Africa, Its History, Condition, and Prospects, London, 1856, p. 207. Note:-Wilson says of himself, Preface, p. iv: "The writer has spent between eighteen and twenty years in the country. He
has had opportunity to visit every place of importance along the seacoast, and has made extended excursions in
many of the maritime districts. He has studied and reduced to writing two of the leading languages of the country,
and has enjoyed, in these various ways, more than ordinary advantages for making himself acquainted with the
actual condition of the people. He claims for his book the merit of being a faithful and unpretending record of
African Society." Of West Africa in general, he asserts, p. 209: "The belief in one great Supreme Being, who made

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and upholds all things is universal. Nor is this idea imperfectly or obscurely developed in their minds. The
impression is so deeply engraved upon their moral and mental nature, that any system of atheism strikes them as too
absurd and preposterous to require a denial. Everything which transpires in the natural world beyond the power of
man, or of spirits, who are supposed to occupy a place somewhat higher than man, is at once spontaneously ascribed
to the agency of God. All of the tribes in the country with which the writer has become acquainted (and they are not
few) have a name for God, and many of them have two or more, significant of his character as a Maker, Preserver,
and Benefactor." And again, p. 218: "On some parts of the Gold Coast the crocodile is sacred; a certain class of
snakes, on the Slave Coast, and the shark at Bonny, are all regarded as sacred, and are worshipped, not on their own
account, perhaps, but because they are regarded as the temples, or dwelling-places, of spirits. Like every other object
of the kind, however, in the course of time the thing signified is forgotten in the representative, and these various
animals have long since been regarded with superstitious veneration, while little is thought of the indwelling spirit. .
. . The snake at Popo has become so tame that it may be carried about with impunity, and is so far trained that it will
bite, or refrain from biting, at the pleasure of its keeper."
46. Richard F. Burton, A Mission to Gelele, King of Dahome, London, 1864, Vol. I, p. 146.]

{p. 41}
serpent worship to continue, the Whydahs abundantly thankful, became almost reconciled to the
new stern rule."[47]
The serpent revered as sacred in Burton's day was clearly of identical species with that first
described by visitors to Whydah. For he says: "The reptile is a brown yellow-and-white-streaked
python of moderate dimensions; and none appear to exceed five feet. The narrow neck and head
tapering like the slow-worms, show it to be harmless; the Negro indeed says that its bite is a
good defence against the venomous species, and it is tame with constant handling. M. Wallon
saw 100 in the temple, some 10 feet long, and he tells his readers that they are never known to
bite, whereas they use their sharp teeth like rats. Of these 'nice gods' I counted seven, including
one which was casting its slough; all were reposing upon the thickness of the clay wall where it
met the inner thatch. They often wander at night, and whilst I was sketching the place a Negro
brought an astray in his arms; before raising it, he rubbed his right hand on the ground and duly
dusted his forehead, as if grovelling before the king. The ugly brute coiled harmlessly round his
neck, like a 'doctored' cobra in India or Algeria. Other snakes may be killed and carried dead
through the town, but strangers who meddle with the Danhgbwe must look out for 'palavers'
which, however, will probably now resolve themselves into a fine."[48] Then follows a
description, differing
[47. Ditto, Vol. I p. 96. Note:--According to Burton, Vol. I, p. 61: "The word 'Whydah' is a compound of blunders. It
should be written Hwe-dah, and be applied to the once prosperous and populous little kingdom whose capital was
Savi. A 'bush town' to the westward, supposed to have been founded and to be still held by the aboriginal Whydahs,
who fled from the massacres Dahome, retains the name Hwe-dah. The celebrated slave-station which we have
dubbed 'Whydah' is known to the people as Gre-hwe or Gle-hwe, 'Plantation-house.'"--Cfr. also, Archibald Dalzel,
History of Dahomey Preface, p. xii: "Whydah," as it is Pronounced by the natives who sound the w of it strong, like
in whip, the French write Juida; the Dutch, Fida, &c."
Burton also asserts, Vol. I, p. 96: "Ophiolatry in our part of Africa is mostly confined to the coast regions; the Popos
and Windward races worship a black snake of larger size; and in the Bight of Biafra the Nimbi or Brass River people
are as bigoted in boa-religion as are the Whydahs. The system is of old date: Bosman at the beginning of the last
century, described it almost as it is at present. It well suits the gross materialism of these races, and yet here men
ought to be tired of it."

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MAGICAL 333
48. Burton, l. c., Vol. I. p. 94.]

{p. 42}
only slightly in detail from Duncan's account of two decades earlier. Thus: "In older times death
has been the consequence of killing one of these reptiles, and if the snake be abused, 'serious
people' still stop their ears and run away. When under former reigns, a native killed a Danhgbwe,
even accidentally, he was put to death; now the murderer is placed somewhat like the
Salamanders of old Vauxhall, in a hole under a hut of dry faggots thatched with grass which has
been well greased with palm-oil. This is fired, and he must rush to the nearest running water,
mercilessly belaboured with sticks and pelted with clods the whole way by the Danhgbwe-no, or
fetish-priests. Many of course die under the gauntlet."[49]
Of the "Boa Temple" he observes: "It is nothing but a small cylindrical mud hut-some fetishhouses are square-with thick clay walls supporting a flying thatch roof in extinguisher shape.
Two low narrow doorless entrances front each other, leading to a raised floor of tamped earth,
upon which there is nothing but a broom and a basket. It is roughly whitewashed inside and out,
and when I saw it last a very lubberly fresco of a ship under full sail sprawled on the left side of
the doorway. A little distance from the entrance were three small pennons, red, white and blue
cotton tied to the top of tall poles."[50] And again: "On the other side of the road the devotees of
the snake are generally lolling upon the tree roots in pretended apathy, but carefully watching
over their gods. Here, too, are the fetish schools, where any child touched by the holy reptile
must be taken for a year from its parents--who 'pay the piper'--and must be taught the various arts
of singing and dancing necessary to the worship. This part of the system has, however, lost much
of the excesses that prevailed in the last century when at the pleasure of the strong-backed fetishmen, even the king's daughters were not excused from incarceration and from its presumable
object. The temple is still annually visited by the Viceroy, during the interval after the Customs
and before the campaigning season. He takes one bullock, with goats, fowls,
[49. Ditto, Vol. I, p. 95.
50. Ditto, Vol. I, p. 93.]

{p. 43}
cloth, rum, meal, and water to the priest, who holding a bit of kola nut, prays aloud for the king,
the country, and the crops."[51]
Burton relates one incident which shows what a hold the fanaticism had on the people at large
even in his day. Speaking of the Catholic Mission Station at Whydah which was located in what
was known as the Portuguese "Fort": "In March, 1863, the fort was struck by the lightning-god,
Khevioso, the Shango of the Egbas; and they are not wanting who suppose that the fetishers,
having been worsted in dispute by the Padres, took the opportunity of a storm to commit the
arson. As the inmates impiously extinguished the fire, they were heavily fined; and, on refusing
to pay, the Father-Superior was imprisoned. In June of the same year occurred another dispute,
about a sacred snake that was unceremoniously ejected from the mission premises, and doubtless
this anti-heathenism will bring them to further grief."[52]
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MAGICAL 333
Pierre Bouche who spent seven years on the Slave Coast, was resident at Whydah in 1868,
where, as he tells us, he witnessed this scene: "One day I was on my way to visit a sick person.
The boy who accompanied me suddenly cried out: 'Father, a fetiche!' I turned quickly, and saw a
large serpent which had passed by me. Before it, a black prostrated himself, placing his brow in
the dust and bowing low. His prayer deeply distressed me: 'You are my father, you are my
mother,' said he to the reptile; 'I am all yours . . . my head belongs to you! . . . Be propitious to
me!' And he covered himself with dust as a mark of humiliation."[53]
Writing of the same period, E. Desribes tells us: "The cult of living serpents is in vogue at many
points along the Coast; but no where have they temples and regular sacrifices as at Whydah. . . .
At Grand Popo not far from Whydah, the serpents have no temple, it is true, but they receive a
cult even more revolting. There is there a species of large, very ferocious reptiles; when one of
these serpents encounters small animals, he mercilessly devours them; and the more voracious it
is, the more it excites the devotion of its
[51. Ditto, Vol. I, p. 98.
52. Ditto, Vol. I, p. 71.
53. Pierre Bouche, La Côte des Esclaves et le Dahomey, Paris, 1885, p. 389.]

{p. 44}
worshippers. But the greatest honours, the greatest blessings are bestowed on it when, finding a
young child it makes a meal of it. Then the parents of the poor victim prostrate themselves in the
dust, and give thanks to one so divine as to have chosen the fruit of their love to make of it a
repast."[54] We shall have occasion to refer to this incident later.
Our next witness is J. A. Skertchley who tells us: "In the early part of 1871 I left England with
the object of making zoological collections on the West Coast of Africa."[55] On account of
local wars, he was unable to penetrate the interior at Assinee and Accra and so proceeded to
Whydah, where he was induced to visit King Gelele at Aborney, where he was detained as a
"guest" for eight months. Incidentally he relates: "Opposite Agauli, hidden from profane eyes by
a thick grove of fig trees which form but a mere undergrowth when compared with several tall
bombaxes in their midst, is the far-famed snake house, or 'Danh-hweh,' as it is usually called.
The name is derived from Daub, a snake, and Hweh, a residence. It is sometimes called Vodunhweh, i. e. the fetiche house; and again, 'danhgbwe-hweh,' or the big snake (python) house. I was
much disappointed at this renowned fetiche, for instead of a respectable temple, I found nothing
but a circular swish hut, with a conical roof; in fact, an enlarged model of the parian inkstands to
be seen in every toy-shop. There was a narrow doorway on the eastern side[56] leading to the
interior, the floor of which was raised a foot above the street. The walls and floors were
whitewashed, and there were a few rude attempts at reliefs in swish. From the roof there
depended several pieces of coloured yarn, and several small pots containing water were
distributed
[54. E. Desribes, L'Évangile au Dahomey et à la Cote des Esclaves, Clermont-Ferrand, 1877, p. 184 f. Note:-Another instance of exaggerated deference to the serpent is given by Mary H. Kingsley, West African Studies,

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MAGICAL 333
London, 1899, p. 483, as follows: "The python is the Brass natives' titular guardian angel. So great was the
veneration of this Ju-Ju snake in former times, that the native kings would sign no treaties with her Britannic
Majesty's Government that did 'lot include a clause subjecting any European to a heavy fine for killing or molesting
in any way this hideous reptile."
55. J. A. Skertchley, Dahomey as it is; being a narrative of eight months' Residence in that Country, London, 1874,
Preface, p. vii.
56. Note:--This fact may strengthen the supposition that the cult came originally from the east.]

{p. 45}
about the floor. The roof was raised above the circular walls by short projecting pieces of
bamboo; and coiled up on the top of the wall, or twining round the rafters, were twenty-two
pythons. The creatures were the ordinary brown and pale yellow reptiles, whose greatest length
is about eight feet. They were the sacred Danhgbwes whose power was relied upon to save the
kingdom from the conquering armies of Agajah. It was the tutelary saint of Whydah, and when
that kingdom was conquered, was introduced into the Dahoman pantheon. As recent as the late
King's reign, if a native had the misfortune to accidentally (for no one would have had the
temerity to purposely) kill a Danhgbwe, he was at once sacrificed, and his wives and property
confiscated to the church. At the present time the defaulter has to undergo a foretaste of the
sufferings of his portion hereafter."[57] Then follows a description of the ordeal by fire which
has already been described.
Incidentally, Skertchley gives indication of a decadence having
[57. Skertchley, l. c., p. 54. Note:--Skertchley later observes, p. 461: "The Dahoman religion consists of two parts,
totally distinct from each other. First a belief in a Supreme Being, and second, the belief in a whole host of minor
deities. The Supreme Being is called Man, and is vested with unlimited authority over every being, both spiritual
and carnal. He is supposed to be of so high a nature as to care very little for the circumstances of men, and his
attention is only directed to them by some special invocation. He resides in a wonderful dwelling above the sky, and
commits the care of earthly affairs to a race of beings, such as leopards, snakes, locusts, or crocodiles, and also to
inanimate objects, such as stones. nags, cowries, leaves of certain trees, and, in short, anything and everything. This
deity is said to be the same as the God of civilization; but the white man has a far freer access to Him than the
Negro, who is therefore obliged to resort to mediators. Hence the origin of fetishism."
Cir. also, A. Le Herissé, L'Ancien Royaume du Dahomey; Mœurs, Religion, Histoire, Paris, 1911, p. 96: "The
Dahoman believe in a Supreme Being whom they call Mahon (God) or Se (Beginning, Intelligence). They have
neither statue nor symbol to represent Him, they dedicate no cult to Him; His name is only pronounced in some
exclamations or invocations. Mahou has created the universe; He has in particular created the fetishes, Vodoun, and
has given them certain forces, certain powers of which they made use in their own way to govern human destinies.
These Vodoun moreover, are not, in the strict sense, intermediaries of Mahon, but rather his free and independent
agents: 'The fetish is a creature of God'--'Vodoun e gni Mahounou.' Or, again: 'God possesses the fetish--'Mahou oue
do Vodoun.' The Vodoun are innumerable for, to the Dahoman, every monstrosity or phenomenon which exceeds
his imagination or his intelligence is fetish, a creature of God which demands a cult. The thunder, small-pox, the sea
are all fetishes; the telegraph and our railways would most assuredly also be so, if they were not a 'machine of the
whites.'" M. Le Herissé was writing as Administrateur des Colonies. He is dealing with ancient Dahomey and
consequently independent of the Whydah influence.]

{p. 46}

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MAGICAL 333
set in, at least as regards external discipline. That reverence for the sacred serpent, as regards the
populace, is becoming subservient to greed oil the part of the custodians of the temple, is
evidenced by the following passage: "The doorway being always open, the snakes frequently
make excursions after nightfall. Should an unfortunate person of either sex meet the strolling
deity, he is obliged to prostrate himself before it, and then, taking it tenderly in his arms, carry it
to the priests. Of course he is rewarded by these gentlemen for taking care of the god, says the
reader. No such thing! He is fined for meeting the snake, and imprisoned until it is paid to the
last cowrie."[58]
Eight years after Skertchley, Colonel Ellis visited Whydah and thus describes his experience:
"While at Whydah I stayed at the French Factory, and there I had a rather unpleasant adventure
on the night of my arrival. It was a very close night, and I was sleeping in the grass hammock
slung from the joists of the roof, when I was awakened by something pressing heavily on my
chest. I put out my hand and felt a clammy object. It was a snake, I sprung out of the hammock
with more agility than I have ever exhibited before or since, and turned up the lamp that was
burning on the table. I then discovered that my visitor was a python, from nine to ten feet in
length, who was making himself quite at home, and curling himself up tinder the blanket in the
hammock. I thought it was the most sociable snake I had ever met, and I like snakes to be
friendly when they are in the same room with me, because then I can kill them the more easily;
so I went and called one of my French friends to borrow a stick or cutlass with which to slay the
intruder. When I told him what I purposed doing he appeared exceedingly alarmed and asked me
anxiously if I had yet injured the reptile in any way. I replied that I had not, but I was going to.
He seemed very much relieved, and said that it was without doubt one of the fetish snakes from
the snake-house, and must on no account be harmed, and that he would send and tell the priests,
who would come and take it away in the morning. He told me that a short time back the master
of a merchant vessel had killed
[58. Skertchley, l. c., p. 56.]

{p. 47}
a python that had come into his room at night, thinking he was only doing what was natural, and
knowing nothing of the prejudices of the natives, and had in consequence got into a good deal of
trouble, having been imprisoned for four or five days and made to pay a heavy fine.
"Next morning, I went to see the snake-house. It is a circular but with a conical roof made of
palm branches,[59] and contained at that time from 200 to 250 snakes. They were all pythons,
and of all sizes and ages; the joists and sticks supporting the roof were completely covered with
them, and looking upwards one saw a vast writhing and undulating mass of serpents. Several in a
state of torpor, digesting their last meal, were lying on the ground; and all seemed perfectly tame,
as they permitted the officiating priest to pull them about with very little ceremony.
"Ophiolatry takes precedence of all other forms of Dahoman religion, and its priests and
followers are most numerous. The python is regarded as the emblem of bliss and prosperity, and
to kill one of these sacred boas is, strictly speaking, a capital offence, though now the full penalty
of the crime is seldom inflicted, and the sacrilegious culprit is allowed to escape after being
mulcted of his worldly goods, and having 'run-a-muck' through a crowd of snake-worshippers
46

MAGICAL 333
armed with sticks and fire-brands."[60] Evidently the ordeal of the burning huts has been
mitigated, still another indication of the decadence in ritual.
Ellis continues: "Any child who chances to touch, or to be touched by one of these reptiles, must
be kept for a space of one year at the fetish-house under the charge of the priest, and at the
expense of the parents, to learn the various rites of Ophiolatry and the accompanying dancing
and singing."[61]
Abel Hovelacque, writing in 1889, thus depicts the formal nuptial ceremonies with the serpent
which the priestess undergoes when she has attained the marriage age of about fourteen or fifteen
[59. Note:--We must here notice that in the case of the snake-house, the mud hut has given way to one of palm
branches. This is another indication that decadence in the worship has begun.
60. A. B. Ellis, The Land of Fetish, London, 1883, p. 43 f.
61. Ditto, p. 46.]

{p. 48}
years: "They are brought to the temple. On the following night they are made to descend into a
vaulted cellar, where it is said that they find two or three serpents who espouse them in the name
of the great serpent. Until the mystery is accomplished, their companion and the other priestesses
dance and sing with the accompaniment of instruments. They are then known under the name of
wives of the great serpent, which title they continue to carry all their lives."[62]
During the last half of the nineteenth century a rapid decay set in as regards the veneration of the
serpent at Whydah, due no doubt to increasing contacts with the white man and consequent
European influences. Thus Édouard Foà, a resident in Dahomey from 1884 to 1890, describes
conditions as they existed at the time of the French occupation which was completed in 1894.
Remarking the extraordinary prestige which Dangbe enjoyed, he tells us: "One being alone,
however, makes exception to the rule: it is the pig. When he meets the god (which happens at
every step in Dahomey and Popo) without regard for the veneration of which it is the object, kills
it, eats it up, or at least tramples it under foot when he has sufficiently gorged himself with the
kind."[63] And apparently there are now no retaliatory measures on the part of the devotees of
the serpent.
Finally M. Brunet, who was the delegate of Dahomey at the World Exposition of 1900, while
stating that no mother would dare rescue her own child if seized by one of the sacred snakes,
asserts later that for some years the cult of the serpent has been on the decline, and adds: "Today,
when a black has accidentally killed or injured a reptile, they are content to have the culprit
flogged."[64]
[62. Abel Hovelacque, Les Nègres de l'Afrique Sus-Équatoriale, Paris, 1889, p. 403. Cfr. also M. Malte-Brun,
Universal Geography, Philadelphia, 1827, Vol. III, p. 23: "In Whydah a serpent is regarded as the god of war, of
trade, of agriculture, and of fertility. It is fed in a species of temple, and attended by all order of priests. Some young
women are consecrated to it, whose business it is to please the deity with their wanton dances, and who are in fact a

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MAGICAL 333
sort of concubines of the priests. Every new king brings rich presents to the serpent. (Des Marchais, II, p. 180.
Oldendorp, p. 328)."
63. Édouard Foà, Le Dahomey, Paris, 1895, p. 226 f.
64. L. Brunet, Dahomey et Dépendances, Paris, 1901, p. 353 f.]

{p. 49}
The evidence adduced in the present chapter shows conclusively that the Ophiolatry as practiced
by the Whydahs was worship in the strict sense of the word. Its ultimate object is a superhuman
being: we find a well organized priesthood; the snake-house or temple is described by all
visitors; sacrifices are certainly employed and there is ritual procedure.
When we first come in contact with the worship of the serpent at Whydah towards the end of the
seventeenth century, we find it well organized and in full vigour. Still there are indications that it
had not been long established there. Certainly, all traditions point to the fact that it is not
indigenous and that it has come presumably from the cast. This is in conformity with the
supposition that Uganda is the fountainhead of African Ophiolatry.
After the destruction at Sabee of the original centre of Whydah Ophiolatry, it springs up again
and is extended to other localities. For the most part, it follows closely at first the old ritual, but
as time goes on and European contacts assert themselves, modifications gradually creep in, and
we find at one centre at least, Grand Popo, the introduction of a decadent variant. A human child
becomes a victim when the sacred serpent sees fit to appropriate one for the purpose. Thus while
the worship of the serpent was well regulated and clearly defined, should a child come in contact
with one of the sacred reptiles, it was regarded as a sign of vocation to its service, and the little
one was immediately attached to the school established for the purpose, where the service of the
deity was formally taught. In the decadent days, however, as witnessed independently by
Desribes and Brunet, mothers readily yielded up their children not merely to the service of the
sacred snakes, but as a living holocaust should one of these reptiles appropriate the little one for
the purpose.
We must also notice, that especially in the earlier accounts of the worship at Whydah there is no
question of idolatry. The serpent itself is not the object of adoration, it is merely a medium of
giving worship to the Supreme Being, whatever concept in the native mind this term may
represent. In the present work we are excluding all theological considerations and we must leave
to a
{p. 50}
later volume the analysis of what the real divinity was that was usually honoured by the title of
Creator or Maker.
Furthermore, there are indications, as noted by Forbes, that the superhuman being to whom the
Whydah addressed himself was probably the ancestral spirits, and that these were in some way
connected with the sacred pythons.

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The Reverend Robert Hammill Nassau, a Presbyterian minister, with a Doctorate both in
Medicine and in Sacred Theology, was for forty years a missionary in French Congo, and
published in 1904 a work on fetishism in West Africa, wherein he gives us the fruit of his lifestudy of native customs and superstitions.
Mary H. Kingsley gives due credit to Mr. Nassau for much valuable information on fetish, and
then playfully takes him to task for not having thrown open to science the mass of valuable
material collected in long years of research. Thus she writes: "I am quite aware that Dr. Nassau
was the first white man to send home gorilla's brains: still I deeply regret he has not done more
for science and geography. Had he but had Livingstone's conscientious devotion of taking notes
and publishing them, we should know far more than we do at present about the hinterland from
Cameroons to Ogowe, and should have for ethnological purposes, an immense mass of
thoroughly reliable information about the manners and religions of the tribes therein, and Dr.
Nassau's fame would be among the greatest of the few great African explorers-not that he would
care a row of pins for that."[65] All unknown to Miss Kingsley, Dr. Nassau had been taking the
necessary notes and the publication of his book repaired the other shortcoming referred to by his
critic who had been so deeply impressed by the Doctor's "immense mass of thoroughly reliable
information about the manners and religion of the tribes" he had visited.
Dr. Nassau, it is true, is treating of the Bantu tribes situated for the most part south of the
equator, but much that he says is also applicable to the Negroes in the strict sense of the word,
namely, those tribes from which the bulk of the slaves were drawn, and which go by the generic
term of West Africans.
[65. Mary H. Kingsley, Travels in West Africa, p. 394 f.]

{p. 51}
Quite possibly, Miss Kingsley, if asked, might not have given to the finished book the same
encomium which she extended to the material in hand. Still as she was like Ellis, whose writings
carry great weight with her, to a certain extent a professed follower of Spencer, her general
approval of Dr. Nassau's conscientiousness and ability in his scientific researches, should lend
considerable support to the facts adduced as well as to the conclusions drawn.
Dr. Nassau is unreserved in his assertion: 'I see nothing to justify the theory of Menzies[66] that
primitive man or the untutored African of today, in worshipping a tree, a snake, or an idol,
originally worshipped those very objects themselves, and that the suggestion that they
represented, or were even the dwelling-place of, some spiritual Being is an after-thought up to
which we have grown in the lapse of ages. Rather I see every reason to believe that the thought
of the Being or Beings as an object of worship has come down by tradition and from direct
original revelation of Jehovah Himself. The assumption of a visible tangible object to represent
or personify that Being is the after-thought that human ingenuity has added. The civilized
Romanist claims that he does not worship the actual sign of the cross, but the Christ who was
crucified on it; similarly, the Dahoman in his worship of the snake."[67]
Again Dr. Nassau asserts: "The evil thing that the slave brought with him was his religion. You
do not need to go to Africa to find the fetich. During the hundred years that slavery in our
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America held the Negro crushed, degraded, and apart, his master could deprive him of his
manhood, his wife, his child, the fruits of toil, of his life; but there was one thing of which he
could not deprive him,-his faith in fetich charms. Not only did this religion of the fetich endure
under slavery---it grew. None but Christian masters offered the Negro any other religion; and by
law, even they were debarred from giving them any education. So fetichism flourished. The
master's children were infected by the contagion of superstition;
[66. History of Religions, p. 129 ff.
67. Robert Hammill Nassau, Fetichism in West Africa: Forty Years' Observation of Native Customs and
Superstitions, London, 1904, p. 48.]

{p. 52}
they imbibed some of it at the Negro foster-mother's breasts. It was a secret religion that lurked
thinly covered in slavery days, and that lurks today beneath the Negro's Christian profession as a
white art, and among the non-professors as a black art; a modern memory of the revenges of his
African ancestors; a secret fraternity among slaves of far distant plantations, with words and
signs,--the lifting of a finger, the twitch of all eyelid,--that telegraphed from house to house with
amazing rapidity (as today in Africa) current news in old slave days and during the late Civil
War; suspected, but never understood by the white master; which, as a superstition, has spread
itself among our ignorant white masses as the 'Hoodoo,' Vudu, or Odoism, is simply African
fetichism transplanted to American soil."[68]
Père Baudin, while labouring as a missionary among the Dahomans, writes: "Their traditions and
religious doctrines suggest a people more civilized than the blacks of Guinea of the present day.
And on the other hand, many customs, usages, and industries show clearly that they are a people
in decadence. The wars, particularly the civil wars, which have laid waste, and still continue to
lay waste, these countries, have caused them to lose what they had preserved of their ancient
civilization, which was in great part Egyptian, as indicated by many customs and usages. . . .
"Though scattered over an immense extent of country, these fetish-worshippers have a certain
uniformity of religious belief;
[68. Ditto, p. 274. Note:--Cfr. also J. J. Cooksey and Alexander McLeish, Religion and Civilization in West Africa,
London, 1931, p. 82, in reference to Dahomey: "The native fetish priests are not the simple, ignorant men, many in
Europe suppose them to be, on the contrary, they belong to the élite of the people and are of more than average
intelligence. Actually a cunning sage, the fetish priest uses uncanny tricks designed to lead the common people to
believe that, by virtue of an initiation of which he holds the secret, he can command the good or evil powers of the
spirit world. On all sides in Dahomey, whether around Port Novo, the capital, or away in the northern bush country,
wayside shrines, snake temples and sacred groves are seen, all furnished with fantastic objects of veneration. The
terrific hold of fetishism which was responsible for the revolting butchery of 'The Annual Customs' still persists in
Dahomey, and is the great obstacle alike to civilization and the progress of the Gospel." Then in a footnote is added
the remark: "The tremendous hold which this Voodoo worship has over its votaries is seen in its persistence in the
Republic of Haiti, in which many people from Dahomey are found."]

{p. 53}

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their divinities are identical, differing only in name; and the particular details which we give of
the blacks of the Slave Coast of Yoruba, Dahomey, Benin, and other neighbouring kingdoms
apply to all fetish-worshipping nations."[69]
Of "The Religious System of the Negroes of Guinea," he asserts: "The religion of the blacks is an
odd mixture of monotheism, polytheism, and idolatry. In these religious systems the idea of a
God is fundamental; they believe in the existence of a Supreme Primordial Being, the Lord of the
Universe, which is His work. Monotheism recognizes at the same time numbers of inferior gods
and subordinate goddesses. Each element has its divinity who is as it were incorporated in it,
who animates and governs it, and is the object of adoration. After the gods and goddesses there
are infinite numbers of good and evil genii; then comes the worship of heroes and great men who
were distinguished during their lives. The blacks also worship the dead, and believe in
metempsychosis, or the migration of souls into other bodies. They believe in the existence of an
Olympus, where dwell the gods and celebrated men who have become fetishes, and in an inferior
world, the sojourn of the dead, and finally in a state of punishment for great criminals. They have
also their metamorphosis, their sacred animals, their temples and their idols, etc. In a word, their
religion is similar in all things to the old polytheism of the ancients; and notwithstanding the
abundant testimony of the existence of God, it is practically only a vast pantheism, a
participation of all the elements of the divine nature, which is as it were diffused throughout
them all."[70]
He then proceeds to go into details: "The idea of God--Although deeply imbued with polytheism,
the blacks have not lost the idea of the true God; yet their idea of Him is very confused and
obscure. . . . They represent that God, after having commenced the organization of the world,
charged Obatala with the completion and government of it, retired and entered into an eternal
[69. P. Baudin, Fétichisme et Féticheurs, Lyon, 1884, p. 3.
70. Ditto, p. 5.]

{p. 54}
rest, occupying Himself only with His own happiness; too great to interest Himself in the affairs
of this world. He remains like a Negro king, in a sleep of idleness.
"Thus the black renders no worship whatever to God, completely neglecting Him, to occupy
themselves with the gods and goddesses and the spirits to which they believe themselves
indebted for their birth, and their fate in this life and the next. However, although they seem to
expect nothing from God, the Negroes by instinct naturally address themselves to him in sudden
danger or in great afflictions. When they are victims of injustice, they take God to witness their
innocence."[71] This last statement nullifies in great part what he. has just said about God being
unconcerned about the affairs of the blacks, and their reciprocal neglect of Him. Elsewhere this
condition certainly does not exist. As we shall see among the Ashanti, for example, he actually
has his temple and his priesthood.
As regards the demi-gods, Père Baudin gives us the following explanation: "A family establishes
itself near a river, a forest, a rock, or a mountain; imagination aided by the fetish-priests soon
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creates a belief in a demi-god, a tutelary genius of the place, and thus a new divinity makes its
appearance in the Negro pantheon, and it is not long before it has its legend also.[72]
"The worship of the dead has greatly aided in augmenting the number of the gods. joined to the
worship of nature is that of humanity. The descendants from generation to generation offer
presents and sacrifices on the tomb of their ancestor, and end by adoring him as a local divinity,
the origin of which becomes more and more obscure and consequently more and more venerable.
This occurred at Porto-Novo in the case of the chiefs of families in various parts of the city, of
whom the inhabitants are the real descendants."[73]
Concerning the lesser spirits, Père Baudin writes: "After the gods and the demi-gods come: the
spirits or genii. The genii are
[71. Ditto, p. 6 f.
72. Ditto, p. 37.
73. Ditto, p. 37.]

{p. 55}
very numerous; some are good and some bad spirits. A certain number serve as messengers to
the gods and demi-gods, some are considered nearly as powerful as the gods themselves and
have authority over lesser spirits who are their messengers, and these in turn command others,
forming a hierarchy which is not very defined. The more ordinary spirits dwell in the forests and
deserts."[74]
One of these lesser spirits has its own interest for us. We are told: "Audowido, the rainbow, is a
genius, held in great veneration at Porto-Novo. In Yoruba he is called Ochumare. The temples
dedicated to this genius are painted in all the colors of the rainbow, and in the middle of the
prism a serpent is drawn. This genius is a large serpent; he only appears when he wants to drink,
and then he rests his tail on the ground and thrusts his mouth into the water. He who finds the
excrement of this serpent is rich forever, for with this talisman he can change grains of corn into
shells which pass for money."[75]
[74. Ditto, p. 40.
75. Ditto, p. 45. Note:--Against the tendency of those who would exclude from scientific consideration the
testimony of missionaries, under the pretence that they must of necessity show bias in their views, let us quote Sir
James George Frazer, who will scarcely be accused of being prejudiced in their regard. In connection with the
anthropological study of still surviving savage or barbarous peoples, he says, Garnered Sheaves, London, 1931, p,
244: "The method is neither more nor less than induction, which after all, disguise it as we may under the showy
drapery of formal logic, is the only method in which men can and do acquire knowledge. And the first condition of a
sound induction is exact observation. What we want, therefore, in this branch of science is, first and foremost, full,
true, and precise accounts of savage and barbarous peoples based on personal observation. Such accounts are best
given by men who have lived for many years among the peoples, have won their confidence, and can converse with
them familiarly in their native language; for savages are shy and secretive towards strangers, they conceal their most
cherished rites and beliefs from them, nay, they are apt wilfully to mislead an inquirer, not so much for the sake of
deceiving him as with the amiable intention of gratifying him with the answers which he seems to expect. It needs a

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peculiar combination of intelligence, tact, and good nature to draw out a savage on subjects which he regards as
sacred; to very few men will he consent to unbosom himself.
"Perhaps the class of men whose vocation affords them the best opportunities for observing and recording the habits
of savage races are missionaries. They are men of education and character; they usually live for many years among
the people, acquire their language, and gain their respect and confidence. Accordingly some of the very best
accounts which we possess of savage and barbarous peoples have been written by missionaries, Catholic and
Protestant, English, French, Dutch, German and Spanish."]

{p. 56}

Chapter III
VOODOO IN HAITI
The Report of the Lords of the Committee of Council appointed for the consideration of all
matters relating to trade and foreign plantations, published in London, in 1789, states, "Mr.
Dalzell supposes that the number of slaves exported from the Dominions of the King of
Dahomey amounts to 10,000 or 12,000 in a year. Of these, the English may export 700 to 800,
the Portuguese about 3,000, and the French the remainder." This will explain how the Dahomans
with their serpent cult became so centred in the French islands of the West Indies, and especially
in Haiti.
William Snelgrave who, as we have seen, was the first to visit Whydah, after the conquest by the
Dahomans, says of the slavery there: "And this trade was so very considerable, that it is
computed, while it was in a flourishing state, there were above twenty thousand Negroes yearly
exported thence, and the neighbouring places, by the English, French, Dutch, and
Portuguese."[1] As he was in the trade himself, he may be regarded as speaking with authority.
It is with good reason, then, that Colonel Ellis states: "In the southeastern portions of the Ewe
territory, the python deity is
[1. Snelgrave, A New Account of some parts of Guinea and the Slave-Trade, p. 2. Note:--On p. 159 of the same
book, Snelgrave states that from the entire Guinea Coast, the Europeans of all nations "have in some years, exported
at least seventy thousand."
Cfr. also, W. D. Weatherford, The Negro from Africa to America, New York, 1924, p. 33: "Dahomey, a small
kingdom on the Slave Coast, has sufficient open country, to allow of cooperation and aggressive military operations.
It is said that this state at one time had an army of 50,000 mien and its terrible fighting Amazons of 3,000 women
were no inconsiderable military force. . . . This Dahomey kingdom flourished for centuries and was one of the most
powerful allies of the slave traders during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It is supposed that this country
alone, at the height of the slave trade, delivered an annual quota of fifteen thousand slaves, most of which were
captured from neighbouring tribes."]

{p. 57}

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worshipped, and this vodu cult, with its adoration of the snake god was carried to Haiti by slaves
from Ardra and Whydah, where the faith still remains today. In 1724 the Dahomies invaded
Ardra and subjugated it; three years later Whydah was conquered by the same foe. This period is
beyond question that in which Haiti first received the vodu of the Africans. Thousands of
Negroes from these serpent-worshipping tribes were at the time sold into slavery, and were
carried across the Atlantic to the eastern island. They bore with them their cult of the snake. At
the same period, Ewe-speaking slaves were taken to Louisiana."[2]
Elsewhere Ellis remarks: "That the term vodu should survive in Haiti and Louisiana, and not in
the British West India Islands, will surprise no one who is acquainted with the history of the
slave trade. The Tshi-speaking slaves (the Ashanti and kindred tribes) called Coromantees in the
slave-dealer's jargon, and who were exported from the European fort on the Gold Coast, were not
admitted into French and Spanish colonies on account of their dispositions to rebel and
consequently they found their way into the British colonies, the only market open to them, while
the French and Spanish colonies drew their chief supply from the Ewe-speaking slaves exported
from Whydah and Badogry."[3]
Richard F. Burton had already asserted positively: "I may observe that from the Slave-Coast
'Vodun' or Fetish we may derive the 'Vaudoux' or small green snake of the Haitian Negroes, so
well known by the abominable orgies enacted before the (Vaudoux King and Queen) and the
'King Snake' is still revered at S'a Leone."[4] He had previously stated: "Vodun is Fetish in
general. I hardly know whether to write it Vodun or Fodun, the sound of the two labials is so
similar."[5]
[2. A. B. Ellis, On Vodu-Worship, POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY, Vol. XXXVIII (1891), p. 651 ff.
3. A. B. Ellis, The Ewe-Speaking Peoples of the Slave Coast of West Africa, London, 1890, p. 29. Note:--The bodyguard of Christophe was known as the "Royal Dehomays."--Cfr. Blair Niles, Black Hayti, New York, 1926, p. 289.
4. Burton, A Mission to Gelele, King of Dahome, Vol. I, p. 98.
5. Ditto, Vol. I. p. 79. Note:--In the opening number of the JOURNAL OF AMERICAN, FOLK-LORE issued in
1888, William W. Newell, under the caption Myths of Voodoo Worship and Child Sacrifice in Haiti, strives to
annihilate the whole question of Voodoo in Haiti. He thus enunciates his purpose, p. 17 f.: "Although all the
{footnote p. 58} writers who have alluded to these superstitions have assumed that they are an inheritance from
Africa, I shall be able to make it appear first, that the Vaudoux, or Voodoo, is derived from a European source;
secondly,, that the beliefs which the word denotes are equally imported from Europe; thirdly that the alleged sect
and its supposed rites, have in all probability, no real existence, but are a product of popular imagination."
His own conjecture is even more fantastic than the most extreme tenets of his adversaries. He would have us believe
that the word itself as used in Haiti was derived from the followers of Peter of Lyons who was condemned by the
Council of Verona in 1184, and who came to be known as Waldenses or Vaudois. According to his theory, "the
word vaudois, feminine vaudoise, had in fact come to mean a witch, as its abstract vauderie or vauldoverie signified
sorcery," and was brought to Haiti in the seventeenth century when the rule of the island passed from Spain to
France. He continues: "To establish my second proposition, that the characteristic practices ascribed to the alleged
Haitian sect, as well as the name, are of European origin, it will only be necessary to compare the charges now made
against the Vaudoux of Haiti with those which in the fifteenth century were made against the Vaudois of France and
Switzerland." And as both accusations were groundless, according to his theory, although three centuries apart, the
one must be the source of the other. It is difficult to see logic in such deductions. In fact in a subsequent issue of the
JOURNAL OF AMERICAN FOLK-LORE, Vol. II, 1889, p. 41, Mr. Newell makes the suggestive confession: "A

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few days before the publication of the article in question appeared the third volume of a history of the Inquisition of
the Middle Ages by Mr. H. C. Lee in which a like derivation of the name Voodoo is incidentally set forth."
"Incidentally," too, Mr. Newell makes the further admission, p. 45: "Whatever opinion may be entertained about the
worship, which I consider as probably imaginary, there can be no doubt concerning the habitual practice, even at the
present day in the United States, of sorcery under the name of Voodooism." Further while quoting Mr. B. F.
Whidden, United States Minister to Haiti, as saying that the trial and conviction of certain Voodooists at Port-auPrince in 1864, was unfair, since the "evidence was extracted by torture," p. 41; he adds, seemingly with approval:
"Mr. Whidden is of opinion that, if the truth were ascertained, there would be found no more cannibalism in Haiti
than in Jamaica. On the other hand he thinks that there is no doubt concerning the existence of a Vaudoux worship
and dance, which latter he has frequently seen and heard."]

{p. 58}
There is extent but one detailed account of Haitian Voodoo as it existed in the days of slavery,
but that description, being by an experienced eye witness is invaluable for our present purpose.
In fact it would be difficult to find a man better qualified than Moreau de Saint-Méry to place
before us the true picture of the period. His youth in Martinique, his years as a legal practitioner
and later as a Magistrate in Haiti, his executive and administrative ability as shown in the most
trying days of the outbreak of the Revolution in France, all mark him out as a witness of the
utmost reliability.[6]
[6. Note:--We must crave pardon if we seem discursive in giving a brief outline of the principal events in the life of
our witness on the difficult question of Voodoo as it existed in Haiti immediately before the slave insurrection.
Médéric Louis Élie Moreau de Saint-Méry was a West Indian by birth and through marriage a distant relative of the
Empress Josephine of France. Born {footnote p. 59} in Martinique, January 13, 1750, he came to Paris at the age of
nineteen to enlist in the King's Gendarmes. During his three years of service he continued his studies and qualified
as a barrister. To recoup financial losses, he took up the practice of law at Le Cap in Haiti about 1772, and some
eight years later he entered the Superior Council of the Island. Thenceforth he devoted the hours of leisure afforded
by his office of magistrate, to classify and arrange the laws of the French Colonies. In 1780 the fruits of his earlier
labours had appeared in Paris as a five volume work, which immediately attracted much attention. Louis XVI called
him to Paris to assist in the colonial administration and he was received with acclaim by the learned world and was
honoured by men of letters.
With the outbreak of the French Revolution, Moreau de Saint-Méry took a leading part in the political life of Paris.
As President of the electors assembled there, he was twice called upon to address the King, and, it is said, it was he
who prevailed upon his colleagues to place Lafayette at the head of the National Guard. The appreciation of his
efforts was shown when the Assembly unanimously voted him a medal.
In 1790, he represented Martinique in the Constitutional Convention where he made the affairs of the colonies his
chief concern, and in the following year he was a member of the Judicial Council established by the Minister of
Justice.
While a partisan of liberty, he was the uncompromising adversary of licence, and as such he incurred the enmity of
Robespierre. A few days before the fatal August 10th, the latter's partisans attacked and seriously wounded Moreau
de Saint-Méry, who was thus forced to retire to a seaport town in Normandy. This accident probably saved his life,
as on the dissolution of the Constitutional Assembly, he was immediately proscribed, but escaped the scaffold
through the devotion of one of the local guard to whom he had done some favour in the past. Making his escape to
the United States, he remained there until 1799, when he returned to France, and held several state and diplomatic
posts until in 1806 he fell into disfavour with Napoleon. Thereafter until his death at the age of sixty-nine, he
scarcely kept body and soul together, and even that: was made possible solely through the charity of the Empress
Josephine, and later through the bounty of Louis XVIII. He died at Paris on January 28, 1819.--Cfr. Nouvelle

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Biographie Générale, Paris, 1861, Vol. XXVI, p. 498; F. X. doe Filler, Dictionaire Historique, Lyon, 1822, Vol.
CII, p. 546.]

{p. 59}
Moreau de Saint-Méry classified Voodoo among the various dances of Haiti which he thus
describes.[7] "What enraptures the Negroes, whether they were born in Africa or America was
their cradle, is the dance. There is no amount of fatigue which can make them abandon going to
very great distances, and some times even during the dead of night, to satisfy this passion.[8]
[7. Note:--As the work that we are quoting is extremely rare, we feel justified in giving the entire passage especially
as the description will enable us later in the final' analysis, to distinguish the other dances that are today so often
mixed in with Voodoo in a most confusing manner. The full title of the work is: Description topographique,
physique, civile, politique, et historique de la partie Française de l'isle Saint-Domingue. Avec des observations
générales sur la population, sur le caractère et les mœurs de ses divers habitants; sur son climat, sa culture, ses
productions, son administration, &c. &c. Accompagnées des détails les plus propres à faire connaître l'état de cette
Colonie à l'époque du Octobre 1789; et d'une nouvelle carte de la totalité de l'isle. Par M. L. E. Moreau de SaintMéry, Philadelphia, 1797-98. Our quotation is from Vol. I, pages 44 to 51.
8. Cfr. also Pierre de Vaissière, Saint Domingue: La Société et la vie Créoles sous l'Ancien Régime (1629-1789),
Paris, 1909, p. 177. In reference to the only rest days of the slaves, namely Sunday and Feast-days, he remarks how
"some {footnote p. 60} spent them in a complete stupor, stretched out before their doors," while the greater number
"passed their leisure in drinking and dancing, the only distraction from work with which they were familiar. The
dance especially is with them a real passion!"]

{p. 60}
"One Negro dance has come with them from Africa to San Domingo, and for that very reason it
is common also to those who are born in the colony, and these latter practice it almost from birth,
they call it the Calenda.
"To dance the Calenda, the Negroes have two drums made, when possible from the hollow trunk
of a tree in a single piece. One end is open and they stretch over the other a skin of sheep or
nanny-goat. The shorter of these drums is named Bamboula, because it is sometimes formed out
of a very thick bamboo. Astride of each drum is a Negro who strikes it with wrist and fingers,
but slowly for one and rapidly for the other. To this monotone and hollow sound, is joined that of
a number, more or less great, of little calabashes half-filled with small stones, or with grains of
corn, and which they shake by striking them on one of the hands by means of a long haft which
crosses them. When they wish to make the orchestra more complete, they add the Banza, a kind
of Bass viol with four strings which they pluck. The Negresses arranged in a circle regulate the
tempo by clapping their hands, and they reply in chorus to one or two chanters whose piercing
voice repeats or improvises ditties. For the Negroes possess the talent of improvising, and it
gives them an opportunity for displaying especially their tendency to banter.
"The dancers male and female, always equal in number, come to the middle of a circle (which is
formed on even ground and in the open air) and they begin to dance. Each appropriates a partner
to cut a figure before her. This dance which has its origin on Mt. Atlas, and which offers little
variation, consists in a movement where each foot is raised and lowered successively, striking
with force, sometimes the toe and sometimes the heel, on the ground, in a way quite similar to
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the English step. The dancer turns on himself or around his partner who turns also, and changes
place, waving the two ends of a handkerchief which they hold. The dancer lowers and raises
alternately his arms, while keeping the
{p. 61}
elbows near the body, and the hand almost closed. This dance in which the play of the eyes is
nothing less than extraordinary, is lively and animated, and an exact timing lends it real grace.
The dancers follow one another with emulation, and it is often necessary to put an end to the ball,
which the Negroes never abandon without regret.[9]
"Another Negro dance at San Domingo, which is also of African origin, is the Chica, called
simply Calenda in the Windward Isle, Congo at Cayenne, Fandango in Spanish, &c. This dance
has an air which is especially consecrated to it and wherein the measure
[9. Père Labat, Nouveau Voyage aux Isles de l'Amérique, Vol. II, p. 51 f., writing of the year 1698, devotes a
lengthy chapter to the West Indian slaves. While resident in Martinique at the time, his remarks are general. He says
of the Negroes: "The dance is their favourite passion. I don't think that there is a people on the face of the earth who
are more attached to it than they. When the Master will not allow them to dance on the Estate, they will travel three
and four leagues, as soon as they knock off work at the sugar-works on Saturday, and betake themselves to some
place where they know that there will be a dance.
"The one in which they take the greatest pleasure and which is the usual one is the Calenda. It came from the Guinea
Coast and to all appearance from Ardra. The Spaniards have learned it from the Negroes and throughout America
dance it in the same way as do the Negroes.
"As the postures and movements of this dance are most indecent the Masters who live in an orderly way, forbid it to
theirs, and take care that they do not dance it; and this is no small matter; for it is so to their liking, that the very
children who are as yet scarcely strong enough to stand up, strive to imitate their fathers and mothers whom they see
dancing, and will spend entire days at this exercise." He then describes the two drums used as accompaniment in the
Calenda, the larger to beat the time and direct the dance, while the smaller is beaten much more rapidly as all
undertone with a higher pitch. Seemingly the one really directs the dance, the other arouses the passions. The dance
itself is thus described by Père Labat. "The dancers are drawn up in two lines, one before the other, the men on the
one side and the women on the other. Those who are waiting their turns and the spectators make a circle around the
dancers and the drums. The more adept chants a song which he composes on the spur of the moment, on some
subject which he deems appropriate, the refrain of which, chanted by all the spectators, is accompanied by a great
clapping of hands. As regards the dancers, they hold their arms a little after the manner of those who dance while
playing the castanets. They skip, make a turn right and left, approach within two or three feet of each other, draw
back in cadence until the sound of the drum directs them to draw together, striking the thighs one against the other,
that is to say the man against the woman. To all appearances it seems that the stomachs are hitting, while as a matter
of fact it is the thighs that carries the blows. They retire at once in a pirouette, to begin again the same movement
with altogether lascivious gestures, as often as the drum gives the signal, as it often does several times in succession.
From time to time they interlock arms and make two or three turns always striking the thighs and kissing. One easily
sees from this abbreviated description how the dance is opposed to decency." It will be noticed that this is not the
real Calenda but rather a modified form of the Chica which as stated by Saint-Méry in the next paragraph of the text,
was called Calenda in Martinique as one of the Windward Islands.]

{p. 62}
is strongly marked. The proficiency in the dance consists in the perfection with which she can
move her hips and lower part of the back while preserving the rest of the body in a kind of

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immobility, that even the slightest movement of the arms which balance the two ends of a
handkerchief or her petticoat does not make her lose. A dancer approaches her, all of a sudden he
leaps into the air, and lands in measured time so as almost to touch her. He draws back, he jumps
again, and excites her by the most seductive play. The dance becomes enlivened and soon it
presents a tableau, of which the entire action at first voluptuous afterwards becomes lascivious. It
would be impossible to depict the Chica in its true character, and I will limit myself to saying
that the impression which it produces is so strong, that the African or Creole, it does not matter
of what shade, who comes to dance it without emotion, is considered to have lost the last spark
of vitality.
"The Calenda and the Chica are not the only dances in the Colony derived from Africa. There is
also another which has been long known there especially in the western part, and it is called
Voodoo.
"But it is not merely as a dance that Voodoo deserves consideration, or at least it is accompanied
by circumstances which ranks it among those institutions where superstition and bizarre practices
have a considerable part.
"According to the Negro Aradas,[10] who are the real devotees of Voodoo in the Colony, and
who keep up its principles; and rules, Voodoo signifies an all powerful and supernatural being on
whom depends whatever goes on in the world. But this being is the nonpoisonous serpent, or a
kind of adder, and it is under its auspices that all those assemble who profess the same doctrine.
'Knowledge of the past, realization of the present, foreknowledge of the future, all pertain to this
adder, which, however, agrees to communicate
[10. Saint-Méry, Vol. I, p. 29, explains that the word Arada is a corruption of the pronunciation of Ardra, the name
of a kingdom on the Slave Coast, which was prior to its conquest by the Dahomans located between Dahomey and
Whydah. The term Aradas, then, applies specifically to the people of Ardra, but generically to any tribes from the
Gold or Slave Coasts. Here it seems to signifiy {sic} Dahomans, including those from Ardra proper and Whydah.]

{p. 63}
its power, and make known its wishes, only through the medium of a high priest whom its
devotees select, and even more so through that of the Negress, whom the love of the other has
raised to the rank of high priestess.
"These two ministers who claim themselves inspired by their god, or in whom the gift of
inspiration is really manifested for the devotees bear the pompous names of King and Queen, or
the despotic ones of master and mistress, or finally the touching titles of papa and mama. They
are, for life, the chiefs of the grand family of Voodoo, and they have the right to the limitless
respect of those who compose it. It is they who determine if the adder approves of the admission
of a candidate into the society, it is they who prescribe the obligations, the duties which he must
fulfil; it is they who receive the gifts and presents which the god expects as a just homage; to
disobey them, to resist them, is to resist God himself, and expose oneself to the greatest
misfortunes.

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"This system of domination on the one side, and of blind obedience on the other, once well
established, they meet at fixed intervals at gatherings where King and Queen Voodoo preside,
according to those usages which they may have brought from Africa, and to which Creole
customs have added many variants and traits which disclose European ideas; for example, the
scarf or the rich belt which the Queen wears in this assembly, and which she sometimes varies.
"The reunion for the true Voodoo, that which has least lost its primitive purity, never takes place
except secretly, when the night casts its shadows, and in a secure place, and under cover from
every profane eye. There each initiated puts on a pair of sandals and fastens around the body a
more or less considerable number of red handkerchiefs or at least of handkerchiefs in which this
colour is strongly predominant. The Voodoo King has more beautiful handkerchiefs and in
greater numbers and one which is entirely red and which he binds around his brow is his crown.
A girdle, usually blue, puts the finishing touch to display his striking dignity.
{p. 64}
"The Queen clad with a simple luxury, shows also her predilection for the colour red, which is
most frequently that of her sash or belt.
"The King and Queen take their place at one end of the room near a kind of altar on which is a
box where the serpent is kept and where each member can see it through the bars.
"When they have made sure that no busy-body has gained admission to the enclosure, they begin
the ceremony with the adoration of the adder, by protestations to be faithful to its cult and
submissive to whatever it may prescribe. With hands placed in those of the King and Queen, they
renew the promise of secrecy which is the foundation of the association, and it is accompanied
by everything horrible that delirium has been able to devise to make it more impressive.
"When the devotees of Voodoo are thus disposed to receive the impressions which the King and
Queen desire to make them feel, they finally take the affectionate tone of compassionate father
and mother, boasting to them of the good-fortune which is attached to whoever is devoted to the
Voodoo; they urge them to confidence in it, and to give proof of this by following their advice as
to the way they are to conduct themselves in the most important circumstances.
"Then the crowd scatters, and each according to his needs, and following the order of seniority in
the sect, come to implore the Voodoo. For the most part they, ask of it talent to direct the mind of
their masters; but this is not enough. One asks for more money, another the gift to please an
unresponsive one; this one wishes to recall a faithless mistress; that one desires a speedy cure, or
a long life. After these, an old hag comes to conjure the god to end the disdain of him whose
happy youth she wishes to captivate. A maid solicits eternal love, or she repeats the malediction
with which hate inspires her against a preferred rival. There is no passion which does not utter a
vow, and even a crime does not always disguise those who have for object its success.
"At each of these invocations, the Voodoo King is wrapped in thought; the spirit is working in
him. All of a sudden he takes the

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{p. 65}
box wherein the adder is, places it on the ground and makes the Voodoo Queen stand upon it. As
soon as the sacred ark is under her feet, the new pythoness is possessed by the god. She shivers,
her entire body is in a convulsive state, and the oracle speaks by her lips. At times she flatters
and promises happiness, again she inveighs and breaks out in reproaches; and according to her
heart's desire, or her own interests, or her caprice, she dictates as obligatory without appeal
whatever it pleases her to prescribe, in the name of the adder, to the imbecile crowd which
opposes not even the smallest doubt to the monstrous absurdity, and which only knows to obey
all that is despotically prescribed.
"After all the questions have received some sort of an ambiguous answer from the oracle, they
form. a circle, and the adder is replaced on the altar. This is the time when they bring to it a
tribute, which each one has tried to make most worthy of it, and which they place in a covered
hat, that a jealous curiosity may not cause anyone to blush. The King and Queen promise to
make this acceptable to it. It is by the profits of these offerings that they pay the expenses of the
assembly, that they obtain help for members absent or present, who are in need, or from whom
the society expects something for its glory or its renown. Suggestions are made, measures are
determined, actions are prescribed which the Voodoo Queen always declares to be the will of
god, and which have not as invariably good order and public tranquillity as an object. A new
oath, as execrable as the first, engages each one to silence as regards all that has passed, to give
assistance to whatever has been determined, and sometimes a vessel wherein is the blood of a
goat, still warm, goes to seal on the lips of the congregation the promise to suffer death rather
than reveal anything, and even to inflict it on anyone who forgets that he is thus solemnly bound
to secrecy.
"After that, there begins the dance of the Voodoo.
"If there is a candidate to be received, it is with his admission that the ceremony begins. The
Voodoo King traces a large circle with some substance that blackens, and places therein the one
who wishes to be initiated, and in his hands he puts a packet of herbs,
{p. 66}
horse-hair, pieces of horn, and also other disgusting objects. Tapping him lightly, then, on the
head with a little wooden wand, he intones an African chant which those who surround the circle
repeat in chorus; then the candidate begins to tremble and to dance; this is what is termed to
'make Voodoo.' If by mischance the excess of his transport makes him leave the circle, the chant
ceases at once, the Voodoo King and Queen turn their backs on him to avert misfortune. The
dancer recovers himself, reenters the circle, begins anew, drinks, and finally becomes
convulsive. Whereupon the Voodoo King orders him to stop by tapping him lightly on the head
with his wand, or stirring stick, or even with a blow of the voodooistic whip if he judges it
fitting. He is conducted to the altar to take the oath, and from that moment he belongs to the sect.
"The ceremonial finished, the King places his hand or his foot on the box wherein is the adder,
and soon he becomes agitated. This condition he communicates to the Queen, and by her the

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commotion is spread around, and each one goes into contortions in which the upper part of the
body, the head and the shoulders seem to be dislocated themselves. The Queen above all is a
prey to the most violent agitations; she goes from time to time to seek new frenzy from the
Voodoo serpent; she shakes the box, and the little bells with which it is decorated produce the
effect of a fool's bauble. The delirium increases. It is even further aroused by the use of spiritous
liquors which in the intoxication of their imagination the devotees do not spare, and which in
turn keeps them up. Fainting fits, swoonings follow for some, and a kind of madness for others;
but with them all there is a nervous trembling which they seem unable to control. They
ceaselessly whirl around. And finally it comes about that in this sort of Bacchanalia, they tear
their clothes and bite their own flesh; others who become senseless and fall to the floor, are
carried, without interrupting the dance, to a nearby room, where in the darkness a disgusting
prostitution holds the most horrible sway. Finally, weariness puts an end to those demoralizing
scenes, but for a renewal of which they have taken good care to fix a time in advance.
{p. 67}
"it is most natural to believe that Voodoo owes its origin to the serpent cult, to which are
particularly addicted the inhabitants of Juida (Whydah), who it is said come originally from the
Kingdom of Ardra, of the same Slave Coast, and when one has read to what an extreme these
Africans carry the superstition for this animal, it is easy to recognize it in what I am about to
relate.
"What is unquestionably true, and at the same time most remarkable in Voodoo, is that sort of
magnetism which prompts those who are assembled to dance to insensibility. The prepossession
in this regard is so strong that even the Whites found spying on the mysteries of this sect, and
touched by one of the members who have discovered them, are sometimes set to dancing, and
have agreed to pay the Queen Voodoo, to put an end to this punishment. Nevertheless, I cannot
refrain from remarking that never has any man of the constabulary who has sworn to fight
Voodoo, felt the power which forces one to dance, and which has doubtlessly preserved the
dancers themselves from the necessity of taking flight.
"Without doubt, to assuage the fears which this mysterious cult of Voodoo causes in the Colony,
they pretend to dance it in public, to the sound of drums and with the clapping of hands; they
even have it follow a repast where they eat nothing but poultry. But I affirm that this is nothing
more nor less than a scheme to escape the vigilance of the magistrates, and the better to assure
the success of these dark conventicles which are not a place of amusement and pleasure, but
rather a school where feeble souls go to deliver themselves to a domination which a thousand
circumstances can render baneful.
"One cannot believe to what an excess extends the dependence in which the Chiefs of the
Voodoo hold the other members of the sect. There is not one of these latter who would not
choose anything in preference to the misfortune with which he is threatened if he does not go
regularly to the assemblies, if he does not blindly obey whatever the Voodoo commands him.
One has seen that the fear of it has been sufficiently aroused to deprive them of the use of reason,
and those who, in a fit of frenzy, have uttered shrieks,

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{p. 68}
shun the gaze of men and excite pity. In a word, nothing is more dangerous, by all accounts, than
this cult of the Voodoo, founded on this extravagant idea; but of which one can make a truly
terrible force where the 'ministers of being' whom they have honoured with the name, know and
can do everything.
"Who will believe that Voodoo gives place to something further, which also goes by the name of
dance? In 1768, a negro of Petit-Goave, of Spanish origin, abusing the credulity of the Negroes,
by superstitious practices, gave them an idea of a dance, analagous to that of the Voodoo, but
where the movements are more hurried. To make it even more effective the Negroes place in the
rum, which they drink while dancing, well crushed gun-powder. One has seen this dance called
Dance to Don Pédro, or simply Don Pédro, induce death on the Negroes; and the spectators
themselves, electrified by the spectacle of this convulsive exercise, share the drunkenness of the
actors, and hasten by their chant and a quickened measure, a crisis which is in some way
common to them. It has been necessary to forbid dancing Don Pédro under grave penalty, but
sometimes ineffectually."[11]
[11. Moreau de Saint-Méry, l. c., Vol. I, p. 44 ff. Note:--Moreau de Saint-Méry, Loix et Constitutions des Colonies
Françoises de l'Amérique sous le Vent, Paris, 1780, Vol. I, p. 4,5, shows that the Code Noir, published in March,
1685, by Article II prescribes that slaves must within a reasonable time be instructed and baptized as Catholics. By
Article III, Masters who permit their slaves to gather for religious purposes other than Catholic service are as liable
as if they took part themselves in such gatherings. By Article XVI, Gatherings of slaves belonging to different
masters are forbidden "either by day or night, under pretence of weddings or otherwise, either on the premises of
one of the masters or elsewhere, and even more so if on the public highway or in hidden places." Corporal
punishment is prescribed for the first offence, with the death penalty for repeated infractions. By the next Article,
Masters who permit such gatherings are liable to fines, etc.--Cfr. also: Vol. V, p. 384: Official Orders for the Police
of Port-au-Prince, issued May 23, 1772. Article II forbids all kinds of assemblies and gatherings of slaves under pain
of corporal punishment. And Article VI forbids even free Negroes and persons of color from holding night-dances
or the Calenda. Even the dances that are allowed to them must stop at 9 P. M. Vol. IV, p. 234: On August 5, 1758,
Sieur Lebrun, manager of the Carbon Estate at Bois de L'Anse is fined 200 pounds "for having permitted an
assembly of Negroes, and a Calenda on the 23rd of July preceding, on the said Estate." Vol. IV, p. 829: Order of the
Governor General dated January 15, 1765, for the formation of a Corps of Light Troops, to be known as the "First
Legion of San Domingo." It assigns as one of their duties: "To break up the assemblies and Calendas of the
Negroes."
That the Calenda was danced despite all legal restrictions, we have ample evidence. Thus for example, the Baron
Wimpffen, who spent two years in the island during the period of unrest that immediately preceded the actual
uprising of the slaves, records in his diary in August, 1789, that the day of the {footnote p. 69} arrival of the French
mail was celebrated as a festival for the Negroes who were dispensed from work, feasted and allowed to dance a
Calenda. In the same entry of the diary we read that baptism meant practically nothing for the Negroes generally
except a change of name, which was frequently thereafter ignored--the sole motive being to please the master and
nothing else.--Cfr. Albert Savine, Saint-Domingue à la Veille de la Révolution, Paris, 191I, p. 93.]

{p. 69}
According to Moreau de Saint-Méry, then, four kinds of dances were indulged in by the Haitian
slaves before the insurrection. The Calenda and the Chica have accompaniments of drums, etc.
and the Voodoo and Don Pédro in which there is no mention of such instruments. In fact, drums
and the clapping of hands are actually introduced at the pretended Voodoo which was invented

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as "a scheme to escape the vigilance of the Magistrates and the better to assure the success of
these dark conventicles which are not a place of amusement and pleasure," as we are expressly
told. Here we have the first main distinction-the presence or absence of drums.
Don Pédro, being an outgrowth from Voodoo with even the year of its origin, 1768, clearly
defined, may be passed over for the present with the single remark that in place of the goat of
Voodoo, the pig becomes the particular animal of sacrifice.
Voodoo itself as described by Moreau de Saint-Méry bears a close resemblance to its prototype
of Whydah, making due allowance for local conditions, and it clearly satisfies all our requisites
to be classed as worship in the strict sense of the word, as distinct from a mere Cult.[12]
Furthermore, despite the rankling controversy
[12. Dr. Price-Mars, in setting out to prove that Voodoo is a religion, accepts as his definition of the word religion,
that adopted by the "sociological school of Durkheim."--Ainsi Parla L'Oncle, Compeigne, 1928, p. 30. Then follows
a quotation from J. Bricourt, Où en est l'Histoire des Religions, Paris, 1912, p. 15, which is ultimately taken from
Durkheim's chapter on "Definition of Religions Phenomena and of Religion"--Emile Durkheim, The Elementary
Forms of the Religious Life, London, 1926, p. 37. The words quoted really form no part of Durkheim's definition
which is only formulated towards the end of the chapter, where it runs as follows: "A religion is a unified system of
beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden--beliefs, and practices
which unite into one single moral community called a Church, all those who adhere to them."--p. 47. However the
two are perfectly compatible and Voodoo satisfies them both as well as most of the other definitions of religion,
enunciated by standard authors. Thus for example, "Religion may be defined subjectively and objectively.
Subjectively, it is the knowledge and consciousness of dependence upon one or more transcendental personal
Powers, to which man stands in a reciprocal relation. Objectively, it is the sum of the outward actions in which it is
expressed and made manifest, as prayer, sacrifice, sacraments, {footnote p. 70} liturgy, ascetic practices, ethical
prescriptions, and so on."--W. Schmidt, The Origin and Growth of Religion, New York, 1931, p. 2.
Dr. Price-Mars, Ainsi Parla l'Oncle, p. 32, advances his claim as follows: "Voodoo is a religion because all the
adepts believe in the existence of spiritual beings who live in part in the universe in close touch with human beings
Whose activity they control. These invisible beings constitute a numerous Olympus of gods, of whom the highest
among them bear the title of Papa or Great Master and have the right to special homage.
"Voodoo is a religion because the cult developed to its god, demands a hierarchical sacerdotal body, a congregation
of faithful, temples, altars, ceremonies, and in fine, altogether an oral tradition which certainly has not come down to
us unchanged, but thanks for it, has transmitted the essential part of the cult.
"Voodoo is a religion because through the medley of legends and the corruption of fables one can disentangle a
theology, a system of representations, thanks to which, primitively, our African ancestors had an explanation for the
natural phenomena and which in a hidden way lays the foundation of the anarchistic beliefs on which rests the
hybrid Catholicism of the masses of the people."
Then after considering the other side of Voodoo which consists of magic or witchcraft, concludes, p. 37: "And now,
if we summarize the results of this he brief discussion, we may draw a first conclusion, to wit, that Voodoo is a very
primitive religion, founded partially on the beliefs in all powerful spiritual beings--gods, demons, disincarnated
souls--partially on the beliefs in witchcraft and magic. If we evaluate this double character we will disclose in
proportion to our researches the state more or less pure in its country of origin, and on our soil, modified by its more
than a century of juxtaposition to the Catholic religion adapted to the conditions of life of our rural masses, fighting
against legal statute of the nation which wished to free itself of all contact with this form of beliefs, from which it
has nothing else to expect. And there you have in brief the position which Voodoo occupies in our social status."]

{p. 70}
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concerning modern Voodoo in Haiti, all disputants seemingly accept Moreau de Saint-Méry's
account, at least substantially. We are safe, then, in making this our starting point in our study of
Haitian Voodoo.
It is also generally agreed, that the slave insurrection was fostered and made possible by
nocturnal assemblies that have been commonly ascribed to Voodoo.
This uprising of the slaves which resulted in the first massacre of the Whites in Haiti, in 1791, is
thus described by Dr. Dorsainvil: "It was then that Boukman entered on the scene and
determined to arouse the imagination and the senses. Born in Jamaica, Boukman was a N'Gan or
priest of Voodoo, the principal religion of the Dahomans. His tall statue, his herculean strength,
had attracted the attention of the Master of the Plantation, Turpin, who had him appointed
successively an overseer and a coachman. Over all the slaves who came in contact with him he
exercised an ascendancy which became extraordinary.
{p. 71}
"To put an end to all hesitation and to arouse complete devotion, he gathered together on the
night of August 14, 179I, a large number of slaves in a clearing in the Caiman woods, near
Morne-Rouge. All were assembled when a tempest broke. The jagged flashes of lightning
illuminating a sky of low and sombre clouds. In a few minutes a torrential rain flooded the
ground; at length under the repeated assaults of a violent wind, the trees of the forest writhed,
moaned, and even their heavy branches, torn away, fell with a crash.
"In the midst of this impressive setting, the bystanders, motionless, seized with holy terror, saw
an old Negress arise, her body shaking with prolonged shivers; she chants, spins around, and
whirls a large cutlass above her head. Rigid stance, gasping breath, silence, blazing eyes fixed on
the Negress, the audience is fascinated. Then is brought in a black pig, whose grunting is lost in
the uproar of the storm. With a quick movement, the inspired priestess plunges her cutlass into
the throat of the animal. The blood gurgles forth, it is collected foaming, and distributed round
about to the slaves, all drink of it, all swear to carry out the orders of Boukman."[13]
Since Boukman was a Jamaican it would be reasonable to suppose that he introduced Jamaican
features into the cult as he practiced
[13. J. C. Dorsainvil, Manuel d'Histoire d'Haïti, Port-au-Prince, 1925, p. 81 f. Note:--Cfr. also Thomas Madiou,
Histoire d'Haïti, Port-au-Prince, 1922, vol. I, p. 102, who states briefly: "On the night of August 14, 179I, 200
delegates from the ateliers of the northern province assembled in the Lenormand plantation. There a coloured man
harangued them about a pretended decree whereby the King granted them three days of freedom each week. It was
decided then the 22nd of the same month the insurrection should be general."
Concerning the originator of the Don Pédro, Dorsainvil asserts, Vodou et Névrose, Port-au-Prince, 1931, p. 46:
"Popular tradition, well after Independence, speaks among others of a certain Don Pédro, a being of flesh and bone,
who, at a certain time, had come from the Dominican Republic to take up his abode in the mountains of the
Commune of Petit-Goave. This Don Pédro was the introducer of that violent dance which by corruption the people
call: the Pétro. At his death, Don Pédro did not delay in taking all honourable place in the Voodooistic pantheon,
drawing in his train an entire progeny, such as Jean Philippe Pétro, Criminel Pétro, etc."--Cfr. also, D. Trouillot,
Esquisse Ethnographique: Le Vaudoux, Port-au-Prince, 1885, p. 28: "It was from the Dominican Republic, at the
time a Spanish Colony, that there came to Haiti in the last century, the famous Don Pédro, an African who founded

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at Petit-Goave the infernal sect, known under the same name as its author. The Don Pédro is a dance of Vaudoux
where the most unbelievable orgies are perpetrated; this sect, diminishing daily, is only found in the hills of the
place of origin."]

{p. 72}
it. In all probability he had been banished from Jamaica for complicity in previous unrest there.
His administering of the solemn fetish oath bears resemblance to the Myalistic ceremonial that
will be discussed in a later chapter. In any case the sacrificial victim was a pig, the rite strictly
speaking belonged to the Don Pédro and not to Voodoo proper. This fact alone suggests that Don
Pédro, which had started only twenty-three years previously, in its very origin, may have been
devised precisely in preparation for such an uprising.
Very little notice was paid to Haitian Voodoo by the outside world until 1884, when there
appeared a book which has caused no end of controversy from that day to this. It was entitled
Hayti or the Black Republic, and the author was Sir Spencer St. John. His claim to credibility
was based on the following facts. Before becoming her Majesty's Envoy Extraordinary and
Minister Plenipotentiary to Mexico, he had been England's Resident and Consul-General in Haiti
for more than two decades. Secondly, as he says himself, he had personally known "the Haitian
Republic above twenty-five years."[14] Again writing from. Mexico, November 13, 1888, in the
introduction to his Second Edition, he says of his original work: "The most difficult chapter to
write was that on 'Vaudoux-worship and Cannibalism.' I have endeavoured to paint them in the
least sombre colours, and no one who knows the country will think that I have exaggerated: in
fact, had I listened to the testimony of many experienced residents, I should have described rites
at which dozens of human victims were sacrificed at a time. Everything I have related has been
founded on evidence collected in Haiti, from Haitian official documents, the press of Port-auPrince, from trustworthy officers of the Haitian Government, my foreign colleagues, and from
residents long established in the country,--principally, however, from Haitian sources."[15] And:
"As my chapter on Vadoux-worship and Cannibalism excited considerable attention both in
Europe and the
[14. Spencer St. John, Hayti or the Black Republic, London, 1889, Introduction, p. vii.
15. Ditto, p. xi.]

{p. 73}
United States, and unmitigated abuse in Haiti, I decided again to look into the question with the
greatest care. The result has been to convince me that I underrated the fearful manifestations; I
have therefore rewritten these chapters, and introduced many new facts which have come to my
knowledge."[16] In view of this last statement all our quotations will be taken from this Second
Edition of the work.
Let us, then, carefully weigh the testimony of Sir Spencer St. John. At the very outset, he states:
"I must notice that there are two sects which follow the Vaudoux-worship--those who only
delight in the flesh and blood of white cocks and spotless white goats at their ceremonies, and
those who are not only devoted to these, but on great occasions call for the flesh and blood of

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'the goat without horns,' or of human victims. It is a curious trait of human nature that these
cannibals must use a euphemistic term when speaking of their victims, as the Pacific Islanders
have the expression of 'long pig.'"[17]
We must here remark the careful distinction between the cults in Haiti, and while the author does
not also distinguish them by name, the legitimate cult, if we may so term it, is Voodoo proper,
while the cannibalistic element belongs to Don Pédro. Further, it should be noted that while the
human sacrifice is called the "goat without horns" it is really substituted, not for the goat of
Voodoo, but for the pig of Don Pédro: just as in those Pacific Islands that are referred to, where
the term "long pig" is used.
But to resume St. John's narrative: "When Haiti was still a French Colony, Vaudoux-worship
flourished, but there is no distinct mention of human sacrifice in the accounts transmitted to us.
In Moreau de Saint-Méry's excellent description of the island, from whose truthful pages it is a
pleasure to seek for information, he gives us a very graphic account of fetishism. as it existed in
his day, that is, towards the close of the last century." He means of course the eighteenth century.
Then follows a lengthy citation from the very passage that we have already quoted.
[16. Ditto, p. xiii.
17. Ditto, p. 192.]

{p. 74}
At the close of the quotation, St. John observes: "In studying this account, freely taken from
Moreau de Saint-Méry, I have been struck how little change, except for the worse, has taken
place during the last century. Though the sect continues to meet in secret, they do not appear to
object to the presence of their countrymen who are not yet initiated. In fact, the necessity of so
much mystery is not recognized, since there are no longer any French magistrates to send these
assassins to the scaffold."[18]
A few pages further on, we read: "After studying the history of Haiti, one is not astonished that
the fetish worship continues to flourish. The Negroes imported from the west coast of Africa
naturally brought their religion with them, and the worship of the serpent was one of its most
distinguishing features. Saint-Méry writes of the slaves arriving with a strange mixture of
Mohammedanism and idolatry, to which they soon added a little Catholicism. Of
Mohammedanism I have not myself observed the faintest trace. When the Negroes found the
large, almost harmless serpent in Haiti, they welcomed it as their god, and their fetish priests
soon collected their followers around them. The French authorities tried to put down all meetings
of the Vaudoux, partly because they looked upon them as political, but they did not succeed.
Many of the tribes in Africa are to this day cannibals, and their ancestors no doubt imported this
taste into the French colony."[19]
Sir Spencer St. John had already remarked, "I have been informed on trustworthy testimony that
in 1887 cannibalism was more rampant than ever,"[20] and now in the body of his work he
writes: "There are in Haiti, as I have before noticed, two sects of Vaudoux-worshippers; one,
perhaps the least numerous, that indulges in human sacrifices;-the other, that holds such practices
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MAGICAL 333
in horror, and is content with the blood of the white goat, and the white cock. . . . In the country
districts the Catholic priests say these fetish-worshippers call themselves 'Les Mystères,' and
[18. Ditto, p. 199.
19. Ditto, p. 229.
20. Ditto, Introduction, p. xii.]

{p. 75}
that they mix Catholic and Vaudoux ceremonies in a singular manner; the name probably refers
to the rites they practice."[21] And, "I have been informed that, besides the goat and cock, the
Vaudoux priests occasionally sacrifice a lamb. . . . It is carefully washed, combed, and
ornamented with bunches of blue ribands before being sacrificed."[22]
Let us come now to a spectacle that is even more revolting than any of those already describedone, in fact, where we are told that the rites actually included human sacrifice. The following
letter appeared in the NEW YORK WORLD of December 5, 1886. The writer of it is personally
vouched for by Sir Spencer St. John who quotes the letter in full.
"I spent some weeks in Cap Haitien, one of the largest and most important cities in Haiti, and
while there I met a number of Dominican gentlemen, who for various reasons had been
compelled to spend a long time in the sister republic. These gentlemen talked a great deal about
the existence of cannibalism, and insisted that its existence was not, as all Haitians claim, merely
in the minds of the writers who desire to publish sensational stories. I had shut my eyes and ears
to the customs of the country people, and moreover I never allowed myself to think it possible
that such horrible practices, as these gentlemen assured me were common, existed. Therefore I
tried in every way to disabuse them of the illusions which I thought they entertained. Among
these Dominicans was one who, irritated by my constant denials, determined to prove to me that
his assertions were true. In April (1886) the workers on one of the coffee-plantations near Le
Cap intended to have some kind of demonstration in honour of one of their superstitious
observances, and my friend learned that, incidental to the Vaudoux-worship (which by the way,
unaccompanied by human sacrifices no Haitian will deny exists), there would be a human
sacrifice. In some manner my friend had ingratiated himself with certain of the Negro labourers
who were to attend the sacrifices, and induced them to allow him and me to be present, also. On
the
[21. Ditto, p. 130.
22. Ditto, p. 231.]

{p. 76}
evening of April 19 he came to my house, where both of us dressed ourselves in the ordinary
country working-man's costume, and then had our hands and faces well blacked by the Negro
who was to conduct us to the Vaudoux temple. To reach the temple we rode out over the smooth

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MAGICAL 333
wagon-road which runs to and through the place called Haut-du-Cap, and when we had gotten
about three miles beyond the little tavern on that place, where everybody stops for refreshments,
our conductor suddenly left the highway, and by a little winding bridle-path led us up the big
mountain to a spot about half-way up the side.
"Here the Negroes had constructed a rude wooden shanty among the trees and where it could be
hardly noticed by any passer-by, if such there might be in that lonely quarter. Into this miserable
hut we were ushered by our guide, who to obtain admittance, uttered some signal words to the
two brawny Negroes who stood guard at the entrance, and who closely interrogated every person
who entered. We were apparently a little late. In the single room there was a motley crowd of
Negroes, men and women, congregated round a sort of wooden throne erected in the centre of
the room. On this throne arranged in many coloured long gowns and adorned with tawdry finery,
there sat on chairs draped with flaming red cloth, a mail and a woman. They were the Papaloi
and Mamanloi, or priest and priestess, of the order of the Vaudoux. At their feet was the box
which contained the 'holy serpent,' which was being worshipped by this ungodly assemblage.
Behind the throne was stretched across from wall to wall a red cloth partition, which divided the
room, or rather which made another and smaller apartment behind it. As we entered the people
were singing a chant low and monotonous, and at a sign from our mentor, we, my friend and I,
joined it. When this chant had been finished, there succeeded an interval of deathly quiet during
which the worshippers appeared to be engaged in prayer. Suddenly the silence was broken by the
priest, who with violent gestures, and almost shrieking his words, harangued his audience for ten
or fifteen minutes. He told them there was but one thing to do by which they might obtain
spiritual as well as temporal
{p. 77}
reward, to adore the serpent and obey implicitly and without question its slightest order. The
attitude of the people showed that they comprehended the injunction and would obey. When he
had wrought the crowd to a sufficiently high pitch of enthusiasm, the priest suddenly dropped his
talk, and bursting into a chant again, was immediately joined by the others. A weird dance
followed, the people singing as they danced, and gradually becoming almost delirious in their
fervour. The place was soon in ail awful tumult, some of the women, who especially seemed to
have lost all control over themselves, even climbing up to the rafters, wriggling their bodies,
hissing, and trying in every way to imitate the movements of the snake.
"This ghastly dance was continued for two hours more, when silence was again produced by the
appearance from behind the red curtain of two men leading by the hand a little trembling Negro
boy in white robes. The child was led to the throne, and mounting it, he prostrated himself twice
before the man and woman seated there. The Papaloi, holding his hands over the boy's head,
blessed him in the name of the sacred serpent, and then asked him in pompous language what he
most desired in the world. The little fellow, glancing up into the faces of his two conductors,
replied (and the reply had evidently been taught him), 'That object above all other objects in the
world which I most desire is the possession of a little virgin.' Hardly had he spoken when from
the encurtained apartment came two women leading a Negro girl of four or five years, also
dressed in the purest white. The second child was led to the throne and stood confronting the

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MAGICAL 333
boy. Again the boy was asked what he most desired, and when he had repeated his former
answer, both he and the girl were at once thrown down on their backs and bound band and foot.
"A burly Negro, knife in hand, separated himself from the crowd, who had been watching the
proceedings with breathless interest, and mounted the throne. Reaching the boy, he said
something to the men, who with their hands over his mouth was trying to stop the little fellow's
cries, and they held their victim
{p. 78}
by the feet up in the air. With a single slash across the little throat, the brutal executioner killed
the child, and the others held him whilst the life-blood gushed into the receptacle placed below to
receive it.
"At this moment an involuntary exclamation of horror escaped me, and immediately all eyes
were turned towards me, looking with distrust and suspicion. The horrible proceedings on the
throne were suspended, and a hasty consultation was held among the people on it. Fearing for my
life, and obeying a slight signal from our guide, I somehow got out of the door, mounted my
horse and rode as hard as I could to the town. The worshippers did not suspect that I was a white
man. They assumed probably that I was a novice and not yet hardened to the sight. At any rate I
was not pursued, and my friend was not interfered with. He remained until the end, joined me
that night, or rather morning, and told me that the little girl had been killed in the same manner
as the boy, and that then the bodies had been cut up, cooked, and eaten by the wretches. The
whole awful orgy was ended only when every person present had become helplessly
intoxicated."[23]
[23. Ditto, p. 203 ff. Note:--St. John further quotes p. 243 from THE EVENING POST Of New York, for February
25, 1888: "Port-au-Prince, February, 1888. Recently the body of a child was found near this city; an arm and a leg
had been eaten by the Vaudoux. During Christmas week a man was caught in the streets here with a child cut up in
quarters for sale. Cannibalism still prevails, despite all the forced statements to the contrary. President Salomon, to
please the masses, the Negro element, allows them to dance a Vaudoux dance formerly prohibited."
He also cites many "fully-authenticated" cases, some of them falling under his own observation, of the administering
of drugs to induce apparent death. Subsequently the victims were brought back to consciousness, not infrequently
after burial and disinterment, that they might be murdered and certain portions of them at least used in the ungodly
sacrifices of Don Pédro. He concludes: "It was by these means that the Papalois probably were enabled to obtain
their victims during the French colonial period."-1. c., p. 241.
The following quotation from St. John, p. 232, should also be noted: "Moreau de Saint-Méry, in naming the
different tribes imported into Haiti during the last century, says:--'Never had any a disposition more hideous than the
last (the Mondongoes) whose depravity has reached the most execrable of excesses, that of eating their fellow
creatures. They bring also to Santo Domingo those butchers of human flesh, for in their country there are slaughterhouses where they Sell slaves as they would calves, and they are here, as in Africa, the horror of the other Negroes.'"
Here we have additional evidence that whatever cannibalism may have existed in Haiti in connection with the Don
Pédro rites, must not be {footnote p. 79} ascribed to Voodoo, but rather to other agencies, even as it was noticed in
the decadent cult of the serpent at Grand Popo.]

{p. 79}

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James Anthony Froude, writing in 1888, refers to Sir Spencer St. John's account, "Which," he
says, "they cry out against with a degree of anger which is the surest evidence of its truth."[24]
Of his own visit to Port-au-Prince, he writes:--"Immorality is so universal that it almost ceases to
be a fault, for a fault implies an exception, and in Haiti it is the rule. . . . So far they are no worse
than in our own English islands, where the custom is equally general; but behind the immorality,
behind the religiosity, there lies active and alive the horrible revival of the West African
superstitions; the serpent worship, and the child sacrifice, and the cannibalism. There is no room
to doubt it. A missionary assured me that an instance of it occurred only a year ago within his
own personal knowledge. The facts are notorious; a full account was published in one of the
local newspapers, and the only result was that the president imprisoned the editor for exposing
his country. A few years ago persons guilty of these infamies were tried and punished, now they
are left alone, because to prosecute and convict them would be to acknowledge the truth of the
indictment."[25]
Two years later the accusation was renewed by Hesketh Prichard in the following words:
"Vaudoux, according to its more elect disciples, is an all-powerful deity, but the idea of the
masses does not rise above the serpent, which represents to them their god and which presides, in
its box, over all their services . . . Vaudoux is cannibalism in the second stage, In the first
instance a savage eats human flesh as an extreme form of triumph over an enemy; so the appetite
grows until this food is preferred to any other. The next stage follows naturally. The man,
wishing to propitiate his god, offers him that which he himself most prizes. Add to this sacrifice
the mysteries and traditions of the ages, and you have the Vaudoux of today. . . . Cannibalism
has been brought as a very general accusation against the Haitians, but
[24. James Anthony Froude, The English in the West Indies; or, the Bow of Ulysses, London, 1888, p. 343.
25. Ditto, p. 344.]

{p. 80}
although there is no doubt that the child sacrificed in the worst Vaudoux rites is afterwards
dismembered, cooked, and eaten, I do not think of recent years the practice of cannibalism,
unconnected with sacrifice, is in any degree prevalent, although it is equally certain that scattered
instances do still come to light. Haiti is the sole country with any pretence to civilization where a
superstition contaminated by such active horrors exists."[26]
Such scathing accusations, whether true or false, could not fail to attract the notice of friends of
Haiti, and many official and unofficial answers or rather refutations have been attempted.
Notable among these defenders of the reputation of the Black Republic may be cited J. N. Léger,
who, while Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of Haiti to the United States, in
1907 published simultaneously in French and English a work entitled Hayti. Her History and
Her Detractors.[27] However, his partisan and exaggerated view is betrayed by his statement:
"The island which is now called Haiti is the only one in the West Indies where cannibalism has
never prevailed."[28] No doubt his ire has been provoked by the assertion of Prichard, "Haiti is
the sole country with any pretence to civilization where a superstition contaminated by such
active horrors exists," which we have recently quoted. But in any case, the very aspersion which
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MAGICAL 333
he so indignantly repudiates in the case of his native island, he gratuitously cast against all the
rest of the West Indies. This in itself might well make us cautious about accepting his reliability
as a witness. And further on the very page where we find this bald accusation, he admits on the
authority of Moreau de Saint-Méry[29] that of the Blacks imported to the Island of Haiti as
slaves, one tribe at least was anthropophagous. This he terms "the small tribe of the
Mondongues," but seeks to show that the gentle influence of the Congo Negroes entirely tamed
this unnatural instinct and
[26. Hesketh-Prichard, Where Black Rules White: A Journey across and about Hayti, Westminster, 1900, p. 76 ff.
27. French Edition; Haïti. Son Histoire et ses Détracteurs, New York, 1907.
28. English Edition, p. 346; French Edition, p. 345.
29. Moreau de Saint-Méry, Description de la Partie Française de Saint-Domingue, Vol. I, p. 33.]

{p. 81}
blotted out the practice. But where has it been recorded of savages, that those of gentler traits
prevailed over the warlike and the blood-thirsty?
To Sir Harry H. Johnston more attention must be paid when he comes forward as a defender of
Haiti's fair name and reputation. He writes: "At least two out of the three millions of Haitian
Negroes are only Christians in the loose statistics of geographers. They are still African pagans,
with a vague recognition of the Cross as an unexplained but potent symbol. They believe in a far
off scarcely heeding Deity and a multitude of spirits, ancestral and demiurgic. Magic or
empirical medicine ('Wanga') is, of course, believed in; and ranges in scope from genuine
therapeutics to sorcery, mesmerism, and poisonings. As to Vuduism, much exaggeration and
untruth have been committed to paper on this subject, so far as it affects Haiti. Snake worship is
of doubtful occurrence, owing to the rarity of snakes in Haiti.[30] Such harmless snakes as do
exist are tolerated in some villages or fetish temples for their rat-killing propensities. The idea
has therefore got abroad that they are 'kept' as sacred animals by the Vudu priests or priestesses.
Sacrifices of eggs, rum, fowls, possibly goats (white fowls or white goats preferred) are offered
to ancestors or minor deities presiding over the fertility of crops, rainfall (nature forces in fact),
and various small animals (perhaps even human remains) are deemed useful in sorcery. . . .
Isolated instances--about four or five--of cannibalism (the killing and eating of children)
[30. Note:--Wilfrid D. Hambly here takes exception as follows, Serpent Worship in Africa, p. 59: "Johnston (1910)
says that snake worship in Haiti is of doubtful occurrence owing to the rarity of the snakes there. Such harmless
snakes as do exist are tolerated in some villages and fetish temples for their rat-killing propensities. The idea has
therefore got abroad that they are kept as sacred animals by the voodoo priests and priestesses. Those seeking
scientific truth on voodooism should doubt much of what has been written on this subject. Johnston rather negatives
his own cautionary remarks by stating that the python worship of Africa was no doubt introduced by slaves into
Haiti, Cuba, Louisiana, Carolina, Jamaica, the Guianas, and Brazil. If this is admissible, it is difficult to understand
why the evidences of St. John respecting the survival of snake cults in Haiti (1889) should be discountenanced.
Furthermore, Johnston's idea that snakes are rare in Haiti is a misconception, as snakes are both abundant and
conspicuous oil the island, though there are only a few species, and Haiti, like the rest of the Greater Antilles, has no
poisonous snakes. There are boas, blind snakes, and also some Colubrine snakes."]

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{p. 82}
have occurred in the criminal records of Haiti during the last twenty years, but the convicted
were, in nearly all cases, punished with death; the one or two not executed had been proved to be
mad, and were confined in prison or asylum. These acts of cannibalism were mostly examples of
mad religious exaltation. Haiti 'Vuduism' has absorbed elements of Freemasonry and
Christianity. It predicts the future, investigates crime, arranges love affairs. . . . The 2,500,000
Haitian peasants are passionately fond of dancing, will even sometimes dance almost or quite
naked. And following on this choreographic exercise is much immorality. It is for these dances
and not for mystic 'Vudu' purposes that the drums may be heard tapping, tapping, booming,
rattling at night. No secret is made, nor is any shame felt about these village dances, in which
many young people take part."[31] Of the neighboring island of Cuba, Johnston writes: "The
white Cubans charge the Negroes with still maintaining in their midst the dark Vudu or Hudu
mysteries of West Africa. There seems to be no doubt that the black people of Cuba (not the
mulattoes) do belong, to a number of secret or Masonic societies, the most widely-heard-of being
the NYANNEGO; and it is possible that these confraternities or clubs are associated with
immoral purposes. They originated in a league of defence against the tyranny of the masters in
the old slavery days. Several of them (as described to me) sounded as harmless as our United
Order of Buffaloes. But those seeking after scientific truth should discount much that may be
read on Vuduism. This supposed Dahomean or Niger cult of the python or big serpent (Monitor,
lizard, crocodile or leopard), with which are associated frenzied dancing, mesmerism, gross
immorality, cannibalism or corpse eating, really exists (or existed) all over West Africa, from
Sierra Leone to Tanganyika, and no doubt was introduced by Inner
[31. Harry H. Johnston, The Negro in the New World, London, 1910, p. 193 f. Note:--He is giving the "official"
explanation for the sound of the drums. As we have noted there should be no drumming at real Voodoo or Don
Pédro rites, although in practice a dance usually precedes the Voodoo function to "disguise" the purpose of the
gathering, as an alibi for the local authorities who may have given tacit permission for the meeting which officially
they should contravene.--Cfr. Seabrook, Magic Island, p. 54: "There was no reason to suppose that we might be
disturbed, but as an extra precaution a gay danse Congo was immediately organized to cover the real purpose of our
congregation."]

{p. 83}
Congo, Niger Delta or Dahomey slaves into Haiti, Cuba, Louisiana, South Carolina, Jamaica, the
Guianas and Brazil. Where Christianity of a modern type has obtained little or no influence over
the Negro slaves and ex-slaves, these wild dances and witchcraft persist.[32] They are fast
becoming a past phase in the life-condition of the American Negro, and much of the evidence to
the contrary is out of date, or is manufactured by sensation-mongers for the compilation of
magazine articles."[33]
Of the kindred cult in Cuba, Johnston further states: "The last vestige of noxious witchcraft
lingering among the Cuban Negroes is (said to be) the belief that the heart's blood of the heart of
a white child will cure certain terrible diseases if consumed by the sufferer. The black
practitioners who endeavour to procure this wonderful remedy are known as 'Brujos' or 'Brujas'
(i. e. male or female sorcerers). At the time I was in Cuba (December, 1908), there were four or
five Negroes awaiting trial on this charge at Havana. Other cases--said to have been proved
beyond a doubt--have occurred in Eastern Cuba within the last two or three years. But all these
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stories and charges are vague hearsay, and during the short time at my disposal I was not able to
get proof of one. There is little doubt that occasionally in the low quarters of the old Spanish
towns little white girls do disappear. It is too readily assumed that the Negro is at fault."[34]
Scarcely had these words of Johnston in defence of Haiti been written before a new attack was
launched. Stephen Bonsal asserts without hesitation: "The truth is, that while you need have no
fear whatever of eating human flesh in Haiti disguised as roast or as a round of beef, there is no
place in the world where you could so easily satisfy a cannibalistic craving as in this land. . . .
"Voodoo is not a written creed over which a house of bishops presides publicly, a fact which
should account for the many and
[32. Note:--Is not this condition verified, then, in Haiti, where Johnston's own estimate was, as noted above, The
Negro in the New World, p. 193: "At least two out of the three millions of Haitian Negroes are only Christians in the
loose statistics of geographers. They are still African pagans, etc." It really looks as if Johnston had done more harm
than good to Haiti's cause.
33. Johnston, l. c., p. 64 f.
34. Ditto, p. 66 f.]

{p. 84}
extremely varied versions of its practices which are in circulation through the world. It is
certainly not a mere veneer or an old garment from the Congo days of the black race which has
not yet been cast away. But it is a substantial edifice of West African superstition, serpent
worship, and child sacrifice which exists in Haiti today, and which undoubtedly would become
rampant throughout the island were it not for the check and control upon native practices which
the foreign residents exercise.
"Several Roman Catholic priests, who have long resided in the heart of Haiti, told me that one of
the hardships and difficulties of the combat against African darkness upon which they are
engaged, is the extreme reticence not only of the active Voodooists themselves, but of all blacks
in regard to the fetish-worshipping rites.
"A Haitian is often absolutely lacking in that form of self-respect which is the last to depart from
the most ignoble white. 'All will confess the most despicable crimes,' said my priestly informant,
'and admit having sunk to the lowest form of human degradation, but even should you see him at
the dance under the sablier tree at night, all smeared with the blood which may have flowed in
the veins of a cock, or goat, or even a human child, he will deny having anything in common
with the Voodoo sectaries."[35]
Again: "Of course, the real charge against Haitian civilization is not that children are frequently
stolen from their parents and are often put to death with torture, and subsequently eaten with
pomp at a Voodoo ceremony, but that Haitians officials, often the highest in the land, not only
protect the kidnappers, but frequently take part in the cannibalistic rites which they make
possible. This is the charge which I bring and which I am prepared to substantiate in every

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particular upon evidence which appears to me, and to many others to whom I have submitted it,
to be absolutely unimpeachable."[36]
Finally: "Every moonlight night in Haiti you hear in the woods the tom-toming of the Voodoo
drums and you know that the devil's priests are astir. On the horizon burns a great campfire, and
around
[35. Stephen Bonsal, The American Mediterranean, New York, 1912, p. 88 f.
36. Ditto, p. 90.]

{p. 85}
it dance weird and shadowy forms. Now and again a piercing shriek rends the air, whether of joy
or pain or uttered at the sight of death, you know not, and your friend and mentor, acclimated by
twenty years of residence and sophisticated by much study of this strange people, takes you by
the hand and says, at least so did mine; 'It is time, high time, to go now.'
"So I never saw the dark frenzy of the African rites descend to the level of the cannibalistic feast
which, at least in the last generation, became so frequently a matter of court record, and I believe
that today there is only one white man in Haiti, a French priest, who has seen the Voodoo rites
carried out to their ghastly conclusion. The little green serpent, the ruling spirit of the abject
Guinea coast sect, is often worshipped and the feast terminates in scenes of the most vile
debauchery, the 'goat without horns,' however, is not always being sacrificed.
"The cannibalistic feed is only indulged in on rare occasions and at long intervals, and is always
shrouded in mystery, and hedged about with every precaution against interlopers; for, be their
African ignorance ever so dense, their carnal fury ever so unbridled, the papalois and mamalois,
the head men and head women of the serpent worshippers never seem to forget that in these vile
excesses there should perhaps be found excuse enough for the interference of the civilized world
to save the people of the Black Republic from the further degradation which awaits them.
"Within the last fifteen years human victims have been sacrificed to the great god Voodoo in the
national palace of Haiti. Last February there was assembled in the national palace what might
justly be called a congress of serpent worshippers. During the life of Mme. Nord, which came to
an end in October, 1908, not a week passed but what a meeting of the Voodoo practitioners was
held in the executive mansion, and her deathbed was surrounded by at least a score of these
witch doctors.
"General Antoine Simon, who recently achieved the presidency, may be the intelligent man he is
represented to be by not a few White residents who have come in close contact with him during
the years of his government of the southern arrondissements of the
{p. 86}
island. But one thing is quite sure: if he wishes to remain in the Black House and rule, he must
share his sovereignty with the Voodoo priests. If he should exclude them from power and banish
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them from his presence, his term of office will be of short duration." This prophecy was only too
well verified. President Simon ruled about two years and a half, from December 17, 1908 to
August 2, 1908, when he made his escape to Jamaica.
Bonsal continues: "There is generally, in fact invariably, much diversity of opinion in Haiti about
things Haitian and a host of contradictory counsellors, but upon this point there is practical
unanimity. No government can stand in Haiti unless it is upheld by the Voodoo priests or by
foreign bayonets. At least two governments in the last fifty years, that of Geffrard and that of
Boisrond-Canal, have tried to dispense with the priestly poisoners of men's minds and bodies
without at the same time inviting the active support of the civilized world, and in each instance
these governments ended in disaster and in bloodshed which lasted for years.
"But while few, if any, of the white men who are at present residents of the island have
witnessed the sacrifice of the 'goat without horns,' it is the easiest thing in the world to assist at
the preliminaries at least of a Voodoo feast. While my two visits to Haiti, taken altogether, do not
cover quite a month, I have without great difficulty attended Voodoo feasts in town and country,
in the open air under the moonlit heavens, and in the slums of the capital under the, pallid glare
of the electric light."[37]
This would almost indicate that even as visitors to Chinatown are said at times, to be allowed to
visit some stage-set opium dive, where the actors for the occasion play up to the part with
grewsome reality, so too, perchance the Haitian brethren of the cult may not be averse to turn an
honest penny by staging, in the hopes of a small consideration, a Voodoo spectacle to satisfy the
demands of tourists who in all good faith fancy that they have been admitted to the most secret
mysteries. This would explain much that Seabrook has reported.
Bruce W. Merwin, Assistant Curator at the University of
[37. Ditto, p. 101 f.]

{p. 87}
Pennsylvania Museum, writes in THE MUSEUM JOURNAL,[38] under the caption "A Voodoo
Drum from Hayti" as follows: "During the first three centuries of colonization of the New World
many of the native customs and beliefs of West Africa were introduced and retained by the
slaves. Of these fetish worship with considerable development or modification survives even to
the present time. In Haiti, as the Voodoo cult with its human sacrifices, this worship is the most
primitive and degraded in the two Americas. Attention was drawn to the cult recently by a
Voodoo priest's drum presented to the University Museum by Mr. J. Maxwell Bullock, who had
received it from 'Major Alexander Williams of the United States Marines. During the
insurrection in 1916 in Haiti it had been confiscated and its head punctured because the beating
of a drum was the signal to assemble the Voodoo devotees and to incite them to a religious race
war." This statement must be accepted with restrictions. The term Voodoo is here employed not
technically but in its broadest possible sense. Moreover, anyone familiar with the famous talking
drums of Africa might suspect here that during the Haitian troubles messages were actually
transmitted through the island by drum language. While I have never found among West Indies
the slightest vestige of what must now be a lost art among them, certainly their ancestors were
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most proficient in this regard and it is still actively practiced in Africa. This much, however, is
certain; that the average drummer of the West Indies is as proficient as any army bugler in the
conveying of conventional calls and commands.
Merwin further states: "The incessant booming of the drum, the sight and taste of blood, and the
great amount of rum drunk cause a religious form of hysteria to sweep over the audience. At the
close of the sacrificial ceremony the worshippers begin a dance called the 'loiloichi,' or stomach
dance, which is well known in West Africa. The dance gets wilder and. wilder and more
degraded until it ends in an orgy of the worst description which lasts until daylight. . . . In Haiti
the basis of Voodooism is the frank worship
[38. Vol. VIII (1917), p. 123 f.]

{p. 88}
of the sacred green snake that must be propitiated in order to keep off the evil duppies."[29]
We have here to all appearances the Chica dance of slave days with a title that combines the old
name with the Voodoo "loi." Hence we may conclude that it was presumably a Voodoo feast at
which the Chica was danced.
George Mannington, in 1925 published a work on the West Indies in which he tries to sum up
the whole question dispassionately. His book boasts a Foreword by the Rt. Hon. Baron Olivier, a
former Governor of Jamaica. The following statement is of interest: "Voodooism or serpent
worship, is a degraded form of religion commonly practiced by the ancestors of the present
Negroes in the forests of Africa, and was the only religion known to the slaves in the early days.
It is said to be followed still in the remoter parts of some of the islands-especially Haiti. It is only
fair to say, however, that the more self-respecting of the people indignantly deny that such
practices are now followed even among the most backward of the race. But reports to the
contrary still persist. It is certain that the Haitian Negroes still assemble in groves or clearing in
the forests and dance until they are exhausted to the accompaniment of tom-toms and wild
chantings; rum-drinking adds zest to the proceedings. These scenes are occasionally witnessed
by spectators concealed from view; it would not be safe to show themselves openly. Whether or
not the more degraded forms of Voodooism are associated with these gatherings cannot be
positively stated, though such an assertion is made by many. The belief of the Voodoo (or
Vaudoux) votaries appears to be that an all-powerful non-venomous serpent controls all human
events, knows all things past, present and future, and communicates his power and will to the
priest and priestess who administer the rites, and who are called Papaloi and Mamaloi, loi being
the equivalent of the French roi and stands in the Negro terminology--which is without gender-for both king and queen. This 'deity' is supposed to require the sacrifice of 'a goat without horns.'
Accordingly the sacrifice of goats accompanied by incantations was the common
[39. Ditto, p. 125.]

{p. 89}

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MAGICAL 333
practice, the animals being afterwards cooked and eaten. It is alleged that the phrase 'goat
without horns' was also interpreted to mean a child, that small children were killed and eaten in
secret groves, and that the mothers were proud that their children should be chosen for sacrifice.
The victim's blood was mixed with rum and drunk."[40]
Dr. Price-Mars, whom we quoted at length when considering Seabrook's Magic Island, gives us
an extended view of Voodoo as be sees it. Being a devoted and loyal son of the little isle that was
once so glorious as the proudest boast of Colonial France, he may be partial in his views at times,
but his sincerity cannot be questioned.
Of the rise of the Haitian community, he tells us: "We know, it is true, what elements have made
up the Haitian community. We know that a drove of slaves, imported to San Domingo from the
far-stretched western coast of Africa, presented in its entirety a microcosm of all the black races
of the continent. We know how from the promiscuous intercourse of the white with his black
concubine, and from the artificial conditions of a society governed by the law of castes, there
developed a group intermediate between the master and the body of slaves. We know further
how the clash of interests and passions, how the confronting of egoisms, and how the principles
evoked by the strange revolution, all brought about the insurrection which led the erstwhile
slaves to found a nation. Such in a few words is the origin of our people."[41]
Concerning the days that preceded the slave uprising, Dr. Price-Mars writes: "We have at hand
two documents whence we may gather valuable information. The first is entitled L'Essai sur
l'Esclavage et Observations sur l'État Présent des Colonies. It treats of the anxiety which was
aroused among the whites by the frequent nocturnal gatherings of the slaves, where they
fomented their plots, against the colonial regime. In this connection, the author makes the
following remark: 'Their designs would have
[40. George Mannington, The West Indies with British Guiana and British Honduras, New York, 1925, p. 267 f.
41. Dr. Price-Mars, Ainsi Parla l'Oncle, p. 107.]

{p. 90}
been undiscoverable if they had not been betrayed by the women concubines of the whites to
whom they were generally very much attached. The dance called at Surinan, Water Mama, and
in our Colony the Mere de l'eau, is rigidly forbidden. They make it a great mystery and all that
can be said of it is this, that it greatly excites the imagination. They work themselves up to
debauchery when they keep the mind fixed on evil purposes. The leader of the conspiracy goes
into an ecstasy so as to lose all consciousness; on returning to his senses, he pretends that his god
has spoken to him and has commanded some undertaking, but, as they do not adore the same
god, they hate him and they spy one on another,--and their projects are nearly always
denounced.'
"From this curious document may be drawn an important conclusion. It is that at the period to
which it makes reference, probably about 1760, the religion of the slaves had not yet been
unified, and without questioning the fact, the author of the Essay gives the reason when he
informs us that the Negroes do not adore the same god."[42]
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MAGICAL 333
Dr. Price-Mars goes on to state that while at this time, probably about 1760, there could have
been no uniformity of religious cult among the Negro slaves, yet "less than thirty years later, we
find under the name of 'Voodoo' a religious establishment of which Moreau de Saint-Méry was
the first to give a detailed analysis and which has remained famous, and has become the theme,
enlarged and borrowed, of most of the accounts which have been given of the cultural
ceremonies of Voodoo by writers who have not themselves had the occasion of observing
them."[43]
Dr. Price-Mars remarks elsewhere: "The great mass of Negroes gathered from different parts of
Africa and brought to San Domingo were from pious races attached to Mohammedanism,
Dahoman religion, and a few Catholics."[44]
However, "With many of the slaves Christianity was little more than an external formality to be
observed during the hours of the
[42. Ditto, p. 113f.
43. Ditto, p. 114.
44. Dr. Price-Mars, Une Étape de l'Évolution Haïtienne, p. 127.]

{p. 91}
day. By night they met in small groups to practice surreptitiously their old tribal Customs."[45]
Gradually "These nocturnal meetings became regular occurrences under the indomitable
influence of tile Aradas, the Ibos and the Dahomans."[46]
Showing that during the long formation period there steadily developed a composite religious
cult by a process of assimilating the various animistic beliefs of Africa, Islamism included, he
observes: "But there was only one religion which retained a solid framework of disciplinary
traditions, a sacredotal hierarchy, capable of imposing some of its rites upon the composite
beliefs, and this was the Dahoman."[47]
In connection with his criticism of Seabrook's Magic Island, Dr. Price-Mars asks a question and
then answers it: "Is there a Voodoo initiation whereby a neophyte, it matters not who he is,
thanks to the good will of the hougan,[48] may be admitted to the congregation? It seems not.
Listen, however. If anyone believes in the rites of Voodoo and he desires actually to take part in
some ceremony, rites of exorcism, of annual commemoration, expiatory rites, etc., be he white or
black, he has only to address himself to the first hougan met, who will give him the mode of
procedure. As a general rule, the one officiating will not trouble himself to find out how far the
applicant is sincere. His mere application is
[45. Ditto, p. 139.
46. Ditto, p. 141.

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MAGICAL 333
47. Ditto, p. 142 f. Note:--After observing that the Dahoman rites have undergone great chances and adaptations in
the process of absorption, he adds, p. 144: "One may remark, in passing the ritual gesture of the Mohammedan in the
habitual salaam of the official who holds his hands towards the east before beginning each Voodoo ceremony. One
finds there, too, taboo of the forbidden foods and the unlucky days." And he sums it all up on the next page, p. 145:
"It is nothing less than a syncretism of beliefs."
Cfr. also, D. Trouillot, Esquisse Ethnographique: Le Vaudoux, p. 28: "The Creole Vaudoux is a syncretism of the
different sects of the primordial Vaudoux and of the superstitions as well African as Aryan mingled together by
slavery. It is certain that if an old Guinean was to return, he would not know what to do in the midst of the dance and
Vaudoux ceremonies of today."
48. Note:--Dr. Price-Mars tells us that the word Hougan signifies fire or the warmth of fire, p. 144. It is derived from
the Habbes of the Central Nigerian Plateau so well described by Louis Desplagnes.--Cfr. La Plateau Central
Nigérien, Paris, 1907. Referring to the Hougans as "magico-religious leaders of our rural population of the north and
southwest," he continues: "These leaders are constrained by the ceremonies of initiation to a life of austerity which
bespeaks the great moral authority which they enjoy."--Cfr. Dr. Price-Mars, l. c., p. 130.]

{p. 92}
sufficient guarantee of good faith. Seabrook was in a position to make such an application, and I
believe that nothing more unusual was done for the sake of making sport.
"On the contrary, is the individual a menial who is ignorant of his own prerogatives? I mean to
say supposing that he is an individual, who thus far has been shut out from all participation in the
ritual obligations of the Voodoo, and who has suddenly become aware of them, and has been
inspired by 'the mysteries.' He may wish 'to renounce,' to wit, to make up the arrears due to the
gods, and take a more intimate part in the congregation. Then the hougan proceeds to those
ceremonies which are more or less the rites of initiation-baptism of 'loi bossales,' and of the
'hounsis' and of the 'hougainikons.'
"But these initiations are all esoteric. They are accomplished only by degrees. In the case
suggested, the first order of the hougan to the neophyte, is a severe penance, sexual and dietary
abstinence, penance as regards clothing; then there is the rigorous retreat and the fast, followed
by the ceremony of initiation and finally the trials.
"As regards this part of the rite, the initiation is in every way secret. Moreover the ceremony
allows variations. Sometimes the hougan keeps himself in a darkened room where he has a pool,
the candidates, clothed in white, are stretched on couches in the adjacent room, having each a
wide-mouthed pitcher full of water which is supposedly ready to receive the 'Mystery' with
which the hougan is going to converse. In fact, the congregation outside the enclosure can hear at
a given moment a kind of conversation between the one officiating and the pretended 'Mystery'
which, having come at his call, may converse with the subject whom he has honoured with a
fellow-feeling towards him, the 'Mystery.' To my mind, this conversation--a probable effect of
ventriloquism---is the boldest of trickeries and it is on that account that there is so much need of
obscurity and of solitude as is claimed by the hougan. When, at last, the 'Mysteries' have taken
possession of the elect, these come forth from the enclosure in procession, carrying their pitchers
on head and shoulder, make the round of the arbour
{p. 93}
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MAGICAL 333
where the bulk of the congregation is gathered, taking part in the feverish ecstasy of the dances
and submitting to the ordeal of the 'Canzo' which consists in plunging the hand into a boiling pot
of mess intended for the cult meal. The aroused congregation cries out at this moment: 'Aie
Bobo! Aie Bobo!'
"At other times, it is at a spring, or occasionally on the bank of a river, or, if in a locality where
there is neither water course nor Spring, it is beside a large cistern, or even a half-cask that the
hougan establishes a 'shrine,' made of a trellis of reed, on which are spread large white cloths.
There the gods are thought to establish their temporary domicile. The one officiating enters
alone. By his interpretation, the gods, whom certain ones who have died 'serve,' constrain the
voice of the dead to converse with their kindred, their friends among the congregation which is
kept at a respectful distance. In this variant, the rite assumes a character, half-expiatory, half initiatory, as it is assumed that the hougan can transfer to the living 'the Mystery' of his departed
parent."[49]
Throughout these initiation functions, we notice in clothing and draperies the entire absence of
red, which is the characteristic colour of Voodoo. If the rites described really belong to presentday Voodoo, then a marked change has been effected in the whole cultural ritual. As a matter of
fact, the entire ceremony as described by Dr. Price-Mars suggests Ashanti origin rather than
Dahoman or Whydah.
After a lengthy quotation from Moreau de Saint-Méry, Dr. Price-Mars observed in his earlier
book: "This page of Moreau de Saint-Méry assumes in our eyes an importance of the very first
order, not only because it is the only authentic document which contains serious facts on the
religious manifestations of the Negroes of San Domingo, but on account of the fulness of details,
the precision of delineation, the character of the whole work, one recognises at once the evidence
of the truth. Well does the author tell us that the sect was secret--and it is still so in our day--his
relation actually gives us the impression of a deposition of an eye-witness. However, if as we
believe, and as we shall prove later, the ritual of
[49. Dr. Price-Mars, l. c., p. 172 f.]

{p. 94}
cult is sensibly modified since the colonial epoch, many of the distinctive details in the
celebrated description have remained unchanged even today. They help us to establish the
primordial elements of Voodoo."[50]
Dr. Price-Mars now makes a very serious mistake by assuming that Voodoo, as he sees fit to
portray it at the present day, is substantially unchanged in one hundred and fifty years, and that it
is specifically the same rite as it was in slave times. Rather, since he admits that Moreau de
Saint-Méry has described accurately the real Voodoo of Colonial times, it would be more
profitable to us if he had simply pointed out the present variants; perhaps, however, it would be
more accurate to say that it has been so radically changed that the term Voodoo can be applied to
it only by an extension, if not distortion, of its meaning. That is, of course, providing that Dr.
Price-Mars is actually describing present-day Voodoo to us and not some kindred rite, when he
says: "Of these traits the most characteristic is the state of trance in which the individual
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MAGICAL 333
possessed by the god finds himself enthralled." This is certainly more like an Ashanti function
than one from Whydah as noted previously. "The second trait," we are told, "which gives its tone
to the ceremony is the dance, a rhythmic dance, to the sound of a trio of long drums to the
cadence of the 'assons,' executed on the syncopated airs which a leader improvises, his voice
being echoed multifold by the enthusiastic congregation." Drums at a Voodoo ceremony! And
what of his assertion that "the initiation is in every way secret." And: "Well does the author tell
us that the sect was secret--and it is still so in our day." What secrecy, or even privacy can be had
with the blatant summoning of the drums?
"As regards the rest," he continues, "what seems to be the essential of the belief--we speak of the
adoration of the adder--this part of the rite has been eliminated from Voodoo or relegated
altogether to the background of the ceremonial. We believe it is almost abolished. On this point
we may be permitted to give our personal testimony. In the course of our investigations, we have
had occasion to assist at numerous Voodoo ceremonies-a hundred
[50. Dr. Price-Mars, Ainsi Parla l'Oncle, p. 117 f.]

{p. 95}
at least--of which some were celebrated in the most remote districts, we have never seen, not
even once, homage rendered to the adder. And, a remarkable coincidence, the writers either
Haitians or foreigners, who have seriously devoted themselves to the question, are unanimous in
remarking the same, whether they say it explicitly or they fail to make mention of such a
ceremony."[51] With all due respect to the experience of Dr. Price-Mars, one cannot refrain from
making the reflection:--Either he was fully initiated into the cult, or he was not. If he was, then
he has taken the oath to conceal the true facts; if he was not, then from his own statements, being
an uninitiated, he would never be admitted to the full ceremonies.[52]
Furthermore, if the present state of Voodoo in Haiti, is precisely as Dr. Price-Mars describes it,
with the serpent eliminated, there must have been a very radical change quite recently. Some
twenty years ago, I was assured personally by Haitians in Jamaica, whom I certainly considered
worthy of credence, that to their own knowledge, the mixture of Voodoo and Catholicism in
Haiti had given rise to many altars with regular tabernacles, such as are commonly found in
Catholic churches, but in each case the tabernacle was reserved by the owner for the use of the
serpent.
This view is further confirmed by the personal experience of one
[51. Ditto, p. 118 f.
52. Note:--Prichard is not far wrong in his conclusions, Where Black Rules White, p. 81: "Vaudoux is so
inextricably woven in with every side of the Haitian's life, his politics, his religion, his outlook upon the world, his
social and family relations, his prejudices and peculiarities that he cannot be judged apart from them."
Arthur W. Holly, Les Daïmons du Culte Voudu, Port-au-Prince, 1918, starts his Preface with a blatant profession of
faith: "Without vanity or false shame, or cowardice, I declare that I am an esoterist--that is to say one initiated to the
sciences whose roots are deep set in Ethiopic-Egyptian antiquity--sciences which allow one to recognize in the
priestly writings the cosmogonic beginnings, to disengage from a symbol, a sign, a given letter the value of the idea,

81

MAGICAL 333
its metaphysical sense or its true scientific character." The work itself is merely an esoteric pretence of the most
amateur type and of practically no real value. However, Dr. Holly stresses one point that may be significant, Preface,
p. x: "Definitively I have good reason for asserting that the Negro initiated in the true Voodoo cult, in conformity
with pure traditions, enters into no relations whatever with Satan. The demons to whom they accuse him of
sacrificing are not tile spirits of darkness, and therefore malevolent. They are rather the Daimons according to the
Greek concept, that is to say 'bright spirits.' Witchcraft, sordid magic, is incompatible with the great principles
preconized {sic} by Voodoo morale."]

{p. 96}
who spent many years in Haiti and Jamaica. While not free to disclose the name of the party in
question, whom we may refer to as Madam X., the writer can unreservedly attest her honesty and
sincerity. She was a lady of education and refinement, and the exemplary mother of a family. Of
her stay in Haiti she subsequently told a missionary in Jamaica: "When I first moved there, I was
told that I must be very careful about my baby, because the natives often stole babies, white
babies especially, to use them in their obi rites or services." By obi is here meant witchcraft in its
generic form; though, of course, Voodooism would be specifically more correct. Madam X.
continues: "Soon after I arrived, a woman living next door, whose husband had been a notorious
Obeah man and had died just a short time before, came to visit me. She was very friendly, and
when she saw my chapel, she said; 'You know I have a chapel, you must come over and see me
and see my chapel which I have for my services; my husband was a great Obeah man and all the
great people came to him.' When I went to see her, she showed me a room generously fixed up
like a chapel; there was a box corresponding to our tabernacle, an altar and two statues. . . . There
was a white goat there which was used in Obeah rites, she used to dress up this goat in the most
costly robes; there was a barrel in which was a large snake which was dressed in ribbons. She
showed me lots of costly presents which had been given her by rich people, costly robes for the
goat, wine, jewels, etc. After her husband's death she had kept up his work. She said that all the
people from the president down, even practical Catholics, went to the ignorant Obeah men and
women. She added, that in order to get sacred particles the Obeah men and women used to go to
communion, keep the Hosts dry in their month, and bring them home to their Obeah chapel and
keep them in their tabernacles."[53]
Despite his perfervid descriptions, Seabrook has much of real value and particularly as already
noted in the second portion of his book. Thus for example: "Voodoo in Haiti is a profound and
vitally alive religion . . . . Voodoo is primarily and basically a form of worship, and . . . its magic,
its sorcery, its witchcraft
[53. A. J. Emerick, Obeah and Duppyism in Jamaica, Woodstock, 1915, p. 192 f.]

{p. 97}
(I am speaking technically now), is only a secondary, collateral, sometimes sinisterly twisted byproduct of Voodoo as a faith."[54] And "Voodoo is not a secret cult or society in the sense that
Freemasonry or the Rosicrucian cult is secret; it is a religion, and secret only as Christianity was
secret in the catacombs, through fear of persecution. Like every living religion it has its inner
mysteries, but that is secretness in a different sense. It is a religion toward which whites
generally have been either scoffers, spyers, or active enemies, and whose adherents, therefore,
have been forced to practice secrecy, above all where whites were concerned. But there is no
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MAGICAL 333
fixed rule of their religion pledging them to secrecy, and Maman Célie was abrogating nothing
more than a protective custom when she gave me her confidence."[55]
Again he says: "Although Damballa, the ancient African serpent god remains enthroned as its
central figure, this Voodoo ceremony is not the old traditional ritual brought over from Africa,
but rather a gradually formalized new ritual which sprang from the merging in earliest slave days
of the African tradition with the Roman Catholic ritual, into which the slaves were all baptized
by law, and whose teachings and ceremonials they willingly embraced, without any element of
intended blasphemy or diabolism, incorporating modified parts of Catholic ritual--as for instance
the vestments and the processional--into their Voodoo ceremonials, just as they incorporated its
Father, Son, Virgin, and saints in their pantheistic theology."[56]
[54 Seabrook, Magic Island, p. 12.
55. Ditto, p. 3 1.
56. Ditto, p. 34. Note:--Gr. also Seabrook, p. 89: "In America the word Voodoo has come to mean indiscriminately
any Negro sorcery, secret ceremony, or old African witch-doctor practice. In Haiti the word is similarly loosely used
sometimes even by natives, so that when they wish to distinguish sharply they are likely to use the word Rada as the
name of their religion, and Service Petro, or Service Legba for their ceremonial religious rites." P. 295: "Petro or
Service Petro is the name given to the blood-sacrificial Voodoo ceremony. It derives from the name of a slave who
was a famous papaloi in colonial times." p. 308: The following literally translated, is one of the formulas
pronounced by the sorcerer over a death ouanga before hiding it in the secret place where it is to lie rotting: "Old
master, now is the time to keep the promise you made. Curse him as I curse him and spoil him as I spoil him. By the
fire at night, by the dead black hen, by the bloods, throat, by the goat, by the ruin on the ground, this ouanga be upon
him. May he have no peace in bed, nor at his food, nor can he hide. Waste {footnote p. 98} him and wear him and
rot him as these rot." But this is not Voodoo, it is undiluted witchcraft.]

{p. 98}
We rather suspect that the following passage is, partially at least, ascribable to Dr. Price-Mars
from whom much of Seabrook's technical information was gathered. "The worship of the snake
in Haiti," he declares, "is by no means so literal as commentators have supposed. It is true that on
every Petro altar in Haiti there is a serpent symbol, sometimes painted on the wall, sometimes
carved of wood and elevated on a staff. It is true also that living snakes are regarded as sacred
objects, not to be injured or molested. One of the commonest and handsomest is a harmless green
tree snake which grows to three or four feet in length, but all snakes are held sacred. But the
serpent is worshipped symbolically, and not because they believe he has any power of his own;
he represents the great god Damballa. . . . So far as I am aware no living serpent is kept 'in a box'
or otherwise on any Voodoo altar to-day in Haiti. A negro friend has told me, however, of an
Obeah ceremony which he had seen in Cuba in which a living snake was the central object. He
said that a large, non-poisonous snake was kept in a big earthern jar on an altar, that some ten or
fifteen negroes made a sort of circular endless chain beginning and ending at the rim of the jar by
lacing their arms around each others shoulders: that the snake was then drawn from the jar and
induced to crawl over their shoulders, making the circuit and returning to the jar."[57]
Finally Seabrook tells us: "It is not my intention to gloss over the fact that actual human sacrifice
is also an occasional integral part of the Voodoo ritual in Haiti. . . . That human sacrifice in
Voodoo today may seem strange and to many persons horrible, but only, I think, because they
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MAGICAL 333
consider it in terms of 'time.' . . . I have described no human sacrifices on the pages of this book
solely for the reason that I never saw one. If I had lived for many years instead of months with
Maman Célie in the mountains, it is probable that I should have seen one. Such sacrifices,
however, Maman Célie tells me, are rare and performed only under stress of
[57. Ditto, p. 311.]

VOODOO IN HAITI 99
seeming necessity. That they never reach the courts or public notice is due to the fact that when
they are pure authentic Voodoo, the sacrificial victim is never kidnapped, stolen, or procured by
other criminal means, but always voluntarily offered from within tile religious group.
Occasionally also, however, occurs some extraordinary criminal abuse of this practice, followed
by denunciation and prosecution. In this category was the case of Cadeus Bellegarde which
occurred in 1920. He was a papaloi turned criminal, a pathological monster."[51]
Dr. J. C. Dorsainvil, a Haitian physician of standing, in an address to the Historical and
Geographical Society of Haiti stated in 1924: "Ten years ago, in a study published by the review
HAITI MEDICALE, we asserted that Voodoo in its psycho-physiological effects consists in this,
it is a racial psycho-nervous disorder, of a religious character bordering on paranoia. Our opinion
has in no way changed. But as you see the question was then viewed from a medical
standpoint.[59]
"We are permitted today to present to you the same question under another aspect, the
philological viewpoint. This will be nothing else but a study chapter wherein we trace our
origins.
"As much if not more than our revolution, Voodoo has tended to destroy the reputation of our
country. The imagination of well-meaning chroniclers, such as St. John our latest visitor, to pass
over Alaux, Texier and others, who does his utmost to discover in the frequently inoffensive
ceremonies of this cult, the most repugnant
[58. Ditto, p. 319 f.
59. Cr. also, J. C. Dorsainvil, Vodou et Névrose, p. 48: "We affirm that Voodooism satisfies a nervous racial habit
firmly established by the belief in secular practices among many Haitian families. The proofs of such a condition are
plentiful, if one will only take the trouble to observe well the facts." However, we cannot endorse Dr. Dorsainvil's
explanation of a "dual personality" even in the broad sense in which he uses the term.
Trouillot, Esquisse Ethnographique: Le Vaudoux, p. 10, thinks that excessive alcoholism and feverish excitement
induces a sort of hypnotic effect at the Voodoo dances so that it makes the participant insensible to pain as when he
plunges his hand into the boiling caldron. He further observes, p. 10 f.: "It is a fact that the financial return of a
dance and the orgiastic pleasures which it furnishes to dancers and spectators are the only and real perpetuation of
Vaudoux. It is no longer a religion with its dogmas and rites, it is only a gross indulgence having preserved the
empty form of a vanished belief." And it was as far back as 1885 that these words were written!]

{p. 100}

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MAGICAL 333
scenes of cannibalism and orgies. Some of our journalists even speak of it with that
inconsideration and absence of study, with which one can too frequently reproach them.
"We have then a deep interest in shedding the clearest light on the origins of this mysterious cult.
This work is easy today, for the activity of investigators has left unturned no corner of the vast
moral world of humanity."[60]
Taking up the meaning of the word, Dr. Dorsainvil asserts: "Voodoo . . . is simply a generic term
of the fongbe dialect. . . It is the most important word of the dialect since it includes nearly the
whole moral and religious life of the Fons and is the origin, or rather it is the invariable root, of
an entire family of words. What is the precise meaning of the world in fongbe? It designates the
spirits, good or evil, subordinate to Mawu and, by extension, the statue of one of these spirits, or
every object that symbolizes their cult or their power, protective or malevolent."[61] Again, "The
most celebrated expression of the religion of the Voodoo is the cult of the serpent or of the adder
Da, pronounced Dan, incarnating the spirit Dagbe, pronounced Dangbe." He is writing as a
Frenchman. "The two principal sanctuaries of this cult were found in the sacred woods of
Somorne near Allada and at Whydah. Among us by contraction, the Dahoman expression
Dangbe Allada has become the loa (a Congo word) Damballah, of which the symbol still remains
an adder."[62]
Of the establishment of the cult in Haiti, Dr. Dorsainvil has this to say: "By comparison with
other African tribes, the Aradas, Congos, Nagos, etc. the Fons have been very much in the
minority in San Domingo. How, then, explain the strong religious impress with which they have
marked the people? It is here that shows forth all the importance of the Voodoo cult in San
Domingo. Whether it is pleasing or not, Voodoo is a great social factor in our history. The
colonials tolerated all the noisy dances of the slaves, but feared the Voodooistic ceremonies.
They instinctively
[60. J. C. Dorsainvil, Une Explication Philologique du Vòdú, Port-au-Prince, 1924, p. 14 f.
61. Ditto, p. 18 f.
62. Ditto, p. 20.]

{p. 101}
dreaded this cult with its mystical movements, and felt in a confused way that it could become a
powerful element of cohesion for the slaves. They were not mistaken, for it was from the heart of
these Voodooistic ceremonies that the great revolt of the slaves of San Domingo developed.
Toussaint himself knew this so well that when he became the first authority of the colony, he no
longer tolerated this kind cult"[63] He adds later: "Religion so hierarchic, so enshrouded in
mystery, should, it is clear, exercise a powerful attraction in the other African tribes represented
in San Domingo. It offered them a body of religious beliefs which were not in the least to be
found in the superstitions practiced by themselves. But in branching out, Voodoo divested itself
of its original characteristics. It overburdened itself with parasitic beliefs, Aradean, Congoleon,
etc."[64]

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Dr. Parsons thus begins her article on the Spirit Cult of Haiti, "During a recent folk-tale
collecting tour to the south coast of Haiti, I had opportunities to observe combinations in cult of
African paganism and French Catholicism of much interest to the student of acculturation, as
well as to West Indian folklorist or historian. That this cult has heretofore passed undescribed in
Haiti is probably due to the diversion of interest to one of its reputed features, ritual cannibalism
or, in journalistic term, voodoo human sacrifice, the folklore of which is wide-spread among all
foreigners, white and coloured, in Haiti, as well as among Caribbean neighbours. Some St. Lucia
boys shipwrecked in San Domingo told me there that they had become afraid of going on to
Haiti, as they once thought of doing, since they had heard how they killed and ate people in
Haiti. It was the same story I had heard fifteen years before from the French wife of a Syrian
merchant at the Haitian town of Ganaives. This lady felt outraged against the Island 'sauvages.' . .
. If human sacrifice occur or has ever occurred in Haiti, it is in connection with the Taureau
Criminel, the Criminal Bull, one of the spirits or loi of which there is a large number, both
Catholic and African. Between patron saint and West Indian fetish
[63. Ditto, p. 29.
64. Ditto, p. 37.]
{p. 102}
no distinction is made in the cult which may be described as a theory and practice of possession
by spirits. There is little or no philosophic or religious expression of the theory to be heard in
Haiti, but descriptive details of the practice abound."[65]
Perhaps the most dispassioned account of Voodoo comes from the pen of one who had lived for
years in Haiti towards the close of the last century and had sought to study the question
scientifically. Eugène Aubin, in giving the results of his researches, dissociates himself from the
partisans of every phase of sentiment. His narrative is simple and to the point."[66] Thus: "In the
settlement as in the home, Negro life is dominated by old African superstitions, that is to say by
the Voodoo cult. Although they point out many traces of it in the United States and in certain
islands of the Antilles, it is nowhere more prevalent than in Haiti where its development remains
unimpeded. Elsewhere it restricts itself to the exploitation of witchcraft for the profit of some
shrewd individuals, which they call Obeah in the English colonies. The historic development of
San Domingo is sole cause for the difference in Haiti. Whereas in the other islands fetishism
tends, if not to disappear, at least to disguise itself under the influence of Christianity, supported
by external force; the independence of Haiti encourages parallel progress, even the confusion of
the two beliefs. . . .
"The study of Haitian fetishism is not easy. Those who treat of the subject do so with prejudice
or inaccurately. The Fathers Du Terte and Labat scarcely touch on it. The latter restricts himself
to a mere expression of distrust. 'The Negroes,' he writes, 'do without scruple what the Philistines
attempted; they associate the ark with Dagon and secretly preserve all their old idolatrous
worship,
[65. Elsie Clews Parsons, Spirit Cult in Hayti, Paris, 1928, p. 1.

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66. Note:--Cfr. Seabrook, The Magic Island, p. 316 f.: "Eugène Aubin, a French writer who lived in Haiti for a
number of years prior to 1898, interested himself in the study of Voodoo without ever apparently having wished to
witness or participate in its sacrificial ceremonies. It is possible that he was restrained by moral scruples. He wrote,
however, an excellent book called En Haïti, published in Paris in 1910, which shows he was on the friendliest terms
with the leading papalois and hougans of that period. He discussed sympathetically and at length with the more
intelligent ones the nature of their creed and was admitted to a number of their temples."]

{p. 103}
with the ceremonies of the Christian religion.' A 'trusty and intelligent Negress' understood little
of anything at Descourtelz. As ever Moreau de Saint-Méry was the best informed of colonial
writers. The educated creoles pretend complete ignorance of things so gross; unconsciously there
survives in them the old prejudices of times when the planter felt himself insecure in his isolation
among the Negroes, dreaded their mysterious cult, their secret meetings, their witchcraft and
their poisons. For his part, the Negro remains attached to his practices, observant of his
initiations.--Z'affe mouton pas z'affe cabrite.--The affairs of the sheep are not those of the nannygoat, says the creole proverb; the things of the blacks do not concern the whites.
"However uncouth may seem the cult sprung from Haitian fetishism the fault is in no way due to
the fundamental principle of their beliefs, which restrict themselves to seeking out the
manifestations of the Divinity in the forces of nature. It is a pantheism, as any other, classified by
the same standard as ancient paganism or the religions of India. The great wrong of the Negroes
was to overindulge life, in exaggerating the evil character of the supernatural world and in
conceiving the universe as peopled with predominantly evil spirits, among which the lois and the
ancestors freely enjoyed an aggressive rôle as regards suffering humanity. They came to the
conclusion that it was necessary to conjure these evil influences by witchcraft, gifts and
sacrifices; to the papalois or sorcerers, people well versed in the mysteries, fell the charge and
the profit of these conjurations. . . .
"According to the tribe, the rites and the traditions differ. just as the Negroes of San Domingo
came in great numbers from all coasts of Africa, Haitian Voodoo results from the confusion of
all the African beliefs. However, there stands out two principal rites, each constituting a distinct
cult, the rite of Guinea and the 'Congo rite.' Although the blacks of this colony came in greater
numbers from Congo than from Guinea, the followers are divided about equally, according to the
origin or the convenience of the families. But, nevertheless, the superstitions of Guinea exercise
a prepondering influence on the actual doctrines of Voodoo. In each
{p. 104}
of the two rites, experts remark a series of subdivisions, corresponding to the different tribes of
the north and of the middle coast of Africa. Arada, Nago, Ibo belong to the rite of Guinea; it
seems that the north coast has had more agreeable fetishism and freely admits good spirits. The
Arada would be the simplest and purest cult of all, knowing nothing whatever of witchcraft. The
spirits venerated on the southern coast are more frequently wicked: these latter frequent the
subdivision of the Congo rite, the Congo Franc, the Petro, and the Caplaou.

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"The scenes of cannibalism which occur even now at times (an example of this kind was tried in
1904 by the criminal court of Port-au-Prince) would be the work of the adherents, fortunately
few in number, of the particular divisions of the Petro and the Caplaou; some may be ascribed to
the Mondongue, of which the character is a little out of the ordinary, although belonging to the
Congo rite.
"The paraphernalia of all these rites have created a veritable mythology in Haitian Voodoo. The
lois, saints, the mysteries found in nature, have received the names of ancient African kings or
indeed of the localities where they have been deified. They add the title of Master, Papa or
Mister. Legba, Dambala, Aguay, Guede, derived from the rite of Guinea, are the object of an
almost universal cult; Master Ogoun, Loco, Saugo, Papa Badère . . . and they have also no end of
others. The King of Engole (Angola) and the King Louange (Loango) belong to the Congo rite. .
..
"All the lois wish to be 'served'; and their service belongs to the papalois. Do these ministers
restrict themselves to the good lois, namely to the rite of Guinea and to those elements of the
Congo, as they say 'who serve with one hand alone'? 'To serve with two hands' implies no less
the cult of the evil lois, pitiless deities, craving for blood and vengeance. The houmforts,
sanctuaries of these multiple spirits, are on every hand in the plains, where the people, better
circumstanced, take care to surround their fetishism with elaborate ceremonies, unknown in the
uplands.
"The papaloi is a man versed in the rites, by heredity or study, who has gradually risen in the
Voodoo hierarchy. He has sometimes
{p. 105}
attended the famous houmforts of the plains of Leogane and Arcahaye, received the most secret
initiations and undergone the ordeal of an ordination. When these final ceremonies are
concluded, the new papaloi presents himself to the faithful, and possessed by the spirit, he
intones the chant proper to the loi who, during his life, will be the Maître-caye, the Maître-tête,
and to whom will be consecrated the houmfort which he is about to enter.
"The foundation of the Voodoo cult is found in the family. Each familyhead, clothed with a
family priesthood, honors the spirit of the ancestors and their protecting lois."[67]
To our way of thinking, then, Voodoo as first found in Haiti was substantially the serpent
worship of Whydah; and in the beginning at least, it was but slightly modified by local
conditions.
As the children of the African "bush" were ruthlessly torn away from their native haunts, they
naturally carried with them the practices and superstitions that served as cherished memories of
the past, and thus introduced to their new surroundings the diverse forms of perverted worship or
sorcery, as the case might be, and for a time at least clung to their own peculiar customs.

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Those who had practiced Ophiolatry in Africa, had a great advantage over the rest. Seemingly
they had not lost their deity after all. For the non-poisonous python was waiting their arrival in
Haiti. It was the one familiar object to meet their gaze. It was the one connection with the past.
Naturally any of the priests and priestesses who were among them would not be slow to put the
incident to good account.
In any case, Voodoo quickly became the dominant form of worship among the slaves, but as was
to be expected it gradually suffered modifications and even split tip into various sects according
to the whim and fancy of some new leader who gained influence among the general body of the
slaves.
Thus in 1768, Don Pédro came into being, as seems probable, directly as a means of stirring up
the slaves to insurrection. At Whydah the serpent was consulted about the undertaking of war,
and in a sense represented the god of war. But now something
[67. Eugène Aubin, En Haiti, Paris, 1910, pp. 43-51.]

{p. 106}
more aggressive and emotional was required. The serpent naturally was retained, but in the ritual
not only were the dances quickened in their tempo, but the pig was substituted for the goat as the
sacrificial animal.
With the arrival of Broukman from Jamaica, the Don Pédro cult in Haiti developed further, as it
began to take on more and more the form of sorcery. Its religious element is gradually
transferred from the service of the good spirits to that of evil spirits, and in course of time it
becomes the cult of blood par excellence and finds its climax, at least on rare occasions, in
human sacrifice and cannibalistic orgies.
As regards Voodoo proper, the account of Moreau de Saint-Méry, it must be admitted, might
seem to indicate that the cult had become formal idolatry. But we should remember that the
atheistic tendencies of that day would probably influence the point of view of one who
subsequently was to take such an active part in the events that led up to the French Revolution.
There are equally strong indications from the testimony of later observers, that Voodoo in the
nineteenth century could still be classed as formal worship, substantially unchanged though
modified in many details.
However, it appears that the religious element in the cult was gradually yielding to social
influences. Voodoo feasts are introduced, probably at first as a disguise for the secret session that
will follow later. But in time, more and more is made of the accompanying dance, with the
consequences that Voodoo in the strict sense of the word begins to wane. And unless Dr. PriceMars is entirely wrong in his estimate of conditions, the present century finds the cult so
modified and changed that it is now Voodoo in name only.

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Meanwhile we have a general conglomeration of all the old cults, combined with dances of every
description, all imbued with every form of witchcraft and sorcery, posing under the generic term
of Voodoo. The religion of the Whydahs has become the witchcraft of the Haitians!
As regards the much resented accusation of human sacrifice
{p. 107}
and cannibalism, the weight of evidence would indicate that while these abuses are by no means
common in Haiti, nevertheless, at times there are sporadic outbreaks. And it would be strange if
the orgies of nerve-racking debauchery and dissipation so peculiar to tropical dances when the
strong arm of the law does not intervene, did not at times evolve a paranoiac state of irrational
craving, and subsequent surreptitious gratification of the lowest instincts in degraded human
nature-the animal-like gratification of the "goat without horns" in Haiti and the "long pig" in the
distant Pacific Islands.
It must not be supposed, however, that these disgusting orgies are countenanced by the present
Government authorities, or that they are of frequent occurrence. Certainly within the coastal
districts which are watched over by the American Marines, public Voodoo is non-existent. But
back in the hills there must still be many a secret gathering as in the days of slavery, where
Voodoo and even Don Pédro at times find outlets for pent-up energy and orgiastic excesses.
Nor on the other hand must this abnormality on the part of a few be held as a reflection on the
Haitians as a people. The chapters of recent crimes in our own country, which may bespeak
degeneracy and moronism on the part of individuals, would not ascribe these reproaches to the
entire nation.
{p. 108}

Chapter IV
ORIGIN OF OBEAH
Just as in the case of Voodoo there is a fundamental document that has served as a starting point
for all writers on the subject, so we have a similar source of information as regards Obeah. This
is the Report of the Lords of the Committee of the Council appointed for the consideration of all
matters relating to Trade and Foreign Plantation, London, 1789.[1] Part III is entitled:
[1. Note:--As mentioned before, this is a large folio volume of over twelve hundred unnumbered pages. As it is
difficult of access, although a copy may be found in the Boston College Library, a somewhat lengthy citation may
be permissible. Bryan Edwards says of this Report: "It was transmitted by the Agent of Jamaica to the Lords of the
Committee of the Privy Council, and by them subjoined to their report on the slave trade; and, if I mistake not, the
public are chiefly indebted for it to the diligent researches, and accurate pen, of Mr. Long."--Bryan Edwards, The
History, Civil and Commercial, of the British Colonies in the West Indies, London, 1793, Vol. II, p. 88. As Edwards

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was writing less than four years after the publication of the Report, his statement may be relied upon as accurate.
The Long referred to, was Edward Long, the historian, He was the great-grandfather of Sir Esme Howard, recently
the British Ambassador to the United States. His own great-grandfather in turn, was at the age of sixteen attached as
Lieutenant to the regiment of his kinsman Col. Edward Doyley when he set out on the original Cromwellian
Expedition that seized Jamaica in 1655. The Secretary of the Commissioners dying, young Long succeeded him.
This started him on a career that found him Speaker of the House of Assembly of Jamaica at the age of thirty-three
and Chief justice of Jamaica at thirty-eight. In the family tree with all its ramifications we find the names of nearly
all the leading gentry of the island, and if we trace it back far enough it has a common origin with that of General
Washington, the American patriot. Even Sir Henry Morgan, the notorious buccaneer, who on three separate
occasions acted as Governor of Jamaica, was connected with the Long family by marriage. Edward Long, the
historian, was born in England, but went to Jamaica in 1757 at the age of twenty-three. He was a member of the
Jamaica Assembly from 1761 to 1768, and its Speaker for a time. Shortly afterwards he returned to England and
died there in 1813.--Cfr. Robert Mobray Howard, Records and Letters of the Family of the Longs of Longville,
Jamaica, and Hampton Lodge, Surrey, London, 1925, Vol. I, p. 119 ff. Bryan Edwards' supposition that the Report
was chiefly the work of Edward Long is strengthened by a letter written by his daughter Jane Catherine Long to her
brother Edward Beeston Long, under date of March 6, 1785, where we read in the postscript: "You must not expect
to hear from my Father. He is obliged every day either to attend Mr. Pitt or a West India Committee."--l. c., Vol. I,
p. 178.]

{p. 109}
Treatment of slaves in the West Indies, and all circumstances relating thereto, digested under
certain heads, and begins with a consideration of Jamaica, and as noted, the information is
furnished by "Stephen Fuller, Agent for Jamaica, and assisted by Mr. Long and Mr. Chisholm.
Questions 22 to 26 are as follows:-"Whether Negroes called Obeah men, or under any other denomination, practicing Witchcraft,
exist in the Island of Jamaica?
"By what arts or by what means, do these Obeah men cause the deaths, or otherwise injure those
who are supposed to be influenced thereby; and what are the symptons {sic} and effects that
have been observed to be produced in people, who are supposed to be under the influence of
their practice?
"Are the instances of death and diseases produced by these arts or means frequent?
"Are these arts or means brought by the Obeah men from Africa, or are they inventions which
have been originated in the islands?
"Whether any or what laws exist in the island of Jamaica for the punishment, and what evidence
is generally required for their conviction?" The answer to this questionnaire follows.
"The term Obeah, Obiah, or Obia (for it is variously written), we conceive to be the adjective,
and the Obe or Obi the noun substantive; and that by the words Obiah-men and women, are
meant those who practice Obi. The origin of the term we should consider of no importance in our
answer to the questions proposed, if, in search of it, we were not led to disquisitions that are
highly gratifying to curiosity. From the learned Mr. Bryant's ' Commentary on the word Oph, we
obtain a very probable etymology of the term: 'A serpent, in the Egyptian language, was called
Ob or Aub.'--'Obion is still the Egyptian name for a serpent.''--Moses, in the Name of God,

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forbids the Israelites even to enquire of the daemon Ob, which is translated in our Bible, charmer
or wizard, divinator aut sortilegus.'--'The woman at Endor is called
[2. Mythology, Vol. I, p. 48, 475, and 478.]

{p. 110}
Oub or Ob, translated pythonissa, and Oubaios (he cites from Horus Apollo) was the name of the
basilisk or royal serpent, emblem of the sun, and an ancient oracular deity of Africa."[3]
"This derivation which applies to one particular sect, the remnant probably of a very celebrated
religious order in remote ages, is now become in Jamaica the general term to denote those
Africans who in the island practice witchcraft or sorcery, comprehending also the class of what
are called Myal men, or those who by means of a narcotic potion made with the juice of a herb
(said to be the branched calalue or species of solarium) which occasions a trance or profound
sleep of a certain duration, endeavour to convince the deluded spectators of their power to
reanimate dead bodies.
"As far as we are able to decide from our own experience and information when we lived in the
island, and from concurrent testimony of all the Negroes we have ever conversed with on the
subject, the professors of Obi are, and always were, natives of Africa, and none other, and they
have brought the science with
[3. Note:--Cfr. also, The Discoverie of Witchcraft: proving that the compacts and contracts of witches with devils
and all infernal spirits or familiars are but erroneous novelties and imaginary conceptions. . . . By Reginald Scot
Esquire. Whereto is added an. excellent discourse of the nature and substance of devils and spirits, in two books. . . .
London, 1665.--p. 71: "Book, VII. Chapter I. Of the Hebrew word Ob, what it signifieth where it is found: Of
Pythonisses called Ventriloquae, who they be, and what their practices are; experience and examples thereof
shewed. This word Ob. is translated Python, or Pvthonicus spiritus; sometimes, though unproperly, Magus. . . . But
Ob signifieth most properly a Bottle. and is used in this place, because the Pythonists spoke hollow. as, in the
bottom of their bellies; whereby they are aptly in Latin called Ventriloqui; . . . These are such as take upon them to
give oracles, etc."
Reginald Scot's work first appeared in 1584. and provoked a reply from no less a personage than King James I of
England, whose treatise Demonologie, in forme of a Dialogue, Divided into three Bookes, Edinburgh, 1587,
expressly declared itself "against the damnable opinions of two principally in an age, whereof the one called Scot an
Englishman, is not ashamed in public print to deny that there can be such a thing as Witchcraft: and so maintains the
old error of the Sadducces, in denying of spirits, etc." Montague Summer, who edited a new edition of Scot in 1930,
says in his introduction, p. xxviii: "That Reginald Scot's The Discoverie of Witchcraft is both historically and as a
literary curiosity a book of the greatest value and interest, no one, I suppose, would dispute or deny."
While not quoted as such. Scot in all probability was the source from which is the entire theory of the Egyptian Ob
being the origin of the term Obeah. However, as shown elsewhere, Hebrewisms of West Africa, p. 13 ff., the word
Ob did not originate with the Egyptian but may he traced back to the Canaanites from whom the Egyptians as well
as the Hebrews derived it and if there is any value at all in this suggested derivation. it would be at most the
indication of an Hebraic influence on the parent stock of the Ashanti from whom, as we shall see shortly, West India
Obeah is directly derived.]

{p. 111}

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them from thence to Jamaica, where it is so universally practiced, that we believe there are few
of the larger Estates possessing native Africans, which have not one or more of them. The oldest
and most crafty are those who usually attract the greatest devotion and confidence, those whose
hoary heads, and something peculiarly harsh and diabolic in their aspect, together with some skill
in plants of the medicinal and poisonous species, have qualified them for successful imposition
upon the weak and credulous. The Negroes in general, whether Africans or Creoles, revere,
consult, and abhor them; to these oracles they resort and with the most implicit faith, upon all
occasions, whether for the cure of disorders, the obtaining of revenge for injuries or insults, the
conciliating of favour, the discovery and punishment of the thief or the adulterer, and the
predicting of future events. The trade which these wretches carry on is extremely lucrative; they
manufacture and sell their Obies adapted to different cases and at different prices. A veil of
mystery is studiously thrown over their incantations, to which the midnight hours are allotted,
and every precaution is taken to conceal them from the knowledge and discovery of the white
people. The deluded Negroes, who thoroughly believe in their supernatural power, become the
willing accomplices in this concealment, and the stoutest among them tremble at the very sight
of the ragged bundle, the bottle or the eggshells, which are stuck to the thatch or hung over the
door of the hut, or upon the branch of a plantain tree, to deter marauders. In case of poison, the
natural effects of it are by the ignorant Negroes ascribed entirely to the potent workings of Obi.
The wiser Negroes hesitate to reveal their suspicions, through a dread of incurring the terrible
vengeance which is fulminated by the Obeah men against any who should betray them; it is very
difficult therefore for the white proprietor to distinguish the Obia professor from any other Negro
upon his plantation; and so infatuated are the blacks in general, that but few instances occur of
their having assumed courage enough to impeach these miscreants. With minds so firmly
prepossessed, they no sooner find Obi set for them near the door of their house, or in the path
which leads to it. than
{p. 112}
they give themselves up for lost. When a negro is robbed of a fowl or a hog, he applies directly
to the Obiah-man or woman; it is then made known among his fellow Blacks, that Obi is set for
the thief; and as soon as the latter hears the dreadful news, his terrified imagination begins to
work, no resource is left but to the superior skill of some more eminent Obiah-man of the
neighbourhood, who may counteract the magical operations of the other; but if no one can be
found of higher rank and ability, or if after gaining such an ally he should still fancy himself
affected, he presently falls into a decline, under the incessant horror of impending calamities.
The slightest painful sensation in the head, the bowels, or any other part, any casual loss or hurt,
confirms his apprehensions, and he believes himself the devoted victim of an invisible and
irresistible agency. Sleep, appetite, and cheerfulness, forsake him, his strength decays, his
disturbed imagination is haunted without respite, his features wear the settled gloom of
despondency; dirt, or any other unwholesome substance, becomes his only food, he contracts a
morbid habit of body, and gradually sinks into the grave. A Negro who is ill, enquires of the
Obiah-man the cause of the sickness, whether it will prove mortal or not, and within what time
he shall die or recover? The oracle generally ascribes the distemper to the malice of some
particular person by name, and advises to set Obi for that person; but if no hopes are given for
recovery, immediate despair takes place, which no medicine can remove, and death is the certain
consequence. Those anomalous symptoms, which originate from causes deeply rooted in the

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mind, such as terrors of Obi, or from poisons whose operation is slow and intricate, will baffle
the skill of the ablest physician.
"Considering the multitude of occasions which may provoke the Negroes to exercise the powers
of Obi against each other, and the astonishing influence of this superstition upon their minds, we
cannot but attribute a very considerable portion of the annual mortality among the Negroes of
Jamaica to this fascinating mischief.
"The Obi is usually composed of a farrago of materials most of
{p. 113}
which are enumerated in the Jamaica Law (Act 24, Sect. 10, passed 1760), viz. 'Blood, feathers,
parrots beaks, dogs teeth, alligators teeth, broken bottles, grave dirt, rum, and eggshells.' . . .
"It may seem extraordinary, that a practice alleged to be so frequent in Jamaica should not have
received an earlier check from the Legislature. The truth is that the skill of some Negroes in the
art of poisoning has been noticed ever since the colonists became much acquainted with them.
Sloane and Barham, who practiced physic in Jamaica in the last century, have mentioned
particular instances of it. The secret and insidious manner in which this crime is generally
perpetrated, makes the legal proof extremely difficult. Suspicions therefore have been frequent,
but detections rare. These murderers have sometimes been brought to justice, but it is reasonable
to believe that a far greater number have escaped with impunity. In regard to the other and more
common tricks of Obi, such as hanging up feathers, bottles, eggshells, &e. &c. in order to
intimidate Negroes of a thievish disposition from plundering huts, hog-styes, or provision
grounds, these were laughed at by the white inhabitants as harmless stratagems, contrived by the
more sagacious for deterring the more simple and superstitious Blacks, and serving for much the
same purpose as the scarecrows which are in general use among our English farmers and
gardeners. But in the year 1760, when a very formidable insurrection of the Koromantin or Gold
Coast Negroes broke out in the parish of St. Mary, and spread through almost every other district
of the Island; an old Koromantin Negro, the chief instigator and oracle of the insurgents in that
Parish, who bad administered the fetish or solemn oath to the conspirators, and furnished them
with a magical preparation which was to render them invulnerable, was fortunately apprehended,
convicted, and hung up with all his feathers and trumperies about him; and this execution struck
the insurgents with a general panic, from which they never afterwards recovered. The
examinations which were taken at that period first opened the eyes of the public to the very
dangerous tendency of the Obiah practices, and gave birth to the law which was then enacted for
their suppression and punishment.
{p. 114}
But neither the terror of the Law, the strict investigation which has ever since been made after
the professors of Obi, nor the many examples of those who from time to time have been hanged
or transported, have hitherto produced the desired effect. We conclude, therefore, that either this
sect, like others in the world, has flourished under persecution, or that fresh supplies are annually
introduced from the African seminaries. . . .

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"We have the following narratives from a planter in Jamaica, a gentleman of the strictest
veracity, who is now in London, and ready to attest the truth of them.
"Upon returning to Jamaica in the year 1775, he found a great many of his Negroes had died
during his absence; and that of such as remained alive, a least one-half were debilitated, bloated,
and in a very deplorable condition. The mortality continued after his arrival, and two or three
were frequently buried in one day, others were taken ill, and began to decline under the same
symptoms. Every means were tried by medicines, and the most careful nursing, to preserve the
lives of the feeblest; but in spite of all his endeavours, the depopulation went on for above a
twelvemonth longer, with more or less intermission, and without his being able to ascertain the
real cause, though the Obiah practice was strongly suspected, as well by himself as by the doctor
and other white persons upon the plantation, as it was known to have been very common in that
part of the island. Still he was unable to verify his suspicions, because the patients constantly
denied having anything to do with persons of that order, or any knowledge of them. At length a
Negress who had been ill for some time, came one day and informed him, that feeling that it was
impossible for her to live much longer, she thought herself bound in duty before she died, to
impart a very great secret, and acquaint him with the true cause of her disorder, in hopes that the
disclosure might prove the means of stopping that mischief which had already swept away such a
number of her fellow-slaves. She proceeded to say, that her step-mother (a woman of the
Popo[4] country, above
[4. Note:--As this woman came from the Popo country, one would immediately classify her as a Dahoman, but there
is every possibility that she may have been {footnote p. 115} an Ashanti or from some other tribe, brought from the
interior after capture.
A slave was generally spoken of, not by the name of the tribe from which he had originally come, but from the
district of the African coast-line whence he had been shipped.]

{p. 115}
eighty years old, but still hale and active) had put Obi upon her, as she had also done upon those
who had lately died, and that the old woman had practiced Obi for as many years past as she
could remember.
"The other Negroes of the plantation no sooner heard of this impeachment, than they ran in a
body to their master, and confirmed the truth of it, adding that she had carried on this business
sit-ice her arrival from Africa and was the terror of the whole neighborhood. Upon this he
repaired directly with six white servants to the old woman's house, and forcing open the door,
observed the whole inside of the roof (which was of thatch), and every crevice of the walls stuck
with the implements of her trade, consisting of rags, feathers, bones of cats, and a thousand other
articles. Examining further, a large earthen pot or jar, close covered, was found concealed under
her bed.--It contained a prodigious quantity of round balls of earth or clay of various dimensions,
large and small, whitened on the outside, and variously compounded, some with hair and rags
and feathers of all sorts, and strongly bound with twine; others blended with the upper section of
the skulls of cats, or stuck round with cats teeth and claws, or with human or dogs teeth, and
some glass beads of different colours; there were also a great many eggshells filled with a
viscous or gummy substance, the qualities of which he neglected to examine, and many little

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bags stuffed with a variety of articles the particulars of which cannot at this distance of time be
recollected. The house was instantly pulled down, and with the whole of its contents committed
to the flames, amidst the general acclamation of all the other Negroes. In regard to the old
woman, he declined bringing her to trial under the Law of the island, which would have punished
her with death; but from a principle of humanity, delivered her into the hands of a party of
Spaniards, who (as she was thought not incapable of doing some trifling kind of work) were very
glad to accept and carry her with them to
{p. 116}
Cuba. From the moment of her departure, his Negroes seemed all to be animated with new
spirits, and the malady spread no further among them. The total of his losses in the course of
about fifteen years preceding the discovery, and imputable solely to the Obiah practice, he
estimates, at the least, at one hundred Negroes. . . .
"The following paper relating to the Obeah man in Jamaica, was delivered by Mr. Rheder.
"Obeah men are the oldest and most artful Negroes; a peculiarity marks them, and every Negro
pays the greatest respect to them, they are perfectly well acquainted with medicinal herbs, and
know the poisonous ones, which they often use. To prepossess the stranger in favor of their skill,
he is told that they can restore the dead to life; for this purpose he is shown a Negro apparently
dead, who, by dint of their art, soon recovers; this is produced by administering the narcotic juice
of vegetables. On searching one of the Obeah men's houses, was found many bags filled with
parts of animals, vegetables, and earth, which the Negroes who attended at the sight of, were
struck with terror, and begged that they might be christened, which was done, and the impression
was done away. In consequence of the rebellion of the Negroes in the year 1760, a Law was
enacted that year to render the practice of Obiah, death.
"The influence of the Professors of that art was such as to induce many to enter into that
rebellion on the assurance that they were invulnerable, and to render them so, the Obeah man
gave them a powder with which they were to rub themselves.
"On the first engagement with the rebels nine of them were killed, and many prisoners taken;
among the prisoners was a very sensible fellow, who offered to discover many important matters,
on condition that his life should be spared, which was promised. He then related the part the
Obeah man had taken, one of whom was capitally convicted and sentenced to death.
At the place of execution he bid defiance to his executioner, telling him that it was not in the
power of white people to kill him; and the Negro spectators were astonished when they saw
{p. 117}
him expire. On the other Obeah men, various experiments were made with electrical machines
and magic lanterns, which produced very little effect; except on one who, after receiving many
severe shocks, acknowledged his master's Obeah exceeded his own.

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"I remember sitting twice on trials of Obeah men, who were convicted of selling their nostrums,
which had produced death. To prove the fact, two witnesses are necessary, with corroborating
circumstances."
As regards Barbados in this same Report, Mr. Braithwaite, Agent for the Assembly of the Island,
stated: "Negroes formerly called Obeah men, but now more commonly called Doctors, do exist
in Barbados, but I understand that they are not so many at present as formerly, and that the
number has diminished greatly in the course of the last twenty years." The Council of the Island
answered the same question: "There is hardly any estate in the island in which there is not some
old man or woman who affects to possess some supernatural power. These are called Obeah
Negroes, and by the superstitious Negroes much feared." As regards the origin of Obeah, Mr.
Braithwaite answered: "Most undoubtedly imported with them from Africa." The Council
replied: "It has been so long known here, that the origin is difficult to trace, but the professors are
as often natives as Africans."
The investigation concerning Antigua elicited the information that a few Obeah men were still to
be found there though in decreasing numbers. Also that "the arts and means they use seem to
operate on the mind rather than on the body; for though it has been supposed that they have
occasionally been guilty of administering poison, Dr. Adair has never had just ground for
believing that any disease could be traced to this cause, though he does not deny the probability
of it."
Mr. Spooner, the Agent for the Islands of Grenada and St. Christopher, testified: "Obeah among
the Negroes must be considered in the same light as witchcraft, second-sight, and other
pretended supernatural gifts and communication among white men, with this difference only,
that in proportion as the understanding of the Negroes are less cultivated and informed, and
{p. 118}
consequently weaker than those of white men, the impressions made on their minds by Obeah
are much stronger, more lasting, and attended with more extraordinary effects." And further:
"Obeah has its origin in Africa, and is practiced entirely by natives from thence: the creole
Negroes, seldom, if ever, laying any pretensions to it."
Strange as it may seem, even at the date of this Report, 1789, practically nothing was known of
Obeah which had already begun to threaten the white rule in Jamaica. They were satisfied to
accept it as the remnant of "a very celebrated religious order in remote ages." It was a reflection
of the distant Egyptian Ob of antiquity, etc.
The Council of Barbados alone was awake to the fact that Obeah is itself a vital, living force;
that it is self perpetuating. Elsewhere it is taken for granted that Obeah men are to be found
solely among "salt-water" Negroes; that with the abolition of the slave trade, Obeah must of
necessity die a natural death, as the race of imported Obeah men become extinct.
Even in Jamaica, up to the rebellion of 1760, Obeah occasioned nothing more than scornful
mirth at the absurd superstitions of the blacks, and yet for more than a century, a terrible menace

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had been gathering force and threatening to obliterate the civilization and the morality of the
island.
Mary H. Kingsley, in reference to that part of West Africa which had been described by Colonel
Ellis, remarks: "From this one district we have two distinct cults of fetish in the West Indies,
Voudou and Obeah (Tchanga and Wanga). Voudou itself is divided into two sects, the white and
the red--the first a comparatively harmless one, requiring only the sacrifice of, at the most, a
white cock or a white goat, whereas the red cult only uses the human sacrifice--the goat, without
horns. Obeah on the other hand kills only by poison--does not show the blood at all. And there is
another important difference between Voudou and Obeah, and that is that Voudou requires for
the celebration of its rites a priestess and a priest. Obeah can be worked by either alone, and is
Dot tied to the presence of the snake. Both these cults have sprung
{p. 119}
from slaves imported from Ellis's district, Obeah from slaves bought at Koromantin mainly, and
Voudou from those bought at Dahomey. Nevertheless it seems to me these good people have
differentiated their religion in the West Indies considerably; for example, in Obeah the spider
(anansi) has a position given it equal to that of the snake in Voudou. Now the spider is all very
well in West Africa; round him there has grown a series of most amusing stories, always to be
told through the nose, and while you crawl about; but to put him on a plane with the snake in
Dahomey is absurd, his equivalent there is the turtle, also a focus for many tales, only more
improper tales, and not half so amusing."[5]
Here Miss Kingsley is as much in error when she associates Obeah with serpent worship, as she
is when she ascribes to the Anansi of Jamaica any rôle at variance with his established place in
Ashanti folklore.[6]
W. P. Livingston has well said "Obeahism runs like. a black thread of mischief through the
known history of the race. It is the result of two conditions, an ignorant and superstitious
receptivity on the one hand, and on the other, sufficient intelligence and cunning to take
advantage of this quality. The Obeah Man is any Negro who gauges the situation and makes it
his business to work on the fears of his fellows. He claims the possession of occult authority, and
professes to have the power of taking or saving life, of causing or curing disease, of bringing ruin
or creating prosperity, of discovering evil-doers; or vindicating the innocent. His implements are
a few odd scraps, such as cock's
[5. Mary H. Kingsley, West African Studies, London, 1899, p. 139.
6. Note:--Captain Rattray, Ashanti, p. 162, shows that Miss Kingsley was not familiar with the Ashanti language and
attributes much to fetishism that has nothing whatever to do with the subject. in one place he naïvely remarks that it
is fortunate that she could not understand what seemed to interest her very much. As to the information which she
honestly thought that she was picking up from her West Indian informants, it is well to remember that the Jamaican,
like our Southern Negroes, or I suppose any other child of Africa, is only too ready to furnish just the information
that is most desired, especially if he is being paid for results. As a Resident Magistrate in Jamaica once said: "The
real Jamaican in a Court of Law is essentially afraid of the truth, and seems to prefer to lose a case than abide by
facts." When it comes to Obeah and the like he is even more reticent and deceptive with the "bockrah Masser"--

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white Master--and the real child of the "bush" will either assure you: "Me no belieb Obi, Sah!" or else will greet you
with the laconic: "Me no no, Sah!"--I don't know.]

{p. 120}
feathers, rags, bones, bits of earth from graves, and so on. The incantations with which he
accompanies his operations are merely a mumble of improvised jargon. His real advantage in the
days of slavery lay in his knowledge and use of poisonous plants. Poisoning does not now enter
his practices to any extent, but the fear he inspires among the ignorant is intense, and the fact that
he has turned his attention to particular persons is often sufficient to deprive them of reason.
Obeahism is a superstition at once simple, foolish, and terrible, still vigorous, but in former times
as powerful an agent as slavery itself in keeping the nature debased."[7]
The Jamaica term Obeah is unquestionably derived from the Ashanti word Obayifo, which
according to Captain Rattray signifies "a wizard, or more generally a witch."[8] As noted else
where:[9] "An Ashanti legend runs as follows. When Big Massa was busy with the work of
creation, it happened that the little monkey Efo was making himself generally useful, and when
the task was accomplished, he asked Big Massa that, in return for the help rendered, all creatures
should bear his name. To this Big Massa acceded to such an extent that henceforth certain
classes of creatures added to their proper names the suffix FO, in acknowledgment of the little
monkey's part in the work.[10] Such is the Ashanti fable, and hence we find the suffix FO in the
names of
[7. W. P. Livingston, Black Jamaica, London, 1890, p. 19 f. Note:--The power of fear is well illustrated by an
example given by Lillian Eichler, The Customs of Mankind, London, 1925, p. 631: "Superstition caused Ferdinand
IV to die of fright. The story is that in 1312 Peter and John Carvajal were condemned to death for murder on
circumstantial evidence. They were sentenced to be thrown from the summit to jagged rocks below. Ferdinand IV,
then King of Spain, resisted obstinately every attempt to induce him to grant a pardon. Standing upon the spot from
which they were to be thrown, the two men called upon God to witness their innocence, appealing to His high
tribunal to prove it. They summoned the King to appear before this tribunal in thirty days. His Majesty laughed at
the summons and gave the sign to proceed with the execution. In a few days the King fell ill. He retired to his
country residence, ostensibly to rest, but really to shake off remembrance of the summons which somehow persisted.
He could not be diverted. He became more and more ill, and on the thirtieth day he was found dead in bed--a victim
to the mysterious dread which had gripped his heart from the moment the summons had been uttered." Some such
fear works its effect in Obeah.
8. R. S. Rattray, Ashanti Proverbs, Oxford, 1916, p. 48.
9. Williams, Hebrewisms of West Africa, p. 17 f.
10. Cfr. Rattray, Ashanti Proverbs, p. 54.]

{p. 121}
peoples, nation and occupations. Dropping the suffix, then, from Obayifo, the resulting Obayi, as
heard from the lips of the Koromantin slaves (shown to be Ashanti, at least as regards their
leading spirits), was variously rendered by the Jamaican whites as obeah, obia, etc. For even now
there is no agreement as to the correct spelling of the word. . . . Both with the Ashanti themselves
and their descendants in Jamaica the word is commonly shortened into Obi. Thus we find the

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Obi country referred to in the history of the Ashanti Fetish Priest, Okomfo-Anotchi, that is
Anotchi the priest. About the year 1700 after committing a capital offence, as Captain Rattray
tells us, he 'fled for his life to the Obi country. Here he had made a study of fetish medicine and
became the greatest fetish-man the Ashanti have ever had.' Referring to the Obi country, Rattray
notes: 'I have so far been unable to trace this place, but to this day in Ashanti any big fetish priest
is called Obi Okomfo, that is, Obi Priest.' So also in Jamaica, in the practice of Obeah, the
natives 'make obi' even today."
Captain Rattray, whose scholarly works on the Ashanti really led the way to a complete
revolution in the study and evaluation of West Africa customs, fearlessly abandoned the trodden
path of narrow prejudice and a priori reasoning of the Spencerian School, and literally
reconstructed the entire system of scientific research among the Negro tribes. We cannot do
better then, than to study in some detail the Ashanti prototype of the Jamaica Obeah as described
by so discriminating a scholar, who knows nothing of the bearings his observations will have on
Jamaica witchcraft, but is conscientiously setting down the facts as he sees them in his own
chosen field where he is the undisputed master.[11]
[11. Note:--Previously, Ellis, Dennett and Miss Kingsley held complete sway, despite the fact that they were utterly
unqualified for the task that they had undertaken. Stephen Septimus Farrow well adjudges their claims to credibility
in his thesis for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh, in 1924. This Essay drew from
Dr. R. R. Marett, Rector of Exeter College, Oxford, the encomium: "Dr. Farrow, I think, has disposed of the all-toofacile explanations of earlier investigators."--Faith, Fancies and Fetish, or Yoruba Paganism, p. vii. Of Col. Ellis,
Farrow asserts, p. 5: "It is, unfortunately, not possible to exonerate the gallant colonel from a measure of antiChristian bias, which at times leads him to jump to conclusions which are scientifically untrue." Concerning Dennett
and Miss Kingsley, he writes, p. 5: "Mr. Dennett was intimately known to the writer, whose wife was first cousin
{footnote p. 122} to this gentleman. Mr. Dennett never learned to speak the language, but wrote down Yoruba
words as given to him by others; but, as he went openly to priests and keepers of shrines and asked direct questions,
this thoroughly British and un-African method of inquiry was very likely, indeed certain, at times to lead to
imperfect, and, not seldom untrue answers. Mr. Dennett's interpretations, deductions and conclusions are often at
fault, owing to his poor acquaintance with the language, and also to the very free play he gave to his imagination.
This is very prominent in his pamphlet, My Yoruba Alphabet. . . . It is also to be remembered that Dennett and Miss
Kingsley alike borrow from Ellis and are influenced to some extent by his ideas."
Despite the fact that Ellis published grammars of more than one West African language, he was forced to do his
work through an interpreter as he never acquired a conversational knowledge of any one of the languages about
which he wrote.]

{p. 122}
Captain Rattray is unequivocally of the opinion that the Ashanti worship a Supreme Being,
Onyame.[12] Furthermore he states: "I am convinced that the conception in the Ashanti mind, of
a Supreme Being, has nothing whatever to do with missionary influence, nor is it to be ascribed
to contact with Christians or even, I believe, with Mohammedans."[13]
Bosman had noticed at the beginning of the eighteenth century as regards certain West African
tribes: "By reason God is invisible, they say it would be absurd to make any corporeal
representation of him . . . wherefore they have such multitudes of images of their idol gods,
which they take to be subordinate deities
[12. Rattray, Ashanti Proverbs, p. 18. Also, R. S. Rattray, Ashanti, Oxford, 1923, p. 139.

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13. Rattray, Ashanti, p. 140. Note:--Rattray had previously written, Ashanti Proverbs, p. 19 f.: "In Ashanti, in
remote bush villages, buried away in impenetrable forest, and as yet even untouched by European and missionary
influence, it would seem incredible that the Christian idea of a one and Supreme Being should, if a foreign element
of only some two or three hundred years' growth, have taken such deep root as to effect their folklore, traditions,
customs, and the very sayings and proverbs with which their language abounds. These proverbs and traditions,
moreover, which speak of and contain references to a Supreme Being, are far more commonly known among the
greybeards, elders, and the fetish priestly class themselves than among the rising younger generation, grown up
among the new influences and often trained in the very precincts of a mission. Fetishism and monotheism would at
first sight appear the very antithesis of each other, but a careful investigation of facts will show that here in Ashanti
it is not so."
Of the Ashanti Proverbs given by Rattray we need quote only the following: Proverbs #1, 10, 15: p. 17 ff.: "Of all
the wide earth, Onyame is the elder." "The words that Onyame had beforehand ordained, a human being does not
alter." "All men are the children of Onyame, no one is a child of earth."
Rattray further shows that this Supreme Being has a temple and a regular priesthood, Ashanti, p. 144, for which a
three years novitiate is required, Religion and Art in Ashanti, Oxford, 1927, p. 45, and the prayer of consecration
uttered by the priest begins with the words, l. c., p. 45: "Supreme Being, Who alone is great, it is you who begat me,
etc."]

{p. 123}
to the Supreme God. . . . and only believe these are mediators betwixt God and men, which they
take to be their idols."[14]
This condition is verified by Rattray in regard to the Ashanti. He tells us: "In a sense, therefore, it
is true that this great Supreme Being, the conception of whom has been innate in the minds of the
Ashanti, is the Jehovah of the Israelites. As will be seen presently, every Ashanti temple is a
pantheon in which repose the shrines of the gods, but the power or spirit, that on occasions enters
into these shrines, is directly or indirectly derived from the one God of the Sky, whose
intermediaries they are. Hence we have in Ashanti exactly that 'mixed religion' which we find
among the Israelites of old. They worshipped Jehovah, but they worshipped other Gods as
well."[15]
These intermediary deities engross the chief attention of the Ashanti and their religious system
consists principally in their service and veneration. One by one they come into fashion and then
pass out of vogue, only perhaps to bob up again if the right individual is found to espouse their
cause. Listen to Captain Rattray's description of the origin of one such spiritual entity: "The word
shrine is used in this particular context, to designate the potential abode of a superhuman spirit. It
consists (generally) of a brass pan or bowl, which contains various ingredients. This pan upon
certain definite occasions, becomes the temporary dwelling, or resting-place of a non-human
spirit or spirits. . . .
"The following is an account, from a reliable source, checked and rechecked from many
independent witnesses, of the making and consecration of a shrine for one of the Tano gods. . . .
"A spirit may take possession of a man and he may appear to have gone mad, and this state may
last sometimes even for a year. Then the priest or some powerful god may be consulted and he
may discover, through his god, that it is some spirit which has come upon the man (or woman).

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The one upon whom the spirit has come is now bidden to prepare a brass pan, and collect water,
leaves, and 'medicine' of specific kinds. The possessed one will
[14. Bosnian, New and Accurate Description of the Coast of Guinea, p. 179 f.
15. Rattray, Ashanti, p. 141.]

{p. 124}
dance, for sometimes two days, with short intervals for rest, to the accompaniment of drums and
singing. Quite suddenly he will leap into the air and catch something in both his hands (or he
may plunge into the river and emerge holding something he has brought up). He will in either
case hold this thing to his breast, and water will be at once sprinkled upon it to cool it, when it
will be thrust into the brass pan and quickly covered tip. The following ingredients are now
prepared: clay from one of the more sacred rivers, like the Tano, and the following medicinal
plants and other objects; afema (Justicia flavia), Damabo (Abras precatorius), the bark of the
odum, a creeper called hamakyerehene, any root that crosses a path, a projecting stump from
under water, the leaves of a tree called aya--these are chosen which are seen to be quivering on
the tree even though no wind is shaking them--the leaves, bark and roots of a tree called Bonsam
dua (lit. the wizard's tree), a nugget of virgin gold (a gold that has been in use or circulation must
not be used), a bodom (so-called aggrey bead), and a long white bead called gyanie. The whole
of these are pounded and placed in the pan, along with the original object already inside, while
the following incantation or prayer is repeated: 'Supreme Being, upon whom men lean and do
not fall, (whose day of observance is a Saturday), Earth Goddess (whose day of worship is
Thursday), Leopard, and all beasts and plants of the forest, today is a sacred Friday; and you, Ta
Kwesi (the particular god for whom in this case the shrine was being prepared), we are installing
you, we are setting you (here), that we may have long life; do not let us get "Death"; do not let us
become impotent; life to the head of the village; life to the young men of this village; life to
those who bear children, and life to the children of this village. O tree, we call Odum Abena (to
whom belongs the silk-cotton tree), we are calling upon you that you may come, one and all, just
now, that we may place in this shrine the thoughts that are in our heads. When we call upon you
in the darkness, when we call upon you in sunlight, and say, "Do such a thing for us" you will do
so. And the laws that we are decreeing for you, this god of ours, are these--if in our time, or in
our children's
{p. 125}
and our grandchildren's time a king should arise from somewhere, and come to us, and say he is
going to war, when he tells you, and you well know that should he go to fight he will not gain the
victory, you must tell us so; and should you know that he will go and conquer, then also state
that truth. And yet again, if a man be ill in the night, or in the daytime, and we raise you aloft and
place you upon the head, and we inquire of you saying, "Is So-and-so about to die?" let the cause
of the misfortune which you tell him has come upon him be the real cause of the evil and not
lies. Today, we all in this town, all our elders, and all our children, have consulted together and
agreed without dissent among us, we have all united and with one accord decided to establish
your shrine, you, Ta Kwesi, upon this a sacred Friday. We have taken a sheep, and a fowl, we
have taken wine, we are about to give them to you that you may reside in this town and preserve
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its life. From this clay, and so on to any future day, you must not fly and leave us. From this day,
to any future day, you, O Tano's fire, in anything that you tell us, do not let it be a lie. Do not put
water in your mouth and speak to us. Today you become a god for the chief, today you have
become a god for our spirit ancestors. Perhaps upon some tomorrow the Ashanti King may conic
and say, "My child So-and-so (or it may be an elder) is sick," and ask you to go with him, or
maybe he will send a messenger here for you; in such a case you may go and we will not think
that you are fleeing from us. And these words are a voice from the mouth of us all.[3]
"The various sacrifices are then made, and in each case the blood is allowed to fall upon the
contents in the brass pan.
"I have had many similar accounts of the consecration of a new shrine as the temporary home of
a new manifestation of a spirit universal and always present, but not subject to control.
"It will be noted that other minor spirits or powers of nature are not wholly ignored or neglected,
and that all are considered as able in some manner to help the greater spirit that is called upon to
guide and assist mankind.
"The priests tell me that at times, when the greater emanation of God is not present, that the
spirits of some of the lesser ones
{p. 126}
will flash forth for a moment and disclose their presence. For example, a priest will suddenly
burst forth, singing, odomae, die odo me omera ('I am the odoma tree, let him who loves me
come hither'). It seems that the priest and priestess, when in the ecstatic condition, are subject to
many spirit influences. I have heard a priestess begin to talk in a different dialect from her own.
This did not at all surprise the onlookers, who merely said, 'Oh that is the spirit of So-and-so'--a
dead priestess of the same god, who had come from another district, and had used that dialect. . .
.
"Once the ingredients described have been put into the shrine, that is apparently an end of them.
They are not directly mentioned, and it is only when the spirit of one of the ingredients the shrine
takes charge, as it were, for a moment, that they even considered,"[16]
In connection with the Ashanti religious practices there is a strong veneration for ancestors as
shown especially in the functions connected with the stools which are supposed to be closely
associated with the vital spirit of these forebears.
So also we encounter animism in its broadest sense. This is well illustrated in the use of the
protective charm or suman which really forms an integral part of the Ashanti religious practice.
In describing some "proverb" weights, Rattray calls attention to the fact that they really represent
a medicine man sacrificing a fowl to one of the best known charms in Ashanti, the "nkabere
charm" and adds, "I once witnessed the making of one of these charms, and the following short
account may be of interest. That this

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[16. Rattray, Ashanti, p. 145 ff. Note:--Cfr. also Rattray, l. c., p. 182: "Grouped round the walls of the temple and
raised a little from the floor upon their stools were several shrines-all but two of these, I was informed, were now
mere empty receptacles. The priests who had formerly tended them when they were active shrines had died, and
since then the spirit that had formerly manifested itself within them had ceased to do so. 'Some day this spirit might
descend upon someone who would then become their priest.'
"Several priests and priestesses I had spoken to told me that this was how they had first become priests. They had
been seized with a spirit and had either lost all consciousness or seemingly had become mad. A god would be
consulted, and he might say it was an effect of an outpouring of such and such a spirit. in which case, if there were a
shrine already, such as had been described, its cult would be once again revived. If no shrine existed, then a new
abode would be prepared."]

{p. 127}
charm should have been represented shows how generally the rite is seen.
"The object upon the ground, over which the offering is being held . . . is known throughout the
Ashanti as a charm (suman) called nkabere, and the ceremony the medicine man is here seen
performing is the sacrifice of a fowl preparatory to or after the ceremony known as Kyekyere
nkabere, lit. to tie or bind the nkabere. The nkabere consists of three sticks: (a) A stick from the
tree called bonsam dua, lit. the wizard's tree. (b) A piece of the root of a tree called akwamea,
taken where it crosses a path. (c) A stick from the tree called adwin.
These three sticks are placed upon the ground, or sometimes upon an inverted pot, along with
some pieces out of a sweeping broom. A piece of string is placed on top of all.
"The medicine man or priest now retires a few paces and then advances towards the charm with
his hands behind his back, crossing one leg over the other as he walks. When he reaches the
charm he stands with legs crossed, with his hands still behind his back, and stooping down
sprays pepper and guinea grain--which he has in his mouth--over the charm, saying: 'My
entwining charm Nkadomako (Note: "A title of Tano. The priest whom I saw performing this rite
informed me that he gave his suman all these high-sounding titles to please and flatter it, as if it
were really a god."), who seizes strong men, mosquito that trips up (Note: "The word used
literally signifies to trip in wrestling.") the great silk-cotton tree, shooting stars that live with the
Supreme Being, I have to tell you that So-and-so are coming here about some matter.' Here he
takes his hands from behind his back and, stooping down, picks up the sticks and twine. Making
a little bundle of the sticks, saying as he does so: 'I bind up their mouths. I bind up their souls,
and their gods. I begin with Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday,
Saturday.' As he repeats each day he gives a twist of the string round the sticks till he has bound
them all together, when he knots the string to keep it from unravelling, ending by saying:
'Whoever comes may
{p. 128}
this be a match for them.' From time to time a fowl will be offered to this suman. The medicine
man or priest will advance upon it with crossed legs and hands held behind the back and perhaps
with a whistle in his mouth, to call up the spirits, and will stand over the charm with legs crossed.

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He then holds the fowl by the neck and blows the whistle. This is what is shown in the weight."
[17]
Thus far we have briefly outlined what might be called the religious atmosphere of the Ashanti.
Concomitant with this and essentially antagonistic to it, we have another condition of affairs
which may be summed up as witchcraft. Of this phase of life, Rattray says: "Witchcraft was
essentially the employment of antisocial magic. The belief in its general prevalence was largely
due to the fact that certain forms of illness resulting in death could not otherwise be accounted
for. There appears to be considerable logic in regarding killing by witchcraft as akin to murder,
even if its classification as such by the Ashanti was not directly due to an acknowledgment of a
fact which was in many cases true, i. e. that poison in some form or other was often an important
stock-in-trade of the professed witch."[18]
As already stated, the Ashanti word for witch was Obayifo, and they have the proverb, "Obayifo
oreko e! obayifo oreko e! na wonye obayifo a, wuntwa wo ani.--A witch is passing! a witch is
passing! (someone cries), but if you are not a witch you do not turn your eyes to look."[19] This
mysterious being is thus described by Rattray: "Obayifo, Deriv. bayi, sorcery (synonymous term
ayen), a wizard, or more generally witch. A kind of human vampire,
[17. Rattray, Ashanti, p. 310.
18. Rattray, Ashanti Law and Constitution, Oxford, 1929, p. 313. Note:--The association of poison with witchcraft is
not peculiar to the Ashanti. It is recurrent throughout the history of magic. Thus Theocritus, writing in the third
century B. C., describes a scene at Cos where a fire spell is laid against a neglectful lover by a maid whose
affections have been spurned. Before a statue of Hecate, barley-meal, bay-leaves, a waxen puppet, and some bran
are successively burned with appropriate incantations. Then follows a libation and the burning of herbs and a piece
of the fringe of her lover's cloak. The ashes are to be rubbed by an attendant on the lintel of the lover. The maid's
soliloquy shows that should her incantations fail to win back the faithless one, she has poisons in reserve to prevent
his affections being bestowed elsewhere.--Cfr. J. M. Edmonds, The Greek Bucolic Poets, London, 1916, p. 24 ff.;
Theocritus, The Spell.
19. Rattray, Ashanti Proverbs, p. 53.]

{p. 129}
whose chief delight is to suck the blood of children whereby the latter pine and die.
"Men and women possessed of this black magic are credited with volitant powers, being able to
quit their bodies and travel great distances in the night. Besides sucking the blood of victims,
they are supposed to be able to extract the sap and juices of crops. (Cases of coco blight are
ascribed to the work of the obayifo.) These witches are supposed to be very common and a man
never knows but that his friend or even his wife may be one. When prowling at night they are
supposed to emit a phosphorescent light from the armpits and anus. An obayifo in everyday life
is supposed to be known by having sharp shifty eyes, that are never at rest, also by showing an
undue interest in food, and always talking about it, especially meat, and hanging about when
cooking is going on, all of which habits are therefore purposely avoided. A man will seldom
deny another, even a stranger, a morsel of what he may be eating, or a hunter a little bit of raw

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meat to anyone asking it, hoping thereby to avoid the displeasure of anyone who, for all he can
tell, is a witch or wizard.
"The obayifo can also enter animals, etc., e. g. buffalo, elephant, snakes, and cause them to kill
people. The obayifo is discovered by a process analogous to the 'smelling out' of witches among
the Zulu, i. e. the 'carrying of the corpse'. Witches and wizards are guarded against by a suman,
and a little raw meat or other food is frequently placed at the entrance to a village for them to
partake of. This offering also frequently takes the form of a bunch of palm nuts pinned down to
the ground with a stick."[20]
Hence the proverb: "Obayifo kum wadi-wamma-me, na onkum wama me-na-esua.--The sorcerer
kills (by magic) the one who eats and gives him nothing, but he does not kill him who eats and
gives him (even) a little piece."[21]
Another Ashanti proverb runs: "Sasabonsam ko ayi a, osoe obayifo fi.--When a sasabonsam
(devil) goes to attend a funeral, he lodges at a witch's house. 1~ 2 "This Sasabonsam will be met
with
[20. Rattray, Ashanti Proverbs, p. 47.
21. Ditto, p. 53.
22 Ditto, p. 47.]

{p. 130}
again in Jamaica. Rattray here remarks well to our purpose: "Sasabonsam, Deriv. bonsam, a
devil, or evil spirit (not the disembodied soul of any particular person, just as the fetish is not a
human spirit). Its power is purely for evil and witchcraft. The obayifo is perhaps its servant as
the terms are sometimes synonymous. Sasa or sesa is the word used for a person being possessed
of a spirit or devil (oye no sesa)." 23 And again: "The Sasabonsam of the Gold Coast and
Ashanti is a monster which is said to inhabit parts of the dense virgin forests. It is covered with
long hair, has large blood-shot eyes, long legs, and feet pointing both ways. It sits on high
branches of an odum or onyina tree and dangles its legs, with which at times it hooks up the
unwary hunter. It is hostile to man, and is supposed to be essentially at enmity with the real
priestly class. Hunters who go to the forest and are never heard of again--as sometimes happens-are supposed to have been caught by Sasabonsam. All of them are in league with abayifo
(witches), and with the mmotia, in other words, with the workers in black magic. As we have
seen, however, and will see again farther on, their power is sometimes solicited to add power to
the suman (fetish), not necessarily with a view to employing that power for purposes of
witchcraft, but rather the reverse. I cannot help thinking that the original Sasabonsam may
possibly have been a gorilla. Under the heading of Witchcraft we shall see how the Sasabonsam's
aid is solicited to defeat and to detect the very evil with which he is thought to be associated
indirectly."[24]
That the Ashanti clearly distinguished between religious practices and witchcraft is evidenced by
the following observation of Rattray: "From the information at our disposal, we now know that
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the Ashanti makes a distinction between the following: the okomfo (priest) the sumankwafo or
dunseni (the medicine man); and the Bonsam komfo (witch doctor). The word okomfo, without
any further qualification, refers to a priest of one of the orthodox abosom (gods). We see,
however, that a witch doctor
[23. Ditto, p. 47.
24. Rattray, Religion and Art in Ashanti, p. 28.]

{p. 131}
is allowed the same name as a kind of honorary title or degree, being known as a Bayi komfo (a
priest of witchcraft). Again, the ordinary medical practitioners are never termed okomfo, they are
sumankwafo, dealers in suman; or dunsefo, workers in roots; or odu'yefo, workers in
medicine."[25]
Clearly defined Ashanti witchcraft, then, as a practice of black
[25. Rattray, Religion and Art in Ashanti, p. 39. Note:--Despite the fact, then, that in theory witchcraft is antagonistic
to their religion, the Ashanti, as is so common elsewhere, in practical life blend the two without qualm or scruple. A
further instance of this is found in the case of the talking drums. The first time a drummer uses them oil a particular
day, he begins by pouring a few drops of wine on the edges as he invokes the various parts of the drums and invites
them to drink and concludes: Rattray, Ashanti, p. 264 f.: "Obayifo, gye nsa nom (Witch accept wine and drink).
Asase, gye nsa nom (Earth deity accept wine and drink). Onyankopon Tweaduampon Bonyame, gye nsa nom
(Supreme Being Nyankopon, Tweaduampon Creator, accept wine and drink)." Then in connection with the drum
history of the Mampon division of Ashanti, Rattray tells us, l. c.: "Before the serious business of drumming the
name of the chiefs begins, the spirits of the various materials, which have gone towards the making of the composite
drum, are each propitiated in turn, and these spirits are summoned to enter for a while that material which was once
a portion of their habitation. The drums thus, for a time, become the abode of the spirits of forest trees and of the
'mighty elephant.' The deities of Earth and Sky are called upon in like manner. Even the hated and dreaded witches
(abayifo), who prey upon the human body and gnaw the vitals and hearts of men (just as humans partake of meat
and other food), are not forgotten, lest in anger they might seize upon the drummer's wrists and cause him to make
mistakes. A drummer who falters and 'speaks' a wrong word is liable to a fine of a sheep, and if persistently at fault
he might, in the past, have had an ear cut off."
The prelude referred to above precedes every drum "piece," and closes with the invocation of the witches which is
thus translated by Rattray, Ashanti, p. 280: "Oh Witch, do not slay me, Adwo,*
Spare me, Adwo,
The divine drummer declares that,
When he rises from the dawn,
He will sound (his drums) for you in the morning,
Very early, Very early, Very early, Verly {sic} early,
Oh Witch that slays the children of men before they are fully matured,
Oh Witch that slays the children of men before they are fully matured,
The divine drummer declares that,
When he rises with the dawn,
He will sound his drums for you in the morning,
Very early, Very early, Very early, Verly {sic} early,

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We are addressing you,
And you will understand."
* Note:--"A title of respect given to chiefs, by women to their husbands, and children to their elders."
This same introduction of an evil influence into a good or "lucky" charm is indicated in the following news item
taken from the PHILADELPHIA EVENING TELEGRAM for August 7, 1884: "The left hind foot of a graveyard
rabbit, which has a potent influence among the Southern Negroes has been presented to Governor Cleveland as a
talisman in the campaign. The rabbit from which the foot was taken was shot on the grave of Jesse James."]

{p. 132}
magic, is in theory at least essentially antagonistic to religion in any form, and as clearly
dissociated from the making of a suman, which may be regarded as white magic, as its
practitioner, the Obayifo, is distinguished from the medicine man Sumankwafo. Nevertheless,
the title Bayi komfo, a priest of witchcraft, would indicate that even in Ashanti, there has
developed a phase of what might be called devil-worship in as much as the Sasabonsam, or devil,
is so closely associated with witches.[26]
In all this, however, we do not find any real evidence of Ophiolatry, either as regards the religion
or the witchcraft of the Ashanti.[27]
No doubt the Obayifo affected at times the rôle of medicine man. He might remain respectable
before the community at large as a Sumankwafo, while in secret he plied his trade as a wizard.
So, too, he must naturally have borrowed occasionally from the suman-maker's technique to
effectually disguise his own incantations. If in the making of a suman the real Sumankwafo
actually invaded his realm by soliciting the aid of Sasabonsam, why should he not return the
compliment in kind?
Practically, in a general way, the differentiation was in the specific object of the rite which
determined whether the magic was to be regarded as white or black.[28] But over and above all
this,
[26. Note:--This would explain the statement of J. Leighton Wilson who when writing of the district of West Africa,
between Cape Verde and the Cameroons, says: "Fetishism and demonology are undoubtedly the leading and
prominent forms of religion among the pagan tribes of Africa. They are entirely distinct from each other, but they
run together at so many points, and have been so much mixed up by those who have attempted to write on the
subject, that it is no easy matter to keep them separated."--Cfr. Wilson, Western Africa, Its History, Condition and
Prospects, p. 211.
27. Note:--Among the Ashanti, it is true, the python is a totem of the Bosommuru, the most important of all the
ntoro exogamous divisions on a patrilineal basis.--Cfr. Rattray, Ashanti, p. 47. In this connection Hambly remarks:
"Rattray's description of reverence for the python in Ashanti includes statements which might reasonably be
regarded as evidence of a decadent python cult. But the information is more correctly classified under totemism."-Hambly, Serpent Worship in Africa, p. 13. Furthermore, a complete absence of serpent cult seems to be implied by
the Ashanti Proverb: "Wonho owe, to a, wommo no aba.--Unless you see a snake's head, you do not strike at it."-Rattray, Ashanti Proverbs, p. 72.
28. Note:--W. G. Browne, Travels in Africa, Egypt and Syria, from the Year 1792 to 1798, London, 1806, p. go,
notices at Kahira a similar distinction in connection with Egyptian magic which is divided into "halal, lawful, and

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haram, unlawful." This division of Magic into White and Black, as determined by its lawfulness or unlawfulness has
since come to be generally recognized.]

{p. 133}
there was also a wide divergence in the ingredients employed, just as the knowledge of vegetable
qualities, good and evil, was used for curative or destructive purposes, according to the
profession of the herbalist.
In fact, it would be natural to suspect that the really skilful Obayifo would play the double rôle
from motives of self-protection if not from any mercenary reasons.[29]
D. Amaury Talbot, wife of the District Commissioner of the Nigerian Political Service, in her
book, Woman's Mysteries of a Primitive People, devotes a chapter to "Love Philtres and Magic"
wherein she tells us: "The principal ingredients in these philtres are the hearts of chickens
pounded up to a smooth paste, together with leaves thought to contain magical qualities. It is not
without significance, that among the Ibibios, save when administered in 'medicine,' intended to
weaken the will and destroy the courage of the recipient, the hearts and livers of chickens are
carefully avoided as food, since it is thought that those who partake will become 'chickenhearted' in consequence. In order to render the charm efficacious it is necessary to draw forth the
soul of some person and imprison it amid fresh-plucked herbs in an earthen pot never before
used. The vessel is then hung above a slow fire, and, as the leaves dry up, the body of the man or
woman chosen for the purpose is said to wither away."[30] Of course a little poison judiciously
administered will supplement the efficacy of this sympathetic magic.
Père Baudin, in turn, speaking of fetish beliefs in general,
[29. Note:--Anyone who has lived for some time in Jamaica has come in contact with really marvellous "Bush
remedies." For example, a throbbing headache is quickly relieved by the application of a particular cactus which is
split and bound on the forehead; and a severe fever is broken effectively by a "bush tea" made from certain leaves
and twigs known only to the old woman who gathers them, and whose only explanation is "Jes seben bush, Sah, me
pick dem one one." Too frequently, the Obeah man makes use of this knowledge of herbals in connection With his
art. In a particular case of Obeah poisoning that came under my personal notice, just as the victim was on the point
of losing consciousness, the very individual who was for good reasons suspected of being the cause of the trouble,
suddenly entered the sick room unannounced and administered the antidote. A change of heart or more probably fear
of the consequences, had probably saved the life.
30. D. Amaury Talbot, Woman's Mysteries of a Primitive People, London, 1915, p. 138.]

{p. 134}
tells us: "The great or chief fetish priests have a secret doctrine, which differs greatly from the
popular doctrine. In this secret doctrine they gradually initiate the priests of the lower ranks."
Among these secrets he includes: "the medicinal receipts, especially those for poisons," and
immediately adds: "I do not believe that there exists in the world more skilful poisoners. They
preserve these receipts with great care."[31]

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Moreau de Saint-Méry assures us: "It is unfortunately too certain that some of the old Africans
profess at San Domingo the odious art of poisoning. I say profess, for there are those who have a
school where hate and vengeance has sent more than one disciple."[32]
Louis p. Bowler, who urges as his credentials for presenting his little volume: "Eight years'
experience in the jungle of the Gold Coast Colony,"[33] recounts a number of cases of poisoning
which came under his personal observation. From his narrative we may quote the following
instances:
"Another case was brought to my notice where a European unwisely parted with money to a
chief for consideration on a concession. After obtaining the chief's promise to accompany him to
the coast town to sign the usual declarations before a District Commissioner, it appeared that he
had previously sold the same concession and obtained money thereon. The European dies
mysteriously the night before his projected departure. He was fond of pineapples, and the chief
sent him a couple as a present, which he unfortunately partook of. It seems that the chief, or his
medicine man, had inserted a deadly poison into the pineapple with a piece of thin wire."[34]
It may be objected that this is not Obeah, but cold-blooded murder. Yes, and the same may be
said of Obeah wherever the end is produced in this way. No doubt the natives ascribed the
untimely
[31. Baudin, Fétichisme et Féticheurs, p. 86.
32. Moreau de Saint-Méry, Description de la Partie Française de Saint Dominigue, Vol. I, p. 36.
33. Louis p. Bowler, Gold Coast Palava: Life on the Gold Coast, London, 1911, p. 17.
34. Ditto, p. 136 f.]

{p. 135}
death to the workings of Obeah, and it is equally probable that the agent employed was himself
an Obeah man.
The second instance which we are about to relate is, in a way, even more characteristic. Bowler
writes: "I remember an instance of very fine powdered glass being placed in some soup on the
table of a European, which fortunately was discovered in time. Powdered glass is a favourite
Fantee[35] means of injuring or killing those they have a grudge against. It is broken up fairly
fine, put into kankee or fufu (native food), and when swallowed lacerates the bowels, setting up
internal hemorrhage. Another of their methods is to rub the sticky latex of the rubber vine on the
latch of the doors, rails of beds, on the loin cloths, or anything their victim is likely to touch.
They then shake the poisoned broken glass on the sticky rubber, and any person taking hold of
these things and receiving a prick in the hands is inoculated with the poison. There are many
deaths of Europeans in West Africa that are put down to fever, black-water, typhoid, and
stomach complaints, that if their true cause were investigated, would be found to arise from
irritants and other poisons that the natives are adepts at using."[36]

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It is with good reason, then, that Norman Eustace Cameron, Principal of the Guianese Academy,
insists: "I believe that African medicines should be taken more seriously, even though we in
British Guiana and the West Indies are accustomed to think of African medicine in terms of
Obeah practice. It is true that the native doctors (called medicine men or witch doctors by those
who will not regard them with dignity) were acquainted with many deadly poisons; as, for
instance, those which were used for poisoning their arrows in war; and it is also true that the
Kings of Benin and Zimbabwe took precautions against death by poisoning. But we ought to
bear in mind that poisoning any member of an
[35. Note:--It is equally common in Ashanti, and is also found in Jamaica today. I never met with any case where it
was administered to human beings, but I have known live stock to be destroyed in this way. I lost a horse myself on
one occasion through this very means. The technical term is "obi-water" and it produces dysentery and a slowwasting death.
36. Bowler, l. c., p. 137 f.]

{p. 136}
African community was and is considered by the community as murder, and if a person was
suspected of having been killed by poison, elaborate inquiries were made to detect the murderer
who would be tried and executed, sometimes cruelly, if found guilty."[37]
This is in keeping with the practice of the Jamaica Myalist to "dig up Obeah." And as we shall
see in the next chapter, it was precisely with the suppression of the Myal dance in Jamaica that
Obeah began to gain an ascendancy and develop into a quasi-religion with hatred of the white
man and the ultimate overthrow of the white masters as an object.
In view of all this, it is hard to understand how Sir Harry Johnston could have written: "Obia
(misspelt Obeah) seems to be a variant or a corruption of an Efik or Ibo word from the northeast
or east of the Niger delta, which simply means 'Doctor.' . . . Obia is like Hudu or Vudu a part of
the fetishistic belief which prevails over nearly all Africa, much of Asia, and a good deal of
America. . . . In its 'well-meaning' forms, it is medical treatment by drugs or suggestion
combined with a worship of the powers of Nature and a propitiation of evil spirits; in its bad
types it is an attempt to frighten, obsess, and hypnotize, and failing the production of results by
this hocus-pocus, by poison."[38]
Far more accurate is the definition of The Encyclopedic Dictionary:[39] "Obi (Obeah), A system
of sorcery prevalent, though not to so great an extent as formerly among the Negro population of
the West Indian Colonies. It appears to have been brought from Africa by Negroes who bad been
enslaved, and to these obeah-men (or women) the blacks used to resort for the cure of disorders,
obtaining revenge, conciliating favour, the discovery of a thief or an adulterer, and the prediction
of future events. The practice of Obi had become general towards the close of the last century,
both in the West Indies and the United States, and there
[37. Eustace Cameron, The Evolution of the Negro, Georgetown, Demerara, 1929, Vol. I. p. 179.
38. Johnston, The Negro in the New World, p. 253, Note 1.

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39. Philadelphia, 1894.]

{p. 137}
is little doubt that the Obeah man exercised vast influence, and that they carried on a system of
secret slow poisonings, the effects of which were attributed by their more ignorant fellows to
Obi. The system resembles other superstitions of savage peoples. It may have originated in
ancient religious practices, in which sorcery bore a large part."
Hesketh J. Bell who spent many years in the British Colonial Service in the West Indies and was
subsequently Governor of the Island Mauritius, has written at length on the subject of Obeah and
incidentally contributed valuable data gathered either from personal observation or through
reliable eye-witnesses.
Writing of Granada, an English island in the Windward Group, Bell says: "Before the
emancipation, the practice of Obeah was as
rampant in all the West Indian colonies, and laws and ordinances had to be framed to put it
down, and combat its baneful influences. There were few of the large estates having African
slaves, which had not one or more Obeah men in the number. They were usually the oldest and
most crafty of the blacks, those whose hoary heads and somewhat harsh and forbidding aspect,
together with some skill in plants of the medicinal and poisonous species, qualified them for
successful imposition on the weak and credulous. In these days, an Obeah man would be hard to
distinguish from other blacks, and might only be known by wearing his hair long, or some other
peculiarity, or else by possessing a good substantial house, built out of the money obtained from
his credulous countrymen, in exchange for rubbishing simples or worthless love-spells. The trade
which these impostors carry on is extremely lucrative. A Negro would not hesitate to give an
Obeah man four or five dollars for a love-spell, when he would grudge three shillings for a bottle
of medicine, to relieve some painful sickness. A veil of mystery is cast over their incantations
which generally take place at the midnight hour, and every precaution is taken to conceal these
ceremonies from the knowledge of the whites. The deluded Negroes who thoroughly believe in
the supernatural power of these sorcerers, screen them as much as possible and the
{p. 138}
bravest among them tremble at the very sight of the ragged bundle, the eggshells or Obeah bottle
stuck in the thatch of a hut, or in the branches of a plantain tree to deter thieves.
"The darker and more dangerous side of Obeah is that portion under cover of which poison is
used to a fearful extent,, and the dangerous and often fatal effects of many a magic draught are
simply set down, by the superstitious black, to the workings of the spells of Obeah, and never to
the more simple effects of the scores of poisonous herbs growing in every pasture, and which
may have formed the ingredients of the Obeah mixture. Owing to the defective state of the laws
relating to declaration of deaths and inquests, it is to be feared that very many deaths occur from
poisoning, which are set down to a cold or other simple malady."[40]

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Bell recounts the following narrative as he received it from the lips of a French priest in
Granada: "I was riding to see a sick person living on the other side of the parish, when I
happened to pass a small wooden house, before which a number of people were congregated, all
talking together and evidently much exercised in their minds about something inexplicable. On
asking what was the matter, I was told that the owner of the house was lying dead, and that he
was an Obeah man who had lived quite alone in the place for many years, and that there was
consequently no one willing to undertake the job of looking after the corpse and burying it. In
fact no one would go inside the hut at all, as it was affirmed that his Satanic Majesty was there in
person looking after the body of the Obeah man, which now undoubtedly belonged to him. To
allay their alarms, I got off my horse, and with the assistance of a couple of men broke open the
door and entered the hut. Lying on a wooden stretcher was the body of the unfortunate
individual, whose death must have occurred a good many hours before, and the body was in
urgent need of burial, so after scolding the people for their cowardice I prevailed on them to see
about a coffin and other details as quickly as possible, It was, however, only in evident fear and
trembling that any of them would enter the room, and the slightest noise would make
[40. Hesketh J. Bell, Obeah; Witchcraft in the West Indies, London, 1889, p. 9 f.]

{p. 139}
them start and look towards the door, in the expectation of seeing le diable en personne coming
to claim his property.
"The dirty little room was littered with the Obeah man's stock-in-trade." Then after the catalogue
of gruesome finds, he continues: "In a little tin canister I found the most valuable of the
sorcerer's stock, namely, seven bones belonging to a rattlesnake's tail--these I have known sell
for five dollars each, so highly valued are they as amulets or charms--in the same box was about
a yard of rope, no doubt intended to be sold for hangman's cord, which is highly prized by the
Negroes, the owner of a piece being supposed to be able to defy bad luck.
"Rummaging further, I pulled out from under the thatch of the roof an old preserved-salmon tin,
the contents of which showed how profitable was the trade of Obeah. It was stuffed full of fivedollar bank-notes, besides a number of handsome twenty-dollar gold pieces, the whole
amounting to a considerable sum, which I confess I felt very reluctant to seal up and hand over to
the Government, the Obeah man not being known to have heirs. I then ordered the people to
gather up all the rubbish, which was soon kindled and blazing away merrily in front of the hut, to
the evident satisfaction of the bystanders, who could hardly be persuaded to handle the
mysterious tools of Obeah. The man, I heard, had a great reputation for sorcery, and I was
assured that even persons who would never be suspected of encouraging witchcraft had been
known to consult him or purchase some love-spell."[41]
Another incident related by the same French priest in Granada to Mr. Bell, must close this
chapter. The incident runs as follows: I will give you an instance which happened to me, and
which I have never been able to explain satisfactorily.
"Some years ago I was in Trinidad and had been sent by the Archbishop to take charge of a
parish far in the interior of the island, and at that time but very little known and developed. There
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being no presbytery, I had to make shift, until I could build one, with part of a small wooden
house, of which one room was occupied by an old coloured woman, who lived there with a little
girl. This
[41. Ditto, p. 14 f.]

{p. 140}
woman was looked on with a good deal of dread by the people, being supposed to possess a
knowledge of a good many unholy tricks, and it was confidently hoped that my near
neighbourhood would do her good, and at all events induce her to be seen now and then at
church, which is here a great sign of respectability. When taking possession of my part of the
house, I was shown her room, and noticed particularly that it contained some really handsome
pieces of the massive furniture so much esteemed by Creoles. A tremendous family four-poster,
with heavy, handsomely turned pillars, stood in one corner near a ponderous mahogany
wardrobe, and various other bits of furniture pretty well filled the little room. The door of her
apartment opened on to my room, which she had to pass through every time she went out of the
house. This was an unpleasant arrangement, but was shortly to be remedied by having another
door made in her room leading outside. However, the night after my taking possession, I heard a
monotonous sound through the partition, as if someone crooning a sing-song chant. This
continued for over an hour, and more than once I felt inclined to rap at the partition and beg the
old dame to shut up her incantations, but it finally acted as a lullaby and I soon dropped asleep.
The next morning having got up and dressed, I noticed that all was perfectly silent next door, and
on listening attentively failed to hear a sound. I feared something had gone wrong, but noticed
that the door leading outside had not been opened, as a chair I had placed against it was in
precisely the same position as I had left it. I then knocked at her door several times, but obtained
no answer; fearing an accident had happened, I opened the door, and as it swung back on its
hinges I was astonished to see the room perfectly empty and evidently swept clean. On
examining the room carefully I found it only had two small windows besides the door leading
into my room. From that day to this neither I nor anyone living in that district have ever seen or
heard anything of that woman or of her little girl. How she moved all her heavy furniture out of
that little room, has ever remained an inexplicable mystery. I would have defied any man to
move the wardrobe alone, and even if the old woman had
{p. 141}
had strength enough to carry the furniture away, she never could have dragged it through my
room without disturbing me. However, these are the facts of the case, and I have never been able
to explain them."[42]
[42. Ditto, p. 17.]

{p. 142}

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Chapter V
DEVELOPMENT OF OBEAH IN JAMAICA
As shown elsewhere it was the Ashanti in Jamaica who, during the days of slavery, maintained a
commanding influence over all the other types of slaves, even imposing on them their peculiar
superstitions and religious practices, and who have left their impress on the general population of
the Island to such an extent that they may undoubtedly be declared the dominant influence in
evolving our Jamaica peasant of the present day.[1] Thus, to briefly summarize a few of the
principal facts, in Jamaica folklore, or Anancy stories, we find the spider, anancy, as the central
figure and his son Tacoma as next in importance, with both names and characters derived
directly from the Ashanti. Here also the Ashanti name of Odum is perserved {sic} for the silkcotton tree. These stories are passed along by the Nana or Granny, and again the function and
title are both Ashanti. The funeral custom of raising and lowering the coffin three times,
seemingly as a courtesy to the Earth Goddess before starting for the grave, while peculiar to the
Ashanti in West Africa, is still prevalent in the Jamaica "bush" where they know nothing of its
origin or significance, and where they give as the sole reason for doing so, that it is always done
that way. Again, the fowl with ruffled feathers, and half-naked neck and which the Jamaica
"picknies" call peal-neck, i. e. bald-neck, is technically known as sensey fowl in Jamaica and
asense in Ashanti. So, too, the staple food of the Ashanti is fufu, consisting usually of mashed
yarn, and sometimes of mashed plantain. The term is the reduplicated form of fu, meaning white.
In the Jamaica "bush" there is a particularly fine grade of white yam that is known as fufu yam,
and it has lately been brought to
[1. Williams, Hebrewisms of West Africa, Introduction.]

{p. 143}
my attention that mashed yam in Jamaica still goes by the name of fufu. Many other details of
identity in words and customs might be adduced but these must suffice for the present.
True it is, the Ashanti are not always expressly named as such in the rôle they occupied in
Jamaica. It is as Koromantins that they figure so prominently in the history of the island,
especially as regards the various slave-uprisings that so often threatened the white supremacy.
But, as has been shown, the Koromantin, while generically Gold Coast slaves, were specifically,
at least as applies to their leading spirits, Ashanti.[2]
Gardner declares: "Little can be said with confidence as to the religious beliefs of these people.
The influence of the Koromantins seemed to have modified, if not entirely obliterated, whatever
was introduced by other tribes. They recognized, in a being called Accompong, the creator and
preserver of mankind; to him praise, but never sacrifice, was offered. . . . The tutelary deities
included the departed heads of families, and the worship of such was almost the only one
observed to any great extent by Africans or their descendants in Jamaica."[3]

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The Supreme Being among the Ashanti, as we have seen, was Nyame, and his primary title was
Nyankopon, meaning Nyame, alone, great one. Accompong, then, was the white man's attempt
to transliterate the Nyankopon which he so often heard on the lips of the expatriated Ashanti.
As previously noted: Bryan Edwards, in his brief outline of the religious beliefs of the
Koromantin slaves, asserts: "They believe that Accompong, the God of heavens, is the creator of
all things; a Deity of Infinite goodness. In fact we have in Jamaica today, in the parish of St.
Elizabeth, a Maroon town called Accompong, which according to Cundall, the Island Historian,
was so called after an Ashanti chief who figured in one of the early
[2. Ditto, p. 9.
3. Gardner, History of Jamaica, p. 184. Note:--Gardner further observes p. 184: "It is and ever has been very
difficult to extract from an old Negro what his religious belief really was, but it seems probable that there was some
idea that departed parents had influence with the supposed rulers of the world beyond the grave, and that prayers
were offered to them in some such spirit as that of the Roman Catholic who appeals to the saints in his calendar."]

{p. 144}
rebellions of the Island. One's first impression would be that this chief had abrogated to himself
the title of Deity. But we are assured by J. G. Christaller that among the Ashanti the Divine
Name was frequently given to a slave in acknowledgment of the help of God enabling the owner
to buy the slave."[4]
Herbert G. De Lisser, a native Jamaican whose facile pen has won for him well-merited
distinction, writes: "The West African natives and particularly those from the Gold Coast (from
which the larger number of Jamaica slaves were brought) believe in a number of gods of
different classes and unequal power. All these gods have their priest and priestesses, but there is
one particular malignant spirit, which on the Gold Coast has no priesthood. He is called
Sasabonsum, and any individual may put himself in communication with him. Sasabonsum's
favorite residence is the ceiba, the giant silk-cotton tree. He is resorted to in the dead of night, his
votary going to the spot where he is supposed to live, and collecting there a little earth, or a few
twigs, or a stone, he prays to the god that his power may enter this receptacle. If he believes that
his prayer has been heard he returns home with his shuman, as the thing is now named, and
henceforth, he has a power which is formidable for injurious purposes, to which he offers
sacrifice, and to the worship of which he dedicates a special day in the week. By the aid of this
shuman he can bewitch a man to death. He can also sell charms that will cause death or bodily
injury. His charms may also be put to other and less pernicious uses. Thus the shuman charm in
the shape of a bundle of twigs, if hung up where it can be seen, is very efficacious for keeping
thieves away from a house or provision-ground. Anyone may go out and get a shuman if he
likes, but few there are who dare to do so, through fear of Sasabonsum, the witch's god, and
public opinion which looks down upon a man with a shuman. The legitimate priests whose office
it is to approach the gods also sell charms both for good and injurious purposes, but the main
functions are to propitiate the gods and bewitch the people. They were called upon to undo the
injury caused by the wizard and his shuman. Both
[4. Williams, Hebrewisms of West Africa, p. 16.]

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MAGICAL 333
{p. 145}
witches and wizards, priests and priestesses were brought to Jamaica in the days of the slave
trade, and the slaves recognized the distinction between the former and the latter. Even the
masters saw that the two classes were not identical, and so they called the latter 'Myal men' and
'Myal women'-the people who cured those whom the Obeah man had injured. Of the present-day
descendants of these priests or Myal men more will be said later on. It is probable that many of
the African priests became simple Obeah men after coming to Jamaica, for the simple reason that
they could not openly practice their legitimate profession. But when known as Obeah men,
however much they might be treated with respect, they still were hated and feared. Every evil
was attributed to them. The very name of them spread dread."[5]
Myalism, then, was the old tribal religion of the Ashanti which we have studied in detail in the
preceding chapter, with some modifications due to conditions and circumstances. It drew its
name from the Myal dance that featured it, particularly in the veneration of the minor deities who
were subordinate to Accompong, and in the commemoration or intercession of ancestors.
The old antagonism to Obeah or witchcraft on the part of the priesthood becomes accentuated,
and gradually takes on a rôle of major importance, so that it actually forms a part of the religious
practice. In Ashanti, the Okomfo openly combated the Obayifo as a matter of principle, and he
had the whole force of Ashanti religious traditions and public sentiment to support him, until he
eventually looked down with more or less disdain on the benighted disciple of Sasabonsam. In
Jamaica, on the other hand, native religious assemblies were proscribed by law, as we shall see
shortly, which greatly hampered the Okomfo in his sphere of influence, even his title being
changed to Myal man, while the Obayifo or Obeah man, who had always worked in secret,
flourished in his trade. For the very status and restrictions of slave life put his fellows more and
more at his mercy and filled them with a growing fear of his spiteful incantations, backed up as
they were with active poisonings. Their gods had abandoned them; why not
[15. Herbert G. De Lisser, Twentieth Century Jamaica, Kingston, 1913, p. 110 f.]

{p. 146}
cultivate the favour of the triumphant Sasabonsam, or at least assuage his enmity and placate his
vengeance?
It was natural, too, for the Okomfo to adapt his practice to the new state of affairs. His hated
rival, the Obayifo, must be conquered at any price. Personal interests demanded this as strongly
as religious zeal. Since public service of the deities was no longer possible, he in turn was forced
to work in secret, and it is not surprising that he met fire with fire, incantation with incantation.
His religion had aimed primarily at the welfare of the community, even as the object in life of the
Obayifo was the harm of the individual. Open intercession for tribal success and prosperity
necessarily gives way to secret machinations to break the chains of bondage. A fanatic zeal takes
hold of the Myalist Okomfo and he devises the most impressive ritual he can, to arouse the
dormant spirits of his fellow-slaves.

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Thus it came to pass that it was the Okomfo and not the Obayifo, as is generally assumed, who
administered the terrible fetish oath. It was he who mixed the gunpowder with the rum and added
grave dirt and human blood to the concoction that was to seal upon the conspirators' lips the
awful nature of the plot for liberty, and steel their hearts for the dangerous undertaking. It was
he, no less, who devised the mystic powder that was to make their bodies invulnerable, and
enable them to meet unscathed the white man's bullets. Finally, it was the Okomfo and not the
Obayifo who, taking advantage of herbal knowledge, induced a state of torpor on subservient
tools, that he might seem to raise the dead to life.
Yet, through it all, while he frequently substitutes for his own religious ceremonial the dark and
secret rites of his rival practitioner, his aim at least is still within the tribal law, as he works white
magic for the welfare of the community, no less than he continues to combat the black magic of
his adversary.
It is not surprising, then, that the rôle of the Myalist Okomfo has been so little understood, and
that his most effective work was ascribed by the whites of Jamaica to the agency of Obeah and
that Myalism itself should become confused with witchcraft and
{p. 147}
even regarded by some as an offshoot of Obeah and nothing more.
Gardner is only partially correct when he states: "Of late years Myalism has generally been
regarded as an art by which that of the Obeah man could be counteracted. Its first mode of
development was as a branch of Obeah practice. The Obeah man introduced a dance called Myal
dance, and formed a secret society, the members of which were to be made invulnerable, or if
they died, life was to be restored. Belief in this miracle was secured by trick. A mixture was
given in rum, of a character which presently induced sleep so profound, as, by the uninitiated and
alarmed, to be mistaken for death. After this had been administered to someone chosen for the
purpose, the Myal dance began, and presently the victim staggered and fell, to all appearance
dead. Mystic charms were then used; the body was rubbed with some infusion; and in process of
time, the narcotic having lost its power, the subject of the experiment rose up as one restored to
life, a fact for which the Obeah man claimed all the merit. The plant said to be used was the
branched calalue, or solanum. If so, it can only be the cold infusion which has the narcotic
power, and which is stated to belong to the European variety; for when boiled it is harmless. It is
commonly used in Jamaica as a substitute for spinach, and enters largely into the composition of
the famous pepper-pot."[11]
Matthew Gregory Lewis records in his diary under date of February 25, 1817: "The Obeah
ceremonies always commence with what is called, by the Negroes, 'the Myal dance.'[7] This is
intended to remove any doubt of the chief Obeah man's supernatural
[6. Gardner, History of Jamaica, p. 192. Note:--In this connection it is interesting to find A. W. Cardinall, In Ashanti
and Beyond, London, 1927, p. 239, who had spent many years as a District Commissioner of the Gold Coast, when
describing the initiation to a Bimoda secret society, observing: "If a Kussassi Youth wishes to become a member he
has to undergo a rather frightening ordeal. He is cut with a knife and medicine is inserted in the wounds: thereby he

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is reduced to unconsciousness for a long time. 'He dies for five days' is the expression used. They then anoint him
with medicine, and he returns to consciousness."
7. Note:--Lewis is evidently describing a Myal rite in the strict sense of the word. His reference to it as the opening
of an Obeah ceremony is due to the common error of his day on the part of the whites who had not yet learned to
distinguish between the functions of the Myalist Okomfo and the Obeah man, although it is clearly implied in the
present instance by the subsequent reference to the officiating functionary whom he calls by his proper title "the
chief Myal man" to whom he had previously misapplied the term "chief Obeah man."]

{p. 148}
powers; and in the course of which, he undertakes to show his art by killing one of the persons
present, whom he pitches upon for that purpose. He sprinkles various powders over the devoted
victim, blows upon him, and dances round him, obliges him to drink a liquor prepared for the
occasion, and finally the sorcerer and his assistants seize him and whirl him rapidly round and
round till the man loses his senses, and falls to the ground to all appearances and the belief of the
spectators a perfect corpse. The chief Myal man then utters loud shrieks, rushes out of the house
with wild and frantic gestures, and conceals himself in a neighbouring wood. At the end of two
or three hours he returns with a large bundle of herbs, from some of which he squeezes the juice
into the mouth of the dead person; with others he anoints his eyes and stains the tips of his
fingers, accompanying the ceremony with a great variety of grotesque actions, and chanting all
the while something between a song and a howl, while the assistants hand in hand dance slowly
round them in a circle, stamping the ground loudly with their feet to keep time with this chant. A
considerable time elapses before the desired effect is produced, but at length the corpse gradually
recovers animation, rises from the ground perfectly recovered, and the Myal dance
concludes."[8]
With the decline of Myalism from its early religious standards, it took on more and more a
character of antagonism to Obeah until eventually to "dig up Obeah" became its principal
differentiation from witchcraft, at least as far as the uninitiated were concerned. The spirit of
fanaticism, however, held apace and after the abolition of slavery, when the restrictions on
assemblies were removed, there was a recrudescence of the cult, sometimes referred to as
"Revivalism" that has disturbed at times the peace of more than one Jamaica community. Thus
for example, Gardner tells us: "In 1842 several Negroes residing on an estate near Montego Bay
gave themselves out to be Myal men; and in St. James, Westmoreland, and Trelawney, thousands
of deluded people became their followers. They were accustomed to meet together after
[8. Matthew Gregory Lewis, Journal of a West India Proprietor, kept during a Residence in the Island of Jamaica,
London, 1834, p. 354 f.]

{p. 149}
nightfall, generally beneath the shadow of a cotton tree. Fowls were sacrificed, and wild songs
sung, in the chorus of which the multitude joined. Dancing then began, becoming more and more
weirdlike in character, until one and another fell exhausted to the ground, when their incoherent
utterances were listened to as divine revelations. Half-demented creatures sat among the
branches or in the hollow trunks of trees, singing; while others with their heads bound in
fantastic fashion, ran about with arms outstretched, and declared that they were flying. It became

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necessary at last to swear in several hundreds of special constables, and to punish numbers of
these deluded people for disturbing the peace. . . . Some six years later a Myal man, called Dr.
Taylor, gave much trouble in Manchester and Clarendon, drawing great crowds after him. He
was sent to the penitentiary, where he was accidentally killed. In 1852, the delusion again
appeared: some now gave themselves out to be prophets, and saw visions, but the firmness of the
missionaries soon put an end to these practices."[9]
There are some interesting details of the Myalistic outbreak of 1842 given by the Reverend R.
Thomas Banbury, a native Jamaican, in a little volume which he published at Kingston, in 1895
on Jamaica Superstitions. He tells us: "It took its rise at Newman Hall estate in St. James and
went through that parish, Westmoreland and Hanover, increasing as it went until it consisted of
hundreds of deluded fanatics. They went by the name of 'Myal people'; they were also called
'angel men.' They declared that the world was to come to an end; Christ was coming, and God
had sent them to pull all the Obeahs, and catch all the shadows that were spell-bound at the
cotton trees. In preparation for these events they affected to be very strict in their conduct. They
would neither drink nor smoke. Persons who were known to be notorious for their bad lives were
excluded from their society. They went from place to place pulling out Obeahs and catching
shadows and uttered fearful threats against sinners. About the time mentioned there was a very
extraordinary comet, which continued in the heavens for several weeks. It was in the west, and
the shape of it
[9. Gardner, History of Jamaica, p. 460.]

{p. 150}
was like a 'salt fish' (a cod fish split in two, with the head cut off), the head square and the body
tapering off to a point. It was remarkably brilliant. These people made reference to it in their
songs and pointed to it as an illustration of their divine mission, and the people were not a little
alarmed at its appearance. . . . Many songs were used when taking up Obeahs, which they did
openly in the daytime, in the presence of a large concourse of people who flocked from all parts
to see it. The overseers and bookkeepers on the sugar estates all were present. There were present
an attorney and a proprietor. An Englishman and a member of the House of Assembly, who took
them on his estate gave them room and encouraged them in every way. They publicly dug out of
his yard a lot of Obeahs for him. . . . The amber was a talisman by which they pretended to
divine. Both Myal men and Obeah men use it. Anything through which they look at the Obeah,
either in the ground or skin is called an amber, the name not being strictly confined to the
substance properly so-called.
"Four shillings was the price for pulling an Obeah and six shillings for catching a shadow, and
they did make money. They accompanied their operations with violent singing and dancing.
They worked themselves into violent animal excitement and fanaticism, jumping about, yelling
like so many demoniacs. It was frightful to hear them. Sometimes one would bolt out of the ring
and run into the bush and then the others would go after him, declaring that the spirits had taken
him away. They had vials filled with the juice of bad-smelling bushes which they called 'their
weed.' It was said that it had the effect of causing those upon whom it was sprinkled to become
Myal people. Not a little injury was done to the churches by this Myal procession. A number of
young people, especially females, were drawn away. They followed them all about and fell into
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immorality with the men, notwithstanding the affected piety of the latter. They went into the
churches on Sundays and interrupted divine services by pulling out persons whom they
suspected of dealing in Obeah, or who were so reported to them. Old men who looked suspicious
were beaten, rolled in cotton bush and half killed.
{p. 151}
"In a Baptist church at Slater's Hill an attack of this kind was made on a man whom these people
considered notorious for Obeah. Afterwards the authorities had to take cognizance of their
outrages and sent some of them to prison. In returning from prison their song was:
Myal nigga, we come oh,
We go da jail, we come out.
Myal nigga, we come oh,
We work again, we come back,
Myal man we come oh.
And according to the song they did begin their revelries again.
"There is no doubt that these people laboured under a delusion from the devil. The Myalism of
these people also put on a somewhat different feature from that which existed before. They
professed to take up Obeahs, which the regular Myal man never did, for the work of the latter
was confined to shadows, recovering persons who were struck by duppies and bringing home
those who were carried away into the woods by the spirits."[10]
In this last statement, we fear, Mr. Banbury is a little confused, since "digging up Obeah" was
the distinctive characteristic of the Myalist, while we have here for the first time any reference to
"catching shadows," and their connection with "duppies." But what, it may be asked were these
shadows and duppies?
Captain Rattray calls our attention to the fact that "The Ashanti use a number of names translated
in to English by the words 'soul' or 'spirit' or 'ghost'." He then proceeds to define these various
terms. Thus Saman "is a ghost, an apparition, a spectre; this term is never applied to a living
person or to anything inherent in a living person. It is objective and is the form the dead are
sometimes seen to take, when visible on earth. . . . The word 'has no connection whatever with
any kind of soul."[11] This is the Jamaica "duppy," in every detail.
Again, he tells us: "The sasa is the invisible spiritual power of a person or animal which disturbs
the mind of the living, or works
[10. R. Thomas Banbury, Jamaica Superstitions, or The Obeah Book, Kingston, 1895.
11. Rattray, Religion and Art in Ashanti, p. 152.]

{p. 152}

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a spell or mischief upon them, so that they suffer in various ways. . . . The sasa is essentially the
bad, revengeful, and hurtful element in a spirit; it is that part which at all costs must be 'laid' or
rendered innocuous, the funeral rites . . . are really, I believe the placating, appeasing, and the
final speeding of a soul which may contain this very dangerous element in its composition."[12]
This is the "shadow" of Jamaica, where, however, both "duppy" and "shadow" have gradually
assumed a material element in the general acceptation of the "bush."
Thus for example, on the occasion of deaths in the neighbourhood, especially if by violence, the
superstitious will plug up every crack and crevice of their hovels at night, "to keep the duppies
out," an entirely useless precaution if the expected visitants were purely spiritual and so
impassible. After the hurricane in Montego Bay in November, 1912, when about a hundred were
drowned, I wanted to send a messenger on the following day on an errand that would keep him
out after dark. It was with the greatest difficulty that I found one--the usual form of excuse being:
"Everybody stay home a night. Too many det (dead) round, Sah!"
So, too, at a "bush" funeral, the most important circumstance is frequently the catching of the
"shadow." I have more than once watched the process from a very short distance, near enough, in
fact, to be able to hear all that was said, and to watch carefully most that was done, as the actors,
for such I must call them, scrambled and grasped at empty nothingness, with such realism of
pretence, that I found myself actually rubbing my eyes, almost convinced against myself that
there must be an elusive something that escaped my vision.
When sufficient rum had been imbibed, and the singing led by a "selfish" voice had keyed up the
assembly to the proper pitch, someone would excitedly cry out: "See 'im yere!" Immediately two
or three or even more rival hunters would start after that "shadow" at one and the same time.
From outside where I stood, it looked as if a general scramble had started in the hovel and I
could see forms falling over one another and hear the imprecations
[12. Ditto, p. 53.]

{p. 153}
and exclamations. After a time, one more "forward" than the rest would claim to have caught the
prey, only to be greeted with cries of scorn: " 'Im get away! See 'im dah!" Whereupon the scuffle
would start anew.
Eventually when all of them were breathless, dripping with perspiration, their clothes soiled or at
times actually torn, and eyes almost popping out of their heads with excitement, while a general
condition of hysteria had taken possession of the entire gathering, the feat would be
accomplished by some belligerent individual, who would clasp his hands and let out a veritable
Scream of defiance: "Me got 'im! Me got 'im!" with such vehemence that he would literally shout
down all protests to the contrary, with perhaps just a little hint of possible physical violence that
might follow as a support to the power of his vociferation. Then a box or at times a small coffin
would be produced and with much ado, not perhaps without a final effort to escape, the poor
"shadow" would be securely fastened in and properly "laid" to be buried later at the funeral.

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I have further listened to two disputants on the following morning, while the rum fumes were
still assertive, almost coming to blows as to which one of them had actually accomplished the
feat of catching the shadow, and yet when I questioned them individually a few days later,
despite the fact that I knew them intimately, both of them in perfect scorn, asserted, almost in the
same identical words: "Me no belieb in 'shadow,' Sah! 'Im all nonsense, Sah!"
As far as I could form any judgment from my own observations, it seemed to me that one of the
supposed avocations of the Obeah man was to catch the shadows of the living and nail them to a
cotton tree, while the Myal man, to undo the damage, was busying himself by "pulling" the
shadows from their imprisonment in the tree. Again as the shadow may be harmful to the family
of the deceased, it is the function of the Myal man and not the Obeah man to catch them at the
funeral--for this is a beneficial act.
Reverend A. J. Emerick, who devoted more than a decade to
{p. 154}
mission work in Jamaica, in a privately printed article gives us valuable information about
Myalism as it existed at the beginning of the present century. He writes: "To attempt to describe
Jamaica Mialism, a superstition imported from Africa, is like trying to describe the intricacies of
the most cunningly devised Chinese puzzle. Mialism is so mixed up with Obeahism, Duppyism
and other cults of African warp, together with whatever in Protestantism or Catholic ritual that
may appeal to the bizarre African imagination, that it is hard to tell which is which and what is
what. But for all that it is a most interesting study for the student of folklore. . . .
"But whatever may have been its origin, Mialism, properly so-called in Jamaica, is a species of
Spiritualism, mixed with a peculiar form of animism. Mialism with its Mial men and Mial
women, has been just as prevalent in Jamaica as Obeahism with its Obi men and Obi women. At
present you do not often hear the words, 'Mialism and Mial people,' but they are still there in
large forces, masquerading under other names.
"The mysterious operations of Mialism consist in communications with spirits or deaths ('dets' as
the Jamaican terms it). The persons who are favoured with communications with spirits are
called 'mial' people. They are said to be 'fo-eyed,' that is four-eyed, by which is meant that they
can see spirits and converse with them. Both sexes make pretention to this power; hence you
have mial men and mial women. They are believed to be able to kill or injure anyone by aid of
spirits. A mial man and obi man are equally dreaded. The mial man harms by depriving persons
of their shadows, or setting deaths upon them.[13] It is believed that after a person's shadow is
taken he is never healthy and if it be not caught, he must pine away until he dies. It is said that
the word for shadow in the language of some African tribes is the word for soul. Obi men and
mial people sometimes carry little coffins to catch and keep shadows, which shadows they are
supposed to nail to the cotton tree. This cotton tree in the days of slavery, like the oak in the days
of Druidism was worshipped
[13. As just noted, in my own experience that was the work of the Obeah man. The Myal man released them.]

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and sacrifices were offered at its roots. This tree was held in veneration and it was hard to get
Negroes to cut it down because they were afraid that if they did so the deaths which took up their
abode at its roots would injure them. There are many interesting superstitions connected with the
cotton trees, one curious belief about them was that they had the power of transporting
themselves at night to hold conferences together. . . .
"In connection with shadow taking is shadow catching, that is, -the restoring of the shadow to the
person who had been -deprived of it. The performance is rather strange. Shadow catching is
invariably done in the night. The person suspected of having lost his shadow is taken to the
cotton tree, where his shadow is, as the Jamaica people say, 'pell bound,' that is spellbound, or to
which it was nailed. The mial men and mial women are accompanied by a large concourse of
people. The victim is dressed all in white, with a white handkerchief about his head. Eggs and
fowls are taken together with cooked food, to the cotton tree. The mial men and mial women
parade up and down before the cotton tree with white cloths over their shoulders, singing and
dancing, and all the people join in the chorus. The cotton tree is pelted with eggs, and the necks
of fowls are wrung off and the bodies are cast at it. This is done to propitiate the deaths or
duppies that had their shadows enthralled at the tree. The singing and dancing proceed more
vigorously as the shadow begins to make signs of leaving the tree. A white basin of water to
receive it is held up. After they have sung and danced to their heart's content, they suddenly
catch up the person and run home with him, affirming that his shadow is caught and covered up
in the basin. When the patient has reached his home, a wet cloth is applied to his head and his
shadow is said to be restored to him."[14]
The narrative may here be interrupted to remark that Fr. Emerick fails to make the clear
distinction between Obeah man and Myal man, since at times the two functions are so confused
and even exercised by the same individual under a dual rôle. In general, however, Obeah is
secretive and malicious; Myalism is open
[14. A. J. Emerick, Jamaica Mialism, Woodstock, 1916, p. 39 ff.]

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and benevolent. When the "shadow" is "pulled" at the cotton tree, or "caught" at the funeral, just
as when Obeah is "dug up," the larger the body of witnesses the greater is the satisfaction of the
Myal man in this good deed which he performs. The Obeah man, on the contrary, seeks to avoid
all publicity, as his purpose is evil. And even if, as occasionally does happen, the same individual
is today an Obeah man and tomorrow a Myal man, to the best of my knowledge, he observes
perhaps unconsciously the technique of the rite which he is performing, and his entire manner
and method will change overnight.
Bringing the subject up to date, Fr. Emerick states: "Bedwardism has all the ear-marks of
mialism, and in its fetish origin is fundamentally the same. Its founder was a lunatic, named
Bedward, who was suffering from religious monomania. He claimed that he had visions from
God, and that the spirit of God had descended upon him and that in him the prophets were
reincarnated, at one time Jonas, at another Moses, then John the Baptist. He declared that in a
vision God had made known to him that the water of Hope River cleansed from diseases and sin.
It was rumoured that a sick woman was cured by partaking of this water. Belief in Bedward's
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miraculous powers gradually grew until persons from all over the island carne to get the healing
waters from him and stories of wondrous cures by him were spread about. The craze grew until
as many as twenty and thirty thousand Negroes used to gather every Wednesday morning along
the river bank at a place called August Town, on the Hope River. In the great throng were
hundreds of the crippled, the deformed, lepers, the blind, consumptives and sufferers from every
form of disease. At a few moments of nine the so-called prophet would appear in flowing white
robes, and with a wan