Star-Bathing, Alchemy, and the Cold Light of the Moon

In my article “The Crucified Serpent and The Book of Nabathean Agriculture,” which I published last February, I talked about the ancient Mesopotamian magic technique, described in The Book of Nabathean Agriculture, of “bathing” ritual items in the rays of the Moon or certain stars or planets at night. The item is then, according to that book, referred to as al-munajjam (star-bathed). I also mentioned the term used in several alchemical texts, “the Bath of the Stars,” illustrated by images of the Sun and Moon, sometimes represented as a king and queen, bathing in a basin together, along with images of babies being killed and drained of their blood. These images are accompanied with drawings representing stars and planets in the heavens being drawn down to Earth, or pouring forth their essences onto things: either in the form of a liquid shower, or in the form of light rays.

The implication is that the blood of the planets, the “children,” is offered to the Sun and the Moon for them to bathe in, and also to drink, as at least one illustration seems to show them drinking it out of a straw. This is something we see all over alchemical artwork, in fact, as the planets are thought to correspond to the metals being worked with in alchemy. Before modern chemistry it was thought (as documented in Mircea Eliade’s book The Forge and the Crucible: The Origins and Structure of Alchemy) that gold was the supreme metal, which all other metals would eventually turn into if given sufficient time to mature underground. These lesser metals were thought of as babes in the womb. The image of a king and queen bathing in their blood goes along with the then-popular notion that one could obtain bodily perfection, health, and the appearance of youth by bathing in and consuming the blood of children (an idea still thriving in Asia, and indeed proved effective by modern clinical trials). This is exactly what was said to result from drinking the alchemical gold. The alchemist, then, was a magician who slew these babes and resurrected then as gold, thus supernaturally superseding the role of time in the equation. The Sun was considered to “correspond” to gold, and the Moon to the second most noble metal, silver.

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The Massacre of the Innocents from The Book of Abraham the Jew. Blood of children is collected as the Sun and Moon drink it through a straw.

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Vitriol from Viridarium Chymicum by Daniel Stolcius (1624), showing the Sun and Moon pouring their essences (gold and silver, respectively) into a cup

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Friedrich Maurer, The Compass of the Wise, 1779, showing the rays of the planets being collected and then refracted

In The Book of Nabathean Agriculture, exposing things to the “rays” of the Moon, planets and stars is a way of infusing them with these “divine” essences. There are also formulas in that book for how to talk to the intelligences ruling over each of the planets.

It seems likely that all ritual magic formulas rest upon similar ideas. Why else are magicians required to perform their rites and create their ritual implements during certain hours and on certain days in which the planet whose powers relate to the work in question is ascendant in the sky? It must be that the magicians thought they could bring at least some essence of the heavenly luminaries down into their ritual chamber. Indeed, some records suggest that magicians at times have been able to bring down the bodies themselves, somehow. In Sefer Hekhalot, also known as The Third Book of Enoch: Also Called 3 Enoch and the Hebrew Book of Enoch, it tells the story of the fallen angels that bred giants with human women, and it says that they taught their hybrid children how to do ritual magic. One particular passage is worth quoting:

They brought down the sun, the moon, planets and constellations, and placed them before the idols on their right hand and on their left. How was it that they had the strength to bring them down? It was only because Uzza, Azza and Azael taught them sorceries that they brought them down, for otherwise they would not have been able to bring them down.

In Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, this is one of the things that the title character asks the demon Mephistopheles to be ready to do for him:

I charge thee wait upon me whilst I live
To do whatever Faustus shall command,
Be it to make the moon drop from her sphere
Or the ocean to overwhelm the world.

In modern times, “Drawing down the Moon” is the name of a ritual performed by Wiccans to invoke the lunar goddess, allegedly based on an ancient Thessalian witch spell to control the Moon and, if desired, withhold the coming of daytime. This rite is depicted on a contemporary vase showing two witches drawing down the Moon as if on a long chain. According to SourceMemory.net:

…Over time educated Greek men increasingly attributed destructive power to this rite, which they compared to making rivers run upstream and other acts violating the law of Nature.

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Drawing of a Thassalian vase showing the Drawing Down the Moon rite.

This connects it directly with the images of Mete (Baphomet) that I have described in a previous article about the alleged Templar artifacts discovered by Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall, which I believe depict the ultimate destruction of the world by making the heavens fall.

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The lid to the casket depicting Mete drawing down the Sun and Moon

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Another image of Baphomet bringing down the Heavens, provided by Hammer-Purgstall

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The Sun and the Moon taking the Bath of the Stars, from Splendor Solis

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Another depiction of the Bath of the Stars

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Yet another depiction of the Bath of the Stars

I have long wondered what to make of these ideas, and indeed, the entire Weltanschauung behind astrology. How did ancient and medieval man really perceive the Sun, Moon, and other heavenly bodies? While respecting ancient man’s claims of spiritual contact with the intelligences of these planets, and of benefiting from their essences, one has to wonder what effect a planet like Jupiter could really have on us when we are told it is so far away. Of course, as far as we know the ancients didn’t conceive of the planets as being far away. Were they just imagining that the planets were affecting them, and that they had “rays” to bath in? When they spoke of the Moon as a luminary (instead of merely a reflector of the Sun’s light) was that just because they didn’t know any better?

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Another rendering of the Massacre of the Innocents from The Book of Abraham the Jew

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Another image from another version of The Book of Abraham the Jew

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With this question in mind, it is interesting to consider what the Flat Earth community has to say about what the Sun, Moon, and planets are. Some say they are artificial holograms, others that they are “natural bodies” of some sort. They all seem to agree that they are much closer to us than claimed by modern astronomers (and of course, that they are revolve around us instead of the other way around). According to Eric Dubay (author of The Flat-Earth Conspiracy), the Sun and Moon are both “about 32 miles in diameter and about 3000 miles away” from the surface of the Earth. (He also claims that this is in line with what others have calculated throughout the millennia using trigonometry and sextants.) This is why they appear to be the same size in the sky. Dubay is also quick to point out that the paths traces by the Sun and Moon in the sky throughout the year are mirror images of one another and correspond to the yin-yang symbol, the Taoist emblem of Chinese alchemy that signified the union between lunar silver and solar gold.

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It is, if nothing else, a romantic notion that matches exactly how ancient man saw these two “luminaries”–as co-equal powers embodying the perfect balance between darkness and light. The number 32 also seems significant, as it is important in Freemasonry, and symbolized by a double-headed eagle (representing the conjoined solar and lunar powers, perhaps). Also, there are 32 white squares on a chessboard (representing daytime) and 32 black squares (representing nighttime). The chessboard is used in Masonic symbolism, and its appearance in the West has been historically connected to the Knights Templar. The 28 squares on the outer ring of the chessboard have been connected by author Michael Schneider (in his book The Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe) to the stages of the lunar cycle.

According to Dubay and others, the moon, instead of just reflecting sunlight, gives off its own light that is actually colder than the air around it. Some have done tests, such as seen on the following YouTube video:

Another interesting aspect of the Flat Earth movement is their claim that the Moon is a “semi-transparent body,” and that you can sometimes see stars through it. For instance, in 1794, it was reported in The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Astronomical Society that several astronomers in two separate locations witnessed:

…a star in the dark part of the moon, which had not then attained the first quadrature; and from the representations which are given the star must have appeared very far advanced upon the disc.

In 1848, The Times of London published a letter from Sir James South of the Royal Observatory in Kensington telling of his own experience with the translucent Moon:

On the 15th of March, 1848, when the moon was seven and a half days old, I never saw her unillumined disc so beautifully. On my first looking into the telescope a star of about the 7th magnitude was some minutes of a degree distant from the moon’s dark limb. I saw that its occultation by the moon was inevitable … The star, instead of disappearing the moment the moon’s edge came in contact with it, apparently glided on the moon’s dark face, as if it had been seen through a transparent moon; or, as if a star were between me and the moon … I have seen a similar apparent projection several times … The cause of this phenomenon is involved in impenetrable mystery.

Samuel Rowbotham, in his 1881 book Zetetic Astronomy: Earth Not a Globe, wrote:

During a partial solar eclipse the sun’s outline has many times been seen through the body of the moon. But those who have been taught to believe that the moon is a solid opaque sphere, are ever ready with ‘explanations,’ often of the most inconsistent character, rather than acknowledge the simple fact of semi-transparency. Not only has this been proved by the visibility of the sun’s outline through segments, and sometimes the very centre of the moon, but often, at new moon, the outline of the whole, and even the several shades of light on the opposite and illuminated part have been distinctly seen. In other words we are often able to see through the dark side of the moon’s body to light on the other side.

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Proctor & Gamble logo featuring Moon and stars

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Miller High Life

Some have connected this phenomenon to the symbol of the crescent and star associated with Islam, which can also be found on Masonic tracing boards, and on Ouija boards. Amazingly, when I spoke to the spirit Baphomet on the Ouija board some years ago (as detailed in my book Clock Shavings), he told me that he was speaking to us from the star next to the Moon. I didn’t make much of it at the time, but now I wonder if that is literally where he was speaking from. After all, Eliphas Levi depicted Baphomet with the waxing and waning Moon on either side of him. (Remember that the hybrid human-angels of the Sefer Hekhalot “brought down the sun, the moon, planets and constellations, and placed them before the idols on their right hand and on their left.”) An ancient Arabic text cited by Ibn Washhiya described a being named Bafumed as the “Sun of Suns and the Moon of Moons” (as reported in my book Baphomet: The Temple Mystery Unveiled).

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Eliphas Levi’s depiction of Baphomet

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Ouija board with crescent moon and star

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Masonic tracing board with crescent moon and star

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