The Occult Secret of the “Skull & Cross Bones” Symbol

The Skull & Cross Bones is an ancient symbol with a powerful, hidden meaning. Today the Skull & Cross Bones signifies “poison” and we’re warned to “stay away.” But this is an intentional deception by the elite to hide the symbol’s true meaning. In fact, the Skull & Cross Bones is an ancient instrument used by sorcerers to gain spiritual power.


The renowned Skull & Cross Bones symbol.

Today the Skull & Cross Bones is a symbol warning danger or poison. However, in its true esoteric meaning it is a symbol of unimaginable power and spirituality.

As with the lucky number 13, we have been tricked—by the elite families who own the biggest corporations and run the most heavily armed governments—out of understanding this symbol’s true meaning.

What is the deeper meaning behind the Skull & Cross Bones?

The great unknown secret behind the Skull & Cross Bones is that it is not a symbol of death, but of life. It was used by ancient priests and priestesses worldwide, from the Mayans in Mesoamerica to the Etruscans in Europe:

Above: 3,000 years ago the ancient Etruscans and ancient Mayans (twin civilizations that developed separately) both created Skull and Bones images.

Everywhere in Antiquity the Skull & Cross Bones symbol conveyed the same exact meaning. By the Middle Ages, intellectuals in Europe were calling it “Memento Mori,” which is Latin for “Remember you are mortal” and “Remember you must die.”

This is a reminder of the temporary nature of human life, and the inevitability of death. Thoughts of death remind us of the transient nature of earthly pleasures, which are fleeting; this contemplation opens the door to the soul within, which is the eternal life within each of us.

The art of attaining spiritual heights by contemplating directly upon a Skull & Cross Bones was never completely forgotten; it became common among occult groups, like the Freemasons.

Above: A Skull & Cross Bones is featured in the Masonic “Chamber of Reflection.”

“…a symbol of mortality and death. As the means for inciting the mind to contemplation… the skull and the crossbones are used in the Chamber of Reflection …”

– Albert Mackey (1807 – 1881), Secretary General of the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States

According to occult wisdom, when we contemplate death we look deeply within ourselves. By “reflecting” in this manner we find a hidden treasure within us in the form of eternal “life,” which ancient civilizations like the Egyptians celebrated using a cross symbol:

Above: Ankh cross, associated with eternal life and life after death.

The degree of the treasure we find is equal to the amount of “work” or “reflection” we put in.

“The camel gets down on his knees and says, ‘Put a load on me’…But when the camel is well loaded, it struggles to its feet and runs out into the desert, where it is transformed into a lion — the heavier the load that had been carried, the stronger the lion will be.”

– Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth (1904 – 1987)

When an initiate reflects extremely deeply, an amazing thing is discovered. The initiate acquires the knowledge (gnosis)  that he or she is an eternal being or soul, endless and divine.

“You don’t HAVE a soul, you ARE a soul. You HAVE a body.”

— C.S. Lewis (1898 – 1963)

Furthermore, one learns that this soul—which is our true eternal nature—is really  a “god” who has temporarily fallen down into the present world (the physical plane); fallen down into believing that we are actually the temporary mortal creature.

The Fall of Day by William Rimmer, 1869. This is a portrait of you. You are an eternal god or spirit who has temporarily fallen down into, and is temporarily living in, the material world.

The truth is that we are not the mortal creature (who will die). We are the eternal god.  But we have amnesia of our godhood! We have manifested (we are manifesting) this temporary life on earth, as if it were a dream.

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily.
Life is but a dream.

Wisdom Rhyme

We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.


Because we can’t see that our true nature is divine, the same as the Nature of the universe, we live cut off from this wisdom—first by the veil that separates the material world from the invisible spiritual world, and second by the elite powers mentioned earlier. However, don’t be fooled, we are the microcosm and we are the macrocosm too!

Think of the saying: As above, so below. We are not just the below (the creature), we are the above too (the universe, the god). Everything we see in “Nature” is really our own Nature; it’s Our own Creation, we are our own creation, and we are perfect.

Above: Man is not just the microcosm (the animal reflection) he is the macrocosm too (the god causing the reflection)!

Earth is divine also.  The ancients all believed so. This idea is called animism and it is found in all the ancient religions.

“The Kingdom of Heaven is spread upon the earth but men do not see it.”

— The Gospel of Thomas

Time is divine too, since it is a part of Creation. Hence the image of an hourglass with wings. For all the ancient cultures, wings were a symbol of divinity and eternity:

Above: Hourglass with wings. In one of its meanings it signifies the fact that Time is Divine.

As time runs out for the mortal creature, death will come. This is the teaching not only of the hourglass, but of the Skull & Cross Bones symbol. Though death comes, we will survive death, because we are all powerful, all circular, all knowing. We are gods. We created death.

“The Skull and cross bones are a continual reminder that the spiritual nature obtains liberation only after the philosophical death of man’s sensuous personality.”

Albert Pike (1809 – 1891), eminent and influential Freemason

For a true sorcerer the Skull & Cross Bones is a reminder that we are the great power in the heavens that has created our own mortal body on earth. We are in heaven right now, but we are dreaming that we are alive on earth. When death comes, the dream will be over, and we will awaken to this truth.

In Hebrew the word Shekinah translates to “God dwells in us.” In other words, “God” is not the old man “upstairs” as we’ve been led to believe. God is not someone or something outside of you. YOU are God. YOU are that old guy up there. It’s a part of YOU that you’ve been cut off from.

By Philippe Halsman, in collaboration with Salvador Dali, 1951

Thus, the Skull & Cross Bones was used in graveyards, catacombs and crypts to remind us not just of our mortality…but of our immortality; of our true God nature.

Above: Many stone tombs in Europe depict the Skull & Cross Bones symbol and bear inscriptions (epitaphs) which provoke the reader to consider his or her mortality…and immortality.

The Skull & Cross Bones motif was used by many American college fraternities, sororities and secret societies founded in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The most well-known example of this usage is the Skull & Bones society, a secret society at Yale University which derives its very name from the symbol.

Skull and Bones secret society, Yale University, Connecticut.

An uninvited “guest” to the tomb reported seeing:

“On the west wall, an old engraving representing an open burial vault, in which, on a stone slab, rest four human skulls, grouped about a fools cap and bells, an open book, several mathematical instruments, a beggar’s script, and a royal crown (17,18). On the arched wall above the vault are the explanatory words, in Roman letters, ‘We War Der Thor, Wer Weiser, Wer Bettler Oder, Kaiser?’ and below the vault is engraved, in German characters, the sentence; ‘Ob Arm, Ob Beich, im Tode gleich.’”

The English translation of the German words reads as follows:

“Who was the fool, who the wise man, beggar or king? Whether poor or rich, all’s the same in death.”

And what does that mean?

This is first a reference to the fact that we are all equal in life, and equal in death as well. Second it teaches that you will live many lives, because you are an eternal deity living in heaven, dreaming of these temporary lives. YOU are the fool, YOU are the wise man, YOU are the beggar and YOU are the king! However, since none of these lives are permanent, none of them are real. The only thing that is real is your eternal reincarnating soul.

Other well-known college fraternal organizations which use the skull and bones in some capacity in their public symbols include, but are not limited to: Dom-I-Necher, Kappa Sigma, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Phi Kappa Sigma, Tau Kappa Epsilon and Zeta Beta Tau Fraternities and Sigma Sigma Sigma and Chi Omega Sororities.

Other fraternal groups also use the skull and crossbones in their symbolism and/or in their secret fraternal rituals. These groups include the Knights of Columbus as well as the Knights Templar degree of Freemasonry.

Left: Still-shot of a scene from the movie The Wizard of Oz, inside Professor Marvel’s wagon (remember, he is the Wizard). We see a large skull centered over the doorway (1939). The message? Contemplating on the skull opens the door to higher wisdom. Right: 3° Tracing Board featuring skull and cross bones by W. Bro. Josiah Bowring, Oil on panel, 1819.

Knowing that we are both the Creator and the Created, the old Pagans were fond of saying, “Carpe Diem” or “Seize the day,” which tells us to “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we shall die.” So live life today, while it is here, while you are alive.

This favorite 3-minute clip from the movie Dead Poet’s Society expresses this idea beautifully:

The Pagan saying “Carpe Diem” evolved among medieval Europeans into the idea of Danse Macabre:

The Dance of Death (1493) by Michael Wolgemut

“no matter one’s station in life, the Dance of Death unites all. The Danse Macabre consists of the dead or personified death summoning representatives from all walks of life to dance along to the grave, typically with a pope, emperor, king, child, and labourer. They were produced to remind people of the fragility of their lives and how vain were the glories of earthly life. Its origins are postulated from illustrated sermon texts; the earliest recorded visual scheme was a now lost mural in Paris dating from 1424-25.”



Beginning in the later seventeenth century, undertakers supplied the living with objects concerning the recently deceased. Printed ephemera, such as the funeral invitation below featuring the Skull & Cross Bones capped with a winged hourglass (denoting the spiritual and eternal nature of life and death) were common.

In past centuries, soldiers were taught the true meaning of the Skull & Cross Bones to help prepare them for battle. German armies used the Skull & Cross bones many times.

In the image above we see the Totenkopf, a German word for the deathman´s head. This is an old symbol of momenti mori. It consists usually of the skull and the mandible of the human skeleton. It can also include two crossed longbones (femurs).

A modern memory of the idea of life after death expressed in the Skull & Cross Bones is present in small isolated pockets throughout Europe, which even today have not fully been converted to Christianity:

“Our remaining Gaelic Speaking communities are scattered around Ireland and some 25 years ago the Government funded a Gaelic speaking Radio and later TV network primarily to encourage and foster the language.


The radio is intimate and twice daily they give a ‘death notice’ round up where they give the latest deaths in the various communities, together with the funeral arrangements. The literal translation  from the Gaelic for the death announcements is …

‘Gone on The Journey Of Truth Today’ is Johnny Bradley etc…


Death is regarded as just that, “The Journey,” into truth where all illusion and delusion eventually must shed until the ‘entity’ is aware of just who and what they were and should be.”

– Donal O’Siodhachain, Bardic Poet, 2011

Representations of Memento Mori appear in very early Classical literature. Sophocles (circa 429 BCE) says the following in Oedipuis the King, which shows he believed the soul lives on after death—an idea common to virtually all of the great Greek philosophers:


“Let every man in mankind’s frailty

Consider his last day; and let none

Presume on his good fortune until he find

Life, at his death, a memory without pain.”

— Sophocles

We see the eternal nature of Time in the following image of a Triptych made of human skulls. The Triptych is a symbol of life, the skull is a symbol of death. Combining the two shows that death and life are one, created by the same Creator. The message is simple: You are the Creator and you are the Created:

Above: Triptych formed by skulls in The Cemetery of the Capuchin Fathers in the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Rome, Italy.


Here we see the preserved remains of 4,000 Capuchin friars on display. These remains have been sculpted into a powerful and monumental work of art, with skulls and bones being used for alters, chandeliers, and ornamental wall designs. The intention here is not to scare but to inspire prayer, contemplation, deep thoughts, and meditation; in other words, “awakening” to the true higher Self that survives


The symbol of the Skull & Cross Bones did not originally stand for poison. Unfortunately, today it does because the powers that be in the world are trying to cover up its true meaning; this an effort to keep the masses down, disempowered, and ignorant as to the true nature of human existence.



– Symbol of our passing mortality
– Reminder of how quickly time passes, so you should “Seize the Day” as we will be dead soon
– Call to enjoy life
– Though death will come, we will survive death
– We are death and we are life, we are an eternal god in this moment (and every moment) dreaming that we are alive on earth. The god is the reality, the life here on earth is the dream.



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dsc_0129Richard Cassaro’s new book, The Missing Link, explores the meaning, transformations and propagation of the ancient world’s most important religious icon. His first book, Written in Stone, is a wide-ranging exploration of hitherto-unknown connections among Freemasons, medieval cathedral builders and the creators of important ancient monuments, in support of his theory that a spiritually advanced mother culture, lost to history, is behind many of the world’s architectural and artistic traditions.

Prior to the publication of Written in Stone, Cassaro enjoyed a successful career as a U.S. correspondent, professional journalist, and photo researcher for Rizzoli Publications, one of the world’s leading media organizations. Cassaro, who is a graduate of Pace University in New York City, has examined first-hand the ancient ruins and mystical traditions of Egypt, Mexico, Greece, Italy, Sicily, France, England, India, Peru and Spain; he has lectured on his theories to great acclaim in the United States, Egypt, Italy, Spain and Peru.

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