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The Significance of Blood in Magic and Rites according to Theosophy

Blood is a property very significant in the subject and study of Occultism. Rudolf Steiner, German philosopher (founded Anthroposophy), lecture on esoteric Christianity, The Etherisation of the Blood or his pamphlet, Occult Significance of Blood is an example. The history of the subject follows in accordance with early scientific studies into chemistry, hemotology, etc. As to the magical and religious element, blood is spoken of throughout the old religions, as most notably in Judaism and Christianity. But what makes the blood so important?

The theory basically, is that the allegorical and philosophical significance underlying blood rites, blood magic, tell us that the root source of the blood is the Supreme Substance (Aithēr) itself. Blood is not merely a substance of the physical body, but carries in it, occultists teach — the vital essence of the universal substance. Who remembers Bram Stoker’s film Dracula? In this opening act, a classic and epic scene, Dracula says, that:

“the blood is the life.”

Original Uncut Script

Dracula: “Is this my reward for defending God’s Church?”
Priest: “Sacrilege! Do not turn your back on Christ.”
Dracula: “I renounce Him! I renounce God! …and all you hypocrites who feed off Him!” “If my beloved dies in Hell, so shall I…

I, Dracula!

Voivode of Transylvania…shall arise from my own death…to avenge hers with all the powers of darkness!”

“The blood is the life
and it shall be mine!”

Theosophical Notes

“Verily modern science will never be able to dig deep enough into the cosmological formations to find the roots of the world-stuff or matter, unless she works on the same lines of thought as the medieval alchemist did.”—Helena P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1, p. 544fn.

“Blood begets phantoms, and its emanations furnish certain spirits with the materials required to fashion their temporary appearances. “Blood,” says Levi, “is the first incarnation of the universal fluid; it is the materialized vital light. Its birth is the most marvellous of all nature’s marvels; it lives only by perpetually transforming itself, for it is the universal Proteus. The blood issues from principles where there was none of it before, and it becomes flesh, bones, hair, nails . . . tears, and perspiration. It can be allied neither to corruption nor death; when life is gone, it begins decomposing; if you know how to reanimate it, to infuse into it life by a new magnetization of its globules, life will return to it again. The universal substance, with its double motion, is the great arcanum of being; blood is the great arcanum of life.”

“Blood,” says the Hindu Ramatsariar, “contains all the mysterious secrets of existence, no living being can exist without. It is profaning the great work of the Creator to eat blood.”

In his turn Moses, following the universal and traditional law, forbids eating blood.

Paracelsus writes that with the fumes of blood, one is enabled to call forth any spirit we desire to see; for with its emanations‡ it will build itself an appearance, a visible body — only this is sorcery (…)” (Helena P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled, Vol. 2., p. 567)

Section i Introduction on the Sun and Blood. Romantic mythical notions of the Blood

Concerning the rationale and theoretical significance of blood In the Occult philosophies, it is taught that Blood is a modification of Matter, and its SUBSTANCE or essence is beyond physical MATTER. A Commentary narrates in The Secret Doctrine (Vol. 1, p. 541):

The Sun is the heart of the Solar World (System) and its brain is hidden behind the (visible) Sun. From thence, sensation is radiated into every nerve-centre of the great body, and the waves of the life-essence flow into each artery and vein. . . .The planets are its limbs and pulses. . . .(Commentary.)

It is this “brain,” that is termed the PRIMAL or CENTRAL SUN in the triple mystery (triplásios) of the Sun-god, that is the idea underlying the Christos-mythology of Father-Son in ancient theology. This is in reference to the SOLAR Mysteries.

The ‘life-essence,’ or universal fluid the alchemists taught was identical to the nucleus of the Magnes, or primordial matter. The Suns are not globes in combustion, but its source, they call the real Sun is hidden; while the physical luminary is only its shell, or reflection.

“Do you really think with the physicists that it is the sun which is the cause of Light? We say that the sun gives nothing from himself, because he has nothing to give. He is a reflection and nothing more; a bundle of electro-magnetic forces, one of the countless milliards of knots of Fohat” (Helena P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine Commentaries, The Hague: I.S.I.S. foundation, 2010, pg. 237.).

The visible Sun is but a window, which reflects the real interior work of a hidden Sun, the occultists elaborate numerously. The Theosophists, taught that this centre-sun contained the reservoir of all cosmic energy. It is the storehouse of the vital electricity or fluid it self-generates, that feeds the whole Kosmic system. Its vital fluid undergoes regular circulation throughout the system, like the circulation of blood in the physiology of the human body. The universe and earth are spoken of as breathing.

Nature is looked upon as a living organism in this conception of nature. It is like a living creature’s organic constitution. It is in fact, the mystery behind the Sun, the Anima, or the Life the ancients worshiped, mistaken for “Sun-worship.” This underlies the idea that ancient myths and religions were based on Sun-worship, but just as the Ghebers of Persia, their doctrine was not fireworship. The fire they allude to is a noumenal or primordial element, which the Fire-philosophers teach is fire in its highest, or purest form. This invisible fire is taught to be from the “Central Sun,” and it is spoken of as the “triple” Deity.

The pulsing of vital matter in the central Sun of our System [is] the source of all that life which crowds the earth, and without doubt overspreads the other planets, to which the [physical] Sun is the mighty Minister.” (Helena P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine Vol. 2, pg. 530-31.)

Blood is the incarnation of a higher and purer form of matter it asserts:

This “central sun” of the Occultists, which even Science is obliged to accept astronomically, for it cannot deny the presence in Sidereal Space of a central body in the milky way, a point unseen and mysterious, the ever-hidden centre of attraction of our Sun and system—this “Sun” is viewed differently by the Occultists of the East. While the Western and Jewish Kabalists (and even some pious modern astronomers) claim that in this sun the God-head is specially present—referring to it the volitional acts of God—the Eastern Initiates maintain that, as the supra-divine Essence of the Unknown Absolute is equally in every domain and place, the “Central Sun” is simply the centre of Universal life-Electricity the reservoir within which that divine radiance, already differentiated at the beginning of every creation, is focused. Though still in a laya§, or neutral condition, it is, nevertheless, the one attracting, as also the ever-emitting, life Centre.” (Helena P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine Vol. 2, pg. 240, fn.)

§ Dialogues on “zero-point” before current science.

The blood is not merely a substance of the physical body, but carries in it, occultists teach — the vital essence of the universal substance:

“…the Occultist (…) can hardly hope for any help or recognition from science, which will reject both his “aniyamsam aniyasam” (the absolutely spiritual atom) and his Manasaputras — “mind-born men.” By resolving the “single material element” into one absolute irresolvable element — Spirit, or “Root-matter,” thus placing it at once outside the reach and province of physical philosophy — he has, of course but little in common with the orthodox men of science. He maintains that Spirit and Matter are two FACETS of the unknowable UNITY, their apparently contrasted aspects depending, (a) on the various degrees of differentiation of the latter, and (b) on the grades of consciousness attained by man himself. This is, however, metaphysics, and has little to do with physics — however great in its own terrestrial limitation that physical philosophy may now be. Nevertheless, once that Science admits, if not the actual existence, at any rate, the possibility of the existence, of a Universe with its numberless forms, conditions, and aspects built out of a “single substance,” it has to go further. Unless it also admits the possibility of One Element, or the one life† of the Occultists. It will have to hang up that “single substance,” especially if limited to only the solar nebulae…” (Helena P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1, p. 543-44)

It is easy to show, however, how Scientists, wedded to their materialistic views, have endeavoured, ever since the day of Newton, to put false masks on fact and truth. But their task is becoming with every year more difficult; and with every year also, Chemistry, above all the other sciences, approaches nearer and nearer the realm of the Occult in nature. It is assimilating the very truths taught by the Occult Sciences for ages, but hitherto bitterly derided. “Matter is eternal,” says the Esoteric Doctrine. But the matter the Occultists conceive of in its laya, or zero state, is not the matter of modern science; not even in its most rarefied gaseous state.” (Helena P. Blavatsky, 1888, The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1, p. 544-45)

The Sun, in theory transmits Anima throughout its systems.

Ani-ma (the ancient god) is the LIFE-ESSENCE, and a universal principle in the Hylozoic view of nature.

“It is said in a work on Geology that it is the dream of Science that “all the recognized chemical elements will one day be found but modifications of a single material element.” (“World-Life,” p. 48.) Occult philosophy has taught this since the existence of human speech and languages, adding only, on the principle of the immutable law of analogy — “as it is above, so it is below” — that other axiom, that there is neither Spirit nor matter, in reality, but only numberless aspects of the One ever-hidden is (or Sat). The homogeneous primordial Element is simple and single only on the terrestrial plane of consciousness and sensation, since matter, after all, is nothing else than the sequence of our own states of consciousness, and Spirit an idea of psychic intuition. Even on the next higher plane, that single element which is defined on our earth by current science, as the ultimate undecomposable constituent of some kind of matter, would be pronounced in the world of a higher spiritual perception as something very complex indeed. Our purest water would be found to yield, instead of its two declared simple elements of oxygen and hydrogen, many other constituents, undreamt of by our terrestrial modern chemistry. As in the realm of matter, so in the realm of Spirit, the shadow of that which is cognized on the plane of objectivity exists on that of pure subjectivity.” (Helena P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 2, p. 542)

Vitality in the blood

Blood, as stated, is one of the modifications, or innumerable states of the universal Proteus. Blood is its first materialized incarnation. The essence of the blood is volitional; and it is through the blood, that the vital-life in the body circulates. Under spiritual cultivation, its volitional power is rich with electrical, or vital-giving life, energizing the cells, and transmitting that volitional power to the body.

  • Blood is the lowest principle of the human body;
  • The highest is the Self, or Augoeides (with the Sun as its symbol).

The Augoeides is the “only God we can have cognizance of,” which “has the power to subdue passions and desires.”

The role of the physical body (or sōma) is to relate the one element to the lower planes. The body possesses a psychic (subtle) body, or astral döppelganger, which serves as the mediator between mind and matter. It functions as the medium of action and sensibility, between the terrestrial and astral plane. Blood is, therefore in the classical metaphysics, closely tied to this body, termed other names, depending on the context, e.g., vital prototypal body, eidolon (Greek), etc.

§Eidolon means “double,” and is also a term used for “the (astral) double,” broadly.

The Astral-double

The human constitution possesses an eidolon, that has its own nerve-centres and cells. The bodily organ associated with the eidolon (linga-sarira) is the spleen, where it is “curled up” in the process of its materialization. The döppelganger is said to emerge from the left-side of the body in this process, forming its shape, and acquiring a shape, using nearby particles of living organisms. It is the same thing elementals are said to do to the eidolon or “shell” of the dead or the living, when entering and re-animating them. It is the spleen, that is the link between the eidolon, and the physical body. In the ancient Greek psychology, certain organs were linked with the human principles. The spleen is the physical vehicle of the infernal light, known as the sidereal force (or “astral light”) to the occultists.

The double (döppelganger, or eidolon) in its relation to mysteries of blood, has three aspects, or functions. H.P. Blavatsky on the spiritualist phenomena describes it as being drawn out, evolving a shadowy, gyrating essence (like smoke), that gradually forms shape, by drawing certain particles from the surrounding atmosphere.

  • This is the one aspect of the döppelganger, that can form outside of the body.
  • The other aspect of the astral, is the illusory double, projected by the mind.

Its volitional power is rich with electrical, or vital-giving life, and energizes the cells, which transmit that volitional power to the body.

There are ways to accumulate energy. Two for example:

  1. By acquiring it externally, or from others;
  2. Inwardly [from within]

Just as the regulatory heart-beats of the Solar-HEART, contracting, and so forth, feeding its system, so the same in the alchemist:

“Theo: We assert that the divine spark in man being one and identical in its essence with the Universal Spirit, our “spiritual Self” is practically omniscient, but that it cannot manifest its knowledge owing to the impediments of matter. Now the more these impediments are removed, in other words, the more the physical body is paralysed, as to its own independent activity and consciousness, as in deep sleep or trance, or, again, in illness, the more fully can the inner Self manifest on this plane. This is our explanation of those truly wonderful phenomena of a higher order, in which undeniable intelligence and knowledge are exhibited.” (Helena Blavatsky, Key to Theosophy, pg. 28)

By its complex nature, the soul may descend and ally itself so closely to the corporeal nature as to exclude a higher life from exerting any moral influence upon it. On the other hand, it can so closely attach to the nous or spirit, as to share its potency, in which case its vehicle, physical man, will appear as a God even during his terrestrial life. Unless such union of soul and spirit does occur, either during this life or after physical death, the individual man is not immortal as an entity. The psyche is sooner or later disintegrated. Though the man may have gained “the whole world”, he has lost his “soul”. Paul, when teaching the anastasis, or continuation of individual spiritual life after death, set forth that there was a physical body which was raised in incorruptible substance. The spiritual body is most assuredly not one of the bodies, or visible or tangible larvae, which form in circle-rooms, and are so improperly termed “materialized spirits”. When once the metanoia, the full developing of spiritual life, has lifted the spiritual body out of the psychical (the disembodied, corruptible astral man, what Colonel Olcott calls “soul”), it becomes in strict ratio with its progress, more and more an abstraction for the corporeal senses. It can influence, inspire, and even communicate with men subjectively; it can make itself felt, and even, in those rare instances, when the clairvoyant is perfectly pure and perfectly lucid, seen by the inner eye (which is the eye of the purified psyche – soul). But how can it ever manifest objectively?” (Helena P. Blavatsky, Collected Writings, Vol. 1, p. 293)

It is the Augoeides she speaks of, associated with the symbolic color of sun-yellow, as opposed to red blood.

The physical blood generally serves as the physical carrier or bearer for:

(1) volition or latent force;

(2) circulating vitality; and

(3) the shadow-double.

All their life-elements are transmitted through each other, while the essence of the blood, coagulated by the primal electrical principle of life transmits volition to every part of the body.

The nature of man is one, in which this psychical element in its descent had evolved what the Platonists call, the vital congruities, with the prepared matter; which was then shaped gradually into the form of an animal (Plato’s Phaedo). So, the Platonists taught of there being a three-fold “vital congruity” to the human constitution.

The three degrees of bodily existence, are the:

  1. Aetherial,
  2. Aerial, or Vital;
  3. Terrestrial

The aetherial is the Augoeides of the chaste — the vehicle of divine virtue. Having brought its irrational part (the lower or terrestrial man) under subjection to the rational nature, one becomes wedded to that principle, whereby they partake in the potency of the inner god. The ancients taught, that to return to the aetherial state, the aerial element, finding itself in an incomplete process of purification — following the dissolution of the terrestrial body — must undergo a cyclical transmigration. This concept was taught in the West, and not only in Asian schools of thought. It was a common myth, that the soul has descended into matter, from its original state, and the atom underwent this cyclical journey to return.

Aithēr is the source.

There are allegorical and philosophical significances of the rite of blood:

[a] The offering of blood in Initiation and Rites (exchanging life; absorbing life; blood-giving; or life-giving to the gods), and;

[b] Differences between the 1) symbolic colour of sun-yellow, as the symbol of pure blood and the stream of life in the sunlight; and 2) Red blood, symbolizing the colour of ‘black adepts’ (see Helena P. Blavatsky, Miscellaneous Notes, Collected Writings, Vol. IX., pg. 64.).

Blood, soul, and light, are synonymous in the language of the MYSTERIES.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye have not life in yourselves.” (New Testament, John 6:53)

“Every initiate of the “last hour” became, by the very fact of his initiation, a son of God. When Maxime, the Ephesian, initiated the Emperor Julian into the Mithraic Mysteries, he pronounced as the usual formula of the rite, the following: “By this blood, I wash thee from thy sins. The Word of the Highest has entered unto thee, and His Spirit henceforth will rest upon the NEWLY-BORN, the now-begotten of the Highest God. . . . Thou art the son of Mithra.” “Thou art the ‘Son of God,‘ ” repeated the disciples after Christ’s baptism.” (Helena P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled, Vol. 2., p. 567)

Section ii Blood the First Incarnation of the Universal Substance

Physical blood can be used to develop magnetic bonds, and strengthen results, it is taught. This practice, e.g., of strengthening rites with the use of blood is not a divine practice.

As regards to the “magical” or magnetic properties of blood, of consuming blood and assistance in conjuration:

Many have used rites and ceremony to evoke, with use of blood.

The offering of blood has another meaning, other than literally throwing people into volcanos and so forth. An offering, or sacrifice is a Renunciation of Self, or in the occult sense, it involves the transmutation of the vital-fluid. It is a sacrifice of worldly pleasures, i.e., an act of submission, like the nuns, priests, and ascetics. The student, instead of wasting their vital-fluid becomes purified, drawing it into their constitution.

The life-blood is infused with a degree of vitality and action, to which they feel acted upon (or being moved) by their God from within. They gain that strength, almost all mythology and art depicts as the god that conquers the lower self (the python, or dragon).

The Archeus, or all-pervading cause of the Greek is of a magnetic nature, attracting, and repulsing other sympathetic, and antipathetic elements, or forces of different planes. We find ourselves — due to the attraction to those forces in our constitution — always inclined to debasement. We are pulled in directions we are not fully conscious of, until we take some action of renunciation, or control and moderation. Ordinarily, we could not, except without realizing we have a higher noetic nature to the mind and action (will-power), than our animal side.


† The Mandaeans of Iraq often called Deity, “the Life,” as in the Ginza Rba.

‡ Helena P. Blavatsky, Collected Writings, Vol. IX, p. 111-112: “The elemental world has become a strong factor in the Karma of the human race (…) In the earlier ages, when we may postulate that man had not yet begun to make bad Karma, the elemental world was more friendly to man because it had not received unfriendly impressions. But so soon as man began to become ignorant, unfriendly to himself and the rest of creation, the elemental world began to take on exactly the same complexion and return to humanity the exact pay, so to speak, due for the actions of humanity. (…) Being unconscious and only acting according to the natural laws of its being, the elemental world is a powerful factor in the workings of Karma. And so long as mankind does not cultivate brotherly feeling and charity towards the whole of creation, just so long will the elementals be without the impulse to act for our benefit. But so soon and wherever man or men begin to cultivate brotherly feeling and love for the whole of creation, there and then the elementals begin to take on the new condition.”

“Elementals (…) are able, or rather it is possible for them, to enter into the sphere of unprotected persons, and especially those persons who are engaged in the study of occultism. And then they become agents in concentrating the karma of those persons, producing troubles and disasters often, or other difficulties which otherwise might have been so spread over a period of time as to be not counted more than the ordinary vicissitudes of life.” (ibid.)

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