Couertesy of and Copyright 2014 Linda Falorio
The Cult of Headless Gods and Disembodied Heads
©1993 GL Hoke / ZAXON 2108211
There are a very few of the world’s religions’ gods and demons who are either represented by Disembodied Heads or Headless Bodies. What is the esoteric meaning of the head separated from the body, and what is so divine and/or demonic about it?
Using a quote from Herbert Guenther about Rahu/Ketu
(a decapitated god/demon I’ll refer to later) :
<The upper end of sushumna comes up to the cranium, then forward to ajna where Nothingness enters and descends and is called Rahu/Time/Pure Consciousness. Rahu connects a (wo)man to the stellar worlds. Rahu has no existence itself but is Nothingness/Abyss.>
To illustrate this further with Crowley’s formula expanded:
0 = Emptiness / headlessness = Rahu
2 = Bliss / naga / body / sex = Ketu
° = Abyss at the decapitation point of Qoph
In the Sushumna of the etheric body in Yoga :
Right / Ida / Sun / Prana =
Rahu / Eclipse / BlackHole =
Rahu = head / brain / linga / head / swastika / angles
Left / Pingala / Moon / Apana =
Ketu / Eclipse / GravityWarp =
Ketu = phallus / spine / yoni / tail / coil / curves
Center / Sushumna / Saturn =
Kalagni / Fire of Time / Pulsars
Another quote on Rahu as Ego / Nothingness :
<Like the nodes of the lunar orbit that causes eclipses, the self is a precise but abstract and insubstantial place where magnetic lines intersect.>
The decapitation point is Qoph, the non-existent Sephiroth where Nothingness, Chaos, the Infinite can enter into the Tree of your Life, carrying the not-you outside of Time and Space. The lesson : you/ego do not exist in the ultimate Reality of this Chaos/Cosmos of a Uni/Multi-verse. From this comes the freedom of movement and Maya/Magick in which you can put on any mask and become whoever or whatever you wish to channel thru the hollow tube of your ego. By becoming Headless you leave that space for illusory Masks of your choosing. Just as <God> assumes all forms, so can you, at least in your mind, that great projector of the film of your life. So get out that Sword and cut off that which limits you. We in Western civilization have been in our heads but cut off from our bodies for too long. Now maybe if we open up that Black Hole at Qoph to let it temporarily blank out our Head’s programming (we still need that disk handy to go to work Monday), then we can open to the alternate realities and universes in there and out there, whether psychological or alien/praeterhuman. Headlessness is a state of No-Mind that is in reality a funnel of All-Mind and future Nu-Mind.
In the far East
Kali/Durga/Chamunda, the wrathful Indian Goddess, is usually depicted holding decapitated heads of gods, husbands, men, and demons. These asura/demons are liberated when beheaded by a god/deva or goddess/devi. Are we trusting enough of our gods to be beheaded by them ? They only mean to liberate us, or eat us ?
Chinnamasta is a trully Headless goddess, having severed her own head with a sword in a state of religious ecstacy and devotion. The three serpentine streams of blood issuing from her neck feed the mouth of her own head and her two attendant dakini’s heads. These three streams are the three psychic channels : the ida, pingala, and sushumna. Once again the inner energies are liberated through severance of the head/ego.
Ganesha is the son of Parvati, created alone from her sweat. When Shive came home to find him, assuming him to be another man/god’s son by her, he beheaded him. Once he realized the truth, he replaced his head with that of the first animal he met on the road, an elephant. Thus the beheaded and reattached god Ganesha was born, who opens and closes doorways for us. In his tantricke form Ganesh sits upon detached skulls, better than sitting on me !
Shiva also has a form as a Kapalika, a wandering crazy tantricke who forever carries a skullcup made from the head of the god Brahma. This is a penance for his beheading of Brahma when he said he could see the top of Shiva’s infinitely extended lingum, a lie, of course! Brahma, the creater, used to have five heads and now has only four. Maybe in four more aeons Brahma will be completely headless and liberated, and Shiva will have a full set of dishes from the skulls. There is also a Buddhist form of dancing Shiva called Hevajra who has sixteen arms holding skullcups, each of which holds a different god or animal.
Copyright VLatta 2014 of Kapalas and Kalapa Malas owned by this author
The Tibetans, because of their cold desert climate, cannot bury or burn their dead, so they hack the bodies apart upon ceertain sacred rocks, and feed the pieces to the vultures. The excess bones left over are used by the tantricks to make skullcups, thighbone trumpets, vertebrae rosaries, and carved bone aprons.
In Western Magickes
In Judaism, I’ve read a theory about the practice of circumcism, which is a symbolic beheading, that it is a copying of the snake shedding it’s skin as a symbol of immortality. So if a man has the skin of his penis cut off to reveal a new (and painful) skin beneath, then he and his penis will be eternal immortal forever. Can you tell a combination of sadistic and masochistic men invented this religion ? ! The Rabbi was the beheader, and he ate the foreskin !
In Christianity, a religion known for crucifixion and other tortures, there is John the Baptist who at the end of his life ended up as a bloody head on a silver platter carried by the erotically dancing Salome. There is a scene in a movie based on Oscar Wilde’s <Salome> in which after her dance with his head she sits on his beheaded face and grinds a bit. I can’t think of a happier baptized head !
Also lots of Roman christians were beheaded, and loved it, making them saints. Perhaps the christian monk’s tonsure of the top of his hair is a symbolic beheading, when they couldn’t take the pain any longer.
The pagan Celts were head collectors who, after winning a battle, encased them in niches in their temples or kept them pickled in clay jars as trophies. The head is the container of the spirit. Our carved Halloween pumpkins are probably a safer modern version of this cult of the head.
A bloody decapitated head impaled on a stake says volumes about who is allowed into town. Vlad the Impaler believed in this form of communication. The old European legend of the Vampire and Dracula also hints of the dark side of beheading. The vampire doesn’t completely behead his/her victim, but partially tears at the jugular at the neck to get the vital nourishment of the blood/energy of the Throat/Qoph chakra. Also note that one of the ways to kill a vampire is to behead it. A thirsty vampire needs a bleeding Chinnamasta for a partner !
Later in Europe Joseph Guillotine invented that wonderful beheading device during the French Revolution to behead Marie Antoinette and others. They say that for a second of two there is still enough oxygenated blood in the head for the eyes to look up from the basket and process the information in the fading light that I Am Dead !
There are stories of magickians who alchemically made a bronze head that could be awakened and made to speak as an oracle. The Head of Baphomet that was supposedly worshipped by the old Templars (and the present OTO) was probably such an old idol reawakened and worshipped.
Later in the Magicks of the turn of the century the <Invocation of <The Headless One> from <A Fragment of a Graeco-Egyptian Ritual> translated by Charles W. Goodwin 1852 was developed into <The Bornless One> ritual by Israel Regarde of the Golden Dawn that grew into <Liber Samekh> by Aleister Crowley. Please refer to all three translations and versions of this, the only trully Headless Ritual. This will magickally open the Gateways that I referred to earlier.
Santa Sima La Muerte – Our Lady of Death
The Mayans and especially the Aztecs mostly went for the hearts of their sacrifices, but they also had temple walls of the skulls of their victims. They also had deities who were depicted with blood squirting out of their trunks in the form of red serpents.
Later Northern AmerIndians scalped their white enemies, having learned this technique from the French. This too is a partial beheading ritual, especially when you haven’t the room for all those full heads lying around the teepee.
The Colonial American Legend of the Headless Horseman was probably originally based on the Pagan/Wiccan European legend of the Wild Hunt. This ghost rode at midnight in between the worlds, scaring the be-jesus out of all who saw him.
From around the world aboriginal tribal head-hunters struck fear in all the white-men for their practice of beheading and then shrinking their skins, another space saver.
From Afrika and Afrikans mixed with Carib Island Indians comes the practice of the preserved calibash, a clay or gourd jar holding either the head/skull or other body parts of a dead person in a magickal matrix to keep the spirit of that person at the beck and call of the Voudoun Hougan or Mama.
The Praeterhuman <Lam> has been painted by Aleister Crowley early in this century as a large disembodied alien head. It is said by Kenneth Grant and others that thru the Gateway of this painting one can access alien realms,
In my own shamanic experience in 1986 the Space Goddess <Sirini> appeared to me as a disembodied woman’s head surrounded by snaky hair in a whirling op-art matrix
Other magickal friends in Western Pennsylvania have named their production of writings and art as the <Headless Press>. This is based on their experiences of Headless deities, Headless spaces, and Headless States of Dark UnConsciousness.
Lest I forget even the whimsical, it is apparent to me that a modern version of the Headless/Bodiness God is in the LooneyToons cartoon character of <TAZ> the Tazmanian Devil. I have a salt-and-pepper shaker that has Taz’s separate head with wide open devouring mouth, an obvious symbol of Rahu and Mahakala, and his separate tornado tail, a symbol of Ketu and the Naga realm. TAZ = Teth + Aleph + Zayin.
And at this time of Halloween/Samhain I am also reminded of the popular practice of wearing Halloween Masks. And masks are an attempt to hide one’s own head, to become headless and hidden, and to put on another head/ego manifesting a hidden/subconscious/monstrous dark-side self. Boo !
In the Himalayas
The rest of this booklet is about my favorite Transcendent God/Demon, originally known as a combination of Rakshasha/Nagaraja : Rahu/Ketu, who I think is also the prime example world-wide of a Headless God and Bodiless Head combined in tense harmony.
In Hindu mythology the demon Rahu is said to have stolen into the ranks of the gods while they were feasting on Amrita or nectar. He sneaked in between Sun and Moon, who were seated together, and these gods, recognizing the fraud, informed Vishnu who was presiding over the feast, about the intruder. Vishnu immediately cut off the demon’s neck. The miscreant, however, had already quaffed the nectar which had been served and hence could not die. So his head remains in the heavens as Rahu and body as Ketu. He is particularly vindictive against Sun and Moon for having informed against him, and eclipses are said to be caused by his trying to swallow them.
Rahu (the Seizer) : also called
Demon Bhu-chhaya (earth shadow)
Son of Vipracitti (Sagracious)
Brother of Maya and Vastu
Mother is Simhika (Lioness)=(Sekhmet)
Ketu is the body and trunk of the demon Saimhikeya.
Rahu’s vehicle is a Lion and Ketu’s is a Serpent.
Rahu looks forward
Ketu looks backwards (karma)
Kalasarpa = Time Serpent = Rahu + Ketu
in Bali Rahu’s head has only one eye
Tibetan Mythology :
The chief Nagaraja or Naga King of the race of Nagas and Naginis is the God/Asura/Rakshasha known variously as Za the Protector, Rahula, Ch-em ch’og in Tibetan, or Acala (immovable). The fire god Acala in Japanese Zen/Shinto is probably related in being a protective sword wielding warrior. In the Na-Khi Naga Cult he is known as the demon Zaw-ler-ngv-gu. He is blazing ultraviolet blue/black in colour like this Current of Dark Gods from the peaceful Amoghasiddhi, wrathful MahaKala, thunderbolt Zhonnu. He is the Watcher Za/Rahula/Acala/Naga. This Nagaraja is at the SouthEast of most ritual mandalas.
In the ancient Bon shamanism Za is Zaw, or the 9 planets, and Rahu as Rahula is the eclipse demon. His form is a 9-headed Nagaraja crowned with a black crow head, his coils covered with eyes. In one form he has three heads : one black, one white, and one red. His six arms hold to the right a sword, vajra, and wheel, and to the left a threatening mudra, snare, and hatchet. In another form he has nine heads, wrathful ones below and peaceful above. His four arms hold a Makara staff to the right, snake left, and the two at centre pull a serpentine bow and arrow. In both forms his body is cover with open eyes. And below the waist he is a twisting serpent surrounded by flames within a fiery quadrangle. In a later section are listed the Naga ornaments and Mantra of Za-Rahula.
From <<Demons and Oracles of Tibet>> :
Attributes of gZa-Rahula :
chief of all planetary gods
nine heads topped with raven’s head
which is very poisonous in it’s shadow
three lowest heads of the gshin-je type
are green and look down wrathfully to earth
three middle heads of the bdud type
are blue-red with bloodshot eyes
looking forward into the realm of man
three upper heads of the lha type
are green, red, and white with a peaceful look and gaze up into the sky
four arms holding bow-and-arrow,
makara head on a stick, and a snake
serpentine body covered with eyes
sitting in a fiery triangle or a lake of blood
Rahula is another of the principal Guardians of the Zogchen teachings. His lower body is like that of a snake, while his upper body is covered with eyes, which, together with the further eyes in his nine heads symbolize his ability to see in all directions. His bow and arrow are ready to strike at enemies, and his many mouths are ready to devour their ignorance. He is shown in this wood-block print surrounded by flames of high energy, as are all Guardians, but Rahula’s power is so intense that, unless the practitioner has already developed considerable mastery, he can be a dangerous ally of potentially overwhelming power if not approached in the right way. Dorje Legba’s energy is less overwhelming than that of Rahula, he can be approached for assistance with relatively mundane matters, while Ekajati and Rahula are only concerned with matters strictly rrelating to the teachings and realization.
Za Dud Dug Gi Pu Dri Chhod -
“Poison razor blade Rahula”
Rahu’s father was a Rakshasha and mother was a Nagi.
Rahula is a manifestation of Vajrapani.
The Eight Nagarajas who adorn Rahula :
blue / Sankapalaka / binds the hair
red / Taksaka / forms earrings
striped / Kulika / adorns shoulders
white / Padma / forms necklace
yellow / Huluhulu / forms bracelets
green / Karkotaka / forms brahma thread
nector / Vasuki / forms girdle
white / Mahapadma / forms anklets
There may be a relationship between the Phurba gods and the Planetary deities shown in images of gZa-Rahula in which he is stabbing a demon in a triangle with a phurba
Rahu is the open top of the central Kundalini channel
the Headless-One of the Zero-state
between the channels of the Sun and Moon
From Guenther :
Upper end of sushumna comes up to the cranium then forward to ajna where ‘nothingness enters and descends’ and is called Rahu/Time/Pure Consciousness. ‘Rahu connects a man to the stellar worlds’. Rahu has no existance itself but is ‘nothingness’ abyss.
0 = emptiness/headlessness = Rahu
2 = bliss/naga/body/sex = Ketu
° = the abyss at Qoph
R eye / Sun
L eye / Moon
R ear / Mars
L ear / Mercury
R nostril / Jupiter
L nostril / Venus
navel / Saturn
urethra / Rahu
exits to realms of animals and Nagas
closes with white <Sum>
anus / Ketu
exits to realms of hells and demons
closes with yellow <Ksum>
Rahu as Ego – “Like the nodes of the lunar orbit that causes eclipses, the self is a precise but abstract and insubstantial place where magnetic lines intersect.”
In the Sushumna :
right/Ida/Sun/prana = Rahu /Eclipse Asura/Black Hole
left/Pingala/Moon/apana = Ketu/Eclipse Naga/Warp
center = Kalagni – Fire of Time / Pulsars
Vajrakila = electircal
Rahu/Ketu = magnetic
Rahu = head/brain
Ketu = phallus/spine
Rahu = linga/head/swastika/angles
Ketu = yoni/tail/coil/curves
“Kala-mukha” – “face of time” devourer over doorways in india and se asia and bali is the head of Rahu as Kala shiva
Circumcision is an attempt at immortality by mimicking the snake shedding it’s skin = penis shedding it’s foreskin, thus man becomes snake = immortal
Rahu causes apoplexy /stroke / anaeurysm
Rahu and Ketu (Dragon’s Head and Tail, the Northern Ascending and Southern Descending Nodes, respectively): These are the live head and truncated body of the demon. Of demonic origin they are essentially evil. Of black complexion, they control blood and skin. Small-pox, cholera, leprosy, plague and other epidemics are caused by them. They rule over prostitutes, gamblers and atheists. Poison is their favorite substance. Both are malefics. According to some authorities, Rahu and ketu are homeless wanderers, but others maintain that Rahu owns Virgo, and Ketu, Pisces, one of the two houses owned by Mercury and Jupiter respectively. Venus and Saturn are their friends, and Sun and Moon, enemies; they are neutral towards Mars and Jupiter. Rahu and ketu rule the south-west. From the foregoing, it will be noticed that friendship and enmity are not reciprocal among planets. Rahu, for instance, loves Venus and Saturn, but Venus has no love for him.
The Boar is Rahu (eclipse)
The Fish is Ketu (comet)
Demon Rahu is portrayed as the Dragon’s head
in the form of a disembodied head
Ketu the Dragon’s tail is in the form of
a headless body holding a sword
standing upon a turtle.
Ketu, the Dragon’s tail
in heaven gives birth to comets and meteors
on earth causes earthquakes
Planetary / Constellation Correspondences :
Rahu = Saturn, Uranus
power over Moon and Aquarius
Ketu = Mars, Pluto
power over Sun and Scorpio
Rahu/Ketu are balanced by the Sun and Jupiter
and are ruled by Shiva and Neptune (trident).
Rahu is also balanced by Durga, Rama, and Sarpa-Naga
Ketu is balanced by Rudra/Shiva, Brahma (knowledge)
and Chitragupta (karma).
Rahu’s direction of influence is SW and Ketu’s is NW.
Hindu form of Rahu – black, riding a dog,
holding a red sun and a white moon
Astrologically Rahu and Ketu are
non-existant magnetic crossroads
of the ecliptic with the zodiac
Rahu = air
Ketu = fire
Rahu = solar eclipse
Ketu = lunar eclipse
<Imagine the following scene : It is midnight on the meridian of Ujjain in India on February 18, 3102 B.C. The seven planets, including the sun and moon, cannot be seen since they are all lined up in one direction on the other side of the earth. Directly overhead the dark planet Rahu hovers invisibly in the blackness of night.>
Mantra for Eclipse :
<Om, I take refuge in the Buddha, the Arhat.
May Rahu, the Dark planet, release the Sun (or Moon).>
Ritual to stop rain :
<The Sun shines in the day, and the Moon at night. The warrior shines when he has donned his armor, and the Brahmin shines when he meditates. But the Buddha shines by his power, day and night. May Reverend Upagupta, who lives in constant love and meditation and who subdues Maya, dispel the wind and the rain by his magic power.>
Weather Magickes :
interferencefrom Rahu is indicated
by a slow wind and spreading fog
yellow clouds in the morning show that
the yellow kLu are displeased
to conjure destructive hail
make a figure of Rahu out of yellow rice dough
and use a phurbu to transfer essence of gZa into
Rahu = Raksha = a ‘fury’ = fire storm = Rahula = tornado
North America is protected by Rahula because we have more tornados than any other continent in the world
Yantra for Rahu (moon’s north mode, dragon’s head):
for matters of the subtle realm, mental unease,
criminal tendencies, trial, imprisonment,
Yantra for Ketu (moon’s south mode, dragon’s tail):
for matters dealing with the health of the
lower body, back troubles, stiff and swollen
joints, internal disorders, veneral diseases,
and disorders of the legs and feet
(in other words – naga diseases)
Zinc is the metal of Rahu and Ketu.
Rahu’s blood touched the earth giving birth to garlic.
Rahu’s stone is Hessonite (gomed):
Garnet family, orange-brown,
the colour of the full moon when eclipsed.
Problems created by Rahu, and treated with
Hessonite include : a sluggish nature, hedonism,
bad luck, suffering, anxiety, insatiable desires,
sense gratification, love of money, power and
fame, dullness, stupidity, mental diseases,
imprisonment, suicidal tendencies, drug addiction
and overdose, ghostly hauntings, etc.
Hessonite gives clarity of mind, removes fear,
and gives persons new insight into their problems.
It’s mantra is:
AUM RAM RAHUVE NAMAHA !
Ketu’s stone is Cat’s/Tiger’s Eye:
Gems of the dark malefic Ketu protect the wearer
from obsessive and compulsive behavior,
animalism, imprisonment, accidents, anxiety and
fear, conspiracies, nightmares, and diseases of the
joints and nerves.
It’s mantra is:
AUM KAIM KETUVE NAMAHA !
Rahu Kalam -
Inauspicious times of the day ruled by Rahu
good for thieving, murders, and other evil :
Sunday – 16:30-18:00 pm
Monday – 07:30-09:00 am
Tuesday – 15:00-16:30 pm
Wednesday – 12:00-13:30 pm
Thursday – 13:30-15:00 pm
Friday – 10:30-12:00 am
Saturday – 09:00-10:30 am
Mantras of Za-Rahula :
Om Ketu ketu
Samaya Hum !
Rahu Naga Mantra :
Ketaketa Raksha Rahula Sarparivara
Maha Panca Amrita Rakta Bhalimta Kharam Khahi !
Seed syllable is “RA” in a red-black sphere.
Mantra of Rahu :
Ram Hraum Bhraum Hrim Soma-Satrun
Vi-Dhvamsaya Vi-Dhavamsaya Rahave Namah !
(O Enemy of Soma-Moon !
Destroy Destroy all enemies ! I bow to you Rahu !)
Mantra of Ketu !
Krum Hrum Kraim Ketave Svaha !
Rahu – meteoric iron filings, steep red pyramid, spirally striped, covered with eyes, surrounded by impaled humans, offerings of tea, beer, flesh
kLu – roundish, white, decorated with a snake
Mda’dar / Divination Arrow :
gZa’mda’ (Rahu) – spotted shaft, silk pendants
of the 5 colours yellow, white, red, blue, green
Mdos / Thread Cross :
kLu mdos – blue/green centre, rainbow rim
gZa’mdos – black centre, rainbow rim,
decorated with raven feathers
Rudraksha mala = Rudra + Raksha = Rudra’s red eyes
gZa-zwa – the planet hat, black cone with raven atop
Rahu’s symbol is a Magnet and Ketu’s is a Flag.
Rudraksha mala = Rudra + Raksha = Rudra’s red eyes
gZa-zwa – the planet hat, black cone with raven atop
Rahu = female, lapis
Ketu = eunuch, , turquoise
burn musk for gZa and calamus for kLu
Rahu’s magickal square :
13 8 15 base # is 8
14 12 10 columns add to 36
9 16 11 total #s add to 108
Ketu’s magickal square :
14 9 16 base # is 9
15 13 11 columns add to 39
10 17 12 total #s add to 117
Though this writing is about Headless godless and Bodiless Heads, I am afraid the latter far outnumber the former in world mythology. At the end we have only the following as trully Headless Deities :
and the Gnosticke Headless/Bornless One.
If anyone reading this has any feedback on this subject, or other examples I haven’t listed here, please feel free to write me at the address below.
May All You
©1993 GL Hoke
All images not sourced from multiple Tumblr sources