My Next Project – Carve a SATOR Square on a Kapala Skull Cup

As i have written before i am the proud responsible temporary owner of three Tibetan style Kapala  skull cups from Nepal. These were legally brought into the country probably in the 1960s by the late importer Charles O’Hara and he had them on his attic for years. In the middle is the Kangling and the two figures are Citipatis male and female in a more Hindu form that are actually oil lamps.

Kapalas and Chitapatis

Photo Copyright GLHoke 2014

Decades ago a friend and I bought three of them. Two were lined and edged in Nepalese silver (a little silver and more tin) and one the insert had come loose so it was just a plain bone Kapala. Years later my friend’s wife started freaking about it so i bought his one Kapala and a Kangling. I do not know how they were obtained in Nepal and probably don’t want to know as only Christians and Muslims are buried for “harvesting”, Hindus and Buddhists being cremated. But back in Tibet with sky burial they were readily available and the skulls of high lamas were highly prized and turned into these.


Above and Below photos Copyright V.Latta 2014


I have always known the bare bones Kapala had some western magickal purpose and have used it in the wine sacrament at All Hallows. But I have also seen this picture below of a skull carved with the SATOR square from some museum in I think England (I cannot trace it so if anyone knows where it is please let me know) and ba bang i am going to buy a dremel tool and make one of these! I will post it when it is done in a month or so. I would have liked to carve it in some more natural way but fear breaking it.


Tumblr image, and my Goal

Here is a good article on the use of Skeletons Skulls and Bones from

Here is an explanation of the Skeleton Dancers and other characters in their Cham dances.

And finally a video of them dancing embedded below.

Wish me Luck!

2 thoughts on “My Next Project – Carve a SATOR Square on a Kapala Skull Cup

  1. When you received the skulls and when you do this kind of work have you ever had any kind of intuitions of who they belonged to or experienced any feelings about the people whose skulls they were?

    • No i am no adept at psychometry and think with the detachment these cultures have they would not haunt their bones anyway. A friend who knows anatomy thinks the skin on the Kangling is human not swine which makes me think maybe they were brought out of Tibet and not made in Nepal. Right now the Chinese have taken over most craft industries in poor Nepal and moved them to China so any new ones you see on eBay i assume are those of executed criminals, bad karma, unless as one link said one wishes to do black tantra with them. I just feel responsible for them. In the humid summers they will get a little mold so i clean them then coat them with bees wax which works great. If the police ever search my place for something i fear they will not believe my stories of what they are and suspect me as a mass murderer, lol, but if they do anything with them then that would be desecration of a religious artifact. It IS legal to own such things. Just need to go to the local hardware that has Dremel tools with 15 attachments vs buying a cheaper one at Amazon with 5 attachments. I prefer to keep my money spent locally for the economy of my neighbors.

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