The Magical Power of St. Peter
By Tracy R. Twyman
The Magical Power of St. Peter
By Tracy R. Twyman
Quintessential Publications All rights reserved
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Hocus Pocus: The Magical Power of St. Peter
By Tracy R. Twyman
We all know that according to the Gospels, Jesus was endowed with a number of supernatural abilities, as evidenced by his many miracles. These included healing the sick, casting out demons, and raising the dead, as well as tricks like multiplying the loaves and the fishes, turning water into wine, and calming the stormy sea. This he did through the command of the so-called “Holy Spirit.” This power is otherwise called, in the Gospels, his “virtue.” Luke Chapter 6:19 tells us, “And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and he healed all.” In Mark Chapter 5:30, a woman does indeed touch the hem of Jesus’ garment, and is immediately healed of an illness without Jesus even knowing what happened. He was only aware that someone touched him, because he felt the “virtue” leave his body. This indicates that the virtue was a supernatural agency that was always with Jesus, and which he could command, but which could also act independently of him.
Jesus’ virtue seems to have come to him following his baptism by John in the Jordan river, when the “Holy Spirit” descended upon him “like a dove” and “like lightning.” Jesus himself acknowledged that the “authority” by which he performed his miracles was
the same authority by which John baptized people. John had the authority to command the Holy Spirit to descend upon those whom he baptized. So therefore Jesus’ “virtue” was the Holy Spirit, which he had the “authority” to command after he was baptized by John.
But what specifically do we mean by the term “command the Holy Spirit”? Judaic tradition states that God himself has a secret name, and that anyone who knows how to pronounce it can command God to perform any desired miracle. According to the sixth century Jewish text Toledoth Yeshu, Jesus discovered the Foundation Stone of the Temple of Jerusalem, where the secret name of God was written. There was a spell on the stone that caused whoever read the name on the stone to forget it as soon as they left the temple. But Jesus jotted down the secret name on a scrap of parchment. He then cut a wound in his own thigh and concealed the parchment within it. From that moment on, the text claims, he was able to perform miracles. Although the Toledoth Yeshu is a biased anti-Christian text and perhaps not reliable, it does seem from the descriptions of his miracles in the Gospels that Jesus had obtained the power to command the Holy Name.
But the Gospels indicate that he obtained this from John, not from a stone inside the Temple.
The Gospels also say that Jesus passed these powers onto one of his disciples, Simon, whom he renamed “Peter” (“rock”), as a metaphorical reference to the Foundation Stone of the Temple. Jesus told Peter that he would be the foundation stone of a new edifice – the church that Jesus would have him build. He specifically endowed Peter with the
“keys of the kingdom of Heaven”, and told him “whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
The “keys” being referred to here are, I believe, the letters of the secret name of God. The things that Peter was being instructed to “bind” and “loose” were spirits in Heaven.
Islamic and esoteric Jewish legends state that, with the secret name of God, one can command all of the angels and demons to do one’s bidding. The Koran even says that Adam was specifically given dominion over the angels, as well as the creatures of the Earth. According to this legend, Satan was cast from Heaven because he refused God’s command for all the angels to bow down to Adam. Over the years since Adam’s death, the secret of commanding the angels has been lost to all but a select few of his descendants, but it is the divine right of us all. It is the secret of pronouncing the name of God. With this, Moses parted the Red Sea, and brought plagues to Egypt. His brother Aaron unlocked the powers of the Ark of the Covenant with it. With this secret also, according to legend, King Solomon conjured up demons, which he used as workmen in the construction of his famous temple to God. This is the power that Jesus had, and which he passed on to St. Peter.
It is upon this endowment that the power of the Catholic Church was built. For Peter became the first Bishop of Rome, and the seat of the Bishop of Rome has, according the to Catholic Church’s doctrine of apostolic succession, “primacy” over all Christian churches. For even the Eastern Orthodox Church, which split away from Papal
dominance centuries ago, still acknowledges the “primacy” of the Bishop of Rome, although they consider it a mere “primacy of honor” and have their own tradition apart from the Church.
The tremendous accomplishments of the Catholic Church throughout history could certainly be considered evidence of the legitimacy of that dispensation, and the very real spiritual power it represents. No other institution on Earth has been so influential. For millions of people throughout the world, the pronouncements of the Church dictate the very definition of reality itself. They really believe that the Pope is infallible, and has the power to decide the post-mortal fate of all human beings on Earth. With the stroke of the Pope’s pen, millions of names can be blotted from the Book of Life, ensuring eternal damnation. Or likewise, millions of souls can be relocated from Limbo to Heaven, as the Pope announced in recent years regarding the fate of infants who died without being baptized. If people are willing to believe that the Pope has this power, is it so far-fetched to believe that the Holy Father and the priests of the Catholic Church might have power over more mundane matters pertaining to life on Earth for the Church and its congregation?
Not at all. In fact, such a belief has been implicit in the doctrine of the Church since the very beginning, and even more so in the general belief of its laity. The history of Europe is rife with examples of the belief that a Catholic priest can, through prayer and ceremony, control the weather, cure illnesses, bestow blessings and remove curses upon people. This occurs more frequently in Europe’s countryside, but not exclusively, and is
not necessarily any less prevalent today than it was in the Middle Ages. This is based on belief in the ability of every priest ordained by the Catholic Church to perform a miracle called “Transubstantiation of the Eucharist” during the ritual of the Mass.
The origin of the word “Mass”, like the ritual itself, can be found in the rites of the cult of Mithras. The Catholic Eucharist, in which bread and wine is ritually consumed, is done in commemoration of the last meal that was shared by Jesus and his disciples. Likewise, in the mystery religion of Mithraism, a ritual involving the consumption of bread and wine was celebrated in commemoration of the last meal that the legendary Mithras is said to have shared with his father-god Helios before ascending to Heaven. The bread in the Mithraic ritual was called the “mizd”, a word reminiscent of the name of the Persian god Ahura-Mazda in the Zoroastrian religion, sometimes spelled “Ormuzd” or “Ormus.” The word “Mazd” is the probable origin for the title of the Catholic ritual known as the “Mass”, in which the Eucharist is consumed. The word is probably also related to the Jewish name for unleavened bread, “matza”, which they consume ritually every Passover.
The Mithraic “Mizd” was a small round cake embossed with an equilateral cross on top. It was identical in size, shape, and ornament to the Communion wafers now used in Catholic Mass, which are small disks of unleavened bread with a cross on top. At the Last Supper, Jesus told his disciples to drink wine and eat bread “in remembrance” of him. He also said that the bread was his flesh, and that the wine was his blood. So by consuming them, Catholics believe they are becoming one with Jesus, who is himself one with God the Father. Thus the Eucharist is a sacrificial rite as well – a recreation of the ritual
sacrifice of Jesus to God on the cross, laid upon the altar. It is also a way of internalizing the Holy Spirit.
Likewise, the Mithraists celebrated a similar rite wherein a bull was sacrificed. This was supposed to represent an episode in the life of Mithras. By eating the meat and drinking the blood of the sacrifice, the Mithraists believed they were becoming one with their deity. It is because the bread represents the body of the sacrifice that Catholics call it the “host”, which is derived from the Latin word “hostia”, meaning “sacrificial victim.” It also denotes someone who is being held prisoner, which is where we get the English word “hostage.” Before his execution (sacrifice), of course, Jesus was held captive. But there may be another hidden meaning as well.
In the Judaic rites that were once performed in the Tabernacle by the ancient priesthood of Aaron, burnt offerings would be sacrificed to the Lord, whose spirit would come down in a pillar of fire to consume them from the altar. This is why, during the Catholic rite of the Eucharist, the wine and bread are placed inside of a box or vessel on the altar that is called a “Tabernacle.” The priests of the Israelites were able to call the spirit of God from Heaven using his secret name, so that he personally would consume the sacrifice within the sacred space of the Tabernacle. Likewise, Catholics believe that a priest actually has the authority to call Jesus down from Heaven and, within the sacred space of their Tabernacle, cause him to physically incarnate into the bread and wine. Then God – vicariously, through the priest and congregation – consumes the sacrifice of his son. Thus the priest and congregation are essentially sharing a meal with Jesus and God, just as the
disciples did at the Last Supper. As the priest and congregation consume the bread and wine, the Holy Spirit enters into them.
The idea that a priest or magician can cause a spirit to enter into a physical object is an ancient one. The simplest way to think of it is to think of the Arabic legends of the genie in the lamp. A spirit can be invoked into a vessel and then controlled by the owner of the vessel, who can demand that the spirit performs miracles. This notion that the spiritual vessel can be an item of food or drink, which then causes the spirit to incarnate in the person who consumes it, is also ancient. This occurs in The Gospel of John, Chapter 13: 26 – 27, where Jesus invokes Satan into a piece of bread and then gives it to Judas to eat. Judas then becomes possessed by Satan and proceeds to betray Jesus.
Invoking a spirit into a vessel and then forcing it to perform miracles is indeed one of the most basic practices of witchcraft and occult practice. It is no surprise, then, that many Protestant churches and other non-Catholic Christian groups do not celebrate the Eucharist, as they believe it to be dangerously close to the practice of witchcraft, which is expressly forbidden in the Bible. In fact, the term “jack-in-the-box” was originally a derogatory term used by non-Catholics to refer to the host inside of the Tabernacle. “Jack” has for centuries been a slang term for a spirit or a demon. The term “jack-in-the- box was used by those who believed that it was a demonic spirit, and not Jesus, that was being invoked into the Communion wafer. Likewise, the term “hocus pocus”, slang for magic and sorcery, is derived from the Latin words used by a priest to miraculously affect
the Transubstantiation of the Host: “Hoc est corpus Jesu Christi” (“This is the body of Jesus Christ”). Then from “hocus pocus” we also get “hokum”, “hokey”, and “hoax.”
It is legitimate, in my opinion, to say that the Catholic rite of the Eucharist parallels precisely the rituals practiced by our pagan forefathers, as well as by modern witches and ritual occultists. But so, too, apparently, were the acts of Jesus himself. He obtained mastery of the Holy Spirit through the secret name of God, then passed this power on to Peter and the Catholic Church, where mastery of the Holy Spirit is achieved through the rite of the Eucharist.
The ability to transubstantiate the Host is believed to be the power of every properly ordained priest in the Catholic Church, regardless of the personal character, faith, or spiritual alignment of that priest, just as the Pope is infallible regardless of the same. A child molester, murderer or Satanist can still make the Holy Spirit come into the Host, as long as he is an ordained Catholic priest. And the Eucharist can then be used as a vehicle for wish-fulfillment, because it is during Mass that the priest presents the deity directly with the list of blessings – a perhaps also curses – the he and his congregation wish God to bestow. This has led to numerous instances throughout history of people paying Catholic priests to perform specific masses for specific causes, to fulfill personal desires. It is no different from going to a voodoo witchdoctor and paying him to sacrifice a chicken for a love spell or a money spell. When not sanctioned by the Church, selling masses is a serious offence that falls under the category of “simony”, and can cause a priest to be defrocked or even excommunicated. But over the centuries, many, many such
ceremonies have been performed by Catholic priests without the sanction of the Church – not officially, at least.
A perfect example illustrating all of these principles is described in anthropologist Sir James Frazer’s classic, The Golden Bough, which explores primitive concepts of magic and religion throughout the world. He writes:
… French peasants used to be, perhaps are still, persuaded that the priests could celebrate, with certain special rites, a Mass of the Holy Spirit, of which the efficacy was so miraculous that it never met with any opposition from the divine will; God was forced to grant whatever was asked of Him in this form, however rash and importunate might be the petition … in some villages, when a change of pastors takes place, the parishioners are eager to learn whether the new incumbent has the power (pouder), as they call it.