Cagliostro’s Serpent Seal

Known as the Seal of Cagliostro, this unusual symbol depicts a serpent with an apple in its mouth, impaled with an arrow. This was found amongst the personal effects of Count Cagliostro upon his death in 1795. While the symbol has obvious alchemical elements, its precise meaning is unknown. Nineteenth century occult writer Eliphas Levi has this to say regarding this emblem:

As explained by the cabalistic letters of the names Acharat and Althotas, it expresses the chief characteristics of the Great Arcanum and the Great Work. It is a serpent pierced by an arrow, thus representing the letter Aleph, an image of the union between active and passive, spirit and life, will and light. The arrow is that of the antique Apollo, while the serpent is the python of fable, the green dragon of Hermetic philosophy. The letter Aleph represents equilibrated unity. This pantacle is reproduced under various forms in the talismans of old magic. . . . The arrow signifies the active principle, will, magical action, the coagulation of the dissolvent, the fixation of the volatile by projection and the penetration of earth by fire. The union of the two is the universal balance, the Great Arcanum, the Great Work, the equilibrium of Jachin and Boaz. The initials L.P.D., which accompany this figure, signify Liberty, Power, Duty, and also Light, Proportion, Density; Law, Principle and Right. The Freemasons have changed the order of these initials, and in the form of L.’.D.’.P.: . they render them as Liberte de Penser, Liberty of Thought, inscribing these on a symbolical bridge, but for those who are not initiated they substitute Liberte de Passer, Liberty of Passage. In the records of the prosecution of Cagliostro it is said that his examination elicited another meaning as follows: Lilia destrue pedibus: Trample the lilies under foot; and in support of this version may be cited a Masonic medal of the sixteenth or seventeenth century, depicting a branch of lilies severed by sword, having these words on the exergue: Talem dabit ultio messem – Revenge shall give this harvest.

The image was later incorporated into the emblem of the Hermetic Brotherhod of Luxor, an early occult fraternity.

The original Bronze Talisman
Related Symbols:
Star of Babalon


Manny December 7, 2018 at 1:28 am

This symbol appears to me to be a reference to Original Sin. The serpent and the fruit, that part is obvious, but perhaps less obvious to many is the fact that the word “sin” is an old archery term meaning to miss the mark, hence the arrow.

Louise Sabrina Susiene Halverson November 6, 2016 at 6:56 pm

My great granddaughter’s name is Destany… And she has been dealing with controversy over her statement that she had been molested…and I have a habit of drawing the letter S with the same diagonal line connected ( creating a q&b).. I often use this to symbolize an of set or exaggerated $..and the current (queen&baby)energy exchange rate for greed or excessive lust for the material or physical pleasures…and SATAN…wasn’t a serpent my adopted son Jesus was however born theyear of the snake…and the line on the S can also represent a capital D in turned in Both directions..turning a snake into S/nakeD with the D beforesight and likewise behindsight …The serpent also represents a physician it dentist… and an Apple a day…good health through prevention. And this indicates the ancient wisdom of themetaphysical principles minDOVEr matter…in teachings regarding the global kundalini the serpent coils around the EARth tHree and a half times and then lifts it’s self up too meet his mate in the AIR…this is also referenced in the scriptures when it was stated ” and the dead in Christ will rise first…then those who remain will rise and we will all be joined forever in the AIR with Christ…this is an occult symbol for a reason…occult means hidden knowledge and the Hippocratic oath is “first do NO HARM”.. The very nature of physicians presCRIBing pHARMaceuticals as their most prominent treatment for illness has been fLAWed from it’s very conception! And that entire inDUSTry was designed toobe misLEADing…the original definition of sin was : to miss theMark or to miss what you ARE AiMing AT. MisDirECTion….. Thus these buSINesses have kept the general public in ignorance…controlling the flow of information and using fear based propaganda too created the illusion of necessity for their drugs…which by the way treat only the symptoms 99% of the time for a reason!.. Most of the drugs that get prescribed ARE designed too make the patients keep needing more and more of the medication…making patients worse….of course suggestions too that effect can do the same…in the beginning WAS the WORD and the WORD WAS with GOD and the WORD WAS GOD…exPLAINing the AIR referenced…and the eating the Apple was good too make ONE wise…this referenced the impartial judge that is always behind the scenes with the EVERPREsent pOWER too effect ONE’s oWN emotional states…we are designed to judge WHAT is right and WHAT is wrong…not WHO is right and WHO is wrong…WHAT is right or wrong by thisselfsame standard is all included…hence themind and HEARt of GOD…GOOD…or G8D….and I always like too keep in mind the scriptURE…which states ” he casts out demons by BeZeLbub the chief of demons”tRATion… Andificastout demons by the chief of demons WHOdoyOUR priests cast themout…H…okay that was myourtwo $cent$ worth of passing along WHAT I TOO NEEDED TOO REMember .

Cyprian Mystic April 28, 2015 at 8:53 pm

The serpent and the apple reference the story of Eve, which has been bastardized for more than five millenia. The Knights and Sisters of Paphos (a cult of Aphrodite in Athens during the 5th Century BCE) used the symbol as a reference to the “origin of shame”, the moment when true knowledge, and with it Lust, came into the world. Thought this might sound to some of the pious as a bad thing, the Paphian Knights considered it good, the moment when existence became real. Also, the Paphians are considered the LOST Feminine path of what is wrongly called Hermetic teaching. The Masculine comes from the knowledge handed down by Tubal-cain. The Feminine from his sister, Naamah – a sacred courtesan

Freemasonry (and it’s adjacent Knights Templar) are a consanguineous group descendent from the Tubal-cain line. Paphians (and an offshoot of the Templars led by Thibaud Gaudin, who was initiated into Paphianism after the Fall of Acre, when he fled to Paphos, Cyprus) are consanguineous with the Naamah line – called “the Lillies”.

Unfortunately, many from the Masculine line have always considered it the only right way and have tried to destroy the Feminine line (like Cogliostro). The right answer is that they are two sides of the same coin and should co-exist. But groups led by those like Cogliostro thought it best to destroy the Feminine, or “trod the Lillies underfoot”.

Johnny Borden June 23, 2014 at 12:53 am

If the serpent indeed is to symbolize Satan, the apple in his mouth shows that he too wants to know what god knows: the great gift of knowledge. The fact that as he/she is about to ingest the apple and therefore become enlightened, again as before he is defeated. This symbol depicts the denial of deserved attainment by the powers that be. “Keep those below you ignorant”, hence the meaning of the letters beneath.

Mickey Sticks November 3, 2016 at 10:17 am

No surprise, then, that the current sign for the Almighty Dollar closely resembles it. What better way to control ignorant people than to get them to idolize and chase a worthless glyph on paper? While the masses are busy trying to attain that which is not attainable, the powers of darkness can work their nefarious plots.

Hal D October 10, 2013 at 12:07 pm

The phrase ” Lilia Pedibus Destrue” trample the lillies underfoot….means exactly what it says. It was the Royalty the Clergy and the Nobility of that era that abused the masses..that had “special privilages” which meant they could (and did) get away with murder. It was abbreviated to L.P.D. because the very mention woud have meant arrest and probably death. Thus secret societies sprang up, and eventually included some of the nobility themselves who sympathized with the cause. The average citizen hated the yoke of the ultra rich. They wanted to trample these under foot. Revolution was a long time coming, and was very bloody….

ehff.thensa August 11, 2013 at 6:59 pm

so, call me ignorant if one must, but can the letter Aleph be explained to me? I don’t see it.

Helen Nohavoc June 12, 2012 at 4:20 pm

I thought the Serpent had more to do with Biblical symbolism than Alchemical. The serpent in the Old Testament tempted Adam & Eve with the Apple of Knowledge of Good & Evil thus bringing about the downfall of Paradise. The Apple in the serpent’s mouth could be the Apple of Knowledge of Good & Evil. This symbolizes the Serpent (Satan) being put in his place by G-d. The arrow in the Serpent’s side could easily be alluding to the Sword of Destiny that killed Jesus. I was told that it wasn’t St. Longinus that stabbed Jesus, but it was actually the Devil (Serpent) that stabbed Jesus with the Spear of Destiny. The Arrow in the Serpent’s side would then be a reference to this symbolizing the Serpent again being put in his place by G-d. It is more of a symbol of humility & karma to me than it is alchemical process. I feel as though it is a way of G-d thwarting Satan. . .good triumphing over evil.

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