What is the Cremation of Care?

Keelan BaldersonJanuary 7th, 2012Satanic Panic13 Comments »

The Cremation of Care is a ritual performance undertaken at the yearly Bohemian Grove club, where a mock child sacrifice is made to an approximate 40ft stone owl. The ritual involves club members, often high ranking businessmen and politicians, cremating (getting rid of) their care (moral compass) in order to clear their conscience for the year ahead.

Presumably the cremation of care is conducted because club members will be involved in unethical business deals and corrupt political decisions in the coming year and want to rid themselves of any internal guilt. This most likely just being symbolic.

cremation of care
The Cremation of Care in action

The owl idol used during the cremation of care might represent Minerva like other symbols of the club, the Babylonian demon Lilith or a rendition of Phoenician child sacrifice God Moloch. The narrator of the ritual names Phoenicia during the line, “As vanished Babylon and goodly Tyre, So shall they also vanish.” Tyre is another term for “an ancient seaport of Phoenicia”.[1]

owl of minerva bohemian grove
The Bohemian Club logo

Moloch in the form of a bull accepting a sacrifice

In his paper A Relative Advantage: Sociology of the San Francisco Bohemian Club, Dr. Peter Martin Phillips writes:

This owl shrine was built in 1929 to serve as a ceremonial site for traditional Bohemian rituals and is used yearly for the Cremation of Care Ceremony. 1910 marked the first ceremonial burial of the cares of the world during the midsummer encampment and by 1913 Care was being cremated during the first weekend of the Grove (Annals, 1972)

The Cremation of Care Ceremony was produced as a play in 1920, wherein a High Priest standing before a huge pre-historic alter, is confronted by Dull Care wrapped in the chains but not dead because Bacchus, the only warrior Care fears, is truly dead (18th Amendment was passed in 1919). Good Fellowship arrives, but lacks the sword necessary to kill Dull Care, and can only imprison him and Care still sings out through the prison window. At last Bohemia’s Spirit emerges and proclaims: Down with all fears! And up with your cheers, for his (Cares) mocking is turning to sobbing and tears.

During his July 15, 2000 infiltration of the Grove, InfoWars head Alex Jones recorded a portion of the Cremation of Care ceremony:

Other aspects of the cremation of care ritual involve the symbolic salvation of the trees by the club. (The Grove is based in redwood forestry near Monte Rio, California).

The Owl is in His leafy temple
Let all within the grove be reverent before Him.
Lift up your heads oh ye trees
And be lifted up ye everlasting spires
For behold here is bohemia’s shrine
And holy are the pillars of this house.

Weaving spiders come not here!

Hail, Bohemians!
With the ripple of waters
The song of birds
Such music as inspires the sinking soul
Do we invite you into Midsummer’s joy.
The sky above is blue and sown with stars
The forest floor is heaped with fragrant grit
The evening’s cool kiss is yours
The campfire’s glow
The birth of rosy fingered dawn.
For behold, here is Bohemia’s shrine
And holy are the pillars of his house
Shake off your sorrows with the city’s dust
And cast to the winds the cares of life.
But memories bring back the well-loved names of gallant friends
Who knew and loved this grove
Dear boom companions of a long ago
Aye, let them join us in this ritual!
And not a piece be empty in our midst.
All of these battles to hold
In this gray autumn of the world
Or in the springtime of your heart.
Attend our tale
Gather ye forest folks!
And cast your spells over these mortals
Touch their world-blind eyes with carry-on
Open their eyes to fancy
Follow the memories of yesterday
And seal the gates of sorrow.
It is a dream
And yet, not all a dream
Dull Care in all of his works
Harbored it
As vanished Babylon and goodly Tyre
So shall they also vanish
But the wilding rose blows on the broken battlements of Tyre
And moss rends the stones of Babylon
For beauty is eternal
And we bow to beauty everlasting
For lasting happiness we turn our eyes to one alone,
And she surrounds you now.
Great nature, refuge of the weary heart,
And only balm to breasts that have been bruised.
She hath cool hands for every fevered brow
And gentlest silence for the troubled soul.
Her councils are most wise
She healeth well
Having such ministries as calm and sleep
She is ever faithful
Other friends may fail
But seek ye her in any quiet place
Smiling, she will rise and give to you her kiss
So must ye come as children
Little children that believe do not ever doubt her beauty or her faith
Nor deem her tenderness can change or die
Bohemians and priests!
The desperate call of heavy hearts is answered.
By the power of your fellowship, Dull Care is slain
His body has been brought yonder to our funeral pyre
To the joyous singings of a funeral march;
Our funeral pyre awaits the corpse of Care
O thou, thus ferried across the shadowy tide
In all the ancient majesty of death
Dull Care, ardent enemy of beauty
Not for thee the forgiveness or the restful grave
Fire shall have its will of thee
And all the winds make merry with thy dust
Bring fire!

When will ye learn
That me ye cannot slay?
Year after year ye burn me in this grove
Lifting your puny shouts of triumph to the stars.
When again you turn your faces to the marketplace
Do you not find me waiting as of old?
Fools to dream you conquer care.

Say Thou mocking spirit!
It is not all a dream
We know thou waiting for us
When this out sylvan holiday has ended
We shall meet thee and fight thee as of old
And some of us prevail against thee
And some thou shall destroy
But this too we know
Year after year within this happy grove
Our fellowship bans thee for a space
Thine malevolence which would pursue us here
Has lost its power under these friendly trees.
So shall we burn thee once again this night
And, with the flames that eat thine effigy
We shall read the sign
Midsummer sets us free!

Ye shall burn me once again!
Not with these flames!
Which hither ye have brought
From regions where I reign
Ye fools and priests
I spit upon your fire!

O Owl! Prince of all mortal wisdom
Owl of Bohemia, we beseech thee
Grant us thy council

No fire!
No fire!
No fire!
Let it be in the world
Where care is nourished
On the hates of men
And drive Him from this grove.
One flame alone must light this fire
One flame alone must light this fire
A pure eternal flame
At last, within the lamp of Fellowship
Upon the altar of Bohemia.

O Great Owl of Bohemia!
We thank thee for thy adjuration.
Begone detested care!
Once more, we banish thee!
Begone Dull Care!
Fire should have its will of thee!
Begone Dull Care!
And all the winds make merry with thy dust
Hail, fellowship’s eternal flame!
Once again Midsummer sets us free!

More Cremation of Care Images:

Care being cremated
Care being cremated

mock child sacrifice
Care, the mock child sacrifice

40ft Owl Idol used in the Cremation of Care: Moloch or Minerva


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  • http://naderlibrary.com Tara Carreon

    The child sacrifice to the owl (really representative of (virginal) woman, not man, but woman as an “emanation” of man, the hermaphrodite twin of man) means, no more rebirth. The same idea can be found in the Rosicrucian images in Wagner’s Parsifal. See: naderlibrary.com/parsifalscreen47.jpg (womb on fire), naderlibrary.com/parsifalscreen48.jpg (black womb). The Nazis were Rosicrucians.
    See “Interpretation of Richard Wagner’s Parsifal, directed by Hans-Jurgen Syberber” here: naderlibrary.com/parsifal.toc.htm

    • Compu LOL

      Well, it’s obv a dehumanizing evil power ritual. No matter how much of an esoteric condoning meaning you’d like to project and conjure up upon it. Ie, what part of sacrificing a child to an owl statue does not compute upon you? Doesn’t get any clearer than that, IMHO. Eg, just replace “Dull Care” with “Weighing Love”, and it all should be more self evident; like if that’s even possible…

      • Elle Bee

        you probably don’t live in the USA, you know what you’re talking about

  • scared & worried

    Who the HELL needs to ‘sacrifice’ a ‘mock child’ to a freekin 40 foot owl god? Hate to tell ya, its not always a ‘mock’ child. Its a kidnapped one.

    • Compu LOL

      Well, I do! And so does everybody else, every-time an abortion occurs;
      at least also figuratively and by omission. Those people might as well
      sent them there after an actual birth, that hypocritically wasn’t
      allowed; willingly. And they may even get paid a good amount of dough.
      Hence I don’t see what the problem, or the big deal really is. Actual
      kidnapping is unnecessary and risky. At worst; someone could also argue
      that’s part of their religion, which last time I checked was free to
      practice too… &BTW; being a Satanist is not the same as being EVIL!!!

      • Michelle Cunningham

        Yes, it really does mean that. To follow Satan, you have to believe in God. So, you turn your back on your creator for a liar and a coward….evil

    • Michael Welsh

      It’s not even a child. it’s a wooden effigy, it’s always been a wooden effigy, and it’ll always be a wooden effigy.

      • Persephone

        You seem to know an awful lot about all this. Where do you get your information? It isn’t easy to find out details about anything that goes on there unless you are a participant, staff of some kind, or security. Even then you wouldn’t see much having to do with the ritual itself or the “work shops” that take place. Everything is kept quite secret. I guess Alex Jones is the exception…

        • Michael Welsh

          There was another documentary, a sort of pseudo-sequel to Alex Jones’ (BTW, if you want an argument to have any semblance of credibility, don’t cite Alex Jones as a source. That man makes Glenn Beck and Bill o’Reilly look sane and sensible.) which did the smart thing and took a much more unbiased perspective. They got even deeper into the Grove and even got inside the owl-statue, where they found a whole bunch of wooden effigies ready for burning. As for the meaning behind the ceremony, it’s basic logic and common sense. Back in the days when the script for the ceremony was written, ‘care’ actually meant worry, anxieties, things that trouble and distract your mind. ‘Care’ had a much more negative connotation than it does now. Hence the ‘Cremation of Care’ was an allegory of burning away your sorrows and troubles so you can think straight for the year ahead.

  • Michael Welsh

    Newsflash geniuses, when they say ‘Care’, they mean it in the old-fashioned sense, meaning worry or anxiety. It’s not about getting rid of their cares and their conscience so you can perform corrupt deals and all that bullcrap, it’s about symbolically destroying their worries and fears so you can clear your mind and concentrate better on the year ahead.
    And where are you getting ‘child sacrifice’ from? I’ve seen pictures of the effigies they use up close, they are definitely adult size. Not to mention the voice of Care in the ritual is provided by a recording of Walter Cronkite, who most certainly does NOT have a childlike voice. And as for the ‘sacrifice’ part, where is any proof that it is a sacrifice? The character of ‘Care’ is ‘slain’ beforehand, and this is a solemn cremation of his body. No sacrificing, no invocation of gods, it’s more like the burning of the Guy during bonfire night than anything else.
    And why does the Owl Statue have to represent any god of any kind (Speaking of which, where the hell does veryone get Moloch from? Moloch was a bull deity, not an owl)? Maybe it just represents wisdom, since owls in Western tradition almost always represent wisdom (such as Athena, goddess of wisdom, being represented by an owl).

    Maybe do a little more research into these things.

    • mary

      You are blind or attempting to spin it. Wake up michael

  • jakibro

    This whole ritual thing is too creepy and CRAZY. What’s even creepier is that the Bohemian Grove membership is made up of powerful, political and business leaders of the US and possibly other world leaders. It’s no wonder this world is in trouble. Instead of using real evidence based science to address world issues, we have a bunch of crazies praying and sacrificing a human effigy to a 40ft owl! These people are supposed to be the top of the food chain?? Give me a break… no better than the Klu Klux Klan.

  • Jay

    I realize it is tempting to see this ritual as something evil but the “cremation of care” is not about destroying empathy but is about alleviating worry. The people who this ceremony is for have done what they were told to do in life and managed to luck out and get there. And yet there still persists the same anguish that everyone feels over what seem trivial to everyone else. Our concern for these things is “dull care”. The worry of things we cannot change. And for these “elite” it seems more of a problem because they apparently have all the material remedies. But it isn’t something that can be bought or invaded or conquered through methods of man. It is of the spirit that one can “defeat” dull care.
    Important to bare in mind that many “Grovers” believe that life is a game that is not to be won or lost but played. That we are all one with the universe and not separate individuals. And most of them choose to place emphasis in certain places of this philosophy. So, sure, it is possible for some to perceive “dull care” in the sinister method suggested but not the intention of the ceremony.
    Sorry for the brevity and lack of clarity of the “Grovers believe” portion but extensive information on this exists. See Alan Watts for example.