Excalibur and The Scientology Cross ®

Arthur pulled the legendary "Excalibur" out of a stone, thus fulfilling a sort of messianic prophecy that earned him the crown of England. [1]

Hubbard ® claimed to have written the unpublished book Excalibur between 1932 and 1938.  It is described as Hubbard"s first philosophical statement--a foundational treatise of Scientology ®.[2]  The manuscript allegedly revealed how Hubbard distilled the common denominator of existence down to one word: "Survive!" Though the spin surrounding this unpublished manuscript is a trifle thick ("stolen by agents of foreign intelligence services who wished to appropriate those ideas for political ends"), Hubbard did persist with his "Word" in Dianetics ®: The Original Thesis, a book first published in 1948 under one of its many titles. [3] The survive concept threads its way throughout Hubbard's subsequent writings.

Hubbard professed to have begun his research in 1932. This was the year he dropped out of the George Washington University.[4] About six years after the completion of Excalibur, Hubbard became involved with Jack Parsons of the Agape Lodge of the OTO in Pasadena, CA.  Though Hubbard apparently denied any formal magical training, he obviously convinced Parsons of his competence.  He partnered with Parsons in an advanced set of rituals called The Babalon Working in 1946.[5]

The OTO grade of Magus requires that the aspirant publish a book that explains his philosophy:

"The essential characteristic of [Magus] is that its possessor utters a Creative Magical Word, which transforms the planet on which He lives by the installation of new officers to preside over its initiation." [6]

"The Exempt Adept will possess a thorough knowledge of all these courses [Student Grade through Adeptus Major Grade], and present a thesis of his own, as a general Epitome of his own Attainment as reflected in the sphere of the Mind."[7]

"The Adept must prepare and publish a thesis setting forth his knowledge of the Universe, and his proposals for its welfare and progress.  He will thus be known as the leader of a school of thought."[8]

--Aleister Crowley

Hubbard named his manuscript Excalibur after the legendary magical sword of King Arthur. The sword has very specific meanings in occult symbology, particularly in Aleister Crowley's magickal system and the occult material from which Crowley's system is derived. I'll discuss the known occult significance of the sword shortly.

Hubbard said that Excalibur contained the basic premises upon which Scientology evolved. It is no surprise therefore that the "religious" cross symbol of Scientology represents those basic premises. First, let's take a look at how Hubbard and Scientology describes the cross.


CROSS, the symbol of the cross has been widely used in symbolic tradition, and with many interpretations given to it. The many forms of the word "cross" itself, however, traditionally are said to derive from (come from) a basic root word meaning "light of the Great Fire." The distinctive cross of the Church of Scientology is symbolic because of its eight points, of the eight dynamics. Above the shield of the Sea Org coat of arms, it not only symbolizes the Sea Org member's devotion to the aims of the Church of Scientology, but also his commitment to the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics. The cross's position above the shield also indicates that Sea Org is a religious fraternity within the formalized structure of the Churches of Scientology. (FO 3350) [FO: Flag Order][9]

--L. Ron Hubbard ®

I was unable to establish any connection between the root word meaning of cross (OE "rood") and "Light of the Great Fire." However, "The Light of the Great Fire" is mentioned in The Emerald Tablets of Thoth, a work alleged to have been written by Hermes. Hermes is believed to be an incarnation of the Egyptian God Thoth; his work is the ultimate source for the Western Hermetic tradition:

"Oft have I journeyed the deep hidden passage, looked on the Light that is Life among men. There 'neath the flowers of Life ever living, searched I the hearts and the secrets of men. Found I that man is but living in darkness, light of the great fire is hidden within." [10]

--Tablet III Key of Wisdom

SCIENTOLOGY CROSS, a cross about three inches high and is of simple but effective design without lettering or other ornament. The model of the cross came from a very ancient Spanish mission in Arizona, a sand casting which was dug up by Ron. The cross is a regular Roman cross with four additional short points between the four long points, a true eight dynamic Scn cross; the sunburst cross. (Abil14) [Ability Magazine Issue 14]  [11]

--L. Ron Hubbard

As Hubbard is mentioned in the third person in the definition above, it appears this is not a "source" reference. The Scientology cross is a 1955 entry in Scientology's current "complete list of materials," and appears as a pendant to be worn by ministers. However, the Ability 14 issue in my possession does not mention the Scientology cross.

The inclusion of the cross at this date is somewhat of an enigma. Hubbard wrote a bulletin on 23 August 1965, titled Abbreviations and Symbols of Dianetics and Scientology. The Scientology cross is not depicted in that issue. Was the cross injected retroactively in Scientology's time line?

This is the "Rose Cross" shown on the back of Crowley's Thoth tarot deck. Adopted by The Hermetic Order of The Golden Dawn (and later by Aleister Crowley), its origin is Rosicrucian. All dimensions, colors, etc. have special significance. The construction of the Scientology cross has definite similarity, although colors and dimensions differ. There are twelve green rays in the Rose Cross; whereas the corresponding rays in the Scientology cross are four in number. Note similar construction on each of the four arm ends.

A description of the occult meaning of this cross can be found in The True and Invisible Rosicrucian Order, by Paul Foster Case. The Authentic Order of the Golden Dawn has further information on this cross. (Navigate to images.)

Aleister Crowley
Thoth Deck
© 1978 U.S. Games

From Aleister Crowley's Magick, Book 4
Compare the vertical and horizontal arms of the Scientology cross with the ends of the sword hilt depicted in Aleister Crowley's Magick.[12]

Crowley's magickal training system was based upon the secrets of a Rosicrucian order called The Golden Dawn. They believe that the biblical King Solomon was an accomplished magician and that he controlled the demonic realm using ritual magic. Solomon's rituals have allegedly been preserved and handed down through secret societies since Solomon's time. (Some occultists believe that Solomon's magic came from the earlier biblical figure of Enoch, who received his magical training from alien gods.) The magical rituals involve both banishing (evoking) "lower" entities and conjuring or invoking "higher" entities that empower the magician to execute his will.

Crowley's ceremonial magick trains the aspirant to be an effective magician through a series of grades. Each of the lower grades develops a component of an overall magical skill set. Various symbolic "weapons" or "tools" represent the skills. These weapons culminate in a personal "magical temple" that emulates the legendary Temple of Solomon.

The "forging" of the sword is taught at the grade of Zelator (2=9). It represents the analytical faculty or the "reason" of the magician.[13]

Interestingly, current Super Power ® promotion headlines this concept: "FORGING AHEAD TOWARDS A CLEARED PLANET." Super Power is Scientology's next ploy for global conversion; it includes various processes designed around Hubbard's ethics technology.

Note that the first definition of the Scientology cross above comes from a Flag ® Order. This type of issue originated after the formulation of Scientology's quasi-military, elite organization called the Sea Organization. The Sea Organization was formally initiated in 1967, following Hubbard's expulsion from Rhodesia. This definition is the earliest legitimate reference to the cross that I have been able to locate. The Scientology cross is placed at the top of the Sea Org coat of arms ® and is inextricably associated with the Sea Organization.

Hubbard defined ethics as "reason" and declared that "Man's greatest weapon is his reason."[14]  He wrote the bulk of his ethics technology ca. 1965--1966, and he used his newly formed Sea Organization to beta test and fine-tune its fundamental control mechanisms.

Magically speaking, the Sea Org was formed to fulfill Crowley"s recipe for the Magus:

The essential characteristic of [Magus] is that its possessor utters a Creative Magical Word, which transforms the planet on which He lives by the installation of new officers to preside over its initiation.[15]

--Aleister Crowley

The early escapades of the Sea Project (precursor to the Sea Org) involved looking for hidden treasures, based on Hubbard's past life recall of their whereabouts.[16]  Crowley recommended that his magicians test their past life recalls using objective means. According to former members who were on these voyages, Hubbard's success was less than stellar. [17] Regardless, there is an incontrovertibly direct and fundamental relationship between Crowley's training system and Scientology's Bridge ®. This broad subject will be addressed in other articles.

The purpose of the Sea Organization is to "get ethics in on the planet." Hubbard's recruitment tactics include the assertion that Sea Org members are reincarnated members of an elite group of loyal officers that saved the planet from the evil Xenu--thus the motto, "We come back." Hubbard organized the Sea Organization in the same period as he developed the "secret" OT 3 materials. OT 3 mythology conveniently provides a "spiritual" reference for Scientology's recruitment tactics.

The Religious Technology Center ® (RTC) holds and registers the trademarks of Dianetics ® and Scientology. Chaired by David Miscavige, the RTC is the most senior executive organization of the Church of Scientology International. Their function is to preserve the integrity of Scientology technology and its marks worldwide.

On the RTC site is a series of the more common Scientology symbols, including a Scientology cross ®; this cross is shown at the top left of RTC's pages, and is also included in a bank of other Scientology images for which RTC holds marks.[18]

Remarkably, RTC displays a nonstandard cross to indicate the brand under which Scientology is copyrighted. A quick examination will reveal significant differences from the usually depicted Scientology cross.

® [9]

® ? [9a]

The differences are:

  • Original cross has slimmer proportions.
  • Circle in the center of the RTC's cross, which is not present in the "standard cross"
  • Diagonal "rays" are much shorter on the RTC's cross, giving more of a flower effect.

Hubbard's works do not display RTC's mark of the cross--his technology is generally marked with either the Dianetics symbol ® or the snake-and-double triangle symbol ®. Scientology advanced organizations do bear the Scientology cross symbol. (Example: the cross on top of the blue buildings in Los Angeles, CA.)

Scientology explains the RTC's cross:

The four arms point to the four main points of the compass and thus symbolize the idea that spiritual development extends in all directions and encompasses all of life. Both the horizontal and vertical arms end in the standard heraldic symbols for leaves and flowers, known as the “Cross Fleury” or “Flowery Cross”. This symbolizes the full flowering of the individual.

--Bonafide Scientology site

The components of the cross that create the flower effect are the diagonal rays, not the vertical and horizontal arms. Obviously, Hubbard did not write this description, as the cross was not in use during his life. The description above cannot possibly be applied to the earlier cross. Is "Flowery Cross" the next version of the Golden Dawn's "Rose" cross? Has Scientology formally affiliated with a Rosicrucian or other freemasonry society?

This of course again raises the obvious question of whether any aspect of Scientology bearing the Scientology cross is legitimately owned by Scientology today. Hubbard's cross does not appear on the list of marks owned by RTC.

There is precedent for the center circle of the RTC cross.

Clearly the circle is an appropriate component in this image.

The Magical Sword
The Key of Solomon the King
Translated by S. Liddell Macgregor Mathers (1854-1918)
(Head of the Order of the Golden Dawn)

The diagrams below show several other "weapons" that the magician develops in Crowley's system. We will address the dagger as it closely relates to the sword. The sword is used for the tougher magickal jobs; the magician chooses between the sword and the dagger based on the degree of severity of the situation he is trying to resolve.

From Aleister Crowley's Magick, Book 4.[20]


® [9]

Four blades from Crowley's dagger create "rays." The dagger configuration is clearly represented in the diagonal rays of the Scientology cross. Note how the four intersecting daggers make the circle in the middle.

"...the Magick Sword is the Reason, "the Son" [...]The Magick Sword is the analytical faculty; <sic> directed against any demon it attacks his complexity.

Only the simple can withstand the Sword. <Sic> As we are below the Abyss, this weapon is then entirely destructive; it divides Satan against Satan. It is only in the lower forms of Magick, the purely human forms, that the Sword has become so important a weapon. A Dagger should be sufficient.

But the mind of men is normally so important to him that the Sword is actually the largest of his weapons; happy is he who can make the Dagger suffice!"[21]

--Aleister Crowley

Scientology's ethics technology includes Hubbard's brand of justice.  Hubbard prescribed his justice system to go into play when the individual could not "get his own ethics in," according to Hubbard"s ethics formulas. 

Scientology"s justice measures are most publicly evident through the work of Scientology's Office of Special Affairs (OSA). OSA coordinates all of Scientology's litigation and intelligence activities: they are "getting ethics in" in Scientology's "external" environment. Internal justice measures are now the ultimate responsibility of the Religious Technology Center.

The original Scientology cross expresses the control methods "Hubbard-the-Magus" devised to complete his own magical grades.  Any guesses as to which magician the RTC cross belongs?

Related Paper: Scientology and the Golden Dawn

[1]  Illustration by Giovanni Caselli The Illustrated Bulfinch's Mythology 1997 Eddison Sadd Editions

See also http://www.lronhubbard.org/p_jpg/philo1/word2.htm . Scientology clearly associates Hubbard's Excalibur with the legendary sword.

[3] Note:  The same work was published under various titles as follows:
1947 Titled Scientology: A New Science ("15 years after Hubbard began his studies of the mind")
1948 Abnormal Dianetics
1951 Dianetics: The Original Thesis
1983 The Dynamics of Life

  • Technical Volume 1 (page 3) 1991 L. Ron Hubbard Library
  • Journal of Scientology Issue 28-G April 1954 Scientology: A New Science 1991 L. Ron Hubbard Library
  • Dianetics:  The Original Thesis (Introduction)"Hubbard's "work" started in 1932.

[4] See: Hubbard, L. Ron, Dianetics: The Original Thesis (Introduction) 1970 L. Ron Hubbard

[5] Carter, John, Sex and Rockets The Occult World of Jack Parsons 1997 John Carter and Feral House

[6] Crowley, Aleister, Magick, Book 4 (page 491) 1997 Ordo Templi Orientis

[7] Crowley, Aleister, Curriculum, The Equinox No. XI

[8] Crowley, Aleister, One Star in Sight

[9] Hubbard, L. Ron, Modern Management Technology Defined 1976 L. Ron Hubbard
(Image modified from line drawing in reference above.)

[9a] Line dreawing: Modifed from image at
The RTC claims ownership of the Scientology cross and the Scientology cross (rounded.) There is an additional Scientology cross that was first published in 1952 in a publication called The Golden Dawn. It is not certain to which cross the Scientology cross (rounded) mark refers. Thus, the question on mark ownership.

See also: Scientology and The Golden Dawn.

[10] Tablet III, The Key of Wisdom

[11] Hubbard, L. Ron, Dianetics and Scientology Technical Dictionary © 1983 L. Ron Hubbard

[12] Image from Magick, Book 4, by Aleister Crowley 1997 Ordo Templi Orientis (modified)

[13] Eshelman, James A., The Mystical and Magical System of the A.A. 2000 James Eshelman

[14] Hubbard, L. Ron, Introduction to Scientology Ethics 1998 L. Ron Hubbard Library

[15] Crowley, Aleister, Magick, Book 4 (page 491) 1997 Ordo Templi Orientis

[17]Crowley, Aleister, Magick, Book 4 1997 Ordo Templi Orientis (for instructions on testing recalls.) See Bare Faced Messiah for comments re the Sea Project

[18] Religious Technology Center (RTC)
See also http://www.rtc.org/pg08.htm

[19] From The Key of Solomon the King, by S. Liddell MacGregor Mathers 1999 The Book Tree

[20] Crowley, Aleister, Magick, Book 4 1997 Ordo Templi Orientis
(Dagger animation based on and modified from dagger image in above reference.)

[21] Crowley, Aleister, Magick, Book 4 1997 Ordo Templi Orientis

2001 Caroline Letkeman
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